a word's-eye view from mike watt of the stooges doing their first full gigs of 2007
monday, march 5, 2007 - paris, france
saturday night I played in hollywood w/my new missingmen trio (tom watson on guitar and raul morales on drums) on a bill w/the nels cline singers and the doers from vancouver at safari sam's which is sam lanni's new club. he had a safari sam's in huntington beach during the 80s and I played there much so it was great to work for sam again, many hugs for him on stage. I also had nels come on and join us for the last three tunes, the first of those a cover of "fun house" w/the doers also on board. it was quit a blowout. I had to leave for the flight over here at five am so when I got home after playing, I was afraid to konk cuz maybe I wouldn't hear my sister melinda pounding on the hatch when she was coming to get me and haul me up to lax (the airport). I sweated it up much at the gig so I got in the tub for a soak and cuz my new pad is one of the fucking "medallion homes" w/heater coils in the roof and tiny-ass water heaters plus lots of other stuff to waste electricity (they were built in the 50s and 60s to help pay off building hoover dam), you only get a few inches worth of hot water so I would let out some and then add w/hot as it got heated and that kept me from konking. I know, weird but it worked. melinda brought me to the airport and I checked into northwest for the first part of my journey, a flight to detroit. on my ipod I had the tunes from a traditional okinawa songs cd I've been immersing myself in playing non-stop. it's really trippy stuff, something I've never really been exposed to before but I'm trying to learn as much as I can from it even though there's no bass! that's good though cuz it leaves room for my brain to explore that role w/out a net. I'm part of a proj called funanori ("sailor" in japanese) where I'm putting bass to a okinawa version of the shamisen (kind of a three string banjo from japan) called the sanshin. it's probably the most exotic thing I've ever tried w/music but it's exciting for me and makes feel like a boy again, just learning. good for watt to try and re-invent part of himself in middle age and not by pretending but really going for it. music can be so righteous that way, much respect to it. of course I'm afraid to the core but that also let's me know it's very real and not a charade. obviously I'm a very insecure person but so be it. if I put myself in a sitch that's challenging then maybe I really can keep learning and not just spin my fucking tires in rerun. I feel very lucky to be part of this. same w/the stooges.
the flight to detroit was a little insane. we left the gate for the runway and then right before taking off, the pilot said we had to go back and find five people who would get off cuz the plane was overweight. five people volunteered. we go back to the runway. then the pilot said we had to dump nine more so back to the gate and fortunately nine kind folks also volunteered. third time to the runway and we finally took off, landing two hours late in detroit cuz of the delay. fortunately I had three hours between for the next flight so I didn't fuck things up for the stooges. usually we fly in the day before we do something just in case but cuz of the safari sam's gig, I asked to forego that, very risky. I was thanking my lucky stars fucking big time, whew. I was in the very last seat in the back of the airbus 330 to paris (a 320 took me to detroit) and this flight attendant knew about the stooges and even hung out some w/stiff little fingers in the early 80s so it was neat talking w/him a bit. he told me he got a signature from ig once and gave it to a young kid who's parents had named him iggy in his honor. I found that beautiful. I had trippy dreams w/the okinawa traditional songs cd tunes pouring into my ears w/out end. it was surreal beyond words and too much flow for me to slow it enough to find words, my head in total wonder though my body so tired from playing so hard earlier but at the same time I felt very very calm and as if it were millions of miles in space separating every atom in my being w/thoughts being light reflected off of each bit from a sun forever on the rise or was it me sinking into it? it was wondering like that and then wondering about the wonderings... 'pert-near like a thousand mike watts but then at the same time, no mike watt and only strangers wondering what was anything about anything supposed mean or be - I was confounded but not the panic I usually get from such a sitch cuz like I said, there was a such a calm about it all... I just had to let go, it was a trip.
it was sunny in paris when I landed at the degaule airport come eight and half bells in the morning (saw sunrise in the air, paris is nine hours ahead of pedro time) - it was sunny even in detroit which I didn't expect in either pad cuz I know our cali weather doesn't translate to parts w/still three weeks 'til spring but there it was and I was glad for it. even my bass made it despite the resulting shortness between the two flights, wow. the driverman assigned by the label (this press stuff was put together by the company putting out "the weirdness" stooges album, virgin) was waiting right outside customs for me (no prob there, merci) and took me into the plug traf (no need to be homesick for so cal freeway plug, it took an hour and half) that leads to paris and two blocks south of the arch de triumphe to where the stooge camp is lodged, a fancy pad called the raphael. very nice furniture in the cabin, pretty oldish and I heard serge gainsbourg used to hang in the bar downstairs. that's trippy. it's a very quiet pad, that's nice. the tub is narrow but long and I soak long, hoping to float away some massive soreness. I brought a little speaker ipod dock I got econo made by altech-lansing called the im11 (it fits easy in my 'puter sack - I got one just like the one it replace cuz last tour the zipper tore out and that sack was done) so I can hear tunes in my room w/out the ultimate ear trips stuffed in the ears and continue listening to what I'd been hearing most of the fourteen hours of my journey. it's like john coltrane for me in a way cuz my mind hasnn't systematized it cuz prolly it's beyond that for me - a good humbling to help keep me forever in wonder.
one thirty and I hug all my stooges friends and join them for the ride to the canal+ tv station. there's a new man named buddy from the west part of england helping us - he's helped us before, he's very nice. ig's coming in an hour so me and scotty riff on a band of gypsies jam... when ig shows, he instantly starts improvising lyrics for a bit and when we finish asks what that was and I say "machine gun" and he goes "that was good - I knew you didn't write that" and absolutely, he's right. we're doing seven songs from the new album and we run through them all for both a prac for us and the tv crew, they need three minutes between each tune which is trippy cuz a modern day stooges gig runs everything together real quick. we did all these at wedding reception for a cat named bam from the "jackass" tv show in phily a month ago except for one I wasn't ready for, "o solo mio" but I've really dug it since I first heard the demo. we head back to the 'tel after and I konk on the deck to the okinawa music. come seven and half bells, we return and I'm now in my dark blue boilersuit - a few days before the bam gig, ig called me and told me he had a new outfit idea for me, so I went up to the supply sergeant in hollywood and got one. no more having to find a unique t-shirt for each gig now and no more sweating up my levis. when he first saw it on me in phily, he told me "now it looks like you mean business" and that made me glad. I want so much to do good for these stooges. 8:30 and it's show time. we begin w/"atm" and there's a huge clam w/the beginning so iggy starts us over. there's an audience watching in bleachers and they are very supportive, a live crowd. there's a cameraman always on me and he's very close but I focus on ig. I tune the 'e' string down to 'd' for "my idea of fun" quick, ig giving a tiny spiel to cover for me and we're off. I think iggy and the asheton's are in top form and they inspire me much. another spiel from ig to let me tune back up to regular and we're into "greedy awful people" which is where I blow a little clam in one of the verses - not bad but it makes wanna beat the shit out of myself. I'm nervous w/the cameras and all the lights going but that's a fucking lame excuse, I should be able to keep it together. it was a tiny one - a 'c' instead of a 'g' but it's enough to shake me up some - thank god I'm shaking much right in front of my amps - man, not to sound whiney but boy, do these amps sound band - an svt classic and marshall 400, each running through and 8x10 cab. a poor carpenter blames his tools though so I fucking put the scissors on those thoughts and keep my focus on ig ig ig and then some side peeks and ronnie and scotty who are both playing great, iggy singing and dancing it up really well too. man, do I owe these guys to have me on board - man, do I owe them. I get the feeling I very much wanna break my leg off up in my own ass when I fucking blow it w/them. I'm a little tepid starting the next one, "she took my money" - I interrogate myself like I did in that moment "why, fuck watt, why" but fortunately get down to getting it together and play the tune. I rally some and do "I'm fried" pretty ok - steve on sax joined us on "...money" and he's blowing great on this one too. ig goes to the deck on his back for the ending... man, I wanted to fly down on my knees w/him but I know he wants me in that pocket in front of the amps, he told me before he digs that and so I know he's counting on it. I can't let the fanboy part of me whup on over the bassman part of me, I gotta keep it together and play the music. ig's now spending lots of time w/the audience, in the bleachers in front of us and in the ones in front of a soundstage right next to us, making it hard to see him but I look that way anyway, the man w/the camera constantly at my side and looking up from the deck. sometimes I sense the camera lens like inches from my plucking hand, that must be a trippy shot - I'm way into my bass itself getting a starring role, funny. here comes "o solo mio" and I've got some nerve back but fuck if I don't go into the chorus a bar to early and blow a fucking clam, putting a 'c' where everyone else is still in 'e' - aahhh, fucking baka idiot watt. I get right back on though but the self-hate starts pouring inside like a waterfall. I gotta get a handle on the regret shit or it'll overwhelm and really get the clams coming forth. I love this song - just in a way kind of wish I would've known we might play it cuz the last time we did it was in the studio back in october! it's a simple form though, nothing could simpler except for the doof on the fucking bass. can't let recriminations sink me though, can't but I feel confidence waning and out dribbles some tepidness. I don't know, maybe the guilt in me can't appraise the stich accurately - I'm probably telling more about my feelings that maybe more than the sound - I just feel like a jerk but in a way I find solace in hearing ig sing the song's end part which for me is transcendent, wow. it helps me rally big time and I'm strong again for "free and freaky" - I play more like we did in the pre-taping rundown, relaxed yet crazy but on the money and tight w/the band. now we were joking around earlier about even though we're doing new songs for this, wouldn't it be a trip if ig called out "...dog" and damn, ain't that just what happens! an audible, never on the list yet iggy calls it out and here we go... ig starts to what seems like a charge at my but turns away a few feet away - damn, he 'pert-near had them eyes going he gets when he want to get the steamroller thing going. for a second - maybe cuz I'm reading soren kirkegaard's "fear and trembling" - I thought of abraham w/his knife his son issac but then sees the ram in the thicket... is that fucking crazy or what? sometimes I don't know why I think what I think but I do play the song ok and shit, the asheton brothers have been kicking it so strong the whole time. they are so inspiring for me... before the song's over I decide I'm gonna stand closer to scotty and not be just in front of my amp but in the space between it and the drum riser - I lower the drum riser, the better I like it cuz damn, don't we both make up the rhythm section, shouldn't we be close? in lots of my life, I'm 'pert-near much in my own world but in music I can't be that way - I'm not that way w/my own bands - one reason I don't have my drummers use any kind of a riser and have them way up front w/me w/their kick drum going right into one of my legs. the band throbs in the take-down part, ig's hands up like he's got them on huge handlebars and we're the chug-chug-chuggin motorcycle. trippy. he gives us all "alright" eyes, turns around and we slam into the ending. back in the dressing room, I kvetch on myself to the guys some and when ig comes, I confess to him about the clam I blew in "o solo mio" and he acknowledges it but says he liked the way I recovered right away and in fact says he clammed some by coming in a little early but damn, I thought he did great. he's very generous to me to give me support like that, support I deep down know I don't deserve - I so wish I could've done better for him, scotty, ron and steve. I have to get my nerve up, my focus better - I have another chance tomorrow. I can't let my regrets rule the day, I have to do something about it.
we get back to the 'tel and I talk some w/scotty and ron in the bar, tourboss henry buys me a beer. both the asheton brothers are very nice to me w/good support talk and it helps me a little not to feel so much a fucking dick about the clam blows but I don't use that generosity to excuse myself from making sure I try and do better tomorrow. I have big tiredness, even w/the plane konk I did so kind of just run out and up the stairs all of the sudden to hit the deck in my own pedro quarters. maybe everyone thought I was just gonna go piss or maybe they thought it was just regular weirdo watt doing his typical dance. obviously on top of everything else, I'm socially retarded. deck and konk do a combo to weave a security blankie on me.
tuesday, march 6, 2007 - paris, france
I pop at six and soak in the long thin tub. seven bells bring on the free trough ready to be shoveled and that I do though the cook's late so I have to hang out some to get eggs but in the meantime, there's goat cheese and fruits w/yogurt to throw down and coffs to swallow. yes, actual french roast kind - good. a little hoof outside but yesterdays sun is gone and gray to soon bring wet is today. I go back and chimp yesterday's doings. we're doing more tv, again canal+ but a different show at a different studio and this is only one tune ("atm") and though we're gonna prac it first (actually a couple times, what the tv people call "block it" for what they need), we'll actually come back later tonight to actually do it - it's the one of the three tv things that goes out in real time, live - the other two are taped for later though we're doing them like they're live. we do "atm" a few times and I'm much more together but understand I feel grateful for however I did that not like I got anything by the balls. one thing I do to help is get as close to scotty as I can - not just in front of the bass amp's center but right next to the drum riser. I still have the corner of the amp by my shoulder but I'm not smothered in it. man, the acoustics of this place make the bass sound terrible but I make sure not to be a baby about that - "work the room" I tell myself. ig tells us he heard the tunes from yesterday and liked them, saying "o solo mio" sounded pretty epic when the bass guitar root not combos w/ron's chords, he dug it. when we run through the songs, I try to think in my head it's the real thing and play my heart out. I know it's gonna be so much harder when the actual red light time comes but if I prep myself as good as I can by I guess what might call actually "rehearsing" it - I've always bummed on calling prac that but by doing 'pert-near what I'm gonna do in these run-throughs, it kind of is more of rehearse than prac cuz it ain't just running through the music... me and my fucking hangups w/semantics, huh? bad acoustics for bass in this pad too but that's ok cuz I'm playing w/more nerve and I would trade all the acoustics in the world for that. we do what the tv people need and are shuttled a few miles away to another studio - government owned french tv 2 and here we're to do two songs for a talk show on a set that looks like what ronnie says, "some of those bright-white lit up in-the-spaceship scenes in "2001: a space odyssey" but w/huge picture frames on the wall, some that have video screens. we do "atm" and "greedy awful people" a few times and I'm much grateful to have it together but also remember it's only prac and I gotta be on for the real deal. we go back to the intensely tiny room we were put in when we got here (you would not believe this little closet, like four foot by eight - bizarre!) and wait it out. after a while, it's time to do the do and we take our positions on one end of this bleached-lit television land, folks sitting on white benches - hey, there's steve mackay! he decided come w/us even though yesterday's tv is all he's doing, he didn't wanna stay in his 'tel room but I'm just so glad to have him here cuz he always makes me feel better, little more brave. again a camera man's put right up on me the whole time but I never look at him, I keep my eyes always on ig except for brief glimpses at times w/scotty and ron. ig's on fire - yeah! he has no fear, I try to catch what he's got! a couple of times I holler for why I don't know - it even makes stutter the bass line a tiny bit but I hold on each time it happens... I am confused about lots that goes on inside of me, it's confusing. I do hang on though and that's what's important for what I got to do for these guys, what I owe them. the music just pushes and pushes inside me - wants to punch its way out. it makes wish a more real mike watt could rip through this one - are these proper feelings? it seems music sacred for me or maybe for me, that act of throwing a fit in its name - I don't know... sometimes I dream of the grown up pelican who loses its song or talking only through bass - admitting I'll never have it together enough to use words right. anyway, we rail on "atm" and twirl into "greedy awful people" - what a funny way to put it, "twirl" but I feel twirls inside w/this one, especially at the beginning. I wish I had knees to actually make that happen... maybe everyone else is glad I don't! ig sure can dance, I love love love it. singing great too. we finish the tune right as he comes up on me and gives me a little fist in the shoulder and quietly tells me "good one" while all the folks are clapping. I don't think I'll forget that moment ever in my life... I almost start crying. him and the brothers go to a table we facing while playing and have a talk w/the show's hostman - a cat that seems to me genuinely into the stooges. it's 'pert-near like the united nations in a way on the bright-white set cuz
there's translating going on for stooge answers in french for the audience and then I see ig, ron and scotty w/earpieces where they must be getting english translation of the questions. I hear scotty give props to john coltrane and the hostman saying he knew his drummer elvin jones. ron gives trane ups to when he's apparently asked what he listens to - much respect to them for that. back to the little room for me while they do other spiels and I feel much relief but know I can't let up on the focus cuz we still got the live deal to do. we're shuttled back to where were earlier, some chow is procured for us and I get offered sushi. man, I haven't had soosh in a long while and this is really great cuz I never play better than after I chow soosh - maybe cuz of all the protein and no grease, maybe cuz I don't have it all that often (not very econo in my town), I don't what but I get lit after shoveling it. this is a very fortunate happening for me, I feel. now this hostman seems into it but he's got buddies at a table around him goofin' big time while we blast "atm" at them in real time. I hang on plow and hard. yeah, I make it through on full-throttle and even w/another involuntary holler that erupted out of me again, I keep the groove and think I did ok, staying as tight as I could w/the band. they go off to the table to do spiel and I run backstage and watch them on the tv. scotty gives a big answer to some question, he's very articulate and smart w/his words but then w/iggy, they start talking about bowie and then show an old clip of ig maybe in the eighties done up big wide lipstick and taking off his shirt - what's that about? ig never talks much after this and it makes me mad these motherfuckers did this to him. it's supposed to be about the stooges. the spiel he did at the taping before, he was so natural and easy going and he was the same here - it seemed like it was a setup on him, to embarrass him. when I sense anyone disrespecting iggy or either of the asheton brothers, it sure makes me mad. maybe I didn't understand what was happening but it seemed like a setup to get yuks at their expense and I thought it was a cheap shot. I told the label people we were w/that. everyone both days was really great at these pads, just this silly shit here at the end. anyway, maybe I'm making too big a deal about it but...
we go back to the 'tel and this time I hose off when I get out of the boilersuit. I go down to the bar and talk w/ron, he says "atm" almost slid off the tracks at one point but I swear I was oblivious to it. he thanked me for keeping it together - man, I'm sure glad I did, whatever I did! that's very kind of ronnie. there's some french guys here - ron's old jukebox magazine friend bernard and his friend, documentary maker tivo and some other friendly guys I talk w/and the scotty comes down to join me. good to see tivo again but I feel bad for his elbow that he broke in four places armwrestling someone, damn. he said a month ago james williamson came to paris and he interviewed him - he said that james said the "raw power" songs had the asheton brothers contributing but when i ask ron he says "bullshit." the label people again offer room service chow for free but again, I'm not into chowing that much late and after some good spiel w/tivo and others, I go up and hit the deck for konk, maybe around eleven. early is ok and I know my body thanks me much, my nerves too. man, such a weight off, having it more together today than the yesterday. I give big time thanks, whew. konk comes in moments.
wednesday, march 7, 2007 - crans-montana, switzerland
I pop at seven and half bells - boy, a ton of konk for me, huh? same shovel as yesterday but the eggs are here w/no wait. it's good chow. we're shoving off at nine and half so I get my shit together. into the paris traffic plug - the same cat who got me monday morning has been driving us all over, dealing w/the pretty intense way cars just go for it and I thank him much merci when he drops us off at degaule airport. I got my "fear and trembling" by kirkegaard and read that - oh, I had my shaving cream and toothpaste in the clothes sack instead of the bass case so that got the big donate... baka watt. it's an hour flight to geneva and then we start driving north towards crans-montana in the alps. after about an hour, we reach fribourg and stop at a little old former military airport and ig, ron, henry, steve and myself are asked to get on board a helicopter - henry said something about this last night... whoa, I've never been on a helicopter before even though we go daily flights for them to catalina back home. we all wear headsets cuz it's kind of loud (I see a tag on the airframe that says "eurocopter" - maybe that's what kind it is) and man, what a trip as we take off - the body sensations I'm feeling, feels like we're bee or a hummingbird and 'pert-near weightless - no momentum motion like an airplane. wow, we're flying alongside the alps, snow all over the mountains and intensely steep crags... the pilot points out little cow paths used in the summer, what a trip. we see a damn w/a frozen lake/resivor behind it - I'm taking as many pictures as my camera can snap. trippy how we go sideways and up/down like we do, I'm digging it! only about fifteen or twenty minutes to way up high where crans-montana is and we're gonna land in a parking lot but the pilot's assistant in the backseat w/herny, steve and me (the pilot, ig and ron up front) opens up his hatch for a look-see and waves us off so we land not far away right in the snow, floating down like a butterfly. man, that was a trip. my starboard converse goes like two feet down in the snow!
the skies are way blue w/bright sun out, the air crisp and tasting real clean. we drive ten minutes to the parc hotel (not so fancy) and it's got huge windows so you can see all the beautiful mountains iced w/snow and the chamber rooms are trippy in that the have a padded no-lock hatch in front the regular lockable hatch ones. scotty says it's to keep inside the room quiet. in fact it is - so was the hotel raphael in paris... nothing like a quiet pad. if you want sound, you fill it w/your own! like w/this traditional okinawa kind - it's a fucking trip but it amazes me how I can hear one cd over and over w/out and not be bored of it in the slightest. I think cuz I'm so unfamiliar w/that stuff, my mind hasn't yet found a way to systematize it up (I asked if outside the helicopter if he knew of this music and he gave me the thumbs up and said it was "solid"). the only other music that holds my mind like this is john coltrane's - I can listen him forever. what's trippy about this though is that it's the same songs except they all different each time I hear them, they all sound kind of like I've heard for the first time, over and over. I got three hundred-plus coltrane songs on my ipod and go for that random shuffle. these okinawa tunes are always in the same order but it makes no fucking matter... trippy. I fucking realize I donated my kirkegaard - I must've left it the helicopter cuz I think I had it the back of my waistband. idiot watt. I guess I was overwhelmed by my first helicopter ride ever. well, a small price to pay for such a righteous experience and I can get another one econo back home - I'll get that and milan kundera's "the book of laughing and letting go" cuz think I lost that one before reading it too... fucking idiot stupid baka watt. I read in the herald-tribune he has a new one out, a guide to novelists I guess but it said there it was actually a way to teach folks to read his books! anwyay, after a bit, scotty asks me to get the 'puter cuz I asked earlier if both him and steve would do the watt from pedro show w/me, so we get that going. I always open the show w/a john coltrane song so when I ask which one should I play, scotty says he wants one w/alice coltrane on piano so I tell him I got "live in japan" and the steve picks "crescent" so they first fiftyfour minutes of the three hour show is that tune! both of them do really good spiels, scotty especially giving a good history of the stooges since he was there from the start but steve adds good things too plus other musical ventures he's had - same w/scotty for post-stooges stuff and then the reunion. the only place I really fucked up was forgetting to ask about the "metalic k.o." record but we discussed lots on the other ones. I was very honored to have them on my show, they were righteous. ten bells and I'm real wore, I don't know but I am and I'm trying to listen to my body more and more. we all eat a steak and salad and soon after it's konk time for watt. I would've dove right down on the deck there (we were in the bar area - the 'tel people were very nice to put two tables together for us so we didn't have to chow in the restaurant) cuz a real wood fire was going and everything but I make my way up the stairs and onto the deck in my chamber. I'm out like...
thursday, march 8, 2007 - crans-montana, switzerland
holy moses, I popped at like two in the morning cuz of very scary nightmares, 'pert-near made me cry - fuck, I did. it was very frightening for me. obviously it was anchored in some kind of boundary issues cuz after finding myself stumbling into a play going on outside an auditorium (yeah, not IN one but outside), I don't pay much attention but then make another loop through and recognize of all things, dialogue from emma goldman's "living my life" autobiography - what kind of play is this? I love emma goldman but this was really weird, like they were just mouthing the words as if it was a class assignment. I recognized one of the young players (they were all young people) but couldn't tell you it was, just the sense I got that I did know it was someone I somehow knew - you know that feeling? I then wandered around what I figured was hollywood (hollywood?!), in some neighborhood there and I found myself in someone's garage. there were two bicycles w/small diameter wheels but really long and low frames and I bumped into one and that bumped into the others. I bent to catch them from falling over and discovered they had just been painted and obviously were still wet - paint was all over my heads and I could see fingerprints in the paint, oh shit. someone who apparentl lives there appears and is fucking mad, he's got a walkie-talkie leash and says he's calling the pigs. I try to apologize, not know what the fuck is going on but truly am sorry and he says I better run and so I do. I end up going through all kinds of pads - their living rooms, garages, bedrooms - even prac pads (?!) and every time I'm pissing off more and more people. things turn surreal, kind of doctor suess-like and the colors on stuff seems unnaturally bright and primary - no gradations, just solid primaries. it was as much doctor seuss as it was robert williams in a way - not raymond pettibon cuz there would've been some kind of hope in that, raymond's always meant hope to me (no disrespect to mister williams though). it was impossible to tell it was dream except to recollect it cuz in the moment I was convinced this shit was coming down on me for real. I felt very responsible for all the hell I was causing and did want to submit and take my come-upins but still I kept on the run. it was fucked up. thank god I popped awake, sweating on the deck w/some relief but then also guilt-weight in a way cuz of incurring such thoughts... then I started crying - I was convinced that it had to have roots in somewhere during my awake (real?) life. I had to cry, I was so afraid, so fucking afraid - like the riddle wrapped in an enigma was actually just so fucking obvious but I wouldn't/couldn't see/feel it cuz of some kind big time denial whatever. I wore my fucking brain out thinking and thinking about endlessly. it wrung my head out big time even as I tried to totally let go, get out of the fucking way, out of the way of some kind of truth. the only thing that relaxed me was putting on the okinawa traditional music real low - it kind of took me to another place where I didn't know anything and kept in wonder, pulling me out of worry and dread. it seem absorb me and I felt my "self" removed... I felt becoming atoms infinitely spread apart but it was ok, they were finally at peace. what would kirkegaard say: the particular reconciled w/the universal through paradox or did I fuck that up too? whatever, it worked and I was grateful big time, so fucking big time. everything let go.
it was a heavy beatdown on me and konk came as a rescue nurse for a few hours, me popping in time for the free trough at ten bells cuz it was open only a halfhour later. I shoveled an omelette this nice chef made me, not big but a fluffy one. I had stewed prunes covered w/yogurt too plus some similar goat cheese to like I had in paris but no stick running down the middle either. still good. after chow, I pondered my nightmare for a while and then chimped diary 'til soundcheck at quarter after two. we're playing inside a big-ass tent about ten minutes the other way from where the helicopter landed yesterday and I got two ampeg svt-pro IV amps, each (like usual) w/an 8x10 cab. helperman buddy tells me he likes my work - wow, that's very kind of him. of course it's great to see and honor to work alongside helperman, chris, roadboss eric and knobman ric as always... even I fuck up and foul things some, they always seem to give me another chance. it's something I dearly never take for granted. I wish to high heaven I would put such hell on them ever. I really do try - like ronnie says, I gotta lot of problems. I am working on them though, I really am. I'm just such a fucking slow learner. the soundcheck has the two typical tunes we do for them, "...dog" and "no fun" w/chris singing - we'll sing ig at gig time like usual. I ask ric if I can move the midrange eq on the amps just a cunthair up and turn my pickup blend switch to like two-thirds bridge pickup for more definition cuz though it's a tent, the roof is high up - it's actually like six or eight big tent poles not just one like the old days. he says ok, grazie. shit, I fucking blow clams during "no fun" - why? maybe it's a wakeup call for me to the focus really on for tonight - a look at the set list has not only a different order but all kinds of new songs added to the set. oh boy, I'm into it though. a life w/challenges helps one grow, I think. also, the record came out a few days ago so time to do it live, right? yeah! sun still yellowbright, skies still bluebright but there are some clouds. this morning there was tons of fog so ronnie's scared of a trip down the mountain - no helicopter for us so we gotta come down the way the rest of the team came up but at four am! yeah, good thing henry changed the gig time from 11:45 to 10:30 tonight but still, not much konk for tonight if any... aahh, I hate that shit but I love the stooges and would do anything for them. we go back to the 'tel and I find there's a "bain turc" here - "turkish bath" or like I learned it from perry farrell, "shvitz" - it was touring w/perry in australia back in 1996 when I first did a steam bath. man, what a righteous purge and a lesson in restraint - I think half my fucking life should be lessons in restraint, huh? from every fucking conceivable angle, 'pert-near. three rounds of from the shvitz for twenty minutes and then a cold shower - huge windows to the outside w/no curtains, ok... the shower has three side nozzles on each side to bring on the cold stream more than just on top of your head! w/the steam in the shvitz working it's thing your pours get big enough to drop pennies in them so you can imagine the shock to the nervous system is when I run out and bring on the cold shower. the shvitz part too is pretty intense, calming the breathing so you don't have a freak out and has the sweat comes on, so does the heart rate - whoa. I am totally relaxed after, in a robe even! I feel a lot healthier and all my muscles stretched - no fucking cramps. I chimp diary w/the traditional okinawa music doing it's loop and filling the room, calming me though recounting last nightmare for the tour spiel is kind of unnerving but I think chimping about will keep it from back again tonight or worse - on stage.
nine bells and I'm in the boilersuit. I also got the yellow jacket, big black gloves my ma gave me for xmas and the orange knit hat on too. it got a lot colder than it was but this is good in a way cuz it means less chance of fog for the ride down the mountain later for the airport run. ten minutes to the big top and the backstage is just that - right in back of the stage w/no soundproofing at all and this band called samel has just started and is blasting a sound sort of like that band ramstein, much of it on tape and all of pretty relentless. there's a couple of tiny baguettes w/butter, pickles and salami so I chow them cuz I ain't ate since morning. oh, on the way to the dressing room, there was like ten guitars and a bass made by builder tussart who combines wood w/metal on traditional designs, really neat looking - I wonder how the play? ig's room is w/in our area, a trailer and he tries to gives us spiel about tonight's set list but the band on stage's sound is bogarting everything he's trying to say. it's insane. we're supposed to go on at 10:30 but that's not gonna happen cuz not only the sound but the time is getting bogarted too. I can hear our crew work like crazy to get things happeing and we do get the go ahead at a quarter of eleven, alright. to the top of stage stairs, ig asks "are we ready?" and then "ok, let's go!" and I run over to my side... stage starboard. the first tune is "atm" and I'm not used to how it we're starting it, being so used to to dirt but when the asheton's jump on it, so do I and we're under way. I'm prac'd w/this tune now (after those tv things) so I'm in on it strong. the whole band is too w/ig leading the charge. the tent is full, maybe three thousand people - what it can hold. they're right off the bat into it. still trippy playing in a jump suit but I'm into it. there's weight near my right ankle cuz of the pass port there in a pocket and on my left hip cuz the wallet's there. I also forgot to take the camera out of one of the breast pockets (left one) - nothing big, but different weights to what I'm used to. here comes "loose" - that's familiar enough and w/the crowd to though they were diggin on "atm" I think, the reaction w/strong and they're already showing a lot of heart. we follow the familiar of the "old set" w/"down on the streets" - ig up on my amps for ronnie's solo and I get a little bit of a boot in the back of the head but not much and it doesn't hurt anyway... I was on my knees and putting a little fill in there, a little one. my body is totally alive and no stiffness at all, no tiredness. I can feel little bit of elevation stuff but not enough to wind me yet. I feel really light on my feet and shake like crazy. I stay very close to my amps. I want to stay in the little between them and the drum riser but my shoulder keeps hitting the bass amp mic. damn, gotta more use to that. "1969" up (nothing new here) and it's pretty smokin' - scotty is really slamming w/his drumming and ronnie soaring w/the guitar, ig singing his heart out and working the entire stage. something funky w/the next tune, "I wanna be your dog" w/my bass - either something's out of tune or there's a resonance overtone big time cuz of the room (tent) and/or stage. I just stop mostly playing the low 'e' string or the higher 'b' on the 'd' and just unisyn it on the 'a' w/'g-f#-e' to compensate. man, that was weird. I make sure I'm in tune for "tv eye" but that's in 'a' - iggy has some intense mic stand thrown downs - well, more like two-handed battle axe swings w/it and pummeling the stage deck. the band's playing really tight and w/him all the way... I don't know what's up - he hollers to the crowd that he's fucked up and though we're supposed to do "o solo mio" next, he calls for "dirt" saying "we're going to 'dirt' now" and so we do. I think it's very happening, I feel every punch of emotion ig puts in each syllable and everything in between. there's tv cameras and he fucks w/them some but doesn't let it distract him - I don't know if it's for a later show or if there's screens on the side of the stage or maybe both. whatever, we're plenty used to tv cameras now! "real cool time" and time to get some folks up on stage after singing the verses, ig's adamant about - imploring the security to let folks up to dance and they get up w/us, one by one. by this time I'm very much w/my back on my amp cabs shaking them hard and even pushing against them - I like the way to vibrations push on me. I just don't want them to bogart on the band. I did have a little trouble w/the chords in the bass run under the guitar solo but didn't clam to bad and ig came over to dance them back into my head. I switched a 'g' w/a 'b' or something. "no fun" while the dancers are still up w/us and it's pretty wild but I don't repeat the clams I did at soundcheck except maybe once for a microsecond, I'm having a lot of fun and going crazy to this music, I love it. the dancers do too and they mob iggy but still let him sing - I dig when they do that, no bogarts on him. "he came to play!" damn it! no, much respect to everybody who helped us give some hugs in thanks as we finish. our plan was to do "greedy awful people" but ig calls for "1970" and introduces the band first. man, it's hard for me to recognize the chords ronnie's playing, there some weird things going on w/the sound here but I follow scotty in and we charge hard - ig staying lots of my side for this one and as steve comes in on the sax, repeat almost every "I feel alright!" iggy hollers w/my own holler - even if I don't have a mic! I'm just caught up in it, jumpsuit and all. whoa, I'm feeling a little of the thin air now so I make sure I'm in tune a swallow some water while ron and ig do "mindroom" and kick it way out for "fun house" when ig gives the cue (which is him saying "fun house" !!!). man, it's pretty fucking wailing up here, outrageous really but somehow still plowing a very controlled groove, I play this tight, I'm playing pretty tight - I hate to saying things like this cuz somwhere in my head is always reminding me I'm only guessing at what it might sound like and I might fucking way outta here wrong on it but it FEELS RIGHT - I'm on w/scotty on every fucking one and the tune's a living-breathing thing 'pert-near on its fucking own! it's trippy. we merge right into "l.a. blues" and it's freak out time for a bit - after the trane quotes, I let the bass feedback big time w/the neck on the cab, up near the headstock. I don't see scotty hihat us in for "skull ring" but sure hear it coming and hurry to get on board. whoops, can't lose focus, not even a tiny bit cuz the train don't slow for loafers (or spacers!). iggy gives me "strong man, made of steel" look twice in the seond verse - I love that, it's like I'm rigtht w/him there in the tune, living right in it and just the idea of watt being a "strong man" let alone "made of steel" is probably one of the biggest wishful thinkings I could be ever part of. man, the song's a tidal wave and I'm swept up in it but working it tight, tight as I can. a new one next, "I'm fried" and even w/the opening chords, I recognize the 'e' notes and glisses really jumping out - ig spends more time on ronnie's side - there's bogart on the bass but I haven't changed one thing... maybe the stage/room has a strong fundamental in 'e' and it's resonating crazy shit. I play softer but what I should've done is go down on the volume. when we go into the verses which is in 'a' it sounds much better, it's that 'e' that kooking out. instead of the planned "little electric chair" ig calls out "double dog" and ronnie looks over at me like "you were right" but I was just joking before the gig about the whole set list plan going out the window and it being just a series of "double dogs" - scotty even said "ocho dog" and we were all laughing cuz we know ig likes to pull that one out when he feels like it's the right time to do it. he has been saying in between some songs he feel fucked up, it's trippy and I can tell something's bother him but this last thing does seem like bass and I turn the volume down before we get to the first verse, I just so much don't wanna be any hell on him. we come off stage when the tune's done and he says the starboard side of the stage now is just bass - I tell tourboss henry that is must be in the monitors and ask him to them turned down. we go back on for "little electric chair" and it's a lot different, a lot less low end bogarting - that's what I was thinking cuz my high notes were getting louder, just the sub-woofer bottom swallowing everything. it was nothing like earlier in the set. I'm feeling pretty subdued now but dig in hard to play this one as best I can, I even do alright w/the solo though I can't hear it and thought I slid off at one point, I finish up right where I should and we're into "she took my money" which I make sure I start w/a surety I was missing during that tv taping tuesday. ig looks like he's having some fun again, singing this. I'm starting to feel sad - no, I'm glad he's feeling better now but I'm sad for feeling I've let him down and that's the worse feeling I could have ever in my life, ever. I try to be what my ma would call "professional" and work the moment - at least not make things worse and the bass is much tinier now - he calls out "my idea of fun" and we start it immediately - I have no time to downtune the 'd' and scramble to play it an octave up - there were some clams, my confidence is shook but I get it together enough to not fall apart... we leave the stage and ig says two more, so we go do "trollin'" and end the gig w/"not right" - I love the groove in "trollin'" and that cheers me up some, ig even sings way over on my side of the stage and I'm right behind him. of course one of my all time favorites ever is "not right" and dam, it might as well be my fucking theme song. I am subdued though, it's a bad feeling. I play it ok though and the guys do it perfect. we come off the stage and I swear to henry I didn't turn up cuz I didn't, I swear. we get to the back stage and I can feel the tears coming... I'm not that emotionally together of a person and w/that nightmare yesterday tearing me all up, I don't know - I'm a little out of reason-finding right now, I sure don't wanna make excuses... the tears come because they come, I know I very much don't wanna let these guys down ever. ronnie goes into iggy's trailer and then comes out and says ig wants to see me. I crouch down and grab my knees and bundle myself in a ball as much as I can. he's very kind to me though. I just felt so bad about letting him down, I'm reliving now as I chimp and tears come again. it's a very strong wish inside me to do good for these guys, this man. he's getting out of his jeans and I can tell he's got gig hurts like he always does but he's making sure he's giving me full attention - just me and him in his this tiny pad, he's very kind to me, very assuring. he says the bass thing might've been him in the pit w/the mic by the bass bins and him not realizing it. he says we can work out a system of signals where he can tell me where the bass is bogarting and I can get it down. I just feel like total worthless shit for bringing this on him but he tells me more kind things, like when I came to miami to learn "the weirdness" songs, I was actually also helping him by letting him prac his singing by doing those tunes over and over. this is really kind of ig, very much - I can't ever find the words maybe to relate it but it's like a rope ladder being thrown down to man tossing in a roaring storming salty terror of a furious sea. I hug my knees harder and never take my eyes off him.
they got interviews to do so I leave the real stooges to do their work and a car takes me back to the 'tel. I soak in a tub and think think think. we gotta do the two hour drive to the 'port in geneva and w/a seven am flight, there's no konk w/out me be scared of blowing it so I keep up, finally deciding to talk some - get out of my own head and go downstairs to discuss the bass bogart w/soundman rik. shit, it might've a very slow moving but swelling loop started w/that feedback I was making at the end of "l.a. blues" maybe? I go over all kinds of theories but it's obvious to rik I'm just being a lunatic and tells me to chill - ha, funny me saying that but actually I'm quoting him: "watt, chill" and I'm talking weird logic (?) anyway, spacing even into semantics - like what the fuck? man, my mind left to its own devices. I don't know what I'm saying, I just know he's got something to learn me - everyone on this team does - I wish I could put that to them all more plainly. I have weird manners, mannerisms? we get on the bus and I use the ipod to pump the okinawa soothing sounds in the earholes and that lets me konk. somehow I pop right w/the airport almost on us and make the shorthop flight from geneva to amsterdam but then there's four hours of fretting 'til that plane pushes off - the back of my eyeballs itch so much I can't even read and I'm afraid of konk cuz I just know it'll come heavy so I use the migu in the ears to flood my head w/wonder. that is some trippy stuff. all that time and repeat repeat repeat but it doesn't bore me, how? there's giant tiredness in my joints. it's raining out the window but still the plane can leave and even more amazing, the time somehow does pass and I'm on a 747 for home. I konk deep 'pert-near the whole flight. my sister melinda is here when I land and yes, the bass is w/me! I have a lot to be grateful for, lucky watt... my ma even cooks me a dinner chow when I go visit to say her boy's back safe.
saturday, march 17, 2007 - austin, texas
this is only the second one of these sxsw events I've ever been to. "sxsw" is short for south by southwest, a music convention held every year in austin, texas (there's a film part too). the first one I was at was in 2001 to play w/j mascis + the fog (me on bass w/a pick through a marshall!) and besides j, myself and george berz (on drums) we had ron asheton join us on stage for some stooges songs - it was at emo's. not too far away from that pad, outdoors at stubb's, it's the stooges I'm w/this time... hey, there's ronnie on guitar again! what a trip. here's how it started:
thursday my sister melinda brought me out to long beach to get a flight just past noon from there. it went first to phoenix and then to austin, getting in around six pm there time (two hours ahead of pedro) - an hour for the first leg and two for the next w/an hour in between. hey, my bass made it w/me to texas, alright. I was given milan kundera's new collection of essays on the art of the novel, "the curtain" and half of that on the way. I heard it had been raining a earlier in the week but I'm greeted w/kind of heavy but still dry skies. twenty minutes from the 'port to the 'tel - a sheraton that I'm told a month ago was a mariott, up on eleventh street and not far from the gig or most of what's up at this thing. yeah, so there's panels and stuff like that to hear spiels on but mostly it's about around fourteen hundred bands playing a few blocks around sixth street in all these drink and drown-slash-music (the university of texas is in this town) - they come all over to "showcase" (I think that's what we're supposed to be doing) or cuz they're invited to a "night" sponsored by someone or whatever or both or really I don't know much about how it's put together but everyone seems to want to be here so everyone else knows they're here and will check out what they're playing. I will be innocent and say this is a pretty ok ideal and not try to get beyond that. as soon as I get to the 'tel, there's the austin chronicle telling me in print bob mould's playing at a pad called buffalo billiards and so hoof there on my own to see bob play cuz it's been a few years since last I've seen or even talk w/him and you know, I miss him. they close off the streets and there's throngs milling but I'm focused to get to bob and my hoof is direct to this pad. big line but this big line moves cuz the passes I was given and have in my back pocket (I hate wearing lanyards around my neck) - this has got to be a nightmare for folks trying to see some bands - I don't know how it works really unless eveyone wanting to see music is also playing music and that's why the have a pass for that, there's probably just lots of gig-goers that aren't in band but I don't know the particulars except I feel bad for them just waiting and waiting... anyway, bob is playing by himself w/an ovation acoustic guitar and singing is heart out - same old bob and I'm into it. he lived in this town a little in the mid-90s but has been in d.c. the last five years. he says he's got a new album coming out and plays a tune from that. ever since I've know bob (1980), he's always been enthusiastic about his releases and never afraid (it seems). fascinating! I go up to the stage when he's done and call him over - big hugs, sweaty ones. man, it's good to see/hear him and I say so. we talk about steve mcclellan some, our friend and former gigboss at minneapolis' first avenue. I get a trippy hot dog on the way back to the 'tel from someone selling them off a kart on the street - it's got mashed potatoes on it! never had one like that before... good eats.
friday I shovel after popping around eight - some konk deficit to make up for. now this is a 'tel in the u.s. - no overseas - so for sure there's no free trough to shovel from and even worse, the twelve bucks (yeah, twelve bucks!) I pony up is for total short-stay shit, I blow it out in maybe twenty minutes after somehow getting it down - terrible. tomorrow I hoof to forge for sure. stooges are doing four songs for a radio station in seattle that's broadcasting from here. we do "trollin'," "atm," "my idea of fun" and "she took my money." it's done where there's something to do w/that "austin city limits" show - inside on a soundstage and there's a live audience who are very into it, alright. I'm playing through an ampeg bass amp - no svt though - a little combo w/one 15" speaker but fuck it, you work the room - right? I play my heart out like I do every stooge gig, never go halfway for these gentlemen ever. ronnie's got a little amp too - no stack for him. iggy's wild an all over the place, really good. he does some spiel w/the lady dj that's pretty funny. afterwords w/have a meet/greet/beat/meat w/the bug publishing people - really good cats, big hugs for my old friend eddie gomez. we then go to waterloo records to do a live in-store w/all the songs we just did except "...money" and man, is the stage tiny... first time I play right next to ronnie since the j mascis + the fog days! scotty's on the other side of him and steve sits this one out. I did get to play through an svt though and ronnie had a marshal half-stack. the train almost ran off the track for "atm" but we recovered and kept it together, good work. of course I'm doing all these in the blue boilersuit, my new stooges outfit. there's album and poster signing afterwards and the guys have me and steve join them at a table, they have me sit between iggy and ronnie. wow, I wasn't expecting that - I'm expect to help them on the bass. of course I don't sign "fun house" or other stooges albums cuz I'm not an original stooge - I only sign on "the weirdness" or that live in japan one ("telluric chaos") cuz those are two I helped out on. I hope folks understand this - dave alexander was the real stooge bass (and then ronnie for "raw power" days). I just don't feel right putting my name on stooges stuff I don't play on, feels like a bumrush. we get back to the 'tel and after a little bit, I head a couple of blocks away to a club called the mohawk where thurston's having an "ecstatic peace night" there - all the bands playing are on his ecstatic peace label. he improvises w/some cats and then does some songs from his upcoming solo album w/steve shelley and a violinist named samara. first time I think I've seen him play sitting down and w/a music stand hold lyric sheets even. wild too is him playing an acoustic guitar though it has a pickup going through an amp. he's got a lot of good bands on his label - I really liked black helicopter. I know thurst was kind of nervous cuz he buys me and him beers and even some bourbons... thurst ain't really a drinker so I know something was up. he didn't get barracho though, he's got too much discipline for that. I really look up to him, he's been such a big star in my sky - especially after d. boon was killed. when I start to falter, a talk w/him always gets me back on the track and forward. he teaches me much too. sensei thurst, big time.
gig day (saturday - saint pat's day too, I got my green oxfam button I was given thursday night) and I just skip shoveling anything after popping early. stooges are gonna play at stubb's tonight after midnight but I got a lot to do before that - I wanna see thurst do some in-stores w/the music he did last night cuz I was kind of windbagging w/his label partner andrew while he playing and did give the new stuff the proper hundred percent attention it deserved. I 'pert-near am always fully engaged in his music when he's doing it so I feel kind of bunk about myself spacing like that though andrew is an interesting cat. eleven bells I do a spiel w/robin cook - her boyfriend runs the "perfect sound forever" site - a great music place on the web and she's got a little digicamera filming my spiel. man, do I wring it out but she's very patient and a good listener. oh yeah, speaking of spiels, I did one w/a cat named jon yesterday that was interesting - he's a teacher and was asking me "parallel universe" kinds of things, like how do you get something going at some like sxsw and not be a shill or settle for shtick - stuff like that but of course I ring in all kinds of other stuff cuz my mind gets tangented out wanders like a motherfucker but I think I didn't do too bad. he was a really kind man and nice to talk to. I take a cab over to where thurst's chowing near the "end of a ear" record store where he's gonna play but we ride w/his labelman andrew to find a replacement for the pickup he used in his acoustic guitar last night - it got donated somewhere somehow. we check a few music stores and all the riding around eats up so much time that I don't have that long to spend at the record store cuz of stooges soundcheck and end up missing seeing him play - damn! I did get to see his buddies in the tall firs play - I was told the singerman was working off a major hangover and they just had to play cuz he konked out before his set last night... I kind got some blame but not really cuz andrew said that cat should've be on his own discipline. see, he had a bottle of knob creek (pretty ok bourbon) and gave me some and well, I don't drink anything like I used to but I got a pretty high tolerance and so if you're one who ain't got one and you're guzzling to see how I'll make out if you're getting me to drink w/you, well... shit, I didn't even know that happened, I thought he was ok though he was talking a little trippy... he's a nice cat though. I didn't mean for him to get that way, I didn't know. I wouldn't of "aided and abetted" if I had. I do like whiskey but I'm healthier these days not doing so much of it. oh, I did get to talk w/tim kerr - a buddy of his gave this great john coltrane portrait he did to me at the record store yesterday and also this trippy drawing... tim got to explain what it was: he was aked to draw d. boon and then he did it again and w/out knowing it, I appeared - he didn't how he did that! it was either that or the other way around - I was just very touched cuz his heart is very big and I love him much. I got to meet the bass cat from many birthdays too, a great austin band I like playing on my watt from pedro show. I took a cab to stubb's and though I've played this pad many times, I've always played the smaller indoors and not the bigger outside stage. soundcheck is typical stooges - no iggy and two songs w/helperman chris really fast - the way ronnie likes it. no knobman rik w/us though, we're using the local cat though him and all the stubb's folks are righteous like always. much respect to them. I get back to the 'tel and then thurst comes to pick me up to eat barbque w/him, andrew, steve and samara but I ain't feeling like I wanna fill the belly cuz of the gig later so I just sit and spiel w/him. I tell him some secret stuff cuz it's weighing heavy on my mind, he's good w/that always and helps me get my thoughts straight and bring some calm. I then go back to the 'tel w/steve and samara. while she konks, me and steve do a watt from pedro show - steve's great, I've always loved him and it's great to hear about his early days and how the sonic youth think worked out for him. I did accidently fuck up a few (maybe ten or fifteen) minutes of his spiel, having somehow got it scissored but he went on for over an hour w/some really interesting stuff. we finished up right before the stooges gig - luckily we were leaving right before we played cuz of the dressing room situation so when I said bye to steve, I met up w/the stooge guys in my boilersuit and got backstage just after midnight, just a few minutes to go before hitting the stage. on the way in I see peter from the vera club in gronigen (holland) and he wants to get me in but the place is packed and they wouldn't let me have any guests except for sam from the go! team's buddies that I wrangled on a couple of weeks before. damn, it makes me really sad to leave peter there, I felt awful. somehow I gotta make that up to him. anyway, just moments back stage and then we're on - we start the gig off w/old tunes, abandoning what we did in switzerland a week and a half ago. we charge out w/"loose" and the place goes nuts. damn is it wild! "I wanna be your dog" is next up and ig does his first launch off the stage - whoa! then it's "tv eye" - wow, all three of these tunes back to back is 'pert-near too much weight for my brain to take but I hold on, even laughing uncontrollably at times cuz well fuck, I just can't believe it... for me on stage w/these guys is a lot of like me being in the crowd and watching/listening/getting into it though I gotta maintain and do my job, it's quit a juggle for watt but I try my hardest. steve joins us next cuz "1970" is up early in the set, that's a trip but I always do love looking over and seeing steve make his entrance and blow his heart out on that sax. from here it's like we usually run the tunes - into "mindroom," then "fun house," "l.a. blues" and "skull ring" - it's all wild w/both tightness and abandon (how? I don't know!) but a couple of bars into "skull ring" there's suddenly no bass. now I got two svt amps like usual and what's the odds of them both going out? I should've reasoned out it was a cable thing - I even checked that out first by seeing if signal was getting to the tuner and it was - the direct box is right after that so I should've just kept playing cuz at least bass would've been coming out of the p.a. but I panic some and try to aid helperman chris - I tell him to get the third amp (backup) going but he has to set that up... t-shirt bob is trying to make sure the speaker connects are good when ig hits the bass amps full blast - a rhino charge at full steam, luckily I just saw it coming coming and braced the stack from the blow cuz that would've been a few hundred pounds coming down on t-shirt bob and man, I do not want that man hurt. ronnie did good to cover for the bass 'til the backup amp fired up and I was back in the race for "trollin'" which grooves really good live among the new ones I think - we're into the new ones now and I'm right up for "my idea of fun" cuz when iggy just dived into yesterday w/out giving me a chance to tune and I had to play it an octave up from what I did on the record, he said was ok and in fact said it worked better cuz he's got more to hang the singing on and not just feel rumble so alright, I don't have to d-tune anymore for that song. something happens though when we finish and I lose a little nerve - damn it, watt. I can't remember how this next song "she took my money" goes - this baby has only one part, just three chords but I'm spacing on the first bars when thank god, it comes to me (right out of the fingers and not out of the head) and I'm back on board w/the team. at least I was zoned in the key of a cuz that is what the tunes in - in fact I think I had the intervals right, it was just the syncopation that was all off. fucking baka watt. I have it together for "I'm fried" and we're off, the boiler suit totally drenched. iggy tells us one more and we do "no fun" - he brings on folks to be dancers and it's wild crazy - lots of hugs from these folks after - sweaty grateful ones from watt. backstage I am tapped and sit there still to get calm. wow, that seemed like five minutes. this cat comes up to me and says "I had this gig w/iggy for eight years - good job." wow, that was nice of him. then ig comes from his room to give me two bottle of wine, saying one was ok but the other I should take home. I thank him and just craddle those bottles... too dazed to have a drink. his lady nina tells me she likes the boilersuit. I think scotty and ronnie played great and work up the breath to get that out of my mouth - man, they wailed and what a train to be on, truly. scotty says the only thing he enjoys is playing - he's been a little down but you wouldn't know it from how he was slamming the groove tonight. I guess he got the word we're going to film a nine song set in front of a live audience for a yahoo-nissan thing in l.a. tuesday and though I get to go home, no one else does and plus the press stuff he has to do wears on him - he calls it "dog and pony" - like I said, it wears on him. I just hate to see scotty down and am so glad the gig brought him up. ronnie's in good spirits though - I think he likes spieling, he is good at it. I get strong enough to go out and see jello biafra and bring him backstage - been a long time since I've seen jello and tells me some trippy sds stuff, he knows history good - like he knows music... him and bob from creem get talking about that and well, the adrenaline is running out so I make for hoofing towards the 'tel. first I talk w/the stubb's folks, all great cats like I've already said - much respect to them.
sunday morning I hoof and find good mexican chow, familia style. man, is this town quiet now. my plane leaves at two so I'm to the 'port at noon and get a chance to see my old freind elizabeth again - she's heavy w/a baby to come, looking beautiful that way. her and her Eduardo are going back to nyc, he's a great guy too. bye bye. hello pedro, great to be home again, just in time for a dos prac - me and kira got a gig coming...
iggy + the stooges
on tour in the u.s. - april 2007
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