"3rd time before the mast" tour diary - week 1

mike watt and the black gang

"3rd time before the mast" tour '98

joe baiza - guitar
bob lee - drums
watt - thud staff, spiel

steve reed - soundman

steve kaul - the man outside the van

performing watt's punk rock opera "contemplating the engine room"

friday, april 24, 1998 - phoenix, az

from bob lee:

   and they're off! claw hammer (my main band, for those of you just joining us) have never had much luck with phoenix gigs, so I was apprehensive, but tonight was good. however arizona has very strict drinking laws and the all-ages/bar mix meant there had to be a huge steel cage in front of the stage to separate the boys from the men as it were. openers were she said (missed em), les payne product (fascinating guitar/ drum/ keyboard duo, the drummer has a keyboard strapped to his bass drum, twisted pop, shoulda bought a cd) and mad at em (pop punk youngsters). fortunately by the time of our set they had rolled back half the cage so I could see the audience. friends of the les payne product brought us to their pad for drinks & more, one guy was showing off his new bong with adjustable angle... the base is on a rolling ball, so you can get the tilt ju.u.ust right. great night, great gig, cheers to christopher & all the folks that welcomed us into their lovely home.

from steve reed:

   our first show here in arizona was pretty good. the pad was packed! my first night operating sound effects from the cd player, I did pretty good. while I was mixing a light man appeared on the scene. I gave him some direction and noticed he didn't respond. I told him again and again and finally just grabbed him and threw him off the light board. he was fucking up the show & I was pissed. turns out he wasn't even the light man, just some drunk from the audience! I didn't know so I apologized to the club, they said don't worry about it, not your fault. but a great show anyway.

from watt:

   back home from the "hola marinaro" euro tour almost five days and it's time to get back to van and tour our land. doing it in my econoline will make things a little roomier and more familiar than that vw van we used overseas. same goes for playing on our own gear. glad as hell to trade that trace elliot I was using over there for my own eden setup. leaving the white _moon_ bass in pedro too and bring "bluey" - the '68 gibson non-reversed thunderbird I've gotten used to wrestling since some pecker or peckers stole my minutemen/fIREHOSE telecaster bass when I was on tour w/the crew of the flying saucer in '95. joe baiza likes the thunderbird better too. also, a lot of the cats in europe said that _moon_ bass looked too white and shiney, they said it looked wrong on me. I dug the way it played and it has a great sound and real good intonation but I will admit it breaks strings easy if you handle it rough where "bluey" can take the grappling a lot more. the midrange is pretty much different too between them w/"bluey" having more of the growl. so ok, this is where it's at. joe baiza's using his fender twin (said he like the one he used in europe better) and bob lee's got his gretsch kit. we're all ready to go.

   phoenix from pedro is like going to san francisco so the first hell-ride of the tour's not too bad. about four hundred miles. we get to town and go straight to the venue, a pad I last played like ten years ago called "the mason jar." the boss of this pad is named franco and he's got a gold razor blade (among other baubles) around his neck. he's obviously from the old school. he's cool though w/no 'tude and so I dig him. one reason for playing this pad is they have a caged off section for underage cats and I'm into that. I hate the bigoted shit w/cutting kids out of seeing my gigs. sure, not serving them liquor is ok w/me but they should still get to see the gig. that's the way I feel. arizona has a trippy law about folks on stage who are on stage not being allowed to drink and I'm cool w/that - I just want folks to see my gigs even if they're not drinking age. an old friend from pedro (actually the dude who lives in the apartment above me) named dirk is in town for a vintage guitar show and he shows up, he sold shirts for the minutemen on the "mersh alive in 85 tour." it's good to see him.

   now this being my land and my van, I'm back to my old routine where I take naps before the gig. couldn't do that in europe cuz of the small size of that vw van and the freezing temperatures there. here, no prob. one bad thing though is I miss a lot of the opening bands sometimes. like tonight. there's three bands before us and I wake up in time to catch the last part of only one band's set, a mostly girl band (boy drummer) called _mad at 'em_ who sounded kind of go-go's. they singer had good pipes and like to duely a lot w/the bass player on the same mic. let me tell you the naps are good for watt. I cannot sleep in once the sun rises in the morning at the ho and I got to start my walk. I do most the driving and hell, by the time soundcheck is over, I'm tired. I play a good strong set if I get my nap. sure I'm only forty but you got to understand I go to bed early in pedro and only stay up for tours mainly. I like riding the bike in my town at the crack of dawn, it's righteous.

   first gig of the tour and it's a good one. "3rd time before the mast" cherry gig goes smooth. we're on a strange stage that is barely elevated so it's for a lot of cats to see behind the first few rows, a lot of crowding up front but things are ok. we deliver the opera in fine form, no stride lost from the europe tour - in fact, joe baiza is playing really good and is more than fired-up. this makes watt happy to no ends. bob lee's really good too, as is mr. steve reed - the team is swinging. gary davis back in l.a. burned a cd w/samples from steve hodges of the albums sound effects so steve's got his hands full mixing, singing and flying sounds. he's tough like a can of whup-ass.

   they have us back for all the encore songs and the gig is a success. one dude keeps yelling for "badges," an old minutemen song. maybe I should've done it, huh? jim, the cat from evening star who put on this gig is all smiles, can't tell you how it is to come back to the same towns tour after tour and have people happy to work w/you and see you go through your trips. it's good to see them go through their's too. a happening gig is made up of folks not just a god damn rock show machine, I wish people could pick up on that. one great surprise after everything's over is a call from cris kirkwood, who I haven't heard from in a while. he's a fellow bass dude from the meat puppets and I love him much. so very good to hear from him. next trip to phoenix I hope to see him in the flesh. for all my gigs in phoenix/tempe I've stayed at his pad and only recently had to use the mo-six here. it's happening to talk to cris again even if it was for only a little time.

saturday, april 25, 1998 - flagstaff, az

from bob lee:

   first dude I met in town told me he'd just been released after being thrown in jail for complaining about his mexican food, yikes! however his conduct at the bar convinced me he may have complained more forcefully than necessary. well, instead we sought out italian food, so no problems. except for the violin player who wouldn't take the hint when we requested james brown and capt. beefheart. he did, upon request, deliver a workmanlike version of "jesu, joy of man's desiring", unworthy of a tip. tonight we played on a foot-high stage in a badly overcrowded room to a young, mosh-happy crowd, which occasionally spilled onto joe baiza and his pedals. despite the fear, a good, energetic show. guy kept asking mike to do "sex bomb", I kinda wish he'd complied, I love that song. however since mike has never, to the best of my knowledge, done that song, I'm not sure what the guy was thinking. maybe he asks every band he sees to do it and gets lucky once in a while. tonight's hotel was upstairs from the gig, can't do much better than that. maybe I should look into a job on the hotel lounge circuit? great coffee at late for the train in downtown flagstaff, roasting their own beans & doing a damn fine job of it.

from steve reed:

   now we're in flagstaff, never been here before. nice town. the show was sold out! another great show, the sound system was small but we got by. the audience really loved mike's music.

from watt:

   can't tell you how many times I've driven through this town (it's on the I-40, the old route 66 which was the main route out west in the old days) but tonight will be the first time I ever play here. a short drive up the mountains from phoenix and we're here early. the pad is called the "monte vista lounge" and it's in an old hotel called the monte vista, kind of like the same situation they got in tucson w/the club congress - you get to sleep upstairs when you're done. the lounge itself is tiny and the roof is low - the stage is just big enough to hold the black gang. I got us setting up trippy, w/me and joe baiza facing right at each other tight in front of bob lee (who's kick drum is aiming right at my left leg, so I can really feel it), making both of us like perpendicular to the front of the stage. I want it to look like we're on a boat. w/his kick drum the way it is, bob lee's looking right at me too. I dig this, lots of eye contact and on-stage communication, something I've always wanted to get into. I'm glad this black gang is into it too.

   again I konk hard and miss the opening act which steve reed told me played two sets! damn, I don't even know what their name was. well, I was tired. so many apologies to those cats for missing them. we go on right on time and the place is packed. first time in flagstaff and the gig is a success. very low stage has some cats barrelling into joe baiza time after time, wrecking is pedal dachau situation (all them little boxes he stamps on while working the six string). some cats have to become human barricades for him to keep his sea legs. I thought his volume was a little loud and vent some after the gig. he assures me though that we can work it out and inside I know that can happen. all right, joe baiza. I just will not turn the bass up louder and up the ante - I'll lose my fucking voice. I think he understands. even though there was a little over-playing near the end of the piece, bob lee was really good. this cat is shining big time.

sunday, april 26, 1998 - albuquerque, nm

from bob lee:

   I like this town! first thing I saw was a poster with the cover of the new nashville pussy lp, "let them eat pussy", which robert from (swedish band) the hellacopters told me was the most brilliant record cover he'd ever seen. I must say, it looked very exciting next to mike's tour poster, featuring an image of mike reading the newspaper. I gotta hear this band. great, very odd opening set from willgira, joe baiza thought they sounded like the alter natives, I thought they sounded like how I imagined universal congress of would sound before I actually heard them, based on what I was reading about em. sometimes heavy/groovy but bursting out into spastic jams regularly. they will be in europe this summer with badgewearer, so look out for em, euro readers. third good gig in a row, my road head is really kicking back in & jet lag has disappeared, feeling healthy & strong & a little buzzed. tomorrow is one of 3 days "off", driving instead of playing.

from steve reed:

   now we're in albuquerque back at the launch pad, a very nice venue with a great sound system. launch pad is fast becoming another of my favorite clubs in america. good sound and lights, and the management is very nice & helpful. the show was good, band pleased with the performance, and the audience was very quiet.

from watt:

   the drive to the next gig is really happening. going through the painted desert passing towns like "twin arrows" and "two guns" is a mindblow. the rock formations, mesas and plateaus are incredible. lot's of red clay and cuz of the spring, lots of green makes for some wild eye-gifts. mr. reed is snapping up the scenes w/the digital camera from the navigator's chair. joe baiza is behind him, minding the hatch w/bob lee right beside in the pit. at the helm is yours truly. we get some rain and see some snow. good ride though w/lots of vistas.

   we get to town and pull up to the pad we just played in november, "the launch pad." really good folks here. they cook us some pasta and makes us some salad, great chow. for the third time in a row I sleep through another opening act! damn. it's cold though and I have to sleep under some of the t-shirts I'm selling this tour. the band is called _wilgira_ (named after something spray painted on a wall in a fellini movie) and has a friend of mine in the band name jeff. I got the standup bass I use w/li'l pit from him. the rest of the black gang saw them though and dug them. my loss. sorry jeff.

   this pad is a great place to play w/a great sound system and a room where everyone gets a good view. sure it's sunday and the crowd isn't as big as last time but in some ways it's a better show. the last show was at the end of the tour and this one's at the beginning. also, joe baiza is a little more comfortable w/the piece. he's much better at the dynamics which means he took last night's talk to heart and just didn't let go into one ear and out the other. much respect to joe baiza for that. bob lee plays really good again. the crowd is really into it and let's us play the quiet parts w/out bogarting it w/chit-chat and that kind of shit. the crew who run this pad are great and gets my full admiration. very, very fine. I couldn't be happier and konk easy at the mo-six. only lame thing all day was that it was sunday and the happening indian shop w/the kachina dolls a couple doors down was closed and I couldn't get one like I usually do when through here. I must have like twenty of these. you should see them dance when we have earthquakes.

monday, april 27, 1998 - driving to elk city, ok

from steve reed:

   drive day to oklahoma city. thinking about my own music. should I work with kat on a project, just do my own thing, or try to do both? I'm sure these questions will be answered in a few weeks. anyway the drive from albuquerque to elk city was very relaxing. I thought about a lot of things while riding. arrived at motel 6 in elk city & ordered pizza from mazzio's, that turned out to be a mistake.

from watt:

   fourth day of the tour and I still haven't given up the helm - boy, am I driven. today's the first drive day of the tour. out west here the distances can really get big so it makes sense to not play and just roll. I just feel like driving, maybe to keep my mind in momentum and not have to sink into a big think into why I exist and shit like that. I still got all tour to do that though, no problem. the morning walks have mainly been to get my joints loose and moving so no crisis thinks there either. luck man, for now. we drive east through the rest of new mexico, stopping in santa rosa to call richard fuckin' bonney back in pedro. this is the town his people are from and I'm wondering why his cousin tony (who I love dearly) and bro steve didn't make it to the show last night. he said steve was working but didn't know about tony although there was word he's been seen around 'querque for the last couple of weeks. oh well. good to hear from richard anyway, he's cool peeps. he's been on many tours w/me but now he's apprenticing w/the plumbing so he's got to wait 'till he's a journeyman before he can journey again w/me. we go way back to high school when both of us washed pots and pans in the kitchen of the san pedro and peninsula hospital in the 70s.

   we go through the panhandle of texas and see what's billed as "the largest cross in the northern hemisphere." must be new cuz I've never seen it before. after that is a water tower w/one leg shorter and it's billed "the leaning tower of texas." this has been around, I've seen it bunches of times. it's funny, I can still remember just dropping enrico off at pisa in italy seeing that tower there. damn.

   oh yeah, just before seeing the big cross, we pass this pad called "the big texan" that offers a free 72 ounce steak if you can eat it in one hour. d. boon actually tried this in the minutemen days but couldn't do it. motherfucker was like a rubber chew toy for a fucking dog. damn. I had a good laugh thinking about it though. I remember having calf balls, the called prairie oysters but the were so fucking full of batter and deep fried, I couldn't tell what they were. I'll never eat at that pad again but will always laugh when I pass it on the I-40.

   we cross into oklahoma and stop at elk city. it's only 112 miles to the next gig in oklahoma city and I hate driving in the dark anyway. we have to buy the whiskey at a state store cuz this is oklahoma but that's not bad cuz they got seven year jim beam. the only really bad thing is this fucking lame-ass chow bob lee orders on the phone to bring to the mo-six from a place called _mazzio's_. this shit is so fucking rude I only have a piece and a half and still blow farts all night that blast the blankey right of me. good thing I sleep on the deck cuz I would've drilled holes right into that bed's matress. I can imagine what happened w/the other cats of the black gang cuz they were eating all kinds of it 'till they couldn't stomach any more. what a load of fucking shite. whatch out for this pad if you're in elk city, oklahoma.

tuesday, april 28, 1998 - oklahoma city, ok

from bob lee:

   the vzd club is a little luncheonette as well as a bar, we had catcalls from sandwich eating patrons during soundcheck. "please, I had a long night. do you have to do that right now?" sorry folks. tonight's opener was the imposters, playing songs from the first 4 elvis costello lps. very good but they ignored my request for "clean money." also met a guy named chaino, percussionist since the 1950s, who taught me african paradiddles and also, how to remove dents from drum heads by slowly moving a lit cigarette over the dent. works like a charm! he told me that kirby at dionysus records has started reissuing his old material and is telling everyone he's dead! so lee joseph if you're reading this... be advised that chaino is alive, and wants his money and kirby's head.

from steve reed:

   woke up feeling mazzio's. that food was terrible! I got to blow it out. after all the amazing food in europe, now it's time for mazzio's. no way ever again! I'm hoping everything back home will be fine for a change. the last couple of tours I lost my home and two of my dogs, so maybe, just maybe, everything will be fine with my katherine back home. I love her so much & I hope that everything will be fine. well the show tonight came off great!! small sound system but powerful. kyle did a good job working with me. the opening band, the imposters, did a tribute to elvis costello! very good, great bass player. good night here in okc, on to dallas.

from watt:

   we make the short drive from elk city to oklahoma city, passing through yukon, ok - the birthplace of garth brooks on the way. you know that cuz they got it written on the town's water tower. the pad we're playing is called "vzd's" and it's only a block from the pad we played on the "sticking the head out the hatch" tour '97 during the fall, the "will rogers center." same boss too, a real nice guy named daryl. the pad is a diner and we get to soundcheck for the locals gathered to chow. it's a trip when you do that. we have real short soundchecks, mainly just getting drum sounds, making sure all the lines are live and then we do one song, almost always "fireman hurley." I just hate soundchecks that go on and on and on, damn. don't folks realize that the room is going to change dramatically (acoustically) when the people come in for the show? I don't see the point for dragging the motherfucker out beyond anything but a tune. and let me tell you how the drum check drives me insane, I call that shit "bam bam." I know it's gotta be done but man, do I have to leave the pad as it's happening. it drives me fucking crazy!

   I met a real interesting cat after soundcheck named china sababo. he was about seventy and played drums and percussion. he had played w/all kinds of bebop cats like bird and diz, he was telling my all these adventures. wow, what a piece a history - I felt very lucky to meet this man. he had a ballpoint pen that was in the hip bone of some small animal - that was a trip! the bone was so smooth, you know? had the ball joint and everything, damn. he told me about how a manager he had released his older works thinking he was dead, can you believe that shit? man, some people are out and out assholes. fuck them. I really dug this man china sababo. he inspired me for the night's show.

   the opening band was called _the imposters_ and they're elvis costello impersonators. the rhythm section is from the _chainsaw kittens_ and they're really good. it's funny, I saw elvis costello play the whiskey in hollywood during the winter of '77 and these cats kind of had that sound but there was two guitars instead of just one. the one kind of lame thing was the soundperson had the keyboard kind of loud. I don't know if they keyboard guy knew it but he was kind of bogarting it big time. anyway, this was the first opening band I got to see do their whole set all tour and I kind of dug the juice they put into it, especially the cats in the rhythm gang. the bass dude named matt was working that boomstick like a motherfuck. I was watching the show from a little balcony w/these two cats, john and todd, just some folks who came to see the show. they liked doing tobasco w/shots of tequila and I told them to wait after the show and I'd give them the real deal (a bottle of _yucateca_, made w/habanero peppers!).

   we come on and do the piece. I like our set but talking to bob lee later, he tells me he was kind of bummed on his performance, says he wants to work on his volumes. I told him not to worry too much, keep it in perspective, as long as the feel's good and he's putting himself on the path towards progress than that's good enough for watt. good man, this bob lee - not jaded or shit like that. we ended up doing a bunch of encores and I was so grateful to the crowd for giving us the chance to play the piece. sure, was a lot of talking by the bar during the end parts where we play quiet but damn, maybe the personal thing kind of scares cats. I know I've said this before but I really feel strong about playing my opera for folks. I feel like it's really me out there telling my dream (or life) and not hiding. finally.

   when we're packing up, china sababo gives me a sketch pad that has drawings he's done w/pencil and charcoal. the sketches are amazing, especially the eyes. damn, what a gift - I couldn't believe he gave them to me, what a sweet man. I'll cherish them and him forever.

wednesday, april 29, 1998 - dallas, tx

from bob lee:

   ah, deep ellum, the hollywood of texas. tattoo/piercing parlors every twenty feet, broken up by leather boutiques, sports bars and coffee shops. well, at least we can get cappuccino easily. watt made fun of me for eating sushi so far from the ocean, tasted good to me though. tonight's gig is at the darkroom, from the looks of things we are the only out of town band to play there all month. openers, the enablers, have the wednesday night gig there every week, which would explain why they went on late & played for over an hour. "whattaya mean, another band is going on?" in the meantime I talked with george hurley's brother mike, and his wife and daughter, very funny guy with the unmistakable hurley humor. a young woman had interviewed watt and was looking for him to take photos, only to be told he was sleeping in the van. young mr. hurley advised her, "go out there and take your shirt off, he'll let you take some pictures, ha ha ha." good gig, followed by fabulous hospitality from john lambert, taper dude and a true gentleman. spent the night smokin' weed & listening to capt. beefheart bootlegs.

from steve reed:

   the darkroom, never been here before. our cherry gig. our friend john lambert and family will put us up for the night. john has an incredible record collection, bob lee will love it. trying to contact mike mc guire for a place in houston, the bay house in la porte. we always stay there but I haven't been able to reach him. george hurley's brother mike is supposed to come to the gig, and a friend of ours from pedro, alahn wakinekona is supposed to show up also.

   (later) they showed up, the show was good but I thought the sound system was shitty! poor eq, I took out about 400 and it sounded better but I needed more time and I didn't want to fuck up the show. the vocals were a little buried, then they gave us a hard time on drinks, fuck this darkroom! let's go back to trees. went home with john lambert and listened to beefheart.

from watt:

   due south to dallas. as we drive into town, I take us in the van by the book despository on houston and elm where oswald was supposed to have shot jfk. I make a couple of circuits around his last trip. last u.s. tour I showed joe baiza and steve reed but this is the first time for bob lee. joe baiza is still tripped out how small everything looks. I show them dealy plaza (where the first lodge of texas was built) and the grassy knoll. I take the van down the same route on elm and show them when and where the bullets were supposed to have come and hit, which window oswald's gun fired (?) from the sixth floor and where the hobos some folks talk about were supposed to have been. it's a trip to tour and physically be where history went down.

   we're playing a pad called "the dark room." it's in the deep ellum part of dallas, kind of like their version of melrose avenue mixed w/a college drinking scene. tattoo pads, biker shops, yuppie restaurants, shops selling tacky shit, blues pads and discos. there are some punk clubs too like "trees," where I've played before. this pad is getting absorbed by the restaurant next door so this is one of the last gigs they got going. the opening band is called _the enablers_ and they're like a lounge band, everyone playing easy flow grooves while sitting down. kind of a relaxed thing, for sure. george's bro mike hurley and his wife rosemary and her daughter ashley come by and we rap some. he lives in texas now and says george asked him to be the best man at his wedding september nineteenth. it's good to see him again, this pedro dude.

   I do this interview w/a student from a fort worth college radio station named laurie that's pretty interesting. not just the same old q and a, she just started playing bass and wants to know about the old days. it's a trip talking about where I come from where I am now when the person is genuine and knows something about you but not the whole picture cuz of course that shit never really gets told. she knows about hank's "get in the van" book, ciccone youth and stuff like that. she even knows about dos. I wish her luck and to find her own voice on the bass. she's also studying writing a gives me some great insights to mark twain. who would've thought?! that's why I always try to keep an open mind when doing these spiels, you just cannot get jaded or you're through. you got to keep the open eyes of curious child.

   these dallas cats are good to us and I think we do a bang-up version of the piece. the team flexes like one motion w/several sides to it, even on this little stage w/everyone up your face. after the gig I'm talking steve reed and he is kind of bummed on the gig cuz he said there wasn't enough head room. steve digs his work and really gets into it, I love this man. chad smith, who drums for the red hot chili peppers is at the gig and we rap a little about shit in our lives. we have some good laughs. we're sleeping at a friend named john's pad in the north of dallas and bail for there when packed up.

   at john's pad he plays us these old captain beefheart bootlegs that are great! I konk on the deck there right by the speaker hearing the magic band doing some incredible shit from the roxy in '75. damn.

thursday, april 30, 1998 - austin, tx

from bob lee:

   mr. john lambert is a hell of a guy, got us pot even though he doesn't smoke it, cooked us eggs & bacon even though he's a vegetarian... hell of a guy. in austin, I met up with my former roommate & fearless leader bassist john hancock, currently the drummer for big foot chester, and former head of angry neighbor records, which put out the first record by peglegasus, our opener tonight. real good, mix of prog jams and power pop. great crowd tonight, fun show, I always enjoy austin.

from steve reed:

   I soiled the gig! cd player went off during the show playing random cds through one of our songs. fuck, I just turned it off. it's so had every night to deal with the placement of cd players in every club. it's always underneath something, near the floor, too far away from me, not enough light in work area and the house guys even know it. launch pad had the best & easiest set up, plenty of light, cd player right next to vocal channels. that was great. also mike's spare amp was left at the darkroom. he took it very calmly and said, "we're sailor men!" will have the amp sent ahead to us somewhere. fuckin' up! long time on the road, europe 5 weeks, us 7 weeks back to back. four days off but those days were spent preparing to leave again so no rest until june 14, day after the final gig of tour. system in austin had plenty of headroom. peglegasus opened and my cousin spot came to the show.

from watt:

   damn, we forgot the backup bass amp (a $200 randall I got in seattle) at the club last night. I also donated my gray and red "westerner" (that's what it says on the label - it's from china) flannel. I think we can get the bass amp sent ahead to us but the flannel is probably gone. it's ok, it was one of those insulated ones that didn't breathe much anyway. such is the ways of tour.

   we're playing the "electric lounge" in austin, the same pad I did on my last u.s. tour. the boss there is mike but it's co-promoted by mark pratz, who's done my austin gigs since the minutemen days. he's a good cat. it's cool to have folks there for you year after year in the towns you play. I am not a slash and burn dude, I'm in it for the long haul. it's a trip though cuz I start thinking about all the gigs and all the days and where am I going. I start to walk the town and think. it's another one of those nights. the texas air is not that wet yet, not like it gets a little later in the year. damn, is it intolerable for a pedro man like me. I walk and I walk all over the old downtown, thinking and thinking. finally I sit on the grass a couple blocks from the club and watch the folks pull up for the gig. lots of little pickup trucks. sometimes they look over and see the crazy man in the beard sitting there, wondering. my beard is pretty big now and no one really recognizes me. well, a couple do and come up and say hi. it's been difficult for me tonight. finally, I get up, go to the pad and see the opening act. it's friends of mine I've know from the fIREHOSE days, _peglegasus_ and I dig their set. they've gotten good and tight. I was worried cuz the last time in town, the drummer, pete and one of the guitarists, john jammed "a quick one" (the first who mini-opera) and boy, were they boracho (spanish for slackjaw drunk). much better this time w/a burke on guitar and a new bassist (henry is now in providence). they're a strange band, which I like. trippy instrumentals along w/skewed narratives - great band. I'm feeling a little better.

   the crowd is full of great folks who urge me on the give it a good go. we have some communication problems on stage but all and all it goes over good. happening crowd. they bring us back for more and more. I talk to a lot of cats after the show. a lot of them have bands. one guy has a pirate radio show. it's all good. spot even came! so good to see him. he produced the first minutemen records (along w/black flag, husker du, meat puppets and all that early sst stuff). I got so much respect for him. he's getting a house in austin, damn he must be in austin for more than twelve years now so I guess he's there for good if he's springing for a pad. I know if he had his viola he would've come up on the stage and wailed w/us like he usually does but he said he had to come from somewhere where he couldn't get to his instruments. I love that man.

   such a good feeling after the show from all these cats' tempers that horrible time I had before the gig. it's a trip how that sometimes works out. damn. the boss mike gives me a tape of his band. it's called _halfwatt_. damn.

read week 2 of the tour diary

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this page created 2 may 98