87 88 89 90 91 92 93
95 96 97 98 99 00 02

Untitled Document

1996

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

April
Norse Raider Tour

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

Sept
Ohio

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

 

 

 

East Coast with The Cows and Starfish! Jun 5 - 10: Volume 1


Yes, this is Shannon, from the Cows, the band we're on tour with.


Jun 5th, Wednesday, Columbus OH - Staches

Why Is It Always Rose Who Writes The Tour Reports?

I asked the rest of the band to either write a tour report or to give me a good excuse why they won't write one. Here are the excuses they gave: (seriously.)

  • Rick: "I'll write one when we get home. I'll write one about mowing the lawn."
  • Jim: "English is my second language."
  • Howie: "I'm busy playing with this paper-clip."

They Sit Here

Staches holds a special place in my heart, right next to Indianapolis. There are a couple of towns/venues that stand out, in a good way. Meaning, it's good that there are no other places quite like them. Staches is a smallish club in the heart of a huge campus filled with fast-food and cool record stores. There is even a White Castle on the same street. There is a great live videotape of Sonic Youth playing at this club, probably from when they were much younger than us.

The thing I remember about Staches is this: The first time we ever played this club, probably about 5 years ago, we loaded in as an employee of the bar unceremoniously placed chairs in rows in front of the stage. Horrified, I asked, "We *do* have a show here tonight, right?" "Yes, of course," the chair-setter answered. "It's a Rock Show, you know," I tried to imply to her that we would be attempting to Rock, and to get the audience to maybe, DANCE a bit during our set (this was back when it was very Cool to Dance) - and the employee answered, "Oh, the people who come to shows here Sit." And that's exactly what they did, filed into the room like it was a grammar school assembly for the guy who comes in and paints pictures to music, and when there were no more seats left, the kids filed right in front of the first row of chairs, nearly touching the stage, and sat cross-legged on the floor. It was the weirdest thing I ever saw in my life.

They did it tonight too, as Starfish, a fantastic band from Austin, TX, started. I worried like crazy that Starfish was going to feel bad; they were totally rocking as hard as any band I'd ever seen, but the kids just sat on the floor and stared. I ran in front of the first row of sitting kids and stood rudely in front of them, trying to annoy them enough to stand up, to no avail. So the Cows and my band stood right in front of Starfish as they played, and bobbed our heads. It was a great show.

I have to admit, the kids stood while we played, and slammed while the Cows played. I just think that Starfish should have gotten the same amount of respect. Whatever.

Tonight I Almost Died

See, I don't remember too much about this night because it was the night I almost died. I decided I was getting a cold, so I'd do that thing that I've heard More Than One Person recommend, which is, take 1000 mg of Vitamin C per hour. Do NOT follow this advice. This is about the dumbest thing I've ever done in my life. First of all, we don't know how many hours to continue taking the Vitamin C from this information, do we. Second of all, Vitamin C makes you want to go to the bathroom. Anyway, I just figured, as long as I heard more than one person recommend this, I'd be safe. And I took 500mg instead of 1000. And I did it for about 4 or 5 hours.

White Castle Employees should really not ever be that angry

So after the show, I said goodbye to everyone and decided I'd go to the bathroom at the White Castle, where we were headed. I could hold it another 2 minutes, I decided. When we got to White Castle, the bathroom was chained and locked. There were three exceedingly drunken men ordering hamburgers. It took them about 15 minutes to order, and I swear, we waited about 30 more minutes before the lady at the counter decided to take our order. Meanwhile, the men were sniggering and complaining, and the women behind the counter glared more angrily than I've ever seen people glare before. It was like they were getting ready to kill, instead of cooking hamburgers for people. There was definitely something going on behind the scenes, I am sure, because White Castle employees should really not ever be that angry.

About 20 minutes into the surreal Battle of White Castle atmosphere, waiting at the counter for the ladies to acknowledge us, I couldn't hold myself up any longer. My hands were shaking, and I was feeling a lot more comfortable doubled over. Jim was busy plugging quarters into a sticker machine to buy holographic kitty stickers, and Howie was watching the drunk men. I was trying to figure out how I could ask the infuriated women behind the counter if they would please remove the heavy chains and locks from the barrier that separated them from us and the drunks, so I could go crap in the toilet, without looking too desparate, but I was doubled-over with pain. I couldn't figure it out, and rejection at that time would have probably killed me, so I just sat quietly doubled-over, waiting for them to take our order. We were the only people in the whole restaurant, waiting at the take-out counter for them to cook our half-dollar sized pieces of liver. You figure it out.

Rick and Jim actually have an Argument!

About an hour later, we were back in the van, saying goodbye to the drunken middle-aged men, and Howie was making jokes like saying to them, "Hey guys, wanna come over to our hotel and party with us? We're in a BAND!" and I was trying not to laugh. Sitting in the van on the half-hour drive to the Motel 6, I was convinced that these were my last moments on earth, that I was going to die from my intestines turning inside out, my feet and hands went completely numb, listening to Rick and Jim and Howie fight over whether or not Charlie Sheen actually peed in his pants during that "The Arrival" movie they all saw the other day. I missed it. This was one of the rare times I've actually heard Rick and Jim fight, and it was over whether or not Charlie Sheen peed in his pants, and whether or not it was a mis-direction (on the director's part) for him to do so.

Hoboken, NJ - Maxwell's

They Keep Telling Me

Wow, the Cows tell me that the ex-bass player from Hole - the one that died - was a huge fan of *mine*. They say she bought a bass just like mine, and that I was her hero. And now she's dead of a heroin overdose. Great. I wish I could have met her. I wish I could have saved her life.

Tour of Friends

I always complain about having to tour in the East Coast, mostly because it's so crowded there, but one thing I learn is that we have a lot of friends on the East Coast. From the kid who was responsible for the awesome cake last year (thanks Jon) to our friends Andy and Chris from NY and our booking agent Ellen, and Uncle Tony, Robert and Co., and all the D.C. Rockers, we have an awful lot of friends on the East Coast! It is great to see them all. The green mountains of Pennsylvania don't compare to Montana's brown, bald, behemoths though. Sorry.

Maxwells. Is it worth it?

It's a long 10-13-hour drive to Maxwells, and none of the bands want to wake up early to get there in time for soundcheck. We drive leisurely to NJ, and it's so uneventful that when we finally make it, I try to excite myself by reminding myself we've made it to the Coast, but I just don't seem to care that much. It just took a day, and we didn't even have to hunt for the Taco Bells. We even got to eat at a Sbarro.

When I was in highschool, we read Crime And Punishment, resulting in my atheism. Don't ask me why, I don't remember what the connection was between the book and religion, anymore. The next book we had to read was The Great Gatsby. I couldn't even pay attention, the book seemed like a comic book compared to what we'd read before. This is how this tour feels to me; like a comic book, compared to the Doestoyevsky European Tour we just went on. But I know it's a good book, but I can't help thinking about Steel Pole Bath Tub, playing a show (tonight? or tomorrow?) in Austin TX (one of our favorite places) at Emo's, for Emo's anniversary. To compound it, Starfish is from Austin, and they're on the tour with us. And we played with the Cows on the European tour. Are time and space closing in on us?

There is NO other band that sounds like the Cows

If you've never heard or seen them, you should. They will be playing Lollapalooza this year, do NOT miss them if you go to it. I would best describe their music as a wildly rhythmic Sludge-fest, and hypnotic, the kind of music I just love. Our booking agent (who used to book them) said, "There is no other band that sounds like the Cows," and she's right. The stage show is hilarious. The lead-singer, Shannon has incredible stage-presence. He usually has a few silly props, hats to wear, dildos to wear on his hands and in his pants. He also looks like a movie star. He screams, poses and rants humorously on the stage, and sometimes plays a trumpet, and a bugle. He has a milk-pail of various types of trumpets, and he grabs them to play during certain songs. Sometimes he plays two at once, it's very amazing.

The bass player, Kevin, is another story. He too looks like a movie star, but his "show" is not as obvious as Shannon's - with Kevin, it's more subtle and more insidious, but definitely just as entertaining. As he plays bass, he swings his hips around in a violent, circular fashion - Rick says, "The music of the Cows comes from Kevin's hips." At a certain point, it came from Kevin's mouth, when he yelled into his bass-pickups and had his voice triggered by plucking his bass throughout the song, that was amazing! It's hard to take your eyes off Shannon, because he's like the humor-equivalent of a popcorn-popper, but if you can pay attention to Kevin for a while, you'll be drawn in, and notice that there is something very odd, almost dangerous, about what you're watching, but you won't be able to figure out what it is. He makes very weird faces, too, looking like he's about to puke a lot of the time. As I watched him tonight, I thought I saw the actual music being made, by watching his face. The drummer, Fred, is incredible of course, and Thor plays magic on his guitar. And of course, when they are off-stage, they are incredibly quiet and shy.

Close Encounters of the Record Label Kind

One of our A&R people (we actually have 2) from our record label shows up to watch us play. Technically, he works for Warner Bros, which is split from Reprise, our label, right now, so he really shouldn't have anything to do with us, but apparently, he still feels like he wants to work with us, so he comes to see us and talks to us about what we're doing. I want him to spill some info, give us some pointers, tell us when is a good time to put out the record, etc., just tell us ANYTHING, but he just wants to ask esoteric questions about our music. What are our new songs like? What are we excited about? I don't want to talk about this kind of stuff, plus Rona (bass player) from Starfish is trapped, selling all the t-shirts, so I leave Rick talking about layers of melodic texturizing whatever... it's all notes to me, and I can't translate it into words. I've never really heard Rick do it either, it's a little bit disturbing. Rick says we should count our blessings, that we're lucky to have people working at our record label who still love music. I guess so.

Andy!
Jim asleep on Andy's floor

And introducing Andy! We stayed at his house last year, he lives just outside of New York City where it takes about 20 minutes to get to his house (it seems like) but it's in a nice little suburb where you don't have to worry about being murdered. Andy tells us he's never been to Boston before, and before he knows it, we've taken him hostage, wrapped him up in a little sleeping bag and stuffed him into the van. He gets to find out what it's like to tour with us. He seems sufficiently "grown up" to understand what's in store for him on the tour and his personality seems to mesh fine with ours. Don't take this as an insult Andy, but apparently you are just the right type of geek to fit in with our band.

NEXT