Included below are Mike Watt’s unedited blog comments about the journey up from San Pedro heading towards Northern California that day and a clip of him performing a Lou Reed cover with Tom Watson and Jerry Trebotic at Old Ironsides in Sacramento
“We make good time and pull in front of the (Bottom Of The Hill in San Francisco) just before six. there’s a sign in the window saying the show’s cancelled. this has happened before but for different reasons. I started a fIREHOSE tour in the fall of 1989 w/the first gig here at the i-beam and this huge earthquake hit. The whole city was blacked out ‘cept for this huge fire in the marina part. We, in fact, drove over the epicenter of the quake in Watsonville while it happened (for some reason we went the san jose route, us-152 instead of just I-5 up to I-580 – maybe cuz it was the world series where there was two bay area teams, the giants and athletics, one of the games was going on that day) and didn’t even feel it cuz of the winding road! the phone and power lines were sure wagging between the telephone poles though! we thought it was weird no wind was buffeting the boat – like “what’s moving those?”! man, have I been so stupid on tour sometimes, looking back. probably will continue that tradition despite my intentions.
oh well, we’ll try to make this gig up at the end of tour, after Tempe. I dig playing this town but understand about having to roll w/the blows. Tomorrow, we’ll start the tour in Sacramento.
The next morning I gotta get the shirts that were supposed to be waiting for me at the club last night. Kenny’s got the tv on and it’s an endless loop of yesterday’s hell w/his commentary. He points out significant stuff. It doesn’t lift the heaviness off of my heart though. I call jimbo in nyc and he’s ok, thank good. emails from thurston and lee too – great. After that, we’re off to “brother in-laws #2 on divisadero for the best ribs I’ve ever had. I dig this pad. we get another happening parking place, whoa! down the street used to be the african orthodox church of saint john coltrane but it’s gone now.
we head east out of town over the bay bridge towards sacramento, where we play tonight. it’s actually the first gig of the tour now. we blow by the right turn-off and have to loop – the first one of the tour. we make it eventually to the pad for tonight’s show, _old ironsides_, right by the capitol. yet another perfect place to park – lucky number three. it’s a real old pad, from at least the 30s. the soundman, larry, is a nice cat. the boss, brian, comes by after soundcheck and it’s good to see him. he’s an old friend. then it’s time to konk – I am emotionally frayed to the bare wire. my first konk this tour in the boat. I shave right before – I’m shaving this tour, by the way. just want to.
I’m out for like three hours and miss my friends, _bargain music_ open. damn. so good to see them cats. I produced their first record. they’re from long beach, near pedro. good folks – josh, jeff, phil and new man zippy. I miss _hella_ too – tom and jer said they were great – a two-piece from this town. I was just so beat though and want to play my best. sorry to all of you.
jer rouses me right before it’s our time and I head for the stage from the boat. I’m wearing these dark sun glasses when I play in respect for all the loss of the nightmare from yesterday morning. we start the gig and I’m just crying a river, I can’t help it – the feelings are so overwhelming on me. I don’t say much, I want the music to speak. I know I’m tiny but I just want to up the love and balance all the hate that’s going down now. like john coltrane said, “my goal is to uplift people.” maybe it’s because I feel so inferior and it would be so easy to pick-up on some self-righteous revenge tip – even if it might seem justified – I know it would be just an overcompensation for those small feelings I have of myself. I can let that win out. I can’t let the bitterness worms burrow their way into the holes of my heart. I must keep them flushed w/warm blood of love feelings and not let my heart grow hard and leathery. such a small feeling I have of myself. I want my little bass to talk for me and nurture some kind of goodness.
my guys play great. I blow bunches of clams, damn I gotta get it togther. I try to focus but my eyes are so welled-up w/crying. thank god for the glasses. this would surely not inspire anyone. the last thing I want is pity. I want to put out the feeling of hope and possibility. this all might sound funny coming from an old punk rocker but this is the place where life has brought me. all fortythree years add up to this. I’m a mess but at least I have for this moment the little bass in my hand and the spirit of john coltrane to learn from. like that song he has called “alabama” about those four little girls getting bombed in that church in the 60s. such a man – a real man. and those eyes, so much love in those eyes… tom and jer and help buoy me w/their playing. I get more composed and join together w/them. we have good flow, one song into the other like one big piece. the folks have us back for more and then that’s it – the first gig of the tour done. I’m just glad I made it though it – this was really tough. sometimes I feel I’m a reed blowing in the wind, a hostage of the wind and unable to find my center. I don’t have that much confidence these days, I feel quite fragile. I’ve been praying much, analyzing everything about myself. this really underlines doubts about myself and thank god I have the momentum of the years behind me to keep me rolling. I don’t feel very strong now.
I sling shirts and these righteous posters rr made for me from a raymond pettibon drawing. by the way, he just had a big show in london where he showed the movie we made this july on jim morrison, “red tide rising: venice or mars.” I was so embarrassed to do that but I would do anything for raymond, I love him so. he’s taught me and inspired me in so many ways – what remarkable luck and fortune to have him in my life. yas says hi and gives me some salsa from an uncle’s “secret recipe.” thank you! one thing that’s kind of creepy is some cat harassing my while I’m slinging – he’s says he’s doing it from love by it’s a total torment trip. he’s had a bunch of beers and keeps telling me he’s coming from love but damn, it’s getting too much. I think this is a reaction to consumer culture in a weird way. it’s not like it’s even conscious to him, I think. any of us. it’s reacting w/out thinking – a perfect target for marketing. I feel bad about this. I would think I would be the last person someone would want to gush on. I feel more like a trippy uncle. one cat, an older guy who has me sign his blue oyster cult record wants me to write “death to afghanistan” but I say no and instead write “love to afghanistan.” he says it’s ok. I think he knows what I mean.
I say bye to brian and the bargain guys – we’ll see them again in lawrence. concepcion, an old friend from pedro invites to stay w/her and husband mario. they live here now. she goes back to the minutemen days and knew d. boon. it’s great hearing her talk about her adventures back then w/him in them. I am so beat and want to just be out, just like that. on the deck, by the couch, I stake my claim. after the sunlamp-like lights are extinguished, sleepytown comes quick to end this first gig night of tour.
Check out Lil’ Mike’s Randomly Revelating History Tour of San Francisco Sites On Google Maps