1995 - May 16-21

WHERE ARE WE? WHO ARE YOU? WHAT'S HAPPENING???

  • Tue May 16: St. Louis MO
  • Wed May 17: Nashville TN
  • Thu May 18: Bloomington IN
  • Fri May 19: Cabaret Metro, Chicago
  • Sat May 20: Cleveland OH
  • Sun May 21: HOME!

Tue May 16th: St. Louis MO

Cicero's

Cicero's is becoming a favorite place of ours, just because it's so easy to fill! It's such a small place, and it's in a nice area of St. Louis. Tonight was special because we got to play with our friends from Champaign who used to be called Mother but are now Menthol - a wonderful show. They were great, and our audience was fun - especially when the club started flooding really bad, so bad that there was an actual MOAT around the stage as we played! I couldn't help but laugh. I laughed until I realized that we had to load our equipment out in the pouring rain. I also laughed until I realized we had to drive to Nashville the next day. It was worth it though.

Wed May 17th: Nashville TN

Poster Who?

When we haven't ever played a town before, and have been touring for at least 5 years, I wonder about the town. I wonder if there's a reason why we haven't played the town. I don't wonder about Nashville anymore. Poor Menthol was on tour with us here, too, and got to play to 37.5 people. There were seriously 37.5 people in the club. That's how many paid, anyway. Supposedly, it was intersession, and there was no one around, but I'll bet you anything there'd have been a mob scene if someone like Fugazi was playing. Someone Popular!!

Anyway, we went on the stage and tried to drill a hole through it tonight, tried to show the audience something they had never seen before. I don't know how interested they were, but we had a lot of fun. How can you not, when you're playing in a city where you've never been? It still beats working.

FREE SHOW TOMORROW NIGHT

I was told that the turnout might not have been so great because there was a free show tomorrow night. "Who's playing," I asked? "Del Amitri" was the answer.

Opening Band from Hell?

The opening band sort of looked like a country band who discovered the band "Hole." It scared me. The girl lead singer had high-heels on. I heard from a local alterna-kid who worked at the radio station that there were a lot of bands who wanted to be on the show (I don't know where they all were that night then) but couldn't get on, because this weird "Grunge" band had a really important manager. I would like to know how we got on the show, in that case? (just kidding). Anyway.. it was really, really weird. Something about this band just seemed fishy.

 

Thu May 18th: Bloomington IN

How do we work the next 3 days?

Sometime tonight, even as we are all dog-tired, we realize that we have a really, really tough schedule for the next 3 days, and we have to map out our moves, like a calendar of time.

Our upcoming schedule:

1) We have to play the show in Bloomington, probably go on stage after 12am which sux, finish and load out by 2-3am.

2) We have to be in Chicago by 3pm the next day, and we must allow ourselves around 6 hours to drive it, incase of Chicago traffic, or a long lunch.

3) This give us 6 hours of sleep that night, whether or not we drive overnight. Howie wants us to drive overnight, but if we go to Chicago, we'll have to drop him off and that adds another hour of Chicago suburban driving time, one less hour for us to sleep. No thank you. 4) The next day, we play the Metro in Chicago, it will be pretty packed, and an important show, and we'll have to have enough energy to hang out with our parents and act like we're not tired.

5) Then we have to be in Cleveland by 3pm the next day for a huge radio festival that we are looking forward to, immensely! We Do NOT want to be late for that, or we won't get a soundcheck! Chicago to Cleveland is 7 hours, plus another cuz we lose an hour, plus whatever driving time there is to pick up Howie.

We finally decide to stay in motels both nights, and drive a couple of hours out of Chicago the night of the Metro show. Needless to say, band members and parents are very dissapointed they won't be able to spend time together, but this radio show is so very important, and we want to be fresh, rested, and ON TIME! After the Cleveland show, we have to leave with no sleep, and drive BACK to Chicago to be at our friends' wedding at, you guessed it; 3pm.

Drive all night from Bloomington

This was another tornado night, if I remember correctly. I am writing this a couple of days later, but I remember much tornadic activity when we were in Indiana. Something akin to us driving and terrible lightening sparking all around us constantly, and heavy rains, and lots of wind. At one point it got so bad that we decided to pull over to the next underpass, having to pass a couple of underpasses that were full, and then we turned on the radio to hear, "Get to shelter immediately if you are in the path of a tornado. Touchdowns have been sighted in Madison, ... counties.." etc. I grab the map, shaking, remember, I am terrified of tornados - and try to locate the county we are in, and as I am still shaking and yelling, Rick decides we should continue driving. After a little while it becomes clear to us that it was a good idea that we had moved, because we were in the path of all the touchdowns. The name of the county we were in was all over the radio! As scared as I am of tornadoes, if I had the choice, I'd probably want to see one, and I felt let-down as the sky cleared later on.

Sardina

Actually, we got to play with a band that I really, really liked called Sardina, but while we were selling their CDs, (and ours, of course), a guy came up to me and said, "I'd Like a Sardina CD, please. I KNOW That Hurts, but I'm sorry," he finished. I said back, "Well, we'll try to get over it." It's so hard to like a band when their fans are idiots. On top of it, we walked into the club, half-dead, go to set up a table to sell our stuff, and then Sardina walks in and says, "WOW!! You're setting up a table to sell stuff? GREAT! You can sell OUR stuff, too!" and proceeds to plop down a bunch of CDs right next to us, as we were hanging up our stuff and looking for light switches, etc. It just seemed really, really obnoxious. They didn't even ask - they just TOLD us! I have come to the conclusion that Bloomington, IN, is a weird place. The Sardina band was very good, though.

The Second Story

Each time we get to this club, it has changed a little more. The promoter, whose name is Lee, is really quiet and shy. I wonder how a guy like that becomes a promoter. (Instead of a musician!) The people who come to our shows here are great; they dance around and smile and scream for more, and this stage was the best sounding stage of the whole tour. Overall, we are happy, even if we are tired and kranky as hell!

 

Fri May 19th: Cabaret Metro, Chicago IL

Parent Hell

Well, if any of you were wondering if our parents support us, they do. (Not financially, I mean). They come to the shows. They tell us they love the band. We don't feel weird playing in front of them. However my mom always complains about the opening bands; complains they are too loud, and if she gets into the dressing room, she drinks all our beer.

I can't be in enough places at once

At a Chicago show there are always way too many people to talk to. Everyone we ever knew lives in Chicago now, and they always want to talk to us. There are always people who want t-shirts and CDs signed, and in my opinion these people should come first, because we don't get to see them all the time. As a rule, Rick and I have always sold our own shirts at the Metro, and always get swamped with people wanting autographs at the end of the night, which is very fun for us. The bad part comes in if we want to watch the other bands, or talk to people we haven't seen in a while, or EAT DINNER! Worse, our parents are always there and I never get to see them, and I'd like to spend time with them. Also, we have to move our equipment (remember, we have no roadies) after the show and get paid and stuff.... I wish I could be in 8 places at once when we play the Metro, and it's always very tiring. Tonight a guy who works at the t-shirt place where we get our shirts printed up offered to drive up to Chicago to sell shirts for us, and we finally agreed. I don't know if people got mad that we didn't sell our shirts, or what. I just didn't know what else to do. At the last Metro show, I almost collapsed. This one seemed to go a little smoother, but only a little.

Audience = *****

I had to scream and scream at the club bouncers to TAKE DOWN THAT BARRICADE NOW!!!, over and over again. We are not some poseur English wimpy band who needs a barrier between our audience!! It took me a long time to convince the Metro, but they finally took that damn barrier down. Same thing happened last time we played there, too; I had to yell and yell until I got my way. And after convincing them that Our Audience Will NOT Dance, tonight it's a 5-star audience. They danced, crowd-surfed, and sang along with the songs. It was a wonderful, comforting sight for us to see. I wanted to make sure nobody kicked anyone else in the nose; I didn't see anyone get thrown out, so I assume all was ok. It looked very gentle from where I was, and I didn't see a bouncer beat anyone up. Oh happy, happy night!

 

Sat May 20th: Cleveland OH - WENZ Birthday Bash

THE BIG DAY!

So we drive overnight half the way to Cleveland, to MAKE SURE WE AREN'T LATE for our soundcheck at the big radio festival; we had heard that the order of bands was 3 locals and then Steel Pole Bath Tub, then us, then Faith No More. Since SPBT was on tour with Faith No More, we assumed there was a mistake in what we had heard, and that SPBT would go on after us. I saw SPBT open for Nirvana about 6 years ago in Champaign, in front of about 30 people, and well.. let me just say, I didn't remember Nirvana. SPBT played a show that I never, ever forgot, and the 30 people who saw them that night probably are still in bands. I was anxious to meet them and tell them about this.

A Bigger Mistake Had Been Made

So we get to the festival with plenty of time to spare and find out we are the first band there, except for Faith No More's Tour Bus. When there's a tour-bus present, you almost never see the band near it, and it's impossible to tell whether or not they are on the bus. I figured I'd never get to see them, even though I had once met one of them IN cleveland; they came to a show of ours, dragged by Helmet.

Anyway. We get to the show and there's a list of bands posted up in the back area. It seems that we are now going on 2nd out of all the bands, playing before local bands I've never heard of.

This will make it easy for us to get back to Chicago in time to sleep and then go to our friends' wedding tomorrow. Unfortunately, it makes us wonder EXACTLY WHY THE HELL WE ARE PLAYING THIS SHOW???!!!! We have finally cracked; it is our last show, and we have driven too long the past couple of days to care anymore. Grumbling and making fun of the world, we sit in the little trailer reserved for the Other Bands, laughing and screaming and making tons of noise.

Another band comes in and I can't help but ask them, (since they are all wearing sunglasses inside the trailer and just Do Not Have that Indie Look about them), "What Kind Of Music Do You Play? Are you Alternative?" and when they ask us in retaliation, (after assuming I, the Girl, am the lead singer), I say "We are a Grunge Band; we play Grunge." This poor band is Hip To The Fact that you don't call yourself a "grunge band" anymore - that is NOT Cool, so they look at each other and try to figure out what the hell is wrong with me. I was so obnoxious to this band that I wish I had a movie of it. It was very uncalled for. (But too much fun.)

A man walked in, full of tattoos and long, fluffy, FROSTED hair and looking like a roadie for a very, very bad metal band, and I asked him what band he was in. He told me he wasn't in a band, but was "Sang a little, in New York." Once again, I start overflowing with my "indie-cred/hubris" and nothing can stop me.

And What an AUDIENCE

Well, I don't know what to make of that audience, and I'm sure they didn't know what to make of us. You see, we didn't get a soundcheck; nothing even slightly resembling a soundcheck. And we were treated like a local dork band, probably as we should have been. I couldn't even get this audience to yell "Krokus Rocks," and when I threw a free shirt out, a guy dressed in all black with chains grabbed it away from a guy who obviously wanted it and threw it down on the ground and looked at me like he'd do the same to me.

How To Do Sound When You're Not Allowed To Make It Sound Good

Even Joe The SoundMan, pillar of strength, came away from this experience very, very shaken! You see, even though we didn't get a soundcheck, when we went on stage to set up our equipment, Joe could test our sounds to make sure they were EQd correctly. But he wasn't ALLOWED to do that during the set change-over. He was ONLY allowed to test our instruments WHILE WE PLAYED THE SHOW. Figure this one out. Also, by the 3rd song, he said he got us sounding pretty damn good, he thought, and then he looked over and there was another soundguy, messing with the house EQ! Joe is convinced that he got us sounding too good, and we weren't allowed to sound that good. He is convinced that the soundguys and people in charge of Faith No More were too afraid to have one of their opening bands sounding good. It has happened before; it happens with many bands. There are stories about bands not allowing their openers to use more than 4 channels of a mixing board; in this case, there was a separate mixing board for all us dorko "local" bands. On top of it, we had the humiliating experience of having to go on before 2 of the local dork bands who I am assuming were really, really bad, just by the way they were dressed. Why did we agree to this?

And we left, exhausted, and early, because we had to get home for our friends' wedding. I vaguely remember getting to meet members of Steel Pole Bath Tub, trying to tell them about how they inspired us, and trying to explain why we couldn't stay to see them play. They were really nice. One of them seems to know a good amount about computers - I had the geekest chat with him. Maybe one day we'll get to play together again and we'll get to see them again.

And some guy on acid gave me a flower. It carried me all the way home.

What an ending for a tour.

It makes me happy we only have 10 days off!

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