a word's-eye view from mike watt
"the fool who thinks he is a fool is for that very reason a wise man; but the fool who thinks he is a wise man is rightly called a fool."
trippy getting this dhammapada stuff cuz scotty-san turned me onto to it when I first started working bass for the stooges. I read it all in one read but echoes of it like this are profound on me though I do know I was digging on some of the mindblow I was getting from it then. he did the same thing when he had me read his i-ching too. I am very grateful to him for many many stuffs. he sure works drums like nobody's business too. we're steel-driving crew. so anyway, I'm trying to say I try to be aware but one of those "aware" things is also know I am baka and not get too carried away w/myself... try to have some compassion which for mean maybe is also some doubt in my own thoughts that might fuck up and become JUDGEMENT CALLS though I do think of d. boon and what he would think lots of times, same w/raymond - I can't help it, I just do. I think of other peoples thoughts that are big time in mind cuz I wanna hear their heads and hearts work - not to copy them cuz that would be no respect but to hear them out. sometimes they're guesses though - at least I can ask my heroes still alive, like raymond... well, I ask d. boon but...
I hoof around the old part of this city near the 'tel - lots of german influence here. I remember in august of 2005 the stooges played colmar, another alsace town south of here. yet another full circle! there's a huge cathedral which is called notre-dame like in paris. man, it's got tons of figures in above the three main hatches and gargoyles everywhere - I take like two hundred shots! I know some might be bunk but fuck it. there's a statue of gutenberg in a nearby square - he invented the moveable type printing press - I should check if asia already had it though, right? you trust wikipedia? they say the koreans had it a couple hundred years before. around his statue's base there's bas-reliefs of how profound on liberation the written word was on folks - even mr jefferson/mr franklin/mr bolivar from the new world among many there, not so many on the other three for the "worlds" - this is so trippy, I gotta put the shots here:
I mean, I'm using the written word here (or rather the chimped word) to try and communicate my baka fucking thinking so yeah, it's maybe kind of profound, huh? there's some interesting street musicians - one cat is playing something called a hang which is like two woks put together and played percussively w/the palms, beautiful sounds. there's a couple in alsace costume too, electric mandolin through a battery-powered amp w/partner on accordion and belting old-timey tunes. I find a street called "rue des freres"
(or "bruederhofgass" - signs here are in french + german) cuz probably that's where the seminary is... yeah, my buddy from valencia jose always trips on me using that appellation, always thinking it of church stuff and not relating me being a boy in the 60s and from that culture - of course he is younger man, younger than brother cobain if he was still w/us so I put no blame on him. actually at first he thought I had huge family, that my pop had many sons!
there are many bridges I find a "c & a" mall across one of them and in there find a supermarket - yeah, a full-on fucking supermarket in a mall! hell, above it are bunches of apartments, self-containment realized? anyway, they got beers for .78 euro (ninetyseven cents u.s.) so I jam econo a little bit - you pay for sacks so I just stuff them in my pocket. I pass "quick restaurant" which is a euro version of crapdonalds or boogerfling or jackoffinyoursox or hardlees or awfulhouse (but maybe not up there w/crapperbarrel or crapplebees) and I am just curious to just once see what this kind of crap is like... wouldn't you know, just as shitty! won't be doing that again, I've just been curious that last few years of seeing this. lots of u.s. imported ideas showing up in euro, maybe not all best but I think best for euros to decide. actually for me it's kind of crazy cuz lots of their original chow is so fucking good. I go back and chimp diary 'till konk comes which is pretty early - I was beat.
pop at seven bells on gig day and head down to the free trough - hey, did I mention free internet here too? yatta! that's a great thing, these small things actually can twelve to twenty u.s. dollars a day in some fancy pads where econo ones 'pert-near always got it free. anyway, I shovel a couple of salami and cheese on baguette plus some yogurt. then I finish up diary after a good hoof - there's was four days before the bourges gig so much chimping I felt compelled to do. we do beginnings/endings prac in scotty-san's room... I discover the intro to "kill city" is three times around the first two times we it and not four like I've been trying to do the last two gigs - baka watt, no wonder it seemed weird! I know my chart's got it right but then it's been in the 'puter sack the whole time overseas so I wouldn't use as a crutch - a quick check to the sound file on my macpurse confirmed I am indeed baka about it - aaaaarrrrgggghhhh. ig calls and then joins us for three tunes - more structure for "your pretty face..." and "...somebody" plus a "penetration" plan where he's gonna hang out w/steve, yeah. ig in bathrobe leading us through quiet prac, I can dig it. guess scotty-san had room service and there's a table here w/a bowl of fries - they're cold but chowable... I do some.
we shove off for the gig at a little after eight pm. it's part of this festival des artefacts at it's a the zenith strasbourg - the zenith in paris is where we've played three times. maybe it's a chain but this pad looks very much different than the paris one - that one is like inflatable (I swear to you) and this is much bigger and permanent, an asymmetrical orange "bonnet" or whatever looking outside engulfing it. the brian jonestown massacre is on the stage and I see some songs - four guitars, yeah! they sound good. I mean the pad is an enormodome so there's some roller-rink sounding there for sure but I'm digging it. there's maybe eight cats on the stage! kind of 60s. alright. helperman derek said their mainman has stopped drinking.
we go on after them, at 9:30 pm. james has been warming up in the dressing room, playing his guitar to the set list in front of the mirror. ronnie never warmed and I couldn't figure out how he did that. I always like to warm up but I don't go through whole tunes. I do join james doing it here though. it's time and we're led across and back to the side ig always likes us to go up on, stage port. he's got the vest on for only the first first set of verses of "raw power" and then it comes off. what doesn't happen for at least the first half of the song is my bass - something's up, a cable or the tuner... it's something before the direct box (I got rik into the radial jdi passive ones which I think are the best) but rather than get my panties bunched up, I just mime it 'till slouch gets something going. I got no tune but at least I got some sound. "kill city" up right next and I signal over to cedric to please get some bass in the monitor. he's a champ and gets it right up, merci. the crowd is again very young and also very into it, ig working the room real good, singing and dancing most rough and wild beautiful liftoff crazy mindblow... "search and destroy" does just that as does "gimme danger" - the band's rolling hard and w/out a pause - "cock in my pocket" blasting into the most stage dancers yet in france for "shake appeal" and even w/them all rockin' wild around me in front of scotty, I can look back and see james behind his amps clear. hey, whoa! it's the brian jonestown massacre guys dancing right starboard of me, their bassman doing his take on "the jerk" move in like half-time. yeah! I think it was the organ man who pointed at the picture of ronnie on my bass and said "all right!" - much respect to him. we go right into "1970" after intros, different than bourges - there's a few set changes from that gig like doing "l.a. blues" next w/out "fun house" in front of it - first time for me like that... oh yeah, I forgot to say I got sharp for a riff or two, why? well fuck, I clammed! I pound more focus into my head. it was a tiny one but still, it was one: a fucking clam. "night them" next w/the prefix augmented "beyond the law" - a little different now w/ig waiting out some before getting the first verse going, nice. we nail the ending this time, me and scotty-san having solid eye-contact. from this point on I am in every moment, that clam in "1970" was a wake-up call for me not to let what I did in a bit, the deer-in-the-headlights dance. a slipper comes flying up on stage as ig has wait a bit for "I need somebody" starting - who came to the gig in slippers? well hell, there's some cat in a bunny suit trying to people-surf over the barrier! third verse has almost a lost moment but I run up to james and show him where my fingers are at - I like this action cuz he can use his judgement - we keep the keel in the water. "penetration" I'm really loving (beginning fires off good) cuz it almost has native american feel to it and ig's got the crowd pumping right w/the pulse. the ending's a little drawn out so he leaves brother steve's side from doing the "baby" parts to stage dive! yeah, he did it in "...dog" in bourges so there's go that theory he had "retired" that move as stated in some magazine in england. the mic he threw hit me in the harm but just very slight graze. then he asks us very nicely - IMPLORES us to nail "I got a right" and is right in my face for the chorus, I can't remember ever playing that intense before EVER. it was a trip, I was trying my very hardest and seeing on the veins buckled up on his neck and ripples/bolts/plasma fields of energy just floodin' out of ig as he was bringing down the powers almighty. we're into the closer "...dog" and the keel starts coming up again - right away I rush over to james and show him where my fingers are and when get the boat righted just before the singing. yeah. this ain't like two nights ago. another stage dive from ig in the guitar solo. we go out strong. and come back strong for the encore w/a third capsize scare after the chorus in "your pretty face is going to hell" but again, I heard it immediately and showed james the fingers on the bass neck - him letting go and getting right is to me a sign of working good for the team. three times tonight we had threats but kept from turtling, a real good thing. "death trip" is flawless and finally "open up and bleed" makes thing final, the gigs done are happening note. I feel so much better about this one, great. I'm really happy. mr eyjafjallajokull volcano is allowing no flights so ig's gonna take a car right away for the next and last town of this trip, lille. he's right aboard so no debrief but I'm hoping he dug it, I do. james rides w/him and nina. he sure put everything he had into it, whoa. seven years w/him and he still amazes me w/that, I love it.
we all get on the bus when things are ready for that, tourboss henry joining us. he's got a funny-as-hell recording of william shatner w/henry rollins doing something called "I can't get behind that" w/adrian belew on guitar. man, is that crazy. tonight I konk just after one, I'm beat. everyone's in a good mood. again my sweated out black flannel gets used as a table cloth for the back lounge little table. trippy.
saturday, april 17, 2010 - lille, france
I pop at eight bells - trippy konk on bus bunk but konk I did cuz need health for last blowout - rare for stooges doing back-to-back gigs but that's what we're doing here in lille tonight. this is maybe biggest northern french town, it's right near belgian border. when I arise to find window on way to pisser, I see we're in the lot of tonight's venue, le zenith de lille (tonight's show is part of the les paradis artificiels festival going on all week here). this zenith is different than last night's zenith and different than paris' but maybe that's not a bad thing cuz why should different towns have exact same pad even if bosses are connected? this pad's wider than it's deep and not inflatable. hey, there's a shower backstage - I'll use that now and am planning to after we play too, good thing I got the soap from yesterday's 'tel in my razor/toothcare small sack. no towel but I'll do the inu thing (like eiko-san says), shake-dry. fuck, feels way better to have been hosed-off no matter how one gets dry later, I say! there's some chow from the bus too, baguette sandwiches (no matter what else is on them, count on some butter! watt never uses butter at home).
we do soundcheck at two pm. to get good bass mix on stage, derek had put on guitar while I play "dirt" - thank you much! jos even jumps on the drums... didn't know jos could rock a trap kit, alright! james and scotty-san arrive and I ask to do the three shaky tunes from last night, james asks to do "kill city" cuz of me being baka w/the structure which I'm very glad to do. scotty-san is beat, he got only two hours of konk due to not acclimated to bus konk but he soldiers through good, big respect to him. we get taken to 'tel by the train station and I chimp last night's gig diary. this 'tel is seal-a-meal (windows can't open) and I'm sure glad we ain't konking here, we're leaving right after for charles de gaulle airport near paris even though it's looking pretty certain we're going nowhere tomorrow cuz of eyjafjallajokull-san waking up and continuing to puke up ash into the skies. so be it. we get back to the venue at nine pm for 10:10 on-stage time.
ig comes in to brief us on some ideas he has... before he gets started though, I ask him if he dug last night and he says, "of course I did" - which I am very glad for being wanted (needed) to ask him cuz like my pop used to say, "when you assume, you make and ass out of you and me" and dearly don't wanna do that. you know, w/out the debriefing, it's hard to know how he felt and I have to admit I'm just a little curious about how he thinks of a gig cuz if I did lame, I wanna know where I can do better next time. it's another thing to work on your own critical thinking - which I think is good but getting a perspective from ig is big time righteous even if it's brutally honesty, I think it's big time worth it. anyway, back to ig's ideas for tonight's gig - one is for me every other time in "penetration" to do the lick that tune's got every fourth bar an octave up the neck, will do. he's a thinker. he's surprised - we're surprised that tonight's gig is being recorded to be put on usb sticks to be sold to the gig-goers on their way out. ganbaro - we'll do our best. I wanna always do my best for stooges but must admit I'm a little scared and self-conscious - fuck, what a baka I am cuz that kind of thinking will make it only worse. it ain't thinking now that I think of it - it's frettin' and worrying... stupid fucking watt. very kind roadboss eric washed my shirt from last night so no cusai (bad smell) like last night, big grateful respect to him.
we hit the stage and voila! my bass is working for the opener "raw power" - big respect to mr slouch for getting that "sorted" (england-speak for getting it together), the crowd is another great-spirited french audience rooting us on forward for every note, every beat. cedric has got a great sound for us on stage, best tone yet for my bass these four gigs, really REALLY good work of him - and he's way over stage starboard too - big respect! ig is in full-on righteous gig mode, belting it out big time - he charges back to urge us on and there's something fucked up about the stage and he trips, crashing into the drum riser hard but that ain't stopping him even though I fucking lose a breath seeing him take a big time major blow - he's back up immediately and charging hard, fuck yeah! "raw power, baby - just can't quit!" he's the man! we're into "kill city" right quick and the folks are hollering, great gig start. the vest ig came on w/is long gone done away w/and jos scoops it up w/in seconds. I ain't talked about james sunburst guitar he's playing on these gigs yet but I wanna let everyone know it ain't the "raw power" one that later got that leopard + lady sticker on it - a cat named brian michael took specs off the original and built him one that's 'pert-near just like it. brian does bass for helperman derek's careless hearts band which helped james big time get back on guitar playing by doing a gig of stooges w/him last summer in san jose, ca. if you look where it should say "gibson" on the headstock, you'll see "michael" instead. anyway, "search and destroy" wreaks its havoc as we deliver it - a slight pause for some vital ig spiel (lots in french, respect!) and "gimme danger" follows, space-transporter for me yet I don't space out - yeah! I roll up my sleeves and ready myself for ig kicking us up into crazy drive for a "cock in my pocket" that's so groove-slamming that scotty-san 'pert-near forget james gets a solo! he's right on board though and really rocking this pad, we're all on board w/him too, fucking happening. ig invites gig-goers up w/us to dance the fuck out of "shake appeal" - I see james there behind his amps, rockin' it. band intros - ig tells the folks he's iggy - we're into "1970" blasting apart into "l.a. blues" and it's here where I start to get self-conscious of the recording going on for some fucking retarded reason - I blow a clam on the second half of the b part of the first verse of "night theme" - "it's supposed to be b-flat, dumbfuck watt" I tell myself w/a mental bitchslap. I get it together for our version of "beyond the law" (MUCH different than the album) but the next tune, "I need somebody" finds me clamming the beginning the beginning of the second verse (doing the chromatic run backwards - aahh!) and I'm wondering what the fuck? I gotta forget this "red light fever" shit w/the recording. "penetration" is next and ig stagedives immediately - I think it's then... actually, I think it's the second time tonight - shit, the day after and still I have trouble remembering cuz believe me, it seems the gig rushes by in moments while it's happening. I do the octave-up divebombs that ig asked for on the turnaround lick every other one and he's digging it - coming up right in front of the kick drum (I'm right in front of scotty-san's starboard crash cymbal) and doing very interesting/introspective stuff w/the mic about waist level. the gig-goers are pumping the pad w/big time energy pulses, band/beat/pad becoming HUGE throb. "I got a right" careens and skids after the intro but ig gets us right w/the singing. another stagedive? something happened stage port cuz the mic went flying my way and hit me in the starboard thigh! didn't hurt at all. didn't see that coming, it flew like a rocket. pretty funny. "ok watt, play better" I though even harder. the song's now evolved into keeping it's jamming drive but lowering the volume dynamic WAY DOWN after the guitar solo, very happening - ig working that dynamic righteous. 'pert-near the end of the tune, in the very last chorus (there's three of them at the end) wouldn't you know it, I get foamed up some and though I'm hitting the right chords, I lose some of the articulation that ronnie was so great on, damn me to hell, aaaaarrrrrrggggghhhhh! time to end (james threw out the guitar change - he's ready to go!): "I wanna be your dog" which is wild and I know this one had a stagedive! I think so anyway! it comes own w/dynamics too after the guitar solo, ig on all fours "arf arf" in a trippy way, not corny but very fucking trippy. we finish up and get over to where that handchair is behind the current in the back, stage starboard... I give james a hug, I think it his best gig w/us so far... and scotty-san, man, did he kick it out or what?!!!! and all hurt and tired like that too, wow, BIG respect. hug for brother steve, of course. tourboss henry says "good one," djenki! ig comes over - he's given it all, like he does EVERY FUCKING GIG but wants to give more... this crowd's been great. there's been a cat up front, probably even older than me w/steel-wool zapped out brillo pad gray hair that contrasts strong w/his purple tshirt singing every word but most folks are so young but still way into it. much respect. I am amazed but then the recording thing hits me just as we start "your pretty face is going to hell" and the verse parts got b notes where there should be e ones and vice-versa, what the fuck?! or maybe better WATT THE FUCK?! god, do I feel stupid. we end together though and lots of rhythm ok... aaarrrgggghhhh, I really bear on myself to get it together for everything here on out, starting w/the next one "death trip" which we do real tough, damn, a fucking piledriver. "open up and bleed" is really happening, the band has got this one solid, yes... I'm thinking maybe we're done when I run off stage - no, tourbass henry says to hold on and ig says he'll call it out to us. we go back out for second encore: "fun house" ig hollers - yeah! "I FEEL ALRIGHT!" damn right! wild wild wild!!! he's dancing dervish, amazing! "HOLD ON TIGHT!" this late in the set too, VERY HAPPENING! then he calls... "johanna" - whoa, that's a surprise but the band does it real good, everyone in together and good tempo. this time I go back to the old way of ending and just intuitively feel instead of that scripted shit and it works good. we're done, ig does one more dance for the folks!
he comes into to debriefs us, ig asks who called for "your pretty face..." to end when it did - I tell him me - he says "idiot!" and I slap my forehand w/the palm of my hand and echo his same word even louder. I had stopped us in the first round of four which repeats for the end but we weren't there yet! aaaahhhh - yet another clam from fucking baka watt tonight! I start to admit ig and the band all my clams tonight and where they occurred. when I'm finished, it says "you know, mike bloomfield told me a good song is like a sandwich. if you got two good slices of bread, almost anything can go in between." well, I'm thinking maybe even clams. ig says "clams are gonna happen." a good band however doesn't screw up a beginning or an ending" (maybe the two slices of bread are the beginning and ending of the tune?). james says something about the rolling stones but I think what ig is saying makes good sense even though I'm breaking my foot off kicking myself so hard in the ass for the clams I blew tonight but that's just cuz I want so bad to do good for him, for scotty-san, for james - for brother steve... for the gig-goers! for everyone actually - I love the stooges!
we take a two hour van ride to charles de gaulle airport to konk at the sheriton there but scotty-san is staying to take the eurostar to london. big hugs to alain, big hugs to olivier - can't wait to see them again - ce va! we talk in the boat on the way back, robert is our driver, the man who picked us up ten days ago. we get to talking about music and james is amazed I'm way into creedence. he never says he don't like ccr but keeps saying that's something. I know it's goofy but those of you know about me and d. boon would understand the creedence thing I think. it sure surprised james. now he liked t-rex when I told him that was my first gig. he's also amazed I never had a beatles album but then (thank god!) roadboss eric says the same thing! we have a good time talking the ride back, konking at the 'tel at maybe three am. whew.
cuz of eyjafjallajokull waking up, no flights for sunday. same for monday - I go chow at eiko-san's buddies pad in garibaldi part of paris... yeah, tonkatsu and very oishii! very VERY nice folks. right after I take metro to right near the pomidou center to again play w/kamilsky and brother steve like I did in bourges, wild gig and very nice people there in a cave (pronounced kah-vah, meaning basement). had to work a peavey bass too cuz mine is on the way to london w/slouch but "a poor carpenter blames his tools," right? hell yeah. tiny amp on a chair too, maybe hartke? terrible sound! kamilsky, brother steve and the gig-goers were happy though. I do an interview after w/some nice folks - one's pop is from hanoi... one day I wanna visit there, one day. tuesday I again took the train into paris and visited the arts et metiers museum - ("science and industry"), an incredible place for someone into humans finding out about the earth/universe and putting shit together to get things done. I know roadboss eric would, I know my organman pete mazich (secondmen) would. I spend hours and hours in there - oh, there was a trippy incident on the train: now it's been great weather every day here for me in france (one gray day w/a little rain in bourges, ok) and it's sunny like I said but this cat gets on board wearing a hood and sunglasses. now there's some salaryman kind of japanese tourist guys in the next row and this guy's pacing around. I'm getting weird vibes... wouldn't you know it - he grabs one of the tourist salaryman's sack and bolts out the hatch when we make the next stop. the tourist salaryman runs after him but trips, however a strong blackman maybe in his thirties (I say that cuz the hoodie man is white - looked kind of like junky frail) runs after and gets the sack back even though the hoodie guy gets away... it happened in fucking seconds and the train was crowded - not like the metro (man, that gets a little almost like tokyo style) but there was lots of folks - I was real proud of that man risking himself like that for that stranger tourist man. the whole thing was lightning moment trippy kind of mindblow. paris is very mixed w/different people - not all cuz of tourists, especially up in the parts north and not so near the seine where the sightseeing parts are. they are working all over. this reminds of so cal, lots of different people. I feel kind of more at home this way. anway, tourboss henry and roadboss eric worked hard to get flights happening when and if they could - I saw ig off when he bailed - he heard the usb stick of the lille gig (it was mixed by cats in a truck while it was happening, by the way) and said he dug it. just before the car w/him and nina took off, he said "clams are ok!" and I laughed. the internet was free in the lobby when it was happening and I saw james and asked him his thoughts - james dug it too. whoa, I've been too scared to listen. I gotta get the nerve up. for sure it's the best thing we got to practice now, not the old recordings but how we do them. I think james says it might even be for sale on the net sometime - I got ask him again. I fucking sure wish I wouldn't blown those clams though... I was too self-conscious, baka watt! it was good though and at least them clams weren't big enough to put the boat over on it's side or stop it in the water. thank god! wednesday comes and whoa, I got a flight back home via detroit - stooges justice! I donate my toothpaste (got it tokyo last summer!) and my "old spice" deodorant cuz I wanna bring my clothes sack onboard so I got no checkin sacks - the lines for that are HUGE! yes (I mean "oui"), it fits in the onboard sack checker and the weights under twentyfive pounds (it aint' a fucking girlybag, it's a man sack! only levis, flannels and chonies in there) so I'm on and in. I took so many pictures last night (oh, speaking of last night, I did another edition of the watt from pedro show - it has another great "pinhead from asia" segment but I couldn't upload it w/the lame internet, will do when I get to my pedro town) and this morning of - ready for this? PLANES TAKING OFF!!! it was trippy seeing charles de gaulle airport from my 'tel window w/not even one plane moving and so the sight of things getting back into action was righteous. however, I was not stressing - I was philosophical about it. mother nature is awesome and powerful. we have to let go of control-meister mode sometimes, especially when thing ain't safe. I was prepared actually to stay the whole time here somewhere europe 'till the next gig coming april thirty in madrid. I love the stooges.
so it's an airbus 330 to detroit and I watched fucking airplane movie - why? it was lamest version of sherlock holmes ever, a new one (this year? last year?) and that's all I'm gonna say cuz I'm so mad it suckered me into its timewaste deathgrip. symbolically I tried making it laxitive-like somehow but result was only more lingering regret. aaaarrrrggggghhhhh. called my ma in detroit and she was happy cuz worry was heavy on her about me cuz of volcano fear. airbus 320 ride to lax w/my sister melinda picking me up and getting to me to my pad in my pedro town was great thing for me, of course but I wasn't upset w/hand nature delat us... in retrospect, it was kind of very mild headslap. getting home at night time is good way to get back on pedro time so I get on my deck and help that along w/konk.
first 2010 gig chapter of stooges was good one!
friday, april 30, 2010 - madrid, spain
it's wednesday at five am when my sister melinda gets to my pad to bring me to lax - I've been up since three am... only frozen stuff left in the 'fridge cuz of upcoming touring (I try to do that on purpose) so I cook up some udon noodles from freezer along w/the only two strips of bacon I saved for now - I cook that up in olive oil for last pedro chow before chapter two of stooges 2010 touring. the boeing 757 taking me to miami shove us off at seven and a half but on the way to the gate, my eye is caught by book title of book on book shelf in front of book store as I pass - yeah, this american airlines new lax terminal has quite a big book store for an airport... well, the title in question is "beatrice and virgil" - I guess the second book by yann martel. I am huge dante student (his commedia in many ways a parallel for my second opera "the secondman's middle stand") so I'm wondering of this title, espcially seeing a monkey on top of a donkey on the cover... I impulse buy it! I get half of it done in the four and a half hours before I land in miami. I shovel a salad there at the terminal (least polluted chow, I'm guessing) and meet help james williamson helper man derek c, great to see him again! we're on the same boeing 767 for madrid - hey, we see ig and nina already seated as we board - I think us four are the only ones coming from the u.s. seeing that scotty-san stayed in england, brother steve in portugal - no, I'm wrong cuz roadboss eric's coming from his new york city but that's another flight - sorry! as I pass in the aisle, I tell ig I finally got the courage to listen to that lille gig that got recorded (the april seventeen one) and came on that usb stick after he called me sunday and I relate to him how surprised those clams I thought were SO HUGE AND FUCKED UP were still there but not in the proportion my mind was thinking they were right after we played. I mean, they're still there and I wanna do better but at least I was in time and in key - better than having it otherwise... I'm making sure though not to get too full of myself and not get over-confident. I know I can do better and wanna cuz it's the stooges and they deserve me doing good for them. I told ig I went and listened to that gig over and over again after that - like fifty times! I also practiced bass much to it - another great benefit of having that gig is that these are song versions like what we're actually doing and not original or other-era-bootleg ones. it's great for watt-only solo prac w/his bass, fucking great. why was I such a fucking coward not to listen earlier? I know: I'm a fucking coward! I gotta do something about that. it's like eight hours to madrid and I konk for half, finish the martel book in the other. damn, was that book disturbing! maybe in a good way - it definitely was not mersh. it made me cry. it was fucked up, the situation... maybe that's why stuff like that have to be dealt w/and not diluted. thinking about redemption w/out remorse - that "scenario" which I'm thinking I can put in quotes like that cuz human constructs are just that, fucking props to find solace is some kind of certainty? it's the behavior that really expresses the inhumanity - we are so convinced, we are hoping? we are fucked up and it's hard to REALLY talk about anything w/substance - yeah, to admit this w/hands trembling and trying to guard what we were so certain were private parts... it was wave of wave of empathy sad washing over and flooding out my eyes and bruises all in the brains and soul stomped - "games for gustav" indeed... no wonder the last one (the thirteenth) was empty.
it's thursday morning when we land (madrid is nine hours ahead of pedro time). terminal four at madrid's barajas airport is really fucking amazing, damn! great job, these builders/designers. a nice man named oscar takes me and derek to downtown madrid where the 'tel we're staying at is, villa real. my second stay here but this time big construction out front for the underground metro going on. the weather is very happening, sunny but not hot - very comfortable. after a tub-soak (kind of narrow but also kind of deep), I go check out for the third time in my life the prado cuz we ain't too far away and even more important, there's tons of great art there... very significant to a baka like me is the six works of "el bosco" (what they call hieronymous bosch here) cuz his influence on me is most profound (kind of like dante!) and a big effect on my "hyphenated-man" third opera which will be released this fall. what can I say about both these end-of-the-middle-ages guys? something about the way they "engineer" their esthetics or something? I think this bears on me more than anything ideological though I do get to wondering about stuff kind of leaning that way maybe - the idea of consequences but it's the wondering in the tiny works that make up their works that fascinates me, the amalgams... fucked-up shit like ideas themselves: allegorical/factual tangled-up fun house mirror experience reflection wondering contemplation "thought totems" - that's it maybe, uh... no - I let that go and keep thinking about it... like huck and jim together on that raft going down the river and having trips laid on them from fucking bakas like the duke and the king, foisting all kinds of "certainties" that are obvious foists and bumrushes. that's some of the goddamn craziness running through me head but I can dig it cuz it's uh, uh... stimulating? ha! I think of what emma goldman wrote:
without stimuli, in one form or another, creative work is impossible, nor indeed the spirit of kindliness and generosity."
you think?! those little creature-whatevers in the bosch paintings, they seem like little vignettes unto themselves yet helping to unify the whole work - it brings to my mind a minutemen album made of those tiny tunes to make like one big one... also, maybe an allegory on the nature of a state of mind at a given time, getting "wrapped up" in something, having it 'pert-near "become part of you" - something like that. dante was on a journey in his poem, bosch painting usually go from left to right... that's another reason I guess to think about huck and jim on the raft or me and raymond at a little jimmy scott gig maybe. oh yeah, there's tons of other good art too - like goya and his giant "third of may" and "the black paintings" plus a ton of portraits of bosses and their wives from old days and of course lots of stories from the bible... some paintings of small people too... lots of good stuff. I 'pert-near wear my legs off hoofing to see as much as I can - damn, do I get into it! for chow I get a couple of bocadillos which are like baguettes stuffed w/chorizo (different than the mexican kind, like salami) or ham or such stuff. I do a big skype session w/brother sam in brighton - we're gonna record for our second cuz album even w/the first one not being done yet just cuz, you know? he is sure fucking tolerant of my windbagging, the patience of a saint! I konk right when we get done, I'm tuckered.
gig day and I pop at seven bells and do big long soak on my bones in the tub before going for the free trough... I shovel fettuccine! that's trippy for breakfast, huh? lettuce/tomatoes w/olive oil/vingegar as well plus the spanish kind of tortilla which is like a two inch high fluffy omelette-kind-of trip w/potatoe pieces in it. I start chimping this trip's diary and then go over to the ritz 'tel two blocks away where scotty-san and james are staying to prac beginnings and ends of the tunes, go over a new set list order. I saw james just monday night - me and raymond saw the "raw power" documentary at the egyptian theatre in hollywood, james answering questions after. it's a fortyfive minute dvd in the "raw power" re-release box set, by the way. scotty-san talks real good in it, as does ig. we go to soundcheck after, the gigs at this venue called la riviera - sonic youth played here last week. there's a new soundman named max and we play some songs - this pad's got palm trees in the middle of it, sort of laid out like a skating rink but it's not a skating rink. no mr slouch here like in france but jos is here and has set up two stacks of ampeg svt amps for me. scotty-san's got some natural finish dw drums. james has only one blackstar halfstack to go w/a marshall one. soundcheck goes good. it's a little bit of a drive (the venue is right next to the mazanares river) but not too far... scotty-san said it was crazy outside his 'tel last night cuz of a madrid team beating liverpool in a soccer game. we go through a few songs, derek helping us out singing some. then james has him play guitar so he can go stand by max and hear how it sounds from behind the desk. man, it feels good to play the dan bass again - I've been doing prac back home in pedro on the andy bass which I dig a lot but cuz it's 1969 and the dan one is 1965, the neck is a little different, thicker in the back but thinner side-to-side up at the nut. that's cool but a little different and I wanna be ready for the gig so it's good to be on the one I'm working tonight. you see, it got left last tour leg after the france gigs and shipped here this morning. actually it was very happening to play the andy bass back home - I notice it must be a different kind of mahogany cuz it's heavier. both the andy and dan bass have their own personalities - I can dig that! we get back to the our 'tels and I read "articles of interest" in the financial times which is a paper from england. shit, lots of the articles are fucking more boring than hell so that's why I wrote what I just did. they were good ones, written well - stuff on new books about the tudors, ghandi and some fiction plus three theatre reviews (all pans) and "the great music war between oasis and blur" which was not that good - why did I mention it?! I'm just very nervous before the gig.
our 'tel is only two blocks away but cuz of all the construction, it's a difficult drive so I suggest me and brother steve just hoof it over to the 'tel scotty-san and james are at. steve's feeling a little sick so I carry his sax for him. like I said, it ain't far and we take the same route we did three hours ago. I have my black levis and black flannel on but forgot my ronnie pin, damn it. my missingmen drummer raul made me a bunch of new john coltrane pins so I've got one of those on (I gave steve/scotty/james each one too) plus a shirt for after - hey, that's an idea... especially for a baka who sweats big time. there's no opening act. the dressing room has a table w/tons of cookies, candies - a lot of crap (even a big bottle of sunflower oil - what?) but at least some nuts. fuck, I'd get sick as hell if I was chowing all this shit. I don't understand all this crap. scotty-san asks for the rider to get change to something like sandwich-making stuff or sardines ('dines) and cut out all this mega-diabeties-promoting shit. I ain't whining about it but it is trippy what are folks thinking when you're coming to play for them.
there's no opening act and we're on at 9:30 pm. everyone's in good spirits. new set list, I think it's a test run for london sunday/monday - looks intense! "came to play" - no prob, I'm into it. we come on out, I run over to the bass amps (already have my bass on, been warming up on that in the dressing room) and plug in but there's no sound. james has already fired up "raw power" and scotty-san comes w/a firecrack rool but I ain't there w/him - something's wrong... oh well - I don't freak out but check things - hmm... "don't freak out, watt" I'm telling myself and notice the standby lights are on (red) for both amps - two flicks and now they're green and I'm in the race, alright! the crowd of spaniards is intense cuz right out the gate they are wildly enthusiastic - much respect to them. we're right into "search and destroy" next and though I'm nervous crazy, I'm hanging on pretty good, only a tiny clam a little in - wakeup call to keep focus. I gotta look down at the set list cuz it's a new one - shit, good thing I did cuz I thought "your pretty face is going to hell" was number three but it's number four - "gimme danger" is up now. both tunes go good but maybe "pretty face..." is a little rough for scotty-san to end cuz damn if a face full on snot almost suffocates him and he's wail some major farmerblow to clear his faceplumbing. we get some guys up on stage from the crowd to dance w/us for "shake appeal" w/james not behind his amps but right up front and guarding his pedal board - I told him folks would be cool and it'd be ok. one cat even gives him bows while kneeling at his feet! hey, there's that gig-goer that's at how many of shows? man, what's his work I wonder? he is die-hard stooge man, much respect. passionate dancer too. hard to know when the end's coming though cuz ig let's one dancer sing some so maybe I cut it off a little short? whatever, the band is together and we make safe landing which means all together - ig digs that and I know what he means - remember the mike bloomfield quote from after the lille gig? a smooth but rockin' "I need somebody" follows - smooth meaning groovin' and smoov so maybe I use wrong word? my life is a buttload of wrong words! aaahh, how I can screw telling things up! "you'd fuck up a two-car cracker funeral" my pop told me. anyway, up right away after is "penetration" and the room pumps w/the beat. it is huge, it is big time, it is massive. this is a big club, 2500 folks packed and it but it's also not so huge to make things/folks connect into one pulse-throb, crimony! "death trip" is a tiny bit stumbled to get into but revs right up quick and slams groove - big respect to scotty-san, big respect. james has been ripping some intense lead guitar too. this is the entire "raw power" album - in a different order but the whole enchilada. damn, is intense! wow. and what's next... a breather? hell no! "cock in my pocket" - ig tells folks "here's a song about my dick" followed w/the tried and true "one, two, fuck you, pricks!" and we're off. it's blasting take on it, scorched stage. there's been some water bottles chucked up on the stage but not much and most times they're pretty empty. ig's got blood on one hand I think from climbing over the barricade - he's already done a stage dive and has been working the crowd right from it a bunch. it's not a huge stage, he's all over the place but then he's like that on big ones too! he asks if he can get a right and we give him "I got a right" again there's that rushed stuff at first but his singing brings the band right together. in james' solo I get up real close to watch his fingers work it. we bring it down before the final choruses and cuz I've been doing prac from that lille gig recording, I make sure not to blow the little clams I did there here (of course they're on other tunes!). ok, ig on all fours next - barking for "I wanna be your dog" and we give it to him. in that tune's bring-down part he tell the peeps "in spain they have the best rhythm" or something to that effect and he's absolutely right about them dancing up a good storm the whole night, even them so bunched up - it ain't a beatdown fest cuz they take care of each other, much respect. right up is the "1970/l.a. blues/night theme/beyond the law" medley and I mean right up w/out a pause... ig's been running this gig tight and relentless - I can fucking dig it though, the momentum is incredible, the avalanche snowballing crazy-wild! it's here though that something bizarre is happening w/my hands, especially the starboard pluckin' one... it's cramping up, a little bit at a time 'till I'm really starting to feel some convulsions by the end of "...law" but luckily the relative calm of "open up and bleed" bass parts in its beginning give me some reprieve... the end part starts picking up though and fuck if my hands starting "clawing up" and the fingers less and less working, becoming dowels. I'm forcing the starboard fingers right into the strings cuz they won't articulate worth a damn. it's gotta be from all the sweating - I've never had it this bad in a gig in a long time. we come off stage and ig asks if I'm ok and I tell him yes - I tell him it's an intense set and he says "yeah!" w/a laugh, it's great. I ain't gonna whine, no way - I'm gonna get it together. I quick go tune up the 'g' string when we get out there cuz it was like a whole step down when I used it in "...bleed" and had to chuck real hard to right it. ig calls out "fun house" and my starboard index finger just won't work so I pluck only w/the middle finger which at least is kind of half working. I go over to show james but I don't think he knows what I'm trying to show him - he must think I'm nuts. I wanna show him though, in case he's wondering why I'm sounding like I'm sounding... I do get through it, not w/the best dynamic but better than total choke. as soon as we get done, I use the drummer riser to squish down on my fingers just like I would stand w/all my weight on a leg if the calf or arch or my foot would cramp. "kill city" kicks in and I'm using my starboard ring finger to plug - now both the index and middle ones won't work! I do manage, I'm very grateful. something trippier: we finish the tune and ig on the mic asks us to "just do the chorus and don't stop" which is great, what a happening idea - the crowd goes insane as ig does his wild dance parade from one side of the stage up front to the other, magnificent! I don't know another word to describe it as I chimp it into the diary now. we settle the exploding boat down w/a boom and the gigs, done - viva!!!
backstage I explain my cramphell to the bandmates and show them the fingers that are still all stiffed-up. tourboss henry explains I need to drink more water and I believe him - will do for next gig. brother steve's writer friend tony joins us and we have great spiel about how we all dug the gig. going home time not too much after, back to the 'tel by midnight. man, I'm whupped and beat - I konk right quick. some challenges but still great gig. I konk happy.
sunday, may 2, 2010 - london, england
saturday morning I pop at eight bells and get my soak in the tub on. whew, some kind of sore bones there in my body sack here, yeah. then downstairs for a repeat of yesterday's shovel: lettuce/tomato wedges w/the vinegar/oive oil alongside fettuccine plus spain-style tortilla w/some spain-style chorizo in a little roll along w/a little salmon/capers - trippy asagohan for watt! back to terminal four of madrid's barajas airport for just after noon time british airways flight for london heathrow one. except for me, my row's empty on two hour boeing 757 flight. I read about giant oil spill off new orleans in gulf of mexico, crimony. maybe worse than the beatdown of katrina in a way? mr obama's called out the army even. it started w/an off-shore derrick exploding, workers going up w/it. terrible. even pelicans will take blows, the oil has no mercy. I feel hard empathy stab in the heart. over here the big blow up is greece's debt, maybe the first forever leak in the euro boat? I'm glad when we land the sun's out but soon even clouds start to choke it out - happy mayday.
the 'tel (novotel lodon west) is a couple blocks from the venue (hmv apollo but used to be hammersmith odeon) which is west side london so it's 'pert-near the shortest ride we can get from heathrow but the traff still makes it about an hour and half to get there. I get a hold of my friend jose who's being camdenized - I wanted him to come over so we could do show but fuck it, I'll go to him and we'll do it from his pad in the angel part of london. to get to where he is now I'll use the underground... I'm a little freaked out cuz I ain't done it in a while but fuck it - I ain't gonna coward out. this 'tel is real close to a station that's actually in a mall - a crapdonald's right near the entrance! the window man says 5.60 pounds for a pass that'll work 'till 4:30 ($1.86/pound now - $1.24/euro) - this town ain't econo! at least it takes only about an hour in riding in some very packed trains instead of a car hellride taking forever. trippy how accurate "tube" is for how the walkways and platforms are, 'pert-near like a kind of blood vessel vibe! jose had actually let me see where I had to get to by using google maps street view so I could actually "see" what he told me - you know that old crap about a picture being worth a thousand words - no shit, sherlock. seeing is believing. even w/it starting to rain on me, I make it 'pert-there but not quite... however - I can't believe it but it's miss kaori! what a mindblow, of all the people. she takes to me where jose is. I am so nervous I take my glasses off and my fucking thumb pushes one of the lenses out and onto to the deck - fuck! thank god she finds it cuz me and jose crawling around couldn't find shit. whew. I do keep a backup pair of glasses in my clothes sack but they're old lame ones. before going to do the radio show, they take me to have a glass of cherry beer (second time I've had - first time was pukkelpop three or four years ago) and she chows potato jacket. trippy. even trippier though is news there is new funanori tunes from her - she wants to do whole album!! whoa. fuck. whoa. much weight for my brain to take. it is huge surprise. whoa. I take tube to angel alone cuz jose has to pedal his bike. at his pad his kyoko made us great chow (salad/rice/shrimps) but is seeing a buddy do gig so we shovel that and then do mayday edition of the watt from pedro show. jose's been guest more than a couple of times now, he's great at it. I find him very interesting. this show is trippy cuz he wants to talk about this band oneone even though he's not in it. I think that's great - so many people are self-promoters, you know? he don't care about that shit, I can dig it. the show goes late though and kyoko returns in time to tell some of her story regarding her journey w/music. it was kind of in two parts where at first she was just being taught piano w/slaps on the hands for clams which made her hate it and bail but returned when she could play first w/her friends (drums) and then w/her jose (bass) for the joy of it - important lesson there, I believe. it's too late for train so I konk there on their couch. it's always happy for me in this pad. great mayday for mike watt this year, incredible mayday!
gig day and I pop at jose/kyoko's at nine bells after five hour konk (yeah, I spieled long time, lo siento) and quickly bail (konked in clothes) to take tube back to 'tel. "4:30" meant 4:30 am so I have to throw four more pounds - aaarrggghhhhh, pretty funny. I get back and hose off in time for an interview w/a nice cat named colin who writes for vice magazine and we go like two hours cuz of his interesting questions - I lost track of time which was baka cuz I have prac w/scotty-san and james review our starts and stops for the set but luckily I just made it and nothings fucked up. we hoof to soundcheck cuz the venue's so close and there's mr slouch w/his double sideways stack of laney nexus bass amps for me to use tonight. james has his three blackrocks which is two halfstacks and an open back combo near scotty for him to use that and not rely totally on monitors (great idea!). this monitor man is a good cat though... however, this room is old old style w/a huge roof and a giant balcony coming out towards the stage, 'pert-near splitting the room in two horizontally. I'm glad the mixing is done on the deck - all the seats have been removed there so that's where the most live folks are gonna be is my guess. actually we played here before - w/ronnie - doing the "fun house" album as a whole - actually it was the very first of this series barry hogan (all tomorrow's parties creator) put together called "don't look back" where cats "re-do" an album from their past. scotty-san has the rat scabies chrome drum kit jos provides when he can. we do a bunch of songs which sound like a din but you gotta consider the "acoustics" (or lack therefore) of the room. folks inside should help and the gig is clean (meaning sold out). I then do a photo thing for mark rutledge (the artist from new zealand) w/his photographer lucy cuz he wants to a painting of me. he did one before but this time it'll be just my face (missing on the other one). I go back to the 'tel and soon arrives brother sam and his little brother ollie - big respect! they took the train from brighton to come see the show. first though up in my room is a spiel for resonance104.4fm w/bipasha - our first cuz spiel ever!
that was some close timing, roadboss eric a couple minutes later does the knock on my hatch (you'd have to know it) and I go w/him and scotty w/liz down to a car but there's not enough room and hell, we're close enough so I hoof myself. I have to say the weather's not like a one in may in my pedro town but I got the yellow jacket on and the bright orange cap. suicide is on now, playing their first album. that's a great album but the sound is kind of well, hard to tell cuz it's like globs of difficult-to-differentiate, especially in the spiel - alan vega paces about w/an unlit cigarette - sometimes going way backstage. still, I can hear good and trippy martin rev keyboard, hypnotic mindbomb carpet flails. I go back to scotty-san, james and brother steve after a few tunes. james practices on his strat unplugged, going down the setlist and I follow along on my unplugged as well. james' wife linda is there and she asks if I am nervous... "yes, I am very nervous." james says I don't have to be and I know that but I would be lying if I said different. I'm stretching out my muscles, really hoping I don't the cramping like I did at the madrid gig. I got the ronnie pin tourboss henry gave me on tonight, right near the john coltrane one but on the pocket flap. I got my passport inside the pocket over my heart. ronnie would tell folks "mike doesn't wanna ever be a man w/out a country" - that was funny... I did tell him that once, I guess to prove to him what a fucking paranoid I am. I got smart when I got a protector wallet for it cuz man, would the gigs soak the shit out of it border guards were very much not into that. finally for the last twenty minutes of waiting it's just us four, then roadboss eric takes up to meet up w/ig... he asks us if we're all here "you're here? you're here?" etcetera... then it's time to go once tourboss henry has the houselights killed and james go out first to get his guitar - I run around him and get my bass from mr slouch - here's a kiss from me to him as the show starts up w/james on the "raw power" riff w/no intro, no waiting - the gig-goer people are hollering crazy-like and everything - everything is go, EVERYTHING GO! GO NOW! ig comes charging out and whups up on the mic and hollers as we get all in and underway - fuck, what a rush on me! but I hold on... looking right up a scotty-san from in front of his starboard crash "we're gonna do this" his lookback tells me. james checks over on the changes - ig's vest is gone in the first verse and he's right there w/the folks, right there and giving them everything. he is not from distance, he is like right in w/them on the emotion and exploding feelings, damn. "search and destroy" w/in seconds of us slamming "...power" up, ig leaping to cap it. woosh, we are definitely at a pace! I look over way stage port - steve on those clave sticks, he's put down the sax (of course!), still getting used to things too excited to do much but focus/pray on working this bass fucking right. man, both these tune like this back-to-back exploding is what ig's plan was, what he told us and he's so right - what an impact, and that's on me as well... the pedro guy wearing black is having his fucking mind blown! I gotta hold on though, gotta keep it together... there's a little pause - ig tells the folks "hello, I can see you all real good... thanks for fucking showing up, thanks for being here..." this is most sincere, I bow deep. ig pours big soul into "gimme danger" - I almost cry but hold on there too, fuck - how? I owe these cats big time, that's why - I better find a "how" then, right? thank god I've been doing lots of prac. thank god scotty-san's drumming helping me be w/him like a steel-driving crew. ahhhh - I was waiting for a flam in the "your pretty face is going to hell" countoff - baka watt! not too far away though, maybe just a cunthair but it's good wakeup call to not space even for a moment - I gotta use everything I have to fight the stumble to space - to fucking blow it! pretty good though - I hear a little clammage from me (or feel it) when james starts to solo but just dig in under him all the more intense - he is yanking his strings intense, whoa. whoa! we careen a little on the landing but bring her on in - man, that was wild... wild! the folks are pumped, ig tells them "c'mere, c'mon - mob this fucking stage... you, get up here - c'mon, people... we need some very special volunteer dancers" and then tells scotty-san to take it and "shake appeal" combines w/the wild stomps of the dancers. they are wild dancers too - hey, derek's girlfriend is up here - so is paul smith (old sonic youth manager), big kiss from him - turn to present cheek just in time... many dudes are holding on to me so I'm trying hard not to clam and at same time have a GOOD TIME w/them. ig's having a wild time, he looks ecstatic! I can see james through a small gap in the crowd - shit, I got nervous and called the ending too quick - ig still had another scat (idiot baka tonto watt) but we do go out tight. ig tells a dancer he was very brave to do what he did while steve blows "lonely sax" all by himself as the stage gets cleared... ig saying "I need somebody, baby" to get us into that next - the creep groove w/him spinning the story-singing conviction kickin' - whoa, again my lame vocabulary and weak writing skills let me down in relating how this is - the huge space up to the roof of this pad is STOOGE SOUND FEELING and we're all swimming in it - bass player too. ig gives the go for james to start up "penetration" in just a beat or two, scotty-san turns the whole room into THE BEAT under the guitar riff, damn! I'm being grout for this tile but you gotta think not of brittle little square but rather fucking molten lava flow. ig's emotin' and dancing, yeah! windup and a beat later lets go three-four hollers of "death trip" w/james doing a button dance w/his feet but he brings us in - I lock in my hardest w/scotty-san, get it solid. brother steve weaving his sax in w/ig - james coming out w/wild soloing - yeah, what a wail! almost a little off the rail - I run over to james and show him where me and scotty-san is - the chaos is great though. I have mentioned stage dive yet but yeah, he has ("your pretty face...") - he does it here too, slamming down the mic and launching off - fuck yeah! damn we did it - the whole album - different order but these are different days, I understand. I roll my sleeves up for the rest of the set. ig tells us not to stop "don't stop!" he implores and then, "one two - fuck you, pricks" - you know what's next "cock in my pocket" and it ain't no pokey version, even after all that blistering we just did. hell no, second wind time! whoa, it's wild. time to slow down? NO - GO FASTER! "life is hard... I need a right - can I get a fucking right - I got a right!" ig testifies and scotty answers him most directly - we cannon-lanuch into "I got a right" and calm the dynamic in the chug after james solos and never the tempo. whoa, a blitz but no rest - next beat has "DOG" hollered w/all his might and that's our cue "I wanna be your dog" w/brother steve having that little synth do that sleighbell trip we all know. I make the notes roll real big w/this tune these days, relentless... I think of ronnie. ig lets the crowd sing the first chorus... he launches himself into the folks before he finishes the second one! wild. we bring it down... ig dogs it on the deck. steve does some sax fill to set it up - ig works the dynamic like a maestro, crimony! but it ain't over - no way! he hollers "1970, baby!" but then tells the house people the lights are too bright in this room, turn em down (there are some big fucking ones on stands behind us - kind of weird, very hot. it's the end part of this tune I feel some cramping coming on my hand - fuck, what's up? "burn my heart" sings ig - I just don't wanna "fall apart" - know what I mean? very emotional for me - we last did this tune here, you know how. james uses the wahwah for the solo WAH! right into "l.a. blues" and it finds my right hand cramped but fuck it - I jam it into the strings and work it from my goddamn wrist. even w/half of the pummeling I'm intending to get out, a put my fucking heart in it - me and brother steve fucking it up under ig as he explains to people: "l.a., baby... I have the l.a. blues. eating shit in the gutter... from million dollar assholes and then I decided 'just say no'" - a slam down of the mic to the deck, he leaves the stage to us machinery operators to do "night theme" - as the tune closes up, I see him there behind steve, frankenstein arms and legs manifesting a trippy scene, great! he darts out for the "soul thing" instrumental once scotty kicks me and him and then as we morph into "beyond the law" heads up the front of the stage - always working port, fore and starboard like he has all night, not to mention all the pit work... man, he must do many miles if you added all the steps, not including all the dancing where it's only up and down w/the grooves and the shakes! fuck! this tune's got great words - hell, I love his words, always have cuz the speak right to me and shake the fuck out my head, my body - it's trippy about that but it's what I feel. whoa. well, I feel cramps too but I ain't gonna let it get me no matter what - it is tough but I just let me fingers be stiff if that's what's up and work it like a manco palsy trip from the wrist. "turn on all the lights, let me see everybody... I wanna fuckin' fly" ig says, "this is a song about... blood" and we finally are at the set's end w/"open up and bleed" - slower tempo (scotty-san holds things back good - no robot drum here) but just as intense - I do get a break on the hand (a little - gotta play for real, no backslider) 'till the end has got it whuppin' up w/ig doing a wild WILDASS worm spaz on the deck, yeah! james wild on the guitar - wahwah wild - crazy screaming leads - I gotta make it happen - fuck this hand cramping shit, I hang on and force the issue - "hand: obey" I tell myself. ig whupps it all up: the sound, the folks, him - damn! we run off and he comes back to brief us. those fucking lights are weird. anyway, he gets us back on after james' feedback trails off... we're back and man, is the crowd cheering him on - he hollers "fun house" so that's what I play and the band jumps on it, whoa nellie! great sax blowin' from brother steve. dancing dancing dancing real o-mind dancing proves ig "I came to play" is not just song word - it is credo, motherfucking credo. I can dig it! my hand somehow gets through, mainly ringfinger doing the plucking though and sometimes some middle. left fretting one's ok. back to the gig: ig asks for lights on again, "...for a minute, we're just gonna have a look at each other" - whoa, it's the first time I really look out into the crowd. I don't have my glasses on - they're in my coat downstairs backstage - it's kind of freaky but I genuinely feel grateful for all the heart the gig-goers have poured into this stuff we're sharing w/them. I bow deep in appreciation. "...this is fuckin' it" ig then yells and we're into "kill city" w/three hats and a flam from scotty-san. some jerky in some accents - we get out together... wait for ig - he says on the mic "...what? what? you know what I want you to do? I want you to think about ramming this fucking chorus up the asshole of everybody here" and then goes "hit me!" which scotty does but it doesn't bring the chorus back in me ig hollering "hit me - do the chorus!" does and I get the bass going w/scotty after james jumps ahead - we're in together! ig yells "yeah... now let's say goodbye nicely!" we vamp while he dances and gets everyone going then he counts us out - screech/crash "oh shit, wait a minute - holy fucking shit!" says ig and does band intros! much respect to him, very kind... he hollers "johanna" - fuck yeah, we blast it solid smokin' - ig belting it out. I clam near the end, after my second set of bass runs (boy, was I palsy for those) - aaarrgghh, my obvious one of the gig - right at the end a fucking d instead of b - aaaaarrrrrrrrgggggghhhhhh... at least I get the four e notes in the finale right. ig then tells the crowd "alright, I'm gonna give you the mic - make some noise w/it" but I no one from the crowd though he handed it out to them... he turns towards us and says to make noise, make a freak out. he then takes of his belt and starts coming for me. I notice the buckle came off (I thought it did) and so I'm thinking that if he's gonna beat me, at least it won't be as bad as it could be. fuck, he had every right w/that stupid clam I blew but instead he just starts beating the stage in front of me... then he grabs a mic (jos has three of them going for every gig) and spiels this over our freeform: "let me tell you the fucking story of this goddamn fuckin' album. we made the album when were little and young and everybody said we were shit and now we're old and we're gonna die but before we die we came and we played the goddamn album, thank you!" and w/that, the gig is done. whoa. I run off but I'm thinking whoa. my body, it's thinking whoa. sure, the fingers are cramped and are sticking straight up but that's only part in my body that's trying to be fascist in me. the rest is just saying FUCKING WHOA.
what a gig, WHAT A FUCKING GIG - YEAH! big congrats to scotty-san, james and brother steve, big BIG ones but I wanna go meet my england friends who came - brother sam and his bro ollie plus jose/kyoko. I go to the stage first though to thank the crew and there's rat scabies, wow. that damned 45 ("new rose") was my england punk record! he's a very nice man. we talk about the drum set scotty-san uses, this chrome ludwig one and he says that yes, the question of ownership is in question - mr slouch is there to verify that! rat scabies also talks to me about my bass, saying he has an old gibson eb-3 and we talk about cats who played them (eb-0 models too) like jack bruce, trevor boulder, (from slade) and andy frazer - yeah, andy frazer... get this, rat tells me they tried to get him on bass in the damned! that's a trip. we go up to where the people are and there's brother sam - big hugs!!! and jose!!!! big ones! whoa... it's miss kaori - she came, wow. huge surprise. jose had asked me yesterday if possible cuz she has go! team prac w/sam the night of the second show and sure enough roadboss eric being the bitchin' dude is for me got that happening but I never back from jose when I emailed him so I thought it was a blow-by but here she is - w/black boshi too! I'm she got to come, my friends here seeing me work this gig for the stooges means so much - I tried very hard VERY HARD - I always do but I felt this one was well, the last time I was here was w/ronnie doing "fun house" and now here I am working his bass lines... I introduce my friends to scotty-san, then brother steve... fuck, I spaced w/james - I got all caught in talking w/my buddies and I was still in the sweaty flannel. I am very emotional. I don't know how but talk comes to dos - they wanna see dos! they holler "when will you bring dos?!" oh, now I remember: all tomorrow's parties boss barry hogan comes by to give me huge hug and I ask him for that december one I'm part of (where I debut my third opera w/my missingmen), if I could have one favor - could I play the same night as deerhoof. "mike watt is too easy" barry says. he's very kind man. he really dug the gig tonight and that makes me really happy. it just a good time for me. I get a dry shirt and we go outside, out front and kevin from my bloody valentine comes by w/his buddy barry. "hey kevin, it's watt" I say and he turns around and comes back to talk. him a scotty did a big jam last week... kevin liked the gig a bunch - I was real curious what he was thinking. I guess my friends when they were younger really loved kevin's band so I introduce them. he's real shy kind of but jose tells me if it was like late 90s he would've be foamin' - my word (I try to help him). I explain "break out the drool buckets" - tough for miss kaori to say "drool" - trippy. I tell everyone if I had my boat (what I tenderly call my ford econoline e-350 van) that I'd give each and every one of them a ride. I hate the idea of them going to get a bus in this cold and I worry about them being safe. actually sam and his bro have missed the train (he was gonna try and get back to brighton) so they're gonna konk w/bipasha at her pad south of the thames. she forgot her phone at my 'tel during the spiel though so they hoof w/me there - I gotta say bye to jose/kyoko and miss kaori - she tells me again the new funanori is coming - which I still in a way can't fucking believe... that is a mindblow, I can't wait.
I had beers in a sack so me and sam drink one and spiel some before they must bail. I hose off and lie on the deck w/blankie, just wondering for the longest time 'till konk somehow takes me.
monday, may 3, 2010 - london, england
pop at nine bells cuz that was some night for me... many emotions for mike watt! that cramping stuff coming up on me too - I gotta find some solution to that, gotta. my te (hands) are pretty swelled up and kind of hurting, I eat two ibuprofin and then head down to the trough for the free shovel. it's england style so it's greasy friend eggs made circular like being cooked from a form, greasy ham-style bacon, greasy sausages, greasy fried tomato halves, greasy hashbrown (fake) "modual" and toast I actually toast myself. oh yeah, there's mushrooms and baked beans that ain't as greasy, sorry. I shovel all this down cuz I ain't gonna chow again today. I go back up to my eighthfloor chamber and hose off, chimping diary after 'till a konk takes me and I wake up w/a waffle-grill imprint cuz I konked w/my face on the keyboard. some self-applied bitchslaps loosen most of that up. I go hoof for a bit, under the "flyover" which means so highway overpass - I pass some very modern office building design called "the ark" that's been for sale for as long as I think I've seen it cuz it was built all fucked up and tons of probs, that's what folks have told me. actually, there ain't a whole lot of anything out here - we're out well to the west of what's known to outsiders like me as london and plus it's pretty windy and cold even if sometimes the sun comes out a little. "happy may" england tells me. I am happy though. the last two days brought me each huge surprise blowing my mind so fuck if I'm gonna start whining about the weather. baka mike.
no soundcheck today for tonight. also, I'm feeling a little bit less pressure - not that I have to try my very hardest every single stooges gig (my hardcore belief) but for some reason it was a little more freakout for me at last night's gig. we didn't get debriefed from ig last night but there was very good reviews in the town's newspapers about his performance so I'm hoping he was happy - I thought he did so great. actually I always do: every fucking gig I've done w/the stooges I've found things to really dig about him and I don't feel his part of the gig is about some kind of exactness unless that exactness is level of his commitment which I find to be total and so much "inspire" exploded onto me - I feel like how miss kaori wrote me about last night's gig: "I was jumping on tears" - like that, like the liberation of emotion upon me being on aboard a mission w/him (a gig) - "a direct connection between the heart and the experience" I wrote her back trying to explain. I think that's why I try so hard to be part of what scotty-san and james are bringing from their histories - of course brother steve too, I am trying to be glue for them - for THE SOUND, to make it move for ig, to be his springboard and somehow at the same time an anchor too. I know it's still at kind of dangerous place and we're kareening at times but we have kept the rudder in the water for the most part. I have to admit it amazes me sometimes but we have so far - this is the eighth gig altogether into it. anyway, we get up the stairs from the dressing room and ig meets in the hall right before the stage to see if we're all here, if we're all ready... we're ready - we go!
same pad (packed and hollering too) as the last gig but it's the second night: james revs up "raw power" w/his guitar while I run and get my bass from mr slouch... scotty-san two-bar rolls me in w/him - the gig is on! we hit it hard and fast. the place is as live as last night and everyone hollering. whoa. problem is... NO BASS ON STAGE! terrible, I'm fucking miming it. ha! I turn up some volume on the laneys... I look over to derek and give him the desperation sign, the one that means I'M FUCKING MIMING IT! he gets the monitor man on it while mr slouch set's up that little laney w/the one fifteen inch speaker and aims it right at me from the side of the big laney stack. viola! bass on stage now! I am very grateful. "search and destroy" next and I won't pluck too fucking hard cuz I can't hear my self. this monitor man does real good though - and mr slouching moving that little amp in at me like he did too. thank you both, thank you. we're up then w/"gimme danger," tonight's like last night except I'm doing something different - I've drank a bottle of gatorade and have another one on the drummer riser that I'm gonna take sips out of starting halfway through the gig cuz I really don't wanna get cramps in my hands again. I kind of missed the one on "your pretty face is going to hell" - maybe I was waiting for a flam from scotty-san that never came but fuck, that shouldn't make a difference anyway? I mean "1-2-3-4" and "1-2-3-flam" are the same thing, right? I get the rest together though, I make damn sure... fucking baka watt. w/tonight's "shake appeal" I get enough patience together to let ig do all the singing he needs before calling the coda - finally. it's not like a clam or anything but man, have I been kind of cutting him off some in that spot. the dancers are quite good fun, something else to see them go at it. big respect! guitar change for james (he uses a capo for the next two) and then a smacking "I need somebody" thumps from us. mercy. pumps out next is "penetration" which is pure and simple cloudsplitter, holy moses. I ain't just saying that cuz I'm working part of it but cuz it engulfs and swarms me - I have to try real REAL HARD to hold on. bam! james gets right into "death trip" w/out a hitch, him twisting down the volume instead of hitting mute pedals before heaving off the capo. great job. massing slam groove from scotty-san, absolute! whoa... well, there's the album but ig pauses 'pert-near nothing before starting the set's second part but the beginning we do is fouled and he re-starts, "cock in my pocket" needs a restart so ig again gives it to us. we rock that one home hard and a good beginning to "I got a right" though a little sliding in the second verse but hey, rudder stayed in the water. I said nothing about stage dives!? baka mike. ig's already did some (starting w/"your pretty face...") - he does another for "I wanna be your dog" - boy, these pants sure hang lower than the other ones but am I wrong? ig likes to breath from not just mouth/nose. we do the "1970/l.a. blues/night theme/beyond the law" melody. no cramps in "l.a. blues" or anything else, that sports drink shit is working! some chucks a glass at me that smashes on the deck - maybe it wasn't at me but it came near. that was weird, not very happening. I think I even mouthed "fuck you" the way it came flying from. anyway, we do these four songs together smoov, great to behold for me - to get them right and they really roll between driving and crazy and beauty and driving to 'pert-near epic real good - I can dig it. I keep it together too - more sips from the gatorade and so far no cramping, great! we finish w/an "open up and bleed" that has a very VERY intense ig deck dance for its finish, crimony! I mean this was wild, me and scotty just winding it up and up... fuck, I run off and knock james' guitar from its stand but thank god the headstock doesn't snap when it hits the deck - a miracle for a gibson-style (remember, it's a brian michael and not a gibson) guitar like that. whew! I still feel like the fucking big-time baka tonto I am though. we come back out for "fun house" - ig telling everyone thanks for coming and my hand is real good w/no cramps - I think I've found a solution for the problem, I am grateful. it's a rocking "fun house" and then "kill city" - w/that vamp ending but this time we come in pretty good on flam one-count from scotty-san, yeah! part two of "raw power" at hammersmith is two for two!
tonight I am too sore really to talk much, not from cramps but just playing my heart out though I do see debbie (bass from my bloody valentine) and speak w/her a little before going outside and back to the 'tel - she is good people. I go outside and whoa, no one - just wet/cold london night air at eleven bells... some people w/german accents come up to me so I talk w/them. I got my sweaty black flannel in my sack w/some beers but I'm wearing my sweaty black levis - sweated all the way down and it's kind of cold on me, even w/the yellow jacket and bright orange knit hat... I don't wanna be rude though so I talk w/them - one has wrote me before (hiyori) and the man has seen me work many stooges gigs... they're very nice, from hamburg. my brain is slow though and maybe kind of 'tard talk coming from me. a london lady comes by to talk a little too, she had brought her daughter tonight and had to stand in back, saying being up front the night before was much different. I can imagine how the balcony people felt it (ig pointed up there at the end and asked "would some of you rich people do a dive from up there?!"). I tell you on stage it was a trip. I understand about her having to make it safe for her little one though.
I hoof to the 'tel in time not totally have a keel-over befall me, get out of the soaked outfit and konk right quick.
friday, may 7, 2010 - minehead, england
tuesday I pop at eight and after hosing off, go straight to the free trough to shovel 'pert-near what I did yesterday morning but this time found some tobasco to empty the bottle on the pile of grease filler and starch before inhaling it. I am going to see brother sam in his brighton town and record for our cuz part II! at ten bells I bail for the hammersmith underground (in the broadway fucking mall!) w/both my 'puter and clothes sacks. I take district line to victoria station and get the train for brighton - both trips total to almost twentysix pounds ($48 u.s.) but it's worth it cuz hell, it's brother sam! victoria to brighton is fifty minutes - then I take a cab... I'm at brighton electric ten after noon. sam's got everything set up 'pert-near w/this time us downstairs instead of upstairs like twentytwo months ago for cuz I and also amps more separated. bossman ian's great to let us use BOTH go! team drum sets and also VERY RIGHTEOUS for me it jamie-san lending his csl jazz bass (70s japanese copy) which is one of the best basses I've recorded w/ever, I mean ever. I putting his bass through a mark bass amp again going to a svt cab, a big condenser and a sm-57 each micing a speaker plus a direct signal. I love the sound sam got on the bass last time, love it! a big BIG difference though this time it ain't just brother sam w/the crazyman old punk rocker - I asked if his old buddies could join in - his buddy vin from luxx joins us today as well as sam's little brother ollie - sixteen years old! a great young cat named joe is gonna engineer for us. it's taking a little more time to finish setup so in the back I prac eigo ("english language" in japanese) w/eiko-san w/the hatch open. damn, the sun's out but it's windy and cold... hmm - springtime here? we get in lots of good jams - see the main cuz proj concept was inspired in me by the way the band sam plays in (the go! team) gets their records made w/their bossman ian using samples of stuff from all over to make trippy kind of "collages" the band cats play alongside. well, in me and sam's case, we're being our own samples to builds tunes on - pro tools lets this be pretty doable, especially w/the graphic ways the samples can be represented and then stitched and situated. sam's done a great job w/the first album and it's 'pert-near done but we had this opportunity for number II so that's why we made this happen. all he needs is an interesting happening to build upon stuff so though it takes a lot of time to list back to all the stuff that gets recorded, it's a much different ay to traditional song composition and creation. we go about to nine and then knock off cuz sam's got work in the morning - he brings music to cats in little towns, a doubledecker tour bus full of music stuff/intstruments to get kids interested and inspired. the go! team's album ain't coming 'till january so he's got the time/need/etc. I understand and love his mission anyway. me and his buddies vin and danny will go at tomorrow but tonight I don't actually let konk that early cuz beer/whiskey-fueled windbagging but we have a great time anyway. a romania lady buddy of one of the ladies living here who's in a play
wednesday I pop at eight again from a couch in sam's living room - he's in the same pad above the funeral services co-op I was at last time that he shares w/great flat mates like fanny from italy and marion from france and of course iain (of hamilton yarns) from here in england. I take sam's bicycle south 'pert-near to the brighton pier, to a studio in a cellar for radio reverb spiel - pretty much a major bagging of wind to paul and liz for an hour live for their breakfast show and then another two to hard disk for paul's "on the mex" show in two weeks. he's from the old days and can relate a lot to my punk history (like his own!) and he just loves the stooges and wants here what I can tell him. liz is kind of alien to the old scene but is interested in the crazy stories and what she sees as their implications. they're both very kind. I remember where brighton electric is and pedaled there by bike to meet danny and vin but the old neve board is putting out big buzz even though joe, another brighton electric cat and even the pad's bossman himself james (very cool people) try their hardest but it's just no go. sam joins us when his work is done to get the lame news but I tell everyone it's ok cuz these things happen - look at fucking eyjafjallajokull! we'll roll w/it, no prob. we got lots of good stuff yesterday and tomorrow we can get more. a tech's coming to get everything ready for then. things happen the way they're supposed to happen for a reason, it seems. I try not to push things or feel down about something like this, I try to understand it in philosophical terms... having a fucking fit wouldn't change anything anyway! me and sam w/his two oldest buddies have a couple of beers and talk up some good spiel not far from sam's pad and then go get thai chow to bring back and shovel. thai chow - that reminds me, I got word from miss peak in bangkok some thug tried to grab her purse-sack but she socked him out w/a right hook (she is mma learner) - glad she's safe. she said it nothing to do w/the riots there - oh, speaking of politics.... there's an election and maybe new prime minister here in england tomorrow... danny gets more history lesson from baka watt at sam's pad before having to bail and me myself konk. the windbag actually does somehow run out of steam. oh, brother sam gave me the most righteous book: a collection of robert burns poetry that 186 fucking years old - the age of the book! the poetry inside is timeless.
thursday has us get over to brighton electric pretty early for our last recordings but first sam whups me a greta omelette along w/salad. he's got some chillies and tobasco too. good sam-cooked chow. we pedal on up to lewes road (kind of scary, pedaling for me here or london but fuck it) and then get going - everything's fixed good and danny's here to join us, both on guitar and this trippy homebrew analog synth he built that looks like an old phone switchboard. we get lots recorded. around noon sam phones shige (also known as dj scotch egg) - he's in the same building upstairs! aahh! he comes down w/his synth and drummerman eda and we have this one wail that's 'pert-near an hour long! maji yabai! w/an hour left (I gotta bail at four pm), iain gets over so we can him on guitar and danny and sam both on drums and then danny on that synth again (he was switching all over) - we go for some real fast stuff but maybe we should've done that first? yeah, now that we think of it! the idea is to get sam a wide variety of possibilities for the sound palette to chose from when he gives birth to the song aka-chans. they don't have to be long bits - that's the trip about this adventure in sound. it is fucking trippy. it's good fun though and everyone did great. I'm sure sam's got lots to work w/and then also, there's stuff left from twentytwo months ago! but this session was righteous. and there's the connect w/his old buds, I'm glad I could somehow be a part of that. big BIG HUGE RESPECT for brother sam! again there's sun and for little times, a little warmth but lots it's wet cold and wind. I actually went over four to four-twenty but a nice cab man got me to the train station ok (sam already got my ticket - only sixteen pounds!)... trippy how he was saying stuff about ig and some insurance commercial - hmm... maybe ig's in one here? I give sam the hugest hug before I bailed. I love him. altogether, the train ride is three and half hours but most of it is to westbury and from there I have to change to the one going to taunton - I did it, I didn't fuck up! lucky baka watt. at the brighton train station, I got a pasty for chow - just to try it out. it was fucking lame, 'pert-near all dough and crust w/a couple of tiny bits of meat in a bland-ass gravy, just terrible and I couldn't even choke down half. I get to taunton and roadboss eric's right there w/a rent-a-car (he needs it for the drive back to heathrow tomorrow after the gig), the train was actually one minute early! he takes me on the winding a road to minehead, about twentytwo miles away. good to see him again, great. I love how the stooges guys trust me to do these projs and never put their gigs in jeopardy. I'd never let that happen and that's why I'm here the night before and instead of the day of to reassure them. eric takes me to the tesco and we do some shopping. since these little chalets have kitchenettes, I find these two things of india lamb and singapore noodles (two for five pounds) that I can cook up and a three pound bottle of wine (from france!) w/a screw-on top I can wash it down w/as I share good catch-up spiel w/brother steve. I am way tuckered though and can't hold up for much - by ten bells I'm sacked out on the tiny living room deck and konked.
gig day and I popped at ten - FUCK! that's twelve hours of fucking konk for me, that never happens to baka mike. hmm... must've been WAY fucking deep into sleep dept. whew. anyway, I hose down in the little shower here and make my way to the chow pad at tommy's holiday camp (what brother steve calls it) - actually it's butlin's and is trippy soak pad for parents I guess to take their kids and have them go on rides and stuff, kind of get-out-of-town for maybe not the riches people but like I said, you could see how it's kind of soak pad. maybe the older ones started out as vacation places for like working people - someone told me that about the camber sands one (pontin's) where the all tomorrow's parties first were at (this gig we're doing tonight is part of the all tomorrow's parties curated by matt groening). the shovel is england sausage and bacon ham on egg on roll but I also do some pocket sandwich w/chorizo (spain style), salami, cheese on baguette - they have a "continental" table in this "coral bay" restaurant. the families are clearing out for the three day atp stand. it's soon to be full of not-as-young kids who most definitely won't be there w/their parents! I hear from max the election is a "hung parliment" so no one got a clear majority but the tories did get the most. I guess labor can thank gordon brown but then that clown tony blair was before him! now it's tory clown time but w/horse trading? I don't know much about england political soap opera - fuck, I barely know ours... all the image shit. I go chimp diary while steve heads to laundromat to remedy yesterday's blowout he had - no, we do that AFTER the two pm soundcheck. yeah, that's right. I talk to derek about this fourteenth fret on the d string and the problems I'm having w/it. I wanna show him I trust him w/my machine so I asked him what he thought after last gig. I guess I worded things like and idiot and had to apologize - wanted to apologize cuz I like him much but he showed me how raising the action will not help this fret right in front of that 'e' note one. I'll use the one on the a string instead in the meantime. ok, now I go to chimp in me and steve's chalet but get all my stuff ready for the move before the gig cuz I wanna be done here. at seven and a half I head on over to the more bonus chalets (meeting on the way for a minute atp boss barry hogan - big hugs and this show's curator matt groening) where james and scotty-san have been brought to from the 'tel they were at. the chalet me and brother steve shared are a little less "substantial" but that don't mean much - I guess there's no fake fireplace in the living room and things are a little better but for me and steve it was fine - more room for more of us in this one, makes sense. I don't have my bass here but all the recording w/brother sam got me fingers good... I could really tell at soundcheck. on stage time is eight and a half which is great cuz we got a three hour plus hellride after to get to heathrow - that's how far west minehead is from the london area. I give my camera over to scotty-san's daughter leanna to give it another shot - I handed her the camera for the second hammersmith gig but she didn't enable the flash and they all turned out suckass but not her fault cuz like a baka I never hipped her to the flash way of this canon camera (sx110), my fault. I'm wearing outfit from the madrid gig! yeah, stenched but a week after the gig, dry. look, I'm gonna sweat this flannel/levi in few tunes anyway so I'm just not getting too near the other guys out of respect/compassion for them. ig had come in earlier to brief us - even asked if "five foot one" was an option... I was into it! anyway, he's feeling better cuz a cold was on him - he actually got it before the first hammersmith one. he's given us a different setlist for tonight than the last two gigs. you know we're in the chalets I was in three and half years ago - not the same exact one cuz I think I'd remember that but you know jose + kyoko, my friends who live in the angel part of london? it was one of these chalets I met them at. trippy. I space on putting on my ronnie pin AGAIN, good thing I got a picture of him on my bass.
I don't know why I don't get it together w/my coltrane pin cuz I'm always wearing one of those - got a new batch from raul before I left - did I mention that? clyde's the driverman - he's driven us many times in england, a really good cat. he's gotta the hellride later but now he's just gonna drive us a couple hundred yards or something to the building w/like eight big connected tents for a roof, called the pavilion stage. there's a little curtain-and-pole tent room stage starboard and we wait there a few minutes - I drink some lucazade (england version of gatorade? tastes more terrible) and we're up on stage, ready to come on right from a slit in the curtain just port of center. james out, scotty out, steve out - finally watt out and I gotta dodge some but there's jos w/my bass, I'm in and on... "raw power" out of james' guitar and the gig is on - pow! whoa, jos set the bass amps (mr slouch's laneys) strong! the stage sound for everyone is real good, the crowd is w/us right from the first note. at least twice I know I clammed the first note of the lick flat - what a moron! "kill city" next and james' turn for some clam - playing the intro for verse two four times instead of three but ig comes over bass-side of the stage and sings to what I'm playing - I ran over to james so we could both get together (actually, it wasn't 'till after the gig when james told me that I realized that maybe it wasn't me that clammed!). now it's my turn again! I totally space on the first part of "search and destroy" and though I'm in the right chords, it's not sharp and sure for a few bars - the soil, the shame! ig don't look back though but that don't mean I don't feel like a fucking idiot. I double up my focus big time and play the rest of the tune correct. same for the next one "gimme danger" but I'm a little afraid to tell ig scotty put his stick through his snare head... when he was coming back to end "...destroy" I saw him mouth "get out of my way" and thought I was fucking up yet again... I gotta tell him though cuz he'll call for the tune and not realize the snare prob and that might lead to bigger nightmare so... I come up right up to him and say the snare's got a hole and he turns back to the jos getting a ludwig of his to replace scotty-san's favorite (a yamaha) and then calls for someone from the crowd to help us out - a young man who says he's mike from bristol has a camera and ig tells him to snap shots and thanks him for "helping the band through a very difficult moment" - we're back in the race quick and whup up "...danger" real good and strong (finally the vest comes off too.. whoa never seen it last for three songs!) before kicking out a way blastin'-rockin' "cock in my pocket" before again asking for volunteers - mike from bristol by now left but a wave of wanna-dance gig-goers gets onstage w/us - hey there's rob! man, how many stooges gigs has this cat been to? love him big time, what a champ! new zealander mark rutledge the painterman is up on stage too, yeah! the dancing is wild for "shake appeal" just crazy wild but I keep it together on the bass. I've gotten used to the form ig likes too and end it good like second hammersmith... man, sometimes I think I'm the slowest fucking learner ever. band intros before "1970" - he calls me "the minuteman" and I am very grateful to him, very grateful. hell, he could call me "the dumbshit" and I would be still very grateful, actually. we roar this baby out and crash it up into "l.a. blues" - ig actually says the title while we freak, james switching guitar. I've always put in some crazy quotes of a little "giant steps" in my spazzing here, my heartfelt trib to mr coltrane via the stooges - fucking very much whole-lot-of right on! "night them" into "skull thing" (sic) then finally "beyond the law" - yes, return of the clam in the first part of the last verse for the fuckhead on bass but not too huge but huge enough for me to reach up and grab my brainstem from the outdoor and shake some goddamn sense into me. I bear down for "johanna" and get it right - the band does a very strong take and ig sings it so great. he had a spiel right ahead of it that said something about this being a very tough experience on him, about the lady in this tune but he got the song. yeah! he then asks if he can get a right? scotty brings in "I got a right" and we're off, a banzai run big time! the closer "I wanna be your dog" follows - w/out stage dives but then ig ain't done one all night. first time since last november's sao paulo since I think I've witnessed that. we run off stage (I make sure not to hit james guitar by carrying w/me my bass) an ig calls for us to do "fun house" and then "death trip" w/a lot of "big long leads" from james and steve. in "fun house" he calls for the bass to come down and the guitar up - I bring down the bass right away w/a twist on the onboard volume knob. he says "this song is for james brown" and does great dancing - even for the techs in the wings of stage port to dance it up - he show them how, shows them how to "shake some ass" as he puts it. man, is he tearing up a storm w/his moves. big respect to mister brown, for sure! "death trip" right up quick next and it's roaring from both barrels cuz scotty-san's been rustling up the "poundarosa" all night and he ain't about to quit now. this ain't no tippy-tap from him. I'm trippin' though on the leads not being really longer than usual but man, they are real good, blistering. things calm up for "open up and bleed" on a tempo level but not an emotional one, ig says it's a tune about "young blood" which kind of is a trip cuz some lady up on her buddy's (boyfriend's?) shoulders is lifting her shirt - I'm staring at the back of ig's head but she's right beyond that so it's hard to avoid seeing her "gig" while keeping focus on ig - I look back more at scotty-san than usual. we whup it good and fast for the end, finally wiping out the end riff under james' feedbacking guitar in it's stand (he's bailed) but then ig call us back for more and has scotty-san flam us in a rave-up of the "kill city" chorus vamp, eventually counting us out and ending the gig. a very good one, very good!
I see the built to spill guys and talk w/them a bit - I'll walk back to the chalet, I already told tourboss henry before we left to work this show. from idaho (boise), they're good cats and did a good set. big respect to their boss doug. I was talking earlier to one of the guitarists, brett - he had a band called toxic resin I took on tour once w/one of my trios. two young cats wanna take their picture w/me... I detect an accent - yeah, fratelli - they're from sardenia! I hoof back to the chalet in just my sweaty outfit, no coat - baka watt. not too cold though... either that or I'm all heated up from the gig. I get back quick as I can, don't wanna get sick. inside the chalet, everybody's happy - the guys and their ladies... right away james wants to talk w/me about clamming "kill city" - he's laughing good. I thought the gig was a great way to end this tour leg. I ask tourboss henry about maybe ig wanting to sign painterman mark rutledge's "raw power" album cover and a drawing he did himself of ig - he says I should go over to ig's chalet (next door) and ask myself - whoa... ok. I ain't got my shirt on (too wet) but fuck it, I go over there and explain what I have and would it be ok? he says sure. "thank you much, ig" I tell him and again apologize for being too loud there at the end (I also did right when we got done and was getting ready to encore) but again he says it was maybe just a setting or something and it was just then and the gig was still fun. I tell him I always ALWAYS take direction and didn't mean to bogart. I go back to the chalet and shower, then getting on my going-home outfit. actually it's only clean levis cuz there's no clean chonies (the soap machine at the laundromat by brighton electric studio took my money and was empty) and this big gray flannel I wore flying over did get washed in the sink by me getting to madrid so that's what I get into, freeballing it. I drink maybe more than a couple peroni beers.
we bail just after eleven pm, following the winding a-road east 'till we finally get to an m one where we get going fast but still, it's like three hours and then some. clyde's a great driver though plus a great cat, scotty-san's up front w/him and their talking about trippy stuff. I'm back in luck pierre mode next to james and the ladies. I only have to fill one piss bottle and it's under the jacket and being polite plus everyone's pretty much konked after a while. we get to a sheraton hotel at heathrow and my flight's at 11:35 am but I can't really konk too deep cuz I'm paranoid of overkonking - it's a weird twilight kind of thing. I take the shuttle over, check in good and early but it's to no avail cuz that eyjafjallajokull volcano in iceland is spouting again and it's three hours before I get a gate and then we sit in the plane for two more hours before we're allowed to take off in this 'pert-near all-the-way packed 777. we couldn't go straight to lax in so cal either, nope - too long for the crew (we flew first towards norway and then turned to before bergen to pass north of scotland and then iceland - trippy how we flew just miles from that island but avoided the southeasterly plume) so we had to go to chicago to switch them out for fresher ones plus get some more fuel. we land at eight pm chicago time - the immigration officer tells me we were the last plane out when he goes to check my pass port - we both laugh. I call my sister melinda and tell her the same plane is getting serviced and going out at quarter after ten, arriving at lax quarter after midnight. now she usually calls to check the flight status but this time she just headed out to the carl's junior parking lot to wait... and waited AND WAITED, etc. that was at 2:45 pm - sorry, min! (min is what I call her usually) I feel bad for her - well, at least I cleared customs early - she ain't gonna have to wait on that. it's one and a half when I tell her I'm at the curb (that's why she got me a leash - she got tired of making fucking loops at the airport) and soon she's bringing me back to the pedro town we both live in - two bells AM! twentysix hours since I took that shuttle from the 'tel to heathrow! hey, at least I made it in time for mother's day... I get to chow w/my ma and min soon as taiyo starts hiking up into the sky. right now I konk on my own deck like RIGHT NOW, ok? and in case I may of confused the issue, let me say this was a fucking great trip - yatta!
this page created 13 apr 10