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2000 Tour Reports Index


DDD Tour- March-May

Mar 14-18- SXSW-Austin:
pools of water reflect the sky like mirrors

Mar 18-23 The Southeast:
kiss the ground in Baton Rouge

Mar 23-31 The East Coast:
"just tell me, is this still part of the game?"

April Week 1 - NorthEast Coast:
what can make a towel smell like bacon?

April Week 2 Midwest Datest:
crying to the music of the Doors

April Week 3 - Go West:
It's so exciting when people beat the crap out of each other!

April Week 4- West:
That West-Coast, I-5 feel

May Week 1 - End:
"I'm a Man and I Have Needs"


3. The East Coast: "Just tell me, is this still part of the game?"

Friday, March 24 - Jacksonville, FL


I am so tired. We had some good mexican food today for dinner.

These shows do not seem to be going very well. It is still hard to play all the new songs and sometimes I must admit I wonder what the audience is getting out of the songs. Maybe I love and understand the new songs too much, but also I wonder if there isn't somewhere out there a younger audience who might like to watch us play. Sometimes I worry we're just playing all these screaming fast rock tunes, and I just wonder if the audience who is coming to see us really likes these songs. Can they even hear them? Is it just too loud out there in the audience? Something seems wrong and I can't tell what it is.

I think I may be freaking out about the fact that someone told me that he had seen us play once, back when we were having trouble with our label (I don't ever really remember stating that publicly; to us, label trouble was like having a dirty van or something. It really didn't affect the shows.) and he saw us and we were "just going through the motions." Now I should take a picture of the black and blue marks all over my body. I have so many intense feelings when I am up on that stage, pain, pleasure, anger, all of us do - it's a complete exhausting, exhilarating experience that leaves us wiped out after a show - you've seen us, we're known to be a good live band. Can you imagine how it could possibly be that we are just "going through the motions?" In fact, I can't imagine any band getting up on stage and just going through the motions. What a terrible, terrible insult!

Anyway, I try not to take it as an insult. People don't know what it's like to be in a band - how can they be expected to know that? But I remember watching a band once and thinking the same thing, 'oh, they're not trying' and I feel very badly about thinking that now. How could you go on stage and not put your body and soul on the line for an hour?

I would like to thank the person who talked to me about this, because he has made me think about all this, it's very important to think about; the audience's perception of a show, and how it can just go wrong. Basically, I know there is absolutely nothing that can be done about it, but it still worries me. I want to make sure every show is perfect. And I'm freaked out that I worry that we're playing badly, but I should know by now that it's the South East.

Saturday March 25, 2000 - Tallahassee, FL

It's time to go

Howie says he walked around this town last year for a couple of hours and wanted to kill himself. This town and Houston, TX. I'm not sure why, but I can understand his feelings. Although our motel6 is in an unbelieveably pleasant area of town, north, exit 30 off I10, surrounded by surprisingly un-ugly suburban sprawl. Within walking distance, two strip malls away is a smoothie shop and a fantastic used bookstore and a great oriental foods market that Howie spoke very highly of, and some respectable clothing stores. As I walked down to get a smoothie, a couple in their minivan looked at me and locked their doors, which gave me something to be upset about for a good 3 hours. "Rick, do I look like a vagrant?" "No, you look like a criminal." Nice.

A preteen baseball team is frolicking around Jim and a satellite dish in the courtyard of the Motel 6 while their parents yell and whip their car keys at them from the balcony, "Hey Bonehead! Get me more beer from the car, willya?" Jim sits quietly and reads at a concrete picnic table near the satellite dish, and Howie and I sit around the pool a couple of yards away. A couple of days ago I met a woman and her husband at another motel6 and they had kids that were just fascinated by meeting "real rock stars." That's kinda cool.

They almost killed Howie and Rick!

Tonight before we begin the hunt for food Jim says, "Let's go to the Thai place we ate at last time." Rick replies, "Didn't we all get sick after we ate there?" and no one can remember, so we go back there. We giggle and order the Special for 4 people, even though it's not really called The Special; we're just trying to play eXistenZ. A couple of minutes into our gobbling down our food, Howie is grabbing his head, his hands pressing on his temples and face. He says "Something's wrong here" and asks if anyone else feels a terrible pressure building up in their ears and head, and I guess he looked up at Rick who was also grabbing his temples and pressing on his sinuses. They both sat in uncomfortable silence, looking at each other and around the room with their hands pressing on their temples while I, horrified, I did a calculation of which foods they were eating and tried to figure out which one contained the poison. Howie actually had to run out of the restaurant, while Rick sat still next to me and talked about the different symptoms he was feeling. There is a pest control place right next door to this restaurant, but there are also tons of people eating here and no one else looks like they've been poisoned. This restaurant prominently displays its awards everywhere, too. I am terribly worried about Howie and Rick now - I want someone to go out and check on Howie and Rick is now complaining of minor chest pains. I am searching my body frantically to figure out if I'm feeling anything weird but I'm not except for the panic I'm feeling about my family here. Both Jim and I have been eating everything that Howie and Rick have been eating and we're fine.

Rick settles down after a couple of minutes and goes outside to look for Howie while Jim and I go back to gobbling more food. Jim says to me, "Just tell me this, is this still part of the game?" quoting eXistenZ. MSG has never affected me adversely, and Jim says that he's never gotten sick eating any kind of food. When Howie returns he goes up and speaks to the owner of the restaurant, asking her why this happened to him; he wants to warn her that some of her food may be poisonous. From the distance I see her gesturing to her head and sinus area and when he returns Howie explains that she said it's a reaction to the MSG and that they have to warn ahead next time not to put any MSG in their food. Howie is a bit miffed that they didn't give us any kind of discount on the food, but I want to point out to him that we all look like a bunch of schlubs, especially him with a moth-eaten white undershirt on and his Skin's'NTins hat. We look like the kind of people who try to get free food from an expensive restaurant by pulling some kind of scam. Howie reiterates that he just wanted to warn the restaurant because this is how you hear that 30 people died in a restaurant from some kind of poison, but really, we all look like a bunch of drifters. They can't know our background.

It's time to leave Florida. Really. It's enough already.

Sunday March 26, 2000 - Asheville, NC

A Beautiful Drive

I had the weirdest thought the other day when we were driving through Lousiana, it was so strange that I decided not to write it down. This is what it was - I actually felt that the countryside that we were driving through was so beautiful that I wanted to be cut open and have my blood poured out onto the fields. You can see why I didn't write that down or tell anyone what I was thinking at the time. I get these thoughts of beauty and feel so touched by them that I sometimes want to cry. And it's not altogether because of how the place looks, either. It's some kind of feeling I get.

Anyway, why have I decided to write this now? Because I just bought this book called "Shambala, the Sacred Path of the Warrior," by Chogyam Trungpa and started reading it. Let me quote from it.

"Basic goodness is very closely connected to the idea of bodhicitta in the Buddhist tradition Bodhi means "awake" or "wakeful" and citta means "heart," so bodhicitta is "awakened heart." Such awakened heart comes from being willing to face your state of mind..."

Then it talks about the search for the awakened heart and notes that upon finding it you will find a genuine heart of "sadness" and "tenderness."

"Your experience is raw and tender and so personal...."

"The genuine heart of sadness comes from feeling that your nonexistent heart is full. You would like to spill your heart's blood, give your heart to others. For the warrior, this experience of sad and tender heart is what gives birth to fearlessness...... You are willing to open up, without resistance or shyness, and face the world. You are willing to share your heart with others."

"God kissed the earth and called it Asheville" - bumper sticker seen in Asheville, North Carolina

This town is really gorgeous, surrounded by beautiful Appalachian mountains. Although there seem to be a lot of hippies, and a lot of textile and weaving places, and Rick seems to think it's a town where the hippies have gotten out of hand and become a bit like fascists - all because we saw the grafitti "Where Good Energy Rules With An Iron Fist" here in Asheville a long time ago. The hippies don't bother me too much. The way I see it, hippy fascism is usually too subtle for me to even notice or be offended by. But I am pretty naive, politically, I guess. Rick isn't at all.

Matt from Archers of Loaf - Now Track Rabbits

But the small crowd in Vincent's Ear club tonight is wonderful and loud, so loud, screaming enthusiastically and clapping after every song. All things are good in this town. Matt, the bass player from Archers of Loaf has a new band called "Track Rabbits" and they played with us here - they sound almost a bit Shellac-y - really, really great. Matt is wearing the Rapeman shirt I gave him so many years ago. All is well. Vincent's Ear is improving too - there is a huge stage now at the back of the room, where before we'd just play on the tile floor. The people who work here are so nice.

Monday March 27, 2000 - Charlotte, NC

Before leaving Asheville I spent $70 on t-shirts - one that says "Death Rock" with a huge bunny rabbit skeleton and silver sparkle lightning bolts down the sleeeves, and another that says "Live to Rock" on it, in pink sparkle-y letters. And a chain necklace with a big sparkley cherry bunch on it. And the Motel 6 was divine.

Howie walked around in Charlotte this evening and decided that it "made Tallahassee look like France." I am told by some people who work here that it is a big banking town, lots of people with lots of money and no taste in music. No college radio. I expect no one to come to the show, and they definitely do. Well, ok, there were 13 people who paid to get in - club says not to take it personally. We've never played Charlotte before. Can you imagine how we would entice people to come to see our show on a Monday night when it's pouring down cold rain - and has been all day - I am actually surprised that 13 people came. I also think that some of them came to see the opening band, Tara O'Neill (?) solo project - she's from the band Rodan. She was great - very quiet music and she sings like a bird. Very pretty music. Then we went on a were very loud - too loud for the sound guy... but we had a good show! I think we're starting to pull together - at least I am starting to pull together. It's taken me a long time to get back into being able to play again this time. I have been feeling like near death halfway through the set each night - now I almost made it through the entire set without feeling like I'm gonna faint, so it's a good sign. I'd say that by the time we hit DC I'll be in good shape.

After the show I apologized to Tara and told her that we fall in the cracks; we don't have a big indie presence or a big "alternative" presence. She at least has the indie-princess thing going from being in Rodan, but then she looks defiantly at me and says "I fall in the cracks too!" and I say, "How can that be?" and she points to the air and says, "Listen to THAT - THAT is what INDIE rock is NOW!!" and I listen and don't recognize.. "What is that?" I ask, and she says, "It's my former Rodan bandmates.. June of 44."

Oh. (For those of you who don't understand these references, Rodan was a band from Louisville that was gaining a lot of notariety and they broke up a while ago. June of 44 is pretty famous as far as indie bands go. If they'd played here tonight in Charlotte I'd say probably some more people would have shown up.)

Tuesday March 28, 2000 - Durham/Chapel Hill, NC

We're driving to Chapel Hill and I'm thinking about our movie that we're going to make. I mean, we're always thinking up plot-lines for movies and casting them; well, who will play the Poster Children movie? I ask Jim who will play him and he says "Matthew Modine." I ask Howie who will play him and he says "Stolz." Laughter. "Rick - who will play you?" Answer: "Am I even in the movie? I think I've been cut out." and then "Freddy Prinz Jr." I say, "No, he won't dye his hair. Think again!" But he's stuck on Freddy Prinz.Of course, for me, it has to be Angelina Jolie - I liked her before it was cool, you know. Back in Hackers. The woman has GOT to cut her hair though.

Now we have to figure out who to direct. Rick says, "Only Altman can capture the finer moments of Poster Children history" and we all agree. But then we need some backups incase he's unavailable and I thought either David Fincher, John Hughes, or Jane Campion.

Now, can you imagine all these people sitting together in a van for 12 hours a day? And then getting on stage to play a show?

Chapel Hill - City of Hate?

It's my little joke to call Chapel Hill the "City of Hate." I think we were here once when there were some racial problems and I just got that idea from the city. Tonight it's a lot different for us - we are playing a small place that holds around 75 people and it looked nice and full of people when we played, and the crowd was GREAT! It was a huge surprise, because for the last couple of years we've played this town to NO one. It turns out tonight that most of the people in the room are from Ohio and other states; old fans of ours who have moved here. So it's a warm and friendly and LOUD audience, and it is the greatest thing in the world. Exactly what we needed at a time like this! And finally we played a GOOD show!

Wednesday March 29, 2000 - Washington DC

City of Ian

I love coming to Washington DC because I get to visit with my friend and idol Ian from Fugazi. I procured a copy of the video "Instrument" which I cannot wait to see - it's the new Fugazi movie, and you can of course order it from Dischord. There is never, ever enough time to listen to Ian's wonderful stories or to be near him; it's like having an audience with the Dalai Lama or something. He is so sweet, so warm, and so alive. Howie wants to write a book about him.

If you could be in ANY magazine you wanted...

We spent a good 3 hours being photographed for the only magazine that I actually read and hold a subscription for today. And yes, it's not a f*&(#*ing music magazine. We were interviewed for it a week ago. Let's say, if someone asked me "What magazine would you like to be in, if you could be in any magazine you wanted," and I answered and they said, "Ok, you're there!" June or July issue.Where else is there to go, my friends? Today was like ecstatic day.

And then the show tonight - Black Cat was full of people, the opening bands were fantastic (Oxes from Baltimore and Q and Not U, a new Dischord band from Wash. DC), and people sang along with our songs as we played! Ian sat on the side of the stage the entire time we played and I felt like he was helping me perform.

DC Audience

Heckler on the stage

And I slept wonderfully tonight, on Uncle Tony's house's floor. It's so wonderful to have such good friends.

This is a man who can balance an entire handful of change on his forearm, then whip his hand forward and catch all the change, like a magic trick. "Who's the fucking master of the coin-catch now, huh?" You rule, Ian. You rule me.

Thursday March 30, 2000 - Newark, Delaware

Breakfast with Ian and Uncle Tony at Abi's, a place where Ian took us probably about 6 years ago, and we signed a picture of ourselves and put it up on the wall- we're up there with the greatest rock stars of all time. I had a really great vegetarian burrito. Ian told some great stories of past shows and we talked about grudges we hold against different bands. Mike Watt is apparently sick with some illness that has put him in the hospital - I am sorry to hear that. When I roll my eyes at the mention of Mike Watt, Ian wants to know why and I have to fess up that I used to worship him and it's one of those things where I wanted him to like me when he saw us play, and he never did. I think he likes every other female bass player in the entire world except me - and I have no basis for feeling this way... and anyway, it's a childish feeling for me to have. And of course I still love the man's bass playing. Who cares if someone you look up to doesn't like you back? I mean, it's hard, but shit, he doesn't owe me anything. I hope he's ok, anyway.

Today there is virtually nobody in the East End Diner when we play, because it is Spring Break in the town. People clap politely after each song and I thank the state of Delaware, edging on irony again on the stage, which is forbidden, at the end of the set. (Sorry about the Pynchon sentence there; Howie's reading Gravity's Rainbow now and it must be rubbing off).The opening band, "Unavailable", adorable 3 girls, some who are obviously just learning their instruments, were charming and inspirational on the stage. It is very old-school to see a grrl-punk band who aren't professional musicians yet play a show. I loved it.