tuesday, may 2, 2017 - denver, co
this is our first gig of tour, and the first show with jerry and i playing together in a long time. it's strange not to be with raul like the last few years of my tour life. raul and i have had such great times playing with mike and have our touring system of doing things so fine tuned. i'm sad he's not here, but i'm so excited for him and paloma and their new bambina. so, now jerry and i will have to learn our way, that's cool. hiyori is with us again, helping with the merch, etc., etc. she's a sweetheart, and she's very compact.
the first load in is always a new experience, things aren't packed efficiently yet. we have a new cart to help with loading, and it works well. tonight i will use my new amp too, i'm still getting used to it. it's a fender hot rod deville 4x10" 60 watt combo. it's solid.
the meat puppets arrive and load and we say hello, they soundcheck and then us. all's well, playing a nice old venue called the bluebird theater. we've played here a few times, it's a great place.
jerry and i go get some mexican food across the street at a place called mezcal, i have a fish taco and a barbacoa one with a side of refried beans. not bad, very tasty, good salsa.
we play early and start at 8:10 and it goes great. my wah goes out so i borrow cris' from the meat puppets, thanks cris. i have to find a new one soon, the one i want is an ibanez weeping demon wah because it has feature where when you step on the pedal it's activated and when let it go it springs back into position and turns off so there's no switch click and it doesn't make you start in the high sweep mode, you can bring it in from the low filter stage.
when we're playing i look down in front and billy stevenson is standing there looking at me. his big smile made me really happy, he's a great guy but i don't get to see him much. he lives in Fort Collins, but we are both from the same area in the South Bay, cali. i'm so glad he's doing well and doing decendents gigs. i also see a good friend from the early days in manhattan beach, Christian chambers, i was best friends with his brother kelly when i was 15. crazy thing is i saw kelly on our recent tour up the west coast last month, and we stayed at his place in bend oregon. it's so great seeing good friends when i'm on the road. another bonus from tour.
meat puppets play and sound great, i'm stoked we get to do this together for a few weeks. also, linda kite is working the merch with them, yet another sweet face to complete this trip. jello biafra is there too, we hang and talk about when we played in pacifica together for steve mackay's memorial gig. he's a one of a kind dude for sure. very fun to be around.
we go to jay fox's home for the night, very, very great guy with a lovely wife a cool boy, mathew. i get to sleep in the pantry again like last time when we we're out with the lite brothers from japan. they have some amazing cooking equipment in there, i especially like the lime green enameled le crusette pot. they say that's what i said last time, duh. jerry is in the basement sleeping area and mike and hiyori are in the living room...we sleep.
ok, it's been a good while since the jom & terry show have done a tour but here we gone, the first one in like fifteen years. we did two tours back then, mainly so I could pay for the surgery that saved my life when that illness almost took me - fuck, I was only fortytwo and still had a lot of work to do, right? me + the jom & terry show never recorded, the proj was put together for like what I just chimped, to help me pay that debt to the county hosp which I was not against cuz hell, they saved my fucking life. jerry trebotic is the drummerman for the secondmen and tom watson is the missingmen guitarman so it's a trippy combo for watt but I love them much and know we can have a good time w/this tour which got happening cuz of my old friends the meat puppets inviting me - it was gonna be the secondmen cuz they liked the two gigs we did w/them back in november but secondmen organman wasn't available cuz he's getting some new training down on the docks (both him and jer are longshoremen in our pedro town) so that's where tom came in to save the day.
it's one thousand plus miles to the first gig which is in denver - yeah, you read right but I love the pups so let's do this. the plan is to bail on monday early. miss hiyori arrives from hamburg (germany) and we go get jer in what used to be called pedro (north part) but they annexed themselves to rancho palos verdes, he's in one of the first tract condos built in the fields that used to be a tank farm not far from the navy housing (now gone) where I moved to from virginia when I was nine. at seven and a half we gather jer, get his drums and the shirts raul (missingmen drummerman) made for us for this tour. by the way, raul's got a shipmate coming - him and paloma are gonna be parents of soph in a few weeks, righteous. now over to manhattan beach to get tom, I tell his ma I promise to get him back safe... she says she wishes she could see the meat puppets again - her and tom's pop oj has seen many gigs w/their son tom has done, buttloads w/me - beautiful folks. I still have hurt heart cuz oj passed away last december. I loved him much. we got a picture of him in the boat right near a postcard w/john coltrane praying... oj's riding in the boat w/us.
here's our route out of so cal: I-105 east to I-605 north to I-215 east to I-15 north - yes, a big dodge around fucking downtown l.a. which doesn't mean no plug but it does make for less. the weather is way happening which is how it is a lot in so cal. we got 8,862 tunes on my ipod on shuffle for sound. I got the boat serviced last thursday and she's running great even w/her coming up on 180,000 miles and eleven years. god bless the boat, the center of our touring universe. I get us to just before barstow around two, you know where that giant thermometer is? it's reading 98. jer get's us over the nevada border after we get across the mojave, very happening weather and traff. around five it's tom's turn in mesquite in arizona (we got a little bit of that state to do after las vegas where we stop also (after some wander, of course) for boat fuel and our tour chow - I get a subway sandwich the way I usually get them: tuna w/only pickles, olives, jalapenos and a little mustard w/plain chips stuffed in for textures. tom gets us into the mountains and onto I-70 before one more pony switch for today, I ask jer to take it for me cuz I'm beat and hell, a man's gotta know his limitations, right? it's getting dark and at green river I decide we should drop anchor. it's an hour later cuz of the time zone change (we're in mountain now cuz arizona doesn't do daylights savings time) and even though the plan was to get to grand junction which is just inside colorado, I'm thinking it ain't worth to kill ourselves on the first hellride so we find a super-8 that's fucking 'pert-near a hundred bucks a room - what?! and the internet doesn't work either. well, at least I get a good soak in the tub and everyone's safe.
pop at seven, pull anchor at eight and a half. yes, the boat's safe. I grab a few yogurts and we pull anchor at eight. oh, I asked the desk lady if this green river is the one from the creedence song and she said she heard it was... maybe. d boon loved that song, us minutemen used to cover it. we got some mountains to go over now, the rockies being the big daddies - ok, let's do it. I found this great web site that gives weather forecasts for specific routes you enter and the time you bail - the snow forecast I saw earlier is now changed to rain so I feel relieved but it's still scary - I worry so much about keeping us safe. around ten we cross into colorado and the freeway starts to follow the colorado river - amazing hos it's smaller here but downstream it'll feed hoover dam and become the border between 'zona and cali - what. it's cold but bitchin' geography and stuff going by the windows - yesterday was good but this is even wilder, many deep canyons and rock formations and stuff. the skies are ok 'til about gypsum when rain comes and the temperature really drops but at least no snow. we get gas at a sinclair in the town of eagle (not just eagle but what the sign on the trip that greets you says) and my subway sandwich (part of the filling station, double it up) of the tour after fueling the boat and switch ponies, jer's got the rudder now for our last stretch. he's got some summits to get us over and there's even some flurries but the weather and he's driving gets us through some real beautiful if not also just barely (cuz of the snow/ice) passable passes... the johnson tunnel is almost two miles up, crimony!
downtown denver, the olde-timey main street colfax is where we're going... arrive at the bluebird theatre right about three - no rain it quit after getting pass the mountains, great! it's been a while since I've played this pad and dig it much. an older place that I think that was a burlesque pad. soundman damien let's load in the front where we get to park pretty close, at the corner - our first luck park of the tour, yes! first time too to use the shine cart I got for the tour - fuck, we lost one of the tightener screws (its length is adjustable) in pedro. it still works but we gotta be careful. tash from minneapolis (an old friend) has moved here and arrives to tell me she can't see the gig cuz of another one she's gotta see. it's ok, still great to see her again. I go backstage which is backstage and downstairs - whoa, I'll think I'll plant myself here cuz of my fucked up portside knee. miss hiyori finds some won ton soup for me at a pad I chowed at w/my secondmen when I was last here back in december for two nights at the lion's lair lounge down the street. it's good and helps a funny feeling gut I've been having since yesterday.
the meat puppets arrive and we gotta bunch of catching up to do, love these guys. bassman cris tells me about when him and his brother curt went camping up in alaska as boys and were almost wailed on by a mother moose who was w/her two babies that they just came across while hiking around. it sounded scarier than shit but they made it, cris being saved by a skinny tree and curt running away and then turning around suddenly and hollering - the moose bailed to get her and her babies out of dodge. cris is just the best teller of tales, let me tell you... just the best. he's says he's maybe getting a radio show going again - that was a blast being w/him.
anyway, we check after they do theirs and then I return to spiel w/our tourmates, curt and his son elmo plus drummerman shandon. damn if shandon doesn't enlighten me to the fact he met doug clifford - crimony! eighteen inch highhats! the vibe is righteous, tour's got a great start.
we hit at ten after eight. the denver gig-goers are most kind to us. we're a mile up and just did a thousand mile hellride so I'm feeling that a little but these folks buoy me up big time. the jom & terry show are bringing it but I think maybe it's kind of blurry soundwise for them cuz we fall off the beat a couple times and I got stop us to get back on which they do real good w/the recover and get back in move, respect. I also have a prob w/the screw holding my pickups on my wattplower in not having enough wood to bit into (the screw's too short) but monitorman kyle comes to the rescue w/a phillips driver - he has to do it twice but same thing after, the band comes right back in w/total recover mode engaged, respect. the denver gig-goers give much support too - I think these probs we had weren't that negative and give us in fact another dimension of humanity. I think this is something that has to happen but accident, you can't stage this kind of stuff and get away w/it but dealing w/the hand get dealt to you has a certain dynamic that speaks to certain kinds of stuff. I think we did pretty ok, especially w/the sitch.
I go to the merch table cuz w/us opening and the stage having to change over, I can't sling right after like I planned. on the way, jello's there, big hugs! so good to see him again, truly. lots of gig-goers are very kind to me and get stuff or just rap w/me, much good word from them, very kind. lots of bass brothers, yes! I meet one of brother kyle in virginia's buddies, stuart - he took georgie to get a porche in richmond years ago. I'm gonna see brother kyle later this tour - him and stuart, virginia! he remembers I was born in portsmouth. look at this, it's billy from the descendents - whoa, long time, long time - big hugs. he looks great - we talk about both of our first gig here in denver: him w/black flag and me w/the minutemen at the rainbow in 1983. so good to see billy. also doug kauffman, who's done my gigs here in denver for like thirty years. I invite him in the boat and we talk - tom and jer have already loaded the boat, good work. whoa, there's a big sack of stuff for us from mio, the lady who's comes lots of times w/her pom-poms, there's even a couple of pom-poms for us in the sack, arigato. I missed her in person though, her buddy too - great people.
my friend jay fox has invited us over so all of us (doug included) go over to his pad not too far away, his son and wife waiting for us, so kind. the applejack is rough for me though but it's welcomed though so I can relax some cuz there was a little stress to get this tour going but it was worth it. everyone safe and healthy. me and doug have a big spiel - so good to go on early so we got time. we talk about joe strummer and all kinds of stuff. doug's most kind to me and you know he also does bass. he takes a cab and it's konk time for me, whoa, ready to konk hard. great tour beginning - thank you jay and everyone else for helping us so much.
wednesday, may 3, 2017 - omaha, ne
we play at the waiting room tonight, i like this place. first of all, they put cones in front of the club to save parking for us and it's an easy load in rolling up a little ramp into the venue. the stage has a couple really nice features too. it's kind of wide and just deep enough to set up a backline and another drum set in front of the other to make change over easy. also, there is a space next to the stage to put gear to break down after change over, and it has door to keep it secure. the other side of the stage is closed off with a door that goes to two green rooms with easy access stairs to get on and off the stage. the live room is a wide rectangle with medium high ceiling and mixing desk in the middle. there is even a room at the back of the club for merch that is just far enough away from the stage so you can communicate with people while another band is playing. stage sound is good and monitors are clear.
people there are very nice too. i speak with a young lady named erin after we play, and she had interesting thoughts about our show. she came with some friends that know mikes music and the meat puppets too, but it was all pretty new to her. she said that she enjoyed it, and i asked what she liked about it. she that was drawn into it because she couldn't tell what we would do next, that the music kept changing. almost like the band was changing, not just the music. i like that. then a couple nice dudes say hi and ask me to sign two 7" records and use my red sharpie and she says "i love red sharpies". okay.
pop at six, hose off after doing man-dance in the hall after waiting for tom to get done bogarting the goddamn head w/his forever-dump. well, it's a good thing to get dump out of your body and never hang on to it if you don't have to where piss running down your let ain't near as bad cuz mainly ain't near toxic, not even close. jay makes us up some sliced bagels w/fried eggs in them w/coff, very kind. ready to pull anchor at eight, my last gift to him and his family is knocking my fucking coff over on the rug - I knew I should've gotten it off the deck - damn me... here everyone was worried the dog would do it but it was my fucking stupid self. I'm so so sorry and not just a little ashamed.
jay helps me down his porch stairs cuz there's no handrail - he says there's one but it's in his cellar, ready to go in. I'm most grateful to jay, we shove off in the rain, the narrow streets a little hard to navigate cuz of the boat's width... some motherfucker honks his horn for blocking him - he honks for like ten days at us, give me a fucking break, buddy. it's us-6 for us in some rainy rain that gets heavier as we get on I-76 and head northeast for nebraska. I gotta really focus to keep us safe w/this kind of weather plus the road is beat and 'pert-near shakes what a little teef I got left out of my head. jer foists some vitamin c chewables on me and damn if they don't react some w/what's left of yesterday's tuna sandwich I am now chowing and I'm getting some gut hurt and strong urge to blow it out - but I can't do that here now and damn if this ain't in the middle of nowhere... I start my secret prayers for some kind of deliverance and damn if there ain't a town called crook that's got a gas station - a sinclair one w/the dinosaur kitsch... I blow out and take even longer than tom's bogart at jay's head earlier. what mercy, I'm most grateful. back on the road it's cold but the rain calms and that's a relief, whew. I-76 ends at I-80, a very familiar road for me. near lake maloney around two (a little way back we lost an hour, passing from mountain time to central) I pull us over to switch ponies, tom now on the rudder. tom's got lots of sun for his shift. I chimp diary.
about four bells tom pulls us off near aurora for boat fuel and switching ponies - jer's turn now. he's got the good weather tom had for about a half hour and then rain starts coming down pretty big time around lincoln but jer's a good driver and I got trust in him. past lincoln safe, the rain abates, whew. near omaha I see a few wild turkeys by the road, whoa! we get to the benson part of omaha right at six - just like the navigatorio gps predicted when we pulled anchor this morning, crimony. the pups are checking now. this is my third time working the waiting room, real nice cats work here - the part owner mark is always very kind. I meet soundman ben and ask him to be our fourth man tonight, he's into it - yes. a bass brother named britt asks me to sign his skateboard deck and we have a good visit. we check quick and try to adjust for the probs we had last night. I go the dressing room to do some throatcoat tea w/tom, damn if we ain't on at quarter after eight and that's real soon - no time for the won ton soup, maybe chow it later. linda arrives, she's slinging stuff for the pups and forgot about losing an hour cuz of the time zone. I'm glad she's safe though, that's the main thing. I can't believe she's doing these hellrides alone, respect.
our gig is much better than last night though we still got a way to go but I know we can. the omaha gig-goers are real good to us, very supportive. the kirkwoods in the pups (everyone but shandon) are many family connects to this town and have a cousin only a block away - so good to share the stage w/them here. I look portside and see cris watching the gig, much respect. I'm having trouble keeping my levis up - damn if I ain't gotta get a belt which ain't a bad thing. my glasses are slipping too cuz I'm sweating pretty big time but it's worth it to work a gig hard for good people, that's what d boon (his pop was from nebraska) and ig really taught me. the pickup screws hold good on the wattplower, alright. it's a good gig for us, especially for this early in the tour AND after sixteen hundred plus miles of driving, some of it in pretty heavy weather... could've been worse though so you know I'm grateful - you can bet tom and jer are. they both do good - I ain't trying to saying last night was terrible but it was definitely a shakedown run. I'm glad we went for it though and also for the denver gig-goers which is the same here tonight in omaha, folks giving us much respect and focus. we finish up and I head to the merch table to sling. I did tell people tonight I get this stuff even though the main thing I come to their town for is to work the bass... the merch stuff is just side stuff and I don't want anyone to feel pressure.
much much good word from nice cats, lots from the old days and many slingers of bass, thank you. I try to rap as much as I can to let cats know I appreciate them really and ain't trying to be jive. I think I really owe them that. I get to see bass brother britt again let him check out the wattplower. he's building his own bass and shows me some pictures on his smartleash, very nice. I get talked to about stuff from back when - I get to say hi to bill from old days nebraska band capitol punishment, him and d boon wrote each other a few times, he tells me - good to see him, big hugs. some lincoln cats are here too, gotta do that town again, been a big while now. sorry. I wish I could play everywhere cuz I like everywhere - just ain't enough days in a tour, just ain't. fred arrives - he's who were staying w/tonight and he missed us play cuz he had to go to his nephew's funeral. I dedicated "one reporter's opinion/forever" to his nephew tonight so I was thinking of him like he was.
big hugs for gigboss john and thank you, we pull anchor and meet fred at his pad - he had to give his buddy rob a ride home. fred's in the west part of omaha but it ain't too far and eleven bells, fuck yes I dig going on early! immediately though I gotta shower and get in the nightwear cuz there's nothing worse for watt then being in wet clothes, especially all the sweating that wailed from me tonight. I feel righteous after all hosed off, happening. I get fred to share jer his can-am books and we talk about racing while I finally can chow that won ton soup, I don't like chowing after gigs but tonight: yes. he's got some canadian whiskey too, I drink w/v8, trippy. very happening vibe at fred's pad, I konk easy around two.
thursday, may 4, 2017 - minneapolis, mn
we play with porcupine tonight, and greg norton is playing bass with them, it'll be cool to see him. i have second shift at the wheel, clear weather and smooth roads going through pretty farm lands. when we got close to minneapolis the traffic is plugged, and i'm a little fatigued while navigating over and under bridges and though narrow streets. we arrive at the cabooze and load in. it's our first time at this venue, but it looks very nice. it's a medium-large wide room with a couple different levels to watch the stage from. next to the cabooze is a biker bar called the joint with a door connecting the two together. there's some sort event going on there and people are enjoying drinks in the outside patio area. soon a boogie rock band sets up there and rocks out for a while. i love how the cabooze is set up, we drive our vans into the back driveway that's fenced in and secure with a guy standing guard. load in through the back doors and roll right in to the stage, and ben from first avenue helps with that. there is an area that they partition off where the green room is, big enough for all of us.
after checking meat puppets friends sarah and dennis bring a huge lasagna that sarah made with a nice salad and bread and some sweet things too. there's enough for all the bands to eat and it's delicious! i have to force myself to stop eating.
pop at seven - I see cali weather outside the window, yes! I get what internet stuff I can cuz we gotta pull anchor at eight, fred wants to take us to breakfast, most very kind of him. we chow w/his nephew's nephew nick not too far away valek's, I chow a "taco bowl" which is like a salad w/hamburger meat inside some kind of tostada-like bowl that had zero mexican taste but still healthy for me so that's good. nick's only nineteen but has it going on: he's in five bands and builds his own drums, crimony! much respect to him. we talk about his music journey but have to shove off at nine cuz of about 380 miles ahead of us to do. big hugs for both of them.
eastward, we get across the missouri river and then head north on I-29. around eleven I get the boat fueled up in sioux city and try to find a belt (don't laugh - some of these "travel centers" have all kinds of shit you wouldn't believe) but strike out. so does jer w/the inquiry about the milwaukee to muskegon ferry - they want over four hundred fucking dollars! fuck that, I guess were gonna deal w/the fucking plug in chi-town to get to grand rapids saturday. damn, that would've been bitchin'... I've never been on the great lakes. oh well. I wheel us further north through iowa on this state road 60 cuz the navigatorio gps has decided for us to scissor the interstate. pass a town called la mars and I wonder about that... w/the espanol the sea is a man (el mar) but w/the french it's a lady (la mer) so I'm guessing maybe people speaking english fucked up and confused both maybe? trippy. we reach minnesota a little before one. the weather is still holding up though a little windy. not too long we're in heron city and I'm ready to switch ponies - this filling station has a choice of seventy percent ethanol for "flex fuel" motors which the boat ain't got so I use leaded - first time I've seen a pump like this before. that ethanol stuff is forty cents a gallon cheaper than the $2.30 I'm paying, whoa. I get a couple of chicken strips and chow those, tom now at the rudder for the last 160 miles. I chimp diary. jer gives me a couple of curds he got at the last stop - I'll get some in wisconsin tomorrow or the next day, hopefully w/dill and garlic. real pretty out the window - I think it's stupid that some people call these parts "boring" to drive through, give me a break. everywhere has got it's own personality in my opinion - you just gotta look for it.
we hit the twin cities around four and tom's got nothing but plug to wade us through. fuck. the plug relents though and after an hour more to go not that many miles we eventually do get where we gotta go which is new for me, a pad called cabooze which was the pups managerman dennis' idea - we get to see him tonight cuz he lives here - he's the man who put this tour together. I meet ben, dennis' nephew and he learns me about the rolling stones even playing this pad in the 70s, the joint next door is a biker bar. ben's a nice cat and we talk about some stuff current... interesting cat and wise beyond his years. we load in and who do I meet next? greg norton - yes! old dear buddy. there's a third band tonight called porcupine and he's playing w/them now. we do a lot spiel catching up, it's been a big while. I love this man, love all three huskers - there would've been no "double nickels on the dime" w/out them, definitely not. cris from the pups joins us - yes, three bass brothers! we have some great spiel. greg says this part of town is called the west bank. once I konked in a pad not too far away now that I think of it - greg was there, in fact! we both remember that night, there was some funny stuff. dale from otto's chemical lounge is here too, BIG hugs for the man. so sad he tells me he had a house fire which breaks my heart but I'm so glad to see him again, so glad.
we check w/soundman mike, trippy the way the room is organized: way wider than deep, way. he knows his room though and I trust him, monitorman pete also, both good cats and happening to work w/which is a real good thing. we get done and then chow lasagna pups managerman dennis' wife sara made us and it's good, many thanks to her. I talk w/curt's son elmo backstage - he wants to talk about jazz stuff, alright. I find out he started on drums and also does both bass and keyboards, whoa. damn, I wish I could do drums. I always got a kit I got from perk set up in my prac pad... I watch porcupine open the gig up and they kick up much dust. I watch the whole set from right in front greg and damn if he ain't going for it - many townshends and dancing from him. their guitarman casey and drummie ian are real good too, I dig them. casey makes me think of nels some w/his guitar and john w/his singing but he's really got his own thing and like I said, I dig it.
nine and it's time for us to do it. the best on stage so far on the tour, really good. we play our best so far too but c'mon - only the third gig. I have to say the minneapolis gig-goers are very VERY kind to us. I kind of space on some words cuz of their focus. well, I wanna do good for them but you don't think at this point as much as do, you know? the knowing's in the doing and it's gotta just be like twisting it off and letting it fly. I keep it together even w/feeling a little beat, the driving's catching up some w/me but the gig-goers buoy me as do both tom and jer who are playing real good. the only baby I gotta stop is the b.o.c. cover at the end and it takes a little bit to get it back (I should've said "take it from the tag" instead of "take it from the break" like a baka). thank god casey porcupine lent me his belt cuz my levis won't stay up - I show the people it when I thank him from the stage, prolly show the bell too, oh well. it's a good time I feel in the room, thank you good minneapolis folks, thank you.
at the merch table there much MUCH good word and I'm most touched by the generous good will, truly. lots of bass players too, brothers and sisters, respect. one thing I wish could get more together though is taking pictures. I'm happy to take pictures but please make them quick, I hope that don't sound picky but... if folks were in my sitch I think they'd maybe know - I'm so grateful folks wanna be kind but at the same time do quick jobs so it ain't a bogart on the other cats. ok, enough of that - don't mean to sound like I'm bellyachin', people are beautiful w/their kindness. I'm just a little beat but still wanna show appreciation and rap w/as many as I can. linda who's slinging pups' stuff arrives - her car I think blew her power steering, terrible luck but at least she's safe.
the pups are great, really good, BIG respect to them. dave pirner comes aboard, great to see him again, hugs. he said he moved back, said he was in new orleans fifteen years, whoa. my old buddy steve mcclellan is here too, whoa! love this man, truly. he has great heart, I really respect him and am so glad he's here, so glad. we rap some and then I settle w/james, who use to work for him. we go out to the boat and I find us trapped but the good cabooze people help get things ship shape. another steve, a gig-goer for a long time rides in the boat w/us to his pad. we pass a proj for native folks and he knows a lot about the tribes and stuff that way here. we get the boat in his garage and then let's us do laundry, he continues to learn me stuff about minnesota which I big time am into... thank you much, brother steve - I konk both happy and more informed!
friday, may 5, 2017 - milwaukee, wi
the shank hall is kind of a time capsule, made immortal by the movie spinal tap and a venue that many many well known acts and players have performed for many years, kind of like the troubadour in L.A.. the hundreds of promo photos on the walls confirms it. the room never seems to change, no more worn out and no more fixed up than the last time we were here. it's a low key, simple sort of place. it has a strangely huge behind stage area, you could probably fit 50 or 60 people back there.
jerry and i go down the street to grab some indian food, i order chicken kerala with coconut milk and onions. with some nan bread. we get back to the club, soundcheck and then eat.
porcupine plays with us again, casey, ian and greg. great guys and great players.
pop at seven and right up the stairs to the head w/my chonies in my hand (nightwear got washed last night), steve helps me find the shower and I hose off. looks like great weather out the window... alright, spring really is here. the hosing off feels real nice, good hot water rubs. that hurt on my port-side elbow I started the tour off w/is healing up good. more spiel downstairs w/steve about all kinds of stuff - damn I wish d boon was here to get in on it cuz him in on the spiel there was always a good perspective... I can't remember if steve ever told me if he ever met him but w/his sense of history, I know it would be very happening for me be in on a spiel w/them both involved. steve's son has got a math exam - I'm pulling for him. steve cooks us up some scrambled eggs and potatoes, a real good shovel for me and hits the spot.
we shove off at nine and a half and head east on I-94 and wade through much construction... after not too much though steve yanks my leash - miss hiyori donated her leash! steve offers to drive the phone to us so we pull off near woodbury and wait for him. what a heart of gold to do that, much respect to him. we have to go through much suburb cuz of all the construction but finally get back on the interstate. I wheel us over the mississippi river into wisconsin and in a little bit pull over to fuel the boat and also cuz I gotta piss like a racehorse. I also get a salad and some some yogurt w/peach in it (my favorite) for later when it's my turn riding shotgun (where I go when I ain't at the wheel). ten of one around the ho chunk casino I pass the rudder to jer. we continue east on I-94, real pretty dairy country w/green rolling hills big time. "ol' wine lips magoo from old pewaukee" - we have a good time w/that one it becomes the current chew toy w/in the boat as it brings more and more east.
three bells and I use the navigatorio gps to find a target (brand name) store cuz I fucking really need a belt... casey was really nice but damn, I think I gotta a little more bell than him and was getting choked out. the other option to have my fucking pants keep coming down and well, fuck that - fuck holding them up w/a finger in the beltloop all the time too. I also get a battery charger for the digicamera's aa batteries cuz I spaced on that too. jer again at the rudder, he gets us into milwaukee safe despite some asshole drivers, the plug for folks going to chicago and construction at five. we're near lake michigan at a pad called shank hall that I've worked many many times, dig it. turns out we're the first one's here and meet padmanager dave who's very cool people. soon the pups and porcupine arrive and we build a gig w/the help of soundman tom who's cool people. we talk about all the cats who's played here that are on the wall... hey, there's the blue oyster cult - no joe or albert but there's alan! of cours buck and e bloom...
me and porcupine man casey talk about rob chapman's "an irregular head" book about syd barrett - so great I've found someone else who's read it too so I can relate instead of having to explain, right on. the big thrust I get is syd wasn't wack but just tired of mersh shit and for me that makes sense. it was great seeing all the spiel from his sister and other folks around him to bolster that. also I got a sense or at least some sense of those days in cambridge and even more london around 1966 to 7... very good book I big time recommend, big time. after soundcheck miss hiyori brings back my favorite kind of india chow from a pad ("maharaja") not too far away: spinach w/chunks of cheese in it and garlic nan bread to make like 'pert-near tiny tacos that make for the most righteous symphony in my mouf, so fucking good. our dressing room which I've never used before - it's gigboss peter's office. this pad has a huge backstage bur for some reason this is how it is tonight. I chimp diary after a visit w/greg norton... I love rapping w/greg norton, always learning something from this cat, always. respect.
porcupine hits first and tears it up, really really good. our turn next and we start off pretty good but then some probs hit and not really playing ones but rather machine ones. happening spirit shared w/us from the milwaukee gig-goers but about ten songs in jer's rack tom mic is not secure and it's twirling - I try to fix it when I can but the set is a hauling ass freight train and I don't put a damper in its pamper. frustrating. damn if I ain't gonna instruct him on making a check about this shit right before we start a gig - count on it! now the prob w/me is one of the screws that holds the 'd' and 'g' string pickup on - it's fucking popped up again w/the pickup against the fucking strings, damn it. soundman tom arrives w/a phillips driver and a rescue but when it happens a second time I start thinking "fuck this" and w/greg norton pogoing right up front, I ask him for his a bass, a custom-made a buddy of his built for him. whoa, you would not believe how different it sounds from the wattplower but it saves the gig, I am most MOST grateful to brother greg for his most generous donate. also the kindness of the gig-goers to tolerate the set gaps... I like running the set like it's on big song - prolly a result of doing my operas but actually this kind of thing goes back w/the minutemen, d boon and georgie liked running a set that way too.
I go to the merch table straight after and folks give me the good word... folks w/their kids, that's been happening a bunch more and more, very happening of them to pass the "watt baton" from shift to shift. much respect. hey, spotski's here, yes - big hugs! I guess he made the fifty mile from where he lives now in sheboygan, so very happening. I gotta one day work his town, one day. he came w/his buddy tiki who has a cafe... we can make it happen, we will! many cats from the old days, so grateful they're still w/me, truly. here's robin from madison - I first met him when he was a helperman for the huskers when they first toured so cal, great cat and also happening bassman. I do the do w/gigboss peter in his office and we catch up cuz it's been a while. he's been doing my gigs in this town since the early 90s, good friend to watt. he hips me to the fact brian richie had those flowers sent to us since he can't be here - he's running an art museum in tasmania now. me and peter have a good rap. it's time to pull anchor cuz we gotta get down the road.
we shove off and w/in seconds padmanager dave is hollering and running after us so I stop us - tom has donated his keys - thank god for padmanager dave, big thanks to him. tom needs a key-trip on that ring or something, right? gigboss peter suggested kenosha for a 'tel... we had a most kind man named river for the invite regarding a konk pad but at the last minute he had to leave town so we have to improvise. it's most MOST important we get to grand rapids as early as poss and w/the potential nightmare traff plug presented by chi-town, we gotta think good about it. what's here? another super-8 for 'tel cuz maybe that one the night before the denver gig was an anomaly? nope, same fucking price but at least the internet works. I think last one we try - looks like some big company bought them and foisted the debt saddle. padmanager dave gave me a little bottle of bourbon, so kind. I drink some and konk after a real good soak... my last soak and konk in a super-8, I think.
saturday, may 6, 2017 - grand rapids, mi
we find a parking spot right in front of the foundry brewery on a sunny saturday afternoon, and i run in to find out whats going on. the place is huge and packed with people drinking beers and eating good foods.. it's so crowded, and everyone is so busy that it takes me 15 minutes to find someone to talk to. i meet luke who helps us and shows us around and after having a snack mike and i go to the fedex office about 20 miles away to puck up my new amp, i had my other amp replaced because of some strange channel switching it was doing. we put the defective amp in the new box and leave it to be shipped back to the dealer, and head back to the venue. the meat puppets show up and they load in and set up. the room is a converted warehouse with roll up garage doors that open onto a large patio with tables, a bar area, very comfortable. the huge indoor area has tables, a very busy bar with 20 or so taps of their various beers and ales, and lots of food coming out of their kitchens. large windows show the enormous brewery production area, tanks and bottling machines of shining stainless steel equipment. after soundcheck we all get food. i have a salad and a club sandwich, and chill out in the comfortable office-green room with the puppets till it's time to play.
gig goes well, great stage and monitor sound. people like it. jerry and i load off the stage with help from the puppets stage helper, danny and take our gear out of the room and beak down outside and get things ready to pack. we have some nice local dudes help us move gear across the street and pack the van and go back into the venue to watch the puppets play. i kneel in front of the stage by one of the sub woofers and dig the gig, a nice young lady kneels next to me and puts her head on my shoulder. kind of nice to get some attention like that. we stay till the end of the gig, but before we head to joeys place i get a tour of the brewery with some nice folk and it's truly incredible. after a little bit we get to joeys pad and i find a mattress in a room roll out my bag and get some sleep.
pop at seven and a half, gotta move cuz we pull anchor eight. the big soak last cleaned me up good enough to spare the hosing off but I really got shave - first one of the tour! regarding beards and staches, I've had enough of that and don't want any face shit. I ain't ever been into shaving but am now days even more not into the results of letting it go. let me correct that: I used to give myself a present for finishing a tour (I used to NEVER shave on tour) by going to this barber on pacific av in my pedro town and have him use a straight razor on me, starting w/a steaming hot towel on the face. you would not believe the sensation of that, incredible... and then for a few hours after. I think even maybe some tiny bit of skin would go w/the hair - I had only been smoother inside my ma before being birthed.
fuel the boat and head south on I-94 looking for cheese w/out realizing kenosha is right on the border and there's no chance to get some wisconsin curds, damn... I wanted to check out what greg norton learned me last night about knowing how fresh they by seeing if they squeak when you chow them. oh well. there's some plug getting into chi-town or I should chimp passing through but it could be way worse. I see a sign for lake shore naval station - there's a boot camp for sailors then and that's where my pop did his. my ma had moved to chicago from peoria and over in hungary the soviets had sent tanks in so there was this charity dance for refugees from there at a ymca and that's where my parents met. when I was making "the weirdness" w/the stooges in 2006 I borrowed steve albini's bike and pedaled to the address my ma gave me of the apartment she had... it was still there so I while looking at it, I called my ma on my leash and told her - she said, "michael watt, you were conceived there." yep. damn.
the plug eases once past the city and into indiana but the construction is intense w/the interstate all tore up. the ipod in shuffle brings us this big spiel between charley mingus and
nesuhi ertegun that's a real trip, very interesting. I gotta pull over to dump - I try real hard these days NEVER to hold on to unko ('turd' in jap) if I can help it - blow that shit out, people - that's what I think. back on the road and a few pounds lighter, I take us into the eastern time zone and we lose another hour. the sun is out strong but it's still a little cold and pretty windy. a quarter after one I wanna switch ponies, pulling over soon as I can on I-196 so I can piss and what's this? a sack of "snack stick w/cheddar cheese & colby and monterey jack cheese" from an outfit called "up north specialty meats" - hey, it ain't wisconsin curds but they're good (good thing it's in a small dose though), I give jer/tom some and they dig it too. miss hiyori is allergic to dairy. being in michigan, I think of ron asheton and driving around as his passenger for a week while we did prac for "the weirdness" album... he would get very angry and the stupid fuck drivers and call them all "sad sacks of clown shit" about 98% of every ride, you could tell these assholes would really piss him off. jer gets us into grand rapids twenty after two, good job. this is the town brother steve mackay was from, he told me lots about it... damn, I miss him bad - ronnie and scotty too... I get really sad when I think about them. I chimp diary.
downtown we drop anchor at where the gig is tonight, a brewery called founders and soon tom brings the gigboss luke out to rap w/me in the boat and I learn the story of this pad: two guys who did their college (hope college in nearby holland) theseus on opening a brewery in 1996 actually made that a reality and now are really wailing on it after trying to make mersh beer and 'pert-near failing but a last try involved letting go of the mersh idea and going for weird, brewing stuff they themselves dug and it clicked. shows to go you, huh? good news for us: gigboss luke says the replacement fender hotrod deville III has arrived from indiana, fucking right on. thing is using the 'puter to track the baby shows two delivery attempts earlier today - what?! I get on the horn and find out it's at the fedex center fifteen miles away in kentwood - so me and tom take the boat over there and get it just before they close, putting the busted one in the box it came and sending it back w/the label bob sent w/it - he's a great cat, bob. meat pup curt knows him too and can vouch for that, respect.
getting back to the venue, tom drops anchor at the old former firehouse across the street and I meet joe naylor from reverend guitars who's got a photoshoot set up for me in the basement. it's to let people know about the wattplower bass. also, he's got a new set of pickups for me to try. the original ones were 11k ohms dc resistance and this less pale prototype I've been using the last month has 13k ohms dc so I thought I'd try in the middle: 12k ohms dc so he can install those while at the same time fixing the fucked up screw hole that's too big for it's screw which has been giving me such hell - culminating w/last night's drama. it's embarrassing for me to do pictures but I do them anyway and joe (w/ken haas) have worked so hard on this bass w/me for many years, a very dynamic process w/us collaborating on many versions and refining stuff that I feel I really owe them. the photo crew are very cool folks and real easy to work w/cuz you sometimes it can be as bad as some gig-goers who ask you for usies (I understand "selfie" to mean one person) and then it's ages to get it done. we do a "wrap" and I go back upstairs to do check w/soundman christian and monitorman morgan, good cats. we do that quick in front of people chowing... embarrassing but it's short.
the hospitalityman joey recommends a rueben sandwich that's got chicken added (a michigan thing, I guess) which is good but maybe for watt a little too much sauce and the bread to thick. the salad is righteous though, lots of olive oil and vinegar plus green olives, love it. I spend a good deal of time talking w/all three kirkwood but tonight curt a little more, he hips me to some great billy gibbons stories. a little later I get some dusty hilly and rocky erickson ones from cris. shandon really is into investigating his name, using the 'puter in this backroom (actually the offices of the brewery) and bringing elmo into the trip w/his name. somewhere he finds a site w/statistics, whoa. curt discusses "the lamb lies down on broadway" w/me which is the only genesis album I got into, I really did as a more younger man... you know, maybe I could listen to it again...
coming on nine and a half, hospitalityman joey comes for us for gigtime. I make some stupid joke that I can even chimp here cuz it was stupid, time to start playing... what??? no set lists - nobody made any set lists! fuck, well it's go time so let's make like the go team and do it. it's jer who has the most trouble and can't even here me and tom tell them what's next. my glasses fly off in the second tune but fuck, what do I have to read (no set lists) so fuck if I'm picking them off the deck. the grand rapids gig-goers are most kind and forgive some in-between-tune spacing jer's got. their spirit helps us put that in the back seat and deliver what we got. I think we do pretty ok. however, hospitalityman hospitalityman joey tells me we were supposed to play seventy minutes - what?! damn. I didn't know. we've been doing fifty minutes each night cuz that's what pups managerman dennis asked us to do. I feel so bad... I just didn't know - we could've done "fun house" for twentyfive minutes, right? oh fuck, brother steve mackay was from grand rapids - I spaced like a fucking idiot and forgot to shout that out, damn me.
I spiel at slinging table right near the stage and meet many nice cats, really genuine w/their kindess. some drove far too, respect. I watch the pups from right there on curt's side. the pups do real good for me, I have a good time digging them. later in the green room I meet the co-founder of this "founders" brewery, mark. he's very kind to me and nice cat. we talk a while about this pad... incredible story, big respect for rolling the dice like that.
hospitalityman joey has invited us to konk at his pad but we gotta wait cuz tom's on a tour of the whole grounds. I'm real glad him and jer load the shit out right after we play, I'm most grateful to them for that while I'm at the slinging table. I have to say that the shine cart helps out a buttload, I can't believe it's only now I'm using one - what a fucking slow learner! baka. we get joey in the boat w/us and he gives us directions - he learns the port/starboard thing just like that, respect. he tells us about his grandpa's patent for double-ended-lid mayonaise jars is soon gonna run out. I guess it was a solution to trying get the stuff out easier. trippy. it's twenty on two in the morning, whoa... our latest shove-off of the tour. time enough though to get some bourbon at a pad called "smitty's" - tom says the liquor is stacked up like thirteen feet high (I stayed in the boat). joey's cool people to rap w/and we have some good spiels about a range of stuff, like relating my tour of the jack daniels still in tennesee and my take on the joe being able to read pharaoh's dreams trip. it's a good time. well, three and half - way fucking late for watt, let's test this air mattress we got yesterday... yeah, good enough to konk. I can dig that.
sunday, may 7, 2016 - detroit, mi
we get to the mexicantown area of detroit around 3 and jerry and i walk around a bit then head to el club where we play tonight. we hang in the green room and wait for things to get rolling. the large rectangular live room has a good sized stage at one end and another room along side with a bar and booths and a huge outdoor patio area with an airstream trailer parked in it. we have some al pastor tacos from a local mexi place, very good. tonight there's another band playing called natural causes, we meet the three guys and talk a bit. they have drums, guitar and synthesizer and play synth-punk, i really like it. great turn out for a sunday. meat puppets sound great too. fun gig. we go to bob's place for the night.
pop at ten and a half, whoa - latest pop of the tour so far. it's ok though cuz detroit is three hours east. there lives here w/joey an orange cat named yollie w/the most righteous green eyes... my pop had hazel eyes that would go to gray when he was pissed, trippy. jer tells me he a weird dream about motorcycle and donating it on some stairs in a park and wanted to hide the fact he screwed it up for his friend not realizing that guy had a camera aimed at his garage and filmed the whole thing. oh oh... dreams can be like that.
we bail at noon, big thanks to joey for being a righteous brother, truly. there's california weather except for maybe being a little cooler. fuck, forgot to hose off. I am a baka. on the way out of town I stop for three things: I fuel up the boat, jer runs across the street for some benadryl which is what he uses when he has allergic reactions (yesterday it was from a croissant) and tom goes to a subway and this time I get an "italian hero" just to try it - fucking bullshit cuz too much of everything, the same thing I hate about how most pizzas come which is a total cluster collider resulting in everything canceling each other's taste out. bullshit. I'll never chow another one of those - hell, I have to have tom scoop out more than half the crap they piled in there. crimony. today I'm the only wheelman and get us into detroit around three w/out any major hells except for maybe dealing w/the total fucked-up lame rude selfish belig way some people fucking try to extend their butchness w/a vehicle. this is a problem all over the country, I ain't just blaming michigan. I like everywhere in the country, it's just some pricks who are really lame douches about sharing the highway - fuck them, I want us safe. assholes.
now I've seen this sign for mexicantown ever since I've started touring but never had been to this neighborhood. it's right by the river, the next exit is for the ambassador bridge going over to canada. it looks like back in so cal in a lot parts, yeah, damn me for never checking these parts out before, what a baka I am! the venue is called el club and by the posters on the bulkhead out front, they just had their first bday. some latin ladies are cleaning up when I check it out, their very kind and tell me to watch the piso mojado ('wet floor' en espanol) and I thank them cuz soy cojo ('I am a cripple') and point to my rodilla ('knee') - the pad is definitely older but it looks like the overhead has a lot of dampeners and stuff to help the acoustics, smart.
looks like a parade or something went done, hombres (what we call police in my pedro town) all over and many mexican flags, lots flying from cars besides people on the sidewalks. I hobble down the street cuz I'm curious if they got here what I think they got - yes! they do: jarritos mandarina - the only fucking soda I like and I love though I only do one or two a week at the most. I get one, only $1.19 so not hipster (a mercado back home as them for .$99), this area seems prett authentica. whoa, I never knew. everyone's having a good time on the street, all kinds of folks. I hobble back and find the padboss - hell, he tells me he owns the pad and his name is greame, good to meet him. says he lived in washington heights part of l.a. for seven years. he gives me a topo chico - hell yeah, from monterey - my favorite soda water, love this stuff, love it. wow, I never knew... all the fucking times I've worked this town and just didn't know except for that freeway sign. man, am I a slow learner. fucking baka.
I talk w/soundman chris and give the speech I do w/those who work knobs for sound - he's into being our fourth man, bitchin'. we check and then I go back stage and have good spiels w/all three kirkwoods and shandon, mostly one at a time. they're all most kind but also most interesting and I dig it. elmo's gonna be thirtyfour, crimony! he told me he walked around mexicantown here and it was most happening - damn, I wish I wasn't fucking cojo but I ain't gonna bellyache too much cuz it's better than slinging a colostomy sack, right? some tacos are provided from a pad nearby called "taqueria del rey" and they're good, gracias. I know the u.s. all over will one day have the real thing if you want it, I know it and it'll be a good thing. padboss graeme brings me a kale salad w/mozzarella that they make here (I don't think they grow the kale but he said they make the cheese) and that's also happening. kale is rough, huh? prolly good for cleaning you up from the inside for blowing it out outside. a helperman at the pad here, dave, brings in painterman davin who did this painting for dave from third man records who's here too - the painting is of d boon, big love. there's a third band tonight, young men from north carolina called natural causes and damn if they don't make me think of the screamers and nervous gender - bands that huge influence on us minutemen. of course they got their own thing, great drummer too. respect.
our turn is quarter of ten and tonight we got set lists, yes! microphones are all tight too, happening. big spirit in the room from the detroit gig-goers, we gotta bring it - they deserve. I'm digging the new pickup joe naylor installed, yeah. tom's having some probs... the new amp is great but he has a little focus loss but not much - actually he's kicking it up hard and so is jer. tom actually has us restart "the big foist" but that's ok, I'll always stop for tom watson. he breaks a couple of strings but he doesn't wanna plug the flow so he charges hard, just like what d boon would do - work the fucking room! I do ask jer to play a little softer on "life as a rehearsal" and he does - he can do that. I'm very lucky to plan w/these men, they're good ones. the band itself is a little trippy as far as having an identity a little bit but for working a room, I got some good men I'm most grateful to. these gig-goers here in the mexicantown part of detroit too. I give a big holler to bob teagan, love that man - we'll be konking at his pad later.
at the merch table I rap w/folks about lots they got on their minds - not a lot of time for each though and especially for my old buddy ewolf but he says his allergies are getting on him anyway, damn. love him, big hugs. some canadian cats visit - I gotta play up there again... aaarrrggggghhhhh about borders sometimes, huh? it'd make for a shorter drive tomorrow for buff-town too, huh? dean (alva's soundman in the old days) is here, more righteousness. big hugs. him and his buddy says I can visit the funeral home that got turned into a music school that I konked in years ago (it became the inspiration for my rap in the cuz tune "houdini") - I konked in the tub where houdini was laid out and prepped! love dean. I'm most grateful for the kindness of the detroit gig-goers I don't know personally also, I bow deep their way in respect.
I settle w/padboss graeme and damn if he tells me someone from black flag just died, he heard hank say it on his radio show. fuck. he says he can't remember then name, only some letters and I guess it's dezo cuz he did have a cancer fight a little while ago. oh man, this hits me hard - I spent much time w/dezo, especially on my first time in europe, black flag w/minutemen in 1983. fuck. bob teagan (he's let me konk at his pad for years and years) is gonna finish filming the meat puppets for the wendy hour so we get the key to his pad and pull anchor, it's very emotional for me and also tom who's known dezo even longer (he grew up in parts closer to him).
at bob's pad in fraser, I hose off immediately - really feels good cuz it's kind of a drive and wet clothes are so fucking lame on me. bob arrives after a while and here comes the ritual: tenko from 1986 at cbgb's tearing it up w/her tune "tsuyakeshi no yami" at about 300 db or so. fuck, do I dig the shit out of this performance, love it love it love it big time and I never tire of it. he blasts it so loud that it blows up his system so when it's time for the gories to do their vid that always follows, he has to use his 'puter. I konk during the tune cuz I'm too wore out to continue. I love bob though, love him big time.
monday, may 8, 2016 - buffalo, ny
we get to the mohawk place in buffalo, it's windy and cold in the shade.. after load and check jerry, hiyori and i go to find food and we walk into heavy wind looking for eddie brady's pub but my gps has us going the wrong direction for blocks. finally we find it and i get a chicken ceasar salad, it's ok. tonight we play by ourselves, no puppets and no other band on the bill. kind of nice for a monday night. the mohawk place is an old bar with a stage at the end, it has a lot of character. gig goes well, i meet some nice folks, then we head to marty's place to get rest.
pop at seven and a half, we gotta pull anchor at eight cuz there's a hellride involved. so much easier if we could go through canada to get from detroit to buffalo but the border is a hassle and damn if we have our passports anyway. in the old days you could use your drivers license but not since sixteen or something years ago. so we get everything shipshape - bob's given us an air mattress, most kind. he also flows the wraps he got us for last night. very kind. oh, I get on the internet and find out it wasn't dezo who just died a few days ago - it was cel revuelta who I didn't know but it's still very sad - he played bass for black flag after k. we shove off... just before we get to the interstate, bob yanks my leash - tom's donated his back wack sack so I gotta bring us about and get back to his pad. we get back to where we were and damn if we don't find the biggest plug fucking ever, damn. I mean this is bad and then we get the signs telling us I-75 is fucking closed. ok, let's improvise... I get off for surface streets, passing lots of beatdown. I know though things will happen and resurrect though, I just know even if that's got a lot of hope in it. the plan is to get to the belt, I-275 damn if that ain't 'pert-near ann arbor! but hell, at least we're moving - just fifty fucking or whatever miles... I see the sign for ypsilanti - hey, ig grew up there! we finally get to where the I-75 is open and there's no plug, none. so it was a hundred minutes to get out of detroit - at least we're safe and we got righteous weather, that's a good thing. we're over the border into ohio w/smooth sailing. hit perrysburg just outside toledo at eleven after eleven, pull it over for fuel. some mensa member almost tbones us when I try to get us on the ohio turnpike, I mean literally speeds up like a motherfucker, damn. I call a ford dealership in hamburg, ny (the town we're konking in tonight) cuz maintenance time is coming... jer finds one but they're not available for us... I realize we still got fourteen hundred more miles to go - I fucked up the fucking math - what a doof. just after two and sort of south of cleveland I pull us off for pony switch, jer now on the helm and he gets a lottery card while I get a small chicken sandwich avocado (kind of pipaniniat a "panera" they got here at these turnpike service centers. the turnpike soon ends and jer forgets to keep checking that the navigatorio gps has good power connect (some of these fucked up roads shake it out of the cigarette lighter) and so gets lost but that's soon corrected. asshole drivers give jer a hard time, motherfuckers. it's so stupid, the fucking risks not be considered. we pass into pennsylvania at three and a half - we can see lake erie out to the port side.
I made that all one big paragraph, huh? arrive at five, downtown buffalo is very distinctive. it's very sunny but whoa, a little cool. we play by ourself tonight at mohawk place and I think it's the oldest punk pad in town. soundman tony comes to the boat and I give him the speech, he's into it. I got piss pad and I know I ain't gonna make it to the head so I use the piss jug (I'm in the passenger seat w/the window down) and he backs off...
we check w/him after setting up, it goes good and quick. I meet gigboss izzy and she asks how much do we want for chow money. whoa, that never happens. I don't what to say so after a big pause she offers "twenty each?" and I tell her that's very kind. barman tim has me sign his minutemen album. I meet dj ruben (the only other act tonight) and he asks me what music I'd like so I suggest. everyone real kind, you know? much respect. I chimp diary while the rest of us go forage for chow... they bring me back one of the best greek salads I've had in a while, crimony, really REALLY good. it's got warm grilled chicken slices in some foil that I had to it for just the best fucking symphony in my mouf.
I chimp diary by the merch table cuz I don't think there's a back rom so this means folks can talk to me and get stuff. I meet a lot of nice people and even though they're ininterruptingy chimping, it's ok. one cat talks a lot w/me about john coltrane, I guess there's a new doc on him - I gotta find out more about it. he does hip me to the fact the postcard I got in my boat of trane praying is in nagasaki, I spaced on the fact that one of the towns on his last tour was nagasaki even w/all I've read up on the man. I meet bass brother oliver, a young man w/his pop aboard. he's good people, I hope he works the bass good. I get the good word from lots of folks, it's ok the chimping gets interrupted. marty comes to say hi, he's a great cat and has invited us over to konk in nearby hamburg. he tells me his wife susan got took by cancer and couple weeks ago, oh my god. oh man. she was just the best. I'm shook hard in the heart.
ten bells and it's time. good monday crowd, thank you buffalo gig-goers. I tell them this gig is for susan. we bring the set, not any different from what we're doing w/the pups except we do the stooges "fun house" cuz we get an encore. I gotta stop the b.o.c. cover cuz we get off again. tom breaks two strings. I screwed up "sweet honey pie" last night some so I try to recover and I do a little but tom is a little loud in the rhythm parts and actually me and jer had to do the whole first part by ourselves. there's some heckles cuz I actually do three speeches instead of the two I usually do - by some coincidence the three tunes on the bobblyheadmen ep are in a row in the set so I talk about them. there's some smartass stuff from people w/big hearts (sic) and so I riff on that - I obviously hit a nerve saying thank you for people coming on a work/school night, crimony. I ask for a vote: "sugar bowl (my hands on my hips) or tea pot (make starboard hand a pointer)? tea pot wins by a landslide. I'm not really a standup comedian though, better on bass than that so I get back to the set. the b.o.c. cover has to be restarted cuz again part of the band gets on the wrong side of the beat, oh well... I just got too much respect for the oyster boys than to soil up their work like that, just do. I apologize for the weird comedy stuff to the buff gig-goers, I'm pretty emotional inside about susan... I never get used to losing people, it's the hardest lesson on me ever. big love for susan and marty.
I sling from the stage for the first time this tour, much kindness shared w/me from the buff gig goers, big respect to them. it is trippy looking down on people but that's what a stage is about. if I don't get pulled down or my knee getting hit acaccidentallyhen it's ok... I'll tell you what: the shrinkwrap on this seven inchers are fucking really hard for me to get off, prolly cuz I got no nails. if a signature is requested it's gotta happen though cuz the marker won't write on shrinkwrap, just won't.
we load up and pull anchor after thanking everyone - oh, the doorlady gives me a paper telling me to check out buff-town band ish kabbible - I know that name from brother steve mackay but it's a different ish... ain't that a trip? I sure miss brother steve. a beautiful thing about this buff band is that they're father and son, like curt and elmo w/the pups. we'll meet marty at his pad in hamburg - third time there for me and I still get a little confused but he beat us there and helps w/some waves. he's got a great pad, beautiful and singular in so many ways. I feel susan's spirit here much... marty's got something he calls irish shine, poitin which is kind of raw but it works. we have a great spiel w/marty, he's just the best. he inspires me to do better w/my music, cats like him are big time righteous to me - helps me keep on keepin' on. I konk most grateful in his chingadera-filled special chamber.
tuesday, may 9, 2017 - ithaca, ny
the haunt is a pad on the water, kind of sports bar-like. a good sized main room with very helpful people for load in. the puppets show up and we get it all together and hang in the back room and order food. i have a burger. its a packed show and we see some of the puppets set before we head over to some sweet folks, joe and shannon's place for the eve.
pop at nine bells and hose off. marty has a righteous tub but it's getting used now for seedlings, he's gonna start planting soon and they're starters. he cooks us up the best bfast, the potatoes he grew himself along w/his take on migas which is fucking happening - thank you marty so much. there's righteous refried beans he's got for us too, I love refried beans and his are fucking good tasting in my mouf, truly.
marty lets us stay 'til one which is good for my men so they got good konk last night, big time grateful about that. we're still blessed w/the good weather. big hugs for marty and we pull anchor... I wheel us back through downtown hamburg where tom remarks it looks like the town was set up like this movie he saw where a guy was unaware a whole world was created for him so it could be broadcasted as entertainment. he said actor jim carey was in it. we skirt western buff-town to get on I-90 east to waterloo where we gotta take little roads. just like the rest of the country we've been to, the roads got some assholes taking incredible chances w/peoples lives w/irresponsible "driving" - I feel that's too kind of a word, gives too much credit for thinking these fuckers realize w/goddamn douches they are, being reckless like they are. near the finger lakes after fueling the boat, we almost get plowed by a semi who won't stop behind us while I try to get us to bear port, motherfucker. it's undivided road and I had another one coming our way and it would've be insane to turn in front of him. he blows the shit out of his horn as he 'pert-near goes off the shoulder while missing us by millimeters, bastard son of a bitch... and for fucking what? really, for fucking what? it used to be only idiots in sedans and such would stoop to such shit but nowadays professional drivers have sunk to that level? damn.
ithaca is at the south end of cayuga lake and it's pretty - the whole drive had great stuff pouring through our windows. this is a college town but on the way we saw some buggy shops... maybe there was amish around? I fucking blow by the second to the last turn we had to make and have to loop it hard, adding maybe fifteen minutes to the trip, we arrive at five and thank god alive. five minutes later, here comes the pups - we got a gig for the team! this pad is called the haunt and I hear from the gigboss crhis it's the second location. I don't know when they moved but I like this. I have a real good rap w/curt about roky and the idea of using music for pretending, cris joining in w/some healthy insight as well. of course elmo brings his part - I dig how the kirkwoods learn watt on stuff and they always let me put some thoughts of mine out there also. definitely they are truth tellers w/me, it ain't about front w/them.
after the pups check, I give the fourth man speech to soundman rob and he's into it, alright. good man. open-minded people are bitchin' to collaborate w/and in my book are mesnch. we check quick (the way I like it) and from the kitchen here I chow a "loose meat burger" which is a french roll w/hamburger meat (all loose) and salad stuff. the actual salad itself I save in the fridge for later cuz we got gig time coming up and I need some konk - right here and not in the boat cuz it's a little cold out there.
nine and a half comes: it's showtime. it seems mostly like a college crowd which is ok w/me - fuck, we got enough prejudice going around these days... right away the feel is good and happening from them, I thank the ithaca gig-goers for that before we bring it. the gig goes good, maybe the best sounding on stage yet of the tour. tom and jer are playing pretty good, very happening way to begin the second week of the tour. I wish tom could've be a little louder for the leads but then I get in for free, right? I'm trusting in soundman rob. I give the bobblymen ep speech again and realize I can also explain me doing songs I wrote for d boon and georgie all those years ago and give them context along w/the covers in terms of my music journey. tom has a prob w/a string jumping out of the saddle but he gets it together. the ithaca gig-goers give much respect, no yammering or smartass stuff - respect back to them for me.
I go to the merch table and there's a line of folks, no prob and in fact, very kind of them. first I talk w/tim reynolds who I ain't seen in a buttload of years and he's got a stack of pictures to give me, I got a big hug for him. some folks told me I might've played here before but fuck, for the life of me I ain't sure about that. I do meet karen schoemer who drove all the way over from hudson to see the show, very kind of her. we've done some voice and bass collabs. so many folks tell me how good the sound was, big thanks to soundman rob for being our fourth man tonight, truly. I got a lot of first-timers talking w/me and having me sign stuff but also some old timers. eva and her husband say hi, it's been a long time since I've seen her. I meet joe who has invited us to his konk at his pad in candor, a village southeast of here. damn if he ain't real close-looking like joe bouchard, it's trippy. I learned some good bass stuff by hearing joe on those blue oyster cult albums... you know what? I think he went to ithaca college, whoa - ain't that a real trip?! he left some echoes!
joe's gotta bail w/us so I settle w/padboss chris and then shove off after looking for karen to say bye but I couldn't find her. damn. it was beautiful that she came though. joe has good spiels for us about his life as we roll to his pad. there's a part of long island called orange county (we got one in so cal!) where he's from that tom's ma's people have connects, the kidds and the bulls - ain't that a trip? they can share all kinds of infos and it's real interesting to hear.
eleven and a half when we reach his pad, we meet his buddy ellis and wife shannon. the pad is from 1890 and happening, I get to check out his epiphone thunderbird and kustom bass amp, yeah, I dig. oh, first though ellis had me sign his ashbury - I got the older guild version and used it on only the bootstrappers first album that elliot sharp put together w/me and george hurley... he's got the album for me to sign too, whoa! joe's got some mezcal and we drink that and as he puts it, "shoot the shit" and have a good time. ellis is real cool people also and being from orange county ("downstate" they say here), he can share a lot w/tom like joe did. yeah, it's a good time. the nightwear's in the wash so ellis lends me a tshirt of his to wear instead but damn if it ain't just as good - just missing the bottom part! I konk real happy. thank you big time most ruly joe, ellis and shannon.
wednesday, may 10, 2017 - brooklyn, ny
before load in we walk to a deli and i get a philly cheese steak which is tasty, and i sit with with jerry on a bench outside and chomp it down. it's a nice day and great to be in nyc again. we have to wait outside the club for a music convention to let out before load in. we hang with the puppets on the street and amuse ourselves for a while. the brooklyn bowl is a great place, and inside the have a few lanes where people are rolling balls and drinking beers. there's a good little room upstairs in back of the stage, and we hang while the puppets check.
gig goes well, puppets sound great, and jerry and i hang with our buddy tomato 11 and his sweet lady, laurie. afterwards we visit our great buddies, shell and jen and have an awesome time at their amazing place in green point into the early morning hours.
pop at seven and go hose off. weather looks good out the window, some clouds w/a lot of sun. joe had been saying they had a lot of rain so I guess we lucked out missing that. same w/disturbing his dickhead neighbor - he relates some hell stories regarding that to us while shannon cooks up scrambled eggs, sausage and has browns, she let's jer know he's allowed to sit at the table like an adult. I give ellis his royal trucks shirt back, that was sure kind of him.
after thanking our most kind hosts, we pull anchor a quarter of ten. little roads 'til we get to the interstate. the arrows to new york city aren't the ones the navigatorio wants us to use and instead suggests heading for scranton. ok, let's roll the dice. speaking of rolling the dice, again I gotta deal w/asshole drivers, terrible. what amazes me though is amount of "professional drivers" (the big truck ones) that are stooping to this kind of stupid shit. stop for fuel not far from getting into pennsylvania around one. no pony switch, today's coxswain is again all me like yesterday. we get into new jersey and are 'pert-near bumped off the road by a semi going into our lane, crimony! it's a shame about all this stupid driving cuz it's prolly the easiest I've got into nyc ever, the route the navigatorio gps plotted was a real good one. it has us on these roads through heavy industry around newark to get us to the holland tunnel w/very little plug, happening. pop out in manhattan, we're directed towards the williamsburg bridge via canal street. the traffic gets very insane like it aways is here, you would not believe the idiotic shit unless you've been through it before. at least it ain't highspeed like on the interstate. we go by jimbo's old canal street pad, six flights up a few doors east of west broadway... man, I did buttloads of visit time there in the 90s and early 2000s, buttloads. jimbo was very kind.
get to the venue at two and a half, it's a bowling alley called the brooklyn bowl that's got a stage on one side and lanes on the other. they're having a convention of some sorts regarding grateful dead stuff so after dropping anchor, I ask the pad's day boss val about a deli and he says there's a good one two blocks away so I hobble there. I get an italian sandwich cuz I wanna wash away that mazui ('terrible taste' in jap) taste that's kind of still in my mouf from that garbage one I had last saturday in grand rapids. I also get some 'dines (in water, don't really dig them in oil unless I have to), triscuts and look at this - aloe vera drink, fuck yeah! I love this stuff but haven't found anywhere since, I get a liter and a half bottle. the sandwich is real good, I chow it in the boat. a cat comes to get his bike right near and we start talking. he's a photo man named will and we have a good spiel. he doesn't know about "the prisoner" so I hip him to that. we discuss the crazy fact that the chariot is six thousand years old but the bicycle is only like three hundred years old, ain't that crazy?
the pups arrive and soon also does grant hart, it's been a while since I've seen him, big BIG hugs. he's gonna perform solo w/us the next three gigs, play guitar and sing. so glad to see him. we can load in a five, when the dead thing is done. I see david fricke, we say hi. I remember when he reviewed both "zen arcade" and "double nickels on the dime" in the same piece, very kind of him to get us in that mersh rag. I meet the padowner peter - I worked for him before when he had a pad on the lower west side called "wetlands" like twenty years ago. he tells me to get the fried chicken for dinner, so I do and get it in a sack. we do check w/soundman ryan, I give him the fourth man speech on the stage and he's into it, great. monitorman john wants to aid and abet as well, righteous. the folks bowling applaud our check tune, kind of them. I go to the boat to chimp diary, konking in the process but at least I got caught up. damn if I didn't miss grant though, fuck, what a doof.
tom let's my in the back hatch but he's spaced on the throatcoat tea but a helperman backstage brings some and I can get some swallows in before we go on. hey, here's my bookerman steve kaul, big hugs - wow... his former sidemouse eric who now has his own thing is here too, great but I got no time to visit much, a look at the watch means I gotta hit it. we have a good gig but not w/out some clams. I space on the words "slots" and jer got lost in "surfin' w/the shah" - restart for the former, pickup where we soiled from in the later. both good recoveries, I'm into it. the brooklyn gig-goers are most kind, respect to them - even in the tiny sound parts, not much yammering. I do the three speeches version tonight - more important I dedicate a tune w/big bass ("forever/one reporter's opinion") to bassbrother tony maimone. I love him much, he recorded both my third opera and the new big walnuts yonder album which is a trip cuz coming off the stage, who's there to say hi to me? big walnuts yonder drummerman greg saunier, crimony! he carries my bass and I use his shoulder as a tsue ('crutch' in jap) to get back to where the merch is being slung. man, so great, I have much respect for him, much. life is a trip, let me tell you. he's wearing the same kind of green jacket brother jun wears too, trippy
I talk to many kind people but you know what I've been noticing a lot of this tour is the rap seems to sometimes to dwell on how long ago so and so saw me and stuff like that. I try to tell them that's very nice but what's really happening is that they didn't give up on me and are at the gig TONIGHT and I ain't just a has-been but maybe still relevant. maybe it's my fault for playing older stuff, huh? might be. the trippy thing is most the time it's about fIREHOSE and I ain't been playing anything I wrote from those days or newer! it kind of feels to me like fonzie and potsy in that fucking stupid "happy days" tv show my pop hated. I remember when it first came on and him telling me "boy, those weren't happy days" - he wasn't jived by those trying to nostalgically milk the herd w/sentimental shill. I am very grateful for the kindness shown me though, truly I am. I wanna live up to all of that niceness folks are so generous w/me to share. I hope it doesn't feel like disrespect coming out of my mouf cuz I sincerely don't mean that. jimbo appears, whoa! I tell him about passing his old pad and we talk about ronnie (asheton), jimbo says he thinks about him every day... me too. he says all he has from him is an ashtray he got from him. crimony. WHOA, raymond's here!!! I grab his arm and tell him hi but some gig-goers pull me away for pictures - even if they're quickly taken (like I prefer), I wish for that little time they could've let me be w/him. fuck, I look around and he's gone in the crowd... he's shy and I can imagine he thought I had the duty which I do but.. ah fuck. we did talk before, I called him on my leash to make sure he knew about the gig. you know, ever since he's been in nyc (maybe five years?), I miss him so bad, so much. arrrrggghhhhh, it's a real kink in my heart pipe, let me tell you. as things thing later, tony maimone comes by - whoa, big hugs and I let him work the wattplower - I respect him much and we talk about what went into this bass, he's interested big time cuz he said the sound tonight from it was BIG and coming from brother tony, that means a bunch to watt. hey, who's this? it's gibby and missy, wow - so long ago I last saw them. gib looks great, he said he was chowing while we were playing, I do many hand slaps w/him.
looking for the managerman, I see my bookerman steve kaul again. we talk about how it's been thirty years that we've been together - can you believe that? we started together when he just got out of college then... we both have a kind of mindblow moment thinking about it. he's got his son jonah here - he does bass! I let him work the wattplower, he deserves cuz I love his pop much. good people are good people and you gotta work hard to keep them. finally I can get the settle thing going w/managerman nick - he's from behind the orange curtain, alright. this city attracts folks from everywhere, something really special about it.
we can pull anchor now and get over to shell and jen's - I didn't see them at the gig but a call from my leash finds them home waiting - fuck, they didn't know they were on the list, crimony! now that's a real clam. they got a bitchin' pad they rent out for photo and showbiz stuff plus are in a lot where the boat ain't on the street and safe. I apologize much but they're always so kind and share some tequila, order a pizza - we're talking about new york city pizza which I never get tired of... it ain't that way w/other peetz, sorry. it's always a good time and a good konk at shell and shag's, always.
thursday, may 11, 2017 - portland, me
pop at eight, hose off using my dusch das lemon soap. never dug liquid soap before I tried this last year overseas. changed my thoughts on that though other brands don't ain't really happening for me. outside the skies are full of blue and sun, right on. shell wakes up and makes me coff - well, he goes and get what he calls "fresh coff" which he still makes (he doesn't come back w/cups of the shit) - he asks how I like it and of course I tell black and strong, like my men. the others pop and somehow someway the spiel gets to be about smoking cigarettes and I am so glad I'm free of that trip for 'pert near four and a half years now. everyone's different but for me what really helped was getting rid of the ashtray by the 'puter mouse - I was totally just lighting the deathpuffs out of ritual. I know the jones can be way more heavy than that for others though so I would never wanna say anyone's struggle w/wanting to kick those fuckers was not as strong as me, that would be jive. I think instead that I'm lucky. I think $14 a pack is what they cost here now these days... whoa. the health though, that's a big part of what's lame about them - I hear tom hacking and can feel it, I feel for him.
pull anchor quarter of ten and head for queens. we then get caught in a massive hundred minute plug, I shit thee not, there's a fucking gran mal plug at the whitestone bridge or I should say backed up behind it that's mostly stopped and at for short short times only at a tiny crawl. this is all just to get off of long island (brooklyn and queens are actually most west parts of long island) but get upset would help nothing so we just have a good time grinning and baring it, see the asshats do their asshat things, rude as fuck but the reality on the dealio delivers a karma. jer opens one of the 'dines in water tins I got yesterday and uses the triscuts I got w/them along w/the lowensenf miss hiyori brought from germany to get some hand-to-mouth feed stuff going - I gotta keep my hands on the wheel, right? right.
we finally hit the I-95 and around twelve and a half and I get us into connecticut. always been rough road here but at least it's moving. there's lots of asshole drivers in all kind of cars/trucks that make for some stress but in a ironic way, lots of humor so we key in on the "sad sack of clown shit" perspective of the assholery some folks feel they have such a goddamn right to share w/the rest of us. crimony. one and a half comes and I pull us over in north haven for fuel and pony switch, tom at the tiller for the middle shift (jer will get us into town) and deals w/a crawl caused by a car flip, it looked bad. will other drivers learn about consequences of driving like assholes from this? cross the border into mass at three. tom has to wrestle another plug. we get free of it eventually but hit another one trying to get out of mass, crimony! quarter after four jer takes the helm at berlin (mass). we're short on medium shirts so I call raul (missingmen drummer who has shirt company calimucho) via my leash around lowell - where we later spiel about jack kerouac (he was born there) and organize a send to brother kyle in richmond monday. we see a sign warning that littering can get you a fine up to $10,000 dollars, whoa.
finally we're free of all these fucking plugs and get into new hampshire (jer's ma lives in this state)... shortly we're in maine for the final stretch - fuck this is gonna end up an eight hour hellride! we're safe though and that's what matters most. in the old part of downtown portland, padmanager eric guides in the side-street next to the port city music hall to do the load-in. it's my second time here, first time was w/il sogno del marinaio and their only u.s. tour, about two and half years ago. after docking the boat and doing all that I gotta do once we anchor I come in through the sidedoor, there's jer's man virginia - whoa. I last saw here like fifteen years ago, when the jom & terry show last toured. she's like in her late seventies but has a fire of life in her eyes that's incredible - she seems in much better shape than me. I'm so glad to see her again. jer has much of her looks but of course he's a man. I gotta play good for his ma tonight, gotta. padmanager eric is very cool people and even w/the tiny time we have to get things done, he's most together and a joy to work w/and damn like that he's got all the respect I can give. monitorman ned and soundman devin are kind to me too, hearing the speech, devin is into it. we do only one verse of the b.o.c. tune and let brother grant up - but where is he?
oh, forgot lance bangs is here. yeah, he was in town to interview f lee bailey and decided to bring three of his crew to video me and my men play. I tell him to do the same w/grant cuz I want his happening way spread around but... well, grant arrives at the last minute and uses tom's amp for his guitar. I am very moved by him singing and playing. miss hiyori got me a cheese burger from a pad across that side-street and I chow bites of that between seeing him - oh yeah, michael whittaker from the old days at sst is here and I'm by him to watch grant - it's been a ton of years since I last seen michael, so good to see him again, big hugs. I finish that fucking burger (I was chowing it in the side room they use for stowing gear) and can stay and watch grant w/total focus... like I said, I am truly moved and feel him doing these travelling into and stirring in me, I have to fight back tears from bursting out of me... some do trickle... I ain't the strongest of people in so many ways. I clap as hard as I can.
for some reason it's all early elvis costello playing before we go on at nine. I wonder about that. I remember a gig in boston I did when they played all this sting before my set... I wish they would've played some john coltrane maybe... or some stooges. anyway, we bring our trip to the portland gig-goers (have to do a re-start right at the git-go cuz tom didn't have his amp on) and they give back a pretty good feel, some more than others but... there's a prob w/a mindblow feedback, I think it's from jer's floor tom - soundman devin gets on it (later he thanks me for telling him cuz he couldn't hear it) and I stop a little bit to give him a chance, then we're back in the race. the merch examples ain't on stage but I decide to give the third speech (actually it comes up second - before the bobblyhead ep tunes but it's the third one in terms of me "developing" it or whatever). someone starts heckling me. it happened to grant too but I'm pretty sure it was a different person. anyway, I tell him to give me a break, the set has maybe one percent speech for all the music we play back to back - sometimes I think people just wanna hear their own voice or whatever. maybe it's from a karma think I deserve, I don't know. I dedicate the next tune to smart-ass and we finish strong. both jer and tom kicked up much dust. I know it must've been nervous-time for jer to play in front of his ma but he did real good. he lost some eye contact w/me but he still did real good. I'm a lucky man to have such righteous cats like my missingmen and secondmen to help me, really lucky. I thank the portland gig-goers being kind enough to let us do what we did to them for being here, truly.
I go in the back to the merch table and talk w/people, sign their stuff. some people how to sign what I'm doing and I kind of buck back on that - I mean what would they do if they we're in my shoes. I'm grateful people are kind enough to be w/me in the moment, I really am. it doesn't mean though that... or whatever. I think they understand when I try and explain it. tons of times it's never an issue though, never. lots of kindness from the gig-goers, I feel it genuine, I'm most grateful. cap'n neil is here, so good to seem him - I can't believe he sold his boat! he does tell me about having to sail this other boat from newport (ri) to here and got hit w/a wailing storm and buttloads of fog bug like ishmael, he "lived to tell the tale," right? also happening is that mccrae's here and introduces me to the guy who's proj he now helps in (midwest medicine) cuz whale oil is taking a break. of course there's some bass wielders here's, you know there's a bond - brother mccrae for one! much respect.
some drama w/a staff person who did a rhino charge on me but padmanager makes that all that smoov - I told you he's good people. he saw me a while ago in boston where he went to school but is actually from north of here - tough people to be from that but doesn't mean he's got a buttload of humanity. respect to him, truly.
tom and jer's got everything done, they help miss hiyori pull anchor and I use the keys michael whittaker gave me to get in his pad once we decide where I just drove us to is the one. we are beat and have to rest so in order to help us, he gave us the keys... hard to see the address but yeah, we find it. a great pad. I immediately hose off and get in the nightwear and be still for a little bit 'til him and his wife michele (great lady) arrive and then we all have a good time talking about all kinds of stuff. the blow-up air mattress fits right into this chamber that's full of windows, trippy and I dig it. where in the most northeast part of the u.s. by the sea and caddy-corner w/my pedro town... I feel a righteous connect. thank you so much michael and michele, big love to you.
friday, may 12, 2017 - allston, ma
pop at seven. this chamber is quite a sun chamber cuz of all the windows and like a baka, I donated my konk mask somewhere so no way was I gonna keep konked once taiyo ('sun' in jap) made its entrance. good looking weather though, easy to check that out. michele cooks up a righteous bfast chow of scrambled eggs, baked beans, tomatoes ('pert-near england style w/out the grease!) w/bacon and toast that I big time dig shoveling down. we have a good spiel meanwhile cuz there's lots of time cuz not that too far (113 miles) and michael has a wealth of knowledge, I mean this cat is deep. so happening he's working at a library and saving books - yeah, motherfuckers are destroying books - like what the fuck? crimony. I know michael from my days at sst when I would call college radio stations for the label and let them know about our stuff. the idea was not to let them know I was also in one of the bands and so I picked the name "spaceman" as a nom de plume. when minutemen work got too much for me to keep doing that, michael was the man hired to take my place but he kept my nom de plum alive by becoming the new spaceman. you wouldn't believe college radio in the old days, terrible playlist of major label gruel cuz I guess the kids were look at trying to get work later at these labels - I'd call them corporate pawns. rem changed that though, college radio really started to get better when those cats hit, we owe them much for that and lots else - the minutemen's last tour ever was opening for them, they were very kind to ask us even though we didn't even know who they were and had to get a record of theirs to find out what they sounded like. they knew all kinds of music and all four were beautiful cats, so glad to know them. the last time I ever got to play w/d boon was the last gig of that tour and in charlotte, nc. me and d boon each played one of pete buck's rick guitars and georgie was on a floor tom, doing television's "see no evil" w/them... I'll never forget it.
we pull anchor about 1:30 and I head us south. I do the whole drive w/one fuel stop just past the border w/new hampshire (they got a little bit of atlantic ocean acces - all of about fifteen minutes driving worth. it's 'pert-near all I-95 and cuz of plug when we get to boston, the internet derived estimation is an hour later, we drop anchor around 4:30 in front of the brighton music hall which is in boston's allston neighborhood. no meat puppets so we gotta wait. no prob, I chimp diary in the meantime and chow three carnitas tacos from a couple blocks down the street called "amelia's taqueria" that are really good... those were good one's in detroit's mexicantown but these I dig more even. so glad authentica latin chow is moving all over, love it cuz it gives people a choice instead of having that fake shit (you know who you are) trying to jive everyone. yes, they got jarritos mandirina soda too, happening. five, six hombre cars across the street from the boat/club while I'm chimping diary around twenty of eight. then everyone starts honking horns. then firetrucks go by but keep going. then one of the hombre cars has a speaker saying real loud "CLEAR THE AREA, LET'S GO! then they all go... all this crazy shit in like five minutes and then back to whatever, I guess you'd call the usual? pretty wild. maybe a false alarm? wrong adress? I don't know, pretty surreal. I keep chimping diary.
it's time for soundcheck and I try to give the speech I have for them that are to work w/us on that and man, it's kind of weird. this happens maybe every hundred or even every two hundred gigs which means hardly ever but I don't know... I don't wann really get into it but am hoping for the best. I go back to the boat, very nice man working the door, helping me out. almost everyone working here is real good people - I played this pad once before and really enjoyed it then. look what arrived: the tightener screw for the shine cart - thank you brother bob for making that happen, thank you!
we hit at nine, after grant - his last of the three gigs w/us. I hug him, hug him again. the pad is packed, has been clean for two weeks I heard ("clean" is an old vaudeville term for sold out) and I can feel a good current of 'pert-near electric feel from the gig-goers. I come on the stage and my old buddy from warren, ri (actually a friend of my old friend mark macdoughall) reaches up from the port side of the stage (I've adopted this position cuz it's hard to bang the headstock on the drummerman's cymbals. well, joe de reaches up to shake my hand from the deck but he pulls me and (you know he used to be a wrestler and these days sails a fortyfive foot boat) 'pert-near crumples my knee w/the fucking yank. somehow I survive it and stayed up. I know he didn't do it on purpose, he didn't know or realize or whatever but that was close, real fucking close - I was almost crippled even more. my port-side knee is just yowai ('weak' in jap) and I gotta be really REALLY careful. the show goes on. I see a huge picture of pete townshed on the bulkhead nearer to tom... "never heard of the who?" - really. we bring the set and pretty quick I hear the allston gig-goers call for more spiel, to put the vocal up higher. I convey their request over the mic, we charge on. a few tunes later there's many calls (and I mean many) that there's no bass guitar in the house so I plead again on the mic, "let's give these folks good sound cuz the paid good money and deserve" - I notice the kick drum mic hanging down from it's stand and hanging like an xmas ornament and note that - a HUGE voice comes over and tells me not to worry cuz there's another mic inside the kick drum. ok. "why can't I have loud voice like yours," I ask. it's one of those one in every hundred or two hundred gigs in some ways but the gig-goers by putting their voices out there helped get things together and I'm most grateful to them. tom breaks a string in the b.o.c. tune but still charged hard. jer did real good too. I sure am proud of my men.
joe de gets me back to merch table by letting me holding onto his shoulder and becoming the snowplow, it's way in the back by a wall tv doing the sports w/people hollering at the game, us and the gig-goers share that space... trippy. lots of good folks also share, the share the good word w/me. there's a few father and son teams, much respect. kato comes and says hi - he dj'd tonight and played great stuff. he's got a happening label called fenway recordings also, he's an old buddy and I love him. one of his bands, mission of burma has drummerman peter and damn if I didn't see him earlier and learn that damn if he didn't come from rhode island like joe de - oh yeah, joe de spends much time w/me, he apologizes for almost crippling and maybe even killing me w/that yank. he's a dear man and I know it was an accident... you know he used to be a wrestler? that's what his boy sonny's been doing now. damn, I remember when he was born! I remember him learning "booty raunch" during a chow his pop took to w/us... didn't mean for that to happen! joe de then asked him if he was thirsty, asked him if he wanted a glass of sand - very memorable! he takes a shot of me between the fingers on his left hand cuz he lost the ring finger in a boat accident (he's got a shot of it on his fakelook page), he's got good spirit. I talk to this cat who distributes for t c electronic the blacksmith amp I have to do gigs, I got it from bob (same cat who flowed the tightener screws for the shine cart) - I guess he's his competition, whoops... really nice dude anyway, respect to him.
there's some drama and we're gonna wait for the whole show over to bail which is not a prob cuz the pups tear it up despite some bogus stuff done to their sound (that's how good this band is) but kind is on a respect level but I laugh it off... even when main pup man curt has to help me out in the showdown in the endgame domain... hey, they even was an apology which was kind so... well, like I earlier said, everyone pretty much happening here, the door man really beautiful to me - thank you thank you! we pull anchor and head for roslindale, not too far away but much more hilly. it's where the brother of lieutenant scott burns lives, chris. he had me over when I was w/my fratelli in il sogno del marinaio. he's most kind again. I get in the nightwear and have a couple swallows of a bourbon new to me, something called "rare eagle" and I dig it. I'm much tired though, whoa. I konk quick after some good spiel w/chris who tells me about peru and the andes. he always lifts my spirit up much. respect.
saturday, may 13, 2017 - hamden, ct
pop at nine and have a bunch of fresh fruit chirs was so kind to have cut up for us for this morning's chow. it's the most fruit at once I've had this tour: strawberries, blueberries, watermelon, peaches - all kinds of good stuff along w/greek yogurt, crimony it's fucking good. it's tiny (relatively for this tour) ride for next gig and we get to have nice relax time - I tell the men when they pop pull anchor will be two (revised later to two and a half) so we can take it really easy. they're upstairs, where they konked and where chris has a big tv so they take that in. I can't handle it but I do get a little news via the internet... good thing to know moon jae-in (he was a human rights lawyer) won south korea's election. that pathetic wannabe butch strategy to scare the voters there didn't work. same w/recently in france and holland... this uyoku trendy shit ain't catching on even though they might've fooled some folks in england and here recently. I ain't trying to be a know-it-all but uyoku makes me wretch. how about some moderation - like that crap didn't work before and I'm talking about all kinds of maximalist so-called solutions... get me a fucking shovel. I get a girly text from thurst on my leash: he's got his band in so cal and heard I was on tour. he tells me he heard I'm touring w/the meat puppets and to put my fist in the air. I will.
we pull anchor at two and a half and I aim us towards our last new england gig this tour, this time south on I-84 to I-91 (whence we came from when we went to maine) and I do the whole 130 miles or so, not that heavy except for the motherfucking asshole other drivers starting right after we say bye to beautiful hostman chris, what a generous and kind man, truly. big hugs... 'til next time. yeah very agressive shit in the neighborhood w/many "rotary" intersections ('roundabout' in england) w/stupid dicks passing across double lines (illegal/dangerous/fucking stupid), tailgating and jamming into your lane - lots of times there's no paint to spell things out so assholes take advantage of that to put everyone's lives in danger for fucking what? fucking assholes. I tell you, there's a lot of anger out on the road EVERYWHERE and by EVERYONE - well not by every single drive but by that I mean by not just one type of person or even man or woman. I believe they're channeling the sick fucking energy that's polluting our land now, trying to tearing apart which means forgetting about the consequences or being flippant and self-important about it. assholes. we gotta live together. it starts raining and the closer we get to hamden - in connecticut, forgot when we crossed in but it wasn't too long after we got out of the boston area and via the mass pike ('richie blackmoore road') to the belt... oh, big change for tolls here - no more booths but transponders and if you don't have one you get a bill in the mail, trippy. anyway, the closer we get to hamden, the heavier the rain gets, fucking turns into a big-ass squall, crimony! and like on cue, some asshole big rig driver in this heavy fucking rain is like drafting people in front of them, like it was either nascar or a bicycle race. fuck that, I try to get away but he comes appearing and appearing - like that "duel" movie steve spielberg started his dealio out - I shit thee not. one way to lose him: get off so I stop for gas and see "one rough man" and "cut and thrust paperbacks on sale by the counter. I fucking trip on the trippiness of seeing that now.
hamden is just northeast of new haven, home of not only yale (second oldest u.s. university) but also k. we're at the outer space - I've played here once before and they got really cool people running it including the gigboss mark. we drop anchor right at the venue load-in hatch at quarter of six and luckily there's a lull in the rain. I park the boat and see pups' merch lady linda's car wrecked in the rear bumper area. she tells me someone rear-ended her earlier today. I'm glad she ain't hurt though and it looks like her car's still functional... I'm very glad she ain't hurt. the pups just end soundcheck so we start ours w/soundman o-t and man, it's back to the way it usually is in this sitch, working together. he's a good man and happening to work w/and glad to be our fourth man. he's also way into the short check thing, says it's his favorite soundcheck ever. I bow in respect to him. glad to meet gigboss mark again, truly. he asks me what kind of chow for me and looking at the menu I immediately pick "space burger" and go to a table to chimp diary cuz I don't wanna get behind and keep focus - that's a big reason I do diary, I wanna keep focus on tour and not shirk cuz I've found it's a big downhill slide from there and man, I don't wanna get caught up in that... you gotta piece out the work to keep shit happening. people do rap w/me though - I talk w/hugh and his son - konked at his pad in brooklyn many moons ago - last night in allston we talked about me liking the first jam album, I really liked that... not much after but really REALLY dug that album. d boon did too. his boy wants to do bass, much respect. I hope he really has a good time w/it - look what it did to watt! other cats too come up and yeah, there's still a lot of "you now about ten or was it twenty or was it thirty years ago I..." but they also let me cut them off to tell them them I'm so very grateful they didn't leave me in the past and still have a place for me in their present, I'm so very glad for that, truly. I wish I could find better words to put it. I don't want watt to be some lame version of "happy days" which was really lame itself. arrrgggghhh, I don't know how to really put it... I'm grateful also they let continue chimping after a few words, that's very kind of them. one cat is bassbrother thom who's invited to konk w/him in west haven introduces himself and his girlfriend whitney, that's REALLY kind. thank you bassbrother thom.
I chimp right up to five minutes before we hit at quarter after eight. the gig is clean and the room is tight w/a low overhead which is where 'pert-near all my music was designed for. for me it's the best sound of the tour and judging by the hamden gig-goers enthusiasm, it's happening for them too (most important thing, I'd rather suffer lame sound if it meant good sound for the gig-goers cuz c'mon, I get in for free and they've worked all week to support us. we had a hiccup to start w/and I buy some time w/some spiel w/out letting the gig-goers know jer shirked on his set list task and had to run to the boat and prolly made the worst tape job ever but it'll be happening enough for the this sitch. crimony, it doesn't seem like I saddle up w/too much stuff... the gig goes real good, tom and jer playing their asses off and the hamden gig-goers giving back as good as they're getting w/me having happening monitors, couldn't ask for more at a gig, big thank yous for everyone involved - I'm a lucky watt.
we finish up and gigboss mark helps me through the crowd to the other room where I was chimping cuz that's where the merch is. people are most kind w/the good word. it's hugh and his son again, this time they got to see the whole gig, right on. I hear from tom and jer it was a hell to load the boat cuz of pissing rain but they got it done, much MUCH respect to them. I visit w/everyone who wants a visit and then settle up w/gigboss mark, big hug for him.
it's like fifteen miles to west haven where bassbrother thom is and though not wailing w/the rainstorm, it's still coming down but that doesn't stop some people from driving like assholes... I 'pert-near get run off the road trying to get on the freeway, whew - that was close. it's hard to imagine how he would've written us down direction, I'm talking about the days before the navigatorio gps - new england towns got lots of grid-less road systems, total spaghetti stuff. we find the pad though, him and whitney waiting in the doorway of their porch for us. very kind folks. I hose off and tell tom to do the same cuz he says he has chill in his bones and that's very lame. good to konk in the nightwear after a good warm hosing off, righteous.
sunday, may 14, 2017 - washington dc
pop at seven but there were several weird trips w/my konk, could really differentiate between dream and no-dream "incidents" or whatever, very confusing now to even think about it. thom's ma and him w/whitney greet us, pretty neat to meet a new mom (new to me) on mother's day, much respect to her. I wonder if she plays this piano that's in the room here where we konked? there's a few books of sheet music on it. we gather up our stuff, make the baka check and then give our farewell and thanks for such kindness to us. I wish bass brother thom much luck in working his bass, respect.
pull anchor at a quarter of eight. there's a little rain but not much. whoa, we're only a couple of blocks to the ocean... and there's a breakwater, three little ones - reminds my of my pedro town and the l.a. harbor breakwater w/the angels gate where I paddle my kayak through and back on tuesdays, thursdays and saturdays when I can. it's a mini version though but damn if they ain't got a jetty too. easy on for I-95 south, this is the road to dc. I stop us pretty soon at the first service area cuz tom needs chow - thom's ma offered but c'mon, it's mother's day and we have to make like shepherds anyway. the subway has no one on board so we say fuck that. I put fuel in the boat and piss in the piss jug, emptying it after on the nearby grass. tom wants a little snow globe to remember new haven by on the boat's shrine so I get that for him. out the hatch and of the sidewalk I crumple, my first one of the tour. I didn't get hurt but still, it scared the shit out of jer in the boat who saw the whole thing. I tucked and roll and got no injury - it's the first one of the our. the next service area has a subway sandwiches w/folks actually working it so tom gets me the usual tuna. I dropped anchor next to a car some guy spray all pink just for today - he's roaming around and tells me to be careful cuz "it might turn you pink like me" and shows the pink tshirt he's got under his coat. trippy. that forecast jer had about ain't gonna happen, we got good driving weather. that sprinkle this morning in new haven lasted only a few minutes. weather's complicated, hard to get the guesses right all the time. worth it though to try.
about nine I get us to the new york border but look what's here to greet us: a fucking loose tire (rim included) flying towards us an bouncing like a motherfucker - crimony! I look into the starboard mirror for a way out in case I gotta dodge and it's clear for that but I gotta be careful w/an extreme move cuz that might put us over... this econoline's center of gravity is a little high and I don't wanna wreck oursleves so I watch this motherfucking wheel bounce between the cars and go right past the port of our bow and in the port mirror I see it hop the divider and continue its bouncy hardcharge 'til it's off the shoulder and into the woods - thank god it hit NO ONE somehow, a real good miracle. whoa, what a pants-shitter. that's why you gotta always be aware, looking way down the road and getting the picture ALWAYS if you're the rudder. we're only in new york a half hour... the navigatorio gps has decided that long island route we took to get to maine is bull shit and puts us up on the cross bronx expressway for the george washington bridge across the hudson river and into new jersey and we rejoin I-95 (new jersey turnpike in these parts). whoa, so great to clear that potential parking lot part of the trip. tom relates a dream he had last night, it's a way trippy one. I ask him to put into his diary - why not cuz he's kind of big time behind. jer is shirking on it altogether, a huge shock, huh? no. at the walt whitman service center (remember on these toll roads there's not open access to gas and chow pads), I pull us over to both blow it out and switch ponies, it's tom's turn now, been a while.
he gets us into delaware just before noon, give them their memorial bridge and del pike tithe for the fifteen minutes we're in their state. actually right here at wilmington, de is very important for my pedro town cuz phineas banning was from here and started the los angeles harbor and that's why the town next to ours is named after his wilmington hometown. tom get's us into maryland next, home of the worst-looking flag 'pert-near in the union - why did they go for a design that looks like something from the knights of the bone table? fifty miles from baltimore I call my ma to wish her happy ma's day. I talk to my sister melinda too... they both ask about the tour, I ask them to please read the diary! but I tell them we're healthy and that's important, getting my men back safe. good to hear my ma's voice, she sounded good. she's had heavy health stuff. my sister melinda's been helping her much. I next put in a call to brother kyle in virginia to set up a maintenance appointment for the boat on tuesday morning cuz this time it's due. big BIG thanks to brother kyle, we'll see him later tonight... tomorrow too and then konk at his pad. he's righteous people and most kind.
ten miles after the tunnel under bal'mor harbor (big plug for the cash lanes) in jessup tom pulls over for pony switch and boat fuel... I also need some antiacid cuz I got some guthurt that way... every now and then that kicks up on me. jer takes over just in time for the biggest plug of today's ride. we get on the beltway, I-495 but only a little and then surface streets of southern maryland, getting into the burbs of washington dc twenty after two. we're not playing where the white house and stuff like that but more outside of that, on u street. we find an excellent park spot at the end of the block where there's a loading zone but this is sunday so we can be here w/no fear of getting ticketed. it's a quarter of three so we're early but that don't matter to me - better than being late and we beat much plug. it's warm, prolly warmest of all tour yet. I get in the back and pass out for two hours. I think either those onions or tomato slices I put on that nathan dogs had bac (abbrev for bacteria) and it hurt me. luckily the convenience store right here has some aloe vera drink (good kind w/only eight sugar grams) and that helps. lucky too there's a kaze ('wind' in jap) and w/both windows down, I don't sweat to death.
I pop at five, just in time to the pups arrive. that means I got time to chimp. I hear a trumpet somewhere from in the van here... wonder where it's from, hmm... I konk two hours. I fucking needed that. tom gets me for soundcheck - this u street music hall is in a basement w/steep stairs but a nice lady chelcee helps me down in an elevator. I give soundman adrien the speech. he's from france and a nice cat. he's into being le quatrieme homme, alright! the lightman greg asks for direction and I just tell him to interpret the music his way using what he's got. the check goes good, surprising how good and flat it is, there's been treatment done here that's really fucking helped. I wish more people w/pads for gigs would do this. my first time here and I'm pretty impressed.
some soup from a china chow pad is brought from miss hiyori. there's a container of brother and a container of the other stuff. I drink the brother up (very good, w/chili flavor) and then realize it's like vietnam pho - you're supposed to the vegetable/meat stuff IN the brother and then chow it, what stunad I am! oh well, I'll save the other stuff for later. I talk w/the kirkwoods... seems there was some hell drama last night when they were loading out: a wild lady maybe in her twenties tried to kype stuff from their boat and helperman danny went after her - she tried to act lost and then grabbed a back wack sack and he chased her so she tosses the sack and then comes after him, biting and clawing. he had to punch I guess to defend. the cops came and arrested her, so crazy and pretty sad. danny's in ok shape and nothings gone. so much anger and weirdness in the air, very scary. I dig danny much and am glad he's ok. I talk w/cris about stuff and bass - we're bass brothers and can relate on a lot levels. we're also veteranos of this movement, so glad we can be together - his brother and his son too. of course me and my men.
we hit at eight, happy mother's day. the dc gig-goers are much kind and actually there cats from all kinds of places. respect. the gig is happening, another great sounding stage to be working. I see aaron - he said he was gonna bring his daughter kira who's doing bass, I call out his name while doing our first tune. there's little issues that I think I'll talk about w/my men but they do really good, it's tiny stuff... we'll discuss it later in the boat, tomorrow. at the end I tell the dc gig-goers that john coltrane lost his grandpa and pop early so he was raised by women... I tell them to think about it.
I go to the merch table and talk w/folks - no shirts left, miss hiyori has slung them all. I talk to aaron and his daughter about bass and stuff, so glad she's wailing on it and hope she keeps keepin' on. a man going to university of virginia wants to spiel w/me for something he's got going - sure but maybe not now, when tour's done via skype or email maybe. I wanna help everyone I can however I can. a lady w/her son came all the way from charleston in south carolina - her boy can play all kinds of instruments... I like this stuff w/parents and their children seeing me, makes me feel relevant. I'm grateful for the old days but to be part of something w/the next shift.
the managerman brother eric does the endgame w/me and even carries my bass up the steep stairs. everyone so kind. I take us not to far to takoma park in maryland (fucking crazy drivers bring much bullshit though but we persevere) where my old buddy pete is having us konk. his pad's from 1884, really neat. his wife rachel and daughter annie are up - it's ten and a half (fuck yeah!) which is bitchin'... I hose off and then join them for some johnny walker (not annie!) and chow those fixing for that soup - I usually don't chow after gigs but tonight I do. we get to do laundry too, pete and rachel are just the best. oh yeah, pete's a drummerman too and we've been connect musically like thirty years now, crimony! I konk tripping on that.
monday, may 15, 2017 - richmond, va
pop at seven, go upstairs to soak and see jets in pete's tub, hmm... maybe I could get jet-powered soak? I fill the tub to get above the jets but cuz the tubs so big (pretty wide than most), there ain't enough hot water in his water heater to make for a hot soak so instead I get the luke-warm, oh well. what I need is a konk mask cuz I've donated mine somewhere (maybe on that china tour back in march?) and the sun keeps prying me from konk and I'm kind of feeling it. I am sensitive like crazy to morning sun, can't help from popping. damn.
pete pops soon and cooks me up scrambled eggs w/cheese and puts that in a tortilla, adds some avocado slices on a plate. I stuff those in the tortilla w/the other stuff and it's a good morning chow: the pete voskamp breakfast fajita or something like that. respect to him. he asks about the set last night. you know I've known pete for thirty years now - he's the peglegasus https://peglegasus.bandcamp.com/ drummer (I bet we'll see his brother and fellow-bandmember john in austin - last gig of the tour) - we trip on that fact and then I explain some minutemen tune writing process. d boon wrote music for his words. he also did music for some chuck dukowski, joe carducci and henry rollins (two from chuck, one from the others) if I remember right. georgie wrote words for me. I wrote music for d boon words too but he only gave words that didn't have lines that didn't rhyme - if the words had lines that rhymed, then he kept them for his music. now I ain't saying I wrote the best minutemen tunes (I didn't) but I wrote the most. it's a big reason I used other people's words cuz I used words for inspiration to make the music so if I started repeating myself w/words, it ended happening w/my musical ideas so by bringing in words from other cats, I'd get less "tract home" about my tunes, you know, "the garage on this side w/this one, the porch on the other" but basically it was a device to help me from writing the same tune over and over. pete's writing notes down on this shit - actually, I thought he knew about this stuff... he's always most generous w/me though, always full respect from brother pete. I think he gets the reason why I'm doing what I'm doing this tour, to give my journey through music some context. this is a weird tangent but you know in the old days he played a blue vistalite ludwig set just like georgie? yep, terrible thing it was melted into puddles from a fire, damn.
I get my yellow squall jacket from his dryer and damn if the zipper ain't missing... plus two zipper teeth. damn, only a couple months old. when pete gets back from taking annie to school he finds the zipper inside the dryer... there's a gap between the rotating drum and the metal frame and that gap should prolly be tighter but it ain't and the zipper got fucking yanked and chewed BUT not enough to keep me from getting it back on the jacket - I can just never totally unzip and pull over my head like a poncho - whew, saved from the brink. I get an email from dischord ian, he usually never misses my dc gigs but he said he had too man pie plates spinning in the air so sorry. I really respect him, it means much for me to bring what I got going in the moment in front of him. I write at tell him it's understood. I go back up to the bathtub room and make sure it's a hot soak - ain't that many or any this tour so it's real good on me... at this point in the tour I get pretty sore in the joints - not to sound like I'm bellyachin' though, don't want.
we pull anchor at three - so bitchin' of pete to be so kind w/us, truly. big hugs from him, I wheel us through dc and our glimpse of a government building here (the capitol building) and then a memorial (jefferson) and across the river w/the pentagon - boom, we're in virginia which is where I was born (portsmouth)... I'm remembering out loud about the other morning, going through connecticut... not that runaway tire/wheel nightmare (you think it came off a hub or from the back of someone's pickup or maybe a hatch-bolt on? never saw a wreck ahead of it...) but the train stop signs... there was a "twilight zone" episode where a hen-pecked/boss-pecked/much troubled salaryman who takes this train to work in manhattan from his connecticut suburb home one day discovers a new stop, one called "willoughby" - I recognize it cuz in the show, the conductor calls out the stops, "stamford, greenwich, etc..." and these are the same ones I see on the "r.r. station" signs along the interstate, also the tracks and the electric lines to power the trains. anyway, I relate to my men this weird trip the night we lost d boon. it's always emotional w/me w/that stuff, always. every time I pass that street in west hollywood - not all that much, you know how bad the traff is from my pedro town to there? only if I have to! I will say pink's ain't too far and me and d boon had some good chows there, also w/my pool cleaner friend tony - we'd drive up in the old days just for them cuz traff was way more calm, no lines there and $2.25 a dog. I met orson welles there once. had had a pink's chili dog in each hand and said to me, "hello young man. I'd shake your hand but I am busy." me and raymond had many dogs there in the old days too. trippy how memories tangle up on each other, huh?
back to the reality on the dealio, many asshole drivers taking chances w/everyone's lives. I get two middle fingers in a row from assholes swerving around me in a last show butch wannabe, ball-less ones overcompensating cuz I guess the math's too hard (what mr edison said about mr tesla's ideas. I pull off to switch ponies w/jer for last fortyfive miles and it's his turn to deal w/the babies operating cock-extender toys. he does good, we arrive at the former capitol (trippy how they were only a hundred miles or so apart) but now way more happening town of richmond - still capitol of virginia a quarter of six. damn, this pad used to be called "twisters" - it's called strange matter now and some changes but it's the same pad... deja vu all over again, like someone once said. I meet the gigboss jessica for the one and only time tonight. actually, she's done three other shows w/me here, including one sixteen years ago the opener for tonight bucket also did w/me and the pair of pliers which was tom but instead of jer, vince meghrouni. it's where we first met brother kyle who arrives like clockwork. so good to see him again. young soundman chris is righteous to work w/and way into the speech and damn if we don't help learn something about ringing out monitors and he does good, really good! much respect. radioman paul is here and offers to get me won ton soup, very kind. also very kind regarding chow is brother eric from saucy's w/the best fucking q ever, righteous ribs, green beans, yams plus a happening salad from brother kyle that's even got strawberries. whoa! the best chow of the tour... crimony! it is kind of heavy on me though so I gotta go konk in the boat and find tom's already beat me to the backseat bench but no prob, I can use the back w/the gear goes. I use the sack holding one of the air mattress for a pillow and konk hard. it was just chow heavy on me but also this stage of the tour, my qi ('inside-power' in china) is only so much and I gotta piece it out - I want the most I can at the gig for the gig-goers. I'm out for more than two hours... tom at the hatch for gig time, he wakes me w/a shot of sophia, she just got born - fucking right on!! I'm so happy for raul (missingmen drummerman) and paloma (bombon basslady), so happy. what a great way to pop for a gig too, I'm doing it tonight for soph. on bad thing about the deep konk (I think it's a frist for this tour cuz our opening sitch and early onstage times) is that I missed openers bucket and the milkstains. real nice cats in both bands, fuck, I wish I was stronger but I just ain't.
the stage is pretty high here and actually we're on the other side of a window store front so w/the pad as full as it is, it make for us on stage 'pert-near in our own chamber. that means tom's guitar is way too loud in the singing parts. it freaks me so hard I can't even sing the first verse of our second tune, damn. the gig-goers are bringing righteous spirit and both tom and jer are wailing on it - I love the lead guitar parts as loud as they are but during the singing, it's just too much. there's also cables on the ground that 'pert-trip me up, including the mic on the bass amp... I knew I should've asked for only direct... soy cojo, that's just the reality. even w/all this stuff I consider it a happening gig and am real happy except a little bit sad when in my second speech some has to act smartass and tells me to play the bass. here our set is like 99% music w/only a speech at beginning and end for most this tour (I brought in the third spiel before "slots" I think in brooklyn) and this asshole I guess wants to hear his own voice in snark douche mode. I tell him to get his money back and get the fuck out if he don't like it. I say it's like "cb radio mode" we're plagued w/lots these days - people who don't have to take responsibility cuz of hiding behind a handle or whatever... it's fucked up. I'm just trying to explain why we're doing some of the tunes we're doing, that's all. I ain't trying to rob the gig of its musical stuff. we pick up from there w/a good feel in the home stretch. thank you, richmond gig-goers.
I sling from the stage tonight cuz it's our gig and no one's after us. many kind folks come to deliver the good word - hey, it's strider again, two gigs in a row (he was at dc too)... same w/that carolina lady too w/her son, much respect... for the brother from virginia beach - much kindess, truly! it makes me feel weird I brought anger to deal w/that heckler, I wanna bring comedy to deal w/that and not knee-jerk cussing, wrecks the atmosphere - that was stupid of me. gotta learn from that. a gig-goer asks advice for someone wanting to play bass and I tell him to listen to james jamerson on youtube.com cuz he's the man all of us on bass owe big time... he's got so much to teach us w/him just being him. incredible bassman, the way it was devoted to the tune he was working while still being him, beautiful. swing and groove, the way I love bass much. thank you james jamerson, thank you forever.
we to brother kyle's pad in nearby mechanicsville just after midnight. he brought his son madux to the gig and he's up now to talk w/us, same w/five or six dogs living here now. love it. I hose off and get into the nightwear, better feeling now. he's got a rescue dog saint bernard named roxie that's all lover. he got her as a puppy for his wife tara after she beat cancer. there's a jack russel named mike though that runs the show, one time he took me out w/a hard charge but I hold no grudges, I love him. brother kyle' air mattress will not hold air so it's on the rug - that's the way I do it in my pedro town anyway, he's got a good rug.
tuesday, may 16, 2017 - philadelphia, pa
pop at seven, eat right away one of those righteous ribs from saucy's I save from yesterday. what I gotta do is get the boat maintenanced and what brother kyle has done that's so essential to him aiding and abetting w/that is arrange w/me an appointment w/a dealership here in his town (great name for it too: mechanicsville!) called bill talley ford that I can bring in at eight. he makes me a small bucket of coff and I get the boat over to those people and get what needs to be done if you want these babies to have any stamina. it's every five thousand miles w/these and I'm twenty miles short of that, having the last one done two days before we shoved off on this tour. from previous experiences and those of others (ask tom watson), I go for dealership work even though it's more expensive. my pop used to say: "buy it right, buy it once" and to me that's econo - not being penny wise and pound foolish (that must be from england, huh?). they got a waiting lounge and I chimp diary 'til they finish up. man, it's happening weather - no humidity and sunny bright fuck yeah, reminds me of pedro w/different kinds of trees, no ocean and damn if I don't see three cardinals - I ain't quick enough to get a shot. damn. get back at nine and a half. brother kyle cooks up some eggs, sausage and toast w/fruit on the fruit on the side, good shit - I love it. say hi to his wife tara, she's a hero and I have much MUCH respect for her. truly. madux gets the day off from school cuz he stayed up last night. I learn him stuff - he's way into learning and I love that. he gives you big time focus which for means respect and so right back, for you madux BIG RESPECT. we have some last moments of fun w/the dogs: "hey there, mike" and "big love to you, roxie" then we gotta pull anchor, it's eleven.
it's only a little more than a hundred miles to philadelphia but fuck if there ain't plug galore on I-95... also, guess what? again today there's lots of assholes on the road driving like human caused hazards, rolling the dice w/all our lives. great. jer fixes me up a dose of psyllium - takes him two tries cuz the watt to husk proportion has to be just so or it bricks up quick and won't come out of the used water bottle we're using. I really need fiber cuz I ain't getting enough on the road here. that shit works wonders on my. twelve and a half switch ponies in stafford after fueling the boat, jer takes the rudder. I am really whupped up on the beat thing and have to use for the first time while we're rolling this tour the back bench so me and tom switch places. I konk hard and pop jer gets us to the venue around three and what does the ipod in shuffle mode give us? schooly d and code money - they're from phily, phenomenal!
this pad is called underground arts and it's in the basement of what seems like a community center in phily's downtown that's made from an old factory building. the shine cart comes to the rescue again cuz I want us on the street. there are some stairs but nothing like a 100% heft schlep. soundman steve who laughs at the entire speech and finishes w/something like "I smell what you're stepping" but also in a weird way seems to be into it... let's see. he does good w/the soundcheck, I'm impressed, sounds good on stage. I meet padboss rich - he worked w/the stooges when they played this town in 2007 and then I meet gigboss kevin (worked w/him before at the north star bar) - both these cats are good people. helperman bryan too. so happening when the team's together, even if it's just for one gig, for one night. it means a buttload for me.
the pups arrive and we good spiel w/them like always, I'm always happy to see them. shandon wants to know about china so I tell him what I know from the first time was there a couple of months ago for eight gigs. I think it would be bitchin' if the pups could play in china, see that land for themselves. for chow I use roast beef slices and swiss cheese w/mustard on sourdough bread (yes, sourdough bread out here!) for dinner and chimp diary up until like five minutes before go time.
quarter after eight is go time so go we do. the phiadelphia gig-goers right away start bringing it, even in the first speech. very enthusiastic, yeah, I gotta bring it back - I know tom and jer can help me. I play much better than last night - well, the first part of last night was hard cuz of the sound, I should say. tonight the monitors ain't enough but when I ask for help from soundman chris, he's a brother and makes them the best I've had all tour - I shit thee not. respect. tom and jer tear it up and that helps me throw better, I'm most grateful. it's a good gig - I tell people about john coltrane's pad he bought w/his g.i. bill money on thirtythird street and if they can, please help w/fixing it up - I even play some of "cousin mary" cuz she lived there and even had gigs in the backyard at a point, there's a group trying hard to make this happen and I think it's a bitchin' thing to do.
I get to the table where merch is slung and talk w/many kind people, sign stuff and just wanna show gratitude for the kindness. my old buddy howard (he's done spiel for me for over twentyfive years) is here, big hugs for him, BIG ones. much good word all vital on me... steve who's asked us to konk at his pad is here w/lee and pug, most kind! now it's a little hike to where he is in delaware (middletown) but it's safe for the boat and a leg-up on getting to pittsburgh. I gotta take care of everyone first though, I don't want anyone thinking I take them for granted. I know I ask for pictures to be kind of quick but... hmm... I don't know how to pose so long so that's why I ask for them to be quick. some cats are from some very far back gigs (like dylan's brother) but others tell you it's the first time. I can dig it, stuff is dynamic! I am grateful for any and all, especially those staying w/me.
the padboss rich takes care of what we gotta do at the end of a gig and is beautiful. there's no gap like sometimes there is... I appreciate the mutual of the sitch and people trying to help how they can. I get to the boat and old buddy timmy from delaware is here - he shows me shots of his two kids, beautiful. no more ferrets but he raised some happening children. big hugs. we pull anchor for steve's pad and get there eleven after eleven - trippy time again. a couple of bourbon/water swallows and soon I'm out cuz damn if I ain't beat. I do get to rap w/lee, pug and steve though - pug has me sign that same kind of skateboard brother brett had in omaha, ain't that a trip. I hope he works his bass like a skateboard cuz that's what I try to do, I hope that don't sound too insane. it's bitchin' also that this pad is being built by steve, some buddies helping and oh, his grandpa is still taking drum lessons - at ninety... MUCH RESPECT!!
wednesday, may 17, 2017 - pittsburgh, pa
pop at seven, steve's got some big windows that I love but w/no drapes, the sun is blazing bright and damn if I still ain't got a konk mask to replace my donated one. steve and lee pop (pug must've bailed last night) to join me, steve making me some black tea which I'm into even if it's got mint in it. I at some of he peach yogurt too, a very kind man. no humidity yet, it's righteous cloudless and bright. lee was trying to sell me on thorium reactors last night but I kept trying to tell him they're still fission and the nuke we that really help us will be fusion - my pop told me that years ago and he works w/the shit. anyway, he's got his right to his opinions and I pronounced the word wrong anyway trying to remember like an idiot. he was the stickman in a band w/steve - I tell him to keep on keepin' on. we shove off.
the navigatorio gps puts us on course for bal'mor which might seem crazy but the fuckin' I-95 is insane crazy plug land. this email from dischord ian in response to my email telling him about dealing w/the nightmare traff shit I've found this tour:
> too many humans with too many cars
> living on the 95 corridor these days. it
> used to be a no-brainer to make a run up
> to nyc to see a band or a friend, but 95
> has become a massive hurdle and the band
> or friend has to be pretty fucking good
> to merit the effort!
> meanwhile, inside their hurtling
> cocoons, people are firing off emojis
> whilst waiting for the lightbox to tell
> them when to turn. 'tis fucked!
> love. ian
from bal'mor we get on I-70 which goes northwest right towards pittsburgh, excellent plan, thank you grazie. maryland's got a trippy shape, this arm-like part sticking out to the port. like all the drives this tour, it's a pretty one... I dig all the different parts of the country. heavy though when we pass near