RTFM TOUR part 7

May 28th, Washington, DC- The Most Precious of All Nights

should be titled, "the Ian MacKaye Worshipping Page".


Tonight was the most precious of all nights. It starts out with our good friend Tim Bowers bringing us this incredible array of seafood - crabs and shrimp, in coolers, straight up to our dressing room. It was like a first class catered affair; he brought wooden mallets, newspaper, and cocktail sauce. Rick won't eat anything that came from the sea, so he shied away, but I tasted crab for the first time. I have this theory about fish that if you eat it a lot, you are very healthy. Rick thinks it's all been poisoned with mercury. Jim sat next to the fish while I was running in and out taking care of t-shirts and stuff. We all thank you very much, Tim, for the fish and the books!

Room of Stars

Ian MacKaye from Fugazi showed up right before we were getting ready to go onstage. I don't think I have to explain what an honor that is; to have someone like that come to our shows. We played and afterwards Ian gave me a little pep talk about 'not connecting' with the audience. Which is what I felt like I did today. I came off the stage pretty angry. He said the audience loved us, and that if they don't leave, you are connecting with them, but I have been feeling lately like audiences just are watching TV when they watch us. I think Rick agrees, and this is partially the reason for the TV in Salaryman. Ian shakes his head; you just have to work harder if you are not connecting! About Salaryman, he says "DON'T GO AMBIENT ON ME!", which makes me laugh.

We talked about record labels for a while, and what happened to friends on major labels. Ian is completely bewildered by Reprise and says that he has to respect them for how they've been treating us.

Some kid interviewers popped in from the Summercamp room next door to talk with us a bit and they found a tiny dressing room filled with Kim, Bill, and Jay from Jawbox and Ian and Joe from Fugazi. I wonder what could have gone on in their minds. We all sat and talked for hours; these are people we could talk with about anything, music, politics, movies, trends. I can't believe the intelligence that radiates from musicians in the Washington DC area. Why is it? Think about it; you don't get that same fee ling from New York bands and certainly not most LA bands! Is it because of the straight-edge movement? (sorry Ian!) People focusing on being healthy and intelligent and aware? From my experiences, drugs do seem to have a dulling effect on many people.

"A Grown Man Stuck His Hand In My Lung"

Ian had a collapsed lung last year, in Australia - he told us the whole story, they were on tour and he nearly went crazy in the hospital; he's not used to being sick and having tubes stuck in him. He has a huge scar running down the side of his back. He said "A grown man stuck his hand in my lung, to clean it out."

Bill and Jay from Jawbox are playing with another drummer. Kim says she is taking a break from rock music, alth ough she is working at both her label (DeSoto) and Dischord, and she is working on music by herself, keyboard and bass! Man, I'd love to hear what that sounds like!! She says she now has a puppy. (That's something you can't have when you are in a rock ban d, you know.)

Modem Shopping

Don't ever go trying to get a powerbook fixed in Arlington, VA. The computer repairmen will attempt to take you for everything you've got. I finally gave up and we now own an external modem. Thanks to Ian Jones, Evil Genius, for schlepping me around town.

Uncle Tony

And later on we go back to the house of Uncle Tony, Ian Jones, the Evil Genius house, and crash. Tony has been our friend for so many years; and always lets us crash on his floor. It's amazing to go to his house cuz it's filled with the greatest books and movies; he and Ian are extremely creative people. One day I told him, we're going to have to have some sort of huge Poster Children festival where people can all come and stay at our house in Champaign. I don't know what it could be for. Maybe when we get "famous."

May 29th, Chapel Hill, NC

I don't want to go to Chapel Hill.

We eat breakfast with Ian MacKaye the next morning, at a restaurant which has promo pictures of about 10 bands up on the wall above the bar, one is Fugazi, one is us, one is REM, bands that Ian has dragged into the place. Ian thinks he's going to cheer me up and get me to want to go to Chapel Hill, but I don't see how he thinks he is going to accomplish that, unless he's going to come with us. We found out yesterday that Dale, (bass from Steel Pole Bath Tub) is now leaving TODAY for Franc e and won't be able to open for us in Chapel Hill - won't even be there. Milk Cult is going to record in France - they're actually being PAID by the French government to record there. Dale sent a very sad email. He made a gorgeous commemorative poster of the fact that he can't open for us, and the 4 of us got Tooth Necklaces with a shrinky-dink of his cartoon character which I can only guess is called "Tooth." Anyway, we don't have any reason to go to Chapel Hill except to play in a huge club for a very n ice promoter and have him not make his guarantee. *sigh*.

Fugazi has 10 songs mixed for a new album. THAT MEANS THERE IS GOING TO BE ANOTHER FUGAZI RECORD!!! WOOHOO!! Can you SMILE? Ian for some reason says that he thinks both our bands are in a very unique position - he thinks we're both in the same position in a weird way. Rick says "yeah, maybe, except you sell 10 times as many records as us!" Rick tries to convince Ian to put out a live record of Fugazi songs, compiled by a chosen panel of their biggest fans. Ian says they've been thinking of doing a live album, but he challenges us to name one good live album by a band of our genre. I tell them they could be the first. Future plans: Fugazi is going back to finish their Australia tour and then they're touring South America! Ian seemed really, really excited about that!

Cat's Cradle
pictured: Eric from Archers Of Loaf making us breakfast

Right after we soundchecked, another van drove up to the club and a band popped out, named "Scared of Chaka" - a punk band from Albuquerque! They said their show fell thru at another venue in town, and so I begged the soundguy and another guy who worked a t the club to let them on the bill. At least they could play! So they got to play first. Unfortunately, they told me that the guy who booked the club they were booked at was a flake, and dissed them, and then I found out the club they were talking about w as the other club that Frank, our promoter, booked. Everyone loves Frank; he is one of the sweetest, most laid-back promoters in the world. Even Ian was going on about him yesterday. So this band had lied to me. They never had a show booked at the club. B ands should never lie. I hope they learned their lesson. At any rate, the Chapel Hill show had 35 paying customers at it, which meant that poor promoter Frank lost his shirt on us. I don't think it's a good time to play Chapel Hill, when school's out, and I'm not sure that Frank ever promotes our shows, anyway.

The North Carolina accent is the sweetest of all

At least Eric Johnson from Archers of Loaf was at the show. He took us home with him and let us sleep in his house - in his bed! Talk about Southern Hospitality. In the morning, he made us cinnamon rolls (pictured). Archers of Loaf are taking a break from touring and they're going to write some songs. Superchunk has just finished recording a record in Bloomington, Indiana. I asked what Polvo was doing - I believe he said they had a new record coming...

May 30th, Atlanta, GA - Summercamp's Last Day

This is Summercamp's last day on the tour; they had a televised interview for Japanese TV here at the club and their show was taped for Japanese television. As they were playing tonight, huge guys with huge cameras stood a foot away from them and shoved t he cameras into different parts of their bodies as they played. It was quite an amusing sight; to me it looked painful. Tomorrow Summercamp fly to Washington DC to play a huge radio fest that coincidentally, poor Gerty had been booted off to make room for them - I think that maybe Summer's actually been around for longer than Gerty but I can't be sure. (Oh well. Gerty: You want radio, you got radio.) and then Tim and Shawn are flying to Europe to do a press tour, and the other guys are going home for a li ttle while. Then they all fly back to Georgia and begin the Lollapalooza tour - they are all so cute. They seem more weirded out than excited - but maybe they are just being subdued for our benefit. They're going to have an incredibly exciting year. Really funny - Rick said he heard their label guy briefing them about doing interviews: "Don't talk about the label, or the single, or anything that we are doing for you, in front of press people." Timmy Summercamp says "I know, I know. Pretend that the machine doesn't exist." Label guy: "Exactly!" Later on I asked who they were going to be playing with at the DC thing and they told me "Blondie!! Beck!! ..(and others).." and I could've sworn I heard the label guy going "70,000 tickets per hour, baby." I could've sworn it. What does it mean?

Speaking of Label Guys

Warren, the Reprise guy in the Southeast, gets yet another gold star. He is probably responsible for all major label bands being able to sell their records at their shows - he was the first to help us do it! Today he took time out to hang out with us afte r he chatted with the Summercamp - he was probably feeling the same way another label guy felt when the other guy said to me "it's no fun to work the Maverick/Reprise bands. They all have their own people working them already!" (Which they did; there were people swarming around the dressing rooms, attempting to wait on Summercamp hand-and-foot while Summercamp hid in our dressing room.) Warren sat after our show and sold CDs and T-shirts for us! Which I thought was cute! And which is what the label is sup posed to do in the first place! hee hee!

Where did all these people come from??

Man, we had a GREAT crowd today! Maybe all the people from Chapel Hill came here instead! Some guys drove all the way from Orlando - 7 hours - to see us tonight, and brought SCRIPTS to the NEW ALIEN MOVIE!! WOW!!! It's being done by the guy who did the Ci ty of Lost Children. Rick sat and read it and kept saying every 5 minutes, 'Oh, this is excellent.'

There were people dancing while we played, enthusiastically - it was so awesome! I hope we gave a good show. The stage was hard to move around on; it wa s one of those really shallow ones, where you feel like you're one of those ducks in a shooting gallery. I tried to remember what Ian talked about - connecting with people in the audience. It gave me something more to focus on during the show.

Rick got an awesome present today from the soundguy from Man Or Astroman - an ASTRO yo-yo, I got a Servotron t-shirt (only because I'm the only one the beautiful thing fits, hee hee!) and we got some Servotron CDs I believe. I am last in line to get to li sten to it because I get the t-shirt, but the artwork is absolutely gorgeous.

Bye Summercamp!

Goodbye Summercamp! We wish you all the luck and good fortune in the world! Pull off that Niagara Falls exit sometime during your future tours and think of us, and we will do the same, the little field trip we could have taken if it hadn't rained so hard that night. Take care, and we will remember you when you get famous!

May 31st, New Orleans, LA

On our way
pictured: Ken from Failure

We're on our way to New Orleans now. See, I know that this is going to be a terribly-attended show already, because 1) it's $10 ticket prices, 2) New Orleans is BOTH Failure 's and our WEAKEST sales market - we both know this, 3) We're playing a 1000-seat theater tonight, probably just the 2 of us, and 4) Friggin' RADISH is playing at the "cool" place to play, Tippitina's. And I've seen ads in the local papers for RADISH so I know that they're being pretty well promoted. Chances are the local radio station in New Orleans is mentioning their show. And chances are it's not going to cost $10 to get in. Ken tried to get our show connected with their's somehow, but the promoter wa s not going to buy it. Because adding both our bands on the bill would make the guarantee too high. So now you know a little about the inner-workings of the touring business.

To all this, Rick replies, "No one's going to be at EITHER show. They are all going to the frigging House Of Blues to see Dan Ackroyd and Jim Belushi and John Goodman. Woohoo!" (he imitates how a person who is going to this show mi ght 'whoop enthusiastically') "Except it's not even going to be Jim Belushi, he's not even going to fly down for it. It'll just be Tom Arnold." This breaks Howie into laughter. See, I don't even care that this is going to be a bad show; n ot like I cared about the Chapel Hill show. Maybe it's because I don't know the promoter.

If they haven't left, they're connecting.

Wow, there was over 150 people here, and it was a really nice club. It still looked really sparse, and the promoter said to me that he expected WAY more people. I told him I expected WAY LESS people. I told him I thought the ticket price was way too high, and he said, "Yeah, you know, we were just talking about that earlier today. Maybe it was a little too high." It was higher than the CHICAGO SHOW, and it was the same price as the NEW YORK show for god's sakes!!!! I must also report that even though when we got off the stage, people were friendly and we sold A REAL lot of CDs, I felt the most anger towards this audience that I'd ever felt in my life towards any audience. It was good, therapeutic, and I know it had a lot to do with the carpetted, sound-p roofed stage and the huge metal barriers between us and the crowd. Off the stage, people were very friendly. You just can't tell what is going on in their minds when you're on the stage, unless they're dancing. I know, I know. Ian says if they haven't lef t, they're connecting.

June 1st, Welcome to Houston, TX

I am told the club didn't get any posters for us. So we made our own.

Buggin' the Failure Van

Howie is riding with Failure today; we have him bugged unknowingly with a microchip implant in his very tall hair and we're monitoring Failure's conversations. They are listening to a Dean R. Koontz audio tape in the van. It is very quiet.

Terrain Check/Jim and Howie

Two days ago we were driving through North Carolina, and the ground was green except for huge bare dirt-fields of oxidized iron, blood-red. The road was surrounded by huge, lush green trees. Now we're driving through marshlands, west of New Orleans on I-1 0, still green trees but they are barer from the heat, and instead of fields of red on the ground, there are patches of water. You can hunt for alligators if you like. It's finally warm outside, too, but Jim has the airconditioning on in the van. Jim has been in a frighteningly good mood all tour, and more talkative in the motel rooms. He and Howie have been pretending they are going to kill each other as they sleep at night. I heard Jim say ominously "Don't forget. I'll be watching you. I don't sleep. I' ll be watching you all night." to Howie. The other night I saw one of them pretend-smothering the other with a pillow, both giggling. Maybe this is why Howie is in the Failure van now.

I know we all have an odd sense of humor.


Salaryman won a couple of dates with Gus-Gus, in the Southeast, mid-July, going up to Washington DC, and maybe if we're lucky, New York City! This is very exciting!! IT also means we have to practice, and get promo photos, and all kinds of stuff. We also at some point have to divorce Poster Children from Salaryman and stop acknowledging that we're the same people. We don't want Gus-Gus fans thinking they're going to have to sit through a Poster Children show. Costumes? Masks? Huge Eyeball masks on our hea ds?


We saw a band tonight that reminded me of Man Or Astroman, like, if they were given a ton of money and if they played Alternative music instead of space-surf music. This band had brand new TV monitors, a bunch of neon lights, and space-racing suits. And t hey were on MCA. Apparently MCA felt good enough about their record to put it out, but not good enough about Mercy Rule's. A friend just told me that MCA did the same thing - recorded a record for another band and then decided to drop them before it came out. I think that is just plain EVIL.

After The Show

I don't know what happened tonight. I don't feel like I was on the stage at all. I don't think that Failure's fans liked us very much, either. This was a very, very bad show for me.

June 2nd, Austin, TX

The circus had just pulled into town and the train was parked right next to the club! The circus Folk took the elephants and tinyhorses on parade right during Failure's soundcheck! They paraded right through the parking lot of the club!!


One quick story for you. Getting on the plane back to NY from LA, I noticed someone familiar not in 1st Class, but in 2nd. It was Ponch, Erik Estrada himself!!! I was truly slackjawed, this was much better than a Mel Gibson or the like run-in. There is a new show on Comedy Central from a few of the guys that were in The State, if you remember that, called Viva Variety. It is a spoof of European talk shows, fairly funny. Anyway, Erik Estrada was the guest last week, and he came on the show in full drag (wig, dress, make-up, the whole enchilada). He explained that this was the real him, he was finally comfortable being himself, etc. It was very funny. I didn't say anything to him on the plane, but when we ended up next to each other at the baggage claim, I knew fate was urging me on. We kind of bumped into each other picking up our bags, and I looked him square in the eyes and said "Mr. Estrada, you are beautiful in drag." I swear I did it, I don't know how I got up the nerve to actually say that to him (he's a very big man), but he turned all red and laughed, looked at me and said "So you saw that, huh? I was hoping nobody watched that show." OK, maybe you had to be there, but it was really a great moment. Ponch!

It's laundry day! Finally!

Austin, TX

Today when we got to the club we found out that we were billed in the paper and on the answering machine of the club as being the last band. Which sucked, because I had to answer to a long line of people angry that they had missed us. I have no answer for that except that this is Failure's tour and they asked us to play on it. It's not some kind of contest. In the Fall, we will go on our own headlining tour.

Sixteen Deluxe

Well, we finally got to play with the band whose place we took on the Europe Steel Pole Bath Tub tour! They were supposed to go but had to cancel at the last moment. This band is fantastic - they are recommended if you like Flaming Lips, I guess, but with an incredibly charismatic girl singing lead and playing awesome pedal-laden guitar. We may go on tour with them sometime. I have a feeling that if their label attempts to promote them, they could be very, very famous. They already have a great record out , an EP, and their new one comes out on Warner Brothers around August 26.