I need to apologize for the lack of pictures of things that I have written about. Basically I go around taking pictures of mountains and sand dunes, but I write about things like Kim Deal, and have no pictures of her. The next batch of reports I will take more pictures of people and less of mountains and roads!
July 4, 2002 - Phoenix, AZ, our first show
It's July 4th. We get to the club a bit early. Matt is beaming because he lived in this town when he went to school at ASU, so he has many friends that he will see tonight. I am beaming because I know there is one of those soup, salad and pasta all-you-can-eat bars here and I'm going to eat there tonight.
I spend part of the evening with a new friend, Terrance, attempting to teach him this Kung-fu broadsword form out in the parking lot of the club, in the dark. It's around 90 degrees out at night, and there are cars that keep driving in and out, and I'm tired and hurting. I finally get Terrance to show me some awesome Kung-fu moves; he studied Northern styles of KF so he has really beautiful fancy forms which he is amazing at. I'm pretty speechless; I thought I was a pretty good martial artist but I feel embarrassed now. Guess I should have pulled out more of the Tae Kwon Do.
This was a fun show - there was much more audience there than I thought there would be! People keep asking when was the last time we played here - none of us know. It has been a long time. And, people seem to love the show.
July 5, 2002 - San Diego, first Breeders Show
Man, these are going to be some great shows. Here's the view from the stage (above)
and there's the view from OFF the stage! (above!)
God, the drives, the drives, the drives are so beautiful. We never get to take Highway #8 down from Phoenix to San Diego, it's always 10 that we take. 8 is more exotic; you get to pass right through these huge mounds of sand called Dunes that Matt insists they used for the Tattoine set in Return of the Jedi. Guess they didn't have enough $$ to make it to Tunisia that time, so they just went out and filmed along I-8. The dunes make me feel like I'm on another planet though.
We pull up to the club, park in the back and I have driven all day and feel like there is an electric current running through my body. I am shaking and can't stop. We walk in the club, dark and huge room, and there, standing in front of me is either Kim or Kelley Deal. There she is. I stood next to her, watching men putter around on the stage and then when she turned around I saw her face and jumped - YOW! "HELLO!" I said. "I'm Rose from Poster Children!" Stuck out my hand to shake. Whoever it was said "Well, Hello Rose." Must have been Kelley, because I know we met Kim before when we played with the Amps in Dayton. This woman has such a sweeet voice and says such nice things. "Very nice to meet you." Or something like that.
We are told that there is only one dressing room, and The Breeders have invited us to share it with them. I am not going in there. There are a lot of Breeders and entourage and I don't want to get in their way, not yet, anyway. Everyone's in there smoking, drinking, and telling jokes, and that's not stuff I know how to do, anyway. So I go out and hang t-shirts, then we go out and get New York Style Pizza, and then it's time for the show to start.
No offense, but some of the people who came to this San Diego show were complete freaks. Two of them seemed to be on some life-threatening drugs for the entire night, and those were the two who kept trying to purchase a t-shirt for $3, and wouldn't go away. They offered the Breeders' t-shirt guy $10 and a valium for a shirt - I yelled at him, "You didn't accept THAT? Shit, they offered me $8 and NO valium for a Poster Children shirt." I think I made him laugh.
Breeders Crew is Nice To Us
Everyone on this tour seems to either know us, or have some sort of respect for us, which makes me feel really happy. The Breeders' tour manager used to book us at Club Soda in Michigan, one of our favorite places of all time. The t-shirt guy says he likes "Tool of the Man," our 3rd album. The drummer talks with Matt about what a great drummer Johnny Machine is. Matt really worships Johnny; he was Matt's favorite Poster Children drummer, Matt says.
Anyway, it's really, really, really wonderful to be appreciated, because a lot of times, we have a tendency to get paranoid and down on ourselves.
We had no soundcheck today, and may have sounded like hell, so I don't really remember the show. The Breeders show was beautiful though.
"You have just Fucked Me"
Oh shit, wait a minute, I do remember, right when we got on the stage, the monitors were in a screwed-up place so I moved some over for myself and this huge, scary man with bare feet came out and yelled at me, "YOU HAVE JUST FUCKED ME." Now, I'm about ready to start playing a show, but I don't have my bass plugged in, and I'm freaking out. "How have I fucked you, Sir?" I ask. "YOU HAVE FUCKED ME BY MOVING THESE MONITORS, WHICH WERE NOT SPIKED (marked) FOR THE HEADLINING BAND. THEY HAVE TO BE PUT IN THE EXACT RIGHT PLACE AGAIN WHEN THEY PLAY OR THEY WILL NOT WORK."
This is bullshit. He should have marked them anyway, what the hell has he been doing all this time in between bands setup?
Now I'm trying to figure out why a monitor guy would yell at me like this and then realize that he just thinks I'm some girlfriend of the band, screwing things up for him. I'm already shaking now, nervous to go on with all this stuff in disarray and to top it off, an asshole monitor guy who can make me go deaf with just a twist of his hand on the volume knobs. So I just start screaming back at him, "WELL SHIT, YOU KNOW, YOU HAVE OUR INPUT SHEETS AND OUR STAGE PLOT, AND WE WERE HERE ON TIME TO SOUNDCHECK SO I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY WE HAVE TO PUT UP WITH THIS" and Rick is now reminding me that Rule Number 1 in the book of STUPID THINGS YOU NEVER DO WHEN YOU'RE ABOUT TO PLAY A SHOW is
Because he's going to fuck you over, you will not be able to hear your voice when you're trying to sing on stage. Or he might make the mic feedback and destroy your eardrums, in a millesecond. If you want the monitor guy to do anything for you, you have to basically suck on his cock. "Oh, those are such nice monitors, Oh, that's SO loud! You have WONDERFUL MONITORS, Mr. Monitor Guy. They are so loud already! Gosh, do you think they could go even louder?" (bat eyelashes coquettishly). This is how you get to hear your voice at a show. Not by yelling and making your point across to an already pissed-off soundguy. I'm telling Rick though that it doesn't matter, that the first thing this man said to me today was "YOU HAVE FUCKED ME."
Now whoever else is on the stage is trying to calm me down - even Matt is trying to calm me down, and he's the one who should be nervous. This show is being run by The Casbah, a place where we have played many times, with an owner and manager who are very sweet and love us and we love them, so there are some people in charge here who are going to be nice to us.
I must be going out of my mind, anyway. When I walked into the club today, a huge group of bouncers stopped me and said, "YOU VILL NOT BRING THAT SPRITE IN HERE" and I said "Why Not?" and they said "BECAUSE YOU CAN'T" and I said, "I'm PLAYING in one of the BANDS TONIGHT! What are you going to do, NOT let me in?" and they said "YES." And then I turned to the hugest bouncer, folded my arms and said "What are you going to do if I bring the soda in with me? Beat me up?" and he just broke down in laughter. Then he said, "This girl has a great sense of humor" and I realized what an idiot I was being and said "No, you guys are the ones with the good sense of humor. I'm lucky." And threw out my drink.
July 6, 2002, Kennedys in Santa Barbara, Ca. The Breeders have the night off so we pickup a show in Santa Barbara.
Come on, you KNOW that we're in trouble when we play with a band called "***hippy-esque name deleted***" It's a really great, funny name, but you know they are going to sound a lot smoother than us, and they are going to have local fans here that are going to hate us. You just know it. I know it. I keep thinking to myself, shit, can't we just open for them? But their fans would probably just stand outside and wait for us to finish. I wouldn't blame them. We are too loud for a nice place like this.
As we were getting on the stage tonight, I looked out at the well-dressed crowd and said to Matt, "You know these people are going to run screaming out of the club on the first chord that we play: AAAAAAA!!!" and he said, "Yeah, I know it." I just wanted to make sure. Beefed-up guys were standing in front of the stage, yelling something to the opening band like, "All you guys need is a good soundguy and you will make it to the top. This is BULLSHIT." Poor soundguy.
Now here I am, dreadnought Rose, big, old, behemoth, men's t-shirt wearing clod, huge bruise on my arm from falling down carrying an amp yesterday, lumbering up onto the stage where a petite, gorgeous, tanned, Natalie-Merchant/Sheryl Crow clone had just been twisting and crooning for an hour, wearing a beautiful silky black tank top, long straight hair, perfect voice. The sound of another band that should be on your radio.
4 huge guys in black leather coats stood in front of the stage gawking at this exhibit on stage as we frantically plugged in our gear and then they fled like little lambs out of the venue on the first chord of "Zero Stars." They were out the door before the singing even started. That made me laugh.
The thing that really sucked is this weird soundguy thing, where he told us "You vill play from 10-11pm tonight." And then he said, "You know how it is." WHAT? I DON'T KNOW HOW IT IS! WHO the HELL Do you think we are? We are Indie Rock Veterans! We have fans who LOVE US!! What if our audience wants an encore? (What if we have an audience?) When we are playing too close to a Banana Republic Clothes Store, I know exactly what is going to happen. A well-dressed, happy, secure audience has no need for angry punk rock music. We have no leverage here.
Don't you know who we are? (Poster Who?) We were on Lollapalooza! (Lollapa what?) We were on 120 Minutes Back In The Day! (120 Minutes Who? The Breeders Who?) But, we opened for Fugazi!! (Fugazi Who?)
Just because we have been around since 1987 and are Indier Rock than Mike Watt (Mike WHO?) doesn't mean that we should be respected in Santa Barbara, 1.5 hours north of Los Angeles. (yeah, I know. Los Angeles, who?)
So we played from 10:15 to 11pm when the bartender turned on the disco lights, signifying that it was time for the Rock to stop and the Disco to start, and that was it. A couple of angry Poster Children fans jumped on the stage trying to get us to play more, but apparently the bartender had decided that it was more important for him to make money selling drinks with hip-hop music going for the next ten minutes than it was for us to be able to play an encore to the fans standing around who expected to hear a couple more songs.
Get Out! And we did. Girls wearing tank tops and perfume passed me by on the way out, patient girls who had watched us play, waiting for their hip-hop disco music to start. "You were good, girl! You had a good show!" "Your hair is so cool!"
And, someone asked if we were from Canada. It's been a while since anyone has asked that.
Sunday July 7, 2002, Los Angeles with The Breeders, Imperial Teen, at the El Rey Theatre
The audience is trying to come to grips with what they have just seen. "Hmmmm."
I'm writing after the show. It is such an intense experience for me to watch these shows and think about Kim's voice. I think she has the voice of angels, of a goddess. She is a rock goddess so far up above any other rock goddess. She is exquisite, always smiling, so nice to everyone. She smokes and drinks and swears and walks around like a truck driver, wears oversized clothes, and Fuck You, she can do whatever she WANTS, because she has the most beautiful voice in the world and writes the most beautiful songs in the world, and has a beautiful twin sister with the same voice, who is on the stage, supporting her, and a band full of incredibly sweet, nice people.
I have managed to be able to watch and listen to them now without becoming teary-eyed through most of their set. I don't know why the voices hit me so hard in that place that make me want to cry, but they do. Kim screams into the mic sometimes, and just breathes into it other times. How do you learn to sing like this, where your breath sounds like the sun shining? Especially when you chain-smoke on the stage. The whole band chain-smokes on the stage, which is slightly funny when you realize that no one else in the entire club is allowed to smoke; you can't smoke indoors in California.
So Kim sings, Kelley sings, and I sit and watch them and cry and wipe away my tears of joy and feel my chest open for them as they sing, and the guitars and vocals feedback and distort and it's the most beautiful noise in the galaxy tonight. Then they talk and make fun of each other and belch into the microphones, and stop and smoke every once in a while. I finally went back to the t-shirt table to watch the shirts and sit next to Roddy (?) the guy from Faith No More who is the leader of Imperial Teen, and a song later, Kim starts yelling into the microphone, "HEY RODDY, WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING? YOU'RE NOT EVEN PAYING ATTENTION TO US! ROSE!! WHAT THE FUCK??? YOU HAVE BEEN TALKING ALL THIS TIME!!" And the crowd was silent and Roddy screamed something out, and everyone laughed, and I screamed out, "I LOVE YOU, KIM!" - I hope she heard me. I love her.
Maybe in the next 2 weeks I'll get up the nerve to say more than just "hello" to her.
New fans in Los Angeles - these shows are so great for us because there are new people who have never seen us play and they tend to like us. These guys arm-wrestled me (my idea) for a free button. They both won. I'm pretty weak, I guess, when it comes to arm-wrestling.
I don't even really remember playing today. We labored over our set list - we only get to play for 30 minutes, and that's not a problem, we're the first band out of 3. We just want to make sure we play all the songs that will make the Breeders fans who have come early for the show LOVE US. I don't know how we're going to do that. We argue over whether to play 6x6 or Sick of It All. What new songs can/should we play? It is our fans who will be watching us; so maybe we should give them what they'd want? Man, we have such a variety of songs, it's impossible to know what will please everyone. Plus, Rick is sure that he wants to play "No 'Heavy Metal' songs during the Breeders Tour." I guess that means no playing 'Tommyhouse.' He doesn't want to scare the audience.
When we go on, the club looks pretty full to me! At least 800 people. I was nervous, and then I just shut off. I noticed the soundguy putting a microphone on Rick's amp halfway through the set. That is not a good sign.
The Museum of Jurassic Technology
Today, earlier, we went to The Museum of Jurassic Technology, with our good friends ML and Skip, Matt's brother, and my brilliant friend and mentor, Linda (who also happens to be Jane's aunt). This museum is an incredible place, here in LA. I don't even know how to explain the exhibits; they are science and technology but also have this really weird, romantic edge to them. There is an exhibit of letters written to the first couple of astronomers who opened large observatories; people writing to them with their own theories, correcting the prominent scientists' work. The letters I liked the most mixed up the science with theology, and that's always a big hoot, to me, anyway. Art Bell at his best.
There is another exhibit of Old Wive's Tales called "Tell the Bees" and another that shows microsculptures; tiny sculptures placed on the head of a pin or on a human hair, this was amazing.
There is an incredible piece about a guy (Sonnenberg?) who has mapped out our awareness of experiences as cones, and phenomena that pass through our awareness as planes that pass through the cone, at different directions. One edge of the plane is our awareness and the other I forgot, and depending on the direction the plane exists, a different conic section will occur. There is some way that a plane can pass through a cone where the memory of the experience occurs before the actual experience, and this is where premonitions come in. Depending on the angle of the cone, your experience of the phenomena you encounter can be more or less intense. Once the plane leaves the cone, the experience has been forgotten.
When I mentioned to Rick that I thought this guy was very interesting, and he lived in Evanston, Illinois, Rick said, "Do you think he's actually real?" There was one exibit that said "Exhibit Out Of Order" - it was a microscope where the little eye thingie had been put down too far and broke the specimin glass. That was funny. There was a lot of undercurrent humor in the exhibits, and I'm sure I missed a lot of it. It means I'll have to come back.
ML and Skip's house (where we're staying) has these insane pod flowers right outside their door. It's like the foliage from Los Angeles is from Mars.
and here's ml and skip! ml used to be our manager. he was the first person from outside of illinois to ever like us. He also managed Thin White Rope, a great band from California.
Monday July 8, 2002, Los Angeles with The Breeders, Imperial Teen, at the El Rey Theatre (2nd show)
The Mouth Of Hell
Matt got to go to the beach today and swim, and I'm really jealous. All we did was go to The Mouth Of Hell, which is aka Universal Sidewalk or something like that, filled with stores containing items for the sardonic, cynical teen thru 40-year old. I felt that target boring a hole right into my head while I resisted buying more than 2 Star Wars PEZ dispensers, more than 3 bendy Bruce Lee figurines, a bobbly-head Nixon doll, and the hardest thing to resist: a bobbly-head Colonel Sanders. I hate feeling like a target audience. Best purchase of the day: a walking ear toy, for my art professors. I hope they like it. I think it's very Dada.
Pictures from The Mouth Of Hell:
I think ML and Skip brought me here because I've been saying over and over that I want to go to Versailles Restaurant, and it's probably irritating to everyone already; it's a chain out here and I always make us eat there, and you get too much food and it makes you sick. So they brought me to the fast-food Versailles stand in The Mouth Of Hell, where we had to withstand an attack of bees while we ate, and an attack of larger-than building-sized TV sets blasting Sting videos and then, the top of the afternoon, an all-white chorus of a red-t-shirt wearing bible-study group from Dallas who was there to perform "Rock Thru The Ages." The 80s was represented only by one song; "Footloose." Skip says ML, our friend and ex-manager, is responsible for Kenny Loggins - he gave him recommended albums to listen to which made him write these songs. ML just smiles and continues watching the Jesus Freaks dance.
I want to stay on tour with The Breeders forever, just so I can hear Kim call my name some more. Each time she does it, and she does it more often than she ever has to, my knees get all wobbly. I almost fainted during one of their songs today, the 5-minute long one, fainting because it's so beautiful. I have a terrible bruise on my left arm from falling down carrying my cabinet on the first show - no, wait, it was from fighting evil Jedi Knights - anyway, she grabbed my arm and said, "Look - I have one too!" and showed me a bruise on her upper arm. She rubbed my hand with her hand; her hand was smaller than I'd think, and really warm. She is so happy and friendly and funny - she talks really, really fast, and she's pretty much always got a cigarette in her mouth. And that beautiful voice she has. And Kelley has the same voice.
Tonight my friend Andrea Borstein and her family show up at our show; they are my next-door neighbors from when we grew up; our family's greatest friends. Andrea is also known as Alex, and is one of the actors on Mad TV. It is weird knowing a Star; I never know what to call her now, Andrea or Alex, and it's weird that she is so supportive of me. Almost the whole family came out, and we talked for a little while. Andrea is so down-to-earth, such a really wonderful sweet heart. I never, ever get to spend enough time with her. And it's weird too, with her being a Star - I hope I honor her enough! She is so nice to me, like it's the same Andrea that we grew up with, the Andrea who always said she'd change her name to Alex one day. But it's also the same Andrea that I can turn on my TV any Saturday night and see her on my TV set!
Today we played our new song "The Bottle" - it's probably the 3rd audience to hear it. We played it LAST! A guy came up after the show and asked what record it's on. That's a good sign. It will be on the next record.
Los Angeles Audience #2
I love sprinklers. I love walking around with wet clothes on when it's really hot outside.
More driving pictures:
(above) It's about 108 degrees out here in Yuma, Arizona, the bottom of the US world.
(below) This is what south central Tibet looks like - maybe the rocks were sharper there, though.