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2000 Tour Reports Index

2000

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"

 

Part 6: It's so exciting when people beat the crap out of each other!

 


Thursday, April 20, 2000 - Madison, WI

Pkids listers already are showing up for tour dates, which is awesome, because they are fun to watch while we play. They know the songs already, and have a tendency to shout out numbers while we're playing, or clap during the right parts of "This Town Needs A Fire." They also have a tendency to sing during some songs. That's really fun to hear while you're up on stage.

I don't have much to comment about this show except the band the German Art Students, who played before us, were really great. They are from Madison, and sound like a mishmash between the Talking Heads, Jonathan Richman, The Pixies (at times), and some other influences I can't remember at the moment. Definitely enough of a variety where you don't just notice one band influencing them, and I think that's really, really good. Plus, they have really funny song titles - I think one of their songs is about a Civil War Re-enactment. "You drink the whiskey, I'll cut your leg off, You be the Monitor, I'll be the Merrimac." It was just funny enough to be funny. I always think you have to be careful when you're being witty, so you don't end up looking like one of those Intellectual bands.

For dinner tonight we ate the the Essen Haus, where we've not eaten in years. It was so terrible outside, cold rain pounding down, that we didn't want to go anywhere far away from the club, and the Essen Haus is right next door. We ate at the Essen Haus so many years ago, thinking that it was the only restaurant in Madison! Boy were we wrong!

But anyway, we had a festival of food tonight - we ate huge steaks and sausages and talked a little about life in Germany. A father and what had to be his son were playing live polka music up on a stage, and the place was empty except for a handful of waiters walking around in Liederhosen, matter-of-factly, like this is what they wear all the time. Rick says the cost of the food must be offset a bit for the costume fund and for paying people to dress like that. There are metal detectors at the door of the Essen Haus and sensors on the bottom of each beer mug - as the night progressed, this huge place began filling up with drunken college students, ordering huge glass Boots - a glass leg with a boot on the end, life-sized - full of beer. When a boot gets finished, in the last remaining seconds as the person is chugging it down, the entire table of people he or she is with will pound on the table and scream, and everyone in the entire restaurant will watch. Polka music was still blaring when we left. It was incredibly festive.We are all smiling.


Friday, April 21, 2000 - Chicago, IL

chicago stage left

chicago stage right

Wow. Over 500 people crammed into the Empty Bottle. So many people I know are here tonight, it's hard to talk to anyone. Even my parents have come out and braved the time; 72-year-old Dad has to be up and out the door tomorrow at 7am and here he is watching us play at midnight. Rick and Jim's parents are here, and cousin Carl. My sister, her fiancee and her best friend. A person I work with at the University, a person I haven't seen in 20 years (since highschool) and pkids-listers from all over the US. And the music is blaring so I can barely hear anyone, and I don't want to overexert myself before the show because I'm worried about being tired on the stage. It's so frustrating to not be able to talk to everyone I want to talk with - but I am just so happy to know that they came, and as we're playing, I think about every individual person who I saw here earlier and hope that we are giving them a good show. On the stage, I think about everyone, I can see everyone, and they all make me so happy.

It's my birthday today - and it was already obvious something was up because Rick told me to go away for a minute. I figured there was going to be a cake - and there was; at the end of the show, Rick went tearing outside to the van and came back a minute later with a huge cake - at first I was embarrassed but then I thought about it from the audience's terms - they were all going to get cake! So I didn't have to do anything except keep playing, smile and nod, and try not to step in the cake as we played our encores.

I hope tonight's show was ok - it seemed a bit clunky to me and Howie. But people seemed to like it ok. The new songs are getting a bit easier to play.

I wish I could write more about this show. I am never good at writing about Chicago or Champaign, and I'm never sure why. Maybe it's all too familiar, or there's too much to write about? Rick, Jim and I sleep at their parents' house tonight, exhausted, and leave early in the morning to pick up Howie at his parents' house, and then go north to Minneapolis.

Kip and Jim

These 2 crazy guys are a band called "America's Number 1 Sweetheart" - Rick recorded them at our house. Everytime they see Rick, they bring him presents -except today it was MY turn, and they brought me the most insane, amazing (and way too expensive) presents - two whole shopping bags full of them, all wrapped. I think these guys are going to be very famous one day - they are both extras in the movie "High Fidelity" and well, just look at them. They have the Fame Aura.

 


Saturday, April 22, 2000 - Minneapolis, MN

Minneapolis

Minneapolis just seems so NICE. Look at the pastel buildings in the distance; the streets are wide and I have never seen traffic on them, but I see people walking around all the time. Of course they have that huge, surreal parking lot in the center of the city with the PA system but I think that's OK. I'll bet this is one of the more pleasant cities to live in. I just like to go into a city and see lots of people walking around, instead of lots of cars parked everywhere and no one in sight.

Today there was a tiny argument in the van between 2 of us. It only lasted a couple of minutes, but it was still terrible. A fight in the van is terrible because even while it's going on, even while your feelings are hurt and you want the other person to understand you so you have to scream at them, the whole time you realize that the other guys are just sitting in the van having to listen to it, and you feel even more terrible. Anyway, everyone went their separate directions in Minneapolis and things got resolved. Any fight has two (or more) sides and if you just realize that the person on the opposite side probably has a good point and either you can be an asshole and not listen to them, or you can listen to them and end the argument, then the fight can stop.

Rick and I went to eat at the Thai place where we ate with Fugazi last time. There is not much around the 7th Street Entry anymore; it's right in the middle of town, but there are no fast-food places anywhere to be seen. Just stuff like TGIFriday's and whatever that new Chili's place is; Chevy's or something like that. I don't like eating in those places, even when I'm not on tour - all they really have is about 10 different combinations of meat with or without cheese on it, jalapeno poppers and barbecued rat-wings. Ok, "Buffalo Wings." What the hell are those things made of? Stunted chickens? Or rats?

The 7th Street Entry is pretty clean today. There is a massive poster for us outside the 1st Ave, an old picture with Johnny as the drummer, which I'm sure makes Howie feel pretty crappy. I wonder who could be playing in the main room if there's a huge picture of us hanging up, and then I get my answer - "It's Disco Hell tonight" says someone from the club. So here's yet another club reaping in the benefits of people liking disco music once again. I think that's good - I think these clubs should prosper at some point, even if this is how they have to do it.

Later on after our show, I noticed the doorway to the 1st Ave (the big room off the side of the 7th Street Entry where we're playing) glowing red and pulsating, 'Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom...' - it really did look like a gateway to hell! And there was a HUGE fight outside, a guy getting his ass KICKED, so hard that the police came and arrested the guys kicking the other guy's ass, and placed them up against OUR VAN to arrest them! I missed all this because I was upstairs getting paid. Damn! Jim got a picture though. It's so exciting when people beat the crap out of each other!

I guess maybe it's a bad energy day today. Although our crowd was FANTASTIC! We got 3 encores - people wouldn't let us stop playing. We love our Minneapolis Crowds!


 


Sunday, April 23, 2000 - Lincoln, NE

About 20 Miles West of Lincoln, there is a sign that says to get in the left lane, that the right lane will be closed in a couple of miles. And surprisingly, all of the cars did just that; drove in a single file line on the left side of the highway, for miles, with no sawhorses or cones to keep them there. Just a simple directive. In New York or New Jersey, both lanes would have been plugged up for miles with assholes trying to cut in front of everyone else. Here in the quiet midwestern prairie, the volk obey the orders. At first I found it wonderful, but after a while, a bit disturbing. But I definitely choose this over the east coast in less than a heartbeat.

Mercy Rule +1!

On April 18th, 2000, Jon, Heidi and little Zoie from Mercy Rule added a new member to their family, a little baby named Kira. She was 9 pounds, I guess so she's not so little! Rick, Jim and I went to visit them. We watched the little baby sit in parents' arms and just stare up at them.The facial expressions were priceless. It seemed like she wanted so hard to keep her little eyes open, but she was getting a bit tired. Just imagine, it's your first couple of days of being, and you're being cradled in the arms of your maker. Each time you sleepily look up, your mom or your dad is there watching over you, protecting you. And think about it from the parents' view - that must be one of life's peaks, I think, to have your little baby staring up at you. I asked Jon if she talked yet; he said yes, but she doesn't say much. Zoie's already writing letters; she writes her name, but each time the letters are in a different order. Jon says, "I'm not going to tell her what order to put the letters in." Heidi seems perfectly healthy and intact and happy, for someone who just gave birth 5 days ago.

Lincoln Nebraska crowd is subdued. Of course it's Easter Sunday, and they just witnessed a guy being crucified on a gigantic wooden penis with arms sticking out like a cross; it was a "rock opera" put on by the band who went on before us. The room was so dark and smoky and the floor was so sticky that Rick and I didn't stay in there long. I feel bad that we missed most of this, because I'll bet I would have really liked it. It seems like more people smoke in this town or in this club than in most other clubs. There was a haze in the air - I thought it would be hard to play and sing in the fog, but once we got on stage we were fine. It was a pretty large turnout for an Easter Sunday! Over a hundred people showed up and politely clapped for an encore after we finished. Definitely not the deafening Minneapolis cry, but not bad. It's always so hard to tell if we just didn't play well, didn't sound good, or if it's just the audience has had enough from a long weekend, and it's a Sunday night. I will prefer to think it's the latter.


Monday, April 24, 2000 - Denver, CO

Dad loved the Chicago show!

My dad is a jazz musician (plays trumpet) and also a dentist, and he hasn't seen us play in years - I talked to him this morning and he sounded like he was completely in awe of our Chicago show! I was so happy - he said it was one of the best concerts, jazz, or any genre at all, that he'd ever seen in his life! Ok, maybe he's biased, but that made me feel so great. He'd never hold back; if he didn't like the show, he'd say so. He once told me I played piano like a 'girl' - and I kept pounding and pounding again until he said it didn't sound so much like a girl.

Going West

This is exciting because I don't think we've ever driven on I-76 into Denver, Colorado - usually we have 2 days of driving before and afterwards from the southwest, and this time it's right on the way. I know the road won't really look any different, but just being in this space is exciting to me, like how exciting it is to stand with one foot in one state and the other in another. I guess the excitement for me is all about exploring or crossing man-made boundaries.

We'll start from Lincoln, Nebraska, about 1000 feet up in the air, also, and end up in 5280 feet up in the air, Denver! And we won't know it the whole time, because the Nebraska countryside is completely flat, but it's sloped up.

I'm very excited to play Denver, because we haven't played there in years! And I know the Bluebird theatre is awesome.


later:

Poster Children at the Bluebird Theatre, Denver, CO

Monday, April 24, 2000

I walk up to the door of the Bluebird Theatre, and this is what I see, EVERYWHERE.

Beck posters EVERYWHERE, all over the door of the Bluebird Theatre. Check out the date; Beck is playing TONIGHT, here in town. At the same time as us. In fact, the same promoter is promoting both shows! Our name is on the marquee here, but shit, these posters tell me and everyone else who comes to the door of the Bluebird, "what the HELL are you doing here? You should be at the Beck concert!" Shit, I should be at the Beck concert! I LOVE Beck! He's one of the few bands nowadays that I love!

And poor Patty Smith is playing down the street, too. It's a BIG MONDAY NIGHT for concerts in Denver, isn't it.

65 people show up to see us play here tonight, 65 wonderful, brave people. I think we put on a good show for them. I had a lot of fun.

will prefer to think it's the latter.


Tuesday, April 25, 2000 - Travel

Howie's Aunt took us out to lunch today! Geez, she paid for ALL of us! That was uncalled for and very, very nice. It was a nice Jewish Deli in Denver, Colorado, and we got to meet a cousin and her son. Very, very nice people.

Then we drove 3 hours west on I-70, through mountains. It was gorgeous - the highest up that we got was around 12,000 feet - a pretty good amount of snow covered the area. I asked when does your brain start dying; what altitude, and Jim said over 20,000 feet. That's a lot of feet. We stopped in some small town that had a Coach bag outlet - those are really, really expensive purses, and then I realized we're near Aspen. Anyone around here is probably really, really rich. Kids all wear shirts with lightning-bolt fonts on them, and everything is eXtreme. Everyone has sunglasses and t-shirts, and even though there's snow everywhere, everyone's wearing t-shirts. It's actually quite warm outside.

3 Hours West of Denver, you get to a Hot Springs park! Howie and I went and paid US$8 to sit in a huge football-field sized pool full of 104 degree water that smelled salty. It was really great - there were mountains all around and lots of old people and some fat men with tattooes. Lots of dead bugs, too. The sides of the pool seemed to be quartz, with rust. The water was so hot that you couldn't stay in for more than about 5 minutes at a time, and the weather outside was around 60-65 degrees. It was beautiful. Rick stayed in the van the whole time and played our new GameBoy, given to us by America's Number One Sweetheart, and Jim went out and took pictures around town, I guess. Those guys are not into sitting in huge tubs of water with a bunch of other people they don't know. I'll never understand why.

We stopped at Grand Junction, Colorado, for fast food dinner. I walked into a McDonald's alone, and some huge kid with huge pants stepped on me. He apologized profusely, and I smiled and said it was fine; it didn't hurt at all! Maybe he thought I was weird, or maybe in this instant, I taught this kid Tolerance. Maybe he will take that with him, and the next time someone backs into him, he won't beat the crap out of them. Some other kids with Marilyn-Manson type concert t-shirts invited me to eat dinner with them, but I told them I had to get back to my van; the rest of my band was waiting for me. "I'm on tour with my Rock Band," I explained. They said, "Whoa, That's cool." I wonder if they believed me. Come on now. How COOL is it to be on tour! It's SO very cool!

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