RTFM TOUR part 4

May 10th, Chicago, IL - Cabaret Metro

This is probably the best place to play in America. At least it's one of the top 5. And the audience here is basically what makes everything all worthwhile. Tonight was payoff for anything that has ever happened bad in the last year! Audience danced, clap ped, sang, moshed, knew the old songs and the new ones. And the best part- people looked HAPPY! There is nothing more to ask for. It is so nice to be on the stage and be able to watch a happy audience give a great show themselves!

The people at the Metro were so nice, on top of it. I had a really hard time near the end of the night because so many people wanted t-shirts and attention, and it was near impossible for me to give everyone the attention I wanted to give them. On top of audience being there, all our parents were there, and good friends, and it's impossible to balance all of it. I vowed last time we played Metro I'd find someone to sell t-shirts for us, but this time for some reason, I just stayed back there, and I though t I could control it, but by the end of the night I was really completely frazzled. I understand why bands have tour managers now and t-shirt people; if every night was like this, we'd have to get at least a t-shirt person, ourselves. As it was, the Failu re and Summercamp tour managers had to climb all over me and themselves to help me sell shirts at the end of the night. That was very, very nice of them.

I spent the early part of the next morning worrying that I had been mean to some people. I hope anyone who didn't get the attention they deserved yesterday understands what an intense thing it is to have to play and then right afterwards come down and sel l t-shirts and try to talk to everyone you want to talk to! Please understand that.

Sunday May 11th, Cincinnati, OH - Top Catz

21st Century Video!

Our 21st Century video is done - we just picked it up in Champaign - it was being dumped from a Jaz disk onto video tape! Now we just have to send it to the record label and hope that it's good enuf for people to play! It's very funny looking; it's all bl ack and white and features us running around dressed as somewhere between a SWAT team and leftover Heaven's Gate freaks, going through our house and drawers like the FBI, and driving around in our van. Rick filmed and edited it all; he would set up the ca mera and then press "record" and then run in front of it and we'd dance and sing. There are some graphics, just very basic black and white words, like "COPYRIGHT YER DNA" and stuff like that from the lyrics. Oh yeah, and the lyrics are all on it.

Cincinnati Show

Ohio Scenesters John Stothfang and Molly baked us an incredible cake - Molly you look great with blue hair, by the way - there is just about 40 degrees of it left sitting on the dashboard right now, the morning after. Top Catz is a nice place but there ar e no laundry machines; we are used to playing Sudsy's, down the street, the laundry-mat venue. We all need to do our laundry really badly, too. I'm totally out of underwear.

How to play a Fun Show in a not-so-empty room

When the show started, I was thinking, Oh well, Sunday night, it will be pretty empty here, and slowly started to rev myself up to have one of those really-fun-even-though-the-room-is-empty shows. You can get yourself into the exact right mood to do that (especially if you've had a killer fun show the night before!). These are the skills you need for playing in a place like Tennessee. So as the night progressed I felt cockier and cockier, but then suddenly when we went onstage, instead of a big empty room , there appeared a crowd in front of us! What the hell?! So my crafty plan would have worked except that instead of playing freako to an empty room, we were playing freako to a big crowd of150 people. But it was a really nice surprise!

I like a fun show. We're starting to get into a little improvisation thing near the end of a show sometimes now, where we quote songs from other bands. Yesterday we did Big Black and Naked Raygun, along with Laurie Anderson and always a little Kraftwerk thrown in for good measure. After the show there was record people from Reprise to meet us; The Great Tim Hearst, who we thanked on our album, and who is one of our favorite label people. He comes to all our shows in Ohio, and he tells us he thinks we're g reat. He told us that our song got added to WOXY (I hope that's the station!) and he even got us a hotel room. He ruleZ with a capital Z. And then there was our product manager, Eric Fritschi who took us out to a restaurant that we don't usually go to cuz we are too cheap! He talked about a meeting that Reprise had where they discussed how many coke cans were sold each day. I thought that if I was running the Coca Cola webpage, I'd have that number on it; like a counter.

When the label people come up and talk to us, that always puts us in a really good mood. None of them are mean or weasely; they have jobs to sell things just like everyone else's job in the world, except that they get to work with music!

Failure had the crappy Sunday Night Slot

Haha. Failure had to play the crappy 3rd-band slot on a Sunday, so the audience was tired by the time they went on. I hope they knew that it was just the icky time to play. Today was the first time I actually got to watch them, and I'm basically hooked now. Their music is slow and dreamy and really pretty. Their singer's voice is beautiful. Also, their fans seem really intelligent. They must be pretty happy.

Thinking about Mercy Rule, radio airplay, and the Purpose of Life

I was thinking about Mercy Rule again, and how they basically cheered us up and turned the tour all around for us. Heidi had seen "HYPE", that Seattle movie about the birth and death of the scene - I haven't seen it yet - and told me that the saddest part she had seen was the interview with Soundgarden - she said they had it ALL, the fame, the radio play, the money, and they were the saddest bunch of people she'd ever seen in her life. We just passed by a big white building in the middle of nowhere, Ohio, and there were huge blue electronic letters on it that said "GROB." What could it mean??!! Anyway, Heidi said that is obviously the wrong path, that is not what music is about. Totally correct. We are playing music because we love it. That is ALL. We should be happy, reeling head over heels about the fact that we can actually drive to another state and have people waiting to see us play our music. RIGHT ON. You start concentrating on whether or not you can get on the radio, or your soundcheck, or your deli tray and you lose sight of what the fuck you are doing on this planet. Try applying that to your own life.

I think I've eaten at McDonalds about 5 times in the last 7 days. This cannot be good.

Last night I had a dream about Ian MacKaye. I was back in college and Fugazi was playing at our dorm, but the teachers wouldn't let them play. I was trying to fix the situation but I had to put in my contacts and I couldn't get them in. Ian was sad for so me reason.

I want to take a shower at a truckstop. Jim tells me to tell the lady truck drivers I'll encounter in the bathroom that I drive a Kenworth truck, otherwise they will laugh at me.

May 12th, Grand Rapids, MI

Get This

Tonight, I noticed about 50 radio people hanging around, all wearing their station t-shirts. I thought, "oh, radio show." One came up to us and interrupted our soundcheck, carrying a huge banner. "Excuse me, would you mind if I hung this up behind you ton ight?" I said, "Does your station play our record?" (knowing full well they don't) and she said, "Well, I am not sure" and I said "well, you should find out. You wouldn't want to hang your banner behind a band you do not support, would you? You'd probably feel really silly." She went away, and then came back and asked if we'd like to be interviewed on the air. I said, "ok."

Later on I went over to the radio booth and said "Hello, I'm Rose from Poster Children." The guy sitting at the booth just sort of laughed at me. Then I found the woman who said we could be on the air, and the night DJ; he wanted to interview us right in the room there while Summercamp was soundchecking.

After we interviewed, (and it was one of those really scary quick professional DJ interviews) I went over to the t-shirt booth to find Hector, the Summercamp Tour Manager. He told me that the radio station had been chasing Summercamp around to get an inte rview and THEY CAN'T interview because he doesn't have CLEARANCE from the label yet. Then he said there are two radio stations and they are both having a sort of war over Summercamp; one added it last week and the other added it today. The one that added it last week said that if they interview with the other, they will drop the song off their playlist. So the Reprise rep has to come fix the situation. Of course they need *both* radio stations to be happy!

I set up our t-shirts and stared out at the huge radio booth and after about a half-hour, I noticed that it was really TWO radio station booths. I hadn't even noticed they were two different stations! Meanwhile the radio station #1 had been chasing all me mbers of Summercamp and they had to evade. I guess the Reprise rep finally came and fixed the situation; they will do 2 interviews but neither will be tonight. They will do them tomorrow.

When it was about time for us to play, I was hoping some of the radio station people might stick around and see what we were all about. As I walked up to the bar, I heard some huge guy going, "Poster Children! Hahaha!! Hey, buddy! Look! I smell TUNA!" pok ing his friend. "I smell TUNA! Get it!!" I don't know what that was all about. I hope it wasn't about me.

After the show, a DJ came up to us from the not-so-aggressive radio station, and told us he wished he could play us. He's seen us 5 times, he loves us, he loves the new album. I told him I would give him a CD if he needed it. No, his hands are tied. He ca n't play it. He was almost in tears. He doesn't want to be fired. I told him then to talk to the Reprise rep. He said he already had.

Then the rep came up to us, and introduced herself. She was really nice. I told her that there was a radio DJ here who wanted to play our record so badly, he seemed despondent. "I know, I know" she said; "He's already come up and talked to me! He really, really loves you guys. He wanted to play 0 For 1 so badly." Then she said this: "I told him, 'HEY, if you REALLY want to support this band, buy one of their t-shirts!'" Rick and I just looked at each other. I started crying later.

Everyone feels sorry for us.

You hear bands complaining about this kind of stuff all the time. I want you all reading this to know that we are not complaining. I am telling you a story about what the world is like. To be fair, I should also tell you that when we played "Music Of America" tonight, Rick told the audience it was about the biggest sin of all, 'Prostitution.' We're not really doing anything to make it easier for ourselves.

The Summercamp guys know what happened, and everyone feels sorry for us. Everyone's wearing our t-shirts, telling us we put on a good show. We don't want sympathy. We are a happy band, none of this is really bothering us that much. It's just the feeling t hat we may be being wasted. We feel like a resource that is being wasted. But *we're* using ourselves to our fullest potential. We're out of our new record now, too. We are selling a lot of stuff. All things non-radio point to the fact that people like us .

Later on a guy from Radio Station #1 told me that Radio Station #2 was sliding their little paper questionaires on TOP of radio station#1's little stickers, on the table. So no one could see their stickers. Meanwhile the other radio station's stickers wer e in plain view. He told me that radio station#2 had actually put a banner on top of the radio station#1's van. "THEY BANNERED OUR VAN!" he said. Can you believe it?

I couldn't stop laughing. I hope he didn't take it personally.

May 13th, Day off in Ann Arbor, MI

surprise kids, this is howie the drummer comin' at you with today's tour updaate! last night, we had a night off, so we stayed with our friend liz in ann arbor, michigan. we took advantage of that opportunity to do our laundry--the first time since the to ur began almost three weeks ago!--and to see the movie "the fifth element". i think the overall consensus among the band and jimmy our engineer is that it looked good, but the movie itself was lacking something. not that it's not worth seeing, but it just didn't deliver the knockout blow. my synopsis review: sci-fi french style. ann arbor is also where i went to college (yes, it's true), so staying there brought on some feelings of nostalgia for me. for example, there's this giant bell tower on campus whi ch reminded me of the time a women jumped out of it in the middle of the morning, right after classes let out. well, i'm not exactly nostalgic for that incident, but for lots of other stuff. such as: i played in this cover band that did versions of "she s ells sanctuary" by the cult and the violent femmes' "add it up". ah, those were the days! the other night in grand rapids, i watched failure's set and felt as though i "got it" for the first time. great band. now where headed to columbus, ohio, where we'r e gonna, uh, play a show tonight. see y'all later! p.s.--hi mom!

May 14th, Columbus, OH

Uh... tonight we played in an echo chamber, a huge theater, to about 80 people. If Ellen, our booking agent was in charge of these shows, we would have played a tiny club, and it would have looked fuller. On top of it, Dinosaur Jr. played here the night before and Mighty Mighty Bosstones are playing here tomorrow. And Rollins comes through the next day I guess. As I stood in the doorway, I watched a lone person walk up to the ticket booth, held my breath that she wanted to come to our show, but no, she wanted to know if she could buy Bosstones tickets. I was about to ask her if she'd stay and watch us if we put her on the guest list, but I didn't bother. This is one of the hard parts of touring; once in a while, you run into other bands; and I know we wer e just in town a couple of months ago with the Cows. Dinosaur probably hasn't played Columbus in years. Ah well... It sure was a fun show though!

Someone (actually a guy from the band DitchCroaker!) asks us to allow them to use 5 seconds of "Black Dog" for a commercial that he's editing. For the first time we consider it. Our name will not be connected with a product; it's just someone who really l ikes our music and wants to use part in a commercial. Plus, it's a guy from a good band! The product is a Sony Discman. Tortoise and TransAM are also being used in the commercial. We will probably do it. Also, he wants to show it to us, in New York! That will be neato.

May 15th, Buffalo, NY

We drove up to the venue today; it's NEXT to an AIRPORT and it is painted purple and has onion domes on it. It's amazing looking - it's the kind of bar you'd find in the suburbs, with really bad heavy metal cover bands playing at it. Inside there's a post er of a band called "STEALIN" - huge hair, Zildian shirts, like we're back in the 70s. Amazing. I took down the poster and got yelled at by a bar bouncer.

Tonight there were some really cool-looking people at the show to see us(!) who brought us a zine with, let me just say, a VERY good PC interview in it. I am going to post it on our web page. It's my favorite interview that we've ever done!

I really love our fans. They are so special. I almost wish we could start some kind of religion or something where everyone could all get together once a year and have some kind of festival. Maybe people can all make friends on alt.music.posterkids if tha t web gateway ever gets fixed again. I guess you can reach it through other means, too. Maybe I'll just start posting the best fan mail we get on our page....

The hotel rooms all look the same when you're asleep.

In order to cross into Canada again, we have to find a hotel room, and guess what. There is some sort of graduation going on in Buffalo, and EVERY motel room is booked up. We end up at the same Hotel that Summercamp is staying at - the HYATT, Downtown!! Sheesh!! They have a travel agent who gets them these rooms! Wow; it was a really, really fancy place. We dragged our diminishing number of t-shirt boxes through this swanky hotel up to our room. It's weird, I find it kind of neat to be staying in such a nice hotel - even though it costs about 3-4 times as much as we usually would spend. The hotel employees were all very nice, and there is a data port on the phone. Everything else though is basically the same; there are nice soaps and shampoos in the bathroom, but that's about it. Like the MOtel 6 ad sez, the rooms all look the same when you're asleep. The cheapest motels are the Motel 6s. The nicest, best value for your money are usually the Super 8s.

Failure was GREAT tonight

As cheesy as this place is, it was a good room and stage to see a band on. Failure was really great; tonight they played one of my favorite songs from their first album for an encore. That made me really happy. I really like a new song of theirs too; the one called "Daylight." It has lyrics that say "Daylight won't find us here." Ken, the lead singer, has a beautiful voice, and they have really great melodies, but the chord progressions are probably a little too intelligent for mainstream rock. They just seem altogether a little too intelligent. I think this is a compliment.

May 16th, Toronto, ONT

Border Crossing

Rick is really alarmed now. Basically we walked into the customs/immigration office, the guy looked at our work permits and said, "I don't even know what you're doing in here." He told us to give a paper to the guard at customs, standing behind us, and then leave. We left. Rick thinks that the next time we go through the border we are going to get our bodies cavity-searched. It's getting way, way too easy.


We are told now that our label is going to PRESS UP A SINGLE FOR US!!!!! This is great news!! Basically this means that we MAY be able to get some of that commercial-radio airplay!! What happens is we decide on a single, and they press up copies of just a CD with that one song on it and send it to radio stations. IF a DJ wants to play the song, he may be able to then! Still the DJs need to have the song "added" to their playlist usually, so you may still call up and request the song and they may still say "it's not in the studio" but there actually *is* a chance now for us. The best way to get the song "added to the airplay list" at the big radio stations is for someone at our label to ask the station to add it. Unfortunately, there are a lot of ot her, bigger bands at our label as well, like Dinosaur and the Jayhawks, and Faith No More, and they also want to get on the radio. We have to wait our turn.

Now we have to decide on what song. The radio department at Reprise is leaning towards "Music Of America." I think it's a catchy song, but politically it may not be the best choice for getting radio airplay. We like "0 for 1" as a choice.