SPONGE TOUR!

"Only The Efficient Will Survive."

  • Oct 23 -- Tulsa
  • Oct 24 -- Last Sponge Show/Mike Watt Day

October 23, 1995 - Tulsa

Hm.. No comment. I don't remember anything that happened today except that I was asleep the whole time we drove to Tulsa, we ate some Mexican food, it was cold out, we played a show in a beautiful country bar, a guy threw up during our set while he was "moshing" and people again were amazed to see a girl on the stage. "That's a girl up there!" I heard some girls cry from down below.

Nice. Rick's voice made it all the way through the set! Then we took off and I fell asleep again. Jim has been driving all the time now; Rick and I hardly ever have to drive. Rick is getting over his cold now, but I am starting to get sick. Tomorrow night we meet Mike Watt!!

October 24, 1995 - MAN, WHAT A CONFUSING DAY!

Well, as it would happen, the last Sponge day, in Memphis TN, turned out to be sort of a bummer. I really have to admit that this audience was very, very odd. Notice I never complained about having to go to Memphis again, like, the 3rd time in 2 months? It was because I was all excited to play with Mike Watt. Hell, I'd play in El Paso again with a bass hero. Well, maybe not for a while.

The audience was strangely silent while we played, even though I really tried to pound a hole in the ground. Rick and Jim both broke strings in the middle of songs, something they rarely do, but Rick was convinced that there was no power to the set, probably because either the stage or the audience was completely dead. I didn't have a bad show, but I wanted us to have one of those shows where people come up afterwards and say we were great, and it was obvious that this was just not the show. I wanted Mike Watt to be impressed, basically. More about Mr. Watt later.

When Sponge went on, (this was their first time in Memphis) the crowd was pretty lame. I have seen Sponge in front of a small crowd before, and somehow, they can get a small crowd so hyped up that it seems like they are playing a huge show. I really respect them for that. But tonight, this crowd just wasn't going to get hyped up for anything; it was just a quiet Memphis crowd. For the first time, it seemed like the Sponge guys got angry. It was actually kind of nice to see them angry, for once! I mean, geez, I've been pissed off for the last 2 weeks, and these guys are still happy each time we see them, "Hi Rose! How are you today?" They tore through their last song; it was incredible, and then they wrecked the stage! The audience mostly stood there with drool hanging out of their mouths.

Outside, 2 drunken idiot guys looking for a fight came by and said "I ain't never sane no freaks like thems hangin out here befare, burp" and I noticed when I was out in the crowd watching the bands a bunch of people who really should have known better, pointing at me, going, "It WAS a girl!! I KNEW it! I was right!" Just a bunch of confused people.

Outside, some people asked why Mike Watt was opening up for Sponge and Poster Child (we were first on the bill, but I answered, "ask Mike Watt" anyway) and then they asked me if that was Poster Child's truck next to the club. I should have said, "Yes."

Sponge Is Off To Minneapolis

Sponge is off to start their tour with Candlebox, and I can only hope Candlebox treats them as well as they treated us. We wish them all the best of luck and success! They have been on tour all year, since before we left, and they'll be on tour for most of next year, too, going to all kinds of different countries, Japan, South America, etc. Doesn't that sound cool?!

Mike Watt and His Attitude

Well. My bass playing hero sure is an Indie Rocker, or so he likes to tell people. By the middle of his set I was so confused/pissed off at him I went and put my camera away because I didn't want any pictures of him. I felt like my head was going to blow up. Here's why.

Attitude

Watt's band was 2 hours late in getting to the club and farted around, taking up all our time for their soundcheck. As I have said before, Sponge has been perfectly on time each day, and have never gone over their time. Since the Sponge crew is so cool, they gave us a soundcheck anyway, even though we were running late. I wasn't mad at Watt for being late, anyway, cuz he's a Hero.

Now comes the part that started pissing me off. The Chris production manager/sound guy for Sponge sees me and Mike, one of Watt's drummers, talking about having to go up and talk to the promoter, and grabs us and marches us upstairs, like he does each show. He always wants to make sure all bands are happy. He takes us upstairs and does his ultimate coolness routine; introduces us to the promoter, tells the promoter he knows there's only one dressing room and that Sponge will share it of course, and he tells the promoter to make SURE both our bands get anything we want.

Then all of the sudden, totally out of the blue, the Mike Watt drummer starts doing this thing where he is trying to show how Indie Rock their band is. He starts talking about how he is 'Not Only The Tour Manager, But Also He Plays In The Band.'

Wooooo. Pinch me.

I don't say anything, like 'well, DUH, so do I.'
But then he goes, "You Know, We Just Have A Little Van That We Travel In. What do YOU guys travel in?" It was so inappropriate; we were just there to tell the promoter what we needed on our rider! Man, I wish I had said, "Well, We Have a Plane."
Then he starts Fugazi-ing about their rider, about how easy they are and all they need is 8 bottles of water, and then, (the thing that pissed me off, finally) he said "and we're quick, too." When we'd been waiting for them for the last 3 hours to get on and off the stage, soundchecking.

If I had not been so sick, I could have said, "Listen DUDE, if you want to have an INDIE-ROCK-CHALLENGE to see who is more INDIE ROCK, I GUARANTEE YOU THAT WE WILL WIN.
The guy (Watt's drummer) was really, really nice, too, it's just WHY did he feel like they had to try to OUT-INDIE-ROCK us? Especially when WE ARE BOTH ON MAJOR LABELS!!

Indie Rock is OVER, OK?

Anyway, after a while, I calmed down, understanding that Mike Watt is after all, an institution of Indie Rock, even though he is not on an Indie Label anymore and has Eddie Vedder, the "suckling pig of major-label rock" singing on his record. (By the way, I have a lot of respect for Eddie Vedder, and hear he's nice, but he's about as Indie Rock as the rest of us.)

I got right into the audience ("hey? is that a girl?") to watch Watt steam on his bass, when, at about the 3rd song, he does a little Sonic Youth noise and then yells, "HA!! STICK THAT ON YOUR ALTERNATIVE TOUR BUS!"

Two people yelled, "yay!" And I walked out of the room. Earlier he had made some sort of remark about how they'd played 28 straight shows, and stick that on your tour bus, too. It seemed to me that they were insulting Sponge, and I just didn't think they should do that until they knew everything about Sponge. In fact, why open for Sponge if you have such an indie rock problem with them?

Later on, during the same song, actually, I had to walk back in the room, because Mike Watt is, well, incredible. I used to stand underneath him and hope his sweat would drip on me. At the end, he thanked the audience for opening their minds a crack, and played a Sonic Youth song. In fact, half of the songs he played were from the 80s. He played an old Firehose song and a Minutemen song. But he was good.

Who is Right?

But I'm really confused now; he confused all of us. Who is right? Mike Watt, or Sponge? Mike Watt with the Van AND the Black Isuzu (by the way, we ONLY have 1 van) and the 2 Motel 6 rooms each night (yes, we ONLY get 1 room) AND the ROADIE? (we have NO ROADIE.) AND the ATTITUDE? (um.....well, whatever).

Or Sponge, with the 2 tour busses? And being nice and respecting everyone and still playing their asses off each night? Sponge has plenty of cred beneath their belts; it's just not Indie-Elite cred.

"We are Granola"Rick decided that WE are right. He also said, "Mike Watt is Cheerios. Sponge is Sugar-Coated Cheerios." Then he said, "We are the bulk brown granola that you buy at the store, in the bins." I would love to know what Rick had for dinner tonight.

Later on Rick started making predictions about the future. I said that maybe in the year 2000, people would decide to stop killing each other, but Rick said that they would stop killing each other in the name of Money, but they would start killing each other in the name of God. He also said that by the year 2005, all of the people in our van would be living in Canada. Jim thought he meant that there would be a Canadian invasion of the US. Then Rick said that by the year 2016, Fred Grandy (Gopher from The Love Boat) would be President.

After the Show

I got to talk to the guitarist of Mike Watt's band, as well as Mike Watt. They are all nice guys; in fact, the guitarist was up, shmoozing with the Sponge guys. Maybe they knew each other? Watt's roadie told me I was a good bass player. The Watt band are off to Texas now. *gag*. I got the impression that even though I heard them exclaim at least 4 times that night that they had been on tour for 28 days with no breaks, (and no tour bus) that they were more complaining about it than proud of it. (Note: we could do 28 days without a break very easily, if we could only get 28 shows in a row!)

I Like Mike Watt

He confused me, and that is good. But after he gave a whole spiel about how evil MTV was, again, and insulted Buzz Clips, on the stage, I decided to try to piss him off outside, after his show, because that's the kind of person I am. I Question Authority. So I said, "Hey, Mike, Mr. Watt, uh.. what will you do if you get a Buzz Clip?" and he yelled a bunch of stuff at me.

I talked to him for a while. He was all excited and shaking. He's a freak, and he's brilliant. He has a little bit of 60s damage, too, I think. Here's what I learned:

1) MTV is the kiosk of the new music world, and his video is his way of posting a flier up on it.

2) He is being sued for a lot of money because his video contained a name in it, on one of the trains. He can't play the video anymore. Or he can't play in Dallas. I'm not sure which it is.

3) "Bass is where they put the lame guy, you know." Then he grins.

4) Kira used to get people not knowing what sex she was, too. Maybe that's a good thing. Maybe I should be happy about it, because it is good to confuse people. (see? he is brilliant. That made me feel better.)

5) His pants did not cost a lot of money.

6) Flannel will come in style and then it will go out of style but it will always be cheap and he will always wear it.

7) He will never wear vinyl pants.

8)"Only the efficient will survive."

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