Poster Children New World Record Tour 5!
We crossed the Mississippi River at 3am this morning, on a dark, dark bridge, lost. It was really cool.
We're talking about the massacre of the kids at that Denver school, like I'm sure everyone else is. Howie seems horrified. I think that it's just less of a taboo to kill people nowadays - these kids are playing Resident Evil and everyone's killing everyone else on the TV. Rick had a good quote for that - he said, "If someone on Melrose Place was having sex with a sheep, you'd see more people having sex with sheep." It's just once a taboo is exposed in society, it becomes less taboo.
We're gearing up for our big day off. We're going to drive 3 hours out of our way to Summerville, GA, to visit this Folk Artist guy that I like, and then we're going to find a movie theater that's playing the new David Cronenberg movie for Howie. It will be our first day off in SOOOO long!!!
Kevin (left) drove 5 1/2 hours to see this show
A show like this will keep us going for 2 more years, at least. This will be the audience I will shut my eyes and remember, when things aren't going so well. This audience put on a better show than we did tonight - and may I say we put on a pretty damn good show tonight. This audience danced, violently, jumping up and down, shaking arms in the air, yelling the words to old songs, yelling for encores, and I SWEAR I've never seen an audience dance the Rockette's kick-line dance before - a synchronized kickline of big sweaty GUYS!
Oh do I love Louisiana! We needed that SO badly! Thank you people so much
for having life!
I should also write about the fact that today we attended the Biggest International Franc-o-phile festival in America; that being, the Festival du France (or something like that) happening this weekend in Lafayette. They are celebrating their French heritage. (Maybe this is why they like us so much - the French influence again?) There are stages with bands playing, lots of Zydeco music and beans and crawfish. I have to admit, that in the month that we spent touring in France last year, I never did see one Zydeco band. So far from what I saw of the festival, there's a lot of Canadian bands, a lot of people, the only hand-washing sites I saw were in the artist's hospitality booth, and apparently, police are drawn to this festival. They were everywhere. For dinner, I got chinese food from an outside stall, and a FUNNEL CAKE! WOO!. And after that, we rested in the van and kids sat outside the van and talked to us. That made it a perfect night. And it's warm outside, too.
Lafayette is great! The only thing wrong with it - and pretty much all of Louisiana - is that everything here is STICKY and SLIMY. All of the doorknobs, bathrooms, everything is slimy. And it's very rare to actually encounter soap or hand-washing facilities anywhere, apparently. It's very, very humid here, and around 90 degrees outside. I could get used to this, as long as I had handi-wipes with me everywhere, for I am one of those compulsive hand-washers.
Wow..I finally broke down and took an entire Decongestant pill. Now I understand what the pain medicine is for: it's so I stop being such a pain to everyone ELSE!! Aint nothing hurting ME now!! (The only reason I stopped taking these is that when they'd wear off, I'd spend about 2 hours wanting to kill everyone.)
A very small group of people stayed to watch us play at this scary club. I say Scary Club, because 1) the stage was very tall, 2) there was an even taller drum riser, and 3) The asshole in charge of the club decided to start charging any under-age kid $5 extra to get into the club. So basically, if you were under 21 years old, you had to pay $10 to get into our show. When I went to Kick Some Ass about it, the club owner basically told me that I was working for the Club, and I should Want To Support Them. Underage Kids don't buy beer, he told me, and they use up toilet paper, he informed me. I wish I had thought right then to promise to buy him a new roll of toilet paper for the 30 or so kids that were hanging around the club, but I was too stunned to say anything. In fact, there was just nothing I could do, at all. It wasn't like kids were knocking down the door to get into our show. I was powerless. All I could do was grimace when he told me to go play my bass and let Him worry about the Business Side of things. I had a contract, too, which specifically stated that the door price would be $5 - and I really could have pulled that out, but all that would have happened would probably have been that the club owner would have throw us out, and there'd be no money and no show.
The promoter told me, "This is why no one ever plays in Alabama."
Tonight we stayed with some very nice kids at their parent's house. That was really great - when you get to sleep at a parent's house, you've usually struck gold! Comfortable, clean settings, clean bathrooms, you don't have to worry about crap on the floors or your van being broken into! We were in the heart of Suburban Alabama, big houses with huge lawns, but with pickup trucks everywhere, guns in the houses, half-built camaros on bricks in the front yards, and parental controls on the cable... I wonder what stereotypes the Southerners could list about all of us that would be true.
Rick and Rose, We really hope the pidgeon we found in your house wasn't a pet because we caught it and let it go. We weren't sure what it eats. Besides, you know what "they" say, "If you love it, let it go; and if it loves you, it will return." All kidding aside, Karen found a pidgeon in your house when she went to water the plants today. I caught it and got it out of the house. We checked all the windows and have no clue as to how it got in. The house was completely closed. Everything is fine at [address deleted] once again. Glenn and Karen
Saturday, April 24, Nashville, TN
This will be the last time we play in Nashville, if I have anything to say about it. There is and has never been a reason for us to play here. Now, I love the town, but it's no place for a band like us. I don't know why. I don't know why we can get 150 people to come to a show on a Wednesday in Baton Rouge, but only 32 people pay to see us on a Saturday night in Nashville. And less than half stayed while we played. And they actually FLED the bar after we finished - Howie noticed, "Don't people like to stay around and drink after a show, if the bar is still open?" There was no one in sight! One lone soldier apologized for the lack of scene in the town, causing Howie to wield a drumming implement and growl a threat that the next person who comes up and apologizes for the way the audience acted/ didn't show up at a club - the next person who does this is going to be destroyed.
We put on a fiery show tonight. I kept informing the audience (or lack thereof) that we were going to be "Rocking Them." I think we all had a lot of fun on stage. We also had a lot of fun afterwards, driving in the van, thinking of mock excuses of why no one came to the show. Audience members or promoters will always have some really odd excuse. "It's national tooth-pulling day in Nashville today, and everyone was really tired after the festival, so no one came out to the show tonight." Or, the best one from Rick: "Ok. You know that really funny beer commercial, the one with the fat guy dancing to open that can of beer? Well, that commercial was going to be on tonight, so a lot of people stayed home to watch it." We were laughing a lot. What else can you do? "You know what the problem is with this town?" Rick said, "There are way too many junkies in this town."
We went to Summerville, GA, to visit Howard Finster, an awesome folk artist. You may recognize his artwork from Talking Heads record covers, and other things. He has built this incredible place called "Paradise Gardens" in Summerville which is in the Top Left hand corner of Georgia. There are piles of junk everywhere, huge signs with biblical sayings on them, and mosaics everywhere. There are drawings everywhere, and you can visit this all any day of the week, but if you happen to come on a Sunday, Howard himself is there! There I am standing with him, he's not feeling too good today, so he wasn't very talkative. I told him my ear hurt, and he showed me that he had a rash on his head. He said that the pollen was very bad today, and I said maybe it's the pollen that caused the rash on his head. He snapped back, "maybe the pollen is in your ear, too!"
He told us that the doctor had told him that maybe it was the flourescent light in his bedroom that was causing the rash. I didn't want to disagree with him, but then hoped he'd elaborate, but he had set out to finding an Einstein drawing for me. I was there because I wanted to meet him, but also I wanted to buy an Einstein cutout. Howard Finster does paintings of famous people like Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, Reagan, and Jesus, and one of his lesser known figures is Einstein. Today, all of the Einsteins were gone, so I'm going to get a fresh one - and it's gonna be personalized!! I'm very excited about this. I even requested glitter on it - I never saw an Einstein with glitter, but maybe if I'm lucky, mine will have it. I hope it does.
Here are my pictures of Paradise Gardens.
the walkways have broken glass and mirror embedded in concrete
howard's paintings all over the walls
i love the walkways. some have messages embedded in them
and there's the tower
the tunnel has messages and paintings to and from Howard from people
This place is so calm and peaceful and beautiful. I don't know why but I find it very, very restful and a good place to meditate. And I'm not religious at all.
Man, I never realized what a hell-hole Columbus really is! The parts of it that we've seen so far are really dirty, not like the kind of sexy, laid back dirt you have in Louisiana, but more like a junkie, garbagy, gasoline sort of grime. (Note: I'm sure that there are beautiful parts of this city, but we have never seen them.) We found ourselves those motel coupons, and found a BRAND NEW RENOVATED Travelodge, for only $30, 1-4 people. With an INDOOR POOL!! Sounds great, doesn't it? Well, when we found it, the office of the Travelodge had a bright orange, triangular roof. I think they were still renovating it. We got a room in the "back building" of the motel which had grafitti gang tags all over the outside of it. I was already terrified. The sign in the office of the motel had said, "Time limit on refunds: 10 minutes." Our VING card let us into the jail-like building, and we walked up the stairs. All of the doors had scuff marks and it looked like some of the door knobs had been pried off at one time or another. When we got to our room, we opened the door to find an almost completely dark room, save for a red glow eminating from the bathroom. A 20-year old heat lamp was the only light on in the entire room. "DO you want to stay here," inquired Rick. "NO!! I SCREAMED" and was halfway down the hall already, but it was too late. Jim and Howie had already gone into the room and were delighted. "Do you know how much blood and sperm have probably been spilled in this room?" asked Jim. They are in reverence to some imagined glamourous times that the room might have seen. Howie: "There's probably a dead dog hidden somewhere in this room!" I searched the room for leftover needles or dead animals and found none - even the refrigerator was devoid of the severed human head I'd imagined I'd find.
Later on as we left the Travelodge, we noticed 2 guys scuba-diving with full scuba gear in the INDOOR POOL. Also, a man was going through the trash can INSIDE the building we were staying in. When I was checking out, I saw a flier taped to the wall that "Suite 17" contained "Madmoiselle June" or something like that who was a "Certified Show Girl" and also a Swedish Massage Therapist. The head maintenance guy was having a discussion with another gentleman about how he didn't want to smoke crack anymore, prompting the second gentleman to offer to take the unused amounts he had off his hands for him. A bald kid with a lisp in a KORN shirt was asking the woman behind the desk to "NOT GIVE NOBODY A ROOM KEY TO ROOM 457 PLEASE, IF THEY ASK." Another woman appeared with a half-empty highball glass and asked to have her card run through for another room. "He said it was OK," she assured the desk.
I'm not making ANY of this up. I don't have that good an imagination.
There were some good points to the motel. I like to look on the bright side of things. The woman had at first mistakenly lost our credit card slip but then found it while I stood over her and waited. She had insisted that we had been moved out of our room - the original people from that room were moved out, she insisted. It was very confusing. But this room contained one of the top 5 showers on the North American Continent. Also, the matresses were of a much higher quality than the Motel 6 matresses, and the sheets were made of some kind of natural fabric. Interesting. And, we did survive through the night.
And what kind of show did we have tonight? Fabulous, of course. 150 people on a Monday night came out to the Rock show, were polite and attentive and great. I was a little bummed that the main PA was not on during a lot of the show - word has it that if the soundgirl and soundguy were in the right mood during the show, they could be found having sex behind the soundboard, and this sometimes results in delays in fixing sound problems.
Howie and Jim both went walking around the club area - and both returned pretty disturbed. Howie said he came back because he feared for his life. The area is very seedy and scary looking. There were junkies and derelicts all around. The club is DIRECTLY ACROSS THE STREET from the University of Ohio!! I told Howie that those derelicts were students, and he said, "No, they're old." "Then they're Grad Students," I replied.
Mercury Paw, Louisville, KY
As I was sitting in the club today, arguing with Howie about what songs to place where on the set list, a man was sitting next to us, agreeing with me. "Yeah, that one rocks. Put that one there." Comically. Howie left. Then the man got really close to me, and leaned into my ear, and said the following to me: "Listen, I wouldn't ordinarily ask anyone this. I am a physician. I have studied pharmacology for many, many years. A-a-and, I am Jewish. I need some Marijuana, really, really bad. Do you have any Marijuana?" I looked at him. I had completely forgotten up until now that people from Louisville are all out of their minds. That's one of the things I love so much about Louisville. "Go ask the people behind the counter at the bar," I told him. "No, I've asked everyone in this room," he replied. "How about the band?" I suggested. He smelled like liquor. I wanted him to go away. "No," he said. Then he reiterated, "I have studied pharmacology for 12 years! I just really, really, really NEED some marijuana, n-now!" He almost broke into tears. I felt terrible for him. Then I realized whom he should talk to. "OHHH!! Go talk to the Soundguy!! Soundguys ALWAYS have pot," I told him. "You think?" he sobbed, and I reassured him, Yes. He took off, and went to speak to the soundguy right in the middle of the opening band's set. "That's a NARC," Rick said. "You just sent a NARC to go talk to Soundguy." "Leave me ALONE," I said.
Mercury Paw, Louisville, KY
I had woken up this morning early in our little hell-hole motel in Columbus, found a payphone near the lobby, and called my "bookie" and sold all of my Priceline.com stock. It had gone up 50 points from whence I bought it, and that was enough for me. It felt so out-of-place, selling stock in that motel, while on tour with my rock band.Mercury Paw
This is a beautiful club, in a beautiful city. Too bad there weren't a lot of people at the show. Jon Stothfang, our cake-maker (who always brings us a cake) from Cincinnati drove all the way down to Louisville to see us - sans cake (it's ok, Jon). I guess we better figure out a way to get a Cincy show before those nice people from Cincy start driving all over the US to see us. Already we have the Louisville people driving all over the US to see us because they insist we never play Louisville - never with much publicity I guess....
After the show, the nice woman who I think OWNS the Mercury Paw told me that the market is just terrible now for shows. No one comes out, she told me. It's because the economy is too good. "People would rather sit at home and trade stocks online," she informed me. I left. We slept in Indiana tonight.
I'm listening now to the radio talking about Columbine High School again. I haven't said anything about this because I was a terribly disturbed child in highschool. What I have to say will probably upset people. I'll just come out with this right now. When I was in grammar school through highschool, I was made fun of and picked on. I felt terrible. It was hard for me to go to school sometimes because I was picked on so much. I cried a lot, and tried to get out of school a lot, because the kids picked on me so badly. And now, I remember wishing that I had some sort of box with a button on it that I could press that would hurt one of my fellow students, but just hurt them for a little while. Just to make them stop, stop torturing me so much. I fantasized about that box for at least a couple of years.
The thing that made it all better, was my last year in highschool, when I discovered punk rock music, and gaming. I learned that the people who were making fun of me were not important.
Maybe that's what the problem is in these schools. Maybe none of the loner, outcast kids are learning that those jocks, prom queens, and others who are attacking them are not important. At least, they are as unimportant as the rest of us.
Quality of Life
Today we woke up, waved goodbye to the people across from us in the Motel 6 who were busy having a barbeque on the pavement outside their room, got in the van, consulted Jim's Directory of Olde Country Buffets to find the nearest one, found it in the next town, along a strip of highway containing Super K-Mart, Super Tire Factory, and Super McDonalds, drove there and ate with the other 70-somethings, then walked into the adjacent mall, where Howie found a marketing research office, went in and asked if there were any paying surveys to be taken. He spent about an hour bearing his soul about men's underwear, answering questions like, "How important is it to you on a scale of 1 to 10 that your underwear make you feel sexy?" (Howie's answer: 2, and I probably could've answered it for him, since we've all seen each other's underwear) and he made $10 for his efforts. Rick said that he'd charge at least $50 for that service. The main discussion in the van this morning was how centered around the quality of life we lead. We came to no conclusions that I feel like sharing with anyone. (although I will say that we were laughing a lot.)
The Show in St. Louis
I love the people of St. Louis. They are very nice to us and beam as we play, like they are loving it. The club is where we once played with The Cows - and you gotta love any place where you are honored enough to play with The Cows. Just thinking about The Cows reminded me again How To Rock on the stage, even if you think people aren't digging it. It gave me a good flashback, just imagining the lead singer from The Cows telling me about cutting out your heart and presenting it to the audience each night, and trying to leave with only your dignity intact. I am smiling just thinking about it now.
The club, like many other clubs, has posters stuck permanently on the wall, and one of those posters is ours. It's so flattering to see your own poster stuck somewhere, permanently. And we haven't even played here that much. This club is so ROCK, it has this ingrained cool punkness about it that permeates everything, from the graffitti all over the walls to the huge punched in holes in the backstage loading area, to the used gum wall sculptures in the girls bathroom, to the seedy, grimed up carpetting on the stage. And we can't forget the "FUCK YOU" written in GUM, above the load out area. The gum was peach-colored. Which prompted Howie to yell, "That's not GUM, that's FLESH!" Which made me laugh for about 15 minutes straight.
Thursday, April 29, DAY OFF, Kansas City, MO
Our mission today is to get to the Tivoli Manor Square Movie Theater in Kansas City, so that Howie can see his New David Cronenberg movie. This is a worthy mission. I am looking forward to seeing the movie as well. Rick found the name of the movie theater on the web, and I got Mapquest directions to it. Mapquest is a life-saver. It makes you Superman. I am excited to be driving to the center of the country, because somehow I think all the insanity, angst, killing, love, or music; any kind of feelings or emotions, everything you find on the north, south, east and west coasts, all eminates from some strange, vibrational origin in the middle of Kansas somewhere. We are getting close to Ground Zero.