Lollapalooza Second Stage, Second Week
Saturday July 8th - Denver Lollapalooza
A Crappy Place For A Show
Fiddler's Green is a crappy place to have a show like this. It is DEFINITELY NOT The Gorge. Instead of Grand Canyon-like scenery surrounding us, we are sort of in the middle of an office park, in an Edge City. When we arrived at the 2nd Stage today to load our gear, we found the trailer-stage set up on the side of a little street. Lollapalooza Street Party. In front of the stage was the 2-lane street (closed off), and behind that, a spit of lawn, and then a huge metal fence. Beyond that was the rest of the grounds; the vendors, and the entrance to the main stage. It was about 100 degrees outside, and the crowd seemed to move around like they had somewhere to go after the show.
Next to our T-shirt booth today was a local record store booth - I asked them if they had any of our CDs, cuz I wouldn't sell any myself if they were going to; see how nice we are? - and they did have a bunch - a bunch of our EPs, marked at $12.99, (the 5-song EP is supposed to cost $6) and a bunch of our new record, marked at $10.99. Figure that one out. I created a little stink, and a minute later, the EPs were marked at $6.99. I know that record stores across the country are selling that damn EP for $12 and it kills me. That EP contains very special songs on it; not just B-sides, and these songs are not available anywhere else; it's just part of the same recordings as "Junior Citizen." We put it out early so we could tour last fall, and any store that is selling it for more than $6 is ripping us off, as well as our fans.
Moshing at the Second Stage
Since I have a feeling you couldn't dance at the main stage, a lot of "moshers" came out to the Second Stage to watch our little circus. Doo Rag went on stage and played a wonderful set. It is just as much fun to watch the Doo Rag Attendants, dressed all in white as milkmen, yelling through their toy megaphones at their Doo Rag Concession Stand and dancing in a way only guys in milkman costumes could dance. Doo Rag has t-shirts, stickers, CDs, work-gloves, flashlights, toy-spaceships, all kinds of plastic toys, and wooden paddle games for sale, all say "Doo Rag" on them. The crowd was small, but receptive. Then, Possum Dixon goes on the stage, and a crowd gets larger. In fact, the crowd starts moshing!! I've never seen a pit for Possum Dixon, yet. The audience, crammed in front of their metal gate, roared after each song. Possum Dixon's music is pretty straight-forward, and they all look like movie stars, but they put on a very good show, and the audience loved them! It was really nice to see a band get such a great response! When we went on next, after Foley, who I was a little ticked off at, announced that there were air-conditioned "Art" tents across the field, a crowd formed again and there was some moshing, but I couldn't enjoy it because I was ready to drop. I hadn't had enough sleep, or enough oxygen, and too much sun, sitting out in the t-shirt booth and it was around 100 degrees at this point in the day. So I was near collapsing the whole time I was on the stage, and I barely remember the encore, when my bass seemed to turn into rubber, and I couldn't even hear what notes I was playing.
"I Don't Think David Yow Looks Very Happy"
Dinner:Steven Malkmus came up to me at dinner and told me that he really enjoyed our set. I wanted to die at that moment - what do you say to Pavement's singer, whose voice makes you melt, who is standing in front of you, telling you he enjoyed your set, when you didn't perform as well as you'd wanted to, and while you're holding a plate of ribs and rice, getting ready to eat it? Do you say, "Hi Steven, thanks for watching us. Your 2nd record ruined music for me forever; I think I listened to it for a year straight and afterwards, I have never been able to listen to a record seriously again?" or do stand there stupidly and say, "wow, thanks. I liked your set yesterday. ok, bye" and then sort of stare down at your feet until he leaves: ("ok, well, I'll leave you to your dinner"). I of course opted for the latter. He walked away. Then I smiled a huge smile, and sat down on the picnic table.
I yelled in pretend fright as David Yow (singer from The Jesus Lizard) slunk past us with a plate of food. He looked terrible. He looked at me sideways, then glared at all of us (we sat with Yo La Tengo), then grimaced at Rick, shook his head, and sort of crawled into the corner. Rick had watched part of their set today and returned depressed; he said the MAIN Stage had CHAIRS set up in front of it, and you couldn't even GET to the chairs unless you had special tickets. Can you imagine SITTING and watching The Jesus Lizard? What's the POINT? Anyway, I'll bet the area in front of Jesus Lizard was empty - I heard that David spent part of a song sitting in a chair in the front row.
"I don't think David Yow looks very happy," Rick said. I stared worriedly at Yow slumped in the corner with his back turned away from everyone while one of the movie-star-Possum Dixon guys, sitting next to Georgia, talked at us for a half an hour about David Yow throwing beer bottles at him during an interview today (making me feel even worse for Yow), something about Yow yelling during the interview that he wanted to "Fuck Sinead O' Connor" (we laughed about this) and a couple of other sexual references, more beer bottles being flung at him by Yow, and the interviewer deciding to end the interview prematurely. (I never saw any press today, so I don't know what all the fuss is about.) Mac from Jesus Lizard stopped by to say "hi" to all of us, and he seemed a little healthier in attitude and appearance.
I worry about these bands, playing these huge amphitheaters. I hear Courtney Love stories all the time; she punched Kathleen Hanna, she was verbally assaulting Beck - I have to start hanging out backstage more often, cuz I still haven't even seen her - I am sure Courtney can work a crowd like this, but the other bands like Sonic Youth and Pavement and Jesus Lizard do not thrive on that sort of hype -to me, at least, they are music, first and foremost. I hope they can survive this tour - it seems like a completely different audience than any of us are used to. A terrible tour can break a band's spirit, and cause tons of friction between the members; sometimes even break a band up. I feel bad when I hear people say that "the steam seems to have gone out of Lollapalooza" - and other people are even saying it's a "sell-out" thing now; its integrity is gone." I can't believe it- this is the only Lollapalooza I'd ever even think of going to. I probably would have paid to see this one, and that is saying an AWFUL lot, since I haven't paid to see a show for a very long time.
Ok. Tomorrow, David Hasselhoff is going to be at a mall, approximately 2 miles away from where we are staying tonight, signing autographs. I don't know how many people actually know this, but well, "He's My Star" was partially, if not totally inspired by David Hasselhoff. Rick and Jim went to highschool at Lyons Township, in Western Springs, IL, where David Hasselhoff went to school. We have a mission tomorrow; we HAVE to meet him. We have to bring him a CD, tell him about his song, and possibly get him to sign something. At least, he's got to know about us! Isn't this exciting!
Sunday July 9th - Drive to Kansas City
Boobs, and other things I forgot, in Denver
Last night while Courtney Love was probably eating dinner, or finishing a book, or dressing her sore arm, I was standing in our T-shirt booth, watching the Pre-Coolio Second Stage Extravaganza, Emceed by Foley. This consisted of a Hickey Contest, an impromptu woman rapper, straight from the crowd (who was pretty good in my opinion, but I don't know anything about women rappers), a Spanking Contest, and some other stuff I didn't quite catch, because Ira from Yo La Tengo was defending himself unnecessarily to me because I jokingly chided him about why it was OK that Yo La Tengo could get up on a stage and only play 2 songs for an entire set (they did this in retaliation to not being allowed to play longer than a half hour, at some show a long time ago) but it wasn't OK for Pavement to tune for 10 minutes during their Lollapalooza set. As he continued to explain himself, with the help of Rick, our guitarist, I tried to break myself away because I wanted to see what the crowd had suddenly gone wild about.
The Second Stage crowd was screaming and applauding - not because the woman rapper had finished, but because two nubile young bikini women had jumped on the stage, wanting to be Spanked by "Trigger" - someone from one of the rap bands. Howie had the pleasure of standing backstage, watching members of Cypress Hill videotaping the women and screaming "SHOW US YOUR TITS! SHOW US YOUR FUCKING TITS!!" and watching the drunken girls eagerly comply. Howie was horrified at this humiliating and vulgar display, but in true Poster Children Cynical Form, I asked him how the Tits were and he said that they were OK. All this going on out at the 2nd Stage, probably while Thurston watched his baby take her first steps across a dressing room, while Pavement put together puzzles in their trailer.
And speaking of Tits, we did go to the mall today and we did see David Hasselhoff, and I did deliver a CD, not to him, but to one of the radio people. Here's how this story went:
We arrived a half-hour early, at a sad-looking but huge mall in Denver, to see a crowd of people about the same size as Our Crowd at Lollapalooza yesterday (but OUR crowd had to pay $40), standing around huge signs that said, "HASSEL FREE MALL TOUR 95." Disgusting. I already had a stomach-ache.
The show was put on by MIX95.1 or whatever that easy-listening station is in Denver, and radio DJs were "hyping it up," doing Michael Jackson imitations to everyone's glee, when suddenly, David Hasselhoff, tan, gorgeous, and 45, shirt open, chest hair exposed, descended from the escalator as the stereo began to blast his song, into the crowd of radio people for MIX95.1. The crowd screamed. David proceeded to sing along with his tape for a few lines, slightly off-key at first but then right on the money. Then the music died down, and he yelled, "Hey EVERYONE! How're you doing today?" The crowd squealed with delight, and the next thing he said was, "This is MY Song!! How many of you have heard this song on the radio?!" The crowd became almost silent, suddenly, and someone blurted out a sheepish "hurray," and then he screamed, "Well, That's because THESE PEOPLE ARE NOT PLAYING MY RECORD!," and then, semi-playfully, "HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU GUYS PLAYED THIS SONG?" and the radio DJ said, "Well, we played it that day last week that we interviewed you!" "AH, SO YOU ONLY PLAYED IT ONCE?" David screamed, when Rick and I, on the outskirts of the crowd, looked at each other, realizing that we were IN THE SAME BOAT AS DAVID HASSELHOFF, and we felt compassion.
David went on to explain to the people, "I'LL TELL YOU PEOPLE WHAT THIS IS ALL ABOUT. YOU SEE, IN GERMANY, I AM A HUGE STAR! I SELL HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF RECORDS IN GERMANY!! PEOPLE THERE LOVE ME! BUT HERE, I don't get played on the radio! I am Sick of HAVING TO FLY ALL THE WAY TO GERMANY TO GO ON TOUR!!" Laughter from the crowd. "I'LL TELL YOU WHAT I WANT YOU ALL TO DO," he cried, "PLEASE CALL UP THIS RADIO STATION AND REQUEST MY SONG! CAN YOU DO THAT?" (Does this remind you of something I said a couple of weeks ago on our web page?)
At this point, I felt weak in the knees. Now I KNEW I had to get that CD to him sometime. After listening to a bunch of insipid questions, (for all you who are wondering, it's Briefs, not Boxers), I decided to write a note explaining ourselves, and hand it to a Radio Guard, along with the CD, hoping she would deliver it to David. We were warned by the DJ that questions like, "I want to get into Acting, can I give you my glossy?" would be screened out, so we were scared to even try to bring ourselves to his attention while he answered questions from the crowd, for fear of looking like we wanted his help.
I finished my note, and went up to a radio person, said, "Hello, I am in a band that just played LOLLAPALOOZA yesterday, We're on WARNER BROTHERS, and this is our new record and it has a song about DAVID on it. I would like him to get it, please?!" The buzzwords worked on the guard, and she seemed very trustworthy. We have now only to wait for a response. My last line of the letter invited David to come on the stage anytime with us.
Driving away from the mall, my earlier yells of "I Got to meet Bob Mould, SO I CAN AND WILL MEET DAVID HASSELHOFF, Damn it!" receded into a Rick soliloquy, in persona of a DAVID HASSELHOFF Stalker, Rick with his new farm-green cap he got at a gas station that says, 'America' on it, screaming in a high, squeaky, fanatic voice,
"HE DID NOT MEET ME...
I WAS THERE FOR DAVID,
AND HE WAS NOT THERE FOR ME...
HE WILL LEARN OF ME...
YOU GIVE SOMEONE EVERYTHING AND
THEY DO NOT GIVE YOU ANYTHING IN RETURN!!!
I GAVE DAVID HASSELHOFF SO MUCH,
AND ONLY EXPECTED A LITTLE IN RETURN..
AND I GOT NOTHING!!!!"
I was in tears, laughing so hard.
Monday July 10th - Boobs in Kansas City
What's It Like Backstage After Your Set?
Today we played in a huge, white gravel parking lot, in about 98 degree heat, with the sun blaring directly at the stage. I watched a grey haze over the "mosh pit" from kids kicking up sandstone dust - the heat was unbelievable. It was a challenge for me to stay mentally afloat; I kept catching myself dumbly thinking, "sunlight:heat, shade:no-heat" instead of whatever I usually think when I'm on the stage, (whatever THAT is) as I tried to stay in the shadows and the shadows disappeared.
Wow, it was so neat! At some point near the end of the set, I knew everyone else had to be getting as woozy as me, when Rick completely botched up the words to "Just Like You," and started freaking out about Howie's taking off his shirt - I heard Rick screaming towards the back of the stage, "Howie! Howie! Is THAT SHIRT DRY??? ARE YOU OK??" He thought Howie was dehydrating.
I only marvelled that Howie was actually standing up - I didn't understand where he found the energy. But after what we thought was a fine set - under the given conditions - and a great response from the audience, Rick put on a stunning display of the effects of high-temperatures on the brain by angrily fuming off the stage, carrying two amps, face red as a beet and eyes pointing in separate directions; returning on stage to grab his Hiwatt cabinet and stupidly roll it down the stairs. He was angry that the stage-hands were taking so long to move our equipment, and worried that Yo La Tengo would have to wait for us to move our stuff. The stage-hands had moved everyone else's equipment, but I think they know now that if they just sit around and wait, we'll move our own.
I stumbled off the stage upon seeing this display, and swam over about 20 glaring Coolio entourages and bikini women towards our now empty Poster Children Water, Ice, and Snapple Basket, hunted for bottled water for Rick to cool him off, still talking to him as I rambled around, even though he was on the other side of the stage. I ended up half-crying, in the production office, shaking, asking for water, when the people in charge pointed me toward a fountain. Boy were we hot!!
Boobs, Boobs, and More Boobs
The Second Stage in-between acts featuring Foley, who I'm starting to really wonder about, is starting to look more and more like Beach'N'Boobs MTV. Before we went on stage today, I noticed a small girl standing on stage with Foley yelling at her, "Come ON, Show us your PEACH FUZZ!" and a guy in the front of the stage waiting for us to start looked like he was about ready to cry.
I just smiled embarrassedly at him, but now I realize what was going on, and I'm a little mortified.
Worse than our introduction was The Coolio Show. Let me just say that I like some rap music, but I don't think I like Coolio's music very much. I am starting to like it less because there are bikini-clad women on the stage, dancing with him now, during the show. First they get up and show their thong-bikini-ed asses, lift up their shirts on the stage, and give each other hickeys and get spanked before the show, and now there's women on the stage, doing MTV Beach imitations.
Take off your shirt for COOLIO!!
Coolio and the guys finally "got" the t-shirt-selling thing and started signing shirts like WE have been doing, only they were doing it backstage. Kids would come up and buy a shirt, and a runner would bring the shirt backstage and Coolio would sign it, before the show. Incredibly enough, (Ira pointed out to us) kids were buying Coolio t-shirts and getting them signed backstage, even while Coolio was on stage, singing. After the show, the table was swamped with kids wanting signatures, and the band came out in front and signed more - it was nice; they were really having a lot of fun, and we take FULL responsibility for showing them How You Treat Your Fans.
Except for when the girls wanted their tank tops signed - one girl standing right next to me - and the guy said, "You want that signed? TAKE OFF YOUR SHIRT! Take off your shirt for Coolio!" and, standing next to me, her boobs close enough to touch me, the girl took off her tank top and handed it over, and stood there in a lacy bra, in front of a crowd of people, with me standing right next to her, feeling very overdressed, and terribly embarrassed for her.
Rick said that if she was on a street and some guy asked her to take off her top, he'd probably be convicted for rape. He was pointing out something about hypocrisy. We had a long discussion about rap mu$ic in the van.
Main Stage vs. Second Stage
We are lucky to be on the second stage. I saw the whole Jesus Lizard set today which seemed fine to me; David Yow looked ok, and seemed in good spirits, but it was weird to see them so spread apart. I guess The Mighty Bosstones had finally had enough of playing first on the main stage because they played a second set after everyone else on the 2nd Stage, which made a lot of people happy. I'm even glad I got to see them, and I know they had a better time on the teeny stage. I saw Pavement at dinner- they liked their show better today.
IS Chicago? Is NOT Chicago?
So the Warner Brothers lady Helena came up with a wonderful idea for us today! I was complaining once again that we would like to be able to play on the 2nd Stage in Chicago, when she said, "Hey, why not play the Third Stage!" Doh!! Of Course! Why didn't we think of that? A half-minute jaunt over to Torment, the very well-dressed caretaker of the 3rd Stage let me know that it was very possible for us to play the 3rd Stage in Chicago!! WOWEE!! Now, there is one huge problem. We have a show in Tennessee that day. If you look back at our tour reports, you might find a report about how there were about 8 people at our last Tennessee show. We want to cancel our show, but we have really never done something like that before. It is sort of a naughty thing to do; but lots of bands do it all the time. So we have to consult with our booking agent; I guess she will have to see how angry the Tennessee promoter will be about this. I am hoping against hope that this will be resolved and we will be ABLE to PLAY IN CHICAGO!! WHEE!!!
Tuesday July 11th - St. Louis? Or Hell?
Playing In A Concentration Camp
Funny that the Riverfront Amphitheatre, a little west of St. Louis, the town that boasts a club with a bouncer who has a tattoo of a picture of Hitler on his HEAD - would be so facist. If I had a dollar for every time we got yelled at for something today, I'd have about 5$. Jim got yelled at in the parking lot for parking the van. Our friend Jimmy got yelled at for sitting on a hill. Another guy got yelled at for sitting in his seat incorrectly! I sat smack dab down right in front of Pavement today, in the middle, and front row, because today was the day I was going to get to watch their whole set. Rick was taking over t-shirt duty for me, and I was going to miss out on the Coolio Boob show (Howie suggests that along with the wet t-shirt contests, they have a Boner contest). I got there right before Pavement played, and I even think Steven waved to me from the stage. (I still have an argument with a good friend from the first concert we ever saw in our lives - Kiss, when we were 12, in about the 3000th row - I SWEAR that Paul Stanley looked, waved and stuck his tongue out at ME, and she says it was HER.)
The reason I thought it was me that Steven waved to was because there was no one else sitting anywhere near me. Now I remember seeing Doo Rag sitting around me for a second; he was probably waving at them. They got thrown out about 5 minutes before I did; the largest man I've ever seen in my life came up and blocked my view of the sun and earth, and said, "Get Out Of Here." I showed him my very official Lollapalooza laminate, complete with my picture on it and he said, "I Do Not Care. You Vil Leave. People Paid For These Seats." Another smaller bouncer (about the size of a house) came up to stand behind him just incase I was going to start to punch the first one.
It'd Be Really Neat To Be Pummeled To Death While Pavement Played
At this point I thought about putting up a huge fight, or going limp, like a Jesus Freak, just to see if they'd beat me up, because I thought it might be really neat to be pummeled to death while Pavement played. Finally, instead of rebelling, I decided to leave, crying - 'I'll show THEM!' I went backstage and yelled at a bunch of puzzled people - including David Simms - if any of them had the authority to allow me backstage and one guy led me onto the stage so I could watch the rest of their set. Pavement from behind isn't as exciting as from the front, and they couldn't have been too happy about having to play to the people who paid to see Hole and who were probably at the Boob Show at the 2nd Stage.
You're Poster Children?? But I thought you SUCKED?!
We had the usual run of screw ups today; some part of Jim's equipment broke before the last song so we didn't get to play "Revolution Year Zero." The worst part was that I think a lot of people thought we were Yo La Tengo. I love Yo La Tengo, but so many people come up to me and say, "YOU GUYS WERE GREAT! What band were you? -- YOU'RE POSTER CHILDREN? But I thought Poster Children SUCKED?!" that I like when they actually learn the name of our band and learn that we Don't Suck.
Today someone asked me to sign my autograph on a Yo La Tengo shirt, and when I said, "I'm sorry, I'm not in Yo La Tengo," they said, "Oh COme ON, Of COURSE you are!! You're the Bass Player!" and then I knew something was wrong. Another guy asked me where the drummer for Yo La Tengo was and when I pointed to Georgia, the guy looked at me like I was crazy. There is a big board up next to our booth that tells the times we each play at, and the times are set wrong for these couple of shows; they are an hour off. So that's why people thought we were Yo La Tengo. That's why someone stared at the board for about 5 minutes and looked really confusedly at us yesterday when Yo La Tengo was playing - during the "Coolio slot."
Later on, a girl saw my laminate and ran up to me, asking if I knew if any rock stars would be signing autographs later. I told her I didn't know. Someone came up to the t-shirt booth, which was obviously packed with shirts, and asked if we were all OUT of t-shirts - I said "yes," because I couldn't think of anything better to say.
Someone ran up to me as I was leaving the food area and asked me if I could go back in and bring someone famous out with me. If I knew someone famous who wouldn't be bothered, I would have. I wish we were famouser, so we could make more people happy.
We're Tennessee Bound, after tomorrow.
Looks like we're not even going to ask the Tennessee promoter if we can reschedule our show - and this caused me incredible amounts of grief today. We will NOT be playing in Chicago on the 3rd Stage of Lollapalooza. We already have a show booked in Knoxville, and our booking agent will NOT let us cancel it. We feel terrible about this, and we also think a lot of other bands would just override this decision, but we trust our booking agent and don't want to make her mad at us. It is just terrible to think that we're going to be playing to probably about 20 people in Knoxville TN instead of playing Lollapalooza in Chicago. It doesn't seem right, does it.
Beck came onto the 2nd Stage after all the other bands played today and played an acoustic set! It was wonderful - the sun was setting, and from my post at our T-shirt booth, I could see Thurston playing with his baby on the steps of the 2nd Stage while Beck sang. I watched a crowd form around the stage when Beck finished, and I saw a lot of excited kids prancing away with his signature on their shirts. They looked so happy! A girl came up to us and bought one of our t-shirts and asked us to sign it. She was holding a Sonic Youth shirt she had just bought like it was sacred, and I asked to see it - it's orange and looks kinda like the cover of "Sister" - I pointed out to her that Thurston was right across the way, and she borrowed our pen and got a prize Thurston autograph. Big smile.
Doo Rag on the Second Stage
I am writing this from I-70 East, it's 12am and we're on our way to Indianapolis. We just discovered that Doo Rag is driving alongside us, we keep passing each other and each time, they turn on their lights, stick their arms out the windows, give the sign of Rock and Satan and scream as they drive past. (This reminds me of the time we saw Steakdaddy Six driving on the highway; they had seen us first, so all 5 of them had taken off their clothes before they drove past us, ignoring us, just sitting in the van peacefully, naked. We were screaming with laughter. I have pictures. Actually, there was another time when we drove past Urge Overkill on I-80, waving to them, but we had to hold crazy Bob (drummer #4) down so he wouldn't be able to follow through with his plan of pooping out the window.) We just passed Doo Rag again, and now they are blowing kisses theatrically out the window.
Doo Rag is one of my favorite shows to watch on Lollapalooza. They are "real" garagy blues music; there are two of them, one plays a weird old acoustic guitar with metal on it and sings into a horn attached to a vacuum-cleaner hose, and the drummer drums on some old boxes and crates. There are two Doo Rag Assistants who dress in all-white milkmen uniforms complete with the hats; they drive the van and are always in character. It is something to see these guys drive up in their costumes in their white van. The actual band dresses like their music. They sell everything from t-shirts to Doo-Rag Flashlights, to Doo-Rag paddleball games - Doo Rag pennants. Doo Rag everything! We turned Doo-Rag onto our Morrissey Game - that's where you sing lyrics to old Smith's songs and laugh - they played it perfectly. Doo-Rag has their own game: they've been saying the sentence, "What We Do Is, We Take Two Eggs And We Scramble Them" over and over. That's their game. They have a megaphone, and they say it through that. They said it about 6 times in 10 minutes once. They said it while they were selling t-shirts, and confused a lot of people.
Wow! Prime Rib! Broccoli! Rice!! Real Chocolate Brownies! Woo!! Plus, I sit down right behind Sonic Youth writing their set list, and some members of Pavement who seem to have developed a sudden interest in Possum Dixon's T-shirts. And Beck is there. Beck is always around. I am going to miss this terribly.
Poster Children BANNED from the RADIO!!
I hear that people are taking their lives into their hands by calling radio stations and requesting "He's My Star." I guess that some people actually got threatened by Q101 to stop calling and requesting us! We think that's pretty funny - I always thought they took requests! Anyway, kids, thanks for thinking of us. Just don't let them shoot you or anything.