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Untitled Document


Feb - Apr
Poster Children in Europe
with Steel Pole Bath Tub
1- England
2- Germany
3- Germany, Denmark, Switz
4- Italy-Switz
5- Italy
6- Austria
7- France
8- The Netherlands

Norse Raider Tour

East Coast
w/ Cows!
Cows 1
Cows 2
Cows 3


(we worked on RTFM for the rest of the year)




Europe with Steel Pole Bath Tub!
Feb 96-April 96

Part 8- The Netherlands-London-home

what makes Jim do this sort of stuff?

Saturday Mar 30, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

There is Nothing

We finally decided to go out for a walk, to McDonalds and then to the Van Gogh Museum, because the club (Arena) here had no food for us. By the time we got to the museum, it was closed. The McDonalds was totally packed, and people would just walk in front of you and take your place. I've noticed that in Europe, a lot. In America, you'd get shot.

We walked around town and saw a "coffee shop" - that's where they do sell pot and hash. There was no sign on the shop but it was pretty obvious what people were having inside; there was a guy who was completely slumped over the window, he was probably drooling. He looked like he'd been stoned for a half a century. For some reason, it didn't look too fun to me but I'm such a geek. Of course at the club we're playing at, there's no sign of drugs; sort of a big disappointment for all of us. Amsterdam has never really lived up to its reputation for me, actually.

Dale actually got angry enough at something today that he just took off and ran into the bus. He was saying something about the people in Amsterdam; my take on it is they all have dreadlocks, they all have rich parents who sent them off to Europe to 'find themselves' - it's like all the outcasts are in-casts here. It's really irritating. Everyone here is very proud to be here. It's probably as irritating as Paris was in the 20 and 30s.

After the show tonight, there is a rave. The room is crowded with the same 500-1000 people who watched the show, only now they are dancing! I stayed in the backstage room because there were these two hilarious kids teaching us how to do this skater-sort of rave dance. "No, turn your legs in more! Turn your knees in! Ok, now it's the slow part- you have to wave your hands now! Like this!" They were preparing us to go out into the rave room. Tonight I actually danced (without wearing an instrument), maybe for the first time in my life. Patrick and Tilo were out on the floor dancing, too; they have the craziest dance where they bend over backwards and shake their hands. They are wonderful. I had so much fun tonight, I can't believe it. There is something to be said for not being afraid. Dancing partner, wherever you are, I thank you. I had another night to dream about.

It snows as the sun is coming up.

Sunday Mar 31, Groningen, The Netherlands


This club is located on a street full of beautiful high-class trendy furniture stores and art shoppes, and when you walk into the club you see decades of fliers pasted on the walls, fliers from every cool band there ever was. There are Steel Pole Bath Tub pictures up all over the place amidst the Firehose, Sonic Youth, U2, Fugazi, Jesus Lizard, Codeine pictures. There are fliers for this show that talk about all 3 of the bands, promo for all of us. This is obviously a very special club.


Tilo, Mai-Linh, and Patrick

Tonight is Surrogat's last night with us, and we all stand and watch them in the front of the stage. They are really a great band; I tell them that if they can get over here to America, they will have equipment; we will get some for them. Patrick says from the stage so eloquently, "Guys, I have been thinking all day of what to say to you from the stage, but... well,.. I decided, you already know." He looks like he is crying. I start crying. I want to go up and hug them all. I am so glad I spent last night with them. What a strange life it is; you get to know people - live with complete strangers in a bus for 5 weeks, and then you will probably never see them again! Thank god for the internet; hopefully very soon, everyone will have email addresses.

Steel Pole Bath Tub

Today Steel Pole Bath Tub made up our set list; their basic requests are: Darren wants to hear "One Of Us," Dale wants to hear "Black Dog" (a new song), they like "Good Cop Bad Cop," another new song, and they always want to hear "Where We Live." It's a rhythmic song, like the ones they write. Mike, I think, likes "Revolution Year Zero," and used to like "He's My Star" until he found out it was about David Hasselhoff. Heh heh heh. (It's not, really.) I'm just glad they like the new songs! My choices for their set list are "Alice," "Conversation," "Hey Bo Diddley," "Sister," "Borstal," "Bozeman," "Train to Miami," and I get weak-kneed now when I hear "Twist." I know I'm leaving some out. There isn't anything that I don't like. There are songs on the new record that they won't play that I can just listen to at night after their show. They should be famous. I wish they'd play more than 10 or 11 songs each night. Oh, and they play "I Dream I Dreamed" by Sonic Youth sometimes for their last encore, and I almost faint.

Monday April 1st, travel

Intense Until The End

So we get to London, finally. I wake up in a terrible mood today for some reason, probably something to do with the end of the tour. I didn't even get out of the bus when we crossed on the ferry - I don't think I wanted to get to London. London sux compared to Europe; it's like playing in New York. I woke up to hear about a 1000 screaming children and looked out the window and saw we were parked in the ferry - I decided I'd rather die underneath the ferry, sinking into the channel alone than with a bunch of screaming 5-year olds above, on the surface.

Now What?

Where is Mario going to park today? We don't play until tomorrow. He is going to try to park next to the venue, in the middle of London. They have no parking space reserved for us because it is London, and we should just be happy they're allowing us to play; we just have to hope we find a place big enough to hold 5 cars. Then we don't have power unless we find an outlet to plug the bus into, and there is no heat overnight unless we run the engine of the bus, which we can't do because it makes too much noise.

While we are driving around the winding streets of London, bus and trailer, (there is no highway and on and off ramps) a huge truck sideswipes us, passing us on a narrow curve and breaks one of the rear-view mirrors off the bus, then drives away quickly. Mario jumps out of the bus, livid, and Mike yells, "where's my knife?" (they got brand new Swiss Army knives from their record label in Switzerland) and jumps out of the bus to protect Mario. Neither of them caught the truck, and for the next two hours we drove around I think looking for a police station. There were police on the next block who were no help whatsoever.

So we finally get to the street with the club and he finds a parking space that will fit the bus and trailer, then goes out of the bus. We are trying to figure out what to do overnight with the bus; I called our record label to ask them if they'd have a spot, but never got back to them to check. Someone asks, "What's Mario doing?" and someone else jokingly replies, "He's going door to door to find someone who will let us plug into their house." Actually, that is what he was doing! He comes back and says, "This lady will let us plug in the bus overnight." A woman has allowed us to park and plug into her house for 10 pounds. We're set for the night! Woohoo!

What do we do on our last free night? We see the crappiest movie ever made; Lawnmower Man 2. Do not see this movie. I won't talk about it anymore. On our way back, we pass a Kentucky Fried Chicken with a group of 10 people (half police) yelling at each other, just yelling on and on at each other. I want to stand and watch. No guns or anything; just people screaming at each other. It was all very exciting.

Next we pass a Blockbuster Video, YAY!!!, and buy "Reservoir Dogs" and "Love and a .45," recommended by a very nervous Mike. "You guys are going to hate this movie and then rip me to shreds, I know it." He sounds so much like me sometimes. Anyway, this movie is amazing, go see it NOW. The curiousest thing about it is that "Natural Born Killers" is pretty much like a remake of this movie. I don't understand how two movies can be so similar. "Love and a .45" is "NBK," only REALLY good, and well acted, and it has this independent Texas film sort of air about it, like Slacker. I jumped into my bunk after this movie ended because I didn't want to talk to anybody or hear anything else after the movie; I just wanted to sleep on it.

Tuesday April 2nd, London - last Europe show


We wake up and are about to get a 1000-pound ticket for where we are parked. That is a LOT of pounds. The policeman says, "I get paid the same whether or not I give you the ticket though, so I won't bother. Just move in the next hour, please." The woman whose house we are using begs us to come in for tea, so Mike and I, a little worried that the bus may leave without us, finally go into her house. This woman lived in such a terrible mess I've never seen such a destitute house before. Clothes laying all over, stains all over the walls and appliances; I immediately felt terrible for her! I hoped 10 pounds was enough to pay for the power we'd sapped from her, but I am assured that it is. She and a friend talk to us "That Johnny Rotten's at it again, did you hear?" she says. The Sex Pistols reunion is big news everywhere. They talk about the nosy neighbors. It was delightful; you could tell they were so excited about just getting to talk to new people. I love to be able to make people happy like this.

Dale: "I can't play."

I guess a friend of Mario's (who worked with him on some scary heavy-metal tour like Black Sabbath, I think) was walking down the street at this time, and banged on the door of the bus, since he recognized Mario's company logo, "Beat The Street." "Do you know Mario?" he asked Jean-Luis. "Yes, he's asleep in the back!" - how lucky that Mario was even on this bus! His friend invited us back to his gorgeous little house, a block away, and we sat and talked and drank wine in a beautiful garden room in the back of the house for the next couple of hours.

You'd Think

You'd think that this would be the all-out greatest show of the tour, that we'd show off everything we learned, but we didn't. We hardly even got a sound-check to try to figure out how to use the rental amps, and Rick completely freaked out about it, because our A&R person from L.A. was coming to the show, to hear our new songs. In fact, we thought the Flaming Lips were coming, too - they were here in London for an extra week after their tour I guess, and they are friends with Steel Pole Bath Tub and with our A&R person (same label). I don't think the Flaming Lips have ever seen us play; I hoped they'd get there early enough, but then I found out that the venue was advertising the showtime at 10pm. We were to start at 9:15. Fuck London. After the last two days here, and spending hours in this club getting yelled at by the security guards ("Do Not Sit On The WindowSill") I went on stage and felt like I was drowning the whole time. I was glad when it ended.

I think I did a pretty good job on Steel Pole Bath Tub's set list though... when will I get to see these songs played again, I keep thinking throughout the show... Wayne from The Flaming Lips stands right in front of the stage as do I, and Dale remarks later, "I look up and I see Rose and Wayne standing right in front of the stage! Aaaaa!! How am I supposed to play??" He's right; I was almost too intimidated, seeing Wayne standing there, and I wasn't even playing; I just wanted to dance in front of the stage like I normally do. I hope I'm dancing all right. I don't want to look stupid in front of Wayne! They'll never ask us to tour with them! Heh. At the end of the show, Dale falls over backwards into the drums and Mike leaps back on top of Darren. You could just see two sets of legs kicking in the back behind the drums, and of course I was out of pictures.. the guitarist was limping after the show.

Wednesday April 3rd: Plane Home

Lip in Airport

After just having said a short goodbye to Steel Pole Bath Tub, whose flight to San Francisco leaves 4 hours later, we sit disoriented in a hallway of Heathrow, waiting to be let onto the plane. The Flaming Lips are ambling around the airport too; they are flying back to Chicago - I accuse them of stealing our seats; we have to fly to D.C. first. We had a nice talk with them; we talked about Attitudes of certain New York Rock Stars. Remember they are from Oklahoma so they don't act like coastal rock stars; no attitude. The Steel Pole Bath Tub guys are originally from Montana; even cooler. I'm dazed. I want to say something to the Lips but I can't remember what it was. I had 3 hours of sleep last night, and even if I wanted to be able to comprehend what's going on I probably couldn't.

My next recollection is we're sitting on the plane, and we're trying to figure out what Dale is saying right at the moment. Dale still has my watch, which I lent him at the beginning of the tour, and has probably just realized it now or figured it out a while ago and doesn't know how to change it to the correct time. I wish I had given him the little instruction booklet; I hope he figures out how to change the time. It really disturbs me to think about him stuck in an airport for an extra 12 hours, waiting to zigzag back the opposite direction to North Carolina (from London/San Francisco), with a watch that says the incorrect time.


I spent a lot of time trying to figure out a way to thank the SPBT guys; especially what to say from the stage on the last night. I guess we spent the whole tour getting along so well that nothing really needed to be said, but my list of things went something like this:

  1. "Steel Pole Bath Tub: Thank You. This is the best tour I've ever been on."
  2. "Steel Pole Bath Tub: What Patrick Said."
  3. "Steel Pole Bath Tub: I love you."
  4. "Ok, I'm not ashamed to admit it. I listened to your record, sitting in my bunk, after your shows some nights."
  5. what I actually said:"This is an exciting show for us because since it's the last night, the guys from Steel Pole Bath Tub let us backstage for the first time in the whole 6 week tour; and they say that if we play well, they'll let us on their tour bus tonight." That was pretty mean.
  6. I also said:"Darren, Mike, Dale: My ass is permanently kicked." It means that I am permanently flattened by them; it is a compliment. But then I spent about 5 songs of their last set worrying that they misunderstood me. What a moron.


I hope we play again together sometime, in the States, like we talked about. I am sitting at home now, after walking around in crowds for the whole day, periodically hallucinating their jackets - Rick was so sure he saw Mario standing at the top of an escalator, familiar sights and sounds for the past 6 weeks. I sat on the plane and ran through all their songs in my head, all on instant recall, and I thought about how they sang 'Speed Of Light' (a new poster children song) while walking around in their pajamas on the bus over and over again the past week to irritate us. I remember nearly sitting on Dale's glasses. I remember when Mario cut his hand and had to get stitches. Darren was always there for a hug, so kind. Mike - your Thrasher sweatshirt. That, and you talking and bouncing around in your sleep in the bunk above mine - "I won." Although you stopped making so much noise by the end of the tour. Darren's snoring! Dale's quiet humor. Jim's artwork. Howie's ever-changing beard - and Howie walking around the different cities each day for hours. Rick's attempt to reason with women 'on the rag.' Watching the satellite-dish TV in front of the bus with the Chinese propaganda channel and the U2 concert. That one day that I understood German. Jean-Luis imitating Americans speaking nonsense. Mario saying "dickhead" instead of "ticket." Amy - so bold, stylish and smart. Patrick, so wired. Tilo - friendly. Mai-Linh: contemplative and sweet.

I cried so hard the first time I heard Friday. I wanted to destroy the CD player because I didn't think anything else should be played on it afterwards.

Later I sort of drifted off and out of the fuzz ringing in my ears, oddly the Sonic Youth song "Cotton Crown" keeps repeating in my head now. I could be asleep now. I know the tour is over and I feel alone, but I look back on particular moments of the tour and remember being so happy, I sit now with a huge smile on my face. I'll take this with me forever. I don't really know if I'll ever be able to come up with a thank you that could actually explain how much fun I had, but I think you all saw me smiling.

- "Angels are dreaming of you."