Lollapalooza 1995 Second Stage, First Week

  • Sat Jul 1 - Get OUT of Madison!
  • Sun Jul 2 - Still driving
  • Mon Jul 3 - Lollapalooza Rehearsal
  • Tue Jul 4 - Lollapalooza Day 1- "Seattle"
  • Wed Jul 5 - Lollapalooza Day 2 - Vancouver
  • Thu Jul 6 - Drive Day 1
  • Fri Jul 7 - Drive Day 2

Saturday July 1st - Nighttime in South Dakota

We leave from Madison around 3pm, because we can't tear ourselves away from Mercy Rule and Madison WI. It is dark by the time we are driving through South Dakota, and I am really happy to be away from the East Coast. You can drive for miles and miles around here and not see anything; the highway signs aren't even lit. A "Wall Drug" reflector sign hangs in the darkness like a premonition.

Marooned in Wall Drug

Well, in our excitement of finally being able to drive for 100 miles without seeing as much as an open gas station,we run out of gas at Wall Drug, South Dakota, at 3am, and sleep in the van until the Sinclair station opens in the morning. We are all exhausted, so none of us are that angry for the forced rest. Driving overnight is a strain for everyone in the van besides the driver, because you have to worry that whoever's driving may fall asleep.

Sunday July 2nd - STILL driving!

36 Hours

Before we left, we calculated that it would take us 36 hours to get from Madison to Moses Lake, Washington. It actually took exactly 35 hours and 50 minutes, including the 4 hour stop and all the eating. Who needs a tour manager?

Band Patrol

For the whole 36 hours we were driving, we were on "band patrol." We wanted to see at least 1 band travelling alongside us, even if it was a tour bus. We never saw anyone, so we started pretending Coolio was in every car we passed, and we started fantasizing about having to share a dressing room with him. Rick saying "Coolio, are you going to eat those grapes?" in a cartoon-martian-like voice had me in stitches.

We also sang Smith's songs for a couple of hours, using the cartoon-martian voice. This made us laugh. But we never saw any band at all, no tour bus or van - only a couple of deadheads driving, somewhere in Idaho.

 

Monday July 3rd: Lollapalooza Rehearsal George, Washington

The Gorge is located about 30 minutes off I-90, a couple of hours east of Seattle. For about 10 miles down the highway near, you notice that the crops along the road are labeled - with blue road signs. We passed Sweet Corn, Wheat, Alfalfa, Peppers, Onions, Triticale, it just kept going. This is the same stretch of land that I noticed Christmas decorations placed on the huge crop sprinklers, last December.

We're a little nervous driving up to the gate, because we know we'll have to get past a bunch of guards, and prove we are Poster Children and somehow get them to believe we're on the 2nd Stage. It's always that way at these festivals. We come across little resistance from the guards, but each has a walkie-talkie, and even though the guards have been radio-ing each other about our arrival, ("the band Poster Children is here, at exactly their scheduled time, in a large white van, and I'm sending them down to the 2nd Stage,") each guard stops us and asks who we are. Ahh, Power.

We finally get out to the 2nd Stage, where Possum Dixon is soundchecking. They sound really great - sort of a rockabilly thing with really nice-sounding voices. I think I am going to enjoy this show. Then we meet everyone - and I mean, EVERYONE - in charge of the 2nd Stage. Everyone is really, really nice. They keep asking us if everything is OK but they really want to know. The atmosphere is exactly what I thought; no bad rock attitude like that damn Cleveland show, at all.

From reading the contracts, I got a distinct impression that it was very, very important for those in charge of Loll. to make sure that there was no "old rock" attitude. I just didn't know how they'd be able to pull it off.

My Jaw Drops To The Floor

There is no merchandise rate for the t-shirts. There are roadies to help us load in, and they are NICE! The stage manager asks us if we need more time to soundcheck, even after we've taken almost an hour - we can have "all the time we want!"

The sound system is completely amazing. Terry Pearson, Sonic Youth's soundguy comes over to say "hi" to us while we're soundchecking, and we feel very honored. We are trying to figure out where we met him before, but he's always been extremely nice to us!

My jaw drops to the floor when I walk over the hill to look at the Main Stage, where, wouldn't you know it, Pavement is soundchecking. My jaw drops, because I've never seen anything as beautiful as The Gorge. I see a huge, bright green lawn with stone-cut seats, stretching out to the huge black metal frame stage. As big as my thumb are the tiny figures of Pavement, but I can hear their voices like they are standing next to me.

Just as clear as Pavement, I can hear Possum Dixon playing on the other stage, but for some reason I can hear and understand both songs at once. I attribute it to the fact that I am staring out, at the backdrop of the Main Stage, which spreads out as far as I can see, red, gold and brown striped rock, with a huge gorge cut through it by the (Columbia?) river at the bottom, shining blue. I can see the white, wake trails of tiny boats speeding along the river. If I felt nervous about playing before because it is Lollapalooza, now I sort of feel overwhelmed by the beauty of this place, like I will be playing in the presence of The Creator. It's almost blasphemy, to be playing before Sonic Youth, Jesus Lizard, Pavement, and The Gorge. Wow.

"Do You Want To Eat Dinner?"

Uh, yeah. What the heck, it's free food. We walk behind the main stage to the catering, which is set up in a Yurt. The dinner is skewered meats, hummus, rice, tabouli, spinach, assorted cooked vegetables, a couple of salads, a banana-y chocolate cake, pita breads, and most any soft drink you'd want. And it is really, really good. You go back and sit down near a fountain set up in the middle of the eating tent, with white quartz rocks set up all around it. The tables all have a huge slab of granite on them with a bunch of grapes on top. Someone really went to a lot of trouble to make this whole meal very, very fancy. We eat right overlooking the Gorge. I looked around for various rock stars, and I wanted to get them on camera, but this connectix camera needs almost complete darkness in order to work, and the sun is still high in the sky.

Eating, we saw our friends The Jesus Lizard and their illustrious booking agent, Boche. David Yow, the lead singer of Jesus Lizard looked pretty healthy. He always starts out looking pink and healthy and then by the end of the tour, he's black and blue. A topic of discussion amongst us was decided which bands had tour busses - we were relieved to see J. Lizard going back to a VAN to get some beer. I saw members of Pavement but didn't feel like bothering them.

Sitting in the midst of rock stars, industry people, and crew, there are rules for being "cool." You don't want to look like you're LOOKING FOR ROCK STARS because you are OBviously NOT cool if you do that. When you see one, if you know them, you can go up and say "hi," but you don't want to ask too much of them. I asked J.Lizard if I could take a picture of them with my quicktake little eyeball camera, and they said, "Oh, is that a digital camera? We saw a digital camera yesterday; it didn't look like that!" and I conclude that Lollapalooza has a couple of REAL digital cameras - ones that actually work in the light - and I have a sneaking suspicion that their webpage will be a Little more colorful than mine. Oh well. This is the techno-peasant Lollapalooza page.

Back to the coolness rules: we saw a band sitting at dinner with huge Doc Martens boxes. Since there are no stores present for miles, we conclude that They Got Them Free. We thought it very Uncool of them to be flaunting their free stuff. Later on I was told that Doc Martens were being given away free to anyone who wanted them. This will be investigated tomorrow.

Everyone is Very Nice

It is starting to seem to me that the bands for this were chosen by their nice-ness. I met the drummer from The Might Bosstones and he was so sweet that I had to look around to see if there were TV cameras present. I know the Jesus Lizard guys are very quiet and polite in person, and I have met Pavement before and their very un-rock attitude points to them probably not being assholes. (No sign of Coolio though, or Hole or Sonic Youth.) Everyone here is kind and smiles at you - there are just no aires put on at all.

We Went Home

The Loll. grounds are empty right now, so after walking around a bit (you can see all the setups for food stands and there are campers off in the distance, anticipating the show tomorrow) we came back to our Motel 6 here in Moses Lake and went out to see that new Forrest Gump movie. (You can tell I have a thing against Tom Hanks movies). The Apollo 13 movie was entertaining. I'll give it that. We have to load in tomorrow at 10am, and we play at 3pm, so it is time for me to sign off. I hope to make tomorrow's report more interesting!

 

Tuesday July 4th:

Lollapalooza Day 1 of 6 -

The Gorge Monitors

Yesterday one interesting thing did happen- the only thing I'm really worried about during our set would be the monitors. I was relieved to see "an old friend" - the guy who worked the monitors at the Cabaret Metro, years and years ago - back when the Smashing Pumpkins used to open for US! - behind the monitor board! (The guy later left the Metro to do sound for the Pumpkins.) So I knew that this guy would be nice to us.

During the soundcheck, he tweaked and tweaked until we were happy - but then after the soundcheck, I guess he went up to our soundguy Joe and basically, asked him for money. ML (our manager) was walking around behind Joe when the monitor guy was asking, "Who is your tour manager?" and Joe was trying to answer "Rick and Rose" when ML caught the gist of what the guy wanted. The guy wanted us to pay him, on top of his salary that he was making from the sound company. We were not told about this; it wasn't in the contract, ML said, but the guy held fast and said, "well, they were supposed to tell you, and I must be paid."

This happened to us once before, during the Screaming Trees shows - the monitor guy started disappearing during our set and afterwards we found out that he wanted money from us. We weren't notified at all. It's sort of a scam.

Anyway, ML went to find the guy in charge, Jon Rubeli, to ask him why we weren't notified about having to pay a monitor guy when the monitor guy mysteriously fled. ML tells me that Jon went through the ceiling when he heard the news; it seems the monitor guy was wrong to have done this. This is why the monitor guy approached us separately - and he hadn't even asked any of the other bands yet. If he gets in trouble it will be "our fault." What'll probably happen is that we won't have to pay the guy, but we will have really shitty monitors during this whole thing. I'm a little worried about this.

Maybe Everything Will Turn Out OK

But last night, the stage manager, Foley, who I'm going to have to talk about a little later, because he seems like an extraordinary person, wrote "Foley's New Friends" in the dust on the back of our van. It will be nice to have him liking us. After our soundcheck, Foley went up on stage and told us he had to do "his soundcheck." I heard a huge crowd applause (he has a sampler on stage, I guess!) and I heard him screaming, "Get the F*ck Over Here!" "Get Off Your Ass and COME HERE NOW" and things like that. I think he was practicing yelling at the crowd! It was very, very funny. He had samples like a girl moaning and whining in the deepest throes of sex, and a baby crying, blasting out over the mountains. I guess he is part of the show! He will be a very funny part, I have a feeling.

Lollapalooza Homepage

You know that email you can send to the bands on the L. homepage? I was sure that they'd have some highspeed lines set up during the concerts - by reading the page, it almost seems like they'd have computers in our "dressing rooms!" but after taking a look at the Gorge, I couldn't figure out how they'd do it- I figured they'd have a satellite or something! It turns out that the email is printed out and distributed to the artists by hand. Which probably means that someone glances at it before it's distributed. I feel like we're at Los Alamos during the making of the bomb. Or something.

The KIDS!

I was watching a mile's worth of kids lined up at the starting gate of Lollapalooza, people had been camping overnight! I was standing by the 2nd Stage gate which was directly in the path of the incoming audience, so I got to see the gates open, way off in the distance, and kids come tearing down the dirt road! They looked so excited! I snapped a picture of the first punkers to enter the grounds - they bowed and posed for me. I feel like I'm at a Renaissance Festival today. Or an amusement park!

Lunchtime

I'm sitting right behind Perry Farrell, lead singer of Jane's Addiction and mastermind of this whole thing, typing this and eating lunch, and it's too damn light out to get a good picture with the quicktake camera. If I was brave enough, I'd ask him to come over here and stand in front of the camera while I took a picture of him, but I am not. I just turned around and asked him if he could do something about the sun, and he laughed. Then I got up and told him I loved his music. Then I sat down, sheepishly.

I am sitting all by myself under the eating tent, with my back facing the center, so I can't see anyone else here. Beck came out to where I was selling shirts before, to say "hi," with a whole bunch of kids standing behind him staring at him. Perry just took off, and I know now that I'm missing Doo Rag, so I'm going to have to leave.

Playing in a Hurricane

The wind picked up terribly right before we went on stage. That Foley guy, the stage manager, is hilarious- at least, I think he is hilarious. He is great because he gathers people around the stage right before any 2nd Stage band plays, by being obnoxious. Someone yelled, "Shut Up Man!! We WANNA MOSH!" and everyone grimaced. Playing was sort of hard, because the wind was terrible. People seemed to like us, and we sort of got an encore, I believe. We played an extra song. We sold lots of T-shirts. In fact, I didn't get to see any bands today because I had to sit and sell t-shirts all day, which sucked bigtime, and then we had to leave before Sonic Youth came on because we had to drive 5 hours to Bellingham, on the border of Washington state and Canada, where we'd have to store our 8 boxes of T-shirts - we'd get taxed on them if we brought them into Canada.

 

Wednesday July 5th: Lollapalooza Day 2 of 6 - Vancouver BC

No Sleep I am writing this from the end of the night, and I am very, very tired. We got into Bellingham at about 3am last night and woke up at 7am this morning to get over the Canadian border. I haven't slept since.

Who'd I Meet Today?

We ate food today with Joey and Ben who are the drummer and tour manager of Beck, (used to be with Walt Mink; that's how we know them both). Everyone was complaining about the food, but I thought it was fine, only we didn't have "Vegetarian" Meal Tickets so we weren't allowed to eat the vegetarian entree! So we had to eat a bunch of meat. We have to watch out when we complain about stuff though, because the 2nd Stage people are so touchy about stuff that if we complain about anything, they freak out. They are so focused on making sure we are happy at all times that I went backstage right before we went on stage and yelled "OH NO!" when I realized I hadn't changed my strings and Kristen, who is the 2nd Stage Manager (I think? ) saw me and almost had a heart attack, "WHAT'S WRONG??!!"

I came back(2nd)stage after the last band had finished and found Beck and a couple of the Doo-Rag Attendants (they are dressed completely in white, in milkmen costumes, (yes, I will get a picture of them if it kills me), Thurston Moore, and the rest of my band sitting around, talking. I saw Kim Gordon and her baby today, in the food tent. Her baby is completely beautiful. It started crying later on, and to me, it was like hearing a Sonic Youth song. I could have listened to that baby cry for an hour.

I haven't seen Courtney Love yet, or Sinead O'Connor. (And definitely, never together in the same room! Maybe they are the same person?) I really just want to glance over and see them just sitting and eating, just like normal people, and I'll bet them knowing that would really bother them. It's terrible - if I was that famous and people wanted to just see me eating, I wonder if I would get mad. I don't think I would. I don't get mad now. (Of course, I'm not that famous now.)

I saw part of Sinead's set - about a half a song, and then I left, because I just couldn't get close enough to even see her. I really hate these huge shows. I'd like Sinead to be sitting in my house at the table, singing to me. Yo La Tengo, on the Second Stage, right after us was marvelous. I love to watch Georgia hit the drums. They are playing a set of all my favorite Yo La Tengo songs. Our manager is sort of friends with them, so we got to meet them and talk to them - they seemed as sweet as their music. I'd love to be friends with them. Also, I watched Pavement today on the main stage, but still, couldn't get close enough. Pavement were excellent. I love their vocals, their style, their songs, their perfect looseness. If I could be another band, I'd want to be Pavement.

Sonic Youth Tonight

This is a band who I love more than a person should be allowed to love a band; whose music has been lodged in my spine, built into my DNA now; my children will know their music without ever having heard it.

Before Sonic Youth started, I situated myself in the middle of the crowd, just a little too far back for my liking, but I couldn't get closer, and then they started. They started with the "Angels Are Dreaming Of You" song, a slow dreamy song, and a couple of chords into it, I felt myself starting to cry, because I love that song so much. Then some huge, wet, naked frat guy's butt fell right down on my head, and I felt the sole of a Doc Marten touch my cheek. I looked next to me and there was a girl looking for a place to step on me to lift herself up onto the crowd. Another completely sopping wet guy mashed into my back and about 4 guys who looked like "Mr. Clean" - huge, shirtless, bald sailor-looking guys - went marching in front of me towards the center of the pit. Angels Are...Dreaming Of You.... Angels Are...Dreaming Of You...

I got the HELL out of the pit, became happy that I hardly see any dancers during our shows, and stood on the side of the stage with one ear turned toward the huge speakers, blasting asymmetrically at me until I started feeling like one of my legs was longer than the other. I'm starting to make it sound like it was horrible, but of course it's lots of fun, like summer camp.

Our friends who used to tour in vans but now are on busses say that one drawback of touring in the bus is that they left The Gorge (which is in the middle of a field) last night and drove straight through to the next Lollapalooza, which was in the middle of another field. They don't get to go out and walk around in a city - a lot of these shows are in the middle of nowhere. But for us, Lollapalooza is so much fun that I know I will feel terrible when we have to leave it. We already requested to be allowed to play the Chicago show, but two bands have already been added to it. There are so many bands in the world! (The underground is over-crowded.)

Our Set Today

It felt worse for me, but the guys seemed ok with it. Rick didn't break a string, but Howie's kick drum beater broke on the first chord of the first song, and the curtain they tried to pull up right before we went on, didn't separate. It was all pretty goofy. President Howie Klein from Reprise Records carried my bass off the stage for me. Talk about label support, huh?! I don't know what to do tomorrow. We have 2 days off. What the hell will we do with ourselves?

 

Thursday July 6th: Day 1 Off to Drive To Denver

Thursday Night Hotel Hell

We made it as far as Boise on Thursday, driving slow for about 12 hours, and drove straight up to the Motel 6 Boise which was completely booked. It was already 1am and we were tired - we drove next door to the budget motel and it was booked solid. Successive attempts to find motels all went the same, all but the most expensive hotels (which we cannot afford) were booked solid. Who knows what was going on in Boise that night?

We drove for what seemed like forever, to the next town, Mountain Home, ID, and found two more small, indie hotels and drove to the first one which was of gorgeous 50's architecture. We walk up to the office door and the lady from behind the desk comes out to unlock the glass, double-door. This is the funny part. The woman could NOT get the door unlocked. She stood and jiggled the key in the door for about 15 minutes while we looked at each other and her. I asked her through the door if they had any rooms available, and she said "yes" and kept trying to get the door open. I guess the key was stuck in the door and wouldn't turn.

By this time, we were sort of laughing, because it was starting to be really funny. Or sad. She kept jiggling the key, and still couldn't get the door open. I asked if there was another door to the office, and she said "No." I asked her how she was going to get out then, and warned her of the dangers that a fire might bring, in this situation. Then I asked her if there was another hotel in town, and she directed us to the other hotel.

We drove away, watching her still bent over, trying desperately to unlock the door. When we got to the other hotel, we were excited to find the door unlocked, but the woman (it looked like the same woman) informed us that there were no 4-person rooms. The other hotel in the area had some. We told her that we had just come from the other hotel and that the lady was locked inside, and we started laughing.

The woman was incredulous- "what do you mean, LOCKED INSIDE?" "Really?" We were still sort of giggling, and the woman decided to call over there to see if it was really true. I heard this: Nancy: "Hi, Gloria, this is Nancy (names have been changed cuz I don't remember them) over at the HiLander. Do you have any 4-person rooms available?" silence... Nancy: "Oh, Ok." (and then, in a very low voice, whispering, "Honey, how are you going to get out of there?" We had a nice stay at the Hilander, with 2 single-bed rooms. What a mess.

 

Friday July 7th: Day 2 Off to Drive To Denver

Wyoming

Wyoming is the 50th most populous state: even Alaska has more people. Most of the drive today was through the bottom of Idaho and tonight we are going through the bottom of Wyoming, ready to drop into Colorado and drive down into Denver. There are 13,000 ft high moutains during this drive, and even though the van is heating up to around 100 degrees again, we can look off in the distance and see snow, looking like it's a half-hour drive away. It never did get cooler in the van though. The mountains out here were lettered, too, just like in Montana- in Missoula, there's a mountain with a huge "M" on it. Continental Divide, I-80: 7000 ft Buffets The newest Poster Children eating craze is the Buffet. Why pay 6$ for a limited amount of crappy food when you can pay 6$ for as much crappy food as you want? As long as you avoid any scary tuna-fish that looks like it's attained critical mass, you will be fine. And lots of corn. Yum.

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