"on our way out of reykjavik we saw the first hydrogen fuel station in the world. the icelandic government along with daimler chrystler, the eu, reykjavik city and more have the past three or four years been trying hydrogen driven city busses in hopes to be able to have the whole bus fleet in reykjavik hydrogen driven by the year 2027 (i think it was). then we drove east out of reykjavik and along the pipe road (the road that lies alongside the pipe that delivers the hot water from the geothermal powerplant) to nesjavellir where we saw the geaothermal powerplant. the pipeline is 16.8 miles long, the water is 187 degrees (farenheit) when it is pumped from nesjavellir and only looses three degrees on its way to reykjavik. the water that they heat up they take from pingvallavatn (parlament plains lake). the lake is 360 feet over sea level and is 370 feet where it is deepest. from nesjavellir we drove along side pingvallavatn to pingvellir (parlament plains) to the information center where we saw a few videos explaining to us a few things about the nature and history of the parliament and the national park. we walked out on to the veiwing platform on the edge of the north american tectonic plate and looked over the parliament area and also saw the euro-asian tectonic plate on the other end of the valley. from there we drove down into the national park and got a better view of almannagja (name of the fissure that you can walk down from the viewing platform, past the spot where the lawspeaker stood (where the flagpole is) and down to the planes). we saw there a very good example of how clear the water is and also we saw peningagja (translates to money fissure). after that we drove through the national park up "into europe" over a mountain pass called lyngdalsheidi through the educational village of laugarvatn past the only trailer park in iceland. at that point passengers took a much needed beauty nap!!! upon the awakening of the passengers we were at gullfoss (golden waterfall) which is fed by the glacier river hvita (white river) and run from under langjokull (long glacier) that we saw in a distance from upstairs where we had lunch. some had the traditional icelandic meatsoup and some took a picture of a miniature bottle of the icelandic brennivin (burning wine). after lunch we drove down to the geysir area, we were not lucky enough to see geysir go off but strokkur (churn) spouted a few times for us. next we took a short photostop a a small but very beautiful waterfall named faxi (mane of a horse). there we saw icelandic architecture at its prime, a man made fish ladder on the left of the waterfall that is so small that the fish don't fit and to the right of the waterfall was a natural fishladder. next stop after that was skalholt church, the ancient seat of the icelandic bishops in the south and where the first translation of the old testament was printed. on our way to our next stop we drove past a whole lot of summerhouses. these summerhouses as well as most summerhouses in iceland are owned be individuals, families, large companies and workers unions and usually have a fully equipped kitchen, hot and cold water, bathroom, shower, gas grill, hot tub, 2-4 bedrooms and usually a sleeping loft. these are then rented out at a fairly reasonable price to employees and members of the companies and unions. our next stop was at kerid (the crater), an implosive/explosive (scientists don't know which it is) crater with a small pond in it. I have been told that there are fish in it (i have no idea where the fish came from) and it is also thought that a troll lives in it as well as two other craters close by. it is said that you now in which one she is staying in because the water level rises in it and lowers in the other two. you may also remember that I told you that bjork once held concert in there. from there we passed even more summerhouses and drove over the river sog. sog is the only river that runs out of lake pingvallavatn (the small river and waterfall we saw at pingvellir is the only water that runs into the lake, the rest is all from underground), then we saw where sog a fresh water river and hvita (white river, the same river that runs down gullfoss) a glacier river mix together and then become olfusa. shortly after that we drove past the farm where the farmer made a deal with the elves to keep his family and farm safe from all the boulders that were falling from ingolfsfjall (mt. ingolfur, named after the first setler ingolfur arnarson) if he would fence off the eflmounds. not far from there we saw the mother in law summerhouse surrounded by boulders from the same mountain. hveragerdi (garden of hot springs) was our next stop, there we saw a hot spring that came up under a house. the only thing left of the house is a basement wall. from there we went to eden a greenhouse/restaurant/gift shop. you may remember the doors into eden, adam on the left and eve on the right. I once heard a story that they re-do eves behind because to many men had padded her on the ass through the years, I'm not sure how true that is but a fun story at least. an experimental drillhole for the new geothermal powerplant was where we stopped next. what we saw there was a round igloo looking house and in there is the drillhole itself which is about 15-25 inches wide, out from the house comes a pipe out to a silencer which the steam comes out of. without the silencer you would not be able to stand anywhere near the drillhole. what they're doing is they drill down one and a quarter miles to find hot steam and if the temperature is over 572 degrees (farenheit) it is considered at high temperature zone, which means they have to put it through some machines to clean out some minerals or else they would klog up the machinery. after they have done that they put the steam through turbines and make electricity and then use the hot steam and water to heat up cold water, which they then pump the hot water to reykjavik to heat up houses, swimming pools and everything else that needs heating. on our way to reykjavik those who were awake saw the christianity lava field. it is called that because when they were debating wether tho change from the heathen religion to christianity at pingvellir, a volcanic eruption started on the other side of the mountains and the people at pingvellir thought that it was because the gods were angry at them for changing the religion. after a short stop at the hotel we drove to the blue lagoon. on our way there we drove through the town of hafnarfjordur (harbour fjord). that town has a three person committee in their town hall that deals with elf problems! if you want to build something on your property and you believe that there is an elf mound in the way, you call town hall and they will send one of these three people to your house and they will sit down by the rock/mound and try to persuade the elves to move to one of the to elfparks in the town. after having sat there for up to a few hours they will come to the owners of the house and tell people how it all went, wether the elves were willing to move and in how long they can start constructions. in that town we also drove past the viking village where quinten tarantino was swore in as a honorary viking! the blue lagoon was the last stop of the day. the blue lagoon was actually an accident. when they were starting the geothermal powerplant down there, instead of getting hot water they got hot sea water (2/3 sea water, 1/3 fresh water). so after having put the steam through the turbines and heated up the cold water they pumped the water they got out of the drillhole into the lava field and thought it would flow naturally back to the sea. but because of all the minerals and chemicals it clogged up the lava and soon these pools of warm water were forming and the people who lived near by started going there in the evenings to bath in the pools. after doing this for a while they found out that it was really good for the skin, especially people who had exema, phsoriasis and all sorts of skin diseases. not to long after that they opened the blue lagoon."
mikko's a great cat and knows his land - he supplemented everything he showed us w/good spiel and background... whoa, that was some adventure and I think about it much, trying to soak up the info motherload he just laid on us pluse the eye/ear/nose/touchgifts I experienced. I just had that fish soup by the waterfall by why not round two now that night's come and I've washed the "blue lagoon" off me (that was a righeous soak though)? mikko takes us downtown and there's a fish and chips pad. I know iceland's known for some delicacy called "hakari" (the name literally means "rotten shark" - they bury it raw in the ground for a few months and then cut into cubes, chowing it cold, drinking w/it "brennivin" which a potato schnapps that tastes like turpentine - mikko says it comes from a time when chow was scarce) but england-style sea food will suffice. one iclandic kronur equals about one and third u.s. cents but in real buying terms, things are kind of spendy compared to back home. makes sense, it was like that when I played in ketchikan, alaska. that makes this chow almost eleven bucks (eight hundred kronur). we go back to the 'tel and I konk cuz that nine hours of icelandic wonder wore me out.
the next morning it's gray and rainy so I chimp diary after the free trough downstairs. I shovel salmon along w/the herring and mackerel. mikko comes to take us to soundcheck a little after four and we head over more into town, to where the gig is at a pad called listasafn reykjavikur, some kind of arts place. it's painted all bright white inside and it's a narrow long-throw shotgun type of deal w/a balcony on each side. the stage is as wide as the room and that's all not that wide w/the roof being an arched stretched canvas roof. the room doesn't make for such great acoustics but like they say in vaudeville, "work the room." the soundcheck is w/heperman chris singing, he's been doing that more and more instead of jos, maybe at the request of knobman rik. whatever works best for the rikster - understand that my opinion is us up on stage are only the motor, it's rik who's the transmission and gets the power to the wheels/people. you just can't mix a gig from the stage, not and be honest w/yourself. you gotta learn to trust and I trust rik, he's a great cat. same w/chris and jos - good folks I'm honored to work alongside... and I love the stooges, just love them death. watt's a lucky man. we do "no fun" and "I wanna be your dog" then where done and ron wants to bail right away wich is ok w/me. rik tells me my bass level was pretty low but maybe it's this room cuz she checks ok when put her through some motions. it's gonna be the first stooge gig in 'pert-near three months - since perth, australia. whoa, that new reverend guitar w/the three soap bar pickups ron got for that tour now has a sister set up the same but gold instead of orange. now he can switch them out and keep things a little more consistent. man, he's playing great and so is his brother scotty. steve blows some but you can tell the sickness in the gut he was telling us about is w/him still. ron said he was sick for two months but kicked it right before bailing for this trip. being sick on tour is the worst - yeah, like having to chimp that to let who-wouldn't-know-that is not an obvious enough a concept - crimony! ron likes us in and out quick w/soundcheck so we're back w/mikko in the econoline and back to the 'tel right away.
gig-time is at eight. we're taken across the street from the venue to a cafe/bar and upstairs to where the pool tables are cuz this is going to serve as our get-ready room w/iggy in the "dressing room" at the side of the stage at the gig. we wait out the hour re-arranging the lyrics to "folsom prison blues" to suit our deranged sense of humor and compensate for nervousness - it's the cherry gig for this string of shows. trippy how we can come out of mothballs after three months and throw like we do, damn. sunday night sam and jamie gave me a go! team shirt and I got that on. it's a white t-shirt w/their name in orange - I remember one time wearing an all-orange t-shirt in new orleans and ig asked me to take it off and do the gig bare-chested ("you're looking a little orange, mike - why don't you show these folks you mean business")... christ, I hadn't played that way for like twenty years! anything for these guys though, even a big time shaming. anyway the opening band is done (a reykjavik band called dr. spock that I didn't see cuz I was w/my team here across the street but I did hear what mikko had of their's that he was playing on the econoline's stereo) it's starting to rain outside and after I have ron take a picture of me in front of the slot machines (they're all over reykjavik), we hoof on over, I got a towel over the little bass to keep her dry. we're in the room w/iggy for a couple of minutes and he preps us on some stuff, then it's show time. we go up on stage behind the guitar amps and ig hollers "let's go!" and the gig is on. we're out of the gate w/"loose" and damn if I ain't sounding real tiny so I hike up my amp some. trippy, it looks like iggy's got a belt on - whoa, he does! never seen that yet... same little jeans though. he's in great form, as are the brothers ashetons. I think ig wants more guitar though cuz he hurls the mic stand ron's way - look out! you gotta big time heads up w/this band or you're going down. it ain't meanness, it's just fury getting blown out. good thing I do these tunes w/perk and peter w/hellride back home cuz even that isn't near what I gotta push myself to get this together but it does help. how do you prac for a powder keg blow up like this anyway? it's just so fully in the moment. "down on the street" follows and the smaller stage allows iggy to narrow his focus some. later he'll tell us he likes just standing some cuz he it seems like the thick-necks up front get a little freaked by what they might think is prancing and flitting about. he's a crack-up, man - I love his perspectives. he cares about the thick-neck's feelings! well, maybe a little bit... he likes having fun w/all that shit. "1969" unloads on the icelanders and we get the bo diddley thing chuggin' away. I think I turned up again. "I wanna be your dog" has a rough start but I let go and then grab on again when the one gets sure-footed. when it's solo time for ron, ig makes a huge dive into the crowd like it was swimming pool time. incredible to see him launch himself like that, balls-out. makes me wanna fill myself w/ron's lead so I kneel down in front of his amps and drench myself w/the soar roar. alright. whoa, I'm a little flat so I tune up while ig gets some breath in before hurls the "llllllllllloooooooooorrrrrrrrrddd!" for the "tv eye" blast off. I shake myself fucking silly. I 'pert-near wanna come all the way apart except for the fact I'd be letting my guys down by having the bass float on nothing more than a puddle. right before "real cool time," I think I turned up again, the "acoustics" (or lack thereof) in this place are making funky overtones all over the stage. shit, I'm fumbling some w/the chords when it comes time for ig to bring the kids up on stage while ron blasts his leads. funny watching these young icelanders, kind of subdued in their manner. 'pert-near sedated, even for "no fun" up right next. iggy asks for the lights to come up so he can see the crowd but nothing happens and he says there's gonna be an "incident" if they don't get lit and finally, up they come. he introduces us, arm around my shoulder, he calls me "thin but not disappeared" - I was getting a little chunky from those england-styled breakfast chows in australia and three months of being back in my pedro pedaling/paddling routine helped throw overboard a bunch of that. scotty gets the "always by a knockout decision" which he tells me kinds of weirds him cuz he idiots might wanna blind-shot him just to say they did. I know ig says it cuz he digs his drumming though. he let's everyone know ron's the "heavyweight champion" but tonight he won't announce himself, saying everyone already knows he is and scotty hats of "1970" and it's john henry railroad time. holy cow! as the song heads for its coda, brother steve mackay and his tenor join us on stage and we melt the tune into "mindroom" w/just ron and iggy batting words and guitar riffs off each other 'til ig hollers "fun house" and pop us into gear w/that. whoa, we're in the thump cycle now! the groove gyrates and twists - I do get a bit confused right before ig's "take it WAY down" (how did that happen - right on over to the beat's other side!) but following his words, I get myself righted and ship shape. some blow up, scatter and ricochet w/glancing shots from free zoink sounds from us in "l.a. blues" (and a teeth-pull on the strings for the little bass) 'til ig's frankenstein-walk off stage cues scotty to engage the "skull ring" - I try to turn up right before but damn if the knobs ain't already all the way clockwise. in between lines, iggy looks back and fist pumps low 'til suddenly he heaves the microphone stand my way in what seems a hell of a rage - he'd already done it to ron when he wanted the guitar louder and I go up to scotty after the tune and tell him "don't leadfoot it or he's gonna kill me! thinking we're maybe going too slow. iggy then gives a spiel on the state of music, having fun w/the inane genre games before "dead rock star" get its turn. it goes good for me 'til after the third verse cuz I thought there still was one more to go and clam a chorus before getting my fucking baka idiot self together and back on deck. that sure was a doof move on my part. aahh, am I mad at myself but shake it off (or rather put in reserve, to be pondered upon later) and join the stooge team for not right which I don't play that great cuz of confidence issues but at least keep it together enough not to stink it up. I gotta get a grip. ig comes over and hollers "little doll" though we've changed this one long ago where scotty brings me in a flam as opposed to the days when dave alexander did it w/that great bass intro. I wonder if iggy knows this? we haven't played it all that much. it's sounding really good though, steve switching from sax to maracas. the double dog take on our "I wanna be your dog" reprise finishes the set. iggy's worked so hard and the crowd had been a little subdued but they show much respect w/lots of roars now so ig says to get back on stage and do "little electric chair" in a way he told me on the phone before we left that he wanted to change it to - us kind of trading fours, we me walking a bass solo ("no jaco shit" he told me) followed by ron and then steve but I'm not together and sure, I do the solo ok but can't read the chords right w/ron and probably was half-ass backwards... aaaarrrrrrgggghhhhh. it's not a total trainwreck though and we do end together but man, I got to get this together for the next round. ig said we were going to walk on it paris, before the gig there but tells backstage we had to put in some time cuz this is our own gig, not a festival thing. whoa, the gig done and it was pretty good - ron calls gigs like that "fun" and iggy says it could've been a lot worse but I think he was happy, in fact he says he really wants to come back and build up a thing here. bjork (the singer) is from reykjavik and comes backstage to talk w/ig. she has tribal talk to say which is what I call talking about different groups of people and different lands. it gets to norway (iggy's part norwegian) and I blurt out "ibsen was jimmy joyce's playwright" - lunatics say the strangest things, huh? it's awkward for me. iggy's great w/conversation though, even after working up whirlwind and finesses the sitch fine.
we gotta bail from iceland w/a 5:45 am lobby call in the morning so mikko soon gets us back to the 'tel. I'm afraid to konk even though almost always an automatic clock will pop me up at the right moment so I go over to scotty's and join him and ron there for spiel 'til like three bells. I then read the haruki murakami "kafka on the shore" book I got at logan airport for an hour and half 'til free trough is available for shoveling in the galley. knobman rikster gives me a talk about bogarting w/the volume and I take it to heart (his name is rik hart) - seriously, he's in the best position to judge and respect that. rik has plenty he can teach me, even w/his spiel fully post-choached.
friday, may 5, 2006 - bergen, norway
yesterday we took that early morning flight to norway I was talking about, going first to oslo and then back west to bergen. trippy routing. anyway, it's my first time to this town. I've played oslo w/j mascis before (the gig before the infamous sweden van wreck where j broke his back) but that's on the other side of the country - bergen is on the atlantic. I got a window seat and seeing it as we come down is very happening, all the fjords and forest after flying over the mountains. the weather is so cal sunny but the folks are very pale... I hear from the driver they get mucho rain mostly so he's glad we brought some of the weather I'm used to at home. we're staying at the radisson which right close to harbor and there's steep hillside running right up on the other side of us. it's a beautiful waterfront of shops and chowpads. I hoof around to explore as much as I can 'til dark comes and then spend time w/scotty watching a little bit of a led zeppelin cover band. they don't look like zep but kind of sound like them but then ain't that what records are for? they probably get a kick out of playing it but I can't say the same for me observing it - no disrespect to them. me and scotty go to ron's room - a huge one bigger than my pedro pad - and we spiel much about all kinds of stuff for hours and hours. I know I've said this before but they're both like big brothers I've never had and I just love spending time w/them and hearing their stories of the old days and their observations of what's happening in the present. they're beautiful and mean so much to me, I feel like the luckiest little brother in the world. I dearly love them both much.
the next day is gig day and after shoveling from the free trough downstairs, I find the weather another cali-like day outside and hoof about 'til soundcheck but have no pictures to show cuz like an idiot, I spaced and left my camera in my room. fucking baka watt. soundcheck finds me being faithful to the commitment I made to knobman rikhart about by considerate about my stage volume so the knobs on the rented svt-II bass amps remain untouched by me except for putting the eq flat - they had be set for too much bottom and that definitely is not needed for this pad cuz it's kind of huge and looks like a big oval roller rink. the backstage room has a table loaded up big time w/candies, what's that about? there's fresh strawberries though and I have some of them. we get back to the 'tel after a quick run-through of a couple of tunes (ron is way into getting the soundcheck done fast) and I'm soon back into eating up the words of the haruki murakami book. it sure is trippy...
eight bells and we meet up in the lobby to head on down to the venue to play our gig. we get driven another way to the venue and the drive is less than half what it took for soundcheck, that's a relief. the sun is still up pretty bright, we're in the northern part of the world here and that's different than back home in pedro. we get taken upstairs to the backstage area, different parts curtained off and our space has got dishes full of chocolate and bags of munchie stuff, very euro-style. man, you could bell big time on the cals if you wanted to easy. time to stretch, pace and agonize 'til downbeat. there's one opener and they're already underway w/their set, a local band called the kaiser orchestra and they sound good. time ticks and ticks 'til finally we're given the word and tourboss henry leads us out. there's a big ramp up to the stage and instead of being right in the wings, ig holler's "let's go" from the foot of the ramp and I run up first since my amp and stuff is always on the furthest side (stage starboard). I'm wearing a white t-shirt pedro dude vinnie vegas gave me that has a red stencil on it of a cat and "simon lives" printed on it - he's a gato of some pedro dudes that got killed and is now immortalized. ron really likes it. anyway, the gig's on. scotty hihats in "loose" and we're off. I haven't touched the amp settings - even at soundcheck I just lowered the bass eq on both amps to just over noon compared to the two o'clock setting that was there. I wanna show knobman rik I can team play and don't mean to bogart ever, truly. the tip of my index finger's feeling a little tender under the skin so I pluck w/the middle and ring ones together in a unison, like a flipper. there was like a thousand people in reyjkavik but there's 3500 tonight and in nordic fashion, it's not crazy insane but then it's not a silent tomb either. right off, ig's working it really hard - he's fucking great. "down on the street" rolls out next and I think I'm already playing better than last gig though I've feel a touch of soreness in the back of the calves but so what, I'm getting fueled tremendously by the stooge sound. I know it's kind of a hard gig for scotty cuz he told me he didn't get too much good konk last night but it's hard for me to help him w/enthusiasm cuz he doesn't look up much or if he does, he sneaks some peeks in and I can't tell. I can tell he's really laying out a strong groove though, you could furrow acres of field w/it. I'm using more back pickup than front w/my little bass cuz I just know there's a boom factor in pads like these (an oval indoor arena) but luckily we're set up sideways and there's a curve in the bulkhead to join the roof so there's no flat wall to throw slapback on us. we go into "1969" and it snakes up mean, makes me wanna swivel on my ankles like one of those toys you push the bottom of the base to loosen the limbs that got string running through them. we get "I wanna be your dog" off next and it's right there instead of the stumblebum we got going last gig. iggy launches him self w/a swan dive when it comes to ron's solo though it'll be the first of like three tonight, how does he do it? amazing. I am inspired and rattle dervish-like hard for "tv eye" and kneel in front of ron's amp for his solo in this one. I know scotty must look up sometimes cuz he asks me very much to "pop tart" for then endings which means cue they're coming by getting in front of his kick drum when the time's due, we do it for the "ram it!" parts also. like I said, I'm feeling it a little in the legs but I can't help myself from the whirl this tune and these guys are conducting right through me. glad to have a little more calmness for "dirt" so my legs don't all the way cramp and we run the down good w/all the cues smooth. dance time w/"real cool time" and like reyjkavik, not many are willing to come up right away plus there's some bonehead security fools acting like idiots but iggy finally gets like ten to get the nerve to join us on stage (though some are dragged away by the boneheads 'til roadboss eric enlightens them to get it fucking together) and they dance a little more than the icelanders. I also have it more together under ron's guitar solo w/the chords - I boned up on that some so I'd have it right this time. "no fun" gets a little more dance out of our on-stage visitors as they fall ig around the stage - he puts the mic up to me and I get to sing "maybe call ma" out to the folks, that's righteous of him! thank you, iggy. we finish and he does the introductions, when he says "every decision by a knockout" for scotty, there's a headshake signaling a "no" from our stickman trying to let folks know not to get the wrong idea. of course I think that's not ig's intention whatsoever, he just loves how scotty slams the beat... "it's all about scotty's left hand," like hank rollins says. ron fires off the into to "1970" but helperman jos trips over his guitar cable and sudenly there's no guitar so helperman chris scrambels to get him hooked back up and the song's back again underway though I don't know how scotty's gonna handel it - there's no flams to signal me but I get in w/him though I don't do it w/a gliss like I usually do. I love that gliss but playing together w/scotty's more important. iggy calls for water and I guess no one's see that so I grab a bottle from the drum riser while still playing the riff one-handed. I'm looking at ig maybe ninety percent of the time and dearly don't want him choking out so it's no problem. steve mackay comes out beside ron for his gig entrance to finish the tune up and we dovetail it into "mindroom" next. I tune up and ready myself to get "fun house" going right when ig asks for it and we torque on that one, me never once losing track of scotty's one - I really get determined to focus on clams that might happen on the gig before, not like I'm not determined anyway but one reason I call myself out on clams is to make sure I try and get it together the next time (it's not just all hand-wringing!). we punch this tune out hard and then splatter out wild for the "l.a. blues" part - I've been crouching down w/ig gets in front of me and crouches himself and I gnarl myself up 'til relaxing in w/coltrane's "a love supreme" lick once iggy caps it off w/the "I am you" bit. scotty' hihats in "skull ring" and out comes ig, fresh from a bottle of water being poured on his head and he wheels around through this tune. I'm not using much midrange on my bass' onboard preamp but that I am, I switch from the usual 800hz to 400. I still haven't bumped up the volume and have been looking out towards knobman rik's way to see if he's signaling me I'm bogarting - I also asked jos to help me that way cuz it is really hard to tell. I can say this though, when I move out from right in front of my amp, like to ron's side or the lip of the stage, I 'pert-near totally disappear but maybe I'm fucking deaf. it's ok though, I gotta just trust rik. I'm sure glad I asked iggy after the reyjkavik show if the gestures he does in this tune were about us not playing it fast enough and he told me that wasn't what those moves he does in it are about - he says he's trying to give the feel of an english guy strutting around w/a riding crop in his hand! alright. the tubes in these amps (instead of the usual two ampeg svt-II rentals, I got two ampeg classic svt ones) cuz they're sounding mushy this far into the set so I bring the masters up just a cunt hair. ig gives a real short intro for the next song (he had a little one for "dirt" too) tonight, "the world is dying but it's not dead yet - that's why we call this "dead rock star" and the asheton brothers rev it up. I play all the changes right tonight too... overall, I think I did much better than night before last, a very grateful watt. there's a false start for "not right" - hell, I didn't even know it was coming (probably my fault - don't get too happy, watt!) but iggy re-starts and we get it together. I can feel scotty having to really reach down for this baby this late in the set but he hangs on. the thing that makes it hard for me is not a lot of eye contact w/scotty, he's told me he play better looking at his drums but for me, I get confidence by looking at the people I'm playing w/cuz they inspire me and like I said, I'm kind of scardy-cat. he likes me to "pop-tart" at the end though cuz that cues him we're finishing up the tune or sometimes at a part change. goerge hurley didn't like looking at me much either. one time on tour in houston I asked him about and he said, "do you need me to hold your hand?" back to the gig: soctty flams me into "little doll" and I go out to the lip of the stage to play it. like I said before, not too much bass out here. well, I get in for free - it's more important the sound is good for the folks in the crowd. I notice for sure now ig's belt is gone, I thought I saw jos w/it his hands... I wonder how it got it off him? iggy stage dives again, oh man! he's something else. we finish up w/the double dog take and yet again ig is up and in it w/another plunge, crimony! how does he find the strength? I run off the stage and ig's sitting on a road case gulping a beer, spitting some mouthfuls while I sit at his feet. usually he has something to say but this time he spits out his last beer spurt and heads for the stage - I guess that means we're doing one more. we bust out the last tune we know, "little electric chair" and I've got it way more together - I'm so glad ron let us run over it at soundcheck. I don't play the greatest solo - damn, I wish I had a bass in my 'tel room but I don't blow the tune out of the water either. the tune chugs along good and ron blows some mean solos, like he has all night. ig then starts improvising some lyrics, I think one line was "suck my dick" and it got repeated a few times. I told him about it later and he had a good laugh. we finish and the gig's done, I think it was a good one.
I run ahead of everyone to get up stairs cuz I don't trust my uncoordinated self w/carrying any liquid after a gig cuz I gotta guard my lame knees if I tumble cuz that would be a disaster (my knees are really weak). after a bit, iggy comes and goes over the gig w/us... then eric brings me to two norwegian journalists and w/the first one is the cat who runs iggy-pop.org w/cathy, and it's great to meet him. the writers too are very nice and I answer their questions and then ron comes by to do the same. he's so great w/spiel - no wander or babble from him. even scotty comes by for the second writer. I notice swelling on the back of my right hand, damn... what's this about? we go to the boat and there's a borracho (drunk) local by the hatch and it almost looks like chingaso w/jos and him but jos diffuses the situation by asking him nicely to "fuck off real fast" about twenty times in a row very quickly. we get to the 'tel and I go to my room to change shirts. suddenly I start to cry, I start to think of my cat (I called him the man). maybe it's cuz that simon cat was on the t-shirt I wore. after a bit I get it together and then go up to ron's room (on the way, I see knobman rik and quickly explain some sound theories I got about stages that are real wide, like tonight - w/just the opposite, like in reyjkavik - I probably sounded like a lunatic but they were just ideas) where scotty is and we spiel for like three hours. I dearly love these asheton brothers. I tell them I owe them the best notes I've got to give. I get back to my room at three bells and laying there on the deck to konk, my mind races and races w/insecurities totally overwhilming me 'til I'm beatdown past the point of wearing out and I don't know how I did it or even had anything to do w/it but konk, it finally did come: merciful konk.
monday, may 8, 2006 - paris, france
saturday we left norway for here in france but that wasn't 'til the afternoon. after popping early, tub soaking and shoveling breakfast, I head outside (yet another sunny sky day!) to take shots of what only my eyes captured yesterday. there's a statue of a young guy w/a crossbow by the old marialkirken church nearby and I'm wondering what's up w/that - there's paintings of this cat all over - even on some walls in the 'tel and I'm curious to what he's all about. for more of a mindblow, I hear a band coming down the road by the water and marching w/them are these boys carrying crossbows, what?! I scour the internet (total luck to have free access in this 'tel, that's 'pert-near never happens) and find he's not a particular individual but symbolic of the resistance against the nazi occupation of norway during the second world war. alright, it's good to learn things! I also found out that in 1200s, bergen was the murder capital of europe, averaging about twelve killings a day. you'd never know that now cuz this place is way peaceful. it's more proof to me that all peoples go through the sane/insane cycles - no one seems immune.
at the airport we came in a few days ago, we're back to depart and as we go to the gate to wait for our plane, a policeman and a droga dog come right up to scotty and take him immediately to the head. scotty emerges a little later to say he was shook down and told the cop that no way was he carrying any shit and the man believed him. I think the dog did too cuz it made no move on him to provoke any of this - I think it was more of a profiling thing on the policeman's behalf. everyone relaxes much w/scotty back w/us, of course. it's only a few hours flying to paris and we land in weather much different than the bergen we left - it's raining. at de gaulle airport, I find what rik hart tells me is a "kinderegg" on the deck while we're waiting for our luggage. it's a little plastic pirate in a plastic egg and rik says there's all different types of these things. I think finding a pirate one is great fortune for me and put it in my pocket - our high school sports teams in pedro are called the pirates, aaaarrrrggghhh... I know one day the entire human race will become enlightened enough to talk like pirates and we'll finally find a way to fully communicate w/each other. we get our bags and a nice cat named charles picks us up. just for an experiment, I ask him about his favorite u.s. bands - I actually do this to show ron that the whole "the french hate us" thing is way over-exaggerated and even apologize to him later cuz he's got a good heart and so much doesn't need his baka bass player to be trying to showing him up on anything... it was just my feeble attempt at trying to make a tiny point. of course, every land has assholes (or those for that moment are acting like one) you might run into (including our own) but I think you gotta have some faith in humanity - that's what all the touring all these years has taught me. it's eight when we reach our 'tel - the intercontinental, near the grand opera - and after some tub-soak, I join most of the team downstairs to have some beers before konking kind of early.
sunday I popped early and got right to hoofing cuz the weather report said our days here in paris were gonna be wet ones. there was no free shovel at the 'tel so I head northwest to see what I can find. these europe towns don't have their streets on a grid (they're more like spokes on a wheel, kind of) so it's easy to get off track and that I do - I end up way far from the river seine - up in the 17th arrt. and have a little trouble finding my way to the water. I do find a street called rue de levis and think of my favorite pants. there's an open market here on the street and that's great cuz sunday has most stuff closed - I get some coff and continue my quest for the seine. these accidental "get losts" are happening for stumbling onto stuff you don't think of though so that's a good thing. after a while, I come up on the arc de triumphe and everything once again is familiar to me so I start to follow the riverbank east. the eiffel tower's top is fog shrouded but at least the rain is holding off. further down, I see a statue of marquis de marie-joseph-paul-yves-roch-gilbert du motier lafayette (is that a name or what?!), a great supporter of our revolution who served under george washington. further down I see a kayak strapped to the roof of a van that's got a fist painted on it... man, does that give me the urge to paddle - I'm already jonesing! I get to the concorde part and take the metro back to near where the 'tel is. the metro underground train is a great system - we need one like it in so cal bad! just before taking the stairs down, I chowed one of those french hot dogs - two dogs smothered in melted cheese on a baguette split open lengthwise, good stuff. I chimp diary and around three pm driverman charles takes us across the river for a prac. wow, the gray has lifted and it's all sun out - the weather reports were wrong wrong wrong! iggy wants to spend time on the re-worked "little electric chair" and some other stuff. there's also some cats who are making a documentary on the beat brion gysin (they interviewed ig for it) and have a reproduction of "the dream machine" he invented so we test that out to be used when we do the "I wanna be your dog" reprise (known to us as "double dog") near the end of the gig tomorrow night. it's pretty wild, spinning around and throwing light everywhere. we get done w/prac and head back to our 'tel. I go chow a block away at a pad called "the american dream" to see what a hamburger tastes like there. it's pretty good - remember to order your meat cooked well-well-done here though cuz they like their beef pretty raw here. I get back to the 'tel and spend time w/scotty for a while in his chamber before konking.
gig day and I pop early and forage for chow after hosing off. it's way cloudy but the rain's holding off - it looked like it poured during the night though. I decide to explore east of the 'tel and happen on a parade of calvary dressed up like the old days - of course, it's "victory in europe" day today. I go check out all kinds of stuff by the louvre and take tons of snaps but don't actually go in it cuz that could suck me in for days - there's so much to see in there... one day though. I get back to the 'tel around one. 2:20 in the afternoon and the phone ringing interrupts what I had planned to be my last bit of chimping - it's ron asking where I am... I fucked up and thought we were to bail at two and a half bells when I guess last night tourboss henry said two and a quarter - aahh, baka watt. lots of times I plan w/out 'pert-near a margin and then it's fucking panic time... fucking baka watt. I get in the 'vator to go the five to oh (in europe, the first floor is usually the first floor upstairs - not the ground floor), funny about the 'vators cuz in this pad I've got the chamber right next door to them so it's almost like living by a factory and hearing groans and moans of machinery as the cables work their up/down boxes incessantly. apologetic watt as I join my men in the boat and charles wheels east to the venue, a pad we played almost two years ago now called le zenith. it looks like it's almost inflated, a silver fabric covering it. we're met be gigboss alain and his helperman stefano, great cats. ron likes these soundchecks fast and quick so he can get back likewise so up on the stage right away w/us. I have the two ampeg svt-II amps, each w/their respective 8x10 cabs that I used yesterday at prac. all controls are set at flat and the volumes at noon (there's no master on a svt-II). I'm trying to make things better for knobman rik after the nightmare I handed him at reyjkavik. same w/the little bass, all eq flat. he makes an inquiry from his birdnest mixing place which seems a mile away and I snap back at him like a fucking idiot... why did I do that? seems my spirit is willing but there's ego I still need to stomp down to make a true accommodation actual - fucking slow learner watt. we wail through "no fun" and "...dog" w/helperman chris singing and then we're done (iggy never soundchecks w/us). the band guys then bail but I'm to remain cuz the going back and forth can wear on me and I just gotta my best for tonight's gig - not that every gig is an important one but I'm really intent on this paris one having me not let down the stooges one iota. I'm moaning some about the sore tendon on the back of my right hand so roadboss eric gets me a bag w/ice in it to help w/the swelling. there's a sideroom to the dressing room I prep w/one of the couch cushions and a little pillow on the deck and konk there 'til chow time at six and half bells. let me tell you, it's some GREAT chow, unbelievable for a gig, cooked up in a kitchen they got here: duck on real thin crust (like a pizza), calamari salad, tiny scallops salad, fried quail eggs on tiny toasts, penne pastas, a big piece of what they call trout but it's pink like salmon (salmon are like big sea trout anyway) w/a righteous caper sauce on it, taters and broccoli that's be steamed and then light roasted. this chow is really rustled made up w/some technique, damn is it good. there's the intense pastry dessert stuff too but I pass on that and get back up to my sanctum to resume w/the konk. I gotta be able to put on tonight. many tours have trained me to be prone to making this happen and even w/the openers (paris eighteen year-olds in a band called the brats) soundchecking the same song over and over, I pop only after ron, scotty and steve return for gig time. we pow-wow upstairs while ig tightens his focus in a chamber across and downstairs. we stave off nervous time (in my head, I hear "don't be nervous" over and over). we hear most the brats' set through the bulkhead, they sing in french and they're pretty good too. I earlier met their manager, a good cat named david who's putting out the new metal urbain album (metal urbain was a french punk band in the late 70s and I had their first single). I've got the black "los punkinhedz" t-shirt renny back in pedro made for me. los punkinhedz is a band I'm in w/keyboard money mark nishita and john wicks, we've been playing once about every four weeks for the last nine months in pedro at the sacred grounds coffee house, doing improv jams. five minutes 'til go! time and eric leads us down to ig's room for the final get-ready time. we're told the gigs just a couple seats short of clean (sold-out), about six thousand peeps.
as soon as you're on stage you're visible so when I get at the foot of the stairs, ig hollers "let's fuckin' go!" and I'm straight up - best me first cuz I'm the furthest over and won't stumble into anyone. this bands gets going really fast, as soon as scotty's got his planted and ron's guitar fit on him by chris (being first up, I got my sitch set in secs), hihat hits click out "loose" and the gig is on. damn, it's a lot of folks to look at so I don't and instead focus on the igster as he dances, careens and sings his heart out. compared to the last two gigs, both of those up in scandinavia, it's night and day w/the blood temperature - these folks are going off 'pert-near as much as iggy. well, that's exaggeration on my part just cuz of the contrast, not that the nordics aren't as good but maybe just a little more shy. no one goes off as much as iggy and he's a blast. boom boom boom into "down on the streets" and he's now got the real o-mind, leaping off my amps (after big time humping their tops) and wringing my neck and shoulders some during ron's guitar soar. maybe it was a little fill I played there on my knees, maybe it's what he calls "business" - an antic to pick up some action on stage. he tells the folks we're the fucking god damn piece of shit stooges and we're glad to be here (we are) and we're into "1969" while over his shoulder (I got my eyes glued on him) I she a lady on someone elses shoulders w/the shirt off. back to iggy goes the ojos. it's cool scotty's giving me ojos tonight too instead of just head-down, it's helps a weak-assed no confidence scardy-cat like me big time. "I wanna be your dog" up next and iggy follows up a stage dive in gutar solo time w/another one 'pert-near right after, it's incredible. the mic stand comes down on eric's head as he fishes ig out of the crowd, he must've got a knot out of that one - ouch. there's some attempts by some guys to get on the stage but it's not time yet for that so security gets a little cowboy - fuck, do I hate that. if I had the nerve, maybe I'd hit them w/my bass to illustrate my opinion of them being assholes but for someone like me, that's probably not a very good idea so instead I throw scowls from the face. iggy works up some tension before lifting us off into "tv eye" and I'm put in quite a state, dervish-like ecstatic big time in the head. all rushes into one inside up there and I'm given to visions, it's a total trip on me. there's a beautiful form, it glistens and torques w/the riff - I feel the little bass wanna wriggle right from me w/its own life and hold on to her for dear life... the sounds, lights all whirl up inside me and I'm 'pert-near lost in the torrent so I get in front of ron's amps and soak up his solos on my knees, scotty's left hand freight-training me headlong into mindblow land, totally o-mind. it's beyond me how I wasn't taken (hell, I was all the way took) right off the tracks and tumbled totally but I cling to somehow and keep w/my guys on the tune. it was ojos like a gata, that's what what my inside eyes seen and they were radiant, pouring down into and right through me... manji yabai. I have some seconds to try a comprehend this while iggy introduces "dirt" but it's too huge for me to gather and I must relent or get lost in that sea... scotty backward-surfs after his floor tom roll-in and brings in that great dave alexander lick I get to do and ig sings pure soul w/some of the best words ever. now it's dance time - get on board, paris cuz here's "real cool time" and it's your time. the stage fills quick and the dancing by these folks is passion-pushed big time, night and day compared to the last two gigs... either warmer blood or more having their fear stomped, whatever. I step in front of security jocks who attempt to get heavy w/my back to them, there's no need for any of that is what I'm trying to imply and the folks do their hopping-wild jigs all about me, I'm so happy for them cuz their feelings are much infectious on me. same w/"no fun" - of course alexander from moscow was one of the first ones up onstage and now he's singing the words right in my face w/all the life a boy could have packed into an experience of release like he's got, it's wild to witness and yet still be a part of cuz we seem to be inciting each other like a mirror put in front of another mirror resulting in reflections thrown infinitely. intros for us from iggy to preface "1970" - his "from san pedro, california... the minuteman..." gets big cheers from the french folks and a big bow from me - he is very kind to do that, much respect to iggy. ramming speed for the band boat right after he tells the crowd "I'm iggy and I want everybody to fuck me" very intently and we're in some serious maelstrom. as steve comes out w/his tenor, I work my way stage port and welcome him aboard - he played great at prac yesterday (ron was mighty impressed) and he's delivering big time here now - "blow, steve!" iggy hollers a hail. he then signals scotty to bubble it down - maybe it's the only tune we got in the set that doesn't close w/a pop and it's melds into "mindroom" time, ron floating harmonics off of ig's reflection-spiel (I always mean "spiel" in the yiddish sense, never the deutch one) before he cues me w/a verbal "fun house!" to get me underway w/that very tune... twirls, honks, riffage, fillage and bassage all exploding/dancing from it's heartbeat solar system center, swirling stararms starcast outward beyonder. fucking crazy. my lid is off. last time I was on this stage, my john coltrane pin got lost but a look-see at the one I have now shows it's still there, even as I do some of my own version of fuck-the-amp (but unlike ig, from the front instead of the top) as we freak out to "l.a. blues" - I try to xfer some of my internal shake into the little bass too. no pain in the hurt tendon, I think adrenaline's over-ridden any of that (for now) and I'm on my knees too for some triads - two more teeth pulls on the high 'd' to boot when I stand up to make it three total for the night, that's how off I am in a way cuz at the same time I'm so much cemented in the moment w/these stoogemen. ig softboot slides across the stage from the wings after a full-bottle-of-water-over-the-head-pout as we roll out the "skull ring" in a strut thick w/caterpillar tread. "dead rock star" follows w/ig at the bow of the stage, kind of a relative calm that builds and builds in the coda - I try to whup it big time w/strums on lowest three strings, a fretted low 'a' and it's open-stringed equivalent plus the one on the 'd' string an octave up. it's not on the album that way (ron played the bass there besides the guitar) but ig said we needed some drama there so that's my contribution. now here is where blow my real clam of the night (there might've been some tiny ones in "loose" - some plucks that might've been a maybe cunt-hair iffy) but when scotty closes "...star" then starts hihat clicking in "not right" and instead of us jumping on the riff right on the next one, he flams first. well, I come in on the flam instead of letting that be the beat ahead. at least I wasn't out there all naked though, the flam masking up the clam some. other than that, I do the tune good and the band is smokin' but I know something's up w/scotty's hands... I know he can make it though. I now play this tune entirely on the biggest string, the low 'e' one and it's a lot more consistent, chugs good. we end on a close and then scotty flams me into "little doll" it's the first time I've touched any eq and I bring up the bottom a tiny bit. man, does the sound like ig says, "going back to africa." he's alos back into the crowd once his main singing parts are done. he gets back on board for some "heys" and then we close up at the "little doll I can't forget" line, leaving him to say "smokin' on a cigarette" and then scotty kicks into the double dog take on "...dog" - right to ig's instructions though he looks back a little surprised... the lights go off as the dream machine (jos has just wheeled it up front and center) goes on and iggy's sings right next to it, the light bulb in the center of it throwing off way enough light for him and for ron to play his guitar. it's pretty wild, I wonder what it looks like from the crowd. I got kind of an idea they dug it cuz soon as we're done, they're hollering like crazy to come back for more. ig sits in a chair spence has prepared and the bottom of the ramp and gives him beer as drinks and gurgles on it. like last gig, no verbals as what to do - he just heads for the stage so we follow (I look at eric and say maybe we're beyond the point of words now?) and it's time to really give "little electric chair" a go now that we did a bunch of prac on it yesterday. well, all those things iggy talked about and worked out w/me made great sense and the song is way WAY more together. steve too is playing up on his game, alright. ig's worked up some more on his scat than the "suck my dick" refrains in bergen but that was pretty funny, to think of it - he laughed good when I brought that up, it was just a "work it in them moment" deal and I understand... I'm still doing that w/the bass solo in this tune (sort of!), trying to pace right cuz it's like sixteen bars. "no jaco" though like ig says but he likes it up on the neck. I get it going pretty good but need maybe a little more drama to end it up and not find myself as painted into a corner - this is what I meant by having a little more to think on it. it's a trip I get to do it though and means much to me - big respect to my stooge brothers. we come off and get a crazy amount of hollering from the paris cats which goes on and on and on. however, we have no more tunes! so sorry. we can tell by the rush and the roars that igg's working them more w/out any band or singing, being a lightning rod for their emotions. much respect to the paris folks for being so generous for us and it's no wonder that even their government gave ig a medal. merci.
upstairs and into the chamber to get some moisture down. I check to see if my john coltrane button survived this gig - yep, it's still here. I pretty much know the spirit of the one I lost on this stage last time I played was here too cuz I felt I tapped into some of it along w/much fire from the moment. I know I bring a lot of headtrips w/me to the table and don't really mean to but it seems that's the way I am. hope these reflections don't seem too skewed for any value but I don't mean to imply they're much objective in any sort of an analysis way except maybe as some sort of a stumble-through inside me, that watt which is at same time trying to come to grips w/chimping it out in the first place. I join ron and scotty for some interview spiels and then we say hi to friends who came to the gig. rain is coming down as charles gets us back to the 'tel and that's when the adrenaline runs out on me and the soreness and muscle cramps come on. man, am I welcoming this deck to smother me w/hugs. I konk quick as I hug it back.
wednesday, may 10, 2006 - zurich, switzerland
tuesday we leave a rainy paris to from from de gaulle airport to zurich. I chimped diary before the two pm flight and at the airport have a tuna baguette stuffed w/poatato chips (for texture). it's raining in zurich too and our 'tel is also an intercontinental one but way more down the rung than the paris one. they want twentyfive euros from me to use the shvitz (sauna) though so that's why I'm not saying it's more econo! I shine that idea, fuck dropping that kind of money to service some burnward. I find a little store nearby and get beers econo. what's w/the mentality at these pads? to hell w/it.
it's the last gig day for this round and I pop early to hoof. I head towards the zurichzee which has some righteous swans swans swimming all about. lots of mallards too and these ducks w/red bills, trippy. the rain has subsided much from last night though everything's pretty soaked. the sun soon comes to dry things. there's lots of good stuff to take snaps of, especially in the old town part w/it's tiny streets and trippy stuff. I take the polybahn up and back from the univerysity, a little incline train than goes a few blocks. there's a "feast of color" exhibition at the kunsthaus zurich museum and that's pretty wild. kadinsky, picasso, braque, renoir, matisse, klee and all kinds of artists from this rich couple's collection that really got into color in the last hundred or so years are on display and they're righteous. wow, what a feast for the eyes! you know, the dada thing happened in this town during the first world war. there was a pad called the cabaret voltaire... damn, I wish I could find out more about what happened w/it... there was some dada stuff on postcards in the kunsthaus giftshop. I think punk had a lot of tradition in dada... I read about it much in my twenties, when I met raymond pettibon. it was a trippy movement, some kind of kinship maybe w/ours though it was like sixty years before. someone once, "the only thing new is you, finding out about it" - no shit! trippy...
two pm and I'm back to the 'tel to hose off. three and half bells finds me downstairs to join ron, scotty and steve for the soundcheck dash. I'm calling it that now cuz ron sure is making it that way, his mission is for us to get on over, play one or two songs w/either jos and/or chris singing and then blast back to the 'tel. this really cuts down on the stress and adds to the calm. most times I stay at the venue after soundcheck anyway so I'm only in on half of the dash-action as the walkin' boss fires off moves to keep us on the paces. this gig is downtown at a pad called x-tra, an upstairs deal that holds 1800 and by the sign taped up near the hatch outside, it's clean (sold-out). a run-through of "...dog" finds us like five or six over the 100 db city ordinance sound limit and that's w/the p.a. off (jos says the fine is equivalent to $10,000 u.s.) so we hike the sound lower and lower 'til ron says it's like him playing banjo. one verse of "no fun" confirms we can do it that tiny and 'pert-near quick he's hollering for scotty to get it going so they can bail back to the 'tel. I'm left w/the crew to check out around a hundred tons of chow that got the backroom stock w/and I'm not kidding - there's a like a one foot canole and at least twenty five-pound sugar sacks worth of pastries and cakes plus candies/chocolates on top of smoked mackerel, trout, pickled herring, salami, ham, turkey, five cheeses, fruits-fruits-fruits (everything from raspberries to like fifteen kiwis to a coulple entire pineapples) and salad stuffs - this all "finger food" or whatever cuz they ask for before and/or after entire meal plates! man, you'd have to roll me out of here on my side if I gave into any more than tiny partakes (and I scissor any "meal plate" requests)... it's incredible what they got edible for us. like that old song by the who: "much too much," huh?
smoking's only allowed in one room, a small chamber designated as "the stooges" dressing room and I find a half-size couch in there and though my legs way hang over, I konk there for a few hours. ron wakes me up when him and the rest of the guys get back about an hour before we're on. no opening act, just us at 8:15 pm. iggy's getting ready in the chamber next door. I got a t-shirt on that vinnie vegas gave me in pedro (yep, another one). this one's a jersey type that's white w/blue going down sleeves that reach to about the middle of the forearm and "the bananas" printed in red kind of small on the front. I thought the blue w/the white would go good here cuz the zurich town colors are such. I actually the band is from orange country but I'm learning that in this young punk scene we got in pedro, there's o.c. connects like w/kevin from killer dreamer (raul morales plays drums in that band), for example. the gas chamber and me and ron pacing around a puffin' steve mackay don't make for much room. steve can't get that "battle of new orleans" song out of his head, funny. last pace for this little stretch of gigs though and finally it's go time, alright.
henry brings up through the back, behind the drums and then we gotta come around to make the stage-port entrance. I'm glad I get to go first cuz my shit's the furthest over to the starboard. I run over and plug the little bass in, something's a little jerky w/scotty and ron meshing their drum and guitar parts for the intro to "loose" so I don't hit the big whole note 'e' on the second time around and fuck, maybe I'm a little flat w/the gliss after ig's "look out" - shit, I hope not but I gotta call 'em as I think I remember 'em (!) and anyway, we're underway and that's a good thing. the swiss cats and are pretty enthused as well. the stage sound pretty low for a stooge gig, bass sounding kind of puffy but like they used to say in vaudeville, you "work the room," right? yep. I adust the pickup balance for "down on the streets to get a little fore aggressive and pluck a hell lot harder though still keeping to the multifinger flipper thing so it don't get too point or "dink" about it. iggy's fantastic, even as it starts getting hot and sweaty quick - fucking real quick. ok then, some suzy homebake - ok w/me, like I ain't used to it! sure hope scotty's hands don't get tore up like last gig though, I very much feel for the stick brother. ig acutally says the name of the "very special number" tonight, "1969" and I notice he's got his belt on but he don't tuck it in - did I already talk about that this trip? anyway, I asked him about that and he said he's never tucked it in. what I'm wondering is how long will it be on, I don't know if the plan's to have the thing on the whole gig. hmm... the "fucking animal song" next, "I wanna be your dog" and his first stage dive for the night. the swiss cats are slowly getting more and more going, I mean it's not paris but then it's not like the two scandi gigs before that either. alright. "tv eye" is right out of a fucking canon, I can't believe how it grabs a hold and just plain shakes the entire shit out of me, crimony! I mean, I kind of let it but in a way I'm both pile-driven and toppled/electrocuted - I mean not as in hitting the deck but being able to offer any resistance to keeping me from becoming one huge rushing river flash flood. even w/the piddly sound levels cuz of the noise restrictions (making what ron calls his "banjo sound"), it's still a tornado going off in my head and blowing me out beyonder. no rap in the middle, like all these gigs this trip - seems ig just wants to get right to the "ram it!" parts and that's fine w/me. he does give a rap before the next tune, "dirt" and it's on the tip of maybe affluence might make you feel up but in someways it can still mean down. it's all a feel thing, just what I dig about stooges songs: the feel is real! ron extends his solo some and then breaks it off in a place I ain't suspecting but we're locked in and bring it back for ig to sing out the closer part. the band is playing tight - even when we clam, we get it right back together quick. "real cool time" and "no fun" brings on dance time for folks from the pit and what was kind of a slow start for the swiss peeps has now turned into some frenzy (iggy's whipped them up good), intense dancing and no just stand around is going down now. a couple folks grab me by the ears and kiss the top of my head, that's nice. I have yet to be assaulted during these parts, everyone is very considerate and at the same time getting way into it. alright. ig makes the introductions and brings on "1970" so we charge hard w/it, letting it fly. "I feel alright!" yeah, I stand in front of steve as he makes his entrance and roar him on but being careful not to roar into his ear cuz I get to hollerin' a little out of hand sometimes (sometimes?!). we bubble the coda down and steve gets his intro from ig and we segue into the "mindroom" duet w/iggy and ron. "yeah yeah, I took a trip into the mindroom to see what I could find," ig sings. then w/a short sharp "fun house" from him, I push out that song's intro and the room grinds up into that monster groove. whoa. I hope it ain't getting too loud w/the bass, especially w/the noise limit imposed. it happened at our last swiss gig, the luzern though I think the promoter had to pay the fine and not the band. I know I pluck harder in front of people than at soundcheck. it's some great dancing by iggy, wow. the band is cooking, we boil up some go-off for "l.a. blues" and then ride the "skull ring" choo-choo right into zurichtown. not a lot of air in here and it looks like hardly of any of that is getting down ig's lungs - he gives a spiel to set up "dead rock star" and does the first part in kind of a sitdown on a monitor up front. did I hit on the flam intro to "not right" maybe? fucking baka watt, mixed up silly. we ride it right though, heat pounding on scotty, I know but he's hanging tough. viva scotty-san. he flams me in for "little doll" and this is one part I move up some bottom - again hoping it ain't a bogart and start thinking, "maybe I should let the rikster do this if he feels it needs it." shit, I do things sometimes and then wonder why I did them, like the moment siezes me by the throat and I'm helpless to do anything but mindlessly react. maybe I gotta learn to somehow relax - I know there's a part of me that thinks that's crazy. I guess I gotta accept the dice rolls - that's what they seem like, these "incidents" (both the event and time based kind). maybe there fouled-upness too in the remembering, why not? if I fuck up in the moment, why not a fuck up too in the recounting of it? one more dog left, thank god for the stooges. that's some draino in the plugged up headpipe. our set's done but the swiss cats are really worked up, really worked up ('pert-near like a french crowd) and we give them the "little electric chair" review w/all our little solos. mabye I do a little better but I gotta work on it more - sixteen bars worth, watt! at least set up a box to frame it. ron was telling me about quoting his lick some and that makes sense. anyway, we finish up and the audience keeps hollering - we hear it big time backstage but we're done though truly, we are grateful. there's so much chow back here, I try that wine w/cheese thing, ig's flowed stuff he tells me is a bordeaux and whoa... yeah, let me leave it at that: whoa. iggy's in great spirits and so is ron, congratulating steve on some more good playing. scotty's hands got blisters that have busted open and are bleeding big time, damn. I feel bad for him cuz I know they hurt. finally time for us to bust out be before we bail, ig tells steve "I got an idea for the soprano sax" in regards maybe to something on the upcoming recording. whoa, I think: coltrane.
two flights to get me back pedro next day are zurich to dulles in washingtn dc and dulles paris to lax (united airlines ones). somehow I endure - of course I endure, it's the chance of a lifetime - a dream come true - for fucking baka watt to get to play w/the stooges. shit, they could stick a kite tail to me and fly me tethered by the ankle the rudder of an open-cockpit biplane for all that matters. I clear customs in dc and then officer there asks me why isn't holland on my "list of countries visited" place on my customs declaration and I tell him it's cuz I didn't visit there but then I catch his drift (he'd earlier asked why I was overseas and told him it was to work bass) and tell him "I am a bass player and not a transporter. I wouldn't do anything to jeopardize that." he laughs, older customs guys are like that but it's true: I am not a transporter and won't ever be. it's kind of neat to clear customs in the east part of the u.s. cuz that way I get can get right off the plane in so cal and so I get to this time. my sister melinda gets me and I say fuck it, I pedal tomorrow morning early for the boat (my ford econoline van) at paul and helen's pad. can't wait to pedal again and I'm just too konked to be safe w/driving maybe anyway. what the hell, melinda lives in pedro too so we both go back together. back to my own deck, my own tub... I can dig it but that was a great sally forth w/the stooge crew, hell yeah!
friday, june 2, 2006 - saint laurent de cuves, france
last night I got on a flight from jfk airport in nyc for paris after spending three full days w/my ma there. she's seventy years old and the last time she was there was when she was like four and took a train from where she lived in wyoming (dines, a coal town twentythree miles from rock springs that was abandoned when the coal ran out and is only a tiny bit of ruins now) w/her ma to brooklyn to see her sicilian grandma. actually, we got into town sunday and she left for pedro yesterday morning (she had to get back for work - she's a secretary in the juvenile d.a.'s office in downtown l.a.) but we had three full days and I tried to both let her see as much as possible and not hurt her feet from all the hoofing. she really dug it. I can't remember when I've spent as much time w/my ma except maybe when I was a little one - I'm her first born and only son plus I've never really been on a trip w/just her. it was trippy! early monday (it was memorial day) I took on the liberty island and ellis island cruise. it was intense to go where her people came from italy (a couple of years ago at the ellisisland.org web site, I found the manifest w/carlo and guistina piaia on it and even a picture of the boat they were on) and have her sit it the great hall, where they must've been... one room had enlarged reprints of parts of old newspapers run by immigrant communities on the wall and wouldn't you know it, there was one called "vita nuova" (new life) from rock springs, wyoming - whoa! we then chowed on mulberry street in little italy after me showing her the wall street area and trinity church (the new york stock exchange really surprised her from the images she had in her mind of these places - that's why I always recommend to people to check pads out first hand, there's nothing like the actual physical perspective being eyewitnessed). it just so happened to be both my pop's birthday (he's been dead fifteen years now, killed by cancer) and fleet week so sailors were walking all around. a group of machinist mates walked by - that's what my pop was, they worked the engine rooms - and we talked much about him while eating the greatest chow. more of the trip included the metropolitan museum of art, the guggenheim, a broadway play my sister marilyn picked for us called "three days of rain" after a great chow at sardi's, tripping on the bright lights of time's square, chowing at katz's in the lower east side, riding the subways, yellow cabs, a circle line cruise around the whole island of manhattan, even a horse-drawn carriage ride in central park plus yuka honda showing us the green tea ceremony and chowing us at a great noodle pad in chinatown. it was pretty wild for both of us. ha, life is a trip - I would've never imagined doing something like this when I was younger but then I love my ma and it's a little something I could do for her.
after arriving at charles de gaulle airport at ten am, I met stooges helperman chris who had missed his flight the day before (that's when the whole stooge crew got in) and so me and had a car take us on a two hour drive to the cabourg on the normandy coast. cabourg is a little tourist berg w/this big old pad called le grand hotel where marcel proust had stayed from 1907 to 1914. I konked on the seven hour plane ride but had to konk some more on arrival. at eight bells, we meet in the lobby and make the hour and a half trip to where the gig (the papillons de nuit festival) is in saint laurent de cuves. I konk on that ride too - my trip my ma had incurred some sleep debt on me, huh? a police escort is needed to get our minivan through the crowd and man do we have to race to keep up w/them! we're taken back stage and the dressing rooms are old airstream camper trailers from the u.s., what a trip. we meet gig boss alain, a cat that's done all of french gigs and it's great to see him again. even though the sun is still out bright, it's kind of chilly as we get it together for show time. I'm wearing a t-shirt renny gave me in pedro that's brown and says "pedro dog" on the front. all the guys tell me it's neat I took my ma on that trip (oh yeah, "the sand pebbles" was even on in the 'tel, steve mcqueen going "why? I was almost home" at the end - so sad) and I'm so glad to see them all again too. I shake my body big time to wring out the cramps from the plane ride and get loose for stooge time.
10:45 pm and it's time for that first down beat so we get taken up to the back of the stage. ig hollers "let's go" cuz there's no place to stand in the wings so we run out from the dirt. what a trip to just wail on the these tunes w/no prac but I'm sure they're ingrained in us much now. "loose" is the opening blast, of course. I adjusted nothing on my amp and maybe just put a little more upper mid to my little bass' onboard eq and things are sounding remarkably good, helperman jos did a great job setting up the onstage sound in just minutes before we came on. right off the bat, iggy's clocked w/a beer but at least it's in a plastic cup. I gotta watch the wet on the deck so I don't slip. I'm consciously trying to somehow be somewhat relaxed while trying to go off (!) for this gig. I have things in my mind and I'm trying to play my heart out but a few weeks ago I was turned on to this character from japan called "rilakkuma" who's name translates to relax bear, he's my latest hero. at least regarding how I perceive him and how is influence can help me. sometimes I'm such a tangle of stress and I guess this cat's mission is to take it as easy as possible. it's like a salt or pepper on a meal for me cuz of course I just gotta stay driven. it's the way I keep driven that I'm working on. what's wrong w/a little rilakkuma to teach me something, huh? things on stage are a little bit shakey except for maybe the asheton brothers who are charging strong and hard. I ain't clamming though, I'm glad to say. I could use some more snare in the monitor so I ask jos for some as we go into "down on the streets" - the french cats are dancing up a storm, a big dirt one cuz where there at. we're outside and there's a grass hill but at the bottom of it, in front of the stage, there's not much turf. the coldness we were feeling before gig time is now gone and my "pedro dog" shirt is starting to sweat up. roadboss eric sent me a link to gossip site called buddyhead where someone wrote that if I'm in the stooges then why are my t-shirts tucked in? well, that's the way I do it until told different. I hope they don't think it's disrespect for dave alexander cuz I that's the furthest thing I'm trying to imply - I hold him in high regard and think of him every gig, "how would dave play it?" I tell myself to try and check what weird trips I might be laying on the bass - sort of like w/rilakkuma. I dearly am playing my heart out though and trying to give these guys everything I got, I truly believe that's what I sincerely owe them. I notice ig's not wearing the belt he's had on the last few gigs, hmm... "1969" is next and smokin' big time. man, scotty's slammin' good. iggy goes stage port and almost down to the crowd but not yet... he's dancing up a storm on the deck and shoes are starting to fly up at us. the name of this festival translates to "butterflies of the night" but it's more like other stuff doing the flying our way. scotty's hit in the shoulder w/a banana peel and it bounces off and lands on his kick drum, he'll probably have to look at that all night! he kicks us into "I wanna be your dog" and dust clouds come up from the folks big time cuz of the dancing. man, do french cats have warm blood for the stooges... I can dig it! guitar solo time and here's a stage dive proper for ig into the sea of peeps. soon eric and jos are helping to fish him out. it's a little rough for iggy singing these first few songs, just a little bit. he singing really drives me - hell, this whole band does but I'm always listening really close to his singing and have him loud in my monitors every gig cuz I think it's righteous and very inspiring. "llllllloooooooorrrrrdddd!!!" goes ig and we're into "tv eye" and I shake myself silly, working my way more into dervish mode but still w/rilakkuma somehow still in my mind, it's quite a trip about that. on my knees for ron's guitar solo w/my head in the speakers of his amp... holy mackerel that sounds good! pop tart cues for scotty on the "ram it!" parts which ig brings in pretty quick and the band is tight all the way even w/the band last playing together twentythree days ago - and w/out a prac or even soundcheck in between. that's a trip. ron chords in the intro to "real cool time" and I pull in front of scotty to make sure I get in right. iggy's still getting his sea legs a little bit w/the word flow but it's probably something only he notices and I'm just kind of picking up on it. he finishes the verses and then gets up into the folks, extolling them to "break up this fake shit" and get up on stage to dance w/us. they work up into it - first one, then there's two and all of the sudden the whole stage is filled w/hopping, leaping and dancing young french men - maybe only one woman among them. it's pretty wild, I think he got what he was asking for! we end the tune on his cue and he hollers "keep going, no fun! no fun!" and scotty drums us into that one. ig lets lots of the guys sing some of the words, he's mobbed by them big time. hard to think of rilakkuma now but I'm having a blast. I see tourboss henry in front of scotty's drum riser, guarding that cuz it's pretty kinetic. not one spectator w/the stooge crew! we get to the guitar solo part and I throw a little of the same (just a little, not too much) in w/the bass - one cat points at a spot upstage for me to go to but that'd be too hambone, I'm thinking so stay in the stomp throng. we finish up and I get a huge hug bug a tall man who's saying something to me - I could almost swear it was in italian. I thank him w/hugging him back just as a hard and then a deep bow. iggy introduces the band - ron getting the loudest roar but ig leaves himself out which is kind of different. "1970" bolts out of the gate and we lay it down - lots of shoes flying up at the stage now... even a huge sausage baguette sandwich comes sailing towards iggy but misses him - the look on jos' face is pretty sourass as he picks it up w/just thumb and finger to remove it from the deck. steve makes his entrance w/tenor in hand as the tune closes, getting an intro from ig as "mindroom" melds in. I've been checking tuning every chance I get and I notice my outfit's pretty well sweated out, alright. there's something therapeutic about that, much respect to rilakkuma. ig hollers "fun house" and it's my only intro of the set (we worked out a flam from scotty to start "little doll"). for the first time of the night, I really look out into the crowd and see them in a mad dirt stomp of stormdance, whoa! I pretty keep to my side of the stage for this one cuz right before the set ron told me I stole ig's "blow, steve!" line by mouthing it right in steve's face just before he was going to do the same on the mic. baka watt, I do the stupidest mindless shit. "l.a. blues" sprawls and scrawls itself out... I do my own version of hump the bass amp - from the front instead of on top like ig does in "...street." ha, what a bozo I am. I put the headstock of the little bass against one of the cabinets (as usual, I've got two svt-II amps and cabs) and the feedback is pretty intense 'til scotty hihats us into "skull ring" w/iggy leaping back to join us after frankenstin straight-legging it off stage from the last tune. since this tune's got a good chug and ig wants us to play up its strut, I try and swing my shoulders one at a time left and right, rockin' like kaori but I ain't got but maybe ten percent of the grace - so goes it w/someone who's a total dork. I have to laugh out loud to myself (that reads funny, huh?) and so I do. the main point is to play it good for the stooges and I try my hardest. yeah, I'm kind of relaxed even. we go into "dead rock star" and ig sings it really good. I haven't been able to hear any of steve and his sax, damn. this stage isn't that big compared to a lot of outdoor ones we've been on but still, steve's miming it from where I'm playing. I blow my first big clam of the night, coming in on scotty's flam for "not right" instead of right after - ahh, baka watt. the rest of the tune goes good though, ig 'pert-near conducting the coda w/his hands, alright! I've been doing "little doll" w/my original secondmen guys and I'm caught in a little mindwarp as we start it up (cuz of the way the secondmen drummer jer does it, I accent a bit different) which is so fucking stupid of me - w/stooges, you gotta be sure shot w/what you got and not tepid or you're very much the weak link. I do find my footing quick though and maybe it was ok from the get-go, hard to tell. all I can remember now is iggy yelling "let's go back to africa" and scotty slamming us in. the tune grooves real smooth though and we do good, prepping things up for the "double dog" closer (a reprise of "I wanna be your dog"). there's a real intense moment where ig turns towards us and more than conducts - he invokes maximum stooge power and all five us combine into one huge torrent. you can see ig channel it up big time within him and the vision of it for me is profound. damn. a tumble-down finish w/ig hitting the deck before us but I read scotty good and nail his last sock w/him and then we're off - my arm around his shoulders as he gets off the riser. I then crouch down at the foot of ig and he waters down before telling us "let's do it" to give the french cats one more - they're out there hollering big time. we do our new version of "little electric chair" and I blow my second big clam, I start in 'a' instead of 'd' - what the fuck is that all about? it was only a fraction of a second but crimony, "get it together, watt!" I admonish w/in me. I'm not too good w/my bass solo but at least it ain't chowder. I can tell steve's not soloing where he should when it's his turn cuz ig points it out to him and then he's into an abbreviated pull but still, the tune has a good run and our shift on stage is completed.
back into the minivan for the tiny ride back to airstream trailerland - ron's calling for steve so we can shove off... he's delayed cuz his stooge jacket appears to have made a donate, damn. back in the trailer however, roadboss eric shows up soon after w/it in hand, alright and steve's happy (as I am for him). my levi's soaked to above the knee w/my pedro dog sopping but that gets yanked and replaced by ubiquitous blue plaid wrangler one, john coltrane pin transfering from being pinned to wet to dry. I thank both scott and run for playing as great as they did and wonder what ig thought - I'm always thinking about how they thought things went after even if I played my heart out and think the clams were few, it's too self-important (I think) to assume I can know how the gig went for everyone... scottie really dug his monitor sound and not having the heat get too intense so he said that lent itself to him having a good time w/the gig. ron said he had fun though he thinks he likes the two pickup guitar more than the three job one cuz of a little less mid that he thinks thins his sound out some. I thought they both fucking wailed and really REALLY dug it. I wonder what ig thinks? roadboss eric comes aboard and asks us why "fun house" was sound kind of like "clam house" and I'm puzzled cuz I thought it cooked. see what I mean about assuming? you gotta let people live w/their opinions and try to learn what you can. tourboss henry comes aboard w/a glass of wine for me from iggy, alright. I feel a tiny bit less insecure now though I won't let my head puff up too much. eric goes onto explain his thoughts... he gives me a bottle opener shaped like a clef ("key" in french - the first foreign words I learned in a land in early tours was always "key" as in "I gotta get in the boat") so I can be a "holder of the opener" and not have to be beholden. there's discussion of tenor sax and sourass issues for the gig but steve's real good natured about it and not defensive. changed out of stagewear, iggy joins us in our trailer - righteous. now time for a proper debriefing. ig says he looked down in the pit like four times to see eric doing the snap-snap w/his digicamera and was wondering "doesn't he have something he can do?" but eric had to get shots for this shure mic thing they're working on. ig dug the gig and we discuss some nuts and bolts stuff. I ask him what kind of wine was that and he goes "the kind that goes in your glass" and pours some more - in my glass! it sure is good, the only time I've ever had wines like I do after stooges gigs is back in the porno for pyros days ten years ago, a little bit before each gig from perry. I suddenly remember at one point during the gig that I heard ig dedicate one song to someone and ask him who it was. he says it's this cat michel houellebecq who wrote a book he's now reading called "the possibility of an island" set in the future where a cult of health fanatics clone themelves so they can be reborn to live each shift from eighteen to fifty so they can be spared having to be both kid and fogey over and over and subsequent versions of this one "daniel" provide commentary on how they've "progeressed" - what they've lost in the emotion department. I tell him about the murakami book I'm almost done w/and ask him do male japanese writers have a trip about their dicks and he says yeah and tells me I should check out mishima, explaining his endgame which was some kind of military academy takeover and then harikari when he realized japan wouldn't go for a hard-right trip. I remember something about that when I was a teenager. I'll check out mishima, I know 'pert-near nothing and ig's always giving me good tips. the whole trailer's in real good spirits and talk goes to the recording coming up. I'm all ears... my only questions were that book stuff and what happened w/ig's belt - ig says he was surprised to see it missing too! as for the uprecording, I make only comment - the same one I've been repeating over and over: "I'm really excited about the music!" it's very much true and I owe these guys my best notes ever. I love it w/all five of us together and we're lit good from a happening gig, there's nothing like it. no cramps in my muscles either, not that even that would dampen my lifted-up spirit now. I can feel my smile 'pert-near wrap clear around my head as I listen and listen it up. knobman slick rik comes aboard w/his gig verdict of "job well done" - thank you, rikster. he's got the best spot to hear us from and he's also the tranny for this motor - he gets it to the people. tourboss henry's word is very respected from me too - if I spaced on talking about that, I'm a fucking idiot (sorry, hen) but he said some shakiness he heard early wore off to a firm grasp and worked the set good. alright! I'm getting into this "post-gig" reportage cuz I hear the craziest ideas from some people of what goes down when us stooges finish playing. I'm telling it as it is for you hear now. scotty shovels some taboulie. ig even puts up w/our cigarettes. I'm all ears, eyes.
henry hollers to saddle up and we pile in the minivans for the longway home. it's steve, scotty, ron and myself in one of them and though I got a piss bottle ready, I never use though ron has us stop cuz of reluctance to use one and there's chow at this gas station we use - I chow a "thon" (tuna) one w/chips shoved in it for texture. usually I don't chow much after gigs, better for my gut but this is like an hour and half of rolling and I'm sure glad steve's up front and spieling w/the driver cuz maybe that cat is getting a little tired? I feel swerves, even tiny and slight ones pretty easy. it is a shorter hop getting back then what we did going and here's le grand hotel cabourg soon enough. alright, up the stairs (I still haven't used the 'vator once) and into my chambre. I'm still lit from the gig. I get on the deck w/my blankie and put have the ipod sound into my head, new IF BY YES which is a mindblow on me and I loop it over and over w/eyeballs swallowing book words to finish the murakami. fuck it, I gotta chimp and splatter out some of my own word froth. what a scene I must appeared cuz I popped up hours later to find myself so tangled up in machinery w/their batteries all played, letter "y" on the 'puter screen like yyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy (ad infinitum).
thursday, june 8, 2006 - tempere, finland
four days at le grand hotel cabourg on the normandie coast of france for us. free trough in the morning so that's the big daily shovel for me, mostly my only big chow. I spend lots of time w/scotty as usual and try and soak up all I can. the first night off it's both him and brother ron learning me all night in his chambre, me looking up from the deck (I'm mostly prone there) and making myself most absorbent. I love the asheton brothers, truly. the next day I tried to get eric's 'puter (he's paid for a week's access but I'm too econo) to talk to a router and share his wifi but am stymied and have to web connect. so be it. I get out a few vital messages through his machine and accept I'm out of touch and then chimp up diary. I spend a day hoofing the tiny town that looks kind of like "the prisoner" village and the sea shore it's next to and another day pedaling a ten-euro-for-the-day bike all the way to houlgate, passing through port guilliam which - what a trip - this is where william the conqueror put together the fleet he used to get to and take england. ten foot low tides leave the boats on their hulls on the green moss deck 'til floated by an incoming high one. the weather is sunny cali-like w/not much humidity as I follow a pretty hill-less coast-hugger pedal. lots of the old buildings in two-toned brick and limestone w/high pointy roofing that's 'pert-near german style, like in cobourg. I see little sail-powered cars on the surf plus folks horseback in the surf along w/some sulkies, like I've seen in harness race carriages back home. there's a gass powered para-sail craft but I only get to watch that parked. I pedal my brains out, going back and passing the town to check out the other direction but not as far. funny, it's a girly bike, w/a low bar but fuck it - I had fun. I took scotty down cobourg's little main street for some econo chow (a kebab) and a chance for him to get his daughter and liz some stuff. I never did venture into the water but cuz of a really long shallow shore, the waves looked pretty small though there were lots in each set. I wish I could've found a kayak to rent! w/us facing west (toward pedro!), the sunsets were righteous. the final full day in town had me join henry, eric, helperman chris (only seen him at the gig besides the ride from the airport! that's a trip... I guess knobman rik went back home to edinburgh and jos w/his lady francois heading for belgium after she gave me this bag of really good chocolate and eatables from there), steve and ron for an all-dayer at the d-day beaches and wouldn't you know it but it was june sixth, the 62nd anniversary of that "gig" or whatever. I was so excited for ron - me and d. boon had been to a lot of battlefield stuff on tour in our minutemen days, especially u.s. civil war and revolution ones. there were lots of guys dressed up in costumes of the day and driving jeeps and trucks around... we started in the first town libertated, saint marie but even w/nine hours, only made it through utah and omaha beaches. on the omaha beach, out there by the surf w/just me and ron... man, there was a tangled mess in my head - I have to confess it got heavy on me, especially soon later after hoofing around all the craters on the pont du hoc. it made me feel like watching knee surgery (I have fucked-up knees) and I really wanted to play my bass. it wasn't just girly-looking mannequins in museums w/uniforms that looked rougher/cruder than any hollywood version and all the tinpot badges in display cases (later when at the airport for the next gig, the was construciton w/a model airplane glue smell in the air and I thought of building models w/ d. boon when we were boys and man, we sure we're boys - before I met him when I was even younger my ma and aunt got me dragster race car models to build to help me w/being so uncoordinated)... I have to blurt on now "fuck this war shit" cuz I just do. it was ok for me to come here to know that. I wasn't there though. it's hard to explain cuz it sounds so abstract, I realize that. it's all kinds of things running through me... there was one mannequin w/a first class machinst mate suit on like steve mcqueen in "the sand pebbles" but it was winter wool instead of summer whites. a word from the last line in that flick: "why?" there was a scene w/the mannequins in that nazi headquarters in saint marie, some private playing the piano w/a couple of soldiers standing there and singing along. ron said some of the parts of the uniforms didn't go together, the dudes making up that scene fucked up. will we ever get it right? something will always be lame, like the wrong fold on a collar. those who know will know but us others will hope we can believe. the scene w/the vichy collaborator (he even had his own version of a death's head badge) was interesting. the zyklon b giftgas shit freaked me out as did the prison camp uniforms, dressed on faceless black mannequins. to get caught up in the huge crazy shit. or get rolled by it. man, I wish I could ask d. boon about this stuff bothering me. he might've gone like "fuck this war shit by learning something about it" maybe... I think so much about wondering how he'd put it and really can't pretend to know. all this shit's just got me thinking so much, period. 'pert-near the 'tel as we get back to cabourg, I have eric briefly pause the boat so I can jump out and get my second (first was on the second day here) "french hot dog" at a pad that had "americains frites" (american fries) painted out on its front. their version is a baguette cut open and flattened w/a melted fromage (cheese) bed under a thick dog and a half (cuz of the baguette's length). up rapping w/scotty later in his chambre, he gets some fresh oysters that are kind of slim but still happening to suck from the shell, especially w/the habanero chili. I have much good times shooting the shit w/scotty and tonight's no different. I get eventually get on his deck and sprawl around while we discuss 'pert-near everything we think of 'til I'm tuckered and bail to my chambre to konk. I have a tiny bit more thinking on the way to sleepytown about that war shit earlier today which now that I thinking about that (thoughts about those thoughts) it is truly trippy cuz when I think of france, I usually think of romance. that war shit is not romantic though it seems somebody is always trying make it that way.
we bailed from france wednesday w/a crack of dawn flight to copenhagen after a two hour ride back to de gaulle airport near paris. what a hat dance drive that was when traffic closed up - why don't people get into maintaining a cushion of space so they ain't hogtied to the bumper in front of them, fucking at least just looking down the road and go easy on the brakes and accelerator as the sitch demands? that's right, they can't feel it cuz they're holding the steering wheel while us w/out get totally tossed. I hate to sound critical and am sorry for blurting out in a way cuz I really like our driver, a good cat - I think his son is driving ig. I hope I learn to get better w/my own driving so maybe this in a way will help me as long as I don't stoop to any hypocrite shit. we take a two hour sas flight to copenhagen and then another two hour one on blue 1 from there to tampere in finland (about a hundred miles northwest of helsinki) around four pm (time is one hour ahead of paris so the gets pushed ahead). something like 200,000 people here and I guess logging's a big deal, seeing by what we flew over to get here. only like a ten minute drive from the tiny airport to the 'tel (I find out the finnish word for "thank you" from the driver: kiitos) and sure enough, we pass the rail yard and there's all kinds of logs getting trained. in fact, we're at the sokos hotel right across the river from a carboard mill. tempere is between two lakes (like madison in wisconsin) and there's damns on the that river connector to get energy from. after checking, I sally forth and forge for chow. I find a kebab place close and get one of those. these pads are usually run by turk cats cuz it's their chow but this is obviously a finnish interpretation by the way it's both made and who's serving it. it's still ok, not like ordering from taco bell and thinking you're getting mexican chow... or chili's (that horrible chain, not the righteous spice) which is what eric, ron and scotty get at a fake tex-mex pad inside the 'tel. scotty had me taste the salsa and it was half sugar, yech. glad I had my 'bab, not to get joy from the misfortune. indeed, it's real lame to find out the next day ron used a roll and a half of toilet paper on the incurred sickness he got from that pad.
the day of the gig started w/a free shovel prodvided by the 'tel, like in coberg. it's good chow including a "blood sausage" thing that's cooked three times and supplemented w/wheat and stuff so the bites expand in your mouth. there's salmon and herring too. I then go out to hoof the town w/camera on board, I find a drug store and get some ibuprofen cuz I'm out and my joints get can really sore - I use it sparingly cuz it blows out livers but it can help me when the aches crumble me up too much. the streets are cobblestone but really wide. I go north to a park on a hill. out front is some trippy statuary. I woman sitting up on top of three high columns w/a gold thread in her hands, a pumb hanging one end down. at ground level in front on one side is an old lady showing a young girl how to sew and the other side has an old man showing a boy how to pail some water or whatever. I ascend the hill behind these and there's a great view of the lake that's not next to where we're playing (the stage is next to what in finnish translates to "south lake"). this town has a tower like the space needle in seattle and there's amusement park there, next to a marina. there's a memorial up here where you look out over the lake and it's of a mother and her children in total sadness - a sinking ship ingraving and the date 1929 make me think there was some shipping disaster. it's impossible for me to make out finnish words. although they share lots of culture w/the other scandi countries (iceland, denmark, norway and sweden), their language is nowhere near those cats'. a very weird thing happens to me next. the crows here are not all black but have gray on their backs. back in pedro, I call out to my raven neighbors all the time when I'm pedaling and they answer back or acknowledge w/some flyby but here when I call out to two of these local ones, they call back but then start pecking really hard at the branches their roosting on and onese nearby, breaking some even w/the fierceness their pecks. damn. then they start swooping towards me, doing dives. fuck, I gotta get out of here and start to make my way through the trees. then these birds w/the trippiest song and maybe half the size of these crows, they're sort of like gray brown-speckled jays but w/no crest on their heads and making a sound 'pert-like an insect, a whirling-click type of deal. damn, is it trippy. well, they start going for the crows and and ram them w/their bodies, driving them off. they don't go for me, they're really angry at these crows and whirl-click up a storm as they roust them. much kiitos to them from me. I get down off that hill and out of that park quick. I head then west where the big old luthern church is and things are much calmer. I can't believe seeing a pair of mallards, male and female, just like I'd see while pedaling my pedro town. I mean, exactly - like a pair just flew all the miles in between (like I did!). there's a fountain w/statue babies dancing around the water spouts and the mallards do some swims in their besides waddles on the grass and around the tulips that circle us. such serenity after that crazy shit w/the crows, watt is relieved. I continue wandering and take lots of snaps. I can't hoof everywhere though or I'll get my knees too sore for the gig. if I would've went east of the 'tel, I would've run into the russian orthodox church w/onion domes that I see when I go to soundcheck. oh, I'm the only one in the band that goes to do it (everyone else gave a pass) so I jam w/helpermen chris on drums and jos on guitar/singing, pretty fucking stumblebum but it helps knobman rikster out. it's an outdoor stage lakeside in a place that translates to "south park" - I get the word from driverman pekka who was bummed on not getting to meet steve mackay cuz he's a sax player himself. he hips me to some finnish history. though they were in w/the germans in the second war (soviet russia attacked them in 1940 but did really bad w/the finns routing them big time), they were the only country on the losing side not to be occupied. the soviets let them have their thing if they ran the foreign policy so finland was never a warsaw pact-like satellite. he told me they had two lines of industry then: one to sell to the west and then second tier shit to sell to the soviets. they got rid of that line when the wall came down in berlin.
a little afte seven pm pekka comes to bring us stooges to the venue, five minutes away, I can dig that! I couldn't smell the cardboard factory elsewhere but I sure can here, yech. a band called the flaming sideburns is the opening act and there's a like an hour gap between them and us, lame. anyway, we're on at 8:35 pm. ron's really sick, he's having a bad time w/both a cold and food poisoning. damn, I feel for him but he's gonna soldier on. hey, there's el yucateca habanero sauce, like the last gig but the verde kind instead rojo (green vs red) - folks are finally catching on! there's cans of sardines and tuna too, alright. gig time comes and henry leads us up stage, ig hollers "let's go!" and we're on. I'm using a little more bridge pickup than neck tonight, trying for a tighter sound. "loose" storms us out and I'm a little bit stiff in the fingers cuz of some coldness but not too bad. I got a white t-shirt on that vinnie vegas gave me back in pedro w/a stencil of my new missingmen trio drummer raul's band killer dreamer. of course is augmented w/a john coltrane button (I gave pekka an extra one I found in my wack sack. starboard side (my side) has the drinking corral and that's pack w/a little more ground showing on the port (ron's side). my fingers loosen up for "down on the street" and I notice ig's got his belt on tonight - belt, boots and jeans... that's the ig's stage outfit. iggy eplains a little about "a very dirty but magic number" and we go into "1969" - the band is sounding really tight and iggy's pipes are strong plus there's good monitors on stage from the finnish cats, much respect to them. "I wanna be your dog" is next and when ron's solo comes around, ig crawls down into the moat in front of the stage instead of leaping... hmm. usually it's the old "javelin toss" technique he uses to launch himself. it rained earlier in the afternoon but we're full w/evening sun (I know that sounds crazy) and the chill I had is now getting sweated off, alright. "tv eye" blisters right off w/a much get-readied howl from iggy and slams way hard, the asheton brothers on fire and iggy the bow of the boat. down on my knees w/my head in his amp speakers for ron's guitar solo, it's really cooking and sets up a simmer for "dirt" real good. I can tell ig kind of makes his own mix between me and ron by positioning himself where things sound right for the tune we're doing instead of just planting himself in the center and expecting a monitor man to get it for him and I think that's way happening. "real cool time" now we're churning and chugging heavy. towards the end, ig asks for folks to come up dance and that they do, no security problems at all - I really dig that. no stand around - lots of high steps and leaping from the finnish cats as we then go straight into "no fun" - I get a kiss on the top of the head from a local, that was nice. we finish up and iggy passes the mic to folks in the front, asking them "what do you got to say?" and some young cat who looks like harry potter says "let us see your penis" so ig makes a move for it but holds off and says "I was expecting something a little more intellectual..." band intros before "1970" - I bow three times to iggy when he does mine and big fists in the air when he does each asheton brother then for him he yells "...and I'm some scumbag named iggy!" w/that, we're off. man, it's a blaze. steve makes his entrance at the end w/his sax - as we meld into "mindroom" is where he gets his intro and real quick up comes "fuh house" ("mindroom" has no set length and iggy plays it by ear) and I know tonight the band's intent on making roadboss eric happy w/this version cuz of his words about it last gig. I think it's a gas, iggy dancing it up really good and the band smokin' w/scotty moving the groove good. freak out follows w/"l.a. blues" and I get a little carried away, using the little bass as sandwich meat as me and the amps (two svt-II w/two 8x10 cabs as usual) become the bread and I knock the neck pickup down, getting it wedge and stuck in its channel so it's way far from the strings. this gives me a lot less thump for the next tune, "skull ring" but I gotta ride it out cuz there's no breaks for the bass in it. fucking baka watt. jos is right there to help after and I ask for a screwdriver which he gets me quick, I pry the pickup to where it should be. maybe I gotta stuff more foam rubber under it... we go into "dead rock star" and the harry potter kid is giving iggy the finger across the throat sign, like "cut this shit" but I can see most folks really digging it. I guess that young cat only wants tunes written way WAY before he was born. next is "not right" and after this is the number where we have real trouble, somewhere along the middle or something. actually, I couldn't tell much was wrong except find scotty not ending when I "pop tarted" to cue the finish but that's the problem... so what if I was right, counting out the parts - the point is to play w/the band and not count parts. I should've found where we were and got in w/that - actually, I did get in w/ig but it was the drums and guitar where I was not connecting. this is me thinking about it after cuz like I said, I didn't realize the trouble in the moment. the point is to be in the moment, idiot watt! not be a fucking counter! I don't know how many times I change w/the flow hearing iggy and I gotta be more like that w/ron and scotty. the fumbled finish results in some ANGRY eyes from ig to scotty and then a mic stand slam... shit. scotty flams in "little doll" and I ain't there for the first riff cuz I lost some nerve ("baka watt, don't be nervous!") but recover and get right w/him and we settle into a nice groove - whew, what a relief to recover like that but as we finish up w/our double "...dog" reprise, ron starts it off but scotty's on the other side coming in so they're both opposite of each other on the beat - I've never seen scotty so angry. I first get on w/scotty (I was on w/ron cuz me and him come in first) and then I go over to ron to show him where the one is for the 'g' chord and he's a champ about it and reads me like a book and where right in sync. whew. I can tell scotty's a little upset cuz he's giving me no ojos (eyes) but won't realize 'til later he's mad at me for blowing "not right" out of the water. I play as simple and as exact as I can, nothing extra - not one iota including both the intro and outro. scotty is flaming mad - slamming something over as he passes it and giving me a stay-away signal. this is the first time I've ever seen this cuz he's such a level man - it makes me feel like the fucking baka dumbfuck I am and I wanna kick my foot so far up my own yang but hold off on anything that'll make things worse - like peeping out even one word so I just crouch on my knees in front of iggy. I look up at ron and can tell the sickness is weighing heavy on him but he's still together and not giving the anger back and that's the smart move I think - let scotty vent some. ig says "let's see if we can do this right" and we're back on stage for "little electric chair" - I put my head in a good spirit cuz anything else would be piling up further any hells and just think inspiration things - music I love, people who rock it good, these brothers on stage here w/me and their timeless music. scotty four-snares us in and yes, I actually start in 'd' like I should. I go through the chords even w/out clam and into the chorus - ig cues me for the bass solo but I'm sure he's got sixteen bars of "woos!" to do so I hold off a little bit 'til he smiles big as if to say "yeah watt, you're supposed to hold off for sixteen bars of 'woos!' can you read me on that?" and shit yeah, absolutely iggy but if you wanted me to go then that's ok too cuz fuck being a counter - I wanna be a part of the band! my time comes and I moved to the front of the stage like he wants me to do and solo it up, probably my best take on this since we've first tried it this way but I know I can get it better, espeically coming out and handing it over to ig to do his turn at improvising some spiel, then from him to ron and further on to steve, ending w/sixteen bars of that "woo!" part. so, we finish strong - alright. much respect for the finnish folks for being so enthusiastic and into it. scotty's still angry though and slaps a cup of wooden coff stirrers to the deck (funny, the local beer here is a brand called "koff" and it's written big on red cans) in the dressing room. neither me or ron say anything and just let him cool off. he comes back to get some words off his chest and they do make good sense. we hear him out though I started to get a little defensive but then realized all I could be right about (if indeed I was right) was about counting and I fucking don't wanna be a counter, I wanna be part of the steel driving crew. I tell him I promise to try harder to do better next gig and I'm sorry. he's frustrated and pissed, it was bad sound from where he was sitting... he soon let's it pass though and becomes the old scotty again. iggy had come in before and talked to me and ron a bit about what he thinks happened but was very philosophical about it and it good spirits, glad we were done and in effect, did recover. when scotty rejoins us, he vents a little but not too angry now. ig tells us how he had a hard time w/no clocks in his 'tel room so right in the middle of his tai chi, all of the sudden it was time to get to the gig and he wasn't all stretched like he should be so it was a little tough that way. he said he also some asshole around three in the afternoon playing a bass and putting a bogart on any attempt at serenity and of course, that was me - the only stooge at soundcheck. I apologize to him and he's laughing big time, saying he understands. he talks about my upcoming trip to miami to get the bass parts nailed down for the upcoming album before joining ron and scott in ann arbor for a week of prac there. the vibe gets real good as the old stories start to flow, ones about a tour ig did w/scotty, fred smith and the sonic rendezvous guys in the late seventies. scotty's really back to old scotty now and it's great. steve talks about his new record w/radon after iggy said he heard some of it and really liked the steve parts. ig then tells us about a reality show he was offered but turned down, one where he'd "mentor" some put-together-band. we must spiel for over two hours. he tells me more about japan, saying we get to go there again when the record comes out, hopefully a full tour there. I tell him I'll trade him the houellebecq book for the james joyce "exiles" play book I just finished and he says it's a deal. even ron in his sickness is in good flow, the band is really happy to be the band and a team too... henry, eric, chris, rik and jos each have a turn via introductions by iggy - it's a real good scene here in this little box in a lot behind an outdoor stage in tempere, finland. alright.
there's supposed to be a chow at the 'tel but just w/the tiny ride pekka has to make to get us back finds me w/all the gig adrenaline gone and I get to my room to put down my sweaty outfit and I pause a sec on the deck and then find myself all of the sudden konked... I know this cuz the phone rang and I thought it was a dream but then henry's voice on the other end gives me a clue I'm wrong and the call's real. all I remember telling him is "sorry" and "ton of bricks" - shit, what a time to fade on fumes and run out of gas. aaarrrrgggghhhh.
I'm the last to leave the 'tel the next day and though I was up at four bells (am) and iggy was bailing w/eric (who's going to his in-laws people in estonia) at five, I somehow miss him. fucking baka watt. I do catch henry before he bails and luckily ig passed the houellebecq on to him to give to me so I'll mail him the joyce and some zatoichi movies when I get back to my pedro town. I thank henry for being such the righteous guy he is and I mean that so dearly. I haven't worked w/many manager types but he's the best just a person period. again, I could boot myself so hard for walking away from his bag at the copenhagen airport - a big conscious stab rips through on me for being such a fucking imbecile. seems that's how time's demarcated in a watt life: regretful retard moves linked by common oblivious baka thread of his own doing.... bending, blending - never ending. I go get pictures of that russian onion-domed church and get back in time to see the rest of the guys (steve left w/henry) off: scotty, ron (he wants d-day pictures!), chris, jos and rik. a festival driverman (oh yeah, I forgot to say what we played was part of the "sauna open air metal festival" - we all had many laughs on that concept after the gig too - they were really nice folks to work w/though) gets me around one pm and I'm taken to the tiny tampere airport to take a turboprop plane to helsinki. the plane's late so I'm a little worry but then I think of just letting go cuz what can I really do about it? rilakkuma comes immediately to mind and I meditate on him. I do make a couple of more bozo moves though (of course). I choose a seat right next to the prop and it scares the living shit on me (a little) spinning like that way close, like "what if that dealio flies off and buzzsaws through right here?" yeah then, what if? the other thing is I put my backpack up in the tiny overheads and I don't know, maybe the cabin pressure's different in these little planes cuz it pops the cap off my habanero castillo bottle in a side pouch and it empties the motherfucker all over my pack and an old man's jacket - I'm more sorry for his jacket than anything mine and besides, when I get the pack down, it's soaked big time and the runoff goes all over my stooges jacket, levis, hands, everything. there's a little bit of sting but I got good tolerance. I gotta run big time for the plane to paris though, an airbus 321 I gotta get a bus to after reaching the gate (trippy method but hey, I made it). the three hour flight has me by the window instead of the usual aisle which is a pain cuz I feel trapped in those seats but "fuck it, watt - let go" so I do. viva rilakkuma. I read some old paperback raymond pettibon gave me, a "historical novel" account on the life miguel cervantes (which we know 'pert-near nothing factual about) by bruno frank. this thing was written in the 30s and is pretty funny, maybe bruno was trying imbue some of the irony I remember in cervantes' "don quixote" like in another historical novel I read about shakespeare, one by anthony burgess. I'm not really a fan of those kind of books but man, do I find myself reading them. I have to confess to liking fiction cuz there I can almost count on reading some part of my life into it somehow and maybe getting some vauge clue on an insight or whatever. please know I don't believe there's any "instrucitons" in such stuff, only maybe "vauge clues" and fuck, they're probably of my own making. that's what I find magical about books!
anyway, I made it to paris but the little bass didn't - I find that out after I make the thirteen hour flight from paris to lax, another airbus but all three seats in my section are for me (meaning they're empty)... yeah! I get in late, like eleven bells at night so I have my sister melinda take me back to my pedro pad and I'll pedal come the crack of dawn on my bike to walteria to go bring the boat back home w/the bike in the back. as for my little bass: two days later the nice airfrance people had some cat drive it down to me so I didn't have to make a trip to the airport, merci!
this page created 14 jul 06