RTFM TOUR part 2

on the way to seattle

April 28th, Seattle, WA - Day 1 of Failure Tour.

We drove for about 36 hours straight and then collapsed in Ellensburg, WA, a couple of hours from Seattle, and slept in a motel room. This was a really long drive! Jimmie, our new sound guy, who's never been on a really big tour, seems to be holding up re ally fine!

Van Discussions

  • 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon - we're playing that game from that webpage, trying to connect actors to Kevin Bacon within 6 degrees. (Two degrees of separation are a guy who was in a movie with another guy who was in a movie with Bacon.) W e're doing this from the van, so we don't have access to the Internet Movie Database or the web page. Howie is the best at this, and he's the most animated during this discussion. It's funny when he uses only the last names of the actors. Some of our more obscure contestants were George Stephanopolus, Franceau Truffault, and Jessica Lange.
  • Can a human stop a cow? If a cow is walking towards a human being, could the human being be able to apply enough force to be able to stop the cow.


Jim got a speeding ticket yesterday, for US$165. We were almost thinking of taking up a collection at shows, the "Help Bail Jim Out Of Jail Fund." We'll see if we do that. He's not in jail, of course. He's driving the car, even now.

We've only played one show so far.

This is reminscent of that Canadian tour, where we couldn't even finish 2 shows in a row. It's made the tour very interesting so far! Rick brings up the fact that we've really not toured in a long time; the last big tour was the Europe tour in the bus, an d we had no responsibilities on that tour. We just walked around and ate and slept.

Meeting Failure

We met Failure and Summercamp. They are all very nice. I heard the Failure guys talking and laughing about something we would talk and laugh about too; (i forgot what it was though...) I'm starting to wonder if all bands are the same. The Summercamp boys look like they're all about 15 years old, and they have a very large sound. "Fresh-faced with a very large sound." Reminds me of something. Failure is travelling in a nice newish-looking van, and they have a huge Ryder truck!

Our show went fine, except I was ready to drop during the whole thing! Still hard to play new songs, but things are getting better! Neither Failure nor Summercamp were selling their own t-shirts; they want to pay someone each night to do it; and we can 't afford to do that! (Especially since we're used to doing it ourselves.)

There were no Reprise people in sight to talk to us, sort of a surprise to us. Usually the Seattle rep makes an effort to come to the show. We're guessing he's out of town, and will come see us somewhere else. He has the whole northwest to cover. I'm just really afraid that each night we'll never meet anyone from our label, but at the end of the tour, we'll find out there was a Reprise rep at each show each night; they hung out with Summercamp the whole time and never even talked to us. (Summercamp's on R eprise, too.) This isn't too farfetched; it happened a couple of tours ago in Canada. I'm sure it won't happen this time.


Darren from Steel Pole Bath Tub came to our show!!! We hadn't seen him since last year, when we toured with them! It was great to see him, and meet some good friends of his. It's neat when you meet close friends of your friends and it just seems like you' ve known each other forever.

At the end of the show, Failure had this huge entourage of fans! It was amazing - kids who had made their own Failure t-shirts; waiting around to talk to them! I liked watching that a lot. We tried to shuttle past everyone with our little t-shirt boxes an d some of them talked to us, too! Failure has very nice fans.

We sleep 1 hour north of Seattle tonight, in a tiny town called Bellingham, to prepare ourselves for the border cross into Canada. We have to move 6 huge boxes of t-shirts into a tiny hotel room!

April 29th, Vancouver, BC - Giggling Day. Across the border

Wake up giggling

We wake up giggling in the motel 6 room; a movie called "The Arrival" is on; Charlie Sheen is acting circles around people just with his sweat alone. It's a hilarious movie!

We stuffed 6 huge boxes of t-shirts into our Motel 6 room, and I checked email, a person named Shawn had just written minutes before that he had missed last night's Seattle show and was depressed because he was stuck carless up in Bellingham, Washington! We just happened to be sitting 10 minutes from where he was emailing, so we asked him where a good eating place was (Lil Cheerful Cafe) and we met him for lunch! That's going to be one of the coolest things I remember from this tour! I hoped we were enter taining enough! Thanks for eating with us, Shawn!

Border Crossing

The customs officials didn't even want to see us. I hear they searched the hell out of Summer Camp's van though. We've been through so many times we must have some sort of asterisk by our names, like we've graduated from the van searches or something. I a ctually came up with a theory that it's all what line you get in at the immigration counter. If you get in the line with the guy who likes to do butt searches, you're going to get your butt searched.

What Happened on the Stage tonight

I think I should let you guys in on a little secret on what was going on in the show tonight. We had this plan of ending the show with "Revolution Year Zero" (which we abbreviate on the set list with a null sign) but then remembered it was Canada and the audience may be sitting, dumbstruck, with drool hanging out of their mouths while we played. (Like they were for Summer Camp.) We then decided that maybe we should end our set with "Happens Everyday" and play an extended, long ending, just improvising, and leave off "Year Zero" because who knows, that much excitement on the stage may just trigger epileptic seizures from the sleeping Canadians. We didn't want to hurt them, even if they do all have health insurance.

So we start our improv ending after "Happens Everyday", flailed around on the stage for about 5 minutes, making tons of noise, Rick quoting a Laurie Anderson song and me singing Kraftwerk songs and pounding on the sampler, thoroughly confusing Jimmie S ound Engineer, who wasn't in on the plan, and then after about 5 minutes of noise, Rick starts playing Revolution Year Zero. Howie starts pounding on the drums with it; it sounded like the beginning of "I Want You To Want Me" from Cheap Trick's "Live At Budokan." At least that's what it sounded like to me. Jim's already halfway off the stage with all his pedals turned up to "make the loudest and weirdest sound possible" - he had to get his guitar back on and retune it. This went on for what seemed like an eternity, until we finally finished the song and staggered off the stage.

Thank god it didn't seem to disturb the sleeping audience. At least Summercamp liked the show! (And a lot of the audience liked it too, I know. I'm just being sarcastic.)

Ok, the record ISN'T out in Canada

Alert!! Alert!! Warner person spotted at show!! Hooray! Poor thing had to explain to me why the record wasn't out yet in Canada though. I told a whole bunch of people that it was out. *sigh*. I hope it comes out before the 16th of May, when we play Toronto.

Speaking of Summercamp

I asked them if they'd ever played in Canada. "No." "How do you like the Canadian audiences?" They let out a bunch of whoops! "WOO HOO!!!" They don't care. Do you know what they said? "We just want to play!" They get the seal of approval from me.

April 30th, Portland, OR - Rick says he's a lesbian.

The other night we were driving through Idaho or something like that, and it was pitch black, mountains all around us, and there was a tiny city off in the distance, with sparkling orange and yellow lights, and the comet was hanging down directly ahead of us, like it was falling toward the earth, about to destroy it. It was really beautiful.

10-Year Old Jaded Indie Rock Band

We got lost coming into Portland again, missing the bookstore, and when we arrived at the club we found a review for the show, talking about how underappreciated Failure is, and how they should be huge rock stars, and then about us it said something like "Sarcastic keyboard-pop music you'd expect from a 10-year old jaded indie rock band."

Failure cancelled their show tonight. From what I hear, their drummer has hurt his hand! I hope he gets better soon! He missed a really fun time!

This show was great! It was a really nice little club, and on top of it, Ryan O'Neal and Ben Stiller were at the show! I think Ben Stiller is a friend of Summercamp. I wish I had gotten up the nerve to go talk to Ryan O'Neal, but I don't really know too much about them. I should've gotten their autographs or something. I kept thinking, "Gee, I hope they stick around for our show" but I don't know if they did. Jimmie said Ryan was completely plowed. He was rocking out for Summercamp! Ben Stiller slunk around the club, either trying not to be noticed, or trying to be noticed. Both Rick and I almost ran him over on our way onto the stage. It's hard to play when famous people are in the audience, because you want them to like you, but then you got to wonder how good their taste actually is. And why would I want Ryan O'Neal to like our music? What's he going to do, ask us to be in a movie with him? Ick. I calmed down when I saw our dear friends Darren (from Steel Pole Bath Tub), and Susan at the show, taking pictures of us. Kids danced! Portland is always great!

And I got the best present of all tonight; a beautiful Steel Pole Bath Tub shirt. The first one ever made, Darren said! Wow.

May 1st, Drive all day to Twin Falls, ID

We have literally spent all day in the car. We've done it before, just not really at the beginning of a tour, I think. It seems weird. Worse, we are passing right through Boise, ID, and I wish we could be playing there tonight! We stopped in Boise and pla yed a detective game to try to find the club Neurolux that we played at last time we played Boise, and found it! Then we went looking for a restaurant and ended up seeing Tim from the radio station there; the only radio station in America that added "He's My Star" from Junior Citizen! Boise is a huge city. It's amazing to me that we found this guy!

What do you do when you sit in a car all day?

You make us stop at every rest area in Oregon. That's always kind of fun, to see who in the car gets irritated first. No one ever does. Or you listen to your new Atari Teenage Riot CD over and over again. Or you sleep, or work crossword puzzles. Everyone just sits and listens to their walkmans and reads. It's like sitting in a cubicle all day except the scenery outside changes. And the scenery is extraordinary; rolling green hills and little teeny settlements. Lots of cows and horses.

Who cares if Ryan O'Neal is drunk?

I kinda wish I had spoken to one of the movie stars yesterday. It was such a weird scene in that little club, I was sitting and shoveling food into my mouth, sitting in front of the t-shirt display, with a group of people sitting around, just talking. It was really nice, but then by the time the movie stars rolled in, I was kind of like, "well, who cares that Ryan O'Neal is standing around drunk about 2 feet away from me. I just got to talk to a bunch of people who live 2000 miles away from me who came to see my band!"

OOOH YAY!! Jim is right now pulling the van over cuz it's really dark out -- we're going to go look at the stars!

Today I bought a Beenie Baby at McDonalds.

May 2nd, Salt Lake City, UT

12 Miles from the border of Utah

You know we've only played SLC ONCE before, and it was like 5 years ago, with the Screaming Trees. All I remember is that it was raining outside. I'm excited to see what Utah looks like; we hardly ever drive through there! Right now it's all still rolling hills, and green grasses and bluish-greenish-grey shrubberys. The earth looks really, really big when you're in the Mountain Time Zone. You almost don't even worry about those nuclear dumps and stuff like that. We've been driving for what seems like hour s and there is just nothing, just hills. Not even a cow or a Wal-Mart. The other day (in Idaho?) we passed a sign that said "Spontaneous Blinding Sandstorms Possible."

Jimmie The Sound-Guy and I practice Kung-Fu

Today in the motel room and outside the Q-Lube, Jimmy and I practice Kung-Fu, trying to keep ourselves in shape during our tour. It's amazing how much you can exercise your muscles in just 15 minutes! We just ran through 5 or 6 stances, standing still wit h our knees bent in different positions, for a minute or two, and you can FEEL the pain. And afterward, you can feel a lot more control in your legs. The only bad part is feeling a little embarrassed cuz people might be watching you, but hell, I'm never g onna see them again! And I don't think there's ever been a case of death by embarrassement!

Again with the Radio-Free Poster Children

People are starting to email me again and tell me that they're requesting our songs on the radio and the stations are telling them they don't have the record. We're just not on the playlist, you guys, and we're not going to get on unless someone decides w e're worth it. I guess they decide that if a lot of people buy our record, or they get a lot of good feedback. Unfortunately, people are not going to know it's out or find out about us until they hear it on the radio. I know it's a Catch-22, and there's n othing we can do about it except just hope and wait for someone to take a chance on us. I think WPGU in our home town has been believing in us, and there are others, too. Maybe it will catch on! All you guys can do is keep trying to spread the word, I gue ss! And thank you for trying!

Meanwhile, Fugazi is playing in New York. And I'll bet you they're not getting airplay either!

May 3rd, Salt Lake City, UT

Well. Last nights show was fun, if you like playing to about 30 people sitting staring at you from the other end of a bar. You people who are just starting out in bands should learn this lesson; you can be 'as big as WE are'; play 1000-seat theaters in Ch icago, have 6 records out, etc., but still, you can show up in El Paso, TX (oops I mean Salt Lake City UT), 2000 miles from where you live, and no one gives a shit about you. Just a little demoralizing. **
How to play a show to nobody

We actually had fun on the stage tonight though. We got up and started making noise while Howie stood alone in the audience pit at the front of the stage. I called out, "Hey! Any of you people know how to play DRUMS?? Are there any drummers in the audienc e?" Rick yelled "You, You in front! You look like a drummer!" I yelled "Yeah, can you play drums?" Rick yells, "He's got the drumsticks!" I yell "He's got the hair! Come on up here! What's your name, Howie? Come on up and play drums with us." The audience , about 100 meters back, slumped over in their chairs stare and drool. You see, you can have fun even if the audience is boring you!

Marooned in Salt Lake City.

We are having van trouble and will not make it to our Denver show. Morale is at an all-time low.