Poster Children New World Record Tour 7

Sunday May 2 - May 4, 1999 - OFF - HOME

Insert 2 days off here, which we spent at home. We took our pet car out for a car wash - it was covered in tree sap and bird poop. The neighbors had humorously laid out the tail feathers of the pidgeon[sic] they found in our house in a display on our table. I nearly got into a fistfight with the local Champaign Post Office. We had no hot water in our house. None of my clients (I freelance computer program when I'm home) had decided to pay me, all are overdue at least a month - so I couldn't pay any of my hospital bills. I went out depressed to my favorite Chinese Food Restaurant, sat staring at my unopened fortune cookie, thinking that it would contain some world-wise, wonderful saying that would probably make everything better, and when I opened it, there was nothing there! Have you ever seen a fortune cookie WITHOUT A FORTUNE?!


When passing through Milwaukee, Eat At Kopps

and shop at Rockhaus Guitars


Wednesday May 5th, MADISON WISCONSIN

We pulled up in front of O'Kayz, in Madison, WI, one of the most beautiful towns in the US. O'Kayz is actually not even in a pretty part of town, but still, as we loaded out, you could look over the van and the sky was flourescent pink as the sun set over the lake. It was beautifully warm outside still, at sunset. You could see the water of the lake from the club - the lake water was purple. Cars and bicycles zoomed past as the lights in the town started coming on. I am jealous of these people. What would my life be like if I lived in a paradise like this?

I don't have much to write about tonight. I just want to sit still and smile.

O'Kayz is one of those bars that has posters and fliers and band pictures up all over the club, which makes you feel like you are surrounded by old friends all night. The jukebox has 2 Steel Pole Bath Tub CDs in it, a couple of Cows CDs, PJ Harvey, you name it, the coolest music you'd ever want to hear - and a POSTER CHILDREN CD, as WELL!! The audience was wonderful, yelling the words to the songs, dancing, pogo-ing. The show was very warm - I actually wrang about a cup of water out of my bra, onto the floor in the venue, which thoroughly grossed out the tattooed and pierced employees behind the bar. This show made us so happy. There is a balance for everything.


Thursday May 6th, Iowa City, Iowa


The Iowa City Audience tries to rival the Madison crowd - and succeeds.

Interview

We had a radio interview with a future serial-killer from the Northern Chicago Suburbs tonight, on a station that apparently only 5 people in town listen to. Howie actually said on the radio, interrupting him, "You're pretty cynical for a young man your age." Rick said "I'm going to tell my school counselor about you." He was going on and on about how competetive the Iowa City Music Scene is, which ought to be kind of laughable. What would you compete for, in Iowa City? In fact, what would you compete for, anywhere? Is there some sort of Throne? Anyway, this guy was from Highland Park, Illinois. When he found out Howie was from Wilmette, he beamed and clapped, Howie is family. When he found out I'm from Deerfield, the rival next-door town of Highland Park, he screamed, jumped up and down and pounded on the radio console, causing the mics to all go out. About 5 minutes of dead air ensued while he ranted about our pitiful growings-up in the suburbs, until he calmed down and noticed that the mics were off. What an angry young man, but what a great interview! Rick tried to convince him to start his own radio show on the internet. He's very talented.

They're ADORABLE!

You will never find a more down-to-earth, loving audience than in Iowa City. A long time ago, the people of this town used to fill Gabe's Oasis, the club we've played at here for 12 years, our first out-of-state show. They used to swing off the lights as we played, and hang on the ceiling. It went into a downswing about 5 years ago, when no one would come out to the shows. Now it's on the upswing again; the crowd for us isn't as frantic but they are honest and kind and they dance and jump into each other and request old songs, and we are ecstatic to play them for them. At the end of the night, they don't want us to stop. (And we don't want them to stop, either.)

Think of your most-loved relatives, the ones who make you feel the most happy, warm, and loved. If they had a band, it would be Mercy Rule. For the next couple of shows we get to play with our good friends. They tore up the stage tonight, and on top of it, they were hilarious. The crowd loved them - they even got an encore. Best quotes of the night: Heidi: "This is PUNK ROCK. I have never picked up the bass to practice it. ANY ONE of YOU could do this as well! IT's EASY! WE HAVE KILLED THE MAJOR LABEL MUSIC INDUSTRY! NOW IT'S TIME FOR YOU TO START YOUR OWN BANDS!!" and Jon - when he was tuning his guitar: a girl yelled, "Tuning is for wussies!" and he replied to her in a slow, jokingly patronizing drawl, "When you're a Daddy, you'll tune your guitar too." They talked about their little 2 1/2 year old girl, Zoe - her most said words are "I WILL DO IT MYSELF!"

And that's Mercy Rule.


Rock Goddess Heidi, Ron on Drums, and Jon on the Guitars. (He broke a string and didn't want to waste time taking off the first guitar.)

Friday May 7th, Minneapolis, MN

It's nighttime outside the 7th Street Entry, in the heart of Minneapolis, the North Star City. I'm standing on the edge of the largest parking lot you've ever seen. Like, after the bomb hit, they just turned the crater into a huge parking lot. The night air above the lot is exactly the color of static, and all around the edges of the giant lot, neon signs of restaurants cut through the grey air. It's lightly misting outside and about 45 degrees. The ground shines pebbley with the rain and neon. The Target Center, tallest, and boasting the most gratuitous amounts of neon, stands at one edge of the giant city parking lot like a racecar cathedral. There is NO one in sight; only acres of cars bordered by restaurants and huge billboards. The air is perfectly still except you can hear Vivaldi's "Spring" from the Four Seasons, blaring through the mist, descending from the sky, at a perfect volume to be heard throughout the entire parking lot. It is actually being broadcast from the largest billboard on the edge of the parking lot. After "Spring" they played "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" and after that the Pachebel Canon. I went in during the Canon. I couldn't take it anymore.

The people of Minneapolis either have short, hyper-stylish haircuts, or dreadlocks. You are not allowed to have long hair if you live here, unless it's dreads. My friend Conrad, who works at the 1st Ave/7th St Entry has a dreadlock that's about as thick as my leg, hanging off his face. I wonder if those ever hurt? The urinal in the toilet in the 7th Street Entry today has been plugged up, but that doesn't seem to bother anyone who uses it. Someone has also wiped their ass and just threw the paper on the ground; perhaps in protest. There are cigarette butts laying in the urinal, along with the overflowing yellow stew. It seems like the people of Minneapolis are trying to outdo New York City in being gross, but New York City people would probably just buy this whole bathroom as an art installation, and think it was quaint.

I decided to skip this bathroom tonight and venture into the 1st Avenue (yes, that's where Prince played in that movie; it's attached to our smaller venue) where tonight, Parliament (all the original members, without George Clinton) is playing on the main stage. The club is filled with people and dreadlocks, and the stage is filled with people and dreadlocks. The people on the stage look larger than life - there are 2 dancing girls with HUGE afros and bikinis, a couple of guys wearing large capes and lots of mirrors and sparkles. It's definitely something amazing to see, but kind of boring to watch after a couple of minutes. Not even Bootsy Collins is present; it's really just the original members. Rick makes some sort of wisecrack from the stage tonight about being afraid that in 10 years, you'd find Jeff and Shannon, older members of our band long gone, playing our songs as Poster Children, up there on that stage. The bathroom in the larger venue, which contains about 30 toilets, is covered in 1 inch of muddy water, floating cigarette butts, and toilet paper, sometimes overflowing from certain toilets. And this is the girls' bathroom! Girls are wandering around aimlessly in there, putting on lipstick and waddling around in the water, going "Gross. Gross."

Tonight, our Minneapolis crowd is HUGE and demanding. I'm prepared to try 400% to put on a good show for them, because they are cooler than us. Rick breaks two strings during this show, and Jim's guitar makes no sound all throughout the first song. Breaks between songs seem to take forever. The audience dances around and shouts titles to songs we don't know anymore while Rick tries frantically to fix his guitar. I can see the people dancing while we play, and they are pressed up to the front of the stage, but the lighting just doesn't make them look happy. Or maybe it's just me who's afraid to look closely at their faces. It's probably just bad lighting. The people must have loved the show - they bought tons of t-shirts and gave us 2 encores, but you can tell they're definitely not used to shouting and yelling for the encores. It's Minneapolis, and they're too cool to let loose like that. But they mustered up enough energy to make us feel not stupid, getting back up there on the stage twice. So, I am pretty sure we made them happy, even if they seemed testy.

Who knows, maybe they all had to go to the bathroom.

***

Aftermath: The promoter is beside himself with glee. This is the most amount of people we've ever drawn in Minneapolis - he's ecstatic! And we sold a shitload of t-shirts. Maybe I ought to take a closer look at the audience pictures. Man, lighting can sure affect my mood!

Thor and Freddie from the Cows were at the show. Thor gives me a hug. Howie said that Thor told him he is happy not playing shows, but misses touring and playing shows where "Everyday we'd put our bodies on the line." We discuss this quote for a couple of days. I loved the Cows.


Saturday May 8th, Sioux Falls, SD

This is the most exciting time for me, the drive West!

West! Milemarker 99 and counting down, on I-90 in Western Minnesota. The road is surrounded by farm lands, green and brown, ready for spring. It's been cloudy and rainy for the past couple of days but now there's sort of a whiter glow to the clouds, like someone's turned on a 60-watt light bulb up there somewhere. The sun is up there, but it's broken, and they are working on fixing the power. Through the radio, we make first contact with the New Star Wars Movie - the classical music station is playing one of the themes from it. It sounds like a New Symphony, nothing wrong with it. When it finished I could have sworn I heard the DJ saying something about Jesse Jackson freeing the Ewoks in the new movie? My ears obviously still aren't working properly. I noticed a bag of potato chips in the gas station yesterday commemorating the New Movie. For the first time I have my doubts, a weird sick gnaw at my stomach, thinking maybe I'll hate this New Movie. And then it will be official: I will have Grown Up.

West! We just passed our first Wall Drug sign! The cities are starting to look more exotic to me now; we are officially Far From Home. For me, the West begins after you go to the left of Minneapolis; I guess officially it's west of I-35. Even Lincoln, Nebraska is exotic - the streets are wide and the buildings are spread out further than in Illinois.

Augustana College

Hm.. another relatively well-paying college show where the person who has worked their ass off to get us to their college is rewarded by a handful of his friends showing up at the show, and not really too many more people. I always hope it's worth it for these people. Usually it is. We had a great time. I remember a time long ago, when people would come out to see a show just because they knew the band was from a couple of states away. "Wow! There's a band that has come all the way from BOISE to play in Champaign! We *have* to go see them!" That kind of thing. It just doesn't really happen anymore, I guess. Well, actually, ok, I guess it happens in some towns. But not Sioux Falls, SD, and not on Prom Night. At any rate, it seemed like a perfect stage and a perfect show, and it was fun to just look up once every couple of songs to see 3 people dancing like they'd missed gym class for 10 years. The audience was part of the band tonight!

I spent 6 hours on the computer tonight moving files (pictures) around from one server to another, so as to escape any earthlink bandwidth problems. They do not allow a lot of downloads, and these tour reports are getting so popular and have so many pictures that we've unknowingly gone way over our bandwidth limit and have been charged some huge amount of money because of it. But now it's all fixed. And the pictures will be smaller from now on. Now we'll see how long it takes prairienet.org to complain.. heh heh heh...

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