mike watt and the jom & terry show
(we're in front of his van)
watt - thud staff, spiel
jerry trebotic - drums
tom watson - guitar, singing
(left to right)
steve kaul - the man outside the van
tuesday, october 9 - philadelphia, pa
I wake on the floor of the basement at amber and david's place and pack up my stuff. it's cooer outside and when I get in the van I notice that the cup of ice water that mike got at the club last night still had ice cubes in it which indicates that it was pretty cold in the van. we get out of the little town where the house was and onto the penn. turnpike to cross the entire state to philadelphia. when we get close to the city we miss our turn off of the turnpike but find and alternate route to the club. the streets are narrow and a lot of them are cobblestone so it's alittle difficult to get a spot for the van, but we do a loop and luck out to get one right in front of the club. the khyber pass is a great little place that I've been to before, and has a carved wooden bar from 1873. we go in and order some food and I get some chili to warm me up. we talk to the people there for a while and then I go out to find some batteries for my pedals. when I get back we load in and see the sound of urchin guys arrive. by the time we soundcheck grand national come in and they had the same problem with the turnpike offramp as we had. I'm just glad they made it. so far tour has been safe for us and everyone else we've been with, and that's something that we're very thankful for. we hang while the other bands set their things up and get ready to play, and I watch the sound of urchin's wail through their set. then grand national play a great show and I watch them again. we finally get onstage to play and get through without too much problem and ed comes up and joins us again on s few songs. after we're done we pack up and talk to the locals and then get ready to follow the sound of urchin van back to their farm house in new hope. when we get there it's kind of late and I find a spot on the floor to put down my mat and sleeping bag. I'm too tired to talk so I just fall asleep.
we wake to bagles and coffee, though I don't have java, its juice for me. thanking our hosts w/jump in the boat. very cold this morning , about 30 deg.. the drive takes us across penn. state and to the deleware river where philly lies. this is a real colonial town w/much history and sights. I plan on taking a short walk to the hall of independenceand and liberty bell after dinner. just a few blocks west I find the area closed off due to the terrorist scare. the building holding the bell is open, but only to guided tours that end at 5 pm. I still see the bell thourgh the glass. the crack visible from the street. I hope soon things may become less locked down so we can enjoy our national treasures. I walk back and set up for sound check. were playing the khyber club tonight. the place is over a hundred years old w/a impressive bar stand carved in 1876 for the centennial. I rap w/a local dude named mark about the town and playing drums. I learn that the cobble streets of philly were made from the ballast of ships traveling to the new world. he gives me a tape of some drum music as I thank him and say so long til' next time.
a decent little club w/a small capacity but great vibe. urchins blast through a fine set of dandy tunes and showmanship. next up is grand national and I enjoy the set tonight more than the pitt. show. mostly due to the improved sound within. I pay attendtion closely to laura's beats and sho's right on the mark. ed's guitar work is grooving and flavorful. jenny's voice blends perfectly w/ed's middy soulness. they are a fitting trio. we play what I think to be a solid set, no major clams or blow bys. I scurry to the bar after for a quick beer and rap w/dodo brown of the urchins. I speak of possibly jamminng a thin lizzy tune at n.y. or hoboken in the next couple of days.
tonight we'll be crashing at the urchin farm in the countryside near newhope penn.. its the old ween farm pad that's on the back cover of pure guava. the drive takes 50 min or so and I grab a couch in a side room near the bathroom. dodo busts out his pillowcase full of mota for a late session. I call kel and talk of the gig and our little one. she's got the crawling thing down now and kel's keeping a watchful eye out. this daddy sure does miss em'. in hawaii one of the first things I'm gonna do w/relei is take her to the park and go swinging for as long as she wants. we'll have some fun.
pop and hose off. david's up too and goes to get us bagels, such a nice man. we have to transverse this state of pennsylvania so we have to bail early. david and amber send their little girl off to school and then us also, thank you both very much for everything. across the allegheny river on the hulton bridge - beautiful structure, all painted lavender - and we're east on the pennsylvania turnpike. very pretty drive, the sun is still w/us and the fall foliage incredible. lots of construction the first hundred miles and then smoothness. through four tunnels: the allegheny, tuscadora, kittatinny and blue mountain. then there's a scary incident about half way through the state. I was driving the boat in the passing lane, to pass this semi-truck w/a tandem trailer (two of them hooked together) and he fished-tailed and the trailers went into our lane. I put the brakes on the boat but easy so we wouldn't skid and the rearend of his most back trailer just missed us - only inches. it was so very terrifying. I'm glad I drive w/both hands on the wheel and look down the road far to detect potential trouble - I actually saw him fish-tail slightly a little bit before this happened. I said a prayer, crossed myself and touched the mary we have taped on the dash. my guys were scared too, it was so very close. I immediately then thought of those near my heart. tour can be such a hellride.
getting close to phily, we miss a junction and blow by the town to the north. no matter, we catch the I-95 south and I bring her into the old part of phily by the waterfront, this part goes back to the colonial days and lots of the revolution was dreamed up here in the taverns. we're playing the _kyber pass_, a pad I've haven't worked since the fIREHOSE days w/edward and georgie. I shoehorn the boat into a spot right up in front of the place. great luck. the cats here make me a flounder sandwich and it's good. the urchin guys rejoin us tonight and they'll go on before edward. I talk w/the boss brian and he says gigs have been shaky since september eleventh. I tell him I'm shaky too, especially on the inside - one reason for the dark glasses. jer goes to see the liberty bell, it's close by but the park rangers have everything sealed up and he's denied. I've seen all that stuff on previous tours: the bell, independence hall, ben franklin's pad, the first post office and feel bad jer has to miss out. they'll be other tours to do that then hopefully. one good thing I notice is that the shiner on the eyelid jer gave himself w/his drumstick (coming off of a tom hit) is getting better and smaller. good thing it broke the skin cuz that helped w/keeping the swelling down.
soundman paul helps us w/a quick soundcheck. the monitors are kind of toy so that'll make things hard but hell, you work the room and find yourself reasons to be grateful for what you have. so much shit to always be feeling sorry for yourself and thinking you deserve better. every situation has something to teach you, something you can learn and grow from. a gig is no different. edward and his crew, laura and jenny, show up. they did the same exact blow-by we did! damn. after saying hi, I go to the back of the boat, slip into the minus twenty sack and konk good and quick. before I'm out though, a cat who had been sitting w/us inside comes up to the porthole and hands me a twenty. he says he can't make the gig tonight but wants me to have it. I try to at least give him a tour shirt but he bails w/out. what a generous man. thank you.
I get roused by edward's _grand national_ wailing away, I was too deep in konk to the urchin's set. time to get going, watt. I'm wearing that green flannel I got at that truckstop earlier in the tour - damn, is this sucker big! the tag says "medium" too, what's that about? it's really wide, maybe it's "trucker medium," for those cats who chow at the all-you-can-eat buffets. it feels really funny on me, like I shrunk or something. I tell the crowd this before we start. I have some problems at the beginning. it's a small stage and my amp is too far back so I'm filling everything w/too much bass. I move it closer to jer during the second song. then a little bit later, the mic stand is slipping down, it's on also on an uneven part where the drum rug ends and the bare deck of the stage begins and this causes the mic to keep hitting me in the mic. I have to fix this too in the middle of a tune. finally, by the time we do lou reed's "caroline says," I get things together and can concentrate on playing. my guys are playing good and tight. I don't space on "...mo-fo" again - maybe that mental block has been overcome. good. I ask edward to come up for "...cow" and the b.o.c. tune and this time his amp is near me so I can hear him good. it's up on a chair too. funny how you can do that easy w/a fender amp. edward's really tearing it up on his guitar and helps me sing "the red and the black" on the same mic I'm using. feels really good playing up alongside him like that. he's very inspiring and his enthusiasm is way contagious. I've always felt this about edward, he's a born showman, quite opposite of me, who's always frightened and shitting his pants up there on stage. we're ready to finish up and edward joins us again and this time sings lead for "revolution (part two)." he smokes it good. tom sounds really nice in tandem w/him, I have to say - smart playing on both tom and edward's part. all four of us do the two fIREHOSE tunes to end the gig and we're done. lots of nice feeling from the crowd, I feel very grateful and tell them this was a special night for me. for one thing, john coltrane lived here w/his cousin mary. I get a neat painting of a face w/a very much toothful grin. wow. a few packs of backwoods too and a bag of apples. thank you all.
we pack up and who comes up to say hi? bass giant mister andrew weiss - wow! I give him great big hugs. so good to see him, it's been quite a while. we talk a bit and then it's time to bail. the urchins have invited us to a farm in lambertsville, new jersey (same town bob lee is originally from - alright!) where the bass and guitar cats live, about an hour away. before we bail, edward's bassist jenny asks me if I can help w/her tone. I tell her I'll have her try some things at the next soundcheck. she likes the sound of the little bass. andrew did too. that makes me feel good cuz I love so working her, she's a joy and to boot, my hands don't hurt either like they were w/my other machines. we follow the urchins north out of philly to the farm. it's way out. new jersey is very rural in lots of places, really. you wouldn't know that, just seeing what you do from new york city but if you actually drive through the pad, you understand why the license plates say "the garden state." we get to the farm and there's friends of theirs there already. me and tom bed out in a room off of where the party's going. we're tired. jason, the urchin helper (or "baby new year," like his band calls him) lives here too and puts music on the stereo. I beg him to shut it off cuz my head can't really take it after playing my brains out. I must seem like one old man to him. he gets his picture taken w/me and then tom by this girl. she keeps telling us she "doesn't see the love" and won't snap the shot 'til we're visually affectionate. I wonder what she's thinking? whatever, I'm glad we can make baby new year happy. I still hear the yammering going on in the next room, jer among them, as konk takes me asunder.
wednesday, october 10 - new york city, ny
I wake to mike's feet walking on the squeaky floor. this house could be a hundred and fifty years old, and it's got a lot of history. I recognize the porch from a picture in a ween record cover and bill from the urchin's say's there was a ween video shot here too. I look around a little bit and have some coffee and then we get jerry up so we can start rolling towards new york. the drive is shot today because we did some of it last night but we don't know what to expect as far as the delays going into the city. it's about an hour drive north when gwe get to the holland tunnel and it's closed to in coming traffic, so we continue north to the lincoln tunnel and at the guard stop a security officer asks what we're doing in n.y. and mike tells him and he lets us through with no search. so it was a smooth trip into the city and we will get to the mercury lounge early so we find a spot as close to the club as possible and walk to katz's deli next door and get some food before loading in. I get a pastrami on rye with the great pickles they have there and stuff myself. after eating jerry and I walk to a cybercafe to check our e-mail and walk to soho. the weather is great again and it's strange to think about the recent events here during such a beautiful day. we get back to the van and sit a little while and then we get to the club and load in. at the club we situated and I change my strings and get set for sound check. the sound of urchin show up and move their stuff in and then grand national do to. we do our soundcheck and then pack our stuff to the sides of the stage so the other bands can get on a do theirs. the stage is kind of wide but shallow so there's not a lot of room to set up in layers like we usually do and the club gets ver crowded so it's hard to pull things off the front of the stage too. we get things figured out and we find out that the show has sold out which is great for a wednesday night. before the club is officially open we hang out and see a couple familiar faces stop by.
its maybe an hour and a half to ny and bill is up when we split. we'll see 'em later tonight in manhattan at the mercury lounge for the gig. our drive time is short but the trouble from last month will cause some delays and were prepared w/extra time taken. the holland tunnel which goes into lower manhattan is closed so we opt for the lincoln tunnel instead. it enters in midtown near 38th st.. as the skyline comes in view mike trips on the missing teeth that was the wtc. he tells us it used to dominate the southern skyline, no more. the wait getting in is around 40 min. and we don't get searched as was thought. mike gives old pal jimbo a call but no answer. off to the club instead and the wait is on. w/a few hours free tom and I go off to an internet cafe to check email. my sis T writes and tells of a crane accident she had on the job. nobody got hurt, but a container was damaged and nerves were frayed. she says she hopped back in the saddle after lunch and soldiered on. also, josh from bargain music asked about my bachlor party plans. I'll check w/kel and give him an answer in a couple days. we stop for a drink in a pub near the club then head back for soundcheck.
this place sounds great, can't wait to jam. before the bands start I meet tomato's lady lauri and rap a bit downstairs. very cool people. we go up to watch the urchins and they sound fab in this place. great sound by mark for urchin and grand national as I enjoy their sets fully. i get set up and wait for watt to flow in w/his pal elizabeth. our show is a webcast tonight and mike times it to start when scheduled. along w/ed fromohio jamming out is albert bouchard from the original blue oyster cult. should be fun. I can tell mike is having some trouble w/the monitors or something tonight. maybe its tom being to far away and he can't hear him. I don't know. I feel fine and play well myself, keeping the beats solid. I start to notice something wrong w/my bass pedal on revolution pt. 2 the last song in the reg. set. as we return for the encore I take a look at the beater and its broken though. snaped like a twig, damn! I get on the mic and ask if I can borrow laura's bass pedal. the crowd sighs thinking its all over. before laura shows ed has found the pedal and were back in business. albert comes up to join us for the red and the black. he wrote it and I can say I feel honored to play w/him. glad to have all on board tonight for what I think is a fine job. thanks laura for the use of the beating unit. I get a chance to speak to albert after the show and he gives me great props on my playing. this makes me feel proud and honored to hear that from such a legend of rock. I'm just doing my job I tell him. we pack up and head for jimbos.
mike parks the boat in a pay lot next to jimbo's pad and we walk up all 5 flights of stairs to the apartmant. its just 12 blocks from the wtc site and I plan to walk over to it tomorrow. I get the sleeping pad in the big room for the night and can hear the traffic slaming the steel plates in the road right outside the window. I forget the mota in the van so back down I go. after returning I have to head back down again for some sandwich chow to feed a hungry drummer. I eat and smoke and tuck in for the night.
pop and find chis' dog barkley at my feet. thanks for the warmness there, buddy. then I hose off in the shower. shave too. I got the razor uncle ray gave me in my flannel pocket but no shaving cream so I use what's here - some green stuff called "edge" that kind of foams when it's on your face. let's me get close though. I go outside and find a fine sunny morning and a corn field that's just been cut. I start to hoof. a few minutes into it, what do I see but two wild turkeys running together near the surrounding wood. damn. they're real black and have long tall legs, not the image you think of w/thanksgiving and shit like that. these are american turkeys. I heard what we chow is the european variety. these cats take off when I get close and duck into the trees. I circumnavigate the field and return to make coffee. after a while, tom pops and we both agree we should bail at eleven just in case there's delays getting into manhattan. we roust jer and after he hoses off, we're off in the boat and sailing northeast on the us-202.
inside newark, jer uses the street atlas on the 'puter to put us on a course for the lincoln tunnel - the holland one is closed. very erie on the pulaski skyway looking toward where the first view of the big apple were those twin towers. like someone took an eraser to such a familiar picture in my head, I get a heavy feeling in my heart - maybe one that doesn't have to be explained. at the lincoln tunnel entrance, a policeman asks if we have any local deliveries. I say no, we're going to play the _mercury lounge_ on houston and he says to have a nice day. thank you, officer. through the tunnel and under the hudson, jer gets his first sights of driving in new york city. it's a trip for him to see how people will just cross the street anywhere and not even look to see if you'll stop for them. it amazes him. after all the years of touring, I'm pretty used to it but it's blowing his mind - just like it did mine the first time I was here. the aggressive driving too is pretty intense, not to mention the bike messengers cutting through traffic like threading a needle. a miracle more folks aren't killed and jer comments on it much. we're on our way to jimbo's down on canal but he's not reachable on his phone so I twist us to the venue, which isn't very far away. only two bells so I park a block away and we take it easy. nice cali-like weather, no need for a coat. I go over to "katz's," a big deli nearby. I eat a wonderful chopped-liver sandwich and have many bright green more-cucumber-than-pickle pickles. good chow. the whole thing must've weighed more than a pound too. then I'm back in the boat to chimp diary.
at four, I pull the boat up in front of the club and load in. after that I see a car-for-hire w/the driver in it in the closest meter near the venue. I get behind him and wait. as soon as pulls out, some other car-for-hire tries to snake it. damn! I get out of the boat and go up to the window and ask what's up. this would be very dangerous in my town but I'm kind of perturbed by this kind of a bogart. when he relents I tell him sorry and thanks - damn, he was big too so a cha-cha would've be really intense. I did speak w/him calmly and tried to finesse the situation. we're all drowning in too much violence these days already. we do a quick soundie w/the knobman mark - he did the monitors at the _bowery ballroom_ (that pad is run by the folks who do this one too) when I helped j last fall here. one of the cats who works the office upstairs talks to me about us meeting in richmond when the _minutemen_ opened for _rem_ there, a shriner pad called "the mosque." he tells me the gig's been sold out. alright. like they said in the old vaudeville days, a "clean" gig. edward and his mates show up. jenny wants some help w/the tone of her rig and one quick looks shows me she's got the treble all the way up and the mid all the way down. I turn them both to about one o'clock and all of the sudden there's some throat and no dink from the frets. I show her about plucking closer to the bridge too for more definition. it's a good amp, some fender custom shop thing called the "rumble bass" and I think all it need was some dialing in. hope she digs how it does for her in the gig. I then go to the boat for a konk. outside the pad and across the street, I see this apartment place called "red square" w/a clock that's got all it's numbers in the wrong places. there's a statue of lenin up top too and it looks like he's hailing a taxi. warren haynes lives in that building. damn, too bad I never got to play w/him and matt even though we played four times in the same town on the same nights. those two are some great cats.
I have a troubled konk. my head's spinning w/crazy thoughts. I'm awaken by the secret knock we used to use in the old sst days - wow, it's elizabeth! I give her that old dante book for her birthday, even though that was yesterday. she carries the sling sack for me to the pad, damn if she ain't strong for her size - that shit is hard for me to shoulder! old bud barre is inside and I use his walkie-talkie to make yet another call for jimbo - he's there and he's leaving right now w/some posters. good, they got there - thanks much, brother robbross. juan rosenfelder here and gets me a glass of "seltzer water." gracias, juan. I'm very nervous now. I very much want to do good tonight. I missed both the openers, edward and the urchins and it's time for us to give it the go. I see a little amp next to mine. it's not edward's, his is on the other side. hmm... we start the gig and damn if I ain't choking already by the fourth tune. I screw up entirely the last verse of the lou tune and apologize to the crowd when the song's over and tell them what words were supposed to come out of me. I even had to stop and let tom and jer carry me for that part. I'm not making excuses but it is weird the way we're set up here. tom is way too far away - we're spread really wide across the stage like we're _emerson, lake and palmer_ or something. I lean on tom a lot for confidence. in fact, I can't even hear him in the monitors - aaaaarrrrrgggggghhhhh. I ask mark to fix that. then jer's floor tom mic falls off in the middle of "amnesty report" and I have to reattach it right while we're playing it. then there's a low-mid ring on stage coming from jer's kit. mark fixes that too. oh, I'm a wreck and barely hanging in there. my nerves exasperating all these little things. I blow some more clams w/the words. the crowd is supportive though and I try to draw from that. shit, I wish I could get it together - I'm dying a million little boy deaths up here. edward comes up and joins us for "...cow" and then next albert, the original _blue oyster cult_ drummer joins all of us. whoa! quite a team I got up here - three guitars! they all do really good and I get some nerve up and finish the gig stronger. edward sings the last tune fantastic, mixing it up w/tom. back up for the encore and I again foul shit up w/the words to "...tweeter" - aaaaaaarrrrrrrggggghhhh. I recover yet again w/both axe slingers once more w/us for the last tune numbers. thank you, men. I give both edward and albert giant bear hugs. I then start slinging. someone gives me a bag of fresh habaneros and boy, one lights me up quick - must be a good batch. jimbo brings up the posters and I hug him, so good to lay eyes and arms on this dear old friend. after slinging, the pad empties out and I take some digicamera shots of elizabeth w/the little bass. I've always wanted to have some. they look great together. funny, she holds it upside down - she's a southpaw. I talk to her a little bit how john coltrane's such an inspiration in my life now, what he means to me and how is music/spirit is such help to me now. I also voice regrets for all the clamming I did during the gig, I almost start crying. shit, I really wanted to do good. oh well, I'll try to do better tomorrow night. that's the best I can do about it.
I settle w/the boss lady maggie - she's great and originally comes from australia. then we load up the boat. jimbo rides w/us down to his pad. I lag behind the other cats and get a liverwurst sandwich at the store on the way, it's a tradition for me when I come and have my first night here. up the six flights and we find jimbo's pad all full w/boxes and shit. jimbo tells me it's the end of an era - he's bailing out at the end of the month. he's gonna move to the northeasat part of manhattan - right near where albert lives. alright. so many years coming here though, it's a little sad for me but I completely understand why jimbo wants to do this. I'm on his deck now, w/the mask he gave me applied. the best mask I've ever used, it's got velvet where it goes over your eyes and a wide velcro adjustable strap instead of rubberband-like cords that dig into the back and side of your head. I've been using it for more than a year now and really dig it. damn, if I sore as someone beaten w/a bat. jimbo gets me some ibuprofen and I tell him he's a saint. he's says he's not but I tell him, "jimbo, at this moment, you are." w/that, I'm out and konk quick.
thursday, october 11 - hoboken, nj
when we get up we sit with jimbo and have some coffee and mike has to go do a panel discussion for the cmj seminar that's in town and jerry and I walk over to the post iffice across the street to mail a couple things and then head uptown to a music store to get some drum stuff for jerry. the music store is in times square and jerry and I get a couple slices of pizza before heading back to jimbo's. it's a short drive across the river to new jersey so before we take off jerry and I walk don to the barricades of the disaster zone where the trade center was. the police wont let people gawk at the rubble so we just walk by and experience the weird vibe and the smell in the air. it's smells a little like an electrical fire or burning asbestos. when get back to jimbo's mike's ready to roll and we pack up out things and get to the van and on the road to the lincoln tunnel. we have some delay getting in the tunnel and an officer checks our van and lets us through without too much problem.
we arrive at maxwell's by 5 o'clock and load in and mike goes off to find parking. he gets back about a half an hour later and had to park a couple blocks away. parking has always been the problem here but this club is a great place to play and the food is also great. after our soundcheck jerry and I order some food and I get a salad and macaroni and cheese that hits the spot. the sound of urchin and grand national are also playing tonight so it's like having our family with us, and we sit together and burn up the time before the urchins start to play. the urchins shows continue to be strong and tonight jerry gets up on drums and they play a thin lizzy song so tomato can come out and sing it like a front man on the floor in front of the stage. I watch it and talk with urchin guitarist, scotty's girlfriend laurie. after the change over grand national go on and play to a good crowd and they sound like they're into it tonight. it's a really good show and the people show their support. we get onstage and do our thing and go through our set fine. ed comes on and plays a few songs and we finish up and pack up. it looks like we're going back to stay at jimbo's in the city so we head back through the lincoln tunnel and up his stairs for the night.
I wake to find at least 10 mosquito bites on my face and arms. damn little bastards. I'm very allerigic to the bites and swell up for days after, never mind the iching. well anyway tom and I decide to go uptown to sam ass music to get me some drum stuff. this'll be my first subway experience in ny. mike is off doing a panel at cmj so we got the day to fuck off. we take the A train to 42nd st. and walk the other six blocks to 48th. afterwards we walk to times sq. and get some tourist time in. a little pizza and back downtown. I convince tom to walk from jimbo's about 10 blocks to where the wtc used to stand. they only let people get about 5 blocks from ground zero, but you can still see a huge pile of rubble. the police keep the courious back at every intersection and gaucker barriers stop many from getting a view. I'm able to snap a couple shots while walking by but nothing to revealing. we head by to jimbo's where mike is to meet us and hop in the boat for new jersey. after leaving jimbo's we try to escape in the holland tunnel, but no vans allowed. shit! back to the lincoln tunnel and an hour fucking wait. it's only like 3 miles as the crow flies, but not for us.
we make the club and no parking to be found. after unloading mike dissapears for 40 min. looking for parking. maxwell's is the pad tonight and it looks good for rocking. another show w/urchins and g. nationals. I talk to tomato about doing a thin lizzy tune 'the boys are back in town' during their set. all go he tells me. I'm nervious about jamming not ever having done the song before. only know it from the radio. finally I get the call and take position on the kit. I count it and play the intro a bit too slow. a quick adjust and we hook it up. lots of fun hammering this one out. next up the g. nationals play a great set and I watch it all. our turn and all goes well throughout. I hear someone in between songs yelling out "jerdog" which is my old nickname in pedro. as I look back I see mike ortega from pedro. I see him at many watt shows in l.a., but am surprised to see him here. he tells me after he flew out for this show. long way for a show, man. I find out that our crash pad for the night in hoboken is a no go. so back to jimbo's once again and back through the bumpy streets of manhattan. more stairs yuck!
I rap a bit w/mike and jim and call kel to say goodnight then off to bed and hope no mosquitos attack. long drive tomorrow to cambridge, but I get to see kel and my mom. I can't wait!
pop early and hose off. head down those six flights - pause at the top of the last one cuz this is where jimbo caught his foot a couple of years ago and took the fast way down. broke all of his front teeth out. ouch. a prayer for jimbo, at least he didn't break his neck. I move the boat from the lot to the street. I make for the "west side restaurant" where there's great familia-made cubano chow. will this be the last time I shovel here? this pad is on church street, just south of canal - where the police line is. I have the breakfast I always get here and then hoof west to the hudson. kind of foggy morning, like in pedro. a weird smell in the air, real funky like metal mixed w/something else. at the river I head south but my path is blocked off before I can get to battery city park where I like to commune w/the trippy art installed there, "the real world" by jim otterness. I cross the west side highway and try to get to it that way. a policeman asks for my i.d. and says I can't get through here. I go east a few blocks and try to get to it via the tribeca bridge. a policelady says if I don't go to school at steuvesant high or live around near, I'm not allowed. oh well, I'm not going to get to rub my hands on those brass sculptures this tour. that disappointment is quite secondary however to that feeling, that heavyness and sad stuff about this whole mess that doesn't have to be explained.
I hoof back to jimbo's and get ready for my panel appearance. whoa, I look out jimbo's window and see we're gettting written up for a ticket. I race downstairs. the sign is way up the street and I try to explain to the officer but he won't budge. damn. fiftyfive bucks - aaaaaarrrrrrgggggghhhhh! I put the boat back in the lot, then back up to jimbo's. I've been asked by the cmj people to be on a panel to discuss "creative differences." I take the 'c' train up to the hilton on 53rd street. the fog's burned off and the day is sunny and warm, cali like. in the ready room, I see my old friend walter from boston and jenny toomey too. a little talking between us and then time for panel spiel. I'm w/a trumpet player named steve and another younger cat who's band I can't remember. I let folks know my philosophy about how differences can be good (you know, the "to be a good farmer, use a lot of manure" spiel) and how I think it's difficult to come up w/a set of rules that will guaranty "good" music. I question the whole notion of such a thing as universally accepted "good" music. I think the issue is too personal and subjective. the same goes for the process to make it. there are some concepts I do think are important to trying to get folks to give it a good try like the idea of the group leader being able to inspire people into giving there best and not just simply hollering orders and directives at them. that is quite a talent to acquire but I think essential. also, not expecting a producer to "wave a magic wand" or something to make things happen. sure, there can be a collaboration but I don't believe there's any shortcuts to using an opportunity to create something real. we all can be creative and for sure, we all are different in someway or another. someone asks about "how do you make something organic" and I have trouble w/this. what does that exactly mean? I think about it hard and then ask, "you mean something w/a personality?" I give the example of a writer, who doesn't really invent most of the words he uses to write but can still get some kind of spirit or essence through his/her expression. this is what art is. being "original" is not what it's about unless you're talking about the voice being original. the mediums and conventions are only tools to try to get this happening. I tell them what I heard once: "the only thing new is you, finding out about it." the observer finds things "original" or "organic" or then they don't. it's in their hands. it's where the expression is being taken, not the form of the expression. I think it's about transcendence, proving somehow to each other that we're alive. I think everyone thinks this is funny coming from an old punk rocker. they don't want so much uncertainty and would rather have a formula but this is where I am w/this. I want things loose and anarchic w/art, not fossilized or bound up. it's gotta breathe for me - even my field, punk. I want to be surprised and have my mind blown. finding out how it got done is after the fact and should be as varied as the minds dreaming in the universe. that should be a shitload.
I leave there wondering if I made any sense. I tried to tell them I got into music not as a musician but more as a personal thing, to be w/d. boon. I'm probably coming from a different place then as maybe a "musician" would. maybe I gave them some kind of perspective though, hope so. they were quite attentive. I have to say it scares the fuck out of me to spiel like that but I do think it's important. there's some kind of crazy message in my methods even if I can't find the right words for it. I'm pretty driven by it. I am on some kind of a mission, somehow. I eat a hot dog from one of these sidewalk carts. a nyc hot dog is a trip. I then take the 'c' down to 23rd street, go to "tech serve" get an ac cord for the ibook's power supply puck - jimbo was too jammed up to help me here but that's ok. I get one for $9.74, not too bad for this town's prices. didn't have to spend the extra monies for another puck either. this pad is notorious for long waits but I'm able to go right to the counter and I'm out of there in five minutes. lucky watt.
one more ride on the 'c' and back to jimbo's. I wait a bit for tom and jer and then we're off to hoboken. the holland tunnel's open for traffic going out of the city - but not for vans or trucks so it's uptown for the lincoln tunnel. a plug has us crawling for like an hour and then we're finally through. first, a state trooper w/a purple tie checks the back of the boat. he's nice. we get into hoboken and of course, there's no parking near _maxell's_, where we're playing so we unload double-park style and I cruise around the blocks for like an hour 'til I find a spot two long blocks away. the good thing is that it's by benny tudino's, who's got the kind slices and I chow a plain cheese one. mmm, good. I get to the pad and we do a one song check w/soundman kirk, like all the knobsters on this tour - one nice cat. then it's to the boat w/watt and I konk. guess what? I miss both openers, edward's crew and the urchin guys. oh well. not even close enough to hear them through the boat's bulkheads. jer rousts me and it's show time. tonight, we're set up good a close and this helps give me the confidence I was missing last night. tom and jer are playing on fire. it's contagious and we have a great gig. hardly any clams on my part and I keep good focus, I am quite inspired by good feelings instilled in me. funny how words in an email can do that to you. edward comes up for the five songs he's been doing every night w/us and tears it up good. great spirit from the folks too, an excellent collaboration. danny, a good cat from the watt list peeps hands me up a cigarette box w/strange smokes inside - one's menthol tasting and the other one's, uh, well, it's mota - but w/menthol taste! never had that before. thank you, danny.
this man charles offered us a pad to konk at next door in weehauken but he's nowhere around. hmm... well, there's still saint jimbo. he's always let me have a set of his keys. I go see the boss, todd - love this man and he recognized our cover by _the last_ and is chuckling about that. time to load and I kind of snap a bit on jer. stupid fucking watt. maybe it was his crack about me cracking the whip but I should've taken it much better. jer is one good man. we take the lincoln tunnel back over to his pad and he's surprised but happy to see us. many thanks, jimbo. we're all pretty beat so it's lights out quick. damn, are my feet and ankles sore as motherfuckers from all the hoofing today. not used to all the sidewalk contact. on the deck, I collapse further into a puddle of tiredness. thanks again, jimbo.
friday, october 12 - cambridge, ma
we get up and say bye to jimbo and we start up the east side of manhattan towards boston. there's some traffic and it's a medium drive so it's good that we left early. the roads into cambridge are kind of tricky so we navagate our way into town and get to tt the bears and luck out with a parking spot in front of the club. jerry and I go to the middle east neaxt door to get a bite to eat. the middle east is also a club with live music and I've played here before with the red krayola and tonight jenny toomey is playing and we see jenny and her band inside and they sit down to eat too. my friend franklin bruno is playing in her band and we talk about the fact that last year when I was here with watt he was also playing in the middle east on a solo tour he was doing. funny coincedence. in a while we start to load our stuff and and set up on the stage. some of the urchins show up and a couple others are coming in a separate car but are stuck in traffic so when grand national get to the club they set up and sound check. when chris and scott and chris' gilrlfriend laurie get in they urchins soundcheck too. I change my strings and sit in the side stage room until the urchins go on. I watch them play with laurie and they rock out very hard and I hear the licks and they are deffinately hot. grand national go on after and they play a great set too. jenny has a really good night on bass. the club is very full and the stage is in a possition that makes it hard to get from the one side to the other while the bands are playing. we get up to play and the crowd is really into it. it goes well and ed comes up again to finish our set. jerry's mom is at the gig and she watches it from the back somewhere, it was nice to meet her and at the end of the show jerry's fiance kelly is there, she came out from pedro for tonight and tomorrow night so I know that jerry is very excited to see her. after we load out jerry and kelly go with urchins to a hotel somewhere and mike and I go over to mike's friend ray's place to crash for the night. I roll out my bed and sack out.
I get awaken by a phone call at 9:30, its kel. she's at lax and it looking like she'll miss her flight. got there too late. they won't let cars into the terminal area at all. all passangers have take buses in. totally suck ass. I hear her starting to get upset and cry. I do my best to calm her and reasure w/options she might have available. maybe a train from philly to cambridge or another flight or something. I'll check w/jimbo and call her back. this sucks! knowing we have little in the way of choices jim suggests throwing herself on the mercy of the ticket agent. sounds better than getting there a day late. I call her back and she says the original flight is gone and she ain't even through security. we agree to check in whenever we can and hope for a solution. time to bail and mike and tom already boarded the boat. jimbo offers up a couple bong loads and I quickly puff. this drive takes us up the east river and through the bronx past yankee stadium. its a nice overview of greater nyc and I snap away w/the digcam. we make it past yonkers and kel calls again, shes on stand by for the next flight to philly. no idea on how to get to boston yet, but I reasure once again and say by. this really bothers me and mike lets me know that she'll make it sooner or later, but I'm still very tense. later kel calls again and this time they set her up w/a direct flight to boston for and extra $75. yeah! that's my sweet talking baby. she might be late, but I'll see her tonight. I sit back and enjoy the rest of the drive to cambridge.
we make the club at about 3:30 and I grab a bite at this turkish place w/tom. we run into jenny tooney whose touring as well and playing in the adjacent club. tom takes their names for our guest list and we hope to see'em later. I ring up my mom and grammy says she's on her way w/chuck. at 7 or so they show up and I'm very happy to see mom. she visited in june to see the baby and kel for the first time and I also get to to see her at the wedding in nov.. we go around the corner to an indian joint that looks tasty. I tell'em about the tour and plans for the wedding. chuck is a wedding photographer w/many years exp. and he'll be doing the shots for the big day. no word yet from kel, I only know she's airborne somewhere between la and boston. we return to tt's and watch the openers. my mom thinks the urchins are a bit loud and comments on tomato's potty mouth. its nothing to rank, just a few f's and s's, but its not her thing. next the g. nationals are more to her liking w/their smooth approach and feelie licks. the joint is packed, a sell out, and we charge through our set w/gusto. I don't notice kel yet so more than likely see's gonna show late. the shows going great and I see from the corner of my eye this dude on stage w/us. its looking like a swan dives coming down. he makes the leap and the rock sea parts. splat! thats gotta hurt. liquid courage needs an icebag for relief. after the show I go looking for my mom and kel. at the front door I see her walking in. she missed the whole show, but I don't care. I grab her and hug and kiss for sometime. I'm so glad to see her, its the longest we've been apart. we hang out a bit so my mom can meet mike and the others from the openers. tomato apologizes for the potty mouth. mom chuckles a thank you. I say bye to mom and chuck til' nov. in hawaii and head out w/the urchins to a hotel 25 min. west of town. finally a night w/kel.
pop, hose off and head for the cubano chow pad. yesterday morning, it turns out, was not my last breakfast there after all. maybe now is. it tastes real good and I savor each shovelling. then back up to jimbo's to say goodbye. goodbye too to this pad here, many memories over the last eight or so years here. many good memories w/jimbo. more to come w/him but at another pad in another neighborhood. oh well, the only thing constant it seems is change.
we leave the town via fdr drive, it's the first time jer has seen the east river. tom spots the place where he was born and first was growing up at 77th street. we cross into the bronx and see yankee stadium. I think of juan, he loves that team. they might get eliminated, they're down 0-2 in the playoffs. anyway, up the parkways and northeast to danbury, connecticut. thurston grew up here. joe bouchard (b.o.c. former bassist and albert's bro) lives here. pretty through new england though it seems a lot of the trees w/the fantastic colors have already lost their leaves. damn. continue on the I-84 through hartford and connect w/what I call the "richie blackmoore road," the mass pike (cuz the graphic they use to symbolize it is a pilgrim hat - he wore those when I saw him _deep purple_ in the 70s) and east to boston. you gotta know which exit to get off cuz you'll blow by this town easy. we get it right and where over the charles river into cambridge. we luck out and get a parking spot right in front of _t.t.'s the bear_, where we're playing tonight about three. great, nice and early. great cali-like weather and no one is wearing coats. I give big thanks. see jenny toomey again, she's unloading her stuff for a gig next door. mike mascis, j's bro comes by to say hi and we talk about current things. you know what. he expresses hope we, as citizens, don't sign away all our civil rights in an over-reaction to all this. I agree. this is, after all, one of the towns where some of the foundations of what we have as freedoms were laid down and I don't think should be forgotten or taken for granted. he's a lawyer and I respect his fears. he's also a righteous cat w/a good heart, I very much enjoy hanging out and talking w/him. he's very low key, like j. his words and ideas carry big weight and make me think. he is not a go-off and delivers his thoughts carefully. I have much respect for him. he also has a band called _the warblers_ and I want to do gigs w/him in the future. when I was helping j, he opened some shows and I dug it. we're having this chow at the club next door and who's soundchecking? mary timony! I love the way this lady is unafraid to be nonconforming - she's much an inspiration that way. of course, I fool her w/the no beard look. it's funny that way. her band is playing after jenny's and I can't see them cuz they're going on when we are. damn, I hate it when your gig is competing w/a compadre. an old friend of j's from western mass who lives here now, ray, comes by and says hi. he's singing for his _ac/dc_ cover band _beefy/dc_ downstairs tonight and offers his pad for us for the night. I thankfully accept. after soundcheck w/a very nice man, keith (I've had terribly luck w/sound people the last two times here), I eat some lentil soup next door w/ray and his guitarist, "milkum young." then it's to the boat to chimp diary and konk. first though, robin the cookie lady, gives me some brownies, like she does most tours. maybe only a couple five pound bags of sugar and five or six sticks of butter a brownie. I eat one and it's good.
a good lonk konk and jer shakes me awake for gig time. the openers tonight were the urchins and ed's band and you would never believe it but I konked right through both of them. it would be impossible to say there was a pattern here, huh? the pad is packed. jer's girl kel made it w/the flight and I'm anxious to show her how well jer is playing w/us. his ma is here too. our gig goes great even w/the kind of toy monitors. the vibe from the folks is very happening also, thank you. someone yells up asking what I think of the homeland whatever and I let them know I have fears there might be affronts to what liberties we have that I hold dear. ain't that a trip that mike was just talking to me about that earlier? back to music: I focus hard and my guys are tight w/me. in the _li'l pit_ tune, jer loses his kick drum beater but it's just loose and not broke. he soldiered on good though and didn't freak. good work, jer. the songs w/edward are very fun, so great to be on the stage w/him again after all these years. he brings a great spirit on board too.
we finish up and I sling. when finished, I meet jer's ma. he very much has her eyes. her buddy charles was in the navy for twenty years and a chief like my pop. nice man. joe d and mark from warren are here and joe gets us all a slice of pizza - I drench mine w/the habanero sauce from my belt bottle. good shit. I settle w/the boss, randi, and she very kind things that make me blush. thank you, randi. I see walter again (he was at the cmj thing yesterday) and he wants to have a talkshow w/me over the internet. I tell him I'd be very honored. jer is getting a room w/kel so it's me and tom tonight - we get ray in the boat w/us and head for his pad in belmont, a soccermom town nearby. safe for the boat. we get there and I get a couch - the rug here is kind of thin. ray tells us war stories of teching for a corporate rock band and we have some good laughs. this gig has really drained and socked me up good. konk delivers the softness my body needs right now. my mind thankfully submits.
saturday, october 13 - providence, ri
in the morning I walk do the suburban street where ray lives and get a cup of coffee at a little market. then we pack up and get on the road to providence. it's not a far drive and the clouds are kind of grey and look like they might rain. we have plans to meet up with joe d. in providence and get a ride on his boat we are trying to get there by noon, and we do. we park near the club and give joe a call and a little while later his friend mark meets us at the parking lot and we follow him to a dock where joe is going to pull his boat up to. after a few minutes we see him coming and docks his boat and then with his little boy sonny we all get in the van and head to italian district for some lunch. it's a nice area of restaurants and shops and he tells us stories of his family's involvments in this area and stops to say hello to the people he knows along the street. we stop at an old italian restaurant and sit at the bar and order some food and I get some spaghetti with olive oil and garlic. the food's great and then we go out and walk to a plaza and get some coffee. after a while we head back to the van and drive back to where the boat is tied up and joe takes us out on the the river in front of providence and points out some things of interest and when we're in the deeper water he opens it up and we fly on the water for a little ways. when we get back to the dock we say goodbye and drive back to the club and load in. jerry and kelly show up in little while and then we do our check and make room for the urchins. after shaving up at chris and lauries hotel room around the corner jerry kelly and I walk down the street to a sushi place and meet chris, laurie and scotty there. we have a fine meal with miso and sushi and slurge a little bit. when we get back to the club the urchins are going on and we watch their set and jerry gets on and plays the thin lizzy tune with them again. after their show grand national gets on and play a great show, maybe the best of the tour so far. it's not a very big turn out but the crowd is loud and they really are into the show. we switch our equipment and wait a few minutes because tonight is being webcasted and we don't want to start before it's time. when it is time we kick into the set and play pretty well. we have some heckeling from the crowd but we push on through and wrap it up again with ed joining us onstage. it's another fun show and as we load our stuff we get an offer for a place to stay from from a nice guy named sean so we head to his place for the night. kelly has a 6 am flight back home so jerry has to drive her to the airport by 4 so they stay up and mike and I say goodnight and goodbye to kelly and go to sleep.
It's nice to sleep in a king size w/kel instead of the floor for a change. we get up and head for the lobby to hook up w/the urchins. only one hour to prov. tomato's lady lauri drove up in their new car and we join the caravan. after stopping at the hotel they got kel and I huff it to the mall for a couple supplies. the Met Cafe' is within walking distance and soundcheck is done soon after. I grab the digcam and charge it for tonight. kel will do some show shots. along w/tom we go out for sushi w/a couple urchins. damn fine fish man!
we get back w/enough time to see the urchins play. I sit in again on the thin lizzy tune and it's better this time around. g. nationals pump out a smokin' bag o jams once again. our turn once more and it's a good set though I put my head down too fuckin many times and mike lets me know it. it's a hard habit to break after all the years of being bent over. I slap myself after the show, but I'll do my best to correct the fault. kel gets some good shots, but some are a bit too far away and were kinda dark in the frame. no matter, she done good. we pack up and drive to this cat sean's pad. I have to get up at 3:30 and take kel to the airport for the trip home, so a little nap and into the boat. I say bye quickly so as not to drag out the saddness of parting. I'll miss her much, but we'll see eachother in houston in two weeks. yeah! I drive back and pass out fast.
pop early, thinking about my town pedro and if I was in fact popping there this morning. that's a trip. I hose off and go get a cof and bagel. come back and ray's up. tom soon is too. we rap, ray has some funny j stories - all good ones, mostly about how generous he is and how he's helped ray w/music and things. we meet ray's roommate dave who says, "open a window in here, guys." you get desensitized to most smells after weeks of tour life, others are not so privileged. big hugs to ray, me and tom head off in the boat southwest to providence. driving in boston can be wild cuz of no grid, the roads are based on old cow paths but again, the mapping software on the ibook 'puter puts us on the mass pike in minutes. tom does a great job.
we're in providence in an hour and pull into a parking lot a block from where we're playing tonight, _the met cafe_. I call joe d - he wants to take us on a tour and do some accounting while we wait. it's only eleven in the morning. real gray and kind of chilly - wonder if it'll burn off like most mornings in cali? mark comes by and we follow him in the boat to some parking by the water. we go to a little dock on the providence river called dyers landing and look who's coming up the river in a seventeen foot boston whaler? joe depasquale and his three year old boy, santino. wow, amazing. he ties the boat up right there and we pile into the boat (my boat) and drive up to federal hill here in town. this part of prov was the italian part after the irish were first there. we chow at a traditional italian kitchen place, "angelo's" and I get baked pork chops and broccoli w/it. hardly eat chops done this way but man, are they good. great chow here. we walk over to depasquale plaza. joe d's great grandfather was a first a lawyer who helped the mill workers in a wildcat strike get things straight w/the bosses and then became a respected judge so he got stuff in this town named after him. we go get some italian cigars, some palumbos and parodis - great 'gars very much in the unique italian style. I especially dig the palumbos. we get some espresso by a fountain w/a pine cone spraying the water in the plaza named after the judge and joe's telling us bouque stories about buddy, the longest serving mayor in the country, the mayor of providence and now up on the top floor of the biltmore awaiting a thirty count indictment. joe was his boat man. he's now a private detective, catching frauds who are trying fake injuries for insurance money while still working - filming them painting the ceiling of their pads when they claim they can't lift their arms above their shoulders or them hauling bags of cement when they're claiming their back has them crippled. people trying to cheat a system that's supposed help folks who really need it. joe d waves to tons of people, lots know him. he knows loads about this town and it is more fascinating than fuck to hear him educate you about providence. I dig it. he's got his own style too, very personable and way human. he makes me feel good to be alive and learning shit. I'm a curious mook anyway and joe keeps throwing bucket after bucket down my thirsty well. then we're back to the boat. he takes first up the river to where they do the "watafiah" thing - an art thing that grew into a big street festival. joe d can tell you how much is being spent for every project like this, the fucking money pit that's the mall and convention center, the washington toll bridge, the I-95/I-195 freeway renovation, the greenspace bike path thing that's going across the river to open up more park, all of it. we loop and go down toward pawtucket, past the hurricane barrier and through some crumbled up turntable and cantilever bridges. we talk about g.g. allen a bit. I see a derelict wooden barge and this reminds joe of a robert william service poem called "the cremation of sam mcgee" and he starts reciting it. something about some cat in the yukon or somewhere it's freezing and all he wants to do when he dies is be cremated so at last he can feel warm. it's a trip hearing joe tell, it goes on and on and is great. little sonny, his boy looks on. what a pop he has. joe opens up the throttle and the boat jams down the river, me and tom are laughing our heads off. whoa! we get as far as where you can just see where the industrial revolution started in the u.s. in pawtucket - where that cat who memorized the plans from some mill in england came and built mechanized looms and shit there. of course, there's lots of hell to bay, tons upon tons of shit got dumped in this river and piled up on the land. providence was a big costume jewelry maker and the heavy metals were spewed all over. he says if you take a striped bass over thrity pounds and slit it open, the mercury comes squirming out like smashing a thermometer. damn.
wow, almost a five hour adventure and little santino veritas is konked out. he's got righteous little jeans lined w/flannel - bitchen. wish they had big versions. we have to go to soundcheck and joe d w/son say bye. thank you so much for the mindblows, joe. me and tom are both grateful. mark says bye too and we'll see us later at the gig w/some of his warren friends. we find a place to park right in front of the pad. there's a new entrance since the last few times I've played here cuz the other one is now walled up - what a trip! jer and kel rejoin us. they got lost in boston, riding here w/the urchins. oh well. they got time together though, that's happening. a quick soundcheck w/keith and then I chow some choice pears and plums courtesy of jesse here. damn, best pears of the tour - these are fantastic. good plums too. some chatting w/edward and then it's the boat for me so I can pre-gig konk.
same lineup we had last night and I miss both bands. I was just too worn out, seems I'm always that way - that's why I konk. the priority is playing for the folks, that's why I'm rolling around in the boat, town to town. I get on stage, ready to play. tonight's a webcast, so I want to wait for 11:15 cuz that's the time people we're told on the net we'd start and I don't want them having the first part of the gig cut for them. there's some guys in the crowd who don't dig that and are yelling for us to start. christ, it's only a few minutes. they start singing "god bless america" - what's that about? well, it's time and we start. damn, the monitors are weak to begin w/and then they totally cut out. it's marcel marceau time. really rough in some ways but good in others. tom's playing really well and jer's doing good too. the same cats doing the scholar thing w/the retard comments keep hollering for songs and just plain heckling. I can tell they like what I'm doing and they've come to see me but the alcohol or something is making things a little obnoxious and contentious. I ask them why are they doing this and what's up w/the consumer culture like kneejerk shit - like they want us to be a jukebox or something. we've been going right from one song to another but finally I stop us to ask them things and tell them how I feel about this kind of stuff. it's kind of a weird scene, kind of combative in a way. strange. they want me to play, it's not really adversary actually but there is yelling at me about how to conduct myself and my band. strange. it's like they want me to be some kind of a puppet almost and not be able to surprise them w/anything. one thing I really blow is in the _television_ song, "venus." jer is dragging the second verse and he's looking down and not paying attention and I have to yell to get him to look up and get things right. this makes me lose all focus and I screw things up pretty bad. at the end of the tune I apologize to each member of their band personally for fucking up their great tune. I ask jer to please help me out here cuz it's really hard for me and I need him w/me and not spaced out in some private idaho. this band isn't like that and I like everyone locked in together, even w/the eyes so I can get me nerve up at the leasat and at the best we can be right there in the moment. he spaces on trading his sticks for brushes in "chinese firedrill" and when I try to talk to him after the set regarding "venus," he brings that up to say I didn't give him time when that wasn't the case at all. he never mad a move to those brushes and just was froze, deer in the headlights style, w/those sticks in his hands. these are little things though. overall he played good if only a little distracted. the crowd too, even those yahoos - I even apologized to them at the end saying I was affected by consumer give-it-to-me-now conditioning too and had to fight against it. the system tries to ingrain it in us. on kind of system - there's all kinds of systems being run on folks. I tell them I genuinely am grateful for the enthusiasm even it gets a little twisted up. I thank joe d too even though he had to stay home w/sonny - his wife is studying to be a registered nurse. the web camera caught all of this, I wondered if it gets archived? well, I can live w/it cuz I did say I was sorry a little after I said something that was kind of insensitive and tried to explain where I was trying to come from. jer too but that was more in private off stage. kel took over fifty shots w/the digicamera.
after, when I sling, lots of cats come up to the front of the stage and give kind words of support. one young cat says, "watt, I was acting like a consumer, demanding you play 'piss bottle man' - it's all about you, watt." I tell him, "no, it's all about 'us' - I suffer from those weaknesses too and must struggle to overcome them. I am not any better than you are, I was just trying to voice something I thing we all should be aware of succumbing too, myself included." I tell him I'm sorry if I came on like some idiot, trying to appear powerful or in control or condescending in attitude. that was not what I intended. this kid was so nice and his eyes showed me he didn't want to make me mad. it made me feel bad about the way I handled things. I want to learn to manage those situations better when they arise. I really want to. some folks say I was justified and saying what I did the way I did it but they're being nice to me - I could've handled it better, the same w/jer too. I'm going to really try and work on this hard. it's something I really want to make better. any idiot can shoot his mouth off but someone w/it a little together can inspire in a good way and make some sense he can live w/later. lots of these cats are so sweet. one guy named rob, who's a doctor, asks me if there's any medical help he can provide. he asks why I've lost weight. have I lost weight? well, maybe some...
ok, we pack up and are ready to bail. jer and kel are going to get only a little sleep cuz kel's plane flight is at six in the morning. I talke to laura and jenny of edward's band and explain to them why I don't really talk or hang out before the gigs, I have to konk and be rested for playing my brains out - I'm not trying to be aloof. they arrive right at soundcheck time or later and by this time I have to be konking if I'm going to have things anywhere near together. I've told the urchins this too. watt is not superman and the middle ground of life (being almost fortyfour) can get one pretty beat up when he's wailing on it every night w/the little bass. I just have to pace myself and ration my resources. I feel fortunate they say they all understand. this watt is one handfull, huh?
this cat sean, who emailed me earlier in the tour has offered his pad to us in the mount pleasant part of town. we first follow him the tavern he works at next to the police station. he asks us to come in while he cleans up, "no one here knows you're rock stars." aaaarrrrrrgggggghhhhh - I am not a fucking rock star. we sit in the boat and wait. he gets done and leads us home. he's very cool peeps, makes all feel very at home. he even puts a little buddha statue in front of me on the coffee table next to the couch where I'm konking on, in my minus twenty bag. I konk happy. thanks, sean.
sunday, october 14 - albany, ny
when we get up mike and sean and I take the van to a jiffy lube to change the oil and let jerry sleep. the skies are grey and and there's a little drizzle but not too bad and when we get back to sean's house we get jerry up and have some coffee and then get on the road to albany. it's a brisk fall day out and the skies are still dark but when get closer to albany it starts to clear a bit and by the time we're at the club there's actually a little sun breaking through. the club isn't open yet so mike and jerry do some wash at the laundrymat next door till it's time to load. the urchins pull up behind us and we hang with them and amuse each other for a while. the grand nationals arrive and the club is open so we all start the load in upstairs into valentines. I've played here twice before with mike, the first time the stage was in the back with the monitors hanging from the roof and that's always a problem. last year they moved the stage and put the monitors on the floor so it's much better now. we have a slow soundcheck for some reason and tonight is an early show so we try to wrap it up and make room for the urchins and grand national. before you know it the show starts up and the urchins so some kind of robotic space jam to open their show and slip in their hanks on the moon tune at a couple points and then rock out the rest of the show returning to hanks on the moon again for a total of three times tonight, and I believe that's a record for them. then grand national go on and I watch their show and laura wails on the drums toniht and plays very strong throughout. more people start to come in despite the fact that it has been raining outside and it's a sunday and by the end of the national's set there is a decent sized audience. that's the problem with early shows, sometimes there aren't many people there to see the opening bands. after the change over we get set and play and it turns out to be a fun show and I see a few familiar faces from the last two tours I've done so that's cool. after the pack up we see some folks that we stayed with last year and they offer their new place to us to stay, so we head over to leah and richard and travis' house and I make my little nest on the floor and hit the sack.
I enjoy the beautiful drive in the country w/all the foliage changing around us. soon though I fall asleep in the back trying to catch up w/nappies. no word from kel yet on whether she's back home safe yet. I always worry for her and the baby everyday. not being home I'm very disconnected w/the goings ons of life in pedro w/my family. I so happy to have great friends and family lookin after them. I'm awakened to see were in albany and take my laundry in to the mat next to valentine's, tonight's gig. it's an upstairs venue and the first of the tour. backbreaker for sure. I do like the stage though.
after the check I grab a bite next door at this pizza place and rap w/a watt fan for a few. the slice is lame, but serves it's purpose. I return and take up a chunk of sofa in the green room. the urchins start and soon in my half-knoked state I hear my name being called. they want me to jam the thin lizzy tune again. shit, I'm all groggy. oh well, up I go. after that I go back to the sofa and nap some more. when the g. nationals finish I go to wake the sleeping giant in the boat. It's a light turn out, but that don't change the energy of our output. I feel w/do a strong set and ed fromohio is kicking up the jams w/us at the end. he's a great guy and a fab guitar player. I go quickly downstairs after the set to get a beer and find the g.'s hanging at the bar. laura tells me she quit the band tonight. I ask over what? she doesn't say sep't she just joined back and their celebrating the reunion. sounds like ninny drama to me. I catch out of the corner of my eye little baby new year jason of the urchins crew holding his shoulder and wincing in pain. I'm told by tomato that he threw it out by break dancing while drunk. they'll take him to the hospital and have him looked at. we set forth to our place of rest for the night.
pop and soak in sean's long and deep tub. soothing for the aching watt joints. sean gets up and makes us coffee. I need the oil in the boat changed, 3k is only a couple of hundred miles away. I look out the window to check on her - good, she's there and that means jer made it back safe from dropping kel off at the airport. we'll let him sleep in. tom joins me and sean and we head off for the lube pad. good thing sean is w/us cuz it's one convoluted route - these new england towns are like england. we get to drive right in and a cat there named mike has us done in less than half an hour. he's tripping on the fact I travel around in the econoline and do gigs. most folks, even young ones, don't know that that's how some cats do it - the fake rock spectacle machine has got so many brainwashed. we drive back and sean says the country's getting united behind all this violence mess and I interrupt him (rude of me) and say this is the worst way we can unite. patriotism to me is treating each other nice and respecting the resources - not just waiving flags and marching in war parades. I don't know what I get all upity about this but it gets my goat, what's going down and everyone seemingly led by the nose about all this. I think it's no more unpatriotic to question what's up than it is to help w/all those affected by the hurt put on us by those who were/are crazed w/the hate plague. this keeps weighing hard on my mind. when we get back, I call my ma cuz it's sunday. of course, she's upset over all this but I tell her to have hope - you just got to - how else can you cope? just w/rah-rahs? I guess that's one way but it just don't sit right w/me. I want real peace which I guess takes real love. that's what's in my hopes.
sean's a surfer out here. he says they got around four footers regularly. it does get too cold in the winter but he was just on his longboard for like four hours yesterday. that's a trip. another reason not to believe in stereotypes and another benefit of touring around and checking out the way things really are. he's really a sweet man and has a good heart. we sure are lucky to find good peeps on the road. his wife is in russia right now w/family that's there. his dog marley is full of love and 'pert near talks - it's a trip. he talks to his wife on the phone and says that rock stars are in the pad. aaaaaaarrrrrrrggggghhhhh, this gets on me. I'm just a cat who mans the bass and works the town, that's it. no big hurt though, maybe it's his way of having fun. we thank him much and then head northwest out of town.
we're out of rhode island before you know it and into massachusets and back on the "richie blackmoore freeway" but this time going west. still real gray and then some heavy fog rolls in. I put on my yellow lensed ron asheton shades to help my eyes cut through while I steer. as we cross the border into new york and the hudson river valley, mister sun slices the cloud cover and we blessed w/brightness. there's still leaves w/intense color here and they're lit up good. thank you. we get gas and tom gets me a hebrew national dog w/mustard. good chow! I find we got a headlight out, damn. jer navigates us good through albany and up to the pad we're playing tonight, _valentine's_, around three. I pop the headlight out w/the swiss army knife (the champ model and it's black, not red - actually got in zurich too many tours ago). me and tom go next door to a garage but the cat there ain't got one. a hoof a few blocks away to a mobil station finds that the clerk there can't get into the bays where the lights are. oh well, foiled for now. me and tom go back and I take advantage of this venue having a laundromat next door. all gig pads should have this going (in a perfect world). many soiled flannels and levi go into the machines. I finish just in time for soundcheck. mike, the soundman checks us quick - he did the pliers last year. walter, the boss, orders me some "hot" wings. not. they're good in their own way anyway. I like gnawing them down to just bone, chewing up the cartilage and everything. this is one of the beast sides of me. then it's time to konk so I do.
early gig - good. jer comes and gathers me at ten. I missed both edward's set and the urchin's. sorry, folks - nothing personal, I just need the konk. we start the set and my there's cracking on my pipes. well, you can barely tell cuz the monitors are pure toy. maybe they're not actually but sure sound that way. I'm hearing more off the mains! this makes me strain harder, damn. then, before the first tune is over, the little bass' strap breaks so I got to cradle her to finish the tune. the leather end of the strap has given way to the caustic watt fluids and has rotted through. damn. tom gives me the strap from his backup tele and I borrow a phillips drive from jer. I screw the new one on. his strap is shorter so the little bass sits a little high. give me a pony tail and I'm ready for a fusion band. it's got rainbow colors. being short, it's hard for me to work it this high and I blow some clams but not many, surprisingly. this is scary, maybe there's a fusion future for me? no fucking way! someone from the crowd asks me how my day was. I tell them what went on and say they can read about every tour day on the hoot page. what a trippy question. maybe they think life is so much different for folks who perform tunes but then, maybe they're just curious. ok. we do the rest of the set, tom's looking at his feet a lot and seems down and unfocused. hmm, wonder what's up. jer's playing good except once when he's got his head buried down and don't get my cue to take the shit softer. the drums are really loud on this stage and we gotta give things an extra inch to compensate tonight. I have to holler to get his attention, which I hate. we talk about this later and he says he understands my point and didn't mean to do that, it's just a habit from his old bands where everyone is walled off in soloville. when you play w/watt, it's one organism w/all eyes glued on each other as much as we're able to. tom says he was having trouble hearing himself - it is a funky room, soundwise. it's our last night w/edward and I thank him much for sharing playing w/us, expressing that to both him, my guys and the folks in the crowd. it's been a great week w/him, great. he's been very inspiring to me. thank you so much, edward. lots of good words and stuff from the crowd as I sling. I get cds of live gigs I've done, pictures of me playing - even one framed. very nice people. I settle w/the boss walter and thank him again for having me once more aboard.
it's starting to rain as we load out. damn. this can be tough. my voice is gone too. double damn. finally after five weeks, I'm getting challenged here. I keep very quiet. this nice couple, dava and leah along w/their friend travis have invited us to konk at their house a little ways away. jason, the helperman for the urchins, dislocates his shoulder break dancing drunk. I can really feel for him. edward and his crew drop him off at the hospital nearby and then come to the place we're staying. I get an email from an old friend of edward's and let him read it on the ibook 'puter next to me on the couch. what a trip it came the night we stay together, huh? this is a friend from ohio before he came to pedro and played in fIREHOSE. he's amazed too. he gives many hugs for the week of tour he just did w/me and I have much warm feelings from them. thank you again, edward. me and him will always have a strong link. I'll tour w/him again in the spring. his record should be out then and so will my new one. thanks to laura and jen too. I'm just so tired now. tom's already konked. I hear edward talking to jer about the nightmare of our present troubles as I start to tumble towards sleepytown, in my minus twenty bag and w/my mask on. edward has some good thoughts on what's up from what I hear. jer too. seems we all don't trust the bosses. different words for the same fear and same frustrations. thank god we got music in our lives and we can focus good on that. thank god.
monday, october 15 - baltimore, md
we wake and get cleaned up and have some coffee and bagels with richard and travis and then thank them and hit the road again. it's a fairly long drive to baltimore and my wife diana might be coming to the show there. I haven't seen her for a while and I'm a little neavous but I'm looking forward to seeing her. I think we drive through four or five states today and when we get to fletchers where we're playing we are a little early so jerry and I walk to fell's point which is the warf that's only a couple blocks away and walk around for a while. when we get back to the van we hang out a little longer and then I see diana, she made it. it's now time to load up the metal stairs into the club space. we do our soundcheck and then thalia zedek shows up and this is the first of a week of shows we'll do with her band and I'm curious to hear what they sound like. after our check diana and I go off to get some food and we go to bertha's for dinner and diana gets the flounder which is excellent. we talk for a while about what we've been doing and then walk back to the club to hear the sound of urchin play. there are people filling up the club and then thalia does her set of some somber tunes with viola, guitar and piano. her singing is great too and I enjoy it very much. then we get up to play and tonight is another webcast so we try to start at the right time again. we jam through the set and then ed and laura from grand national come up and play the red and the black and we get laura to play floor tom on mosquito's tweeter too. laura is from this area so they are in town on their back home to north carolina and staying at laura's parents house for the night so it's cool to have them with us again. by the end of the show we thank the people for coming out and load down the stairs and into the van to drive to ellicott city where laura's folks live and I go with diana to her hotel for the night. I get to take my first bath of the tour and sleep in a real bed. very nice.
pop and hose off, then have a bagel and cream cheese that leah offers before she's off to work. thank you. damn, some thin cof but folks are different, some like it weak. must be the tolerance I've developed. I only really drink it in the morning, to kick out the cobwebs growing from gig residue and so I can wail on the new morn w/vigor. richard appears and helps me w/a map to the auto parts place. I take the boat over through a few dog legs and I'm the place getting a headlamp. I get a flashlight too for up front. I got a good metal long one but it's buried in a tour heap between the two front seats. will have to wait for tour's end to recover that. in the meantime, this econo one. I use the swiss army knife to put the new headlight on in the parking lot. I get back to the pad to gather tom and jer. tom's right up but jer's slow coming. whatever - he's the one always last to konk w/the slopping chow out the mouth and loud spiel. we're at different ends of the spectrum, me and tom are usually beat and ready to konk right when we get we're going. takes all kinds to make a universe. I don't think I could handle more than one jer though. one's ok. tom has gotta be the easiest man I've toured w/ever. very interesting cat too. not to say jer's not but he's much more "regular" in lots of ways where me and tom are kind of twisted a little bit similar. whatever, the differences aren't big enough to make things too much of a nightmare. I'm fortunate to tour w/two good guys.
we head south on the new york thruway, I-87. thanks much to richard, leah and travis. beautiful drive through the catskills and along the hudson river, through towns like coxsackie, saugerties, poughkeepsie ("you pick your feet in poughkeepsie?" - from "the french connection") and at the border w/new jersey, come on the garden state parkway. there's like four toll stops spread across this route but a least no trucks - yes! south of elizabeth, we hook to the new jersey turnpike (it's also the I-95) and head for the delaware memorial bridge and through that tiny state. this route skirts away from the plug around phily. folks rolling in their vans, take note! takes about fifteen minutes and then were into maryland. we reach baltimore after six hours - that was intense ride for me w/all the wind but we were incredibly lucky w/no big traffic at all. also gorgeous weather - cali like. thank you. it was a quiet drive too w/only jer yammering and even that not too much. he's busy pecking away at the ibook 'puter, he's way behind now in his diary entries and trying to catch up. he's not lazy, it's just a lot for him to do and play good drums too. I tell him not to worry - "no wine before it's time." drums come first anyway. he says it's bad habits from high school days when you put off term papers and shit 'til the last minute. well, this is the school of life here and there's no pressure about chimpin' diary, I tell him. I have to rest this voice and let it repair so I'm silent most the way and only whisper when I communicate something to the men. mainly, I just used my finger to point.
we're in the fells point of baltiimore, down by the water. this is where they built the clipper ships in the old days. I go to this pad called "bertha's" and have a helping of fresh steamed mussels, like twentyfive of them. they give me a cup of butter w/garlic and capers (those english things) and boy, is this a good chow! great cracked-crust bread too all soft inside. watt feels good inside. I go back to the boat and chimp diary. at six we load in - stairs again, like last night. this is how it is at _fletcher's_ cuz it's above a bar. it takes five minutes to fix the bass strap so I'm back in the race w/the little bass. still sporting j mascis purple too and not that rainbow of tom's. there's two daves for sound, one for out front and one for monitors. new monitor board so lots of squeals for soundcheck. it's ok, I don't get upset, that'd only make things worse. tom's wife, diana, is here cuz of her tile work and she watches us check. thalia zedek does her first gig w/us tonight and it's good to see her. she's got real pretty music for her check. no drums w/piano and viola stuff. beautiful. good to see her, last played w/her and her band _come_ in belgium when I was doing the opera. I say hi to the boss, lisa. she'll see me tomorrow in d.c. cuz she's gotta bail before the show tonight. the manager is john and I talk w/him while checking email upstairs. he saw the last _minutemen_ gig, opening for _rem_ in charlotte, nc. he was fourteen then. nice man. seen me a few times in knoxville too. there's some good sauce up here for me, "inner beauty," a jamaica kind w/mustard, pineapple juice, molasses and scotch bonnets (what england folks call habaneros). not a lot of heat but really good flavor. there's a jar of paul newman salsa and that surprises the shit out of me by having a good taste. no heat at all but good flavor. taste is important, not just heat - I know I keep saying that. while I'm w/the ibook 'puter, I hear the urchin guys w/jer looking at video of that young helper cat w/them, jason, hurting himself last night w/the dislocating shoulder while break dancing. this pisses me off in a way. I guess it's cuz of my bad knees and all the pain I felt before and after the operations there in my early twenties. I guess the doctor called jason a "wuss" too and they love that. I don't know if shoulder dislocation is as bad as knees but I'm telling you, the pain w/the kneecap going out is incredible and the most intense thing I've ever experience. so bad it sends you into shock. on a level w/that bladder infection shit from last years surgery that made it feel like you were pissing fish hooks. maybe worse. such a nightmare. humor is good but I just can't get into this. I let them know w/one sentence. they probably think I'm an asshole but that's the way I feel. sorry.
I go to the boat to konk before the gig. I have the most intense nightmare, damn. I remember tom in it but not jer. seems we were supposed to do this benefit for some kids who were needy or something and we were going on first. we're set up and everything but the lady in charge don't like the way I'm dressed. I guess I got some holes in my flannel. in fact, I can remember the exact flannel I'm wearing, this brown mustard color looking one that's insulated but has a couple of tears (though not all the way through) below where my heart is. she don't want us on the stage and is shocked we were even allowed to be part of this. I try to reason w/her and she won't budge - she wants our shit out off the stage and us out of here. assholes, all dressed kind of theatrical starts throwing our equipment and things in the head - I literally see things go right in the toilet. fuck this, I'm angry and I'm fighting these fuckers, one at a time but there's too many. I have to run. tom's helping me. what a fucking nightmare. jer wakes me for the gig - it's been like two and half hours of this torture session. I'm so relieved to find out it was just a dream. it's so intense, I tell thalia upstairs before I go on. then I tell the folks from the stage before we start. it's a webcast so I guess I told everyone who was watching from wherever. it had quite an effect on me. I'm surprised my voice has recovered some and I'm doing ok. tom's distracted w/his amp. he's got squealing going on. I think he's got too much treble and/or mid cranked and ask him to turn this down. it's got him looking at his feet a lot and this is not good. he's still plays good though. jer's good too. we're doing well. laura, edward's drummer's family is in baltimore so they're here and we have edward do all the tunes he did w/us the week before. he plays through tom's amp along w/tom! he only brought his guitar. sounds ok though. for "the red and the black," I ask the urchin guys and laura and jen to join us four but only chris from the urchins and laura get up there w/us. damn. I've been telling those urchin cats for a while now I wanted them to do this w/us. I say, "you guys are brave enough to make fun of someone hurt but you're not man enough to come up here and throw down w/a b.o.c. tune - what's up w/that?" that might be kind of mean but that's how I feel. no disrespect to them though - they're all great guys but that's the way I feel. chris does a good shaker job and laura was a champ on the floor tom. we do a good set. I have to say though, in the encore I blew one of the biggest clams ever on the tour. shit, you could've buried the whole town of pedro in this one. for some reason, jer just plowed away even though we were stopped. after the gig I tell him that if I clam big time like that in the middle of a beat, drive on but if it's a stop just hold it up 'til I re-start us again. to recover successfully after a clam is truly divine. shows the human spirit in the face of adversity and demonstrates resilience. I can dig that and I think folks do too. their not just looking for machines on autopilot executing playerpiano rolls being fed into them. like what elizabeth wrote me after that clam-blow session I did in front of her last week, "if every show were perfect then they would all be the same and the experience wouldn't be unique (night) to night." wise words that make good sense.
I thank every one for having an open mind and hopefully, an open heart - especially in these times. jen comes up to me and says she's sorry for not getting up and playing the b.o.c. tune w/us. someone told her the comments I directed at the urchins were meant for her. I tell up she couldn't be more wrong. she's really upset cuz she says she's inspired by my working the little bass in her own playing. I reassure her on what I really meant. words are such crazy things, huh? they spin and spin things, take on a life of their own. we load out back down the stairs. I'm in the boat when I hear a gun shot down the street and people start running. squad cars and ambulances appear on the scene - blue, white and lights flashing everywhere. violence, violence, violence - fuck! the yellow tape gets stretched out across the road. I turn the boat around the other way and get out of dodge. jer rides w/laura, jen and edward. I follow them. we drop tom and diana off at a holiday inn and then go to laura's folk's house in a 'burb of baltimore near ellicott city. it's a big pad and I get the bag out quick and assume the position inside. I can hear jer chomping on cereal and yammering away as konk takes this tired of mind of mine to its next stop, sleepytown.
read week 4 of the tour diary
read week 6 of the tour diary
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