a word's-eye view from mike watt
it always great news for me when someone says they like what I did for them, I get so nervous for the reply but if it "please do it again" then it's no problem, I just keep trying. the last funanori tune I did eighteen tries! grazie fratello stefano, grazie! and it's great the box works good too, I'm hoping she digs that cuz the one she's got now has failed.
it's all gray out but not raining like yesterday so I hoof around lueven w/the digicamera ready to snap. this is an old university town and there's much to see, I dig it I hoof for many hours and just stare, wonder and snap as much as I can. very interesting stuff. one plaque says that some cat at this school was the first "western" scholar to accept copernicus' "earth revolves around the sun and the not the other way around" idea. man, does tour teach me trippy things!
we shove off seven bells for the gig - it's twenty minutes away in a little town called werchter and it's called the tw classic festival and there's not many bands - the scabs (I don't know them or the two that went on before we got there milow and juanes - even more sorry... aaarrrgghhhh, fucking baka watt) and then the police (they've reunited) are after us. we're going on at 7:30 pm which is righteous, I love early gigs. in madrid last week I forgot to bring my bracelet - I'm very superstitious and I know that's irrational but shit, like that ain't all that's wrong w/me? kind of minor, maybe - anyway, I feel a little more confident and also it's not the first gig in six months (like last week)! the rain has held off (I'm especially relieved for the folks who have to stand out in it cuz it's an outdoor festival) but it's kind of cold so my bass is kept on stage to head off any tuning problems. of course the hour and some minutes still to go before we hit the stage goes r e a l l y s l o w - of course but finally the time comes and we follow ig up to the stage. I hear the same music from the tape ig made for the last gig so maybe that's our intro music for this summer - I dig it, canned heat's "on the road again" is the song right before us. ig asks if we're ready and we tell him yep and he says "ok, let's go!" and I run out to plug in my bass. looks like I got two stacks of ampeg svt-II amps and I brought a new tuner, a peterson stomptuner 2. it's fast and accurate but I trust helperman chris for the beginning cuz there's no time for a check - we're right away underway - here we come w/"loose" right out of the barrel - bam! the gig is on! it's still pretty light out and the sound is good on stage. wow, it's the stooges firing on all cylinders, right out of the gate. my hands are worked up real good from the recording, yeah! "down on the street next" and we're cooking... for ig's bass amp perch, I lower myself down to my knees real slow and easy cuz I can't be hurting them early in the season. we got "1969" going now where ronnie jumps into his lead quicker at the end. I thought it was a little cold and maybe it is but I don't feel cuz I'm already starting to sweat up the boliersuit. "arf arf arf" for animal song time, we kick "I wanna be your dog" out tough, ig crawls down the stage stuff to give it to folks up front and personal. "I said take it down!" he hollers when he gets back up on stage. the tune ends and the he pours a bottle of water over his head - ig ain't cold either - he hollers us into "tv eye" and the rock train is rolling through the snake-way, twister-blistered. we do a more compact "dirt" now - ig worked it up w/us beforehand (forgot to mention that, sorry) and it comes off real nice. "real cool time" right away and right now right now right now - there we go! whoa, ig gets like twenty or so locals on the stage to dance w/us - are we back to the old way? I love it, love the folks dancing w/us... the stay on board for "no fun" and it's much fun and then pretty quick everyone getting off when we're done w/it - I think that's a big problem, getting folks to clear the stage so if they do that, I think maybe we can continue having cats dance w/us. I just love it, it really makes me happy. band intros and then "1970" comes rolling in sight. whoa. steve comes out w/sax - no sprint like he had to in madrid. "mindroom" duet w/ronnie and ig 'till he cues me w/a "fun house" for... "fun house" - yeah! I make sure I don't push it too fast cuz that's what scotty told me I was doing last gig but damn if I 'pert-near almost stumble it in! of course once scotty's there, I'm right there w/him and it's ok, "feel alright!" yeah. "l.a. blues" - freak out but w/bass more than body, then "skull ring" and "my idea of fun" to the closer "search and destroy" - yes, we nail the ending, the idiot on bass included. I finally notice ronnie played the guitar that reverend guitar company made him that looks a lot like a gibson flying v one(ron asheton signature model) the whole set tonight, whoa - no change out for tuning. why am I thinking that now? we're back out for "little electric chair" and I start the bass solo a whole "wooooooo!" chorus early, arrrrgggghhhh, I back out after a bar and then get back in when it's the right time w/ig dancing all about me, yeah, he's real close and I'm playing right for him - just for him, up to the finish he's still there and then yells "yeah, what you're doing is cool" into the mic and let me tell you there couldn't be a happier bass player from pedro in the world! wow!
back to the dressing room, have some good spiel w/ron and scotty while I change out of the sweaty boilersuit and then in a little bit, we're riding back to lueven. this was a very happening gig and I konk very happy. maybe it's easier to konk if you're a happy person? yes, it is easier if you are a happy person!
saturday, june 14, 2008 - isle of wight, england
at nine bells the morning after the werchter gig (sunday), after popping, soaking and free-trough shovelling, we bail to brussels and the airport there to fly to heathrow in england. it's a short flight on one this little airlines called bmi where you pay two euros for a coffee - I think the only thing free is someone pissing down your throat but come to think of it, that'd probably be more. I hope I don't sound like I'm whining. it was ok, I was in the last row w/the seat next to me (only two in each row - this is a smaller brazilian embraer emb-145) which is good cuz they wanted to take my backwacksack to be stowed below cuz it's thick w/that pro tools stuff but that'll get unloaded in a few hours now - I'm so glad the stewardess lady let me have it on and next to me on the deck cuz I just can't let the music stuff get hurt... I gotta get it to where it's gotta go safe. from heathrow it's a hour and half to get to the 'tel the guys are staying at in the east part of london, east of the tower but still close to the thames river... all the traffice, aaarrrgggghhh but still, beautiful cali-like weather. I go to the 'tel w/them but am not to stay here, instead my buddy jose comes and gets me to take a bus and some tube (london underground train) to get to his and kyoko's pad in part of london called angel, not really that far away. jose and kyoko are beautiful people - I will stay w/them one night before going to brighton to work w/brother sam dook on our new music proj and just hang out in his brighton town, can't wait. but first, the great vibe for me here... this time instead of jose cooking for me, kyoko makes up some righteous paella using macaronis and a very happening salad and kind of tapas breads w/stuff on them - I'm a stupid person when it comes to naming these but let me tell you it was so fucking oishii (sabor, tasty!). while she was rustling that up, jose wanted to discus bakunin (he studied him in school, he wants to tell me those ideas won't work) and then some rock music people that he really dug and now feels have let him down, so it's a little heavy but I understand it's on his mind. I must seem like an irrational child at times - not cuz of hollering cuz I'm calm here but more reasoning or what might appear as reasoning. one thing I had planned to come here and tell him is an apology I wanted to do in person, not w/email, about me doing kind of sockpuppet stuff by pushing feelings on him since last summer, even before. he forgives and believe him most kind to do so. we chow kyoko's righteous tabemono and then hoof is the gorgeous cali weather, going over to a canal to drink some beers and watch how a lock works - amazing they've lived this close to one but never saw it operate. it's a hand run deal and cats from the house boat barge (like what you see in amsterdam) climbs by opening one set of locks and flooding by opening the other set. then they wanna throw frisbees - damn, when's the last time I done something like this, the 70s? we go back after a while and jose plays me music w/the little roland synthesizers from the 90s that I know nothing about but he makes trippy music w/them. he plays me boards of canada and they're trippy but I don't think they're the same as black moth super rainbow - I've made friends w/that bands main man and he told me in an interview he has boards of canada influences but to me, they're two different bands. what do I know about any of this anyway? I like what I like and admitting I'm stupid about it is ok I think, cuz I don't want any hurt put on anyway - I can't feel right about being rash... shit, I've had cats in the minutemen days tell us we were like rush (that band from canada) just cuz both bands were trios! after we have more chow, it's light like the first round... it's thai, wow! again oishii. I am starting to fade, the bring up to their music room and there's a mattress on the deck in there, I guess cuz there's a hardwood deck. hell, I really need is a pillow or my coat rolled up (I brought the yellow one I pedal my bike in) if it's warm enough and don't even need a blankie. I'm out like that but of course it's hard to hold pisses for me at this age so I don't know, like four in the morning or something (I took my glasses off) and damn if it ain't pitch black so heavy I can't see shit all. I feel around for the bulkhead - there's all this music gear and I don't wanna knock any of it down. damn, I get on my knees and look for the crack under the hatch but can't find it, can't find shit - can't find my glasses. there's only a little space of deck exposed cuz of the mattress and it's like trying navigate a skinny little moat... I trip and fall many times but the mattress keeps me from being hurt but damn is it frustrating - I can't believe this happening... I don't wanna holler and wake them - fuck, I sure as hell don't wanna piss all over this matress or on this deck so I just get prone on my back in the little moat of deck between the equipment and pissed me levis that way so it'd be wet side up and hopefully get soaked up enough so it would run down and puddle up on the deck. well, I was relieved that happened and nothing got pissed on but myself but I got admit it was kind of fucked - but me being soiled was better than anything of jose and kyoko's so I was actually relieved and konked happy that way.
morning did come somehow and I hosed off in the head after finding the crack under the hatch cuz sunlight could make it through and put on the shorts I was gonna paddle in. I didn't have the nerve to tell jose but did tell him there was a problem w/the "pitch black room" and hey, that's life - it can really funny in a sort of soiled way then, can't it? he gets me to victoria station via some bus and tube rides and it's big hugs to him for a bye and I'm on the southern line to brighton for nineteen pounds (like $38 u.s.) and I get there around noon after fifty minutes. I only got the yellow clothes sack and the backwack'putersack much lighter now cuz of the mbox pro and that stuff left w/jose - I wait out front of the station a half-hour 'till I think maybe I should call sam cuz how would he know I was here and damn if I ain't surprised to find out I dialed his number right and comes to get me. now sam is in the go! team and that's how I met him - when that band was playing the "big day out" festival in australia in the beginning of 2006. now we've planned a project between us called cuz and that's why I'm in his town now. his go! team bossman ian sometmes help get their songs together by using samples of other musics so I was thinking maybe me and sam try stitching together an album w/samples but have the samples come not from other folks but from me and him on bass and drums. so it's gonna be three days of me up n the same room at brighton electric that the go! team did their second album w/and we're gonna record as many abit we can w/him on drums and me on bass. of course sam can play almost everything but he'll get to that later, after we build some brick that'll go into making foundations for an album's worth of songs. I love sam and love the ambition he has for cuz, the neame we given to this proj. today though is no recording - I first meet his flatmate (they call apartments flats in england) anton who paints and then iain who makes music and has a band called hamilton yarns. I do a watt from pedro show w/iain, starting w/john coltrane's "ascension" (I start every watt from pedro show w/a john coltrane song) but then 'pert-near every song is one by hamiliton yarns as he explains to me the different phases and history of the band. now brighton is right on the english channel and I've never paddled in an ocean besides the pacific so sam knows that and he himself has never paddled a kayak ever so we're going to the seas side to paddle... it's a short ride in his car (on its last leg, a blown headgasket taking out two of the four cylinders), easy enough to pedal a bike - I'll do that tomorrow but now w/out a cloud in the sky we gotta wait 'till five pm which I think would be way too cold but it's so warm here and the sea so calm (no surf at all and no sand on the beach either - it's all pebbles) but still a good motion once out - sam does real good, wow - catch up, watt! we paddle to the brighton pier which has been there always, every time I've been in brighton and then over to the west brighton pier which has been all burned up always since I visited but at one time it must've been something. sam takes lots of shots of me in front of the rusting hulk of the west pier when a minutemen song comes to me, "self-referenced" which I wrote maybe twentyfive years ago:
we were econo w/words w/the minutemen. I start telling sam stories about me, d. boon and georgie - about how we went to mexico after cutting our heads bald for a gig earlier that week (well, it was george's idea but he haired-out and went for some little braidy things in kind of short hair style - me and d. boon found out only after getting to the gig he chumped on his own plan!) and the next day was the u.s. fourth of july and there it was election day and I wrote "I felt like a gringo" and d. boon wrote "corona" on the next morning and how about us all three swimming out there for hours - me and d. boon getting our bald heads real sunburned... I start missing him real bad and wanna cry my head off but sam snaps me back into the moment - he takes snaps of me in front of burned-out wreck of a pier. we paddle and paddle, what a righteous time. sam made me salmon and broccoli that night before taking me to meet w/his go! team folks ian, jamie and chi (w/her husband, a very cool man) plus his old friends ollie and danny. this pub we're at though is mersh and mister butch cowboy keeps calling us boys and girls so it's on over to jamie's pad not far away and he's got a bottle of jim beam to be opened... and drunk. time to take on fuel and burn! a very happy time, much animated spiel from obviously lit watt, dancing from tangent to tangent tripping and flailing over ideas and such - man, these cats are fun to be w/and trip (and be tripped) w/concept ravel/unraveling. I feel very lucky to be here w/them, here right in this moment. sam's got a big high blow up thing for me to konk on and konk I do, I think it was laughing melting into snoring real quick.
tuesday, wednesday and thursday were similar to each other... I'd pop at sun-up and get on the bike sam had for me and pedal to the sea, exploring all the brighton town in between. then I'd get back and we'd head over to brighton electric, me in my jinbei (love recording in that outfit!) and w/jamie-san's bass, very much like a fender jazz but not fender, made in japan - on the headstock (this was the only thing a tiny bit different than a fender) was these letters that looked like "csi" - I know nothing about that but I do know it played righteous and sounded great as well. I could even use only the front pickup and there was no buzz! how? (I don't like the backup pickup much on basses) sam had gotten chi's drums and jamie's svt cab w/a peavy head driving it but in the studio was this mark amp (these are new from italy - I used one w/mister shimmy and ms yuko last month in tokyo), a combo w/one 12" speaker so I unhooked that and drove the svt w/that. hey, very happening sound, I like! a very cool young man named alex helped much getting things going w/us - the whole pad had very cool folks around, much respect! me and sam would then trade ideas and groove on them for a while, what we called "loading the pallet" for him to "paint songs" w/later down the line. it was a lot of fun. the jinbei was great too cuz it got pretty hot in there, the weather got a little cloudy but still kept sunny w/the only rain coming at night. oh the first time pedaling, I got lost coming back... understand, towns here are based on old ones where the roads are not a grid and just srpawl and end, going off in all kinds of directions. all I could remember is sam lived above a co-op funeral type of place (mortuary in the u.s.) and after even these two cops I asked on the street didn't know, I decided to go to a funeral home I did see and figured they'd know the competition and sure enough they did - thank you so much! for chow, once sam took me to a india place pretty close - I had to have curry cuz jamie's pad was much of that smell and it made me hankering for it big time (we ain't got india chow pads in my pedro town) and another day was fish and chips. we came up w/hours and hours of music. eventually at the end of each day, my mind would hit a brick wall and I'd feel so stupid, like I couldn't think of one creation (that was really weird on me) but that'd be like after much much jams. the last day sam's friend danny helped us pack everything down (sam's words) and then we chowed at an italian pad sam likes called beanies close to his pad. I had what they called "americano hot" pizza but it's a good thing I had my bottle of habanero on my belt to really make it hot. then sam's good buddy shige came over and we had a great time shooting the shit and spieling much 'till I started (w/out my knowing it) w/the ibikis (snores) and of course they took pictures of me all konked. shige is great people (he's known musically as dj scotch egg) and I hope to see him again soon. sam wants him to play on what we did - same w/danny and I think that's a great idea. oh there was a drummie cat from the first version of the boredoms who I really dug too but he had to bail early.
friday was a little sad for me cuz I had to leave but it was a righteous 'pert-near five days being w/sam in his town and meeting his friends and doing all that music. wow, you just roll into some cats town and blow out a whole bunch of creating w/rhythms and sounds, there are parts of my life that blow my mind and amaze me, I don't know or why it happens. I do know I'm forever grateful to sam and hug him good and hard when it's time to say bye to him at the train station. for twentyone pounds (around fortytwo bucks u.s.) I take the southern line back up to london and at clapham station, take the southwest line to woking express (so I miss all the local stops) and then a local to fleet. even though the four seasons 'tel where the stooges guys are is in hook, which was the next stop - a look at google maps would be backtracking it cuz the dogmersfield village it's in is in hook (in hampshire, about fifty miles west by southwest of london) but actually closer to fleet. ha! people, sometimes that google map stuff can help - use it!! oh, I'm back in my levis cuz there was a laundromat under jamie's pad though it cost 'pert-near twelve dollars worth of "sterling" (what they call england monies) for just one skivvies, two levis, one pair of socks and one flannel - damn! had to do it though. oh, on the last day of recording, sam took me to a used clothes pad and I got a righteous blue flannel w/pearloid snaps, all worn and soft. my first england flannel ever, yeah! there were many one-pocket ones there (fake! what's that about?) but not all (have mercy)... man, do I hate one pocket flannels! I know, that might be irrational but there's lots of times I don't think I'm rational - lots. most of the time it isn't purpose though. a ten pound cab ride from the train station to the 'tel and see steve, scotty and ronnie again after many days apart. we have good spiel catching up on things. the only real bad news is hearing scotty was down w/fevered sickness a few days - man, I want him well always. he's better now, good. this pad might be way away from anything else but a wedding party here makes things a little noisy w/much of those folks getting borracho. I'm kind of wore out but stay w/ronnie to make this one cat w/some lip don't get to silly. when it's ok, I konk hard on the fancy pad deck in my chamber.
gig day (whoa, a week from the last one) is here! pop at five bells, thre's a free shovel in the bistro and it's like the regular full england breakfast (eggs, beans, tomatoes, bacon, bangers, etc) but all parted out into this big silver rounded domed servers. I chow some fruit and yogurt too. now this pad is sitting on five hundred acres of countryside so I go out and w/the camera and man, the creatures are very kind to let me up close - a couple of swans in the pond, a few other species of waterfowl that seem like some sort of duck/goose, swallows zipping all over, grouses, big bumble bees in all the clover and buttercups, rabbits - all kinds. it is very serene for me and I think of all of whitman's "leaves of grass" I've started to memorize cuz I'm reading it over and over so much (the twelve poems in the first edition). I have to laugh to think how trippy life is to bring me to such a point, looking up at the heavy clouds - it did rain last night but maybe it holds off for the gig - for the helicopter ride! yeah, I get in the boilersuit later that after and six pm, we head out to maybe a hundred yards from the front hatch where this agusta a109s helicopter operated by air harrods has just landed in the grass to fly us to the isle of wight festival which is maybe twenty mintues away. scotty wanted to take the ferry instead so he left five hours ago. it's only my second time in a helicopter, the first time being last spring in crans-montana, switzerland - up in the alps. this is different in some ways - a pressurized cabin means no headsets and a lot more quiet and there's no mountains, just green pastures below us. such a trippy sensation in a helicopter, like a hachidori or bumble bee but maybe not as darting and quick - it is a different sensation than being a plane. we cross the coast w/portsmouth below us (I was born in the portsmouth that's in virginia) and then there in the water is the queen mary 2, whoa, is she big! I saw her come into l.a. harbor last year but overhead like this is a trip - same w/flying over the festival, crimony! we don't land at the festival, we land at some manor house fifteen minutes car ride away and there's roadboss eric and driverman clyde (yeah, the same clyde from manchester last year - a great cat, so great to see him again!) and wind and dirt blown on them big time as we come down... sorry! man, that was a trip! we're driven to newport, the town where this gig is on yes, the isle of wight (not that far off the coast of south by southwest coast of england). an hour in this "holiday hotel" turned into a dressing room deal and it's gig time - whoa, ready to go! up on the stage (none of ig's tape for intro music, damn), ig asks if we're ready and then hollers "go get 'em!" and I run over to stage starboard and strap the little bass on - no warm on her before hand and she seems tiny (been used to much jamming on jamie's full-scale, much thank yous to him for letting me use it - I gave sam a copy of whitman's "leaves of grass" to give him for gratitude) but my fingers will relearn quick - they have to! "loose" rings out and we're on our way. man, is it slamming! great sound on stage and ig's on fire, whoa! I'm really into it, really into it - yeah, man... this is righteous! of course it's real life and real life things happen - ig kicks out my cord and stuff when he jumps on my amps halfway through "down on the street" and somehow at the very same time, the battery in the tuner dies - helperman chris figures it out (this is very smart man who never panics) and though I don't get to finish w/the band, I'm ready for "1969" - ig hollering back to me, "sorry, mike" but I ain't mad, I love him and give a deep bow and am ready to go. for "I wanna be your dog," ig gets out into the moat of grass between the stage and the folks and works the crowd once ronnie starts soloing... ig rejoins us on-stage for "tv eye" and is then back out there for "real cool time" and "no fun" - the whole time cuz I guess no stage invasion can even be thought of and you can tell iggy's kind of wishing it could be - he sings some right in the face of security cat on the ground who's face had the look I could only describe by trying to make it at you and not use words - he was tripping! I love it. the england folks are enthusiastic, chanting ig's name and all. helperman chris has my tuner back in the game w/a new battery and I get all squared away while ig and ronnie do "mindroom" for "1970" and "fun house" - wow, what a kicking "fun house" it is - maji yabai!!! - way WAY intense - I get so lit, I start rolling around the stage for "l.a. blues" and even try to roll and summersault but my knees are too afraid to let it happen! I knock the little bass out of tune and don't have to time to get it back - even staying on one string for both "skull ring" and "my idea of fun" but aaaarrrggghhh - I gotta get another tuner that can run all the time cuz if I use this one, it'll mute me (like it's supposed to) and I won't be there for the band. it freaks me out some and I lose focus for "search and destroy" - I blow some clams, finding other fingerings - the 'd' string being really wack and ig almost calls off the tune but we get it going and do it up good... this is a short set so we run off and then ig debates whether one or two more - one more, "I gotta right" and we're back on, doing real good... 'till the ending - oh man, I misread the ending and scotty keeps going or something happens, something is wild and ig tries counted us out but that don't go so he pushes scotty's drums, tries to push them over but of course scotty's in the way (by the way, scotty was on a low riser and man, does that make is so great to play close and be w/him more than them tall ones that separate us) so ig comes over and pushes my bass amps over (I think they were two stacks of svt classics but I know they had master volumes) - boom, just like madrid - well, not exactly cuz he didn't charge - I was frozen, just standing there looking. man, I feel like a very stupid person. I walk back - clyde's there and he walks back w/me, the silly man from pedro w/a sweated-out boilersuit on. I change back into my other clothes quick, we're bailing in fifteen minutes... man, I am I having inside turmoil w/regrets... "you stupid person, watt, you stupid person" - that keeps running through my head, the whole drive back to the chopper... we get out and ig tells me it's ok, he asks me to sit across from me in the helicopter and explains what he thinks happened and says he think he might be wrong but I think he's right. he's very kind to me, telling me my playing has been better and better. I start to feel a better, I'm so grateful to him for so much, truly. I just wanna do the best I can, do it good for him. I don't even notice the helicopter ride back, I listen to every word and think about it all, it makes great sense... I am here to learn. I will put ten tons more focus into next gig, ten tons more...
we get back to the 'tel and I talk w/steve in his chamber as we listen to the new estel stuff we both played on and then music we did w/kamilsky but in my head I keep thinking "ten tons more focus, ten tons" tell I guess I start snoring, chin on chest after chowing some 'dines and crackers he gave me. he gets me to my chamber and hit the deck to konk w/that "ten tons more focus" wrangling every fiber of my mind, wrangling it right in to sleepytown.
monday, june 16, 2008 - dublin, ireland
pop at six bells, soak the sore bones (always after a gig) and then shovel last free trough at this pad. we're off to dublin but luckily we're west of heathrow and don't have to drive through london to get to it. I chimp diary on the way and we take that same bmi airlines (new one for me, maybe flew it one time before this tour leg?) on an airbus 319 from a part of this 'port that's way calmer than other ones that are total plug and crazy - maybe cuz it's for ireland or other england/scotland/wales parts? I don't know but I dig it. I get to sit next to saxman steve to - dig that! oh - forgot - big bye to brother clyde for all his righteous driving when we got out of the van. anyway, what I don't dig is us sitting on the runway eighty minutes cuz some v.i.p. (very ignornant prick) won't land at a military base and wants to land here (obviously to badgebuff) and plug everything else up. the clown only has 'till january anyway so I guess - shit, I don't know what to guess and don't wanna waste any more time thinking about it. your shit's almost through, buddy and you left us a big ol' mess. nuff said.
at dublin airport we land we the cloudy skies we took off w/but as we drive towards the 'tel, ballsbridge court (south of the river liffey so we drive right through town to get to it), rain starts down but that stuff is always on/off around here it seems. seems also like a lot of pads got cats from poland working the 'tels like the last one and this one. when I hear the accent and say "jenki" for thank you, they always smile and kind of trip on that but hell, much respect to them - I'm a working person too and I come from a land where folks come from other lands to work so I feel solid w/them in a way, you know? waiting in the lobby are bushie and sarah from estel who I first met when they opened up for me on a secondmen tour stop in 2004 in this town, they're great cats. we go first to a mersh pad (not on purpose, what?) and I chow a pile of garbonzo beans (everyone laughs!) an a mersh beer hype "an brain blasta" (taste like fake guiness) but find a real pub and meet a cool friend of there's name jon and we spiel a long while, a great time for the stupid person in the yellow coat from pedro!
gig day and it's bloomsday! wow, bloomsday for watt in dublin... "bloomsday" is another word for june 16, 1904 which is the day the james joyce book "ulysses" is set to happen on - I was here four years ago for the centinieal and it was the first time I ever went to a forgeign town w/out playing a gig. bushie come to walk w/me downtown (we ain't exactly downtown but hoofing's good for watt) to do some things, like get a tuner pedal so I can have one always on and can constanly check w/no mute, go to the post office and mail back some bosch magnets I got in tokyo to silver lake (I didn't come in 2004 alone) and then get my picture taken next to the "prick w/the stick" - what they call this statue of jimmy joyce on north earl street, on the way also getting a picture next to the new phil lynnot statue too (unexpected!) - thank you, mister bushie! man, I wish the buds I wish I stayed w/in the skerries four years, nez and anto were here so we could rap much about that book (bushie don't know a whole lot of it but he's still a great cat and he does know a lot about dublin) but that's the way it is this - I accept it. I 'pert-near couldn't write enough about how that book slammed a huge impact on my life, starting w/me reading the first time in my twenties... two-thirds or more of the songs I wrote for the mintuemen "double nickels on the dime" album were influenced by that first reading... shit, I could go on and on - and for my best friend raymond pettibon - it's his birthday too... ain't that a trip? I think of him much, that book much - and at the same time, spiel w/bushie. many many steps are coverd (like bloom!) and then I get back for soundcheck but find out it's w/out us so I get the diary up. I then read whitman's "leaves of grass" and trip on parallels I see w/joyce's "ulysses" which I dunno, maybe they're just in my fucking head - I see to twist all kinds of shit up at times. I wish raymond was here so I could ask him his ideas on such stupid things to think. lots of times he's gentle w/me that way and doesn't pass judgement... he gets me to laugh and realize an insight into what I'm all stumblebum about, something that never could've come w/out me being confused on this other shit in the fist place... man, is that a trip how that happens! it's been that way for years w/us... what would I do w/out him?
the gig is listed as part of the "some days never end festival" but the web link only gives infos from last year so I don't know what's up - that's what tour boss henry told me though and I always defer his word as gospel so anyway, we're at this field outside the royal hospital kilmainham but I don't see exactly what part's the hospital cuz the dressing rooms are in this older very solidly built big building w/the stage being this hooded outdoor dealio which is good if this now-heavy gray sky opens up w/rain - but not for the folks watching cuz they for sure would be soaked... the weather though is holding up and I'm grateful. ig comes in to say hi, I tell him "happy bloomsday!" and he goes "yeah!" alright, good gig tonight - watt's excited. we're on at 9:15 pm and hear the opening band as we arrive a hour and a half before - it's stiff little fingers, a northern ireland punk band from the old days - great they're still playing. I hear them finish up w/their "alternative ulster" tune which everyone in those days knew... sounds great. there's lots of chow on the table, salami/cheese/turkey and a couple of bread loaves to make sandwiches w/so that I do cuz the morning shovel at the 'tel is all I had. I go outside to stretch out some and there's my estel buds - me and steve are gonna record w/them tomorrow. I say hi and talk some before going back up to put on the boilersuit. time passes like it does in these situations, slowly but finally it's time and we load up in a van to get to the stage. canned heat's "on the road" again playing means yes, we got the tape ig made playing as intro music. "are we ready?" ig asks and then tells us "let's go!" and we're on - I run out and plug in... yes, helperman chris has the tuner I got earlier plugged right in front of the peterson tuner. whoa, "loose" is coming from the original stooge w/a bang but the bass is way puny - I got two stacks of beat-up ampeg svt amps and they sound like terrible - helpermen jos and chris go to work on them but I soldier on and mime it - I know knobman rik will bring the direct signal out for the people. ig looks over and enourages w/a "come on" so I focus hard to not get introverted and tepid... "down on the street" almost immediately, like usual and I'm laying it out as if I did have some power cuz for all I know I probably do in the big picture. I start to relax the worry part and the focus gets bigger - yeah, I like how that happens. the stooges music for me is amazing and inspring - ig is amazing and inspiring and hell, we're in dublin on bloomsday - what a trip! I think of raymond and his birthday too... man, I wish he was here so much but anyway, song w/a magic number time - "1969" and finally the bass sound starts having some body but I can tell these speakers are blown, one of the amps has got a hum going and tone? how about anti-tone and tons of it but so what do you do - get all precious about it? FUCK NO! PLAY YOUR HEART OUT, MOTHERFUCKER! yeah, I think that little voice in my head has a good idea... I loosen up some start to groove more and by the time we finish and get into "I wanna be your dog" (next tune), I'm feeling a whole lot better. now slank out the groove for "tv eye" - ig has the folks if their thirsty and gives them what's left in a water bottle he's just about emptied over his head. no more cromatic up-pedal on the 'a' chug in the middle - ig wants us making like a throbbing motor, what he calls "just a sound - not music" - alright! we didn't do "dirt" at the pile of shite festival (did I say that right?) cuz we had a short set but we do it here, the newer version w/the shorter ending and then it's into "real cool time" - he goes into the crowd and stars picking out cats to come up and dance w/us - young guys climb up and start rocking out in front of me so I try to give them bass to do it. soon we got maybe a dozen up w/us and I guess that's what's considered now as "manageable" (capable of being "managed") but it's still a whole lot of fun, better than being "all alone" and then bump it in to "no fun" - aaaarrrrggghhh, I can't believe a couple of little clams - just tiny ones but why? baka watt! time to reel in and focus some tons - wake up call. scotty shows me some kind of silver necklace charm on a chain thing but I can't reach in far enough to grab it before it's time for the band intros and then "1970" - "now it's all about the music!" ig extolls and the stooge cannon pops the tune skyward like a cloud-splitter, then we re-gather ourselves during "mindroom" for the re-ignition into "fun house" churning and imploding into "l.a. blues" - me giving many peeks at the tuner to keep that business taunt and true. somehow I get some feedback out of these amps... how? I'm amazed but hey, I come out intact enough to do "skull ring" in tune! same w/"my idea of fun" which might sound bizarre but I'm just so glad I don't do a rerun of last gig in this part of the set. we finish strong w/a tight "search and destroy" and then come off to hear what ig wants us to do - he wants us doing two more songs and then heads back out. on the way I keep asking ronnie if he's hearing me in tune and he tells me "yeah, but we gotta play so get back out there!" whoops, I'm a spacecase! we do a good version of "I gotta right" and the irish cats are so into it - they have all gig, what righteous folks. ig thanks them much coming, for being here and we finish up w/"little electric chair" which later ig tells us he felt "a real physical response from the crowd" and I tell you, it was way fun to play, it was pure fun for me and I was really really happy. a great gig, as we go off stage I put my bass over my head w/one hand and fist up w/the other and holler "happy bloomsday!" and "happy birthday, ramyond!" but I don't know if anyone heard me but maybe they could read it on my face. I don't take the van back, I hoof. I am very happy.
I get back and everyone's in a good mood - yeah! on the stage, coming off, I remember hugging scotty and saying he played great and he said he liked the gig much - I was tripping on how his t-shirt was so dry... this boilersuit I'm taking off is soaked all the way through... is it the italian genes from my ma's people? after changing, I go downstairs and meet my estel friends down in the meeting tent. some other irish cats come up to me to and say they're big minutemen people - yeah, d. boon! we put our fists into the air, much respect! after some good spiel, roadboss eric gets me to get back to the 'tel, yes, thank you cuz I'm pretty tired. this 'tel here has free internet (that's how I updated the diary today and sent happy bloomsday/happy raymond's birthday greetings to my flow list) so I check before hitting the deck to konk... wow, look at this - it's the finished mix of "toumei sunday" - the new funanori song! I cry when I hear it, what an incredible bloomsday present for me. yeah, it's a trip to believe all this: in dublin on bloomsday to play w/the stooges, what a way to celebrate raymond's birthday even though he's not here. a lot of time the folks I love ain't w/me... that's ok, I accept it cuz they're in my heart, in my mind. it's a reality I have to face. I think that's why I am married to my bass! that's a good lesson I was learned...
friday, june 20, 2008 - venice, italy
tuesday morning I pop as the sun cracks an off and on rainy sky - I'm hoping it's turns to more than off rain but then again, it'll be studio world so that's pretty much inside time. I shovel like I've been shoveling here at this pad but more bran and less bacon. I thought estel's drummer man bushie was coming to get us at eleven but that's when the session is - whoops, I told saxman brother steve the wrong thing and then stumble on clear words and make it sound like he'd dawdling or something and has him bringing up why he was in the way when I was trying to get out there for encore time and well, it's just a stupid thing of me ever have any kind of thing w/steve cuz I love him much and being nervous for recording doesn't justify anything so I take a deep breath - hell, I do more than that - I go run upstairs and take a one minute freezing shower and that calms me up. now bushie don't drive so we take a cab just out of town to the place we recorded at last year, ashtown studios which is at a horse stable. we get there and there's like a dozen horses grazing out in a little field, actually the pile of horse shit is closer to us than the horses are now though their barn is right next door. I like the idea of recording at a pad like this. the estel band now has a new member named angus and this time their bass player andy is w/as well so there's seven altogether - guitarist tommy will double-duty on engineering too. it takes a while to set up so I chimp diary about the gig last night here in town meanwhile. last time I used a jazz bass of andy's that had nightmare action (really REALLY high) but this time there's a band who's got their equipment here (sorry, I can't remember their name) and there's a late sixties fender p-bass w/an added jazz picukp by the bridgethat has really happening action and sounds good too. tommy puts me through a little ashedown amp w/a 12" speaker getting a mic and a line out. steve of course is on sax and his own room. I'm actually in the drummer room (my amp ain't by I am) and that leaves the remaining three next to tommy in the control room at the board - sarah on synth, andy on guitar/five string bass through a fuzz, and angus on guitar/synth. ok, ready to go... I think this first thing is just a line check but it's actually called a piece when we're done - all seventeen minutes something of it! whoa, tommy just said "play something in 'e' - 1, 2, 3, 4" and we were off. the next is a little waltz that sarah wrote, very nice and we do a couple of takes cuz I thought the rhythm section might've been a little more steady (remember, I'm in the rhythm section - I need to be more steady!) and hell, now to think about it, maybe I should've used more root notes - baka watt! andy fires off some metallic vibe for us to bounce off after and again, like the first one, I think it's just a check - aaahhh, I hope I did ok... I'm afraid to listen to the playback, even space on it! it's really fun playing w/these guys though, don't why I'm kind of uptight but I loose up for brother steve's "lament" which again we do a couple of tries on, again cuz of my steadiness - not steve... I got some hurt in my from the riff he wants me to play so I change some and do it much smoother. a lot of this has everyone kind of going for it so I thought for a contrast maybe I show them some old minutemen ways... I've been goofing on this bass lick I got for myself since I started playing this fender and thought of a drum pattern for bushie to loop on. now it's very george hurley - hihat through out clicking (I end up calling the tune "time bomb") and off-beat kick couplet to bring it back around but not only is it pretty foreign to bushie but this man's been having to withstand a thumping ass migraine pounded the shit out of his brain. man, I respect him much. there are gaps in between his kick and snare plus my bass lick stuff so that's where I have tommy, angus and sarah go - tiny little parts where no one steps on anyone. for andy, I have him do a muted guitar strum thing paralleling the hihat, just like d. boon would do lots - yeah, this song has three guitarists! a few tries and I got everyone nailed into the piece, everyone locked in and making a big rhythm wheel for steve to blow his sax over, first a calm one and then a freak out one. it's very tough for bushie and we keep clamming and clamming - man, I gotta give him a break cuz I know that migraine is slaughtering him - we glue together the first two to make five and half minutes worth and then I think of the minutemen as metaphor for the tune - I have tommy run the first just us six as that rhythm track and then bring in steve for a minute of calmer/more trad solo, then another minute of just us in the machine mode alone again and finally steve again, blowing all wild (hell, he ever hollered into his horn through the reed and mouthpiece at one point!) to the end, fading out during the last half minute. ah ha, success. this is the only one where I really played deck boss, it was ok... I love these cats, love steve - much respect to everyone. ok, out of the jinbei... we clean up as tommy tells us there was lots of little riffs and bits I had going w/bushie and they're gonna get messed w/a pasted together to make songs maybe so there's more enough for a full album. the five songs we did last september are coming out this august so this will be "volume two" I' told. alright! me and steve are taken by sarah, angus and bushie (by cab - funny to hear the radio cuz there's an irish version of a "shock jocks" call-in show, like in the u.s. - one of them keeps hollering "spare the lash" - aaarrrggghhh... realyl funny in our case cuz we've been getting the estel cats to talk pirate the whole time we've been, like that's hardly a stretch) to the chinatown part of dublin (poland chow pads and bars there too also) and I chow what's called "spicy squid" and it's big rings of deep fried calamari! I pile on the oily chili they got but shit, it ain't enough and I didn't bring my holstered bottle w/me cuz there's no belt to hang it on w/the jinbei. oh well. it's just fun being w/the estel cats and rapping, bushie's girl ann joined us too. we go a few blocks to the "welcome inn" and this is the best drinking pad I've been in yet in this town, very down home - no sports or theme bar! that other pad where I met jon o'neill was ok but I really like this one. at midnight me and brother steve get a cab back to ballsbridge land and our 'tel there. man, estel made for a great day of music and spiel for us, much respect - again!
wednesday same early routine as yesterday (shovel and soak) but I pack up for bailing cuz the flight for venice (the original italian one - not the cali one) leaves at four. the boilersuit is now dry after hanging all night - I washed in the sink yesterday w/a little bottle of hair shampoo the 'tel flows (I use the bar soap anyway for my hair). we're bailing at one though - I chimp diary in the meantime 'til shove off... I ride up front w/the driver, yet another polish cat and he takes us to the 'port via the tunnel under the town - five miles long (or did he mean kliks?) - it is a big one. we go by the harbor too, yeah - cans! hammerheads! we see an old lightship too, unpowered - man, those must've been scary - no way to get out of the way if you're about to get plowed, damn. air lingus to venezia airport on an airbus 319 takes two hours. it was raining when we left (raining in my levis too while we flying), all sun where we land - what a difference crossing the alps makes! I wailed on my copy of "leaves of grass" and read all 160 pages during the flight - I wanted to see what that was like and it was a blur but I did get trippy emotions - of course I wouldn't recommend that "technique" but it was my ninth time through now and I wanted to trip on it that way. venice is a lagoon and the airport is on the mainland (actually not far from the park where the gig is friday) and so we take a water taxi (actually a big speed boat) to the 'tel - yeah, the best ride to the 'tel from the 'port I've ever had in my life! me and steve ride together and we're flying... the wakes we hit shake us up some but we're ready for them (I know from kayak paddlin' experience), both of us w/the top halves of our bodies out in the air in the back - the sun's finally going down (nine pm!) and I get shots of the sunset just before we enter venice's canals... wow, is this place a trip! no cars, all boats and very narrow tiny streets. I mean some are narrow narrow - just big enough for a person and not one belling too much either! there's oldage on lots of the pads, a neat kind that shows a time of a life of this pad, a trail of so much experience, huh? the history of venice is a real trip - especially at the end of the middle ages and coming on to and through the renaissance... d. boon first learned me the part about them having the biggest navy in europe for a period time. the 'tel we're at is not too far across the grand canal from where the train station is (there is a causeway going from the mainland to venice but I'm so glad we came by boat! ), it part of the sofitel chain but it's not looking like it shouldn't be there - a canal right in front - our boatman ties up to blue and white barbershop poles right at the 'tel's front hatch! I hoof around, what a maze of tiny ways and damn, it's night but I bet it's as intense come the sun too, right? we'll see maņana. I find a falafel chow pad real close - it says "halal" in the window and I find out that they'll fix the chow muslim, jew or christian - no problem - respect for folks different ways of chowing - I'm into it! of course I'm into exploring and want all kinds of different shoved down the in-door... bring it on! I get donner-kabab but it ain't like the ones you get in germany or holland, it's got italiano spin, you know? I'm into it. shit, I dig donner-kebab anywhere but it's a trip to learn it gets different... and now I think - that china chowpad in dublin - someone at the table had like a chop suey thing and damn if they're weren't length-wise one-eighth cuts of 'taters in it! yeah! the cookerman is named abdu and very cool people, very cool. I get some moretti beers too and bring them up to brother steve and we pow wow w/good spiel while putting them down. then I konk on my deck, portholes sealed cuz knobman rik warned me of 'skeeters...
I pop w/the sun on thursday and shovel soon as that part of the 'tel opens. there's some eggs/sausage but mainly I put down yogurt w/fruit and then stuff some tiny rolls w/salami and mozzarella. I get a map from the desk - I think a little ahead for once! I had used the 'puter to get satellite shot of venice - holy smoke, what a layout! incredible labyrinth, incredible. probably for defense for one thing, huh? like athens, like tokyo but way WAY more intricate, holy cow! I also emailed miss yuka cuz when she was here touring she told me how she loved it and so I asked for one thing - she told me two: the peggy guggenheim collection and squid-ink pasta... fuck, I spaced on the second one (damn it) but very much got into the first. as I began my wander (wonder!), the sun was super bright out so fuck it, I'm wearing the shorts I brought to kayak paddle w/sam in his brighton town and one of the two clean shirts I had left - one is the "going home shirt" and that never gets worn 'till... yeah... when I'm going home (it's the same one I'm wearing in the photo of my passport - maybe it trips out the immigration officer a little)! this is a flannel I'd already soiled but got to wash it in the laundromat under jamie's pad in brighton. I'm guessing I'm the only idiot in all of venezia wearing a flannel and sure enough, that's what indeed I find. I don't give a god damn, it's got a pocket w/a buttonable flap that holds my passport in it's holder so I can hang. anyway, beginning my wander (wonder), I realize there ain't one fucking place you can point you camera 'pert-near w/out getting a righteous shot so man, I'm gonna run out of space on this sd flash card in my camera - the one gig only gets 320 or shots. there's a photo shop real close as I begin and I get a two gig one for twelve euros (about $18 u.s.) and start snapping. the map helps too though what you end up doing is heading for a direction cuz no "road" goes very far, lots of times going to tiny one person-wide alleys right east of the arts acadamie and the last bridge over to the side w/piazza san marco is the guggenheim pad and it is righteous, fully. they just added a futurist wing and I start there after the sculpture garden (lots of serenity for me there and I gather myself some). wow, futurist painting, holy smoke! italian cats right before the first world war and everything is kinetic and moving moving moving! love it. there's one part of the guggenheim closed - renovated (lots of venezia is being renovated, all the big churches and the dodge's palace, all kinds - someone told me actually the city is sinking, damn) but that's the last wing I tried to visit and before I got there was so much righteousness, truly - cubist, futurist, dada, surreal, abstract (a whole room for jackson pollack - a couch parked in front of one!). in a hall I saw them - there were two yves tanguys: "promontory palace," "in an indeterminate place" and a third in a further room - "the sun and it's jewel case" - I see them in that order...
shit, "see" - I am ABSORBED and can't tear myself for the longest time... I study each brush stroke. I realize suddenly after all these years why I like him so - cuz I like bosch? or is it I like bosch cuz I like tanguy? I can't remember which was first - I remembering learning them both in my early days of punk, I wanted to learn more about art so I could share or at least not be totally fucking ignorant w/raymond, who I had in met back in the old days, met him through punk. so connected now, I realize... and in a trippy way - like old minutemen songs! there's lots of other great stuff, wow... then I see guido severini's "sea=dancer" and am blown away - I want the oranges, yellows, greens and reds in my mouth - I wanna taste them so bad!
my mind is lifted away and launched in the swirls, becoming its own swirl and I lose myself... there's a patio outside right next to the water and I sit there and trip all I've experienced here, wow. whoa. I've mentioned just some things but the whole pad is breathtaking. so that was a couple of hours there - I even get a catalogue which I never do but fuck it - I stick it in my waistband behind my back. I spent like an hour a hour hoofing here so now I really kick into it that mode - I hoof and snap shots for the next eight hours, getting over to the side where san marco basilica is and end up w/over 950 snaps. I paused a little bit in the big plaza, right up against the church and had a trippy kind of piece of pizza, like a one inch thick rectangular piece of puffy soft bread w/cheese and peppers on top. I took many tiny streets to get there, many - and it was on purpose, the map worked well. I wanna tour of the grand canal so fuck it, I take a water bus that let's me take 'pert-near the whole route to get back to the 'tel. very righteous. yes, there's lots of tourists (later brother steve tells me only fifty thousand live here but there's like twenty times the tourista) but I just kind of just started staring right through them. of course there's the gondolas but it was like sixty euros so I just took snaps. I like the outfits though, especially the shirts and that hats - remember "the prisoner" - that tv show from england in the 60s? made me think a little of that- "be seeing you!" I get back w/the sun coming down - damn, I sat by the canal to have a beer hoofing back from where I got off the water bus and took my book out... going up the 'tel steps, I realize the memory clam, curse myself and then wail on back - not too far really and they cats at the stand I got the beer from see me and say "fortuna!" (lucky!) - alright, all of us happy, grateful! I soak in the tub and soon konk after a piani con falafel at abdu's little chow pad. I did look at some shots first, shots I took - not always big majestic things but tiny stuff too, like bricks showing through cracked masonry, locks on a hatch, a hatch knocker, big nut and bolt to hold a building together, pavement stones - all kinds of shit. it will help jog memory in the future.
gig day and I pop at six - the sun blazes bright through the curtains here early and I realize how sore my knees are from all that hoofing... I decide to go real easy and stay close to the 'tel 'till we have to bail. the free trough is remarkably similar! I read in the paper about ireland voting no to the libson treaty (happened just before we got there) which was something like a e.u. (european union) constitution and thoughts about that - my thought is get a better treaty that the people can live w/and don't try shove shit down anyone's throats. I like the e.u. for what it's done good - it's helped ireland lots w/getting its economy up (I couldn't even play there in the 80s) but this dealio seems lame from what I hear cats living in these e.u., a bad piece(s) of paper fitted w/chain.
a water taxi comes and gets me and steve to bring us to the gig, heineken jammin' festival which is the parco . we search along some docks before we roadboss eric and the van to take us a few minutes away to the backstage. ig, ron and scotty get there a little later, in another boat. it's pretty warm, whoa, the sun having no clouds for any blockage. no big thing though for me, small price to pay to play w/the stooges! yeah, "I came to play!" I get the boilersuit on and we talk - me and steve ain't seen ron and scotty since landing at the airport, they're at another 'tel. we catch up some, so glad to see them and after the set, I don't see them again 'till norway. time goes by 'till it's all out and we're on - yeah! eric gives me my bass outside the backstage tent - whoa, four days since I held her! we're at the stage and at the top of the ramp when ig asks "ready" and after nods from us he goes, "go!" and I run on over. damn, the sun is so bright I can't see the tuner. I do see I got two svt-IV pro stacks and as we begin the set w/"loose" my sound is tiny and not so good but nothing compared to ron's - whoa, what's wrong? helperman chris is scrambling, ron's sound cutting in and out, sounding shriveled when it is in. we don't stop though - ig's dancing and singing wild... during "down on the street" he hollers "fix that motherfucker!" to no one in particular and then tells ronnie to do leads which he does 'till the sound comes together. whoa. he jumps on my amps like he does in this tune and then some kicks on my amp knock the sound out and now it's really REALLY tiny and terrible sounding - what's wrong? it's gets a little better for "1969" - the boilersuit is now all sweated out, I feel and I'm kind try to pace myself but it's very hard for playing this music, very hard! "I wanna be your dog" - whoops, I'm a little early on one of the opening crashes - focus, watt! I get it together and get tight w/scotty. a little better sound going on "tv eye" and I'm amazed how ig can wail w/the sun wailing on him. he does the last part of "real cool time" and all of "no fun" out in the crowd - neither any dancers or ig w/us on stage. there's cats w/tv cameras so maybe that's what folks are watching on some huge side screeen - I don't cuz I can't see them from here - I can't see the l.e.d. lights on the tuner! in "1970" I keep hearing the 'd' string sharp and am trying to tune it in the song - is that retarded or what? I just so wanna have it together for ronnie but gotta let go, it's not that far and playing solid is what's needed - I get to tune in "mindroom" but man, the sun is wailing on the tuners, I'm pretty close though - I can hear myself pretty good in the beginning of "fun house" - I'm the only one playing! yeah, I remember in dublin, scotty just came in on the downbeat w/out his little intro... shit, backstage he told me his kick pedal broke at that gig in "1970" - I am not aware of everything and it's such a rush in my mind (real-o mind) that I forget too real quick, memory turning into emotional fuel that's got more tripping that remembering. anyway, back to this gig: three young italian guys somehow get past hardnose security and are up dancing w/us - when ig saw them make their move, he told the security to "let 'em up here!" and for some reason they did. this cats are very happy and I'm happy w/them, I play right for them, w/them... much respect, fratellos! I do a summersault in "l.a. blues" - yeah, some how the fear in my knees got overcome but I do scared when ig really starts beating the stage w/the mic stands, wow... he's hammering it big time, over the head swings - I wonder when I'm gonna get hit? well, not today! lucky watt... "skull ring" next - go, ig, go! great singing, man, does he inspire me. it is an intense situation w/this sun though and he scissors "my idea of fun" and does an audible for us to end the set w/"search and destroy" which is the best I think we've done it now, good and punchy. we're off to the side of the stage and ig says "beautiful sax" (yeah, steve!) and then tells the do we're gonna do - and we go back out and do "I gotta right" and "electric chair" - towards the end of "...right" helperman jos gets my sound up a little, yeah, thank you much, jos - that was very kind of him, very kind and I'm very grateful, very grateful - thank you again, jos! I blow a tiny clam in my "...chair" bass solo, near the beginning but recover quick - where was my mind for that split second? funny in a way. we come off and as ig's going down the ramp, lots of the italian crowd are hollering his name he turns to thank them much, you can see he's grateful to them, grazie grazie grazie... bella italia, bellissimo!!!
man, so I'm soaked but I thought that was a great gig, really dug it - even w/the little problems (I call them little in perspective). I feel really really alright! it's the solstice too, fuck yeah and right where I go to get a beer is josh from queens of the stoneage and we talk a bunch, I get him and his band to talk pirate - not too hard cuz they're way into it. man, I love josh's playing and him as a brother. he asks me what's up and I tell him about doing that album about autumn on d. boon's birthday w/nels cline and gives nels the biggest props and respect w/me in chorus w/him cuz man, ain't nels something?! hell yeah! we take the boat back, me and steve first - we have our own... ig waves and hollers to us "the sidemen!" as we shove off towards our 'tel in venice. on the way to the stage, tour boss henry told me my flight was cancelled and now I'll leave w/steve - we have to bail at 4:45 am. I visit w/steve and we talk about music - steve's getting back into composing now more and he has lots of ideas. I then go back to my room and pack, it's on nine bells (we played at 6:15) but I wanna konk early. I send a "happy summer solstice" to my flow list (that's what today is) and a picture of the sunset here I took from the boat as we were coming in, then I hit the deck, tuckered - or as brother sam's little brother ollie says, "paws tucked."
steve wakes me w/a call - damn, I always pop automatically but not today. well, it takes only moments and we're soon in a boat headed for the airport. we both take the same a320 to paris but I have seven hours to wait for my lax flight where as his sfo is leaving really quick - we had a half hour delay on ground in venice cuz of five minute air traffic controller strike - yeah, that's what the pilot said, a five minute delay do to a strike. a tiny one, huh? at paris I read whitman's "leaves of grass" again (the 160 page first edition one I've been carrying around - how many diffrenet kimonos are these parts from on the cloth cover from ms yuko I used to hold it in?) but more slowly, enough to while away the hours. then it's eleven hours in 777-200... there's a movie I saw on a tokyo flight I took for recording the spielgusher proj last month, "an invitation to cinema orion" - wow, what a coincidence, subtitles and everything - maybe it wasn't released in the u.s.? I don't know much about the movie scene. then there was one daniel day lewis - "there will be blood" and was this supposed to be a comedy? I've never watched two movies on a flight before, I think... I didn't bring enough books and the macpurse's battery ran out so I couldn't chimp any more diary. I didn't wanna konk cuz the plane lands at 6:20 pm and I wanna get back on pedro time as quick as I can cuz I leave again for the next leg of stooges touring in a week and a half... watt's got plenty to do in that time. my sister melinda gets me and brings me to my pad safe, thank you melinda. she visited venezia before so we talk much about that great town. man, is pedro warm - I konk naked on my deck.
friday, july 4, 2008 - skaanevik, norway
off for another tour leg w/the stooges - a little one: two gigs in five days. since getting back from venice (the italian one, not the so cal one raymond pettibon lives in), I only left my pedro town once and that was to go see boris at my favorite pad to play in san diego, the casbah last tuesday. man, what a great gig from those boris cats - the other time I've seen them was in atlanta (georgia) last autumn on my 7,805 trip around the u.s. in the boat (my e-350 ford econoline - hey, I've been asked to be profiled for the kelley blue book something or other for the econoline! no shit, it's supposed to happen first week of october) w/out any gigs - except a stooges one song one in london and a las vegas full one near the end of it - they had michio kurihara guitar then and did at the casbah too but I think the gig was even more wailing this time. I mean I was blown completely away last time maybe cuz it was my first time but something about this gig tuesday... I know it was the tour kicker-offer and those can be tough gigs (their soundman is my old friend noel ford) but they were smokin' - much respect to them for going all out. I got to talk a little bass w/bassman takeshi, told him how he was wailin' on it (much more than atlanta) and trippin' on his pedals - he plays a doubleneck bass/guitar and only two of the pedals were for bass, a fuzz and a compressor... so man cats use effects on bass these days - am I old fashioned? I like the punch and effects water that down I think though miss lara wants me to do bass for an el may song and I'll think I'll try and envelope filter... I did try effects for my second opera ("the secondman's middle stand"), aaarrggghhh - touring w/a "pedal board" type of deal even... I think I like just going into the amp! back to the boris gig, it was well worth the 120 miles each way to drive there, my buddy chuck pegot letting me konk at his pad to keep things safer. I spent time getting my songs for the new brother's sister's daughter recording coming up in december, something very important to me. of course after this stooges touring (the last gig is supposed to be calais, france on september 27th), I have to finish the singing and mix the black gang autumn album (yeah, in autumn!)... man, lots of music to do - me and kira are worked on the couple of tunes for the next dos album as well. yet again I've changed my mind on how to do these (they're watt songs), she's so patient to bear w/me, so patient! I also pedaled my bike and paddled my kayak every morning, alternating between the two. the day before bailout for this tour leg had me in the 'yak (I bailed on a wednesday and tuesday, thursday and saturday are kayak days for me) setting of on the ocean side of cabrillo beach in my pedro town and man, did was the ocean kind of not so calm! got my dick caught in the zipper of my shorts (one big reason I wear button fly levis) when trying to fill a pissbottle cuz of the roughness but that was worth have four dolphins come and swim right past and under me, blowing their waterspouts - I could hear their big breaths, beautiful - them up and down out of the water, leaping/diving, me w/my mind blown. I went all the way around outside the breakwater and then came into the harbor through the angels gate, opposite from what's usual for me but I did not return out the angels gate but continued in 'till landing on the harbor's inner beach. it was a great to paddle to last me the week 'till I can do the next one.
wednesday and my sister melinda comes to get me four and the morning, to get me to lax. I bring nine "we jam econo" minutemen documentaries for the stooges and crew - I bring steve the 1855 edition (the first one) of walt whitman's "leaves of grass" cuz when I read to him from last tour, he was really digging it. man, the more folks I can turn onto to this work, the more I'll feel better about myself cuz I think this work is a trip and gets people thinking - I think it's healthy. I wish I could find one in nihon-go so I could flow it to ms yuko cuz she's writing poems for us when I go to tokyo in december and wouldn't that be a trip for her to have that laid on her? yes! I re-read once again on the four hour trip to atlanta and half of the trip from atlanta to copenhagen in denmark, both on delta aboard a 767-200. the other half of the trip of the atlantic crossing had me read "in the woods beneath the cherry blossoms in full bloom" by ango sakaguchi a couple times - it was a little seventytwo page book miss sakura sent me but such a trippy story - someone like watt needs many reads to try and get a handle on it! oh, at the hartfield-jackson airport in atlanta, I met stooges sax man steve mackay and he was way happy about me finding a smoking room connected to a bar only a couple of gates from the one for us - very rare to find smoking rooms in u.s. airports. I shoveled some panda express chow mein too and though it wasn't that good, it seemed safer than a lot of other slop being spewed in the "food court" (hey, it sounds like it's asking to be judged!). I did some konk on the flight too. me and steve's third flight was on a dash-8 turboprop plane for haugesund, about eightfive miles south of bergen, norway (on their west coast). the flight is over two parts of denmark and southern norway since it's on the west coast. the three flights w/layovers is about twentythree hours, whew. hey at least my bass made it - tourboss henry (who joined us for the turboprop flight from poland where he lives) spotted it being loaded up... I think I'm gonna learn from this technique. what I learn from life, huh? knobman rik gives me his seat (thank you!) and I have both aisle (I always try to get aisle cuz of the knees) and window and I get some great shots of denmark (we fly over two parts) and then southern norway, across the mountains that run down it's spine. so many lakes, whoa! really beautiful. we actually land on karmoy, an island just south of haugesund but it's only a fifteen minute drive. we're staying there at rica maritim 'tell right on the water, two little islands right across from so there's a little channel where there's lots of boats and some neat waterfront. wow, the weather is really warm for these parts - we're told it was pissing rain for the longest time but it looks like the stooges bring the sun again cuz it's like cali here. I sit and talk w/the guys and then we go chow at some steak house but I'm thinking why would I chow in norway in a fake-u.s. pad so I don't get anything but always-kind scotty-san flows some buffalo wings so I flow him back some euros (they use kroner here - norway is not e.u. - about five kroner to one u.s. dollar). we go back and man, is my room a shvitz so I get naked and konk on the deck w/the sliding glass door open (sixth floor so maybe no mosquito bites? turns out there's none, whew), well, the deck is hardwood so there's this mat I konked on that's like a tatami one but woven of something else, not grass. man, I must've woke up drenched in sweat like fifteen times... there's no air conditioning in this 'tel, most likely cuz they don't usually need it. I have weird dreams, 'pert-near like fever ones.
gig day and I pop from the last sweated-out konk bout right when they open at six and a half. this being norway, there's three different kinds of pickled herring - some in tomato, some in mustard, some w/oil but all w/lots of onions. they got yogurt in quart jugs you pour from and I have that w/fruit too. all real good shit. I share chow w/about seventy german tourists that are older than me, maybe like I am to my missingmen drummer raul. I hoof around this little town (thirtytwo thousand population) and find out this actually the cradle of norway - some cat named harald the fairhaired won some battle near here in 870 a.d. and made himself king. it's a neat place, I like it but I know I'm not getting the usual way it probably is cuz of all the sun... I bet mostly it's a lot colder. I get tons of shots. I sit in the park by the government building and have a good think about my life at the moment, I think of "leaves of grass" and remember reading:
"I cannot define my life . . yet it is so."
I hoof back, get naked again and use the airplane konk mask to do two three-hour konks. shove-off time for the gig is nine bells. we're playing the "skaanevik blues festival", which - big surprise - is in a little town called skaanevik, about fiftyfive miles northeast of haugesund and the ride takes about a hour and half cuz it's little road and lots of curves but boy is what we pass seeing through the windows really REALLY beautiful - shit very VERY pristine and just righteous: farmland, lakes and fjords, rolling hills and granite bursted out all over the place - it puts my mind at peace easy, gorgeous. it's me and scotty-san in the back seat of station wagon - him learning me all kinds of nature stuff which I love... ronnie and steve behind us in one and ig and nina w/herny ahead of us, a little caravan. the stage is in a big circus tent in the woods - not one big main pole so it's longer than it's wider, like those ones we did in switzerland last year. the gig boss alf meets us as we get of the cars, what a very nice cat, very friendly - he's way into having us aboard - takk to you, alf! we talk some about music scene in japan, he's interested in it, yeah! there's two other bands on the bill but we missed the first one - big jack johnson's (not to be confused w/just jack johnson) is playing now and he's doing some righteous blues, james brown, chubby checkers - just all kinds of real soulful and kick ass roots stuff - all of us are digging it - ig comes in and says "yeah!" I get into the boilersuit and do my stretches. ronnie gets into his outfit and warms up w/air guitar w/his fretting hand - how does he do it? he is amazing how he just wails the way he does. luckily, roadboss eric comes in w/my bass and I get to put fingers to strings and try and get it together. scotty shakes his brother ronnie's hand and says "happy fourth of july" - that's right, again I'm in another land for the fourth - I think last year was greece? big jack johnson's now playing "let's do the twist" - alright.
gig time: some walk to the bottom of a ramp and ig asks if we're ready and we nod and he yells "let's go!" - it's up the ramp w/a run for me... little stage compared to most festivals but it feels good. small riser scotty - yeah, I LOVE that. boom - out of the barrel w/"loose" and my both my svt-stacks (like a classic but w/a master volume and only one channel) are sounding ok - kind of mushy cuz of the bigtent acoustics. yeah, I get to see ig up close and going for it - ron and scotty whupping it up w/the stooge sound - yahoo!!! we're underway! scotty's using a rented premier kit and clicks us in to "down on the street" - ron w/his new reverend flying v through two stacks of marshalls... ig again kicks off one of my amps (accidently hitting the standby switch w/some kicks) and the volume knob gets moved to off on the other but jos quickly gets me back into the ring w/the guys again. "1969" - yeah, love it! let's go - we're hoppin' and groovin' on it good. I look up at the top of the tent looks trippy, like a circus one w/stars pierced w/the poles go. I only look a sec though cuz my eyes are mainly on ig. "I wanna be your dog" next, very pumping - I mouth the chorus lines ig don't finish (not really cuz I'm singing loud but there's I go no mic - I think back to early gigs w/this band when I did have a mic for "skull ring" - was that crazy or what?!). "tv eye" - I can read the chug part coming now and get right to it when ig gives his vocal and body cue for it, for that "sound" like he puts it. "dirt" is smooth and emotional in an intense way and scotty almost misses the ending but I'm there to prompt him - it's intense doing that maybe for someone you respect so much but on the other had, he's very grateful late to the assist trip I'm I'm trying to lay on him - much respect, scotty-san! "real cool time" follows and ig gets like seven cats on stage w/us - they dance really good... and keep dancing for "no fun" but do I fucking go to 'e' in the intro - twice? what a stupid fucking baka clam - aaaarrrrggggghhh... well, at least it makes kind fo a chord in harmony. I harden my resolve to focus better. before ig introduces the band before "1970" he introduces the security! he says "you can be bald and still get into the gig if you're security' - love it! "mindroom" (steve has already made his entrance but gets his intro at the beginning of this one) and then "fun house" - after the first few bars where I follow ronnie on his riff I keep on the dave alexander riff (much respect) for the whole tune w/no fills and then freak out hard w/"l.a. blues" (no summersaults though!) but when I tune up, I must've read the tuner wrong cuz by the end of "skull ring" it says I'm in 'f' instead of 'e' - baka mike! I tune while we're playing "my idea of fun" and get it together but what the fuck? I am baka! we finish up w/a "search and destroy" that's really good but almost goes off the rails - how do we end it? ig counts us out, thats how. we run off, we run back - we do "I gotta right" alright! we do "I'm fried" - wow, when's the last time we've done that tune? love it, glad we did - I think it's slammin' and then the finish is "little electric chair" where in my bass solo, scotty drops some snares to give me some space, so righteous of scotty - wasn't expecting it but I kept pumping. we run off for good and the crowd keeps hollering for more and more. whoa, much respect to them.
I chow a norwegian steak w/some shrooms and a little bit of taters - the steak is kindy of tiny but thick and made up good. ig did a runner so no de-briefing, we all ride back together in a van, a hour and a half - whoa... we went on at midnight and now it's 3:30 a.m. - makes sense! ahh... what a fucking idiot I am - I as we leave the van, I forget the piss bottle (it was a long drive) and tuna can... I'm very sorry I disappointed both roadboss eric and myself but am also so glad he pointed this out to me so I get things right... I felt so stupid... I always try to clean up (even put butt in my pocket to I find a trashcan) and that was shameful of me - why do I sometimes space like that? many kicks to myself from me for that, many! well, might as well not konk cuz we leave for the airport in two hours so I hose off and bring my wackbacksack and yellow clothes sack and just sit in the lobby, talking kayaks w/helperman chris cuz he's way into them now after doing it last week and what's to know what kind of thoughts I got on paddlin' - I got some (!) so I share w/him 'till shove-off time.
sunday, july 6, 2008 - empuriabrava, spain
it's saturday at dawn when we roll whence how we came, back to karmoy and the same dash8 turboprop (300 series, is it the same plane or does wiederoe airlines have more than one?) - before we got on I gave ig my "in the woods beneath the cherry blossoms in full bloom" by ango sakaguchi and he reads it in the ninety minutes it takes us to get to copenhagen and returns it to me w/a big thanks. no prob, ig. I think about what I read somewhere on ango sakaguchi and other post-ww2 writers from japan and something like "embrace defeat" - I think I need some of that in places of my life. I wish I was smart enough to read japanese so I could read some of his essays - highly recommended by miss sakura. it's three hours 'till the flight to barcelona so I start heading for the gate when tourboss henry tells me "this way" and I guess all of us are allowed in the business lounge, pretty unusual for me. there's some chow stuff like rolls, salami, cheese and mustard (there's more than that but that's what I use) so I make up a sandwich and w/in minutes I got gutpain and am in the head quick to squirt out fucking diarrhea - damn. I sit by steve and he's new to the macbook 'puter he's recently got so I show him some stuff when he asks me. I chimp diary too, it helps get my mind off the fucking gutpain - still no konk! we take a 767-300 to barcelona and it takes a couple of hours - I did drift off into some kind of unconscious state but I wouldn't call it real konk cuz my body didn't feel it, my head didn't feel it. as we were leaving the "business lounge" chris gave me some tums ronnie had given him and those helped some. we go to baggage and it takes like a hour for our stuff to get on the carousel - well all nineteen bags except for one - my yellow clothes sack. that's how it goes, I just laugh. I feel grateful I put my belt in my 'puter backwacksack so my pants will stay up. I didn't have a chance to wash the boilersuit though so I hope it comes when it can so I can do that. it's not too far a drive to the 'tel cuz both the 'port and it are on the west side of barcelona - it's called "hotel juan carlos I" and I guess named after the spanish king, yeah, here in the biggest catalonia town, barcelona. lots of the signs are written both in spanish and catalonian, which is kind of like spanish mixed w/french, sort of? outside my window (damn seal-a-meal that won't open) is a huge polo field and stables for the horses. this is a fancy pad, internet for twenty euros (like thirty u.s. bucks) - what a fucking ripoff but I wanna send out a fourth flow even though I'm a day late (baka mike), someone had flowed me a link to a cover of tom rapp tune me and thurston did a couple years ago called "fourth day of july" (makes sense, right? even if dumfuck is sending it out on the fifth). actually I barely make it cuz I had immediately passed out and then popped again at ten bells (about six hours worth) - did that flow and then hoofed around... we left a sunny haugesund, stopped in a sunny copenhagen and here we are in warm barcelona (not sunny though cuz it's night), I hoof around this 'tel by myself - there's nothing near it except an outside bar that actually belongs to it where there's a big wedding party - don't need to be there, watt! the other side by the helipad has a view of a park where prostitute ladies are working - don't need to be there watt... I go back in the 'tel and see scotty-san, alright! I get to talk w/him for a while w/some beam to go along w/it but not in raving mode (believe or not). I sure love being w/scotty. trippy, we meet a cat from norway a little older than us. I didn't understand what kind of work he did exactly but he did tour a lot so in ways he paralleled us the sailor kind of life thing. he's a nice man and shares a lot. scotty was the one brave enough to start spieling w/him. scotty sure is great. I go konk happy at midnight.
gig day and I pop at eight and half bells - what! that's how tired I was, eight and half hours worth, whoa. I shovel free trough and there's chorizo so I make some sandwiches w/that and their style of baguette bread and some of their cheese that's a little like jalisco (the chorizo is not like mexican at all - more like sliced mild pepperoni) and some fruit w/yogurt - all the diarrhea and gutpain are gone now. I'm told my clothes sack's gonna come and so I wait for that before starting on my adventure... I've been to this town a few times and I've shirked on the gaudi (well, maybe not shirked but surely did not get any chance) and this time I'm determined to do it. hey, the yellow sack gets here - maybe the tiniest part of the luggage that got checked in and definitely the loudest but it got left in copenhagen - you know I got a shot of them loading the plane and saw the bass in it's red case on the little baggage train parked next to the plane but there's no yellow sack - ah ha! I'm gonna try and get shots of all the planes I can that I take getting load w/luggage to have a look see cuz there's nothing lamer than watch that fucking carousel go round and round, wondering if its ever coming. anyway, like john fogerty says in that creedence song "travelin' band": "baggage gone, oh well" - I ain't gonna cry a river over it, 'cept maybe if it's ever the little gibson bass - oh dear, that would hurt. I wash the boilersuit in the tub w/shampoo that they have in a little bottle on the sink in the head. I put it out to dry on some kind of stand I think is for hanging clothes on (I'm not too versed on these kinds of things) and then head out for the metro. it ain't too far of a hoof and it ain't too hot out (oh yeah, the 'tel has air conditioning so it was easier konk than haugesund) but I'm glad I didn't wear a coat. the metro is a subway that's not too old by the look of it, quiet and air conditioned, on time and pretty quick - for 1.30 euros (about $2 u.s.) I take two lines (green and blue) to get right to the "sangrada familia" cathedral, w/stairs leading up from the train to the street entrance and whoa - right there, w/in a few yards, it's there towering over me, crimony! man, what a trip this building is - and what an artist I think antoni gaudi was and his works still are, amazing! it's still early but there's tons of people and a line a mile long so no way am I gonna go inside but I do take like two hundred or so pictures of the outside (all around) w/the digicamera. now this is a work in progress, supposed to be done in 2022 and not all of it is gaudi but his part sure is fucking wild, I love it. I know it's overwrought but it's also organic and you know, I think nature sometimes is overwrought, like in a jungle or something. I focus in on as much detail as I can (not just w/the camera but w/my mind!). I get all kinds of thoughts, all kinds of thinking is stirred up in my head. there's lots of posies of tourists w/guides explaining them shit and I overhear something trippy - this one guide explains about no work being done on this cathedral during the spanish civil war - whoa, the only time I've heard about the spanish civil war is from punk people, never squarejohns or seeing memorials or stuff like that. maybe I'm just stupid (fuck, I am - forget maybe) or my awareness big time deficient. anyway, my mind keeps getting blown, seeing all kinds of little things - allowing myself a chance to absorb what I can though I know I could come and trip on this pad much and still be left hankering. I gotta move on... west on avinguda diagonal and I pass a string and reed band playing traditional catalonian music to people folk dancing to it while a huge paella pan over an open wood fire cooks up mucho paella - I mean this pan is big - like four feet diameter! what I righteous sight to watch, listen and smell (the paella cooking up) - there's even a cat in the band rocking the fife! south on passeig de gracia to explore guadi's "casa mila" (now also called la pedrera). I go in and explore... more mindblow but much more up-close kind - the building, the rooms - whoa, the roof! now I see where doctor suess must've got his ideas! real neat gaudi exhibit stuff in the attic and down in the mezzanine, a huge exhibition of ukiyo-e (japanese "floating world" art) which has me mesmerized for some time - I literally have to tear myself from these beautiful works cuz gig time is coming... very happening coincidence to experience gaudi and ukiyo-e together - makes perfect sense... thank you, life! continue south 'till I reach gaudi's "casa batllo" but time is getting short and still there's more to see so I don't go in and instead just take tons of shots of the front - aaarrrrgggghhhh, I'll regret cuz it being sunday and when I pass the "placa de catalunya" to head down "la rambla" to the "ciutat vella" part of barcelona, I find both the huge open air market "la boqueria" and gaudi's "palau guell" are closed, damn! I mean, that couldn't be helped but if I would've known (or not be so stupid to make sure they'd be open), I could've spent that time in "casa batllo" but now to think about it, I'm glad I got to see their outsides closed up cuz I did experience the wild street scene "la rambla" is and did reach the sea where it ends. there's a metro station near for the green line so I get right back to the 'tl w/no prob w/being late and even getting to shower first - yeah, the boilersuit's pretty dry too. I got in as much as 'pert-near six hours of hoofing would allow me and I did plow. I was lucky a lot of stuff is on the route though I wish I had more time - I think "park guell" would've been excellent... aaaahhhh, I wanna come back!
it's two hours of driving towards giron to get us to empuriabrava which is a little town near where the gig is, the "doctor loft 05:00 festival" which is in a field surrounded by sunflower groves. we're on in a hour, at 6:15 pm - early, the gig's being headlined by rem and guess who's the tour boss? my old good buddy billy, he was tour boss for the chilies when I opened up for them during my "parallel universes" tour a year and a half ago. nat's here too so big hugs for both and as much spiel as I can get in... I could talk to billy for years on end! he is more interesting man, much respect! he's got work to do though (of course), maybe later? hey, it's pete and we talk a bunch - the last minutemen tour was w/these gentlemen and in fact the last song I ever played w/d. boon was on rickenbacker guitar of pete's (it was a blue one and we talk about that - might've been mitch easter's!) when they invited us on for the last song of the tour, "see no evil" - a cover of that great television tune. yeah, my last time playing d. boon was both of us working pete buck's guitars... so good to talk w/him again, very good... and their musical helperman scott too. I wish I had more time - again I'm wishing for more time! I go chow some steak and pasta, a little bit - not much but I wanna do it now instead of after... gig time's coming right up... but there's a delay, something w/the way everything's hooked up (hooked up wrong) - maybe fifteen minutes and it's time for showtime... "ready?" ig asks us and when we say yeah, he says "kill 'em!" and I run out and plug into the svt's while scott and ronnie's fire up "loose" and the gig blasts off. it is a blast for me too, right away even w/ig hitting the knobs and switches during his bass amp ascension in "down on the street" (jos gets them back happening) - I'm loving it cuz ig is way on fire and working it hard hard hard... but when is he never like that? I ain't witnessed it yet but this is really an intense charge, "1969" and then over the trenches for "I wanna be your dog" - the boilersuit being a little damp means I ain't got it sweated out for "tv eye" but it's on the way! low riser again for scotty, yeah I'm 'pert-near eye level w/him (just hoping for more of his ojos!), "dirt" snakes and "real cool time"/"no fun" blast w/maybe a dozen dancers on stage? I don't know but ig asked for everyone to get on up w/us... I got some good abrazos when we finished - yeah! "1970"/"mindroom" after intros, hey no clams yet I'm thinking and then kind of a tiny bit stumble for part of the "fun house" intro - baka watt! I get it together, the asheton brothers put such a good sound to iggy sing and dance plus there's steve sax wailing - I can feel ig lit up by it all - I'm losing my mind to the hugeness of the feeling swelling in me but hold cuz I gotta hold the bass down for them. I get up on my toes and feel the back of my calves, whoa - some cramping there... better than my hands though. I hunker down for "skull ring" - someone in the front row has a big sunflower and I'm thinking of that 60s demonstration picture w/the daisy being put in that national guardsman's rifle barrel but instead during "my idea of fun" when ig gets handed the sunflower, petals flying everywhere as he tears it to shreds! a good "search and destroy" and the set's done but soon we're back w/a skeetering "I gotta right" (still I dig it) and "little electric chair" to say adios. man, I liked this gig a lot - I tell tourboss henry as I come off stage, hand my bass to jos cuz I can't find either chris or the rack... baka watt - thank you, jos.
talk to billy a little, he loved the gig. he's a big wraslin' fan and he said ig's raps, especially the last one for "...chair" was big time happening wraslin' spiel and he was way into it. I was way into it, I thought it was a great gig for me to be a part of, very inspirational to me. man, I really REALLY wanna see the rem guys, see billy and nat again but it's even a longer drive home cuz of the traff so I'm yanked into the boat to shove off just as they hit the stage, damn. I understand though and love the uss stooges and all who sail w/her...
seven and half bells is shove-off time from the 'tel and that means the seven bell free trough time makes room for some shovel so I do. at the 'port, I use a coin-operated internet machine - these are always so fucked up! there's an email from nat though and she says rem singerman michael dedicated "the great beyond to me" - so very kind... man, I wish I could've spoke w/him - only got a few words w/mister mills - so glad at least I got two big raps w/peter. I think a lot of d. boon and georgie and out last minutemen tour. I see ig and tell him a little about it... I say bye as him and nina get on their plane, then big hugs to ronnie and chris as I get on a airbus 320 w/eric for paris - he'll stay there cuz he's also working w/keven and his my bloody valentine reunions (hope I get to see one of those!) but I travel on to lax via a 777-200 - hey, no bus to take this time at de gaulle - I get to hoof the whole way to my next gate, very happening! the plane's a hour late to take off but the captain makes up for it in the air and I arrive on time for my sister melinda to get me. I konked in that cramped up seat eight of the eleven hour on that flight even w/the cat in front of me laying on my lap cuz his seat was broke - that was a tired watt! I get back to my pedro pad and start playing catch-up like I always have to do and the phone rings - it's ronnie, making sure I got home safe... much respect to him for his care!
sunday, july 13, 2008 - rouen, france
time to leap the country and leap the atlantic for more stooges (yeah!) w/just four days in my pedro town between plane landing at lax and then taking off again but it was worth it - why? scotty says I'm crazy or rather he says it's too tough on him so he stayed in amsterdam (holland) but me getting back to pedro met cuz of landing on wednesday and bailing on friday, I had two paddling days (tuesday and thursday) to work my kayak in the ocean, digging it. I also got to to do the watt from pedro show the night in between w/guest todd congelliere of recess records - love todd but what I couldn't do earlier that day was pedal my fucking bike (wednesday morning's a jitensha day) cuz damn if I didn't have the sorest fucking calves in the world from all that hoofing in barcelona! shit man, I could barely get up off the deck... itai itai!! guess I strained them some. paddling's all above-the-waist stuff so no prob there but damn, I 'pert-near couldn't even walk - baka watt! anyway, one trippy thing I learned from todd in that spiel was he's now selling much more vinyl than cds - whoa, who would've thought that in these days? actually, he had a bunch of good stuff to say even if brother vinnie was a little yoparai and soiled himself some, I glad he came over too. me and brother matt hadn't done a night show in a while, that was a trip too. I plan to do the next one w/brother steve in margaux, france. ok, it's friday and instead of the crack of dawn, my sister melinda gets me to the airport at noon - whoa! something different... also, instead of a boeing 777-200, I'm on a 777-300 (just a little bit different - no one next to me though, yeah! no one in front of me either - double yeah!) straight for paris via air france and read this book I got in atlanta last trip called "bangkok 8" by john burdett not cuz it's a whodunnit but cuz it's set in thailand and that's where miss peak is from (again a guest on the last radio show though this time way more quiet) and yeah, what a retarded way to learn about somewhere you ain't been (or even if you have) but I asked her to check it out and she said why not so it's pretty ok actually, the writing is funny and I learn some words like "farang" which is foreigner, "yaa baa" which is methamphetamine and that the folks there don't call their town bangkok, they call it "krung thep" so what else do I need to know? I think it's written like in 2003 so stuff about the internet is "so yesterday" - my advice? writerman, don't get too into the minutia w/that kind of shit, be more general ("he plugged the keywords into the altavista search engine" or something like that) - stick w/heady concepts like why yaa baa is so so needed for thais since the second/minute/hour/day/week/month paradigm has been forced on them so stuff like fishing, truck driving, construction, dancing at hooker bars (even farangs writing novels maybe too?), whatever - it appears nothing can get done there w/out it. I gotta ask about this when I get back to pedro, she'll probably crack up. books are for pretending anyway, that's why I'm a bigger fan of fiction than non cuz maybe it appears a little more honest about its claims (it's all made up)? songs are about pretending too... what bayou was john fogerty born on? I love that song. paris is nine hours ahead of pedro and adding that w/waiting time and the ten hour flight (I konked for eight of it on purpose), I arrive at almost ten (didn't have to bring my bass - it got shipped from the last gig in barcelona to rouen here in france) and first see steve and then everyone else as they arrive 'till were ready for the two hour drive to forges-aux-eaux (a little town about forty miles from rouen) where the 'tel is at. of course it being a french stooges show, the gig boss is alain and he's here w/olivia - big hugs for both of them from me, so good to see them again. I get a baguette thon (tuna sandwich) and kind-of pizza flavored potato chips ("bolognaise") and chow them in the little bus that takes us, beautiful french farmland going past the windows and just as beautiful weather to go w/it. this town is like eighty miles northwest of paris, on the way to rouen, makes sense we're there. the 'tel is caled "forges" (makes sense) and right across the road is "le grande casino" for gambling, makes sense! actually, it's quite pretty - the land around the 'tel, lots of nature and a tiny bit outside of town. I enjoy good spiel and beers w/the guys at a table outside on the patio for the rest of the afternoon and early evening and hold off on chow (waiting for the free trough in the morning), konking early.
gig day and I pop at six bells and get a good soak in. out the window I see a black swan by the pond and go out there to get shots but my fucking digicamera is out of action - what?! seems it keeps asking "please turn off and back on" and won't let me take any pictures - aaaaarrrgggghhhh! was working perfect yesterday, damn it. I should've brought the little digicamera I use for paddling (fits inside a waterproof case I have) as a backup - shit, I've learned my lesson. very frustrating. I've gotten a lot A LOT of shots out of this camera but what a time now to go down! oh well. I shovel fried eggs cooked up for me, some bacon, some fresh baked bread (yeah, europe kind!) and fruit/yogurt - I chow it w/ronnie and steve, they beat me down here this time! I go back to my chamber (the floors go down instead of up - whoa, it's cuz the 'tel's built on a hill) and I read about half of the "bangkok 8" book but I have too much a hankering to read whitman's "leaves of grass" - can't get my fill, aaarrggghh - I'm addicted! everytime I read it, it comes fresh... I guess sooner or later I gotta get to the "deathbed edition" which has over four hundred poems but right now there's plenty enough for me to chew on in the twelve of this 1855 one - right near the beginning here, I love it:
houses and rooms are full of perfumes . . . . the shelves are
whoa, that's so intense - puts big hankerings in me even, all through it - sparks up my mind to make all kinds of connections. I am very inspired by mister whitman, very much! I don't know why but it doesn't seem dated at all - "I sing the body electric" - yeah, written 153 years ago! all these ideas about freedom, possibility, learning, tolerance and being curious... none of it seems old-fashioned to me a bit. much respect to mister whitman. I asked miss sakura to find a japanese translation cuz I'd like her to give it to ms yuko... she's writing poems for the recording proj her, mister shimmy and myself have w/nels in december - not for her to copy or anything like that but just to check out. ms yuko is of a very independent mind and I know she will always be original. I really enjoy her poems and I'm wondering what her take is on mister whitman's work... I think I am very slow learner and obvious lessons reveal themselves to me only after much work, to defeat the arrogance I feel gets in the way - this arrogance of mine seems able to morph itself into all kinds manner - I literally have to beat it down by getting beatdowns, serious ego blows - devastating humblers that are cathartic and what I feel are justified - trying to be as objective as I can here and consciously not trying to fake humility as a unconscious strategy to extend abuse to others (try to read that again w/out laughing!), promoting what I think I read orson wells saying about his having "an unfortunate personality" and though I'm talking about myself dealing w/myself, I think this also is the stuff of me interacting w/others... the big difference being reiteration is hardly rewarded w/anything but instilling the hope of liberation in them - liberation from watt or at the very least a defined and respected sense of boundary. as for me and learning shit, I will always confuse it and puke it back all mixed up, contingent on the current frenzy I'm manifesting at the moment - "it's not about the knowledge, it's about the know how" - yep. hey, this whitman sure is enabling the bombastic side of me, huh? not his fault! I hope I do bass good for the stooges tonight.
it's supposed to be a two hour ride to rouen but it turns out to be half of that. the gig is part of the "la grande armada" festival and right by the seine which is big enough to have ships in it - not just tall ships w/sails but even a modern frigate. man, there's so much good stuff to take pictures of... and I can't - more justice! I hope it doesn't sound like I'm feeling sorry for myself... what a great time to be a bass player from pedro here in france! the weather is beautiful. only one band is supposed to be on before us (sorry, I don't know their name) but there's an unannounced irish band (sorry again, I don't know their name either!) playing traditional music from their land while I go to chow since we got 'pert-near two hours to go 'til stage time. in the chow tent they give me a t-bone steak and some plain noodles, I like it. the french way is to undercook the meat but so what, it tastes good - this time! a cat name yann comes to talk w/me, a very nice man who's also a bass player - he has me sign a "bass player magazine" cover I was on thirteen years ago, he said that's how he found out about me. what a nice cat, truly. so yann's a bass player (he said he had a band called "coltrane" - wow!) but also a man who does this gighelper job he's doing now and worked a festival just recently where a band there a gave him a hello message for me - that band was the go! team and whoa, that's a trip... I'm very excited to hear that - my dear friends! wow! ok then, I will play my fucking brains out (like I wouldn't do that for the stooges anyway but this is just an added dimension, I guess - hell, I don't how to put it!), do it for them like if they were here and gonna play right after. merci beaucoup yann!
ok, it's time - we follow ig out to the stage... you know what? I'm gonna write a little different here - it's the same we've been doing so let me just try and chimp the differences. hell, it's sixty thousand emotional french people were playing for and you can imagine how lit iggy is how wonderful he channels their spirit (or do you say esprit? stupid fucking watt!). here's a big difference though - from most of our gigs and the generous heart lots of these folks in the crowd are sharing - throughout our set maybe five or six full bottles of beer (most of them w/their caps still on even) come flying up on the stage... so fucking dangerous and stupid - think about it, the pieces of glass when they hit and break, the beer in them making them heavy like little bombs. the ones that almost hit me came flying over ig's head when he was singing right in front of me - one actually missing my toe by only half an inch but the glass going sidewise (cuz maybe of the direction of travel?) and not into my face. I saw one almost nail ronnie, whoa. I didn't try to show anger or anything like that but man, I was thinking this sure is fucking retarded. then again though, there was lots of stones and rocks on the deck so gratefully those weren't chucked up at us, only these few beers - oh, there was a lighter flung up but of course, it wasn't lit. you know, I think it was a really REALLY great show (besides the stupid beer bottle shit), pretty incredible. I got on the deck for "l.a. blues" and did pete townshend-like windmills w/my right arm for my go team! friends, twirling my body sideways like maybe curly of the three stooges (yeah, the other stooges! trippy how ronnie said he got to know larry fine at the end of his life) would do... there was some low end rumble near the end of the set, some kind of slow feedback building up and making it a little difficult for the singing so ig gives me the signal to keep things tight, try to combat this so it don't bogart and really get a prob - maybe the monitor man could help? maybe he can't hear it... I even turn down for the last tune - yeah, the very last tune is different than usual, something we ain't done in a good while, the double dog, the "I wanna be your dog" reprise! that's a trip but ig called an audible and so we went out w/that. what a very happening gig, merci all you good people of rouen! I give good thank you hugs to scotty and then ronnie as we walk from the stage. we gotta bail into fifteen minutes so it's in the civie clothes quick and out of the boilersuit for me, I sit out by myself and feel worried maybe my bass was hurting things at the end there but ig comes out and reassures me it was the physics of the situation and I was working my bass good so not to worry - that sure is kind of him, truly... I just wanna do good for them, I swear, that's all I wanna do - it ain't about me in any other way. he didn't have to say though, that was very kind of him... he's always been kind to me - I really owe him, I do. thank you so much, ig.
the ride back takes less than a hour - we're all surprised but that's a good thing. I had the ipod blasting roky erickson the whole way. back at the 'tel, brother steve has me in his chamber and we talk about music, I give him my views on how I thing he's a composer as well as a sax player and time will come that will make that more and more apparent w/his musical collaborations w/people. back in my chamber and on my deck, I konk most grateful for all the righteous cats in my life.
saturday, july 19, 2008 - angouleme, france
monday: pop at six bells, hose off and then do the rest of my packing cuz we're shoving off at seven and a half - the trough opens at seven so I get a shovel in before joining the guys in bus heading back to where we I came from the u.s. a couple of days ago: cdg or also known as the charles de gaulle airport just outside paris. I do the ride w/the ipod putting a loop of the dirtbombs ("I wanna be your man"), taj mahal ("ain't that a lot of love") and bonarra ("shack up") over and over into my head, sunny skies outside the window along w/most pretty farmland. we take an a320 (air france) for bordeaux, the big town in france's southwest and home of all those world-famous vineyards. we land to warm weather and drive to a little town about twenty miles north of bordeaux called margaux and right outside of that, next to the garonne river is a golf resort called relias le margaux and this will be our konk pad for the next six nights. I check out the grounds around the pad (used to be a former vineyard) and yep, it's got a lot of golf greens and holes... and a driving range... and several ponds - one w/a ma and pop swan couple and their three offspring. there's lots of life: lizards, dragonflies, harrier hawks, gulls, terns, small cranes (egrets?), sparrows, otters in the river - scotty says he saw a chameleon even. the sun doesn't set 'till late, very nice cali-like weather. I konk early after reading some cuz I'm wore from that gig yesterday - man, I was digging on that - such a relief too to have ig tell me I wasn't bogarting on purpose w/that low-end prob too, I just so bad wanna do good for him and the stooges. the next day I had quite a bout w/myself after the free shovel - the trough here has some
scrambled eggs (a little runny w/too much milk added but that's their style here), sausage, tomato plus the fruit/yogurt combo I put together and oh yeah, great cheese and fresh breads (a great euro thing!) and I do it up good cuz I starved out last night to hold on for this. anyway, back in my chamber I did much pacing for hours, thinking about things. I was thinking about pretending and the best arena to keep that in... maybe the realm of the bass and keep it less in the world of interacting w/people. I mean using the bass and being creative is kind of interacting w/people but a way different dynamic, not so much of social law but maybe more w/aesthetic ones? of course they're aesthetic ones and I think for someone like me, it's a better plan for me to let myself live w/myself - aahh, I put that bad - I mean it sounds more reasonable and reconciles easier w/my sense of right. if you're gonna pretend, let the freak flag fly in the world of creation - bring it on, huh? maybe if transcendent if I'm lucky, if I'm on a run. I just don't have good experience w/hype and unfortunate misunderstanding from a negative standpoint fare no better cuz getting too self-righteous over serving a hitch in victim mode don't feel good either even if the perspective's narrowed enough to encourage a "justified" point of view. I say this (again, it's for me and my case - I would never try to pomp this to some "universal" and try to speak for every or even anyone else) cuz getting self-righteous is the best way to blow it for any valuable life-learning lessons/revaltaions. I have been getting pretty bumped up though w/reading the whitman though - damn, it's like I'm 'pert-near potent and makes my passion-thinking reel a bit. embarrassing... and god, to manifest it in insane expression??!!! aaaarrrggggggghhhh - how hard can I holler aaaaaaarrrrgggggghhhhhh? how hard can I ask others to holler aaaaarrrrrgggghhhhh as hard as they can - harder than me? along w/me? everyone hollerin' aaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrgggggggghhhhh... what a world that would be, huh? lots of times, that's where my thinking goes, to what could be possible - possibility... I can it "wishbook philosophy" and liken it kind of to when I was a kid and my ma would get the sears catalogue in the mail and keep it in the head so you'd be sitting there, dumping and looking at this thing... your mind putting together fucked-up lists of shit you could never get cuz of living econo in navy housing but thought of it anyway - maybe some bullshit abstract on materialist means of escape? I don't know if my head could even take it that far then though I probably could now so I don't do it (think of that "wishbook" book shit and how the internet could redefine it! you know there's marketing folks waging big prayers on that, huh?!) but I have made a peace w/whatever "conflict" may not or may be (it seems I appear to think so) via my thoughts on the aesthetic world facilitating a creation (pretending) mode through the bass. hours of this head battle and I finally calm myself enough to start putting richard meltzer's poems to our brother's sister's daughter pieces from our may tokyo recordings. it's a bunch of work and actually I'm only making "guide" mp3s for mister shimmy cuz I think he's a great mixer, like miss kaori is w/funanori. even back in minutmen days, we'd let first spot and then ethan james mix our stuff cuz of our mistrust in our own myopicness (is that a word?!). I rent a bicycle and pedal into margaux (it's a mile and a third just to there from here, through the "estate") and then sousson, issan and cartenac - the three closest towns I find on the road (a tiny one called "d2"). I bring back some bread, sardines and apples/plums and chow that w/the wine they put in each of ours rooms - a gift of this pad is one free drunk. it's a rose kind and I don't really know wine but there's ethanol in it for sure... I take a break from the music and put the tv on to see what's up... it's bastille day and that's like fourth of july in france - I got flowed a message about a documentary "on/off" on this england band from the late 70s called the pop group and its singer mark stewart coming - that got me thinking about d. boon a lot cuz both me and him really dug that band - they had a major MAJOR AND MOST PROFOUND effect on as young cats trying to find our voice in music... both them and wire showed us the real essence of POSSIBILITY in musical expression - I shoved it out through my flow list along w/lyrics to one of their songs called "springer" cuz I just felt it important everyone should maybe be aware of it:
"dear old south land"
there was links to a video trip of this and their "forces of opperession" as well. well, add this to the watt-debates-watt-in-head all morning, ipod pumping nothing but creedence clearwater revival on the last plane flight (forgot to mention that) and this french tv playing that scorsese bobby dylan doc ("no direction home") which was a lot of him talking like he was answering questions but you never hear the questions asked so it's like some spiel being invisibly directed but still I liked dylan that way, the way he spoke, the way he expressed himself - I didn't really take it for more than that, didn't think about what was real or whatever but was real intense on me was this feeling of loss regarding d. boon... I got so sentimental, so just missing him so, you know? it was not a good feeling. I got miserable in some ways and then would that off w/great memories of him, of us together so that was weird cuz I was kind of wallowing in nostalgia for him to try and be safe. I was glad konk came and saved me. the next morning I had another am bout before working on my music (I brought my little mbox 2 mini to use pro tools on my 'puter) and it was much hand-wringing again for me. I would not call this depression but rather frustrations w/developing logic consistent enough to accept what I'm pretty much convinced of... just a pounddown shy of getting it through the berlin wall of bad-habit lame thinking which I believe is pretty much an ego trip and I ain't talking about "not enough" of kind! so it's ok, I learn to laugh at myself. I found some spent shotgun shells out at the gold course (what are those from?) and make a little shrine on the desk next to the 'puter w/a a piece of a "herald tribune" article on a book krist novoselic had given me called "the comissar vanishes" by david king cuz of the recent finding of iranian missile test shots being doctored (from the book is a stalin w/three comrades, then stalin w/two comrades, then stalin w/one other comrade and finally comrade stalin alone - all before the advent of photoshop!). pretty sick I know but ironic too maybe ("...live alone and think about it"). I am determined to rent a bike tomorrow and pedal it to bordeaux. I like this solitary stuff - I think of my pop saying "I want you to go to your room and think about this before I come in there" when I fucked up and did something stupid, misbehaved - I think of me hearing "go live by yourself and think about it" - I think of heironymus bosch's "temptation of saint anthony" painting, the second smaller one:
I've read this was maybe done near to when it's thought were his last days. I hold out again for the trough in the morning and skip dinner (lunch? I usually don't have lunch even back in pedro - my life's become usually a two chow/day trip). thursday I shovel trough, the staff's starting to know me and of course I can relate to them more than the golfing guests but you know at first they must find it hard a working guy would be at this pad - to try and convince them (w/out words), I've been wearing the same outfit the whole time! anyway, they're cool people - maybe they think "a crazy peasant but maybe an ok peasant" and I'm into that... better than being mistaken for bourgeois! I rent the bike and am lucky cuz every morning the sun has been out really bright and a little relentless but today's gray like a so cal morning so I get the orange knit hat on - both to protect the port ear I got cuz it got burned in a fire twenty years ago and it looks like it healed good but the skin has got scar tissue in it and reacts funny to too much sun and the other reason: so drivers see me. see, this "d2" road is a narrow two-laner w/no divider (except for a painted line) and no shoulder (except for another painted line) - I can't really ride on the side of the road cuz no firmness - a big danger to try and off-road it I think so I don't - I fucking swim w/the cars. oh yeah, before I bail, I write a poem or finish it cuz I popped several times last night to put in lines while it was being born - I was asked by byron to read some poems and play solo bass behind charley plymell in phily on august ninth - here it is:
so yeah, I'm remembering that now - I think there was like four lines from another poem and that was a romantic poem where maybe this one ain't so much is - well, a parallel universe like "in love w/poems" kind of romantic - see this from whitman's "leaves of grass" from 1855:
the sky continues beautiful . . . . the pleasure of men with
the men/women is for healthier others - the "pleasure from poems" is for watt. what can see so clear to me, you know, is nothing but confusion for others in maybe the same way I am confused by 'pert-near everything unless blessed w/the luck of a good guess. I like this from old walt too and think of it while my legs twirl as I work the pedals:
all truths wait in all things,
I meet up w/margaux and go south on d2 through issan, catenac, labarde and bern (not the swiss one!). it's gray and cloudy and not like the other mornings all sunny and this is a blessing for a pedaler... onward south through caychac - rows and rows of grapes all growing on each side of the road - names of the vineyards the very ones on labels I've seen on wines that ig's let me drink, intensely great tasting wines! at blanquefort, I head for the "z.i." - the industrial zone before hitting the first bike paths... I turn east and cross lake bordeaux on one that parallels the autoroute (like our freeways but not free!) and just before pont d aquitaine (pont = bridge) I turn south again and pedal along the garonne river cuz I figure there's less chance of getting lost using that as a landmark - I looked at a map in the 'tel lobby but have no map w/me. what I found out is that one version of what france has that's like our "sure is shitty" (circuit city) is called "darty" and I found one on cours victor hugo and it looked like that was across pont d pierre so when I hit that, I should make a starboard and sure enough when I do I find the darty less than a mile up the road, smack in the middle of the city. bordeuax is pretty old down town, most of the new money going to the waterfront. it looks pretty neat though and I explore around, finding an old synagogue and then where there's a bunch of north african arab chow pads and then a flea market right at the foot at the tower of saint michel. I do find a digicamera pretty econo too, the canon a570 that uses aa batteries and sd memory so I can use that between my different cameras and future ones - I hate proprietary shit. same case size as the canon I use when I paddle cuz it fits a waterproof housing I have. I get a tuna sandwich and chow that before heading back. that takes longer cuz I end up snapping like fiver hundred shots. going back over bordeuax lake, I see kids and a couple of adults paddling kayaks and pedal down to where they're kept but damn, none are for rent... aaaaaaarrrrrrggggghhhhh - that would've been double righteous to get to both pedal AND paddle in these parts, huh? I get back around five and when, that was forty miles at least and then some but I feel real good. it's ronnie's sixtieth birthday so we all gather at the brasserie and have a dinner chow for him, everone happy for ronnie, good times.
friday is gig day and I pop early as usual and am the first one at the trough to shovel. ronnie comes and joins me and he asks about my pedaling adventure and I tell him a lot more than I just chimped here but then he's asking me good stuff and I ain't just relying on my mind trying to make my own thoughts clear (thank you, ronnie!) and then I say bye to good off this chow and then work on spielgusher. I washed my boilersuit the day we got here so it's ready to go. eight bells and ronnie's gonna do the gig w/a hat on - what? well, there was medical drama - right after I saw him a morning chow, he went back to his chamber and a nosebleed came on that would not stop. he had to be taken to a doc and a plug put in, it was a warning sign his blood pressure was way high, the doctors worried when they measured it. ronnie's a trooper to soldier on and do the gig, much respect. we drive a hour and half to angouleme (about seventyfive miles north of bordeaux) to where we're playing, the garden nef party festival and I chow soon as we get there (heard both mi-gu albums through the ipod on the way), I shovel beef stew and pasta w/salad at the same table as lisa and bob from the bell rays while rapping w/them - real good people and so great to see them again - much respect! lame I got here too late to see them play, the hives are on now. first time I ever played w/ig (at an awards show called "the short list" in hollywood, late 2002) was three stooges songs w/pel and mike from this band, pete yorn on drums. they're really working it hard. we're on at 11:45 pm so brian green's on next and peaches comes up to talk w/me while they play. we have a good spiel, been a while since I've gotten to see her too. she's doing a dj set right after us. she is a very happening lady, much respect!
downbeat for us to play arrives, where's the moon? its first night full was ronnie's birthday, hmm... we follow ig to the stage - I got my bass like a half hour ago so I'm good and warmed up. the french "le stooges" esprit is in full effect for "loose" as we start the gig, I'm playing the whole riff on the 'a' cuz I'm thinking of that sound dave had - I wonder if that's how he did it... more legato, huh? ig is going wild - once again my amp knobs on one svt get turned down (didn't happen last show though!) for "down on the street" when he does the amp humpin' but jos gets it back up, I thank him w/a laugh as if to say "that intense man, ig!" and man he is, ripping it up w/dancing and singing for "1969" and the into the moat to bring it up close for "I wanna be your dog" - ronnie storming his leads out from his strings, then ig back up on stage w/us for the last verse... a re-hydrate for him and then pump pump pump "tv eye" holler and we go off on that but there's a grind in our groove that I feel really happening, a feel from somewhere inside deep and thorough - I don't know why I put it that way but that's kind of it - I see the full moon rise over the hill in front of us, ig skips "dirt" and has us do the "real cool time"/"no fun" twofer and we've got the most full stage invasion of dancers we've had in a while (thirty, forty?), some coming from the side like peaches and lisa, wow! I kind of throw in some fills there, a little loss of discipline - fucking baka watt but not too much though. I don't what made me do that, aaarrrgggghh - got a little carried away by the guitar solo and the dancers' passions! very kind intro for scotty from ig, scotty-san's been smokin' on the drums tonight, tearing it up and continues to do so, driving us all the way to new jersey on "1970" before me and him hold on some for "mindroom" and then kick in the re-engage for "fun house" and bam-boom/bam-boom thus in a most gather-it-up way, tossing it all like leaves in a blizzard for "l.a. blues" kkkkkaaaarraaaaaazzzzzeeeeeee - FLAM! "skull ring" and here comes that low-end bogart thing... I turn down the little bass' volume but you know what? there's a fucking linear taper pot there and not an audio one so even a cunt hair of adjust mean either full or nothing - damn, must've happened when I replace it after it getting broke off at the beginning of the year... gotta replace this, baka watt! "my idea of fun" next and I stay off the 'e' string completely, I'm reading ig's signals, especially for the closer "search and destroy" and actually play really soft after the first verse, the only way it seems I can compensate for the wwwwooooooooommmmmm threatening to blanket us. so weird to play stooges music soft, so weird but I'm gonna do whatever it takes to do the best I can for these guys. the crow is way wild, great emotion and they have us back for "I got a right" and in the first chorus, ig holds his arm out and here comes a shoe at the same time - they've been flying up all night (at least no beer bottles though!) and haven't been really a threat but the way ig catches this is truly amazing - like his was a powerful magnet and this should made of metal and just ttthhhhhhhwwwaaaccckkkk, it's drawn right up and into it! I put my fist in the air to celebrate such a righteous move (and coincidence) and looks back, smiles a "yeah, alright!" to me as we deliver the tune strong. "little electric chair" then after - what did when we came back out was put the little gibson bass on full back pickup and none of the front one, to try and attenuate booming bogarts so it things are better for my bass solo and anchoring besides though it is kind of treble/mid - especially for our finish, once again the "double dog" and me trying to play it like I was trying at the beginning of the set, closer to mister dave alexander's way, from the original and also thinking of him - man, I would've love to have met him.
the boilersuit is soaked 'pert-near as bad as playing that venice gig last month in the blazing sun... maybe it was really humid? I have no idea but wanna get in the dry levis quick and be safe against sickness. ronnie's feeling good, great! I was very much pushing the healthy vibes on him the whole time, praying hard it's ok on him, the set and all the ferociousness the emotion tsunami stooges music brings forth. whoa. the long drive back feel longer cuz it's later - like 3:30 am when we get back to 'tel but my body felt a little more than my head cuz the head was getting feed lots tunes from ccr's first six records, all shuffled up in an order maybe only d. boon could've had a hand in. we do have some jokes to pass around about the post-gig routing but it's all ok, all worth it cuz of bringing on a great gig. I thank the guys once again, head tom chamber, hose off and then konk on the deck in my fly-away outfit so I can just pop and shovel pretty much w/the sun's own pop. yume's bookends: konk and pop.
saturday, july 26, 2008 - seinajoki, finland
another week beofre the next gig... yes, three gigs in sixteen days - the most intense tour leg that way for us of the summer. sunday morning one more shovel at the relias le margaux - one of the staff there is very nice and asks about the gig and then an autograph... sometimes at these pads I feel so outsider (sometimes?) but in a way it's ridiculous cuz they all got workers and I very much identify and relate w/them - I can imagine them tripping on me being not so much the same ol' same ol' 'tel client either. I always try and be as kind as I can w/them, seeing myself in their shoes and doing what they do. never did that kind of work but I can empathize. I feel no one in this world really deserves to be waiting on mike watt - should be other way around! nine bells and I shove off one last time w/everyone but ig, nina, ronnie and jos - whoa, that's almost half the team but ronnie's gotta see the doctor to get the plug removed and the plan all along w/as for us to stay here 'till finland but then there was a change (roadboss eric's idea) for us to spend four days in amsterdam. scotty spends a lot of time there cuz lots of these short hops back home is avoided by him cuz the jet lag kills him so he just holes up in the 'dam while the rest of us fly the back and forth. the weather's very nice our last morning in the bordeaux region - I'm wondering on the ride to the airport why I didn't have one fancy wine while I was here - I did get one three euro bottle and a five euro one just to see what something that econo was like w/bordeaux on the bottle and yeah, it tasted kind of like that's what they were (attesting to their price) but then what the fuck do I know cuz I am very ignorant of wine, very. the only education I've had on it was a little w/perry in my porno for pyros days and then w/ig here in the stooges. au revoir boardeaux, we fly on an airfrance fokker 100 (smaller two-jets-near-the-tail regional) to schipol airport near amsterdam, about two hours flytime. nice and sunny, we're shuttled straight to the center of town, just off the damplatz at the swissotel. the streets are packed w/folks and if I sit and close my eyes, I hear tons of different languages. sure, there's lots of dutch but there's lots of other peoples, wow, amazing. there's a new law saying no smoking tobacco in public pads (restaurants, bars, hotels, etc.) so I'm curious to how the coffee shop scene is. the second alley east of the 'tel has one and on the menu there I see some mota called "ak-47" and get the nine euro for sack and I see ashtrays and there's a stack of gratis papers on the counter - there's bowl of some kind of leaf stuff to take the place of tobacco (old euro way is mota and tobacco lenyos) but I do half the the paper (their big ones) u.s. pure style and puff it there. man, it's been a while since I've had any and in pedro it's mexican kind so this real strong hydro dutch stuff is just that: real strong. whoa. a couple doors down in the ally is japanese chow pad called shiki and I have some pork and udon soup there - very chinese tasting but I like it and anyway, what the fuck do I know? so that's my first night in amsterdam, man alone but it's interesting and I konk happy w/intense yume. no free trough at this 'tel so monday morning (umi no hi - day of the sea in japan, we should have a sea holiday back home? I think yes!) I hoof around at the crack and not much is happening early in amsterdam (like a lot of euro towns) and especially a monday. I do find a pad to make a salami sandwich and get some coff and then work on the spielgusher proj 'till late afternoon where I take steve mackay to an argentine steakhouse cuz of hearing scotty talk so much about chowing at them when he's here and this pad we pick is called the dam steakhouse and we get the eleven euro plate and it's pretty ok. I show him the grocery store I found maybe a couple blocks from the 'tel where there's sixes of tall heinies for five euros. yes, econo here. we visit w/scotty and I gotta dump and don't wanna foul his air so I head for my chamber but right after getting done, I can't hold and konk right there on my deck - early night for watt, happy umi no hi. dutch dude carlos has been my euro bookerman for twentytwo years now, met him through the touring w/my sonic youth friends and though he lives in rotterdam, I asked if he could spend time w/me like he did last year. well, he couldn't cuz of vacation for his family w/two weeks in costa rica (righteous - one day I wanna go there!) but he did find some music for me to take part in. I asked about the ex, a band that's been around a long time but on are on tour so he asked this lady named liesbeth who made music as solex a good while and she emails me (not free in the 'tel but they have some shitty windblows 'puters that are free in their business center - beats the hell out of us all chipping in to get fuck-all no bandwidth at the last pad - it's a trip too cuz most econo pads have free email, even that chain in the u.s. called "econolodge" has it) this plan to have me come and do bass for her. 10:30 am she gets me at the 'tel and we take a tram to the baarsjes neighborhood in the west part of the 'dam to where her man bart has his pop one studio and they chow me w/more salami but though the little roll I had it on at the crack of dawn was ok, this bread they got is the most righteous ever, wow. love it. lisbeth's got forty loops and bart let's me use his early 80s fender re-issue of a 1957 p-bass (anodized pickguard and tobacco finish - just like cris kirkwood's in the "up on the sun" days!) to create bass parts to these musics she's looped up. bart bails and leaves her to work the pro tools while I sit there w/the bass and take each loop one at a time and invent bass to go along, sometimes having to re-tune to what I'm hearing but surprisingly (to me), I get a notion 'pert-near right away each time... I was so nervous at first cuz I didn't wanna choke and let her down but got a little more calm as we went on (about seven hours worth) and was very happy at the end to hear her say she was dug what I did and had about three records worth of stuff, wow! for me w/music, it's best when you make the other cats happy cuz it's hard to have perspective and I'm always getting some kind of regrets thinking about it later, my own judgments on myself so was huge success for me. she was real good working the machine too so zero delays, just loop to loop to loop - full scale bass to and my hands weren't even sore at the end, even w/all that playing - what a trip. I was sitting down though. some of the loops we're in uneven forms so I had to be aware as well as inventive, it was great challenge and I'm very grateful to liesbeth for sharing w/me. her and bart later take me to an indonesian chow pad and we have the rijstaffel or "rice table" w/all these little bowls of great chows - a little bit like thai chow taste sometimes but actually very much its own thing: slow cooked w/great flavors and spices, wow. they wanna cook me a chow at their pad in the center of town, not far from the 'tel - hell yeah! I accept. what a trip too, I find out she's toured w/ms yuko (w/cornelius) and miss yuka (w/chibo matto) - whoa, what a tiny world - beautiful! carlos did so good to make this happen for me... I konk very grateful. wednesday I popped again at the crack and the 'dam is pretty neat at this time, even w/hardly anything open, it's lots more quiet and more to myself, only some work people around... I like just hoofing around, bridge after bridge over canals and down tinytown streets, charming/relaxed/inetersting, yeah, I like. I got an email the other day that kind of brought me down and I didn't even wanna mention it cuz it was scary too - charley plymell's health wasn't doing good and he was going to have to cancel that august ninth no more bush gig where I was back him on bass - I knew he was kind of hurting and that went into the poem I wrote him last week but when he writes to say he dug that and now will do the gig, you couldn't find a more happier watt - no you couldn't... I love charley. reading the whitman "leaves of grass" has made me intense, especially w/some prose I very much feel ain't too appropriate for here - hell, I don't know where it's appropriate but I do write this poem so I'll have two to read before I work the bass behind charley:
I teach brother steve about skype so he call his lady patty econo through his 'puter. we chow some shorma w/free salad bar and I get lots of olives and pickled spiced veggies - reminds me of my ma always getting a jar of that when she'd go to the commissary at the beginning of the month. I go to liesbeth and bart's chow and who's there and is her old friends - stooges roadboss eric (he tells about the tugboat he's restoring) and his wife christinia, wow! a nice man robert's there too - he in fact recorded the last performance ever of my second opera "the secondman's middle stand" at the paradiso here in the 'dam (site of my first dutch gig ever too, w/the miniutemen opening for black flag) a few years ago - wow, what a trip... like miss yuka says: "we're all connected!" they serve us what the call fondue but instead of using these long thin forks to stick pieces of raw chicken, beef and pork into hot melted cheese to cook, it's broth which I really like - same w/bart's homemade fries, really good! I get to spieling pretty intense (great folks w/interesting things to say - robert was huge rush fan, peak would love that!) and of course w/that comes the crazy hands and the gesturing (italian blood from my ma's people) and well, my pinky hooks a wine glass and it's broke on the table - fucking idiot watt, wine stains on their tablecloth to remember fucking baka. not huge mess though and even w/me embarrassed, my very generous hosts are forgiving to me. the 'dam is so much different than early morning as I hoof back through the intenseness of the dutch open tolerance - a very singular experience! one last konk in this town. back to schipol airport at nine bells wednesday and we take a finnair airbus 320 to helsinki (finalnda's big town) and then a hour later an atr-450 turbopro to vassa, on finlands west coast and facing the gulf of bothnia. we're taken via a causeway (maybe a klick long) to an island called vaskiluoto and to this kind of family resort pad called tropiclandia. they want twentythree euros for buffet dinner trough so I instead hoof the couple of klicks to vassa's town center to find they stop selling beer at nine pm but the weather is very pleasant and cali-like so I can get served one in an outdoor bar at the seaside. free internet in the rooms but I'm tired after visiting w/steve and scotty and konk not too long after sundown (like ten pm!). friday's there's a free trough to shovel but like steve says: "marlon blando" and the scrambled eggs and meatballs are tasteless, maybe spiceless for all the small children? the yogurt and berries are good. I walk into town to take pictures. I come back to take steve into town in the afternoon and find some chow for both of us. I remember seeing a shorma pad and take him there. we order like a kebab plate but each get served a pizza after our salad (six euros for each of us) - it's alright cuz it's really good pizza so it's not like "send it back!" or anything like that - good thin crust w/salami and peppers for toppings on the cheese. the owner asks if I'm iranian and I tell him "not yet" and it turns out he's a kurd. a very nice cat. I show steve more of the vassa I've already found and then we hoof back, getting beer on the way. eleven euros for a six of tall "koff" brand beer (great name!) but it's five and half euros a glass at the 'tel so that's econo. good to get steve at walking too, I'm so glad he was into that. me, steve and the asheton brothers have good spiel so as the patio clears out cuz there was like this three hour play being put on... couldn't figure that but of course it's in finnish (no recognizable cognates, either germanic or latin w/these folks!) so I could only imagine what was going on as I watched it from my window. anyway, good spiel w/the guys and I konk early.
gig day and I rest my legs up some but I do go along a lot of the shore around the island, grogeous. trippy birds, like a mix of magpie and a raven but w/gray instead of white - I had a weird experience w/these in tampere (along w/a helsinki gig, this is our third time in finland). though we're here in vassa, the gig tonight is in seinajoki, a little town about sixty miles away, an hour drive. it's called the race and rock festival and we're going on after an finnish band that's been around since 1981 called yo (but w/two dots over the o - in finnish that means night) and before thin lizy - yeah, a version of thin lizzy w/out phil lynott which to mean is hard to understand but then what the fuck do I know? he died less than two weeks after d. boon did. bushie took a picture of me by the statue they now have of him in london. I liked that "jailbreak" album that came out the year I graduated san pedro high (1976). it's a pretty drive through through the roads w/fields of thick green wheat and tall firs and in the middle of town is the gig, next to a grade school - we're brought to a classroom to be used as our dressing room - lowered sink, step-up for kids who need a time-out in the corner (w/a mirror on the bulkhead so they have to look at themselves)... I chow from a can of tuna, pieces of it on potato chips - first shovel since the one at am. I find a rolled-up poster of world war one planes and spread it on a table - ronnie knows lots of these! 11:15 pm and we're on... a short ride in a van (I'm hoofing back!) and we're at the foot of the stage. ninetyfive db soundlimit so only my top cab and the two top cabs for ronnie will be on (that means only one of my amps) but that's ok. ig hollers "go!" and up the stairs I... go! "loose" blasts us off and I notice ig's got jeans like levis but that ain't levis... I wonder what they are? I'm doing all one string again, the 'a' one - I'm gonna try and get better at this. it's beautiful weather, the sun just having gone down. I don't get on my knees for "down on the streets" and don't know why, hmm... ronnie's back strong and no baseball hat like last time - I know that angouleme gig was tough for him but his soldiered through it and is getting better - he told me his blood pressure's already ten points lower. his guitar, even through the subdued amp setup is still scorching - tearing it up in "1969" and "I wanna be your dog" - whoa! ig does several "fuck/shit" back and forths before hollering us into a slammin' "tv eye" - really really slammin', I shit you not. he gets around seven local finns to be dancers up on stage for "real cool time" and "no fun" - one cat gets all the clothes off except for his butt-floss bikini underwear and hops, hops, hops - no shyness... one other young man tells me "mineetmahn" in my ear between tunes - kiitos! (kiitos = thanks in finnish) - me and scotty misread a cue from ig at the end of "no fun" cuz he hollered no funs but it sure seemed short and we stop briefly when he counts us back in! all is ok... intros for "1970" then scotty's hihat pedal breaks right as he's coming in w/his brother but we get in ok and he plows right through, helperman jos getting a chance to fix it while he does cymbals to ron and ig's "mindroom" (doesn't he always do cymbals here? I think I'm realizing that for the first time - after five years!). all strung together now, "fun house" into "skull ring" into "my idea of fun" (trippy octave stuff on the bass?) into "search and destroy" and we're off... but not for long - back on into "I got a right" into "I'm fried" (whoa, trippy beginning but we right ourselves and keep the keel in the water) into "little electric chair" - then two we haven't done in a while: "little doll" and "not right" - yeah! we're off again and I start hoofing back when henry hollers "get back here, watt" cuz ig wants us to do another - the double dog! in the middle he keeps telling the folks to "look at the moon" cuz it sure is pretty - coming onto a fingernail crescent, low on the horizon and pretty huge. a righteous gig, a long one for us: eightyone minutes. I hoof back and am sitting by the hatch, ig walks by and says, "good work, dude" and for me that is a most righteous thing to hear - thank you much, ig.
only twenty minutes for some beers and out of the sweatsoaked boilersuit and we're on the road back to the 'tel for showers cuz it's to the airport at 3:30 am. we take a private jet to london heathrow in england (damn, didn't find out what kind of plane it was but it's the biggest private one we've ever taken) and I don't even remember getting off and ending up konking in this building called "aviation house" that this private jet company must use as like a business lounge or whatever. everyone's got flights in the early am back to the hometowns but my flight ain't 'till five pm so it's a twelve hour layover for watt - I konk for half of that and chimp diary for the rest. airfrance just started non-stops from heathrow to lax but there's only one a day and that's the reason I had to wait but for me it's no big deal, really... anything for the stooges. the eleven hour flight back on a 777-200 has me konking a bunch too (tired watt!) - there's a movie on the back of the seat in front of me called "always - sunset on third street 2" so I guess it's a sequel and I kind of dug it - it being exotic for watt (a japanese movie) probably keeps it from seeming like a soap opera or whatever - hey, I cried some - the subtitles made me do it! the third contemporary movie from that land for me (saw the other two on flights too, "bizan" and "invitation to cinema orion"), all seen on flights... really I know of their cinema is old edo period stuff like some kurosawa and the "zatoichi series" - I'm pretty much a fucking idiot about movies period anyway, never hardly watch them but I'm attracted to some sometimes so why not - especially mister airplane captive here in this huge pile of moments. after the movie, I thought of something about hankerings I have... this is from when I just born and my early time in virginia: there was this couple that lived w/us in the navy housing, a sailor had married a lady from japan and they couldn't have children so everyday my ma would let this lady "borrow" me for a few hours. besides my ma, this was the first lady in my life I spent time w/and I have an idea this put buried impressions on me - good ones. now I'm trying to sound like I know shit from shine-ola but it's just an idea I have, my ma telling me a couple years ago (I'm afraid I don't have any conscious memories) so I started to think about it, this whole idea of why we do what we do, like what we like, that kind of stuff... well, it made think of this too, from walt whitman's "leaves of grass":
"now I tell what my mother told me today as we sat at
which was a trip cuz I had been thinking of it a couple of days ago anyway! the final hours of flight, I re-read his 1855 edition once again (ninth time now? I lost track). sure is neat kristin gave me it. my sister melinda gets back to my pedro pad from the airport after clearing customs ("...and how long have you been playing bass, mister watt?") and time to dump that airplane chow - why is always so dark green? I don't remember hardly any vegetables. I make myself konk w/some bourbon cuz I wanna get back on the pedro clock quick seeing I only have four days 'till the next tour leg...
this page created 3 jun 08