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The one dollar promo photo. The Light into Dark comp. First vinyl! The debut album. Rick and Brendan at the Iowa City Holiday Inn (we didn't play there). Rose and her new skateboard. Brendan asleep in the spacious Oldsmobile Firenza. Playing a 2 AM show at Dreamerz in Chicago. (photo: mike po)


As 1989 dawned, a home was found for two of the fifteen songs recorded the previous summer with Iain Burgess. A guy named Barry Waterman was putting together a compilation of Chicago bands and, once again, Chris Corpora came through and convinced Barry that even though PC were from Champaign, they belonged on the comp. It was called Light Into Dark and featured the bands Ghost Swami, Gold September, Price of Priesthood, Seven Letters and some other band, what was their name? Oh yeah, Smashing Pumpkins. At the time, none of the bands were very well known, but Barry put together a record release party at the Cabaret Metro in Chicago, which initiated the long relationship PC has had over the years with the Metro. A record release party in Champaign had the Smashing Pumpkins opening for Poster Children but already one could tell the Pumpkins were on their way to bigger and better things, they had roadies, no other band playing Trito's Uptown had roadies, Poster Children still don't have roadies...

Both Rick and Rose were now working as programmers for a flight simulator company (Frasca International) and weekends were spent playing shows across the midwest, a typical weekend: Friday in Chicago, Saturday in Iowa City, Sunday in Minneapolis, drive all night after the show and arrive back home in Champaign just in time to go to work on Monday morning. As a result of this crazy schedule, enough money was collected to invest in a Dodge Minivan and some more recording. Once again the Didjits were the connection to another Chicago star engineer, Steve Albini. At the time Steve had an 8-track setup in his house, with a live room in the basement and a control room in a closet off the kitchen. Five songs were recorded and mixed in 6 hours for a grand total of $250. There was a bit of apprehension before meeting Steve because of his caustic public persona from Big Black and Rapeman, but he turned out to be a pleasant and all around nice fella, despite his taunting of Brendan for using Octobans.

Right around this time, after a Chicago show, a guy in a leather jacket and early-Eno haircut came up to the band and offered to put out their record. This man was Mike Potential and his label, Limited Potential, became the first home of Poster Children's first record, Flower Plower. The original version of Flower Plower came out in the Fall of 1989, was vinyl only (CDs were still a luxury item) and had four songs from the Albini sessions and 4 from the Iain Burgess sessions. The cover art was done by Rick and Rose one night at Kinko's using copy machines and Zippatone (adhesive text that you would apply to a page by rubbing one letter at a time), this was before desktop publishing made typesetting and design easy. Mike busted his hump to promote the record and the response in the indie press and on college radio was overwhelmingly positive. It started to seem like maybe the band could become more than just a weekend hobby.

During this frenzy of activity, Brendan decided to leave the band to focus on his own music and once again the search was on for a new drummer. Jeff Dimpsey had played guitar in former Trashcan Records labelmates badflannel and was now playing with a drummer Mike Rader. It seemed like a perfect fit, two half-bands in search of another half, and so the third incarnation of Poster Children was born, this time with the added variety of a second guitar.