"A Turkey Trot to the Sound of Tuna"

Big Black Final Tour Diary
By Steve Albini


Friday July 17 -- Chicago

I should know by now that when things start out bad, they usually stay that way. A month ago, when we booked the last shows we will ever play, it all looked pretty simple. We were only dealing with "the best" people. Huge guarantees, reputable promoters, nice venues, etc. Now, the day we leave for the last three weeks of our existence, two of these "best" people eat my shit, and our paying U.S. gigs have been reduced to two.

Losing the L.A. show should have come as little surprise, given that it meant dealing with people in L.A. -- a class only one notch above sea cucumbers in the brains department. Everyone we spoke to said, "if you play in L.A., do it with Gary Tovar or you'll be dealing with flakes." Jesus, if that guy is on the ball compared to anybody else, we're in pretty tough shape. Saw the place off.

Tovar bid five grand, so we gave him one of our shows, sent him a contract and that was the last we heard from him for three weeks. The day before the deposit was due, I began a series of daily phone calls to him each one ending with his promise to call me back "tonight" with final word on which venue the show would be at. Turns out that the guy who runs the Variety Arts Center, where we were originally booked to play, thinks we're a bunch of racists and won't let us play there. Why he thinks this, I have no idea. Ultimately, this iron-clad guaranteed five grand gig gets turned into a $2,500 gig at some smaller dive, so I told him to eat shit. Boy is he irritating to talk to. He sounds like one of your back-of-the-bus-types from sixth grade doing a Tommy Chong impersonation.

I won't know for certain until Monday whether or not the N.Y. promoter is a shitlicking liar, but that's the way it looks now. It also looks like his six grand N.Y. gig has already evaporated. That's $11,000.00 we blew this week, and it's much too late to book any replacement dates. Not with a bang but a whimper.

Anyway, I haven't slept in two days, my mind is snapping and I've still got to figure out how to cover the lost $3,000.00 of the N.Y. promoter's missing deposit. Oh, and to fly to Germany. Oh, and work twelve hours at the straight gig. Christ I hate my job lately.


Saturday July 18 -- Hamburg, Gdr

Jeanette, the nutty German rock chick is doing the German shows, and is quite obviously trying to make up for the botch job she did last year. The hall we're playing is on the Reeperbahn: way-cool sleaze strip. Huge gaudy sex shops everywhere. They have many issues of Seventeen, this unbelievably twisted pubescents-fucking-like-weasels mag I first saw in Holland, and they have special Seventeen presents Teenager Action mags, which feature even younger couples in extended fuckoramas.

Jaded as I am, I can't help but flip seeing a girl and guy of twelve or thirteen, tops, ramming Martel bottles up each other's asses. These are not the Dutch equivalent of abused trailer-park kids, either. They look to be in excellent health and seem to be honestly enjoying this. Makes all the conventional arguments against this kind of thing seem really silly. They're kids. Kids like to play with their own and other people's privates. They're just being photographed at it. Now, people who get a voyeuristic charge out of watching them, like me, I guess, well, we've got some grip-on-reality problems.

There's maybe 1% of all pornography that has any effect on me, and it's definitely not a turn-on very often. But when it is, and it's as weird as this, it's pretty hard to take. Best and most hilarious knocked-up-and-horny- type future mom books I've seen. Hilarious pre-op TV/TS booty raunch too. Also saw one of the few authentic-dyke hardcore dildo/whole arm/tongue fuck bitch-on-bitch films I've seen. Two obviously into-it little butch foxes really going at it. Glad to see ya, gals, post-gig party is at my pad.

Did an interview at a mind-bogglingly-well-equipped radio station. Must have been well over a million bucks worth of gear. Hope we get to visit die kontakt keller, sort of an underground cement flea market of hookers in an old parking garage. The booths consists of shower curtains and drains. Oughta be wild.


Sunday July 19 -- Bochum, Gdr

We're traveling with Jake and Theo, two guys we met and liked last year. Traveling is such a breeze here. You can go down the highway at 100 mph, and nobody cares. You actually get passed at that speed (by balding ex-Nazis in Porsches, just like in the U.S.).

Yeah, the underground sex cafe was pretty great. I got a pretty attractive blonde named Myra ("Mee-rah") and headed upstairs. Boy, what a perverse little industry. All the rooms (stalls) were done up like little schoolgirls' bedrooms. Stuffed animals. Horsey bedspreads and cupie dolls. Once the door closed Myra wasted no time letting me know she wanted more dough. "Buy me a drink. It's ten marks." "Give me two marks for the condom." "Give me four marks for some cigarettes." Then it was down to business. "Take off your clothes. Sit on the bed, put on this condom and make yourself to stiffen." Geez, you buy the broad a drink, some smokes, pay for your own rubber, drop twenty-five bucks on her and she won't even pump you up. I know girls in my neighborhood who'll drop their drawers for a phone call.

Before we could start fucking (if you can call it that) she had to take a break to ask for more money. Since she had seen me give my wallet to Riley (one of the two non-participants in our party), she could only take the tough titty when I said, "Yo baby, I'm flat bus', can't you gimme some on credit?" "It's very good when I make some suck, then fuck. Don't you want it? It's only fifty marks extra." She kept her hand over her pussy, so I had to pork between her fingers. "To see the fuck it's ten marks extra." And she wouldn't lift her ass off the mattress. "If I make like so, it will be more marks." So my pelvis kept grinding into hers. I managed to blow a load how, I don't know, since it was nothing at all like fucking, and even a mediocre fuck can leave me unmoved. Worth it for weirdness value.

Post-gig

Christ, I just met the most beautiful woman I've ever seen in my life. She does an independent music show in Munich, broadcast all over Bavaria, which is apparently pretty big (Bavaria, I mean). God, she was incredible. Before I die, I will fuck her. While I am, she will moan Mozart. Plenty of tech. problems at the gig, otherwise okay. Huge aryan humpers from the p.a. company, one of them looked like Pat Byrne's brother the prizefighter. May be his evil twin.

400 people at the gig. Why are we popular here? What's the fucking deal? Is it novelty value or do these people actually know what's going on?


Monday July 20 -- Bremen, Gdr

Traveling here we saw much of Central Wisconsin, complete with cows and farmers in plaid jackets. I half expected to see Mike Gerald somewhere. We are playing at the Schlatchoff, a converted slaughterhouse. It still has the carcass trolleys in the ceiling. We played there last year and the food was just horrible. A huge cauldron with about three inches of lentil poop in the bottom, covered by three inches of red grease. They called it chili. I said, "That's not funny." This time the fare is cabbage, potato and beef stew, in the same pot, being carried by the same fat German-equivalent-of Candy Samples.

We can stall any frantic Kraut who barges into the room by yammering, "Ja ja ja" at him, no matter what he says. It works every time.

The opening act tonight, Three Long German Words I Don't Understand, were an amusing mix of emulations. One song Sonic Youth, one song Laibach, one song Swans. They smoked a lot of dope. The bass player from Gore was around. I liked them when we played with them last year. Weird but potent little drummer. Theo engineered their new LP. I've been talking to Dave, the NME journalist, who doesn't have much of a handle on things yet. There's a lot of America in us, and that still seems to evade people over here. Tomorrow we play this big Belgian festival with Sonic Youth, Wire, Mitzi Ebb and the fucking Fuzztones. How did they get in there? Asswipes.


Tuesday July 21 -- Leopoldsburg, Belgium

There are two types of Europeans: the nice ones and the French. In Belgium, people speak French, Dutch or Flemish. There are two types of Belgians: the nice ones and the ones who speak French. We get no sound check, play at 1:30 p.m. and go on before the Fuzztones. All of this is the work of the obviously-French-speaking stage manager. We keep hearing this radio commercial for "Schmakles", a dog treat. Why aren't there great product names like "Schmakles" in the U.S.?


Wednesday July 22 -- Enroute To Amsterdam

My twenty-fifth birthday. The Pukkul Pop Festival was yesterday. "Pukkul" means pimple. Feeling pretty old. The Festival was way too weird. Nazi Ebb were playing by the time we arrived. Shitty little homo disco outfit. Their rumps looked so sweet in those jodhpurs. The drummer farthest from us had a comical little boner for most of the set. We played, broke some stuff, got a good response. All that. Nutty Belgians were hurling sod by the end. Sonic Youth were pretty mediocre, which I've never seen before. They're usually either shit-hot or really dire. Womanizer Moore borrowed my red guitar for "I Wanna Fuck Your Dog". Later Kim gave me mud-splatted panties and I cotton crowned Paul Smith with them.

Spent a long bit talking to Colin Newman, Graham Lewis and Bruce Gilbert, who are really swell, unpretentious fellows. They all like Big Black, which is kinda weird, but satisfying. Saw their whole set from backstage and was unexpectedly impressed. Without the hi-tech production of that LP, they sounded like a tight, intricate, simplistic rock unit. They played five new songs as well. Honest to Pete, it was swell. By the time they started, rain had turned the field into a mud pit, and some drunken crazed Belgies were doing wild bellyflops into it. They were hurling mud and sod at the stage non-stop. Wire were non-plussed, to their credit. Seeing those scrawny, drunken Belks, I was reminded of those repulsive beer-swimming basement parties in college. These Beegers, however, were covered, hair to toenail, in black mud and took great delight in charging into the unsoiled crowd to drag people into the mud. Cool.

The Mission played and were comical. The wind blew their smoke away, and the drunken Bleegs pelted them with mud, prompting the lead homo to whine (as he stamped off the stage), "Listen, I washed my hair just for you, and I wore my best shirt. This is how you treat us?" Which should have been answered with another tubful of Beegois mud, but wasn't. We stole two cases of beer from them, and I pissed on their amps in the truck. By the time Toots and the Maytals segued from "Country Road" (yes, the John Denver song) to "Monkey Man", I had to leave. Sonic Youth were too pussy-like to play poker with us, so I spent $250 on the phone trying to square the N.Y. show. That guy Broadbeeck gives me the willies. Tonight we play the Paradiso, which is a massive ex-synagogue w/way hap stained glass.

Bought a stiletto for Corey and ben-wa balls (larger set than last time).


Thursday July 23 -- Enroute To London & Newport, Wales

Paradiso gig way violent. At some point, Kim threw a pair of leopard spot panties onstage for me. At end, I was whacking the two front rows on the bean with the black sled, and on a particularly violent whack, fell in and landed on my head. I kept chasing people around, all 400 Amsterdinians, ramming them with the guitar, and before long people were bending over toward me, offering their heads for whacking. Amazing what smoking dope all the time does for you. The bouncers hauled me out, handed me my guitar, and (of course) I jumped back in, smashing around violently. By the time I was retrieved again the house lights had come up.

I have no idea what made me do that. Just looking at these vacant, stoned Hollandeers, all hip as hell, made me feel disgusted and weak. I wanted to pound them into the floor like nails. Knock those "knowing" grins off their ignorant beans. These people don't know shit. They don't understand the literal meaning, so how can they possibly get anything implicit? Good thing we're breaking up or I'd start carrying a gun.

Tonight we play Newport. Met a friend of Cluck's in the airport. Cute little cracker babe. Nice to talk to another American. Paul has printed these enormous (4'x8') posters promoting the gigs. Imposing, to say the least, to see your face three feet tall on a wall in London. Ate hearty pub chow and drank my ritual half pint of beer. The beer is so different from American beer, it's like comparing cream to skim milk. I could see myself actually becoming a drinking man over here. Last time we were here, I drank a whole pint and threw up the next morning. Macho. We are playing with the Membranes, whose records I've always liked. Met John Robb last year in Manchester seemed like a really good guy, but impossible to understand when drunk. He went on for about twenty minutes, but all I could glean was that he liked Gerard, liked the set, and has to bandage his fingers too. Man, I could use some pussy. No shit.


Friday July 24 -- London

Newport gig was weird. We played in a civic center, sort of like a giant YMCA. Swimming pool, weight room, ballroom, bar, the works. We played in a banquet room, which was about three times larger than necessary for the audience we'd draw. The people there were enthusiastic, but bent. Weird, drunken, death-obsessed women who wanted to fuck us, but were too clogged in the brain to tell who we were. We spent all day there at the YMCA, and Dave decided it would be a great opportunity to shower-up in the men's locker room. As soon as he got undressed, some weird old Benny Hill sidekick poked him in the ass with a cane and said, "Aye, laddy. Ye cannae be naked in here. Pooot yerrrr clothes on boy." What a country.

The Membranes played, and were really a mess. A pointless, scrabbly mess. Even songs of theirs I really like sounded like a ninth-rate Bogshed cover band. I was in a vile mood, so I had no fun during our set. Some asshole had xeroxed hundreds of 8x10 photos of me and littered the place with them. Then some giant Welsh pervert picked me up on his shoulders in the middle of a song and started bonking my head into a lamp. A lot like Byron's wedding, without Suzy Rust's exquisite pussy juice on my philtrum. Audience hatred reached a new plateau.

I am now quite happy to be breaking up. Things getting much too big and uncontrollable. All along we've wanted to keep our hands on everything, so nothing happened that we didn't want to. With international multi- format/multi-territorial shit, that's proving elusive. I prefer to cut it off rather than have it turn into another Gross Rock Spectacle. Speaking of Gross Rock Spectacles, tonight's gig at Hammersmith Clarendon is sold out already. It's being videotaped and twenty-four-tracked. "Posterity," says Paul. "Possible money-grubbing bootleg," says I, suspiciously. We'll see. At least we're not playing with Nibble Ebb again. Noel, who's been driving us around in UK, will be playing with his band AC Temple. There have been rumors of a "special guest appearance" tonight. We'll see if they mean it.


Saturday July 25 -- London & Enroute To Manchester

IF I DIE RIGHT NOW, IT WILL ALL HAVE BEEN WORTH IT. Bruce Gilbert and Graham Lewis came onstage with us and played an encore of "Heartbeat" that was actually pretty good in spots. It was awful in spots too, but heck -- you do stuff like this only once, so you better get what you can out of it. Like the Sonic/Iggy thing. Maybe that was great, maybe not. They did it, though, which is a step up from not having done it.

The set proper was pretty raucous as well. Ended up grinding the guitar on a few pop children with vertical walls of hair. Some anti-vivisectionist or something spent the whole set splashing red paint on me. At first I thought I was bleeding, which isn't unusual, except that the blood on my shirt was sort of magenta-colored. Then I saw somebody with a bottle. Dope smoker I'll bet. Security-types were hauling heat casualties across the stage to medic-types outside all night. After the set, I took off for the cracker babe's place. Lizards need an external heat source at all times.

Last time we played in Manchester, it was at a tiny little homo bar called the Archway, where all the artwork was very male, if you get me. Spacious toilet stalls, however. Queerdom has its benefits. The same promoter is doing this show. He's nice, but looks a little frail. The club is pretty small (300 people) and people have been traveling to see all the shows, so there is no doubt going to be a serious squeeze factor, with a lot of people turned away. At the London gig 1300 got in, but there were 300 people turned away, including people on the guest list who had traveled from Scotland. Oh yeah, the Fall came, but were turned away, as were the Gun Club. I'd like to arrange it so the Gun Club never get in. Anywhere. There's a one-trick has-been outfit for ya.

On the highway to Manchester they have these weird little shopping centers every hundred miles or so, and people visit them by the thousands. They're like giant Ho Jo's with Walgreen's stuck onto them. Paul says we're supposed to "rampage" in them in rock band style. I would rather try to figure out what flavor this pink liquid called "Tizer" is. It's like a green river or something, but pink. Red, really. Red River? Hey, Suzanne -- just how big is Epic Soundtrack's plunger? We've heard conflicting stories.


Sunday July 26 -- Leeds

Manchester was a violently hot sweatbox with no ventilation. The crowd was sardine-style. Lots of disgruntled people turned away. After two minutes onstage, all of us were running wet with sweat. We took our shirts off for the first time ever. There was no other way. It was all any of us could do to keep from collapsing. About four or five audience members collapsed and had to be taken away. After the set, Dave wrung out his shirt and, no shit, a pint of water poured out. Our fingers looked like we'd all been in a hot bath for an hour. I hope it's not like that tonight. Pete "Hookdick" Hook from New Order came and admired Dave's bass playing. Or maybe he admired Dave... it's happened before. Some drunken Scot was blithering a lot backstage about how we are the new Husker Dû. Shit. I'd shoot myself first. Or maybe jump off a bridge.

The gig tonight is in a college, but thankfully not a college-sponsored students-only jive. At least nobody will get turned away. We're playing with a lousy mess of a band, the Unbelievables, and a Velvet Undergroundish band called the Dustmice or Dustballs or Dustweasels or something. They have a real dish for a guitar player. She's got that emaciated no-tits, near-dead look I go for in a big way. Using the patented Nate Kato five-step tit measurement scheme (tots, tits, boobs, jugs and dugs), she has tits, I would say. Definitely not tots, as you could see a quite active wiggling going on when she played guitar, but there was no real heft to them, so they wouldn't qualify as boobs. That bizarre leather nazi bitch in Hamburg, however, she had dugs. One of them had a pimple on it the size of a regular person's boob. We're talking "D" for "droopy", "U" for "ogly", "G" for "giant", "S" for "squeaks like a balloon" -- DUGS. While I was trying to avoid talking to her, her thumbnail-sized bra cup gave up the ghost and this whole, complete, drug- addled, blue-plate special-sized nipple jounced out into the world. She was oblivious, and became fodder for much ribaldry. The Arliss of Hamburg.


Monday July 27 -- London & Enroute To Melbourne

We lead a completely charmed existence. I am convinced. Somehow, in the last three weeks, since the Leeds show got booked, our reservations have never been changed, so the tickets Claudia got for us to go to Australia were for a plane that took off while we were playing in Leeds. Bummer. So we hightail it to the airport to try to swap tickets. No dice. British doesn't have an open seat until August 4. Quantas wants another $3,000 to honor these tickets and Singapore is booked up. We decide to bite the bullet and drop three grand, but by the time we get to check-in, our reservation has been wiped. EVEN THOUGH WE'RE WILLING TO GIVE THEM THREE GRAND, THEY WOULDN'T LET US ON THE PLANE. As a last-ditch effort, we figured we could get on the standby list for the Singapore flight, even though everyone said, "No chance on standby." We had resigned ourselves to losing at least one of the Oz gigs, and maybe the whole tour. Then by some weird twist, the Singapore people just waved us on the plane. No sweat. Plenty room, big fella. You de boss. Come on up. Weird. So now I sit here on a plane bound for Malaysia and Melbourne, with a bunch of gook-like Malays and giant lummox Strines. You can tell the Strines because they 1) are drunk 2) wear shorts and football jerseys 3) have Anzak hats on 4) are barefoot and 5) jabber incessantly. Fucking Strines are a weird race. Inbred ex-Brit psychos and prisoners. The real sick men of Europe. All the evidence you need is fifteen minutes of watching Oz-rules football. Like a barroom brawl with a pigskin. Fuck the score -- seen any good injuries?

The Singapore airport is aflutter with little cute Singipples. They say the hookers here can break your back. Only a two-hour lay-over, so no time to find out. These people make me feel tall. Their language is beautiful, like bubbling water and laughing children. Many Asian babies with little stumpy legs in jumpsuits. They are the only human children who can credibly claim to be cute. All others look like pigs or weasels or larvae. For example, those adorable Strine twin boys over there. Their mother understandably hates them, so she dresses them alike to humiliate and degrade them. I would like to "ease their entry into the next world", in the words of Elizabeth Kubler-Ross' euthanasia advocates. While in the next world, they may scream, jabber and collide with things to their hearts' content. I wouldn't hear them at least.

The toilets in Singapore are brilliantly simple. A slightly-raised tiled platform about four inches high has an oblong hole in it about twelve-by- eighteen inches, over which you squat and unload. Then you turn a faucet and everything washes down the hole. This would never fly in America, of course. Too many people would miss, then stamp in the poop and drag it all over the place. You gotta have a nation of tidy shitters for this stuff to work. Say what you like about these half-wit backwards countries -- they shit tidy.

The boarding czar wouldn't let me carry Roland II on the plane, so he checked it. I am nervous. It won't arrive, I know it. If it does, it will be destroyed. At the very least, its memory will be scrambled. Assholes. How dare they? This airline is incredibly stingy with drinks and snacks. There is a beautiful young woman sitting a few yards from me, wearing some sort of Slavic or Russian traditional dress and hat. She has a large brown teddy bear, which she is cuddling like a child. She looks dazed and lost. In the pocket of her skirt, a fluffy panda doll is tucked, so just its head sticks out. Loony.

On landing, we had an Oz specialty -- "Thirst" flavor Lifesavers. They were salty, sour and repulsive. Like dried pee and blood plasma. Threw the rest away. Must be some kind of joke they play on Yankees.


Thursday July 30 -- Driving To Sydney

If Melbourne is anything to judge by, Oz is America with e of Wales, which also has Tranny Cabaret. On the walls, we were told, would be pictures of some of Melbourne's most famous female impersonators. This in no way prepared us for the 100 or so photos of Strine poofs in the stairway. These are only some of the most famous TV's from Melbourne alone? Jesus, this city must be fag heaven. The ones with the mustaches must be really good.

Bruce and Greta are an obsessed couple. They are pin sharp and efficient. Greta says she knows a fellow who eats Thirst flavor LIfesavers out of his girlfriend's pussy. Sadist. Masochist. Met up with Linda and Debbie, two aunts of mine who were vacationing in Oz. They wanted to see the gig. I tried to talk them out of it, but they insisted. I didn't see them afterwards, so I don't know what they thought. I can imagine it was a bit much, especially the part where everyone hurled bottles and glasses at us. If Sant hadn't taunted them for ten minutes, and if I hadn't called them Oz-holes it might have been quieter.

Met a hyperactive, mildly-retarded fellow named Trevor, who once fucked Byron in the rump. He taught us some good Strine epithets: "Dag" -- the bit of shit stuck to the wool around a sheep's asshole "Dead Shit" -- useless motherfucker and "Fuckwit" or "Total Fuckwit" -- pud.

Today we're driving to Sydney, which is eleven hours away, to play two nights in another hotel pub. We've passed a statue commemorating "The Dog on the Tuckerbox", some Strine frontier myth about a dog who guarded a mineworker's lunchpail. One day the mine collapsed, and the dog stayed on the lunchbox until he starved to death. Dog sounds really stupid to me. Coulda et the sammidges. Unless there were Thirst flavor Lifesavers in there or something.

The food here is large and pretty good. They've definitely got the English beat in that department, but they still haven't learned the simplest principles of insulation and heating. Must be a genetic fault.


Friday July 31 -- The Petersham Inn, Sydney

This place is a transient hotel with a bar downstairs (sort of a regular pub) and another separate hall in the back, which is where we're playing. Last night went well, but I kept thinking about C.O.D., where there was always somebody who was just way too drunk. In Sydney, everyone's like that. The two opening bands, Thug and somebody I didn't like, were alright, if a little heavy on theatrics. They also played forever. Also staying in the hotel with us are the band I Spit On Your Gravy, who have apparently signed to Virgin. They do a lot of stinking and spitting.

We went to a surplus store -- which is called a disposal store here (it's really great to see all these big dumb Aussies walking into a door marked "DISPOSAL") -- and bought these really great hats with corks all around them. I also got a Rocky the Flying Squirrel cap and a bugle. We've been heralding our arrival everywhere with the bugle. I am refusing to ever take off the cork-head hat, even though it makes Bruce violently angry. We heralded our departure from the disposal store. We heralded our arrival at the cool big rock we visited and heralded a few unlucky joggers on the path by the road. We heralded our arrival at the beginning of the big bridge. We heralded our arrival at the end of the big bridge. We heralded a few open car windows inbetween. When Sant heralds, it's a really low note. Very profound. When I herald, it's more like Jerry Lewis screaming.

Had dinner with the people who do B-Side magazine. They printed up a special "Big Black issue". Weird. Why would anybody go through that much trouble? They also printed up big posters for the gigs. There's a dog here named Killdozer who's a jumpin' bitin' maniac. He's a bull terrier, so he's shaped like a turd or something. The first band are going on soon. They have a bass player from Eastern Dark, who was described as "a really good fat person", and do heavy-metal Residents covers and such. Could be okay.

Midnight

Just came up for a minute to grab the bugle. Second band, Idiot Pop, really need some heralding. More later.


Saturday August 1 -- Flying To Adelaide

My, but we did some heralding last night. Idiot Pop was a post-homo-Iggy tribute band. A worse concept is hard to imagine. The singer looked like Michael Hernandez and sounded like that putz from 4XY. They played only solo Iggy songs, and then only really horrible ones. "Nightclubbing", "China Girl" (Bowie version), "Lust For Life" -- all the shit. I was heralding like a demon all through their set and had a great time. Everyone else hated it. People threw a lot of bottles and glasses. If they had all had bugles, they would have loved it. The last band, Box the Jesuit, was horrible too, but in a much more pretentious way, so I just left. Some things you can't even enjoy with a bugle.

In the front bar was Doris Dazed, an all-lesbian country outfit. Their piano player had been taking hormones and has an impressive Burl Ives-like beard. They were competent as hell, too, but that kind of music really needs a bearded lady to make it interesting. The guitar player had a really great man-hating grimace all the time, so I whistled and stared at her ass a lot. We fucked later.

Tonight we're playing with King Snake Roost, who are supposed to be a somewhat jazzy skronk outfit. Could be hap.

This country is really low budget. The in-flight magazine only has two articles. One is on the lack of an "Australian cuisine". If the only foods people down here can invent are vegemite and Thirst flavor Lifesavers, they can kiss that concept goodbye.


Sunday August 2 -- Enroute To San Francisco

Okay folks in Adelaide. Except for the incredibly stupid woman who organized the gig at the university. Our guarantee was this: expenses. Our plane tickets cost $1404 (Strine) from Sydney to Adelaide. We spend $65 (Strine) on food and $30 (Strine) on taxis. We were expecting $1500 (Oz). She said she thought it would only cost us $1300 (Strine) for the tickets, so that's all she was prepared to pay. And screw the meals and rides. We said, "No. You'll pay us $1500 or we bust the place up and leave you with an angry mob." She realized the error of her ways, and after much bitching and complaining, gave us the dough. The University cut the set short after the audience got rough, then we stood on the stage heralding, and told the hungry mob that "this woman here, the blonde stupid one, won't let us play any more. We'd like to, but she won't let us. You'll have to discuss it with her." Then we heralded some more. Trevor talked some babe into riding all the way from Melbourne (about 800 miles, I think) with him, he then got really fucked up and pounded on the stage a lot, with his pitcher of beer never moving more than an inch from him. They call pitchers jugs here. Stupid. Sant smoked a borrowed amp in the first song. Fucking Peaveys. Toy amps. Can't wind 'em up without 'em going bad.

King Snake Roost Cheese Potatoball were really good in an inbred spastic Aussie way. They lost their bass player to dope and excess, so they use a cassette tape called Uncle Egon for a bass player. Egon's sense of timing is imperfect, though, and everyone was pissed off at him.

The guitar player, Charlie, and his brother, Michael, used to be in Grong Grong, whose record I never listened to because it was on Alternative Tentacles. He played it and the King Snake Roost Billiardtable Lunchmeat record for me. Both were pretty cool. Really ripping bass sound. Max blare treble. Michael is now playing sax for King Snake Roost Boxcar Organgrinder Monkey, which is pretty amazing, given what's happened to him.

Three years ago or so, he OD'ed on bad smack, and went into a coma. The quacks scanned him and said he was dead. No activity anywhere in the brain. Not even veg. possibility. He's dead. Forget it. Since his parents were out of the country, they asked Charlie to sign the papers so they could unplug him and sell off his guts. Charlie, having an astute suspicion of the medical profession, told them to fuck off, and a long stretch later, his brother came back. Memory, personality, intelligence -- everything. He was left paralyzed below the waist, but even that is going away. Within a year, he'll be a running, jumping wildman again. Doctors suck. Don't ever believe them. They don't know shit, and they never admit it.

All this heralding we've been doing is taking its toll on my lips. We're playing with bands I like in the U.S. so I won't have to herald much, I hope. I'll let Sant herald our arrival most of the time.


Sunday August 2 -- The Cavalier Motel, South San Francisco (The Industrial City)

We traveled by hovering fixed in space and let the earth rotate beneath us, so we landed in S.F. on the same hour and day we left Oz. If we kept going, we'd never age! Felt a need for an American "OD" so I went to see the most American movie I could find, "Robocop". Sounded great: a violent cop- and-technology-worshipping shooting-spree w/stuff that blows up. I was disappointed in that it had strong authority/corporation/police-mistrust themes. I wanted it to be completely horseshit, and in its feeble little way, it tried to be profound. Bummer. The motel has the cable.


Monday August 3 -- The I Beam, San Francisco

We play with the Wipers tonight. Great band. Had lunch with Junior, my happening one-eyed Italian bachelor uncle. No doubt, the smoothest guy in the family tree. He was gassed in Berkeley by helicopters sent in by long-time Reagan pal Ed Meese, whom everybody called Meesle back in '68. He's now a bigwig in the county planning commission of Oakland. He lives on a little boat in S.F. Bay. In January, we stayed on his boat with him and launched our poop into the bay. What a country. You can live on a boat and shit in the ocean.

Greg Sage is starting to market those all-tube circuits he builds, like an all-tube direct box and a rack pre-amp. Could be good stuff. The Wipers' music is so simple, but so cool, it makes you wonder why anybody thinks doing stuff w/tricks is a valid approach at all. Bought a bottle of Bushmill's for Sant. Hopefully it'll last the whole tour. Sant's best when he's got a loosener in him, but bar whiskey is always shit.


Tuesday August 4 -- Enroute To Providence

Have spent most of this flight on the Airphone talkin' to pals. Novel ways to blow dough. The gig was enjoyable, but had a few disasters. I blew out the horn in my speaker, I busted the neck pick-up out of the black sled, and Dave blew something apart in the SVT we rented. Me and Sant met up w/respective former girlfriends and fucked ourselves dry. Dave met up w/Frightwig and some weird junkie-type babe and got himself fucked up, like he's been doing a lot lately. This is the tour where we smoke a lot of amps, I guess. Hope I can fix the sled, it'd be a shame if it didn't last out the week. Byron's supposed to meet us at the airport, but he's such a bo queen, you never know what's going on in that acid-rattled little head of his.

There were all sorts of luminaries at the S.F. gig. Sitting in on a roundtable between Lydia, Foetus and Biafra is plenty weird, especially when Biafra and Lydia seem to have a measure of respect for each other. In a way, you can sort of feel sorry that Biafra (an obviously bright fellow) has gotten saddled with the audience and peer group he has, but then, he's never tried to disassociate himself from them, which is the only way to make them go away.


Wednesday August 5 -- Boston And Joel Aid

The Providence gig was okay not great. V. young audience -- mostly kidlings and college students. Some dillweed bitch journalist with a boner for flour gave us a clipping of something she wrote about us. I threw it away unread. She said she likes Springsteen and was wearing a Clash shirt. Why bother? Hope she doesn't infect Pete, is all. Dig Dat Hole (who, out of kindness, will be referred to as The Other Band) were pretty darn awful good. Tom "Shipbuilding" Smith (alias "Lyin' Sack o' Shit" Smith) has apparently been jacking off so long he's forgotten how to hold down a job and make money, so all of AC's bands have been getting sob stories and bullshit for lo, these many months. The Laughing Hyenas are going to start over, and The Other Band are going to let me do their record. As long as I don't have to tell anybody the name of the group, it'll be okay.

Spent the bulk of the day chasing down a 5.6 Ohm resistor for the crossover in my guitar cabinet. Radio Shack only stocks one value of 5W resistor. If you're building something that requires other than 8 Ohm, forget it, Pete. On the way to YOU-DO-IT-ELECTRONICS, Byron drove past a v. wild accident wherein the car was sliced in half. He said there were two hearses there. He also claims he tried to wake me up, but that heroin he procured for me was way too efficient.

We are playing tonight at the Channel, a horrible place I have detested since we first got fucked there three years ago. Nate set the whole thing up, and I fear he will learn how slick these fuckers are the hard way. Absolutely typical Rock Club Scum.


Thursday August 6 -- Enroute To NYC

The Channel staff can all suck my cock till I shoot blood. Warren Scott can suck my cock till I shoot blood. The snotty Swedish or Scottish soundman can suck my cock till I shoot blood. How anybody could be low enough to skim money off a charity gig for a kid in a coma is beyond me, but these fuckers managed. YOU ALL SUCK AND WHEN JOEL CAN WALK AGAIN I HOPE HE FINDS YOU AND RIDES HIS NEW MOTORCYCLE UP YOUR ASSHOLES WITH HIS KNOBBIES ON, YOU LOATHSOME BALLS OF SHIT. Nate was told he would get all the door money, less $250 rental and about $150 in expenses. The club said 770 people paid $7.50 at the door, and around 200 paid $6.50 for advance tickets. That would mean the total door was around $7,000. Joel's share of the pie held in his honor should have been over $6,000, right? Well, Joel's beaming parents, the white- haired Reverent Paul G. and Mrs. Jane Kaatrud were handed just under $4,000. Those repulsive cocksuckers at the Channel took over two grand from a kid in a hospital bed. Think about that before you drop everything to go see the Groinoids reunion gig there.

THESE PEOPLE SUCK AND THEY OUGHT TO BE FUCKED WITH. Most neighborhoods have a source for M-80's, of the hillbilly homebrew variety. Any toilet that can be flushed can be destroyed with one. Bomb threats on busy Friday nights really disrupt business (but only if the prankster calls the police as well as the business). Help enforce the law: anonymous tip-offs about exceeding the fire capacity only disrupt things if the club hasn't paid off the fire marshals, which is uncommon, but worth a shot. Far better are anonymous tip- offs about MINORS DRINKING LIQUOR! Bands! Book gigs and fail to show up for them. It's easy, and, in the words of Sammy Davis, "It hurts no one." Somebody has to know the names of those animal bouncers there. Find out where they live and gang up on them. They enjoy hurting people, so should we.

Jon Spencer drank four beers, and was feeling no pain. He's as much of a pussy about drinking as I am, but he indulges now and again just to stay in practice. Byron was in fine form, drinking and smoking bumperless and praying Lili wouldn't find out. What a jovial fellow that melancholy roustabout can be.

Tonight we're playing at the Cat Club, which is supposed to be another Rock Scum Palace. And I'm a little dubious about Broadbeeck. He didn't seem to understand the nature of these gigs.

We're playing with Urge (King Roeser has been in gentlemanly form lately) and Honeymoon Killers (who I'm hoping will be better than their records). Cristina's in H.K. Boy, what a dish. The classy Pretty Fuck Look.

Speaking of which, the Forced Exposure Lydia review has the whole world thinking me and C. have made our uglies touch. Fine, let 'em think that. It's better than the truth anyway. Despite my impassioned appeals (and a colorful A-V presentation, complete with pie charts and overhead projections) I could never get Cristina to violate me like I like to be violated. If everybody knew what a failure I was with an obviously indiscriminate slut like Cristina, I'd be ruined. So, yeah, just for the record, WE SPEND ALL OUR TIME FUCKING (WHEN WE'RE NOT EATING, THAT IS).

I hate New York. What a shithole. It amazes me that so many people yearn to live here. Why subject yourself to inhuman living conditions just so you can buy pizza at 4 a.m.? Big fucking deal.


Friday August 7 -- Enroute To Cincinnati

Audience hatred reached headache proportions in N.Y. We played "The Model" twice, and I think Sant wanted to play it twice more. The audience was really fucking ogly. Like a sea of McGonigals. Gay McGonigals.

The Urge set went over well, despite a gross jock-like soundman who tried his best to make their lives miserable. The Honeymoon Killers were a pleasant surprise. Within ten seconds of the beginning of their songs, you can tell if they're going to be great or really crappy. Cristina was wearing this way- revealing cocktail waitress-type gown, and during one song did that naughty dance I've heard of so often. Cristina in a prom dress with a few Rolling Rocks in her -- man. I bet her parents hated that.


Sunday August 11 -- Seattle

Tonight we play our final gig, then go directly to the airport to fly home so I can be at work tomorrow at 8:30. That's really gonna be fun. My pre-amp is acting funny and I'm going to try to buy a replacement today. Yeah, right. You'll be able to find a duplicate of your pre-amp -- an out-of- date, discontinued, off-brand, bastard device -- on a Sunday, after 4:00 p.m., in Seattle. Sure. No problem. Great.

Larry, the promoter here, has a hyperactive little skateboard kid named Marshall Stacks, who is v. snotty and okay. Larry apparently had to physically separate Marshall and Henry "Rump Plunger" Rollins once, so he's not too anxious to let rock personalities get too close to Marshall. Okay with me, he's not my type.


Monday August 12 -- Sea-tac Airport

Fucking tired. Fucking sick of airports. These people suck. I hate them. Some half-wit ass squirt at the security thing just had to see every fucking piece of chewing gum we had in our bags. What a cunt hole. So we miss our flight by seconds, and when we go back out to insult her, the shitstain bitch is gone. Christ I hate petty bureaucrats. "It is our policy not to, sir." "I can't help that, sir. I don't make the rules." Yeah? HOW'S ABOUT FUCK YOU?

The airport enema chase has almost wiped out my memory of the gig, which was pretty good. If I remember. V. awesomely triple fuckin' A loud. Had Bohnen read off song titles from a comfy chair at the side of the stage. Jumped and bashed our heads a lot. At the end of it, we started smashing our shit. Man, is that ever fun. "Here son, this is a fine musical instrument. Take care of it and it'll last a lifetime. That'll be 800 semolians." "Thanks -- whack, bang, skingy-ding, scrapety scrapety crack whang." It felt so great to smash up a guitar like that. We've spent three weeks repairing them after every gig and praying they'd hold out. It's mighty liberating to just say, "Fuck it" and let loose. Sant snatched my guitar after he smashed his and still wanted to do some more smashing. He finished it off pretty quickly.

Haven't really stopped to reflect on it too much been too busy finding the right airplane/club/crazy foreign person or keeping the guitar/amp/bass player from falling apart.

Funniest thing about smashing up your stuff: some punk rock kid immediately said, "Hey, you don't need your guitar case anymore, can I have it?" And somebody else made off w/the distortion box. The grateful public.


Monday August 12 -- At Home

Wanted to barbecue, but it was raining. Went to the Leader with Nate, Sant and Bataille. We toasted the wisdom of dying with your boots on, and I even drank two shots of Jack. Nate couldn't believe it. Cool pervert bartender at the Leader. He'll sell you beers for a buck apiece, or a six- pack for three bucks, so after three beers, you get three free. Weird. His favorite phrase is, "What the fuck do you want?"


Friday August 16 -- At Work

I am in deep fucking depression. The band was my entire life for five years, and now I'm floating for the first fucking time. So is everything I own. The basement flooded last night, filling up two feet deep. I've been wandering around like Huck Finn in the Mississippi, with my pants rolled up above my knees, fishing out electronic equipment and dodging the floating debris. Quite a lot of shit is destroyed, but thankfully not the tape machines or the mixer. Lost a lot of minor shit and a coupla amplifiers.

My neighbors now routinely call the police on me if I'm doing anything after midnight. It doesn't even have to be loud. If I'm barbecuing or even sitting outside, the squad car shows up. If there's anyone playing in the basement after 8:30, the police show up. Clearly the next-door-neighbor is insane. I will have to kill her soon.

That sweet Catholic dish I've been periodically sliding it to called me. She's pregnant. Great. Thankfully she's not putting up any resistance to doing the right thing and killing the little monster. Italian Catholic genes, man. We're fertile as hell.

I paid all the bills that accumulated while we were gone, and now I'm totally fucking broke again. Shitstain. Shitstain. I want to get going again with this whole band thing, but I'm terribly afraid of just fucking up all the nice things Big Black did. Aw, how's about fuck yous.

I gotta quit this job or go insane.

P.S. Crazy German woman is now out of business after some weird incident involving Police/Nick Cave's unborn child/Gibby/violent audience. Joel is awake and talking again. I'm quitting my job for good Dec. 11. Told the guitarmakers I broke the sled & now they won't speak to me.