Rose formed Poster Children with drummer Shannon Drew in September of 1987
in Champaign-Urbana, home of the University
of Illinois. Rick and Rose had met a few years earlier at Allen
Hall, a dorm on campus. Rick was playing guitar in a band called Penguin
Dust and when the bass player quit, Rose was suggested as a replacement.
Everyone thought it was a good idea except Rick, who pointed out that Rose
had never played the bass before. Thankfully he was outvoted and Rose became
a member of the band, renamed Cries and Whispers. Cries and Whispers played
a lot of Joy
Division covers, an occasional original and once even performed BTO's
classic rock chestnut, Takin' Care of Business.
Wanting to sing and perform songs he had written, Rick (who had in the meantime become very fond of Rose and her bass playing) formed a new band with Rose called The Evidence. The next fall, after moving out of the dorms into the enigmatically named Tugrik House (later the inspiration for the song Tommyhaus), Rick and Rose met Shannon, who was playing drums in Obvious Man (which featured Andy Switzky, a future founding member of Hum). The trio went up to the attic to "jam" and came out a band. It was Shannon who suggested the name, most likely inspired by Jerry Lewis' Labor Day Telethon.
Show #1 was at the House of Chin, a Chinese restaurant/bar that had a small room on the third floor where bands could play. If there was a big crowd (30 people) George Chin would cook up some chicken wings for everyone. If no one showed up, George would exclaim: "Money talk! Bullshit walk!" The headliners were Hardcore Barbie, who were a great REM-like combo with a trumpet.
Show #2 was memorable because it was the first time PC played its home away from home, Chicago. Rose's dad, Marty, happened to be the dentist for Phyllis and her son Clem, who ran the Chicago landmark Phyllis' Musical Inn, and while he had Clem in the chair under the influence of nitrous oxide, Marty mentioned that his daughter was in a band. A show was booked right then and there and so began Poster Children's relentless touring. That first night at Phyllis' marked not only the Chicago debut of Poster Children but also the debut of Star Trek: The Next Generation, which was playing on the bar TV and causing serious competition for the crowd's attention.