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By Lee Ranaldo, 1995. Back to Part 1 of this article.
31 July 1995
in the air, Philadelphia to Pittsburgh
Patti Smith NYC Homecoming Hard to believe how long it's been since I last saw Patti Smith perform. Two years ago when she first came out of hibernation to give a reading of new work in Central Park we were on tour. After that she seemed to disappear again, although tales were told of her performing in the interim, mostly local Detroit/Ann Arbor area events, such as a reading some months back with Allen Ginsberg in benefit of a free Tibet. Patti's work needs no discussion here, but let's just say that it has meant an awful lot to so many current musicians, and certainly to all of us sonics.
Her first book, Babel, was for me maybe the first writing I'd read by a musician that aspired to serious literature. I carried it with me everywhere years ago, when I was getting serious about music again, during the first glimmers of punk/art/rat rock: Patti Smith Group, Television,Per Ubu, The Voidoids, The Ramones, Suicide, Blondie (is a band...),Talking Heads - all their records made playing music significant again. New York in the mid to late seventies was a very heady place, when the newwave and no-wave (Teenage Jesus, Contortions, DNA, Mars etc.) were gestating alongside the community of visual artists, etc., all cross pollinating the various disciplines. Painters and theatre students were picking up instruments, guitar players were creating installations,everything was all so beautifully mixed up back then. I don't feel the documentation has been very good on that period, in New York City, but Clinton Heylin makes a brief attempt in his book 'From the Velvets to the Voidoids'. Anyway, it was through her writings, and Tom Verlaine's work,and Richard Hell's, that many of us first discovered the work of Rimbaud,Baudelaire and other French Illuminist/Visionary writers for the first time
Patti was scheduled to perform in Central Park the evening before the first NYC show, and we were told that she was going to appear on the second stage Friday in New York as well, so we were all pretty excited,and hoping to meet her. When we were out with REM last month Michael Stipe had been speaking with her and brought us back the message that she was aware of us and wanted us to get in touch at some point.
Her reading in the park was fairly low key, from what I understand,compared to the one two years ago. None the less it was great to see her,in front of a New York audience again, seeming so happy and casual. She told some jokes and vogued momentarily for the many photographers who kept distracting her. Fellow writer, her friend Janet Hammil, read first,after which Patti's sister Kimberly played an instrumental 'invocation' on acoustic gtr. Patti read selections from her Early Works book, and then was joined by Lenny Kaye, Kimberly, and bass player Tony to perform some acoustic versions of some of her songs, including a moving version of 'People Have the Power', which she dedicated to her late husband Fred 'Sonic' Smith, admonishing the crowd: "Don't forget him!". She closed with a solo number on acoustic gtr, a moving song for Fred, almost a lullaby.
After the whole thing was over Leah and I stepped backstage once the crowdthinned out a bit, introduced ourselves and said a brief hello to her. We gave her copies of our books, and then left her to deal with all the other folks who wanted a word with her. She was nice but definitely distracted by all this activity surrounding her. We figured anyway to see her again the next day at the Lolla show.
Didn't quite expect, though, to find her using our dressing room when we arrived at the site on Friday! This felt great, somehow, like some acknowledgment of our secret ties to each other across time, that she and her band, children, etc., should be sharing our trailer on this day. Again I spoke to her briefly, and chatted awhile with Lenny (whom we know from various NYC scenes) about everything from the new album they're recording to the NYC public school system, since we both have kids attending. Yes, they're recording a new album, right now, here in NYC.When I complimented Lenny on last night's performance in the park he said something about wishing he'd been able to plug in that acoustic gtr.
We all went over to the second stage to watch, and although people seemed aware of her impending performance, it was not jammed when we got there,and we were able to get situated about 15 feet from the stage, right in center. I sure was amazed when finally they came out and Lenny had his Stratocaster around his neck, followed by PSG drummer J.D. Dougherty, and that guy from last night Tony on bass. They are her band at the moment,the ones she's making the record with. She wasted no time today, jumped right in with 'Piss Factory', from her very first single, 1976(?). The crowd was growing fast and really into it as JD counted off and they launched into the Byrds' '(So You Wanna Be a) Rock and Roll Star'. It sounded really great where we were, and it seemed like she hadn't been away at all. Her features flinty and sharp, her hair flecked with grey,gold rimmed glasses when reading. Same Gotham Book Mart tee she had on last night. All I can say is the set was amazing, the band cooked, she went off on soaring poetic flights a few times, with music to match, and it didn't seem forced, or in imitation of something she once generated, it just seemed like... her, again amongst us. Here's the rest of the set, for those interested:
Ghost Song (?-"We shall Live Again")
About a Boy - a new song dedicated to "Kurdt and the boy in us all". I had heard about this song, it's a touchy subject, fer sure - is everyone writing a song for Kurdt? - but it was beautiful, very dylan-esque, with a great extemporaneous middle bit.
While the band tuned up she read a funny poem called "Dylan's Dog", after which they played his 'Wicked Messenger' - one of the most inspired Dylan covers I've ever heard. It became so much *her* song, very inspiring.
Paths That Cross - from the Dream of Life record, what a fitting song.
"Paths that cross will cross again".
People Have the Power - dedicated to the audience members, and the sentiment s of her whole show were encapsulated within this one; it seemed like she had the words at her disposal, in her songs, to communicate to us everything she's been through this last decade, and esp. this last year or two of hardship.
She lingered a brief while after her show but had to get back into the city for a book signing and so, alas, missed our set. Too bad about that. In my next post I'll cover the NY shows, which were an entire trip in themselves...
But today, Pittsburgh, briefly: PAVEMENT! Another stellar show! Now fortified with new stage settings by artist Steven Keane, from their recent video-shoot! Cacti! Cow's skulls! Horsies! Jackalopes! All the band really into it today, talking crazily to the crowd betwixt songs,fomenting a big squishy groovy and wild ball of sound. I've been wondering why the whole Phish/Spin Doctors/Primus crowd hasn't gotten into this music - I think they would love all the wild musical give and take,if only they new about it. Maybe becuz it's not couched in tye-dye trappingsx But today as they ripped it out I spied a full-on DeadHead in the audience, decked out w Dead-wear, dancing and grinning from ear to ear. Most of the kids down front, though, look like they're not sure what to do - can't mosh to it, so they stare at it, uncomfortably; just listening to good music is an oddity for the festival crowd. Pockets of people, here and there, totally into it, though.
Malkmus: "I'd like to thank the rest of my band, for playing with me today."
1 August 1995
in the air to NYC
The audience at the Hartford show was mainly fixated on throwing huge hunks of the sod lawn around all day long. Out past the awning of the 'shed', as these seated venues are called, there were dozens of these sod clods in the air at any given moment. It looked kinda funny for a minute but seemed pretty stupid as an all day long activity. I know that these Lolla shows are not just about music, but when really good bands were midset on either stage, the idea that kids were having more fun throwing
grass around and getting full of mud was a bit disappointing. Some kids in the SY Usenet group were complaining about all the jocks and frat kids in the mosh pit getting too rough, as though it were some kind of contact sport instead of a rock show.
After the show we drove back to NYC in Olivia's car. I was driving and trying to tune in something good on the radio. These days it's either you find something pretty good, left of the dial usually, or you find the local 'commercial alternative' station and just marvel at what's being foisted on the listening audience. Now I've railed against those big stations once or twice before in this journal, and thought it was time to balance the record for a moment. Halfway back to New York I found some small college station playing this insane noisy stuff - grinding churning scree, no vocals. I though it might have been Masonna, or some other Japanese Noise-core type thing. Whatever it was, it sounded great next to all the dreck that had been on. I turned it up, and just laid into highway 95. Well, that 'piece' went on, uninterrupted, for about 25 glorious minutes, and when it was over, with no announcer's voice to
intrude, came another crazy machine-driven jackhammer selection, which was going on about 15 minutes when the station finally faded out. Man was that great music, and it did a lot to remind me of how good he radio can get. Rock on, ye small stations with the goods to get it on!
The saga of Chicago 'Writer'/DJ Jim DeRogatis and his 'vendetta' against SY continues. After he wrote that crappy review of our show Thurston left a msg. on his answering machine, which he proceeded to play on the air during his next radio show. He went on to declaim about how "twenty
thousand kids left during Sonic Youth's show" that night. Yeah, right. This line about crowds leaving has been picked up by every empty headed small town journalist in the country. I am amazed at the poor quality of most of the regional press. The same whitebread middle America article is being written all across the country in these small-time papers. These guys (and they mainly are guys) seem to read the major wire svce. articles and basically plagiarize their own for the regional press without thinking at all. I could write that stock review at this point - "Beck is the slacker, Lizard agro punk/metal, Elastica pop dose, Bosstones ska/punk on first, Cypress = weed, Courtney is the newsmaker/true star, SY discordant feedback blah blah". None of these guys take the time to examine the music at all, and that is supposed to be the point of this whole tour, isn't it? In between the piercings and veggie burritos?
In that same Usenet forum one kid wrote that the people leaving at he end of the evening were "mostly the dead weight of the audience anyway", the jocks and suburbanites wanting to beat the traffic. I thought that was a good observation - it never seems to affect our set or the enthusiasm of the crowd that watches us play.
Okay, enough on this, I'll try not to return to this subject again.
Courtney Runs Over
One thing always in the air backstage, for the crews, etc. is the time schedule of everyone's set; making sure the whole show runs on time, and that no-one steps on anyone else's stage time. Hole ran over in Hartford, and Courtney stayed on stage after the rest of the band left and did a song by herself. I was out at the sound board at the time and it was actually pretty wild because the sound men were made to shut off the PA, so all you could hear were the monitors onstage, and the crews began tearing down Hole's stage settings, the overhead lighting rig coming down while Courtney played on and all the kids surged forward to see what was happening, enthused by something a little out of the norm. Finally she launched herself and guitar into the pit and spent the next five minutes or so rolling around by the barricade up front, as kids all craned to get a glimpse of whatever was happening. It was pretty funny, overall
New York Shows / DoYou Have a Nail In Me?
New York is always such a major undertaking to play. By the end of the first day I was pretty down on the NY crowd, and we felt we gave a less than stellar performance that night, although people seemed to dig it. The audience was, I must say, about the worst of the tour so far. Now I know this is always due to just a handful of idiots, so I don't mean to slam the whole crowd, and in fact the next night the audience was just great. It was really hot these two days, and there was lots of rowdiness
all around. Beck was pelted with plastic bottles and had to duck behind the amp stacks at one point. I thought this was a fucking drag for anyone to have to endure, and am surprised he finished the set. I know he was pretty bummed out about it. When we played some jerks were humming half full bottles of coke and water at the stage. All it would take was for one of us to get hit to ruin the show. Last night in Pittsburgh someone threw something incredibly stupid onstage during Hole's set, and they
immediately left the stage, not to return. I don't blame them for it. It's a drag when a couple stupid kids ruin it for the whole field (I sound like my Mom now).
Anyway, the only thing that really redeemed Friday's New York show was Patti Smith's second stage set. I guess there hasn't been as much odd jamming and weird musical couplings this year as there may have been in years past on this tour, so Patti's surprise set was a real spontaneous highlight of the tour. Glad it happened in New York.
Saturday was much better all around. The sets I saw - Beck's, Elastica's,Superchunk's, some of Cypress' - were all really good. We went out and played one of our best sets of the tour, all feeling really great and exhausted when we were through.
6 August 1995
Let's see: Yesterday DC area show at old cool (kewl) abandoned horse track. We smoked with psyche-lights flaring. It was a great juke joint exploding from within. Sometime recently we did 'Confusion is Next', one of these last shows when things got rather weird. Tonight, in Atlanta, we lifted up the roof to enact some repairs on the massed 14 yr old skullcase. Burrowed deep within and flamed on awhile. Hung there brightly. Skies today were twofold cloud structures with swift fleet
fleece beneath motionless dome of strata. BBQ from Paynes, Memphis,brought by Easley & Co., made for a special after show social tea scene.
People can be so nice sometimes.
The online wars are so stupid, but sharing opinions about stuff is, well,kewl. Eastern Europe is a mess, Atlanta builds Olympic stadia. TeeVee sux.
New GATE disc GOLDEN GATE now appearing in my top ten of '95 as one of the years most sublimely crafted works. Thank you Michael.
Peace, y'all. Goodnight Steve.
7 August 1995
Lots of local Chapel Hill area friends here today - Thurston was sick - Steve got left behind at the airport in Atlanta - we got to the gig later than usual and didn't see much today - our soundman Terry played harp for a number during Beck's set - Beck had played a strap-on keyboard with us last night for Silver Rocket - Watt came aboard today but we missed his set, which raised his wrath, and Dirty Three's set too. Also missed Superchunk's final set of the tour. Bummer.
Atlanta was too hot tonight to fully rock after this hectic day; we did okay but last night was much better. I watched Hole's set tonight for the first time in a few days. I really like the people in Courtney's band a lot, they're all really swell - Patty, Melissa, Eric who plays the cello,and Eric. Watching them tonight was cool. Courtney was giving Eric shit onstage in that brother/sister/former lover way they do, and he kicked her in the ass (playfully), which caused her to chase him around the stage which caused him to let fly with a wild sequence of freaky tones from his axxe. I have to say that he is one of my favorite guitar players, and it is always really great to watch him play. He's so unassuming onstage, yet his sound and playing are always a joy to behold (not to mention his pearl
necklace!). He's got an immense array of vintage pedals all in a rack,and he uses them to great effect in framing Hole's songs.
Most of the buses were rolling outta here tonight for the big journey to Austin, where the next show is, in two days time. But we are staying here tomorrow to hang with Tannis Root and other local folk, and soak up the N.C. vibes.
9 August 1995
Tonight was the Lolla bash for the touring party. Among the sweetest feelings involved in an endeavor like this is that moment pretty late in the game when you realize that you have formed relationships with many others, thru shared experiences over a month or so, whether or not you were willing to let yrself imagine such at the beginning, and that this is all about to end. That sweet feeling came back to me tonight during some really good conversations with some of my favorites. Bonds have been
formed and strengthened among us, and soon this artificial bubble environ we have been living in will come to an end, like a summer camp, or a movie shoot, whatever. We will take away some shared moments of these months,and paths will cross again in many cases from here on out, all of us looping through our lives / careers / art; everyone about to disperse and move back, even if briefly, to our individual lives again.
This party tonight signified both those bonds we've made, and acknowledged the nearing end. I think a lot of us came into this tour with apprehensions of one sort or another, based on what we thought of
Lollapalooza, the money we would make, the media profile/indie backlash,all sorts of factors. Well now it's about to fade into a memory that will only occasionally need accessing, and only then by those of us who participated, and who came to watch. The rest can go about their lives untouched by these blasts of noise we've been issuing these months like beacons. I can't explain it, but there's a sweet and melancholy feeling in Texas tonite.
10 August 1995
Finally caught Mike Watt's set today on the second stage. His second drummer was hung up with a broken van for a couple of shows but is back now and they were really good. I was wondering how he would fare after the hysteria of the tour with Vedder, Grohl, et al, but this current band (The Crew of the Flying Saucer) is perfect for Mike - brings him home and down to earth and deep into the music. Nels Cline on gtr is more amazing than ever - I had always known him to be genius gtr cat but never saw it in evidence so fully as at today's show. He rips wild, sonik and free of korn, with heavy duty finger technique! Watt is back, Watt is here, Watt is, as ever, a contender, a Johnny Appleseed of the punk rock ethos.
Elastica did their first set today with Abby Travis of Beck's band on bass, and that too was a full-on rock set. Pavement had about their weirdest show of the tour, one long in-joke of a set with on the spot made up songs and lots of tomfoolery. Wild contrast with their show of yesterday which was so incredibly awesome. Yesterday they assumed the mantle left by the sadly departed Garcia with a casual tossed off set of freeform poetics and musical cosmos-probing.
He's Gone, in August
A few words about Garcia here: Although I haven't followed the Dead's career much this last decade, I do admit to spending much time during the seventies immersed in their music/world view, with no regrets. I have always maintained that SY shared the common ground of true interest in musical extrapolation with them, and that is one of the facets of their trip that I admired most - the willingness to get into 'unexplored" territory of the music/sound realm on a nightly basis. Jerry was a key
instigator of this, of course, for the Dead, and I think it is one of the factors that most endeared him to legions of fans - his relishing the chance to get real, real gone into pure soundscapes at the shows, each member playing off the others, to see where it could take them.
I spent a lot of time listening to the Dead in my youth, saw countless shows, Jerry's various solo ensembles, etc. Some of those shows still stand out as among the best I've attended, anywhere, ever. No bullshitting at their shows, no platform heels or mega light shows to mask the fact that this was just a group of ordinary mortals up there doing the best they could. Many nights they took us far over the rainbow with them. Those guys (and gal) from The Haight covered a lot of musical turf,a lot of history - and left plenty of avenues yet to be mined.
It's a sad legacy that the man known as 'Captain Trips' was brought down by the very substances that he once reveled in, and exalted. One who meant so much to so many people as a 'spiritual guide', pointing signposts to new space, as it were, couldn't control his own appetite (in more ways than one) for those very substances that he proclaimed as sacraments. I take comfort in the fact that he passed on peacefully, and left a long rich legacy behind, but I would give anything to know what really was
going on in his life these last years, as one with an intimate knowledge of life on the road and the trips it puts ya thru. Was he happy with his position? Were drugs a way in, or a way out? Maybe they were just a too-comfortable old pillow, too much the public facade of the man, the 'Jerry' mask which the world associated with him, and which he could not remove.
In any case, I tip my hat to you tonight, Jerry - did you hear us deadicate 2 numbers to you last night, under the full Texas moon.? I couldn't believe that Melissa from Hole mentioned him too, from the stage,after Courtney went on about how Kurdt was up there in that moon, and Hendrix, etc. Melissa chimed in with "and Jerry Garcia too" and I was so pleased to hear her say it; thoughtful and centered amidst the chaos.
Fare thee well Garcia; fare the well, my only true one. Gone to leave this brokedown palace, on hands and knees, to roll on home. He's gone in August, and nothin's gonna bring him back.
13 August 1995
Tonight Phoenix rocked! At least T and I thought so. We had a casually fierce set amidst the Suzanne's strobe-ing lights. Felt free and easy and fun.
This tour is almost over now. From here on out it's going to be bits and pieces. Watched most of Watt's set today, all of Pavement. Beck had a really good one today and Elastica too. Here's today's mail from Watt:
Date: Sat, Aug 12, 1995 11:01 AM EST
Subj: Re: dallas
hey lee, thanks for writing.
what a fucking hell-ride from dallas here to phoenix! one day to go 1200 miles - argghhhhhh! well, we made it ("the prayer", that little van vince and preussner ride in, was going sometimes 35mph!) and I'm writing you from cris kirkwood's, where we stayed last night. he's gonna play banjo on _big_train_.
I wish you would maybe come and play _tuff_gnarl_ w/us and maybe even get thurston over to redeem himself by singing the right words (he wrote) instead of that "bumble bee, bumble bee" shit.
anyway, we made the worst drive of the tour and boy, what a light show the skies over arizona gave us last night - lightning up the yang, holmes!
God, tour is a trip. So many swirling eddies! Now it's almost over, and the summer with it. Another summer fades away. Summer's always seem like they should last forever until they suddenly quit on ya.
I had an old old girlfriend whom I haven't spoken to in , let's seex20 years (?!?)x call my house to make a connection over JG, in tears for the past in general, and from when he was a part of the glue of our livesx Strange how life works...
13 August 1995
Phoenix > LA
We're high over the southwestern deserts now, in the air. The landscape out here thrills me every single time, I never get tired of it. So massive and other worldly. Near the growing cities the suburbs sprawl, and new developments look, from the air, like giant charcoal drawings - great smudged tracings scratched into the earth across immense tracts of land as streets are sketched in, cul de sacs created. Below now between the high desert ridges and mountain ranges a dry river flows, snaking through this place. Not a drop of water there at the moment, in this place where it hadn't rained for 90 days until great blowy lightning storm on the night of our arrival. A dry wash, sporting shrub grass along it's
edge, which on occasion will flow with great wall of water pressing through, only to be sucked dry again by this desert heat.
Man, there are so many many things to do in LA with only three days that it boggles the mind. California in full effect. Tall palms. Marty's immediately for chili-cheese burgers and lemonade - there's this great feeling twenty minutes into an LA visit: suddenly yr sitting somewhere eating great burgers or Mexican food and the sun in so damn brilliant and clear and warm, foliage growing wild sensual waxy all over the place, deep green shadows cut hard edged under everything - ascetic palms hanging high over the whole thing, struck against that blue o bleu azure pierced vault. Hey we're in Cali., could be Italy but it's Los Angeles. Helicopters keeping watch above it all, searchlights caressing the city each night.
17 August 1995
LA is almost over now. The hills of Hollywood open out in the night from my window. Tomorrow we fly to Sacramento and the last two gigs await.Two good shows these last two days - the crowd was so close the first night they were practically on stage. The audiences were really great. Porno played day 2 on the Lab stage, with Watt on bass for two numbers. People seemed to be going pretty wild over it. Mike's sets on the side stage have been really good, I think he's now playing with the best, most
complimentary gtr player since D. Boon. Nancy Sinatra chilled with us in our dressing room which was pretty great, and Tom Waits too was around and talking to him briefly was a definite thrill. Pavement played the second stage just before we went on, but I missed them for some reason.
Supposedly they played all new and rough song-forms; wish I had seen it.
There were so many quintessential Hollywood types wandering about backstage at these gigs - scores of men and women with flawless skin,superbly dressed and coiffured, who seemed to have just stepped out of the pages of the latest fashion magazines. Most of them were talking through the music, in tight fitting clothes, little goatees, bleached blonde; just making this latest scene in a life of casting calls.
Did the biz meeting today, planning our life for the next year; saw KIDS tonight. Everyone is getting ready for this to be over now, things are winding down to the very nib, and it's too late, too deep into night now, to speculate about anything.
18 August 1995
leaving Sacramento by car
And then there was one. I hated tonight's gig, one of the worst of the tour for me. I don't know why but I was just distracted throughout. It went okay, but my heart just wasn't in it.
Scrabbly site/scrub grass
ping pong minions.
fruit of the air
how to sum this?
19 August 1995
in the air, SF-NYC
I woke from sleep this morning to strains of "The Diamond Sea" seeping into my ears. Could I be dreaming? Hadn't we played it for the final Lolla time last night? How was it still in my head at 10 a.m.? Turns out it was emanating from out on the patio of the Phoenix Hotel, where a new edit for the single release of the song was being appraised by the rest of the band through a PA system set up for some lunchtime-jamming Reggae band. It sounded great in that courtyard, with the bright sun and everyone gathered around the pool finishing morning coffees and teas. It was nearly time for our flights out, everyone jetting home for a few weeks before we head off to Spain.
It was impossible for last night's show to be the explosive tour-closer one might have wanted it to be. There were too many things going on. Good-byes to be said, final sets to see, last minute interviews. Frances Bean's third birthday party was held on the back deck at the gig amidst the din of Cypress Hill's pounding bass riffs. There was glitter in the air and lots of wrapping paper flying as she sat on proud mom's lap. We had Tom Constanten, an original member of the Grateful Dead, in our dressing room on one side, and Siouxsie Sioux and Budgee of the Banshees on the other. A pretty weird historical gap embodied there. TC played with the Dead early on, before leaving to pursue more 'serious' music. Siouxsie regaled me with tales of her trip last year to Morocco once I revealed that I was soon to set off for that mysterious place. Later she fell prey to Terry Pearson's exceptional Martinis, and passed out on our couch after making a pass at Thurston (I was told). Ah, rock!
The set was pretty good, but that's about all. Not one of those magical performances we seemed to tap into around the middle of this tour, when for a few weeks we were hammering out brilliant ferocious shards almost every night. It was too weird, having it be the last one of this roller coaster; knowing that I would later be writing about it towards some sort of summation only added to it's odd character.
When we did our first tour in 1981, all of us and all of The Swans squeezed into the back of an unseated unheated van, we'd spend our driving days to each gig listening to the show from the night before, on Walkmen that were just then becoming commonplace. Mike Gira would remark at how loopily Robbe-Grillet-esque the activity had become: having the experiences, then re-living them on tape, then maybe jotting down some thoughts afterwards; followed by another set the next night - same songs - with the whole process folding in on itself from there.. There's a similar feeling here, writing these entries. Knowing that these particular journals are being written for public consumption rather than a private thought-world has further altered their character.
The up side of all this is that some of us on the tour have had the opportunity to present a different angle, countering that presented in the news media, which had seemed to run the same story, whether on the tube or in print, no matter what part of the country we have been in. Their stock story line has been about how this year's Lolla has been less successful,less packed with bona-fide old-record-selling alterna-rock acts, less sensational. They have relied on Courtney's antics and media presence as an easy way out of dealing with all the music being made.
I have found so many faults with this tour - so many frustrating moments and poorly thought out choices on the part of the organizers (granted,it's a huge undertaking) with relation to the actual music - it's presentation, audience access to seated venues, sort of lame ghetto-ization of the second stage and it's artists - all kinds of things that make me so glad that this tour is now behind us; but as to the actual
music itself I can claim to have had a summerfull, and to have witnessed inspiring sets by all sorts of acts. The music mostly exhibited on this tour is not meant for mass consumption, not destined for million dollar sales or front page headlines - that is not its' intention or desire.
I'm thinking of all those young kids in the audience, many of whom have said this was their first concert-going experience, and wonder where their heads will stray from here, after witnessing Watt in full flannel drive, David Yow sitting two rows up from them in the seats howling at the afternoon sun, Malkmus in the shadow of a plywood cactus waxing obtuse poetics and pulling off magik lead lines, Cypress in a rain of doobies and low end, Hole issuing tight mirror ball bulletins, Thurston fishing for his gtr at stage-edge, Beck with that Yes-era kybd strapped on, Superchunk full-tilt pogo, Bosstones, Elastica; all of it all adding up to a glorious cacaphony of where music as WE know it has been and where it is going. The mainstream hasn't got a clue as to what all this is about, or how to handle it, and that's good: what we do is secret.
As for we Sonics, from here, we will be gearing up for our own tours this fall as Washing Machine, the new eLPee, comes out in late September. Hope y'all will check it out, we're real proud of this one. We'll be back around the states playing shows in October-November, and then head off to Australia/NZ/Japan/SE Asia around New Year's Day, with Europe beyond that(pant, pant, whew!).
Thanks alot for reading, see ya down the road a bit...
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