May 2002. "The Met Cafe", Providence, RI.
From "the tour diary":
monday, may 13, 2002 - providence, ri
woke up very well rested in vivek and tracey's pad in the sky. their turtle rex was staring at me out of his aquarium home, and I stared back at him wondering what he was really thinking. this was to be my last week of the tour so I was starting to feel a little melancholy (lights go down, violins play in background). as much as I miss lil the kill and the kids, I going to very much miss being in tour mode and playing w/watt and jer. at this point in the tour we've become a pretty well oiled machine and the shows have become much less scary and quite a bit tighter. hopefully things will fall into place when I get back and I'll be able to do the tour in the fall (it'll be a big step for me but I am forever the optimist).
vivek walks us back down to street level and we leg it on over to the lot where we parked the boat. watt pays the damage ($28.00!). we bid goodbye to and thank him and we're off towards providence. the sky is very dull and gray and the rainy weather hasn't let up yet (it's been with us since north carolina). we get out of manhattan relatively easy and I try to take some snaps as we go down FDR drive but there's too much rain and haziness to take anything remotely viewable. I am excited as I'm going to meet joe d. (aka joe depasquale) for the first time. mike's been telling us about him the whole trip and he sounds like an interesting cat. joe d. worked for the mayor, buddy ciani, who is being brought up on corruption charges and all kinds of other shit, it's front page news up here and it looks like they're going to put this cat away for a long time (they've got video of him and some of his crew accepting bribes. they called it "bringing the pizza and soda"). joe is also running for town council in providence (it's his fourth try).
we pull up to the pad around 3:00 (a place called the met cafe). parking is really scarce but we found a spot about a block away from the club, the only downside being that we would have to leg all the tools a good distance to the club in the rain (though it wasn't raining too hard at this point). nobody was at the club yet and we had about two hours til' loadin so me and jer went in search of some chow. we find a little deli right down the street from the pad called nick's, I order a tuna sandwich while jer orders some gluttenous item. the chow was very good. we finish eating and just then it starts to pour outside (buckets) so we dwcide to go back to the boat. as we near our spot we notice a big tourbus and trailer parked in front of this old theater that is a couple of doors down from the met, looks like there was another band playing right next to us so of course we had to go check it out. there were some cats that looked like crew members standing outside so jer asked them what band it was. "monster magnet" the cat replies. the guys name was ben and he was on the magnet crew. the place they were playing is called lupe's and is connected to the met and owned by the same cats only it's bigger. we watch as the cats load out all of the tools. those guys had so much equipment it was amazing! jer goes into the pad to ask if we can park behind the tour bus as there is a large space blocked off and our equipment will get drenched in the rain. the cat (I think he worked for lupo's) tells jer "no, I guess you're shit out of luck as we have another tourbus coming." well thanks for helping out the little guy you fucking putz, (fwiw, the cats on the monster magnet crew cool to us). watt goes to talk to someone inside and gets the same speil, only this guy tells him "well you know man, big band, big bus, little band, little bus, whatever. one of the crew cats says we can park the boat in back of the bus to unload, but we have to move it again. watt decides against this as we would probobly end up losing our coveted space and end up having to park much farther away. the downpour lets up a little but it's still coming down pretty good but we opt to do the load-in anyway. we get about half the tools into the pad when it starts coming down like niagara falls. me and watt make a run for it and jump in the back of the boat and shut the hatch. after about five minutes there is a slight respite in the downpour (it's still coming down but not so agro). we finish the loadin and set up the tools on stage after which the soundman (john) shows up. the monster magnet's lighting guy shows up to take a peek and rap w/watt and gives him a cd of his own band. the cat (tim is his name) is really cool and asks us what time we're going on. "11:00," watt replies. "well doesn't that eat a bag of dicks" he replies (monster magnet is going on at the same time). he said he and a bunch of his crew mant to come in an check it out if they can. watt says "sure, no problem." some of the crew come in to hear our soundcheck and applaud approvingly when we're done. me and jer are hungry so we go in search of some chow. jer wanted to go to this small sushi place but it was closed, so we find a little cuban joint next door. the chow is very kind and we munch happily. we head on back to the pad and once again it is pouring so we run in quickly. monster magnet is in the midst of their soundcheck and we check it out for a while. not really anything to pique our interest so we go back into the met. jer goes to chimp diary on his puter while I sit in the dressing room chimping in longhand. cobra does their soundcheck and they sound very good. I continue my chimping as I am way behind.
I hear cobra start the set and stop my chimping. I decide to lay my head back and give 'em a listen. they are raging as always and the crowd is extemely raging. I peek outside the door and the place is packed! I can't believe it. monday nite, pouring rain and these cats brave the elemants to see the show. much respect to all of you. the cobra's do their last song so I go to wake up the chief. I inforrm him (as jerry informed me) that there are twice as many people at our show as there is at monster magnets' (I felt bad for them and the road crew having to do all that work for naught but somebody on their crew definitely tossed some bad karma our way and it came back to 'em). the chief is incredulous but shares my feelings about the bad karma thing.
mike does the segueway into the first song and my rig takes a dump once again. shit! I yell for mike to stop and start to do a spiel while I try to get the machine going again. after about five minutes I am successful and we continue with the set. the crowd is very understanding about the glitch and they give us much love and enthusiasm during the set. to compound my nervousness about my rig, john the singer of cobra verde has issued us a challenge; we have to do a spiel about the tour in croatian (watt tells me to say something about what I learned on my first tour; sage advice he calls it). I am really nervous about it but watt tells me it'll be a great character builder so I can't possibly back down. after we do the "big bang theory" watt stops us and tells me to do the spiel. I'm furiously thinking about what to say so I calm myself down and give a little preface to the crowd in english and then continue in croatian, first thing I say I learned is not to drink any bottles of yellow liquid in the boat, second, never ake the captain before he's suppposed to be awakened, third, the answer my friend is not blowin in the wind, and fourth and more important (I said this in english also), is that all over the country, no matter where we've been, people are pretty much the same. there are the good, and there are the bad. I think the people dug on it very much and I'm glad I did it (mike liked it too). the remainder of the show went off without any glitches and I felt really good about the gig (accept for the rain). joe d. came up and introduced himself and introduced me to "mahk" (mark) whose pad we were crashing at. joe d. and his crew helped us load up the boat and we steam off to "mahk's." I'm a little wired up still so I read some of the tour diaries on the hoot page until the sandman hits, after which I konk. hard. laku noc sviraci...
I awake in the room vivek set up for us and hop in the shower. very nice pad he has. inherited from his parents a few years ago, now shared w/tracy. I enjoy the view of the city from the corner windows and pet murf the kitty a little. I grab my goods and vevek walks us down to the boat. I nap a hot cocoa from a street vender and catch up at the parking lot. we thank vevek and shove off towards conn.. good timing for a depart and no traffic problems getting out of the city. ny can be nightmare at any time. once clear of the metro area the country side changes to a more rural surrounding. I rest some as we pass into conn.. the state's get smaller in new england so crossing 'em becomes a shorter journey. in no time rhode island comes into view. I watch as pete has difficulties w/directs as usual. the downtown area fortunately is small and the met is found w/just a couple turns. parking here is lame and mike get lucky w/a spot on the same street. someone put up some barriers in front of the club not allowing anyone to park. it's now raining and I see the writing on the wall. gear soak! before loadin pete and myself grab a bite at the deli on the corner. cheap sands. and a dry place to kick for a while. we return to throw the gear and a tour bus is parked in front of the lupo (club next door). we go to examine the deal. monster magnet is playing the big room tonight and I watch as they discharge the piles of equipment. some guy named ben talks some and is bummed that he has to work the merch. for the magnet and can't see our show. a good 1/2 hour goes by and still the gear is being unloaded. I use the door to enter the met from the side. looks a little different from the show of last time. more space for the peoples. searching out an employee of the joint I inquire about parking the boat in front of the club. there's a couple dudes claiming the status and have no trouble telling me I'm "shit out of luck." the rain falls harder. we get the gear and huff it in the downpour. I'm soaked, pete soaked, mike soaked, gear soaked! after all the stuff is in the boss man arrives and informs us that we could have parked in front and the pions don't know their dick from their ass. I towel my drums and get the set up on. the cobras show and have the same soak issues. w/the check concluded I tell pete of a good sushi pad a block and we dash in the rain to chow. of course today's the only day of the week their closed and we opt for a cuban diner next door. it's cheaper and not bad so no complaints. I decide to chimp at the bar tonight and get inspiration from the rock.
I told by mike prior to our set that a local cat named ted will be jamming w/us on two wire songs from the jom and terry show set. pete doesn't know 'em so it's a three piece jam. I'm kinda scared playing 'cause the last time through I had a tough gig. kel was in town and I had some focus problems. this one I'm gonna be on the ball. things roll good and only a small hiccup on bursted man. the set ends and for the encore mike brings up ted. he starts the tune and its much slower than we ever did it. I try to adjust and end up speeding the tune along. mike yells and hisses to slow back to ted pace. I'm so used to doing it faster it's kinda autotron. w/the second tune I stay on the beat and it keeps together. thanks ted for doing a good job. pete returns and the shows finished. I kick and rap w/sean of prov. the kind fellow who put us up last time. he informs me we can't stay at his pad any more 'cause mike smoked so many cigs in the house the smell lingered for 4 days. the wife didn't dig that one t'all. joe depasquale comes to say hi and I meet his pal mark (were staying w/him). joe promises to take us to breakfast in the morning at some grease spoon.
w/mark in the boat we shove off to the crash pad of the night. on the road out of town the rain starts falling hard and visibility diminishes to near blinding levels. mike takes it slow and we navigate off the highway safely. mark's pad in sight we park and I grab my shit fast as not to get totally soaked loitering outside. I'm offered a couch in a separate room and mark hooks me up w/an electric blanket. warm and cozy I will be. I rap a few minutes w/kel and make sure all is well w/her return. her ma was a no show at the house for mothers day and she's feeling a bit lonely. I cheer her up and give her my best reassurance speech. a strong girl she is and it'll take a lot more than a flaky episode to knock my lady down. be good sweetie. I now lay me down to sleep.
pop and say hi to murphy the orange cat. he seems tongue-tied. he loves the fingers raking him soft on the back though. I look out the window - whoa, what a drop - straight down! watt's got vertigo and it spooks me, even w/the glass there. what a view though looking straight out, it's towards brooklyn and I'm transfixed for a while, just thinking and thinking - nothing on purpose but just letting things naturally come to me. my head gets warm, gets airy. I hose off and then roust my guys so we can bail early, easier to make the escape from new york city. while they ready, I see the ny times on the table and there's an article on hindu nationalists in india. vivek's family's from india though most live in guiana now. I ask him what he knows about this. he's not that informed, he's been back there only once. I tell him about our name, the minutemen and one reason we picked it in the old days. there was this group of rightwing militant types called the minutemen in the sixties who threatened those who they thought weren't "american enough." we thought if there was another group w/the same name, people would get confused (obviously, we had a much different message) and that would dilute their nonsense. d. boon said those minutemen were reactionary and using the quote, "all reactionaries are paper tigers," he thought it was funny for us to be called that. funnier even, the punk band we started more than a year before the minutemen was in fact, called the reactionaries. it was for the same reason: to get people to challenge labels, messages, slogans, ideologies - all that kind of conflict. d. boon had a knack w/that sort of thing. I had a list of all these band names and he picked both of those from it - god, were most of them the silliest in the world. I'm can be pretty silly even when I think I'm so serious. I lose perspective and the outside gets a big laugh on my insides. d. boon had a good sense at taking on conflict in the social sense. damn, I wish he could've helped me w/the ones raging in my head. in a way, he did by helping me learn to express myself and force me to make myself more clear. d. boon always wanted a clear-headed watt and couldn't fathom why I would get things all so tangled up inside. he said I was too stuffed w/stress, that's why it showed in my music, my words and my way of interacting. he said I had my own industry of it in me - it's own economy, politics and religion w/it. d. boon was always very honest w/me. I loved him so for that, among other things. I could always count on d. boon not to shit me or pull punches when it came to how he felt about me. at the same time, he put so much confidence in me. I could never be scared being next to d. boon. well, the fear me be there at the chamber door, knocking away but he helped give me the strength to fight it. aahhh, I go on and on about him - god, how I leaned on that man...
we hoof back to the lot where the boat is - whoa, twentyeight bucks to park over night! at least the boat was safe so it's worth it. this is an expensive town anyway so it shouldn't be that much a surprise. it used to be nineteen dollars in the lot behind jimbo's on canal but those days are over, he moved to the northeast corner of manhattan, washington heights. he's getting married in august. things change, that's the only thing constant it seems. we say bye to vivek and his partner jim (they run a site called www.starpolish.com) and we shove off towards fdr drive, the fastest way north or south on the east side of manhattan. gray, gray skies and soon rain causing big chops in the east river. we drive by the united nations building but can't see it cuz of the cement overhang above the freeway. we go by roosevelt island and see the abandoned insane asylum on the southern part. I have a good laugh inside likening it to the state of things inside my head. we hit the triborough bridge and leave manhattan. bye-bye. I ask pete to man the barbie purse (ibook) and use the mapping software to help keep me true to our course. I've plotted a route through the bruckner expressway to I-95 which will take us through connecticut and into rhode island. he can't find it. I get uptight and keep telling him to look for the gray - look for the gray, the hatches. this flusters him. what's actually up is I'm using fucked up language to try to communicate him something in my head. the route is delineated by a pattern of crosshatch marks superimposed upon the roads involved but my words offer little help cuz they're confusing. I have to keep my attention on the wheel and can't really physically point it out to him so I get more and more like a nut trying to explain something that he can't see corresponding to what's on the screen. aaaaarrrrrgggghhhhhh... jer finally saves the day by using his finger to show pete what I'm trying to mean. sorry, pete. what a fucking idiot, watt. aahh, I'm mad at myself for being such a bozo. right away, doors start to open and pete sees exactly what's going on. we're all together now. fuck, am I drama queen. surely not the stuff those born to lead are made of. I will say we do get quite a laugh out of it all when calm comes. I sure have a good crew. my mental state is for sure not so hidden to them. they are quite generous and forgiving gentlemen. no construction and relatively light traffic make for an easy glide into connecticut. I usually bypass this way for a northern bypass through the series of parkways where trucks aren't allowed by today we're in luck on the major corridor. not so lucky w/the weather, rain is coming down and gets heavier as we go east. we pass through stamford, new haven and new london - not able to see shit except the road ahead. pete gets a big bottle of gatorade out of the cooler. always, I write "no drink" on vessels used for holding piss but I must've spaced on this one - why else would've someone put it in the cooler. pete holds the jug up to the light. if this is gatorade, what flavor is this? sentiment at the bottom holds a clue. I tell pete to fuck that shit, I don't think it's gatorade. aahh, idiot watt - I can't space on the label thing again. jer finds a big bottle of hydrogen peroxide that has "contains piss" written on the label. I remembered writing on that one right away cuz the danger posed by it not being a clear bottle. jer just then finds another unlabled vessel, a one quart soup thing. there's a spoon in it and it's only half full. I know for sure that's piss cuz that it's probably the yat gaw soup from I chowed in asbury park, now kidney filtered. I grab my marker and write "no sips" on it. my guys laugh pretty hard at all this. we try to have a good time on tour. you can see how it brings out the little boy in one. like perry once told me, "mike, keep the child's eye." jer pops one of those tins of hot sauce 'dines that jumbones gave us and chows me w/them on some blue corn chips. thanks, jer. pete's busy catching up w/chimping. cuz of some bug in jer's 'puter, he's writing by hand in a composition book that danny's bro mike gave him. jer had to work hard to recover some days he lost. fucking machines. oh well, we're working hard to keep these tour spiels coming!
we pull into downtown providence and the rain's really coming down now and it's fucking cold. may thirteenth my ass - it's like november! another reason for coming early was so pete could check his shit out and try to find out what's going on and correct it. there's a big tour bus and trailers and shit bogarting most the curb. we're at the met cafe tonight and it's connected to lupo's heartbreak hotel, the place for I guess what you would call "the real rock bands." some dick tells us to park where we can, that's the way it is for acts who play the met cafe - in his words, "you're shit out of luck." ok, so we gotta load the gear through the fucking driving rain. so we do - no big deal, I guess. after years of shit like that, you get used to it. I've learned to laugh it off. the big rock band crew is quite nice though. the light man, tim, comes over to say hi and talk w/me - he's just read steve blush's "american hardcore" which has a bunch of quotes from me in it. he gives me a cd of his band, the ribeye brothers too. he wants to watch us play but the band he's working for (the big rock one) goes on at the same time. this bums him out and he tells me in a heavy jersey voice, "don't that eat a bag full of dicks?" totally, tim - you're a good man. the drum tech comes by and gives me his band's cd, lord sterling - he was gonna play w/me at the saint in asbury park but this tour came up (all these cats are from the jersey shore). the merchandise cat buys a shirt from me. I was gonna give tim a dos cd but he already had it so I give it to the merch man. they all take a picture w/me. all very cool peeps. so much different from a manager guy who confronts me and says "can I help you" in a very unfriendly tone - I was just trying to give these guys stickers of the boat. I tell him I'm playing next door and some nice man vouches for me. I've had trouble being the right looking person w/some of the big rock people. you know, "big band, big man - little band, little man" and that sort of thing. people who know who I am by what I do though get another perspective though, and much respect to them for the open hearts.
I get some corn chowder and a salad down the block. after a quick sound check w/john, it's to the boat to chimp diary and konk. god damn is it cold, I have two blankies on me to weather it. the drops pound the boat up good. it does calm some cuz the writing puts me in quite a state. a good stress relief though, I konk like that once I'm done. pete comes gets me when it's gig time.
I missed the verdes. I did get to talk w/john a bit when they got here. he's a newspaper writer too and wants to do a story on flannels some time. he likes what I know about them. he really wants me to record and record. I do too, it's been weird these last years - taking so long to make records. I'm going to get back to my minutemen roots and record every seven or eight months like we used to. can't believe I've gotten like I have. a weird phase in my musical life. I have bee touring like crazy though, that's a good thing. I just gotta make records like I used to. seems like I've fallen into a routine that involes us, me and the tour life, as a couple and not remembering to include each of us as individuals. this is a problem. we're so connected, there's no time for records! it's become quite overwhelming. I gotta get things back in the right perspective. shit, I've had enough experience w/it. this is something I'm gonna work really hard on. I've got such great teams to work w/in my life: the secondmen, the jom & terry show, the pair of pliers and the black gang. all mike watt bands that have cats I all very much love - all w/their own distinct voice and personality. I've got tons of music to do w/all of them. I love touring too - don't get me wrong. my love is always getting twisted up w/me, seems almost par. look at this, suddenly I'm questioning what I'm doing and where I'm going! first order of business: this gig, then this tour, then the sickness record... tonight's gig is where I must get to now.
the first part is kind of tough. for one thing, pete's organ fails right after I do my intro! oh no! he gets things going again quick though. whew... wonder what's up. I can tell he's very frustrated by this. hang on, pete. another thing is my guys keep jumping the gun on parts and that kind of cuts into the drama that sharpness accentuates. these parts are straight time anyway and they should wait for me, not to sound like a dictator or something but this will make things pop out better. this happens when material gets a little too familiar. I have to admit I fucked some words also, losing a little nerve too but nothing like brooklyn or manhattan. it's ok though cuz we start getting it much together by the third tune. after "the big bang theory," I have pete spiel to the folks. after sound check, I asked him to come up w/a spiel where he talks in serbo-croatian sage advice he's learned here on his first tour. I ask him about gettin from pedro to cleveland and dealing w/all the different people and towns. he speaks of watching what you drink from in the boat and that he's found people are people, no matter where you go and that's a righteous thing. great spiel, pete. the people really dig it. it's a good set, even w/the shaky start and these providence folks are very kind and good in spirit. very happening. encore time and we bring on ted, a local cat who asked me if he could bring his guitar and do a couple of wire songs. he starts off "ex-lion tamer" at the tempo it is on the original album but by the chorus, jer is speeding it way up. damn. I don't want to make it look like we're trying to steamroll ted. I'm kind of mad at jer - me and him are supposed to be a fucking rhythm section and listen to each other but I can tell it's more from him being scared and not confident about the tune. his hands kind of cramped up again too, it was a hard set for him. "three girl rhumba" is much better. thanks, ted. we bring pete back on and do what we usually do for the encore. I'm happy w/how the show went overall. much congrats to my men.
I sling much, the folks are quite kind. more thanks to me for chimping diary - wow, that's kind of a mindblow. you're very welcome. it seems all like so much self-therapy for me, hard to figure that folks can relate to what I'm rattling off. jer's and pete's are quite good though. joe d is here and gives me some flannel-lined jeans, like the ones his boy sonny has. thank you much, mister joe d! his bud mark is here too and invites us to konk at his pad. I go to settle the show and the lady tells me we had more people at our show than the big rock band - what?! damn. that's a trip. we have to load out in some real rain, what a nightmare. mark rides w/us and the sky is coming down in buckets - I gotta take it slow on the freeway and have the flashers on. I mean it's a fucking torrent. we make it to his pad in nearby warren safe though. it's that same pad I stayed in when I had the pliers w/me. what a time we had that night - the cat who just lived there was deported back to portugal and joe d was very driven to point out certain things in a video that got found there. it was hilarious. we have some good laughs remembering that night. it's a great way to konk.