At the last minute, the promoter of this show called up and cancelled it. It seems that the club has been shut down due to fire code restrictions. This is maybe the 2nd time in 8 years that this has happened to us! WOW. It kind of sucks because we were looking forward to playing in a place we haven't played a lot in. So we just stayed home and wrote 2 more songs tonight, and I think one of them may be special. It doesn't have a name yet, but Howie calls it "Dasko." Because it's not quite "disco." We're all in pretty good spirits.
It's nice to be back in Athens, and you remember the scenery around here is beautiful, but you never quite remember how beautiful it really is. It's gorgeous, huge green mountains, winding roads, small white houses with picket fences. See, Athens, Ohio is about a half-hour away from West Virginia, and you can tell. As we drive up, I recognize faces, friends, and the same stores on the block that have been here for the last 5 years we've played here at the Union. Good memories.
Except when we walk up the steps, we see that the stage is about twice the size and height that it used to be, and they are finishing putting a new carpet up! It's not the old punk-rock hole that I remembered loving, it's even nicer now. I'm almost scared to play on this stage, I was sort of expecting this show to be very punk-rock and raw, and now I feel like we're going to really have to play well. Pity we haven't been practicing the new songs for the last couple of days, we've just been writing even newer ones. We have 30 songs now.
The show was great fun, and the Union was happy with the amount of people who showed up. The people in charge were so nice to us, we even got Union T-shirts - I was trying to figure out why they were being so nice. They even filled our rider; we got our earplugs and bananas and water! There was even some press about us in a local paper! That's about the coolest feeing in the world, when you show up in a foreign town and you find a little paper with info about your band in it; the promoter really did his job for this show. And people came! I hope they liked the show, once again, we're playing mostly new stuff, and this crowd wanted to hear stuff off Flower Plower. Crimony! Rick screams in the van later, "we're NOT THAT RETRO, are we??!!!"
Afterwards we drive to the Golden Inn, about 5-10 minute off campus in the middle of some woods and wake up the poor desk woman, this teeny little flea-bagish motel, get our room - which was a charming room, by the way - and then we hear these huge redneck guys screaming outside the door, something about wanting to kill someone. There's a pickup-truck doing circles in the tiny parking lot, at 3 in the morning. We were terrified. Rick says, "We're going to die here tonight. These guys are going to kill us." We all stood behind the door until it sounding like the voices went into the next motel room, and then we made a quick dash for the van and drove back to campus.
On campus, we go to a gyro stand, one of the only places that is still open, and it is filled with drunken, loud freshmen. What is with this town? Howie remarks that it reminds him of Chapel Hill, I remember the last time we were there it seems like some kind of hostility-cloud had descended upon the town. The kid behind the counter at the gyro stand was swearing and looked like he was getting ready to blow someone's head off. The people cooking the gyros were so upset that they ended up making too many gyros and we took a bagfull back to our motel. Rick figured out that the pungent smell in the room was insecticide, and there I noticed long black hairs on wall in the bathroom. And it wasn't mine, my hair is purple right now.
Another of our favorite places. We pull up after getting lost in the city for an hour, to see a block full of tiny punk rock kids, all with different colored hair and leather jackets. I let myself fantasize for a moment that these kids were waiting for our show, and then I walked across the street to find out who was playing at the big venue, Bogarts. The Queers. I had heard of them, but didn't know they were so popular. They are on Lookout Records, which I take to be the Dischord of the late 90s, sorry Ian. No, maybe the Subpop of the late 90s.
We sat inside the club and watched the kids line up across the street, and then a couple of older guys who looked in their mid-30s in punked-out leather jackets walked into our club and stood in front of the stage and checked out our gear. I heard them talking about Rick and Jim's Hiwatt Amps, see, Hiwatts are much cooler than the standard "Marshall" amp. Put two and two together, the only guys who are walking around here dressed in leather who are over 15 years old must be The Queers - and they were. They had come to do their laundry; see, Sudsy's is a rock-bar/ laundrymat. The guitarist for The Queers said "hi," and told me he'd seen us a bunch of times, the sound guy asked if were were from Boston. "NO!" I say defensively. "GEEZ. Where are you guys from?" I ask. "Boston," they reply. Oh.
Apparently they have played Sudsy's many times before and now can do well at Bogarts, across the street. I am very happy for them, how exciting it must be to finally get a huge crowd of kids to your shows!! Dan, the manager of Sudys's, is happy for them too. They are soooo nice, on top of it, I had a great discussion with the guitarist and the soundguy about different things - the soundguy did sound for the Muffs at that $5000 Dockers Advertisement show that we turned down, and told us that the Muff's girl insulted Dockers on the stage. Let me elucidate, we were offered $5000 to play a huge show in San Francisco, where we'd be on a stage playing to a huge crowd and behind us would be our artwork and Levi's DOCKERS ads interspersed. We politely turned it down the minute we were asked. It may have felt good to receive $5000 for playing a show, but man, it felt even better to turn it DOWN! HA!! Anyway, the Muffs did take the money and do the show but insulted Dockers from the stage. I don't think that's very nice. Rick sez, "You can't have it both ways." Now that I think about it, man, did we make the right choice? That $5000 would be gone now, spent on Taco Bell or whatever we spend money frivolously on in our daily lives, we'd have some new worn-out shoes by now or something like that. But we'd forever be known as a Docker's band to the good people of San Francisco.
I DON'T THINK SO. See how nice it is to have integrity? You get less money for 'stuff' but you have good feelings inside you when you get on stage.
Anyway, even though the guitarist from the Queers had shaken his head and said of this whole discussion, "$5000 is a lot of money," I decided that we should go check out their show, since it happens before ours, and I get Promoter Dan to get us some complimentary tickets to Bogarts; clubs often let people who are playing shows go to see the other shows in town for free. It's just standard practice, unless you are in Madison, Wi.
This is where the whole trouble started. Rick and I went across the street to Bogarts with our free tickets, the bouncers at the door ripped them and told Rick he had to check his bag. This is the band-fund, everything-that-is-important-to-the-band-on-tour bag. The bag is not going to be checked. I tell the guy, "Oh, ok, sorry, let us just run across the street and put the bag back behind the stage at Sudsy's." "IF YOU LEAVE THE CLUB YOU WILL HAVE TO PAY FOR NEW TICKETS" they guys says to me. I stop for a minute, trying to figure out what to answer, since I didn't pay for tickets in the first place and don't really want to see the show that badly in the second place. I decide to try LOGIC with this guy. "Listen, we are the band PLAYING across the street, this is ALL the stuff we own, we're on tour now, so just let us go across the street and put it away. Ok?" "NO. IF YOU LEAVE YOU HAVE TO BUY NEW TICKETS." Rick's already out the door. He wanted to see the show less than I did. What do I do? I flip the guy off and leave. I hear some asshole screaming obscenities at me as I leave.
Now I am sitting back in Sudsy's with a sick feeing. I don't like to spread bad feelings around and I feel bad about flipping off the door guy. So Dan comes with me back across the street to apologize. I apologize to the door guy, and then the guy in charge shows up screaming, "WHO FLIPPED OFF MY BOUNCER? WHO THREATENED MY BOUNCER?" I raised my hand and said, "It was I, Sir, and I have apologized. I am sorry, but--" and then he starts screaming at me about respect. I apologize again, and then he says, "I GAVE YOU FREE TICKETS, YOU SHOULD HAVE RESPECT FOR THIS CLUB!!!!" and I say loudly back, "I understand that and have apologized, HOWEVER, all I wanted to do was go PUT OUR BAG BACK across the street, it has everything WE OWN in it and we didn't want to check it, and you wouldn't even let us go across the street and put it with the rest of our equipment and come back. Does that sound logical to you? (respect?)" and he yells, "YES, IT DOES!" and starts walking away.
So now, I yell something I've never yelled before in my life. "MY BAND WILL NEVER PLAY IN THIS CLUB AGAIN." He says, "I DON'T CARE!!!" then, "What band are you in?" I say, "Poster Children." -- "uh.. have you ever played here before?" he asks a little more quietly, and I say, "YES, A COUPLE OF TIMES!" Then he walks away and says, "Well, I still don't care."
I apologized again to the bouncer who was now laughing and saying, "Oh, it's all right." Then I went back into Sudsy's, completely punk-rock and fuming, and sat down in the back room and immmediately began crying. What an idiot I am. I don't ever want to play at that fucking club again, but I don't want to have bad feelings about us anywhere. I'm told over and over again that this guy is an idiot and gets into fights all the time, but that doesn't make me feel better. Dan says, "Wow, that's really a badge of accomplishment for that guy if he got all that out of you." And that doesn't make me feel better.
The show tonight didn't go as well as last nights, possibly because I changed the set list, and probably because Howie completely broke his snare drum in the middle of the set. It was a double-head snare drum, but I looked at it after the set, it was completely concave! How he could have played it for that long I'll never know. Wow. The audience was great, I saw a lot of old familiar faces and some new ones! People danced during "IF YOU See Kay" and others sang. We played Space Gun last and our new made-up song at the end, that was a lot of fun.
We got another CAKE from the great punk-rock cake makers, pony-tailed Jon and Molly (awesome pants, Molly), another awesome cake, and someone else whose name I have forgotton now (sorry!) brought us amazing rice-krispy treats! I wish we could have had a big party in the back room after the show, but when I went back there, there were people sitting around smoking pot. Nothing puts me in a fouler mood than to be trapped in a dressing room with a bunch of people smoking pot, I don't know why. I guess somewhere inside me, even though I say I approve of drugs, I don't like to be around certain ones. They make me woozy, even if I'm not smoking them. On top of it, some girl asked Howie for Coke! Howie said, our friend who brought us the cake replied, "I've got a 6-pack of Dr. Pepper in my car." Heh. In all my years touring, (it's been like between 6 and 8) I'd say I see drugs about once every 50 shows. People just don't do them around us I guess.
And Tim, our wacky local Reprise representative was there, he's such a character! He's so completely straightforward about music with us in a way that no other Reprise person is, I think the other people who work at the label are way too polite to act the way Tim does with us. We love Tim for how blatant he is -- tonight I wrote him a special set list and asked him if he'd rate the songs and he DID! I just think that's the most awesome thing in the world!
Tim's Set List -- with Ratings
Black Dog .............................****1/2 Attack................................. *** Junior Citizen.........................Not Rated (old song) BulletProof............................ ***1/2 He's My Star .......................... **1/2 (old song) Good Cop Bad Cop ...................... *** Speed Of Light......................... **1/2 Music Of America....................... ***1/2 Persimmon.............................. *** Ferris Wheel...........................**** If You See Kay.........................**** (old song) Ankh................................... ***1/2 Pink...................................****1/2 Wide Awake/King 4aDay.................. ***1/2 (old songs) Rock and Roll..........................**** Dynaite Chair.......................... **1/2 (old song) Everything Must Go..................... **1/2 Happens Every Day...................... ***
Tim likes ROCK music. There's a couple of new songs we've written that I think he will like a lot, but Rick doesn't have words for them yet. Tim says the song "Black Dog" sticks out like a sore thumb. I can't imagine why everyone likes that song. I like it, but it doesn't sound very commercial to me.
Howie's driving and the radio is on and the EELs song is playing. We never listen to the radio when we're driving. I actually never listen to music radio, ever. I'm trying to remember when I stopped- I think it has something to do with running 12Inch Records and trying desperately to call radio stations and trying to get them to listen to the records we put out, specifically Hum's Electra 2000 and the Lovecup record. I gave up after a while. The inner workings of radio are something I never want to be concerned with. We are so lucky to be able to make music and not have to worry about getting it played on the radio. (for the time being, anyway.)
With the exception of the Bogarts episode last night, this has been a very enjoyable tour. We are all in great moods, and playing new songs on the stage each night is so much fun! We treated ourselves to a Super 8 last night, they are the KING of motels. I've never been in a crappy Super 8. They are a little more expensive than Motel 6, but worth it. Maybe one day in the future we will start buying ourselves 2 rooms, instead of all of us cramming into one room.
Howie has a theory that Bob Dole really doesn't want to run for president, that it's just all the people around him who want him to run. I can see that, each time I see him on TV he just seems pitiful, and he sounds like he doesn't really believe what he's saying. I heard a woman on a talk show a week ago say, "Well, the Iran-Contra scandal was NOTHING compared to the MORAL ANGUISH that we've had to LIVE THROUGH for the past 4 years." WTF?