Mike iLL


OK. Fuck. Allright? I said it. Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck. Fuck.

Everything’s great except my anxiety. Don’t even know what I’m anxious about.

So selfish. Talk to all these amazing supportive people. Do I give a fuck about any of you? I don’t know. Of course I want you to do well. Want everyone to do well. What’s that worth?

I send these 8 line replies, just enough not to ignore you. So many people we loose touch with other. Way of the world? Might be lonely when we’re old. All these fuckin’ people I hardly know that love me and feed me and put me up and shit and how does a niggr pay you back?

Sitting in the front room at home. Pink Floyd The Wall Live. Tap’s plays guitar along with it. Just answered 30 or so emails. Angels carry me from place to place. Sometimes they drag you throught the roses. Eight tooth black-as-dirt junk collector we call preacher said today, “There’s more thorns than rose in a rose bush. You gotta thank Jesus for every day.” What a year. Here’s a blow by blow from the tour:

Thursday July 20th - Pontiac Grill. Philladelphia, PA

Andy Kravits was playing with the artist who played right after me. He’s a major figure in the Philly music scene - a drummer who was part of the scene at studio 4 where Schooly D (an “old school” rap artist - very influental. raw gangster rap from back in the ’80s) DJ Muggs (behind the beats of Cypress Hill) and some other very cool artists came out of. Got paid for the first time here too. Cool. The booker/bartender is very cool. Got lost trying to get out of town. Saturday July 22nd 7 - 10 PM Don Hill’s NYC

John Lennon wrote some AMAZING songs. This guy wrote a book based on his diaries from the last five years of his life. Sounds like he was prettty lonely, unhappy and materialistic. Soft Skull Press put out the book; “Nowhere Man, The Last days of John Lennon”. I love this song he’s got that starts “God is a concept by which we measure our pain”. It’s on a CD called ONCEUPONATIME. Wednesday July 26th - Liquid Lounge. Hoboken, NJ Andy Action (who used to play with this group Two Skinny Js) played drums and Jimmy D on bass. Fun as hell to play with a group. Jerm Pollet AKA Tall, Dark and Lonesome put on a great show. We all had a blast - hometown style. Thursday July 27th - Velvet Lounge. Washington, DC

Played with a band called 17 from Boston - VERY cool folks and music. Jerm and I stayed with this surf band called Colonel Klink. They all live together Frat Boy-style in this big house. Only difference they all have jobs so the place is full of huge TV’s and computers and stereos and other toys. Jerm was reading to me from this book The Peoples History of the United States. All this sick shit from Colobbus’ diaries about what suckers the natives were. “They’re so nieve, they give us whatever we ask for.” Book goes on to describe the slow genocide to which they’re eventually subjected. Friday July 28th - Brass Monkey. Baltimore, MD

Dinner of free taco’s at a local bar. Biggest asshole in the biz running this club. And of course he thinks he’s a good guy. Jerm reads shit about American history in the Richmond area. We sleep in the van and have green tea and fresh bakery bread for breakfast. Then hang out with a homeless guy on the pier. Saturday July 29th - Hole in the Wall. Richmond, VA

Love the people here. Played with Pistol Pete and Popgun Paul from New Orleans. Good Party. I drop Jerm off at the train around 5:00 AM and crash with Wayne who wrote an article in the local paper. He’s in process of moving out of his apartment. Drive through back-routes in the hills to Roanoke - arriving just in time. Gorgeous day. Sunday July 30th - Chilli Peppers. Roanoak, VA

Cool as hell. All ages show. Lots of teenagers. We kept in contact since the last show here. Some of these people are really cool and pretty talented too. This one girl says she wants to marry me. Sleep at the bartenders house. Hang with her two kids in the morning. She takes me to lunch. Monday July 31st - 12th and Porter Nashville, TN

Homeboy Daniel Tashael has been putting me on this variety show since I first pestered his ass back last May. End of the night slot but fuck it. Met a really cool songwriter name of Dana Cerick who will let me stay at her place tomorrow night. Also this guy who teaches Chicano Literature somewhere around here. Sold a few books. Tuesday August 1st - Exit/iNN Nashville, TN Billy Blocks Western Beat Revival. Wow. How the fuck did I talk my way onto this gig? Know who I’m playing with? Fuckin’ Ronnie McCrory and the Del McCrory Band. Del is Ronnies dad and was one of Bill Monroes Bluegrass Boys. These people are some of the hottest bluegrass players around. I play right after them. Five songs with a drummer I met last night, the house bass player and my man Sheldon Bermont who plays trombone and who I met last year at the bar at 12th and Porter - we closed the joint. Think you can check out the show from this link if you do a search for Mike iLL. Wednesday August 2nd - Young Ave. Deli. Memphis TN

Stop and cool off in a creek somewhere between Nashville and Memphis off the interstate. The drummer, bassist and one guitarist from Big Ass Truck backed me up on this show. Gonna put up some MP3 recordings soon. Got a pre-release copy of their new CD too which rocks.Love this town. Thursday August 3rd - The Attic. Chattanooga, TN

Never did a show here before. Place was almost empty, but music was well recieved. The mountains here are gorgeous. Made it to the gig just in the nick of time. Friday August 4th - Buck’s Pizza. Johnson City, TN

Swim naked in Lake Chickamauga about 20 miles north of Chattanooga. Not on the main beach but off some rocks to the right of it. Get to Bucks around 10:30 PM. Play ‘till one or two. Stoned for the last set which gives me some cool new ideas. Messing around with the tremelo sound on the amplifier. These folks shang-hi’d me and we jammed out at this guys house ‘till pretty late. Everybody in the place (and it was small) smoking cigarettes at once. They like Pabst Blue Ribbon here. Saturday August 5th - Sleaze Fest - Local 506. Chapel Hill, NC

Man, I’m really psyched Dave invited me to be a part of this. Tons of cool musicians here. My own set was kind of silly - second stage at 5:30 in the evening. Half the festival participants were still asleep or recovering from last night. Hangin’ ‘till sunrise at the drummer from Southern Culture on the Skids house; Dave. He’s cool as hell. Great music collection. Hadn’t seen his band before - terrific. The guitarist called Ed from Ohio is here. He’s quite a player, used to be in Firehose with Mike Watt. Lots of drinking. Sunday August 6th - Vincents Ear. Ashville, NC

Wake up at my sister Anna’s place in Raleigh where she lives with her husband Brian and their two daughters Sonja and Sarah. Check email and hang with the girls a bit. Drive 4 hours or so to Ashville. Another gorgeous mountain town. Play a show with this singer/songwriter named Gavra. Stay at her place with this really cool young artist named Erin Hunt who knows Abe Reid. Monday August 7th - The Landmark. Statesville, NC Erin and I drive up to Statesville and jam out with Abe and hios drummer for a few hours to an audience of 8 or so. Forget the drummers name but he’s telling me how he inherited a 125 acre farm and is learning how to work it. Pretty wild. Could you imagine going from deadhead to farmer? Tuesday August 8th - Ground Zero. Spartanburg, SC Crashed at Erins house last night. Gorgeous place in this mountain community by Black Mountain, NC. We hike throught the woods to this organic farm they have going, cook a big vegetable soup in the outdoor kitchen there. Hangin’ with Frog and Spring and a few other freaks whos names I can’t remember. I head south. Play a really fun punk show and sleep in a rest stop. Wednesday August 9th - Cafe Mocha Coffee House. Knoxville, TN

Wake up covered in wet sweat and make some green tea. Get peaches from a roadside stand. Track down the Douglas Dam. Climb down the rocks, get naked and float around in the red-clay warm water for a bit. Head into town and hang with Murderman for a bit. He makes homemade pizza. Hang at the poetry reading. Hear a great piece about blue whales making love (their hearts are as big as volkswagon beatles) and play for about two hours. These people get it. Thursday August 10th - Tasty World. Athens, GA

Murderman and I drive down together. There’s more performers here than audience members, but that’s okay. The bass player from The Balboas and I hit it off. They’re comming from Sleaze Fest too. An “out” surf band. Sam and I crash out at my friend who’s a born-again Christians house. We all drive down to this big park and have Curry for lunch en route to Atlanta. Friday August 11th - 513 Club. Atlanta GA

Sam and I get to Atlanta in the evening. Visit a couple of CD stores and Sam has a coffee. Then we hang with some gorgeous lesbians at a bar for a few minutes. This one tattooed woman who I met when she was giving out Camel cigarettes at Dotties when I played there. Works at Lucky Devil clothing store here in little five points. The club is a big empty brick cube where they do all ages shows. True punk rock. We have a blast and get really stoned with the sound man afterwards. Then drive back to Knoxville so Murderman can get to work at the bakery (which he does not make). We get in at around five (AM) and crash for a few hours. Saturday August 12th - disc exchange CD store (afternoon) Knoxville, TN

Being surrounded by posters of people who sell records always makes me insecure. Performance goes well though and the folks at the store dig it. Hit the road and catch a sweaty sleep at a rest stop. Sunday August 13th - Kaffee Klatch. Huntsville, AL Monday August 14th - Kaffe Klatch and Crossroads. Huntsville, AL

My man Tony has me staying at his place in the basement of his moms house. “Two words”, he says. “Duck down”. Lots of mosquitoes down here. We go exploring around a big cave for about two hours. Amazing. I’m in fucking heaven. Climbing around inside my mother. The water is a few feet deep in many places and nice and cold. Thank you goddess. Tuesday August 15th - The Chucker. Tuscaloosa, AL

Hangin’ with Sweet Dog and the crew. Sweet Dog tells me about how his grandmother took him to the army recruiting center at the mall and said, “I’ll be back in an hour, sign up for one.” The Marines was the only one opened. So now he’s a punk drummer/Marine drill seargent. The soundman speaks fluent Chineese which he learned working for the National Security Agency. Eight hours of Chineese a day plus two hours of homework. If you slack they’ll hang you from the side of a ship with a paintbrush for two years. I played ‘till 5:45 in the morning (mainly as a challenge to myself), slept at the soundmans. We ate amazing bar-b-que at the famous Archibalds for breakfast (4:00 PM). This place is a cinderblock shack in a back yard with a 240 pound black guy who serves hickory-smoked pork or ribs smothered in sauce and white bread. The place is so busy the phone number’s not even listed. Wednesday August 16th - Local 1048. Montgomery, AL

Lunch of semi-ripe avocado and salsa with tortillas. Perform ‘till 4:00 AM. Second set sucks bad ‘cause I’m too stoned to play and there’s these yuppies giving me a hard time. Club owner and clientele are cool as shit. Sleep at Sunny’s place with these two twins who do jungle-style vocals and DJ-ing. Thursday August 17th - Mermaid Lounge. New Orleans, LA

Jump in the bay by Mobile and swim around for a while on the outskirts of a marina. Hook up with Patrick and Erica, eat some tofu and spaghetti dinner. They drive to the club with me. My set gets pushed back by two hours. I perform standing on the bar while the last band sets up. Goes well; sell one book for $20.00 (“keep the change” - thank you). Club (which was packed) “gives” me $10.00. Sleep at Latch and Louise’s place. Take a cold bath (it’s about 110 degrees here), smoke herb and listen to Hasil Adkins, the legendary one-man-band from West Virginia. I’m blown away. He’s got one CD out on this label Fat Possum who sell punk/blues music. Louise knows them and is trying to hook me up for some Mike iLL releases. We eat soul food (fried pork and greens with ham) for breakfast and Louise and Latch convince me to visit Hasil at his trailer on the way home from Knoxville. Friday August 18th - House Party. Auburn, AL (Nathan)

Long, sweaty drive. Get out of the car in town to call for directions. I hear, “Mike iLL”. It’s Brook from last time I played here. Cool. We go to her house and hang for a while then all drive over to Nathans from there. The opening band is some college kids that have like, three or four songs in thier repetoir, been playing for a few months. Thne I play and then this punk band from Huntsville called …. I forget. They were good though. We all set up and performed in the 12’ by 8’ kitchen. There was one dude in hangin out in drag. We traded CDs later and his is really cool. Burns and the Sideburns; 40 lbs. of Spayed and Neutered Cat Flesh. Got kind of a Kurt Weil feel to it with violin and accordion. I hit the road and sleep on the hi-way. Saturday August 19th - MURDERPALOOZA. Knoxville, TN Get to the party late, but they’re behind schedule anyway. Place is in the middle of nowhere. Sparse but hip crowd. A few angry, troublesome punks here and a 16 year old who tells me her hobby is being spanked and it’s too bad I have a girlfriend. Murderman performs: drum machine, distorted vocals and two guitars. Very Big Black-esque. I dig it. This guy Hogman is also on the bill. He’s an old pig farmer who does risque, comic country music. Very entertaining. Wants me to help him “git some Aim Pee Threez up awn tha Wayb.” Funny motherfucker. There were some death-metal bands and my friends Glitch from Birmingham who play with tapes and shit. Cops came and the last band, Evil Twin didn’t get to play. Murdermans partner forgot to get money from the attendees so we begged some gas money from stragglers at the end of the night to get Glitch home. I took a loss. Sunday August 20th - Home

Wake up in a rest stop, dripping. Drink some tea. Brush teeth. Call Rivka and tell her I’ll be home really late. Head up into the mountains of West Virginia to find Hasil Adkins. Drive forever through winding, curvy roads. Am I lost yet? Get to the area he’s ‘sposed to be in. Halfway between nowhere and nowhere. I drive by his place four or five times. Finally a local is able to give me the low-down. He’s at the bottom of a very steep driveway with its entrance right in the middle of a big turn in the road. Route 85 I believe, in Boone County, WV. His place is a trip. An old bus, two trailers, the remnants of the cabin he lived in in the fourties (Hasil Motel), a few old, fucked-up cars. He and his current sweetie are very nice. They feed me some biscuits and tell me how they met becuase Hasil called her number by mistake a few times and they realised they both had noone to talk to. Hasil shows me all the stuff he’s got from famous fans over the years. The Cramps, Hank Williams the third, Joe Coleman (a wild painter based out of Brooklyn). He’s got tons of old pictures and posters and records all over the walls too. Lot’s of old Sleaze Fest posters from when he was a featured artist - he’s friends with Southern Culture on the Skids too. Then he plays me some of his home recordings and I play a bit for him. He decided to record me. Wow. What an honor. This guys music is amazing. He’s a genius. His recording sound is so raw too. After a couple of hours I hit the road again for another 8 hours or so. They had sent me off with a container of beef stew and two biscuits in a plastic bag. Fifty miles away at a gas station I find the bag and the buscuits clinging to the luggage rack on the van roof - no stew. Get home at four AM to a Rivka shaved from the neck down. We drink some Tennessee wine and make love. We hit Sandy Hook nude beach in the morning. Today

Sit next to a pile of bills. One ear is clogged up and the other aches like hell. Puss dripping out. Hard to sleep nights. Must be all that swimming. Been listening to CDs from the last trip. Favorites are Cat Power and Hasil Adkins. The prospect of entering all the emails from tour into the computer is daunting. September shows are in less than three weeks; Richmond and Roanoke. I’m not prepared. Needed to book shows en route, contact press and shit. FUCK. Hey fuck it. What would Henry Miller do? Have a drink and don’t worry. |

sweet, mike |