Pensacola FL - Chapel Hill NC

  • Mon Apr 24: Pensacola FL
  • Wed Apr 26: Orlando - Jax FL
  • Thu Apr 27: Atlanta GA
  • Fri Apr 28: Athens GA
  • Sat Apr 29: Warren Wilson College
  • Sun Apr 30: Chapel Hill NC

 

Pensacola and Orlando, Mon-Tues, Apr 24-5th

BORING

There's not much going on here; I think we are preparing ourselves mentally and physically for the trip up the coast. We'll be in New York next week, and it's physically and emotionally demanding.

GOOD SHOW, BAD SHOW

So we had about the worst show of our lives 2 days ago, and then one of the best ones of the month last night. The worst show was really funny; it was like trying to swim with cinder blocks attached to your feet. You come off the stage and people say, "Hey, nice show" and you want to explain to them that you felt like killing yourself while you were on stage. The rest of the band probably doesn't get as upset on the stage as I do, but I know they all had a pretty bad time. The thing is that we love Sluggo's in Pensacola; it was just a combination of terrible things like 1) Starting at 12:45am on a Monday night, 2) The stage was very small and had these two huge holes in it and we almost kept falling in them, 3) The load-in was up a flight of stairs, and 4) The power went out of the PA in the middle of the set and 5) The monitors were feeding back something fierce all throughout the show, when the PA was working. Oh well. At the end of the show I smacked my headstock into Rick's forehead, and he just started laughing. I think he has a bump on his head. Oh well.

THE BEST GRAFFITTI

Was in the Pensacola rest-room; it had a picture of a guy frying in an electric chair and it said "You can't burn an American Flag, but you can burn an American." Think about that for a while.

MUSTACHES

The guys (except Jim) have all decided to grow mustaches, as a male-bonding thing. I am disgusted at this trend; for some reason, I just don't associate Poster Children music with Mustache Rock. I have threatened to do everything from grow my own mustache to wear really heavy-metal, sexy-belly-button-showing clothes on stage. The guys don't understand this; they say it makes no sense, but I say that they are showing off their testosterone levels, so I can show off my femininity. The guys hate it when I wear revealing clothes on stage. I think they think it's degrading to me, and I think they're probably right. (sometimes.) I haven't carried out any of my threats.

Wednesday, Apr 26th

Motel Room in Jacksonville, FL

WHY BIGGER BANDS HIDE BACKSTAGE AND DON'T WANT TO TALK TO YOU

I am thoroughly convinced that I now know why the big rock stars don't hang out in the crowds. They do not want to hear the following: (we get this each night.)

* "I only have $8/$5/$1 - can I get a t-shirt? Come on; it's publicity for you!" (Every night someone asks this.)

* "Hey! Don't you remember me? I'm (insert name here) from (insert city here). I met you 4 years ago! Are you too big of a rock star to remember me now?" (I forget people and I feel terrible when I forget them.)

* "Wow. You play bass really well [for a girl] - I am pretty impressed."

* "Can you really choose to NOT be famous?/How come you guys are not famous yet/How do you feel about being so famous now?"

* "Hey. That was a really ... 'nice' show. It was really... 'good.' Really." (I swear that the nights that I get off the stage and think it was a great show, people come up to me and say things like, "Man! That was INCREDIBLE! EXCELLENT! GREATEST BAND I'VE EVER SEEN" but on the nights I think we sucked, people come up and say, "Hey, that was a really..uh.. nice show. Really. It was fun. good. I liked it; really." There's nothing worse than coming off the stage, hating the way we played, and then having people come up to us and try to comfort us.

I feel like I have stolen money from people when we play badly.)

* "Hey. You guys are pretty good. Do you have a demo tape? I have some friends who could get you places."

Can you believe how much I am complaining? I hope I have made it clear that I love to talk to people, but I care so much about giving them a good show and making the t-shirts affordable and good and making the cover charges small, that when something gets in the way, it drives me crazy. I wouldn't complain about this stuff if I didn't care. Really.

COMMERCIAL STATIONS

This morning we went to one of the scary commercial alternative radio stations in the area to do some sort of ID; "Hi, we're Poster Children, etc.." I am still not used to talking on these high-level commercial stations. You have to talk really fast and be interesting; it's not like a college station. The college stations interview us, and ask us questions we are supposed to answer. The commercial stations need voice inflections more than content, and they have to be excited voices. We try hard to make ourselves sound interesting, but I always feel as though I am just "not ready for the bigtime" yet when we talk on these stations. We just have to get used to it, I guess. It's just a completely different world from the KCOUs!

 

Thursday, Apr 27th - Grumpy Tim's floor in Atlanta GA

WHY I HATE THE MIDTOWN MUSIC HALL

So we played the Midtown Music Hall in Atlanta, the place that really brings out the worst in me. This is the place that last time, our soundguy Joe almost got into a fist-fight with the house soundguy because he was telling us to "leave our big egos at the door when we play *his* club."

I've talked about this traumatic experience before; we were called a Band With An Ego Problem. I think the only reason Joe didn't hit this guy is that the guy already had a cast on from being in another fight, and also, Joe's a lot shorter than this guy.

Anyway, there he was when we walked in. At the end of the night last time we played here, both Joe and I went at different times to apologize to this man, because we do not want to leave with bad feelings and we wanted to explain that we have never been accused of having ego problems, but this guy just wouldn't hear of it. He just kept repeating his ego lesson to us, like we were acting like rock stars. "Don't worry, Babe, you rocked, anyway- chill out!" he said to me.

NO one calls me 'Babe.'

I don't know why I get such "bad vibes" from this place. The stage is actually really fine, and it's a perfect size place and the audience is great. I actually got the 111 people in the audience to yell "KROKUS ROCKS!" before we did an encore. How many audiences would do that for a band like us?

But here's another complaint- we are supposed to be fed (get free food) at this club, and we have heard that the food is great. When we sit down, our waitress tells us that we can have anything from a hamburger to a cheeseburger to a grilled chicken sandwich; the regular entrees are off limits. For some reason, when Rick ordered a grilled chicken, he was told he wasn't allowed to. It was the cheapest thing on the menu, too. I got really mad, because I am figuring that they were punishing us for our Ego Problems. Other bands have talked about how wonderful the food is there, so I was guessing that the normal policy is that they get fed anything. Unless the hamburgers really are something special. We had just eaten at McDonald's for lunch and just wanted something more substantial. Maybe this place *does* bring out ego problems with us.

 

Friday, Apr 28th - En route to Athens GA

MAJOR LABEL, SHMAJOR LABEL

We spent time in Atlanta with our Reprise Records reps. All I can say is that Warner Bros. and Reprise must have the greatest label reps working for them in the world. We haven't met any that aren't kind. They all have their own special personalities, too - There is Bruce McGuire up in Minnesota who is our King of Style, very urban and sleek. There is Tim Hurst of Cleveland, one of the less-"alternative-looking" reps we've met, who we love very much; he is always at our shows in the area and is so supportive. There is Patrick up in Michigan who got us a snowboarding show who snowboards and the last show he had put on before ours was a Minor Threat show. There is Joe Janecek our man in the Los Angeles area who is way into the internet, is from Nebraska, and thinks our van is blue. There are so many great label reps and one of the best things about touring is meeting friends you haven't seen in a while; these are just more friends. (Plus they buy us dinner.)

This week, the gold star goes to Warren, our radio guy in Atlanta. Not only was he there to help set up shows for us on the radio and interviews, came to our shows, and took us out to lunch and dinner, but went extra out of his way to help us figure out a way to sell CDs at our shows. Most major-label bands cannot get a hold of their own CDs to sell, but we are on our way to being able to do that now, thanks to Warren.

Since we are a very small band on this label, we do not expect all the label people to come out to support us, but when some do, it is very nice. It helps them understand what we're all about, too. Tonight Warren gets to hang out with The Throwing Muses, another Reprise band, who are playing in Atlanta.

40WATT CLUB and MORE PETER BUCK

This is "the" club in Athens. We haven't played here for a couple of years, and then before that, each time we'd play would be on the same day as the World Series. I don't think we've ever had a big crowd in this town. It's a beautiful town, though, and it's still very warm out. The trees and especially the leaves in Georgia are extra-big. Each state has its own special-effect. I notice that the speed limit signs in Oregon only say "SPEED 55," leaving out the word "limit." Arizona is filled with cactus. Florida seems like a big neon shopping mall. In New Mexico, the sunsets are blood-red.

I'm sitting backstage where I once punched a wall, really hard, here in a dressing room that smells like drugs. I know I met Peter Buck here once, too; I think one of his girlfriends owns this club, too. Not that he has more than one at a time. Actually, the rest of the band met Peter Buck, and I was out running around the streets of Athens, crying, so I missed talking to him. I was crying because I had a bad show, and I remember being really mad at the drummer, whichever one he was. Probably the 4th; Bob. I get mad at lots of our drummers, I guess. I used to punch walls and tear up my hands, then I moved to breaking basses on the stage, and now.. I just yell at them on the stage.

 

Saturday, Apr 29th - Warren Wilson College- Asheville, NC

WHERE ARE WE??

I am sitting in my sleeping bag, sprawled out in a field, watching hippie-kids play hacky-sack, running barefoot around on a beautiful lawn, amidst the trees, staring up at the green hills surrounding the Warren-Wilson college grounds. Birds are chirping and it's about 72 degrees out, at 6:30pm.

We knew we had a college show tonight, but we didn't have any idea what this college was like. It is a small liberal arts school with about 537 people, in the hills of Asheville, NC. I know that Asheville was once voted "Best Place To Live" by one of those important magazines, and I've been there and it seems to fit the ticket. This college has committees of students who run certain areas of it; we met the guy who's in charge of the electronics on the campus. All the students clean up after themselves; everything gets recycled here, there are no frats, and all of the students know each other. Kids today are walking around in a sort of daze, probably because it's their Spring Jubilee, the festival that all college campuses have, and we are lucky to be able to play here today.

When we first got here we arrived amidst a sort of funky-type of band playing music that we didn't know people actually played. Definitely not "Alternative." There were all sorts of hippie-sort of booths around with lots of vegan, herbs, and animal-rights pamphlets. People were just hanging out, enjoying themselves. I saw some t-shirts being printed up here that said "Warren-Wilson College: We're all here because we're not all there." A guy approached me about buying a ticket to a raffle to win a drum he had made. I felt a terrible culture shock. I don't think we've even been outside of the van during the day, except to get to the gas stations. These kids live in some sort of paradise, and we feel very privileged to be able to experience some of it.

ATHENS GA - we're falling apart

Well, we finally screwed up, after I don't know how many years of touring. We left a huge box of CDs and t-shirts, and a bag of cymbals at the 40 Watt Club. At least we hope we left it there. We have been calling now for hours, trying to reach someone but no one answers the phone. We are worried sick. There is a possibility that the band we're travelling with, Crowsdell, (who I will talk about later) grabbed our stuff. I hope they did, otherwise all this stuff will have to be shipped to us. If we find it. *sigh*.

PRESS

Someone told me that we had some press that said, "Poster Children are the best band no one's ever seen." That seems appropriate. Most people have the perception that we are a huge band, and that our shows will be packed, but when it comes right down to it, it's been a long time since we've sold out a show. Most people have heard of us, but no one knows what we sound like. I get a lot of people coming up to me at shows, (seriously) saying "Wow - YOU'RE Poster Children? I didn't know you sounded like THAT?! I thought I HATED you guys; I had never even HEARD your music, but my friend was playing some music in his car and I thought it was amazing and said, "What's that?" and he said it was Poster Children." Last night we had our usual Athens crowd of around 100-150 people, but two new people that I met outside the venue earlier during the day showed up. They had asked me what we sounded like and I said we were kind of loud. One guy had a Rancid shirt on, and the other guy had a bootlegged Fugazi shirt. I told them we sounded like a mix of Sonic Youth and Fugazi; (someone told me that once) and that they could come back if they wanted. They did. They seemed to enjoy the show very much. So now we know that we have 2 new fans, and we are very happy!

 

Sunday, Apr 30th - Chapel Hill, NC

THE POLICE WERE GRINNING

So we drive the 3 hours from love-city Asheville to Chapel Hill and arrive in the midst of some kind of celebration of hate. The atmosphere is so thick and tense, it's totally different from where we just were, in hippie-land. I drove up to the main section of the campus town and intersection looked like a parking lot, and there were police everywhere. People were driving around as if they were looking for a fight, and other people were walking around with their shoulders all hunched up, looking around them in terror. The police were grinning. I have no idea what was going on, still. It seemed like an after-football-game type of thing, where everyone is waiting for a riot, but there was no game. Chapel Hill is sort of like Champaign IL, on the east coast. People are usually very friendly, but today, well, it must have been some sort of celebration.

WE FOUND OUR STUFF

We finally got a call from the 40 Watt Club in Athens telling us that our t-shirts and cymbals were safe and sound in the office. *WHEW!* That was a close one. Once you relax on tour, that's it. You lose everything. I suppose that if we had a tour-manager or a roadie, maybe this wouldn't have happened, but I don't know if that's true or not. Rick and I are getting fried; it's been a long time since we've had a day without a show. Our tiny brains have been working overtime with worrying about t-shirts and advancing shows and keeping up the web page and answering fan email and making sure this tour goes smoothly. The only strain is really from moving around non-stop, and worrying about the upcoming NY area part of the tour. We really cannot afford to relax for one night; especially now.

LIZARD AND SNAKE

So we played this teeny club in Chapel Hill and there were 94 people packing the place. It must have been excrutiatingly loud. We have been trying very, very hard to keep our volume down, but in this brick box of a club, there was just no way. This was the first time we all thought the show went really well and I don't know if the audience enjoyed it or not. Too bad. I enjoyed it! (Imagine that!)

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