Anne's Diaries

The following are (excerpts from) Anne's tour diaries from '90-'96. Earlier writings exist, but some of that was chronicled thanks to Seymour Glass, and the rest are probably too personal & retarded to go into the public domain.
They are extremely sporadic. I think that Brian probably kept more indepth journals while on the road, and that he may've written more about the actual playing experience. I usually followed a pattern of being into keeping my mind active for the first week or two, but then would settle into a kind of zen/zombie state of just looking out the window, foraging for food/beer and making sure that we had directions to the next show and a place to stay.

Summer 1990
Summer 1991
Fall 1991
Fall 1992
Winter 1994
Fall 1994
Spring 1995
Summer 1995
Winter 1995
Spring 1996

Summer 1990

Hot empty Nevada interstate. I was driving during the critical pre-bloodflow hours. I felt the terror lurking beneath the fatigue. The wind nearly howled through all the open windows and I could barely hear classics from the '50s and '60s on the AM. The song "Stand by Me" came on and it sounded evil.
This time I actually felt the panic crest and break in my hormones. It was a definite sickly chemical rearrangement. Quick, though.
Now I know for sure that I can blame my menstrual blood for anything.
I'm free!
Look out next month, same time: I may kill someone. Now, I of course feel great: I don't have to go to work. I can sit here chewing gum, listening to the new Sonic Youth and try to decide if they still exist.
OH MY FUCKING GOD. I just realized that the song "Tunic" is about Karen Carpenter. Chas did it. The link is complete. Oh holy shit.

We've been in Boulder since 4pm. Now its 7:15. Uber-health. Sport clothes. Rain. Light rain showers every half hour. Babies. Crystals.
Hooked on nut hummers, Dan Rather pulling Connie Chung around the magazine section of this cafe; both naked.

7/19 Middle East
talked to Bob Ray (?) knows Lorry from Big Dipper tour 2 yrs ago.
saw Brian Greene from WHRB, didn't get to talk, really. Feel bad about that.
Ty Geso came up from Providence to see show.

I became depressed late last night. Sitting through 5 bands. Not knowing where to stay. The look _____ gave me when I split and said goodbye.

Always looking for the most appealing man of the scene. Its not strange--very normal.
Attraction, the ritual or even the game. The sex in the back of everyone's mind.
I disagree with the notion that men & women can't be just friends (that the driving force is the possibility of sex)
BUT, ah, well, fuck it.

7/21/90 Maxwells, Hoboken
Post set: In the van. I'm glad I'm not Henry Rollins. And I'm glad that I don't have a shed. I'm waiting for Wreckless Eric to be done. My thoughts are diffused. (212)xxx-xxxx Thee number of Sonic Youth.
Met a guy who's helping Pavement. He's from Austin & knows Ed Hall.
Kim & Thurston came & left before we even played. Those dicks.

7/22/90 Brooklyn
Heat. Muggy fist flattens everything. Hard to move. Back into the "stay up 'til 4am, sleep 'til noon" dillrod. I CAN believe how easy it is to stay up late here.
Keeps Repeating
Sportscar (Pork Car)
Dorky Thing
Out in the Kitchen
Sister Hell
More Glee

Diaperene and the Moist Towellettes
The WetSpot

One man walked up the side of the club we played at and when he reached the top he made a fire with fur and twigs. He fanned it and watched as it licked through layers of wood; black tar smoke rose. Meanwhile the sprinklers doused everything, setting up a deadly current ring. We had to stay inside the ring until the next morning. Surrounded by a burned hull.
I am the living seed.

Note of special interest: I think this is the longest I've gone without fucking for maybe 6 years--maybe even longer.

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Summer 1991

Gaslight LA Hollywood
I hate this place. I'm glad our sets done. Every time we come to LA we see this frighteningly vacuous, party-animal, overly blond guy. Small blond mustache. He's the _____ of an old friend of ours. I can't believe he's real. He's not?
I'm biding time to get the fuck out of LA. Tomorrow we play outdoors @ Santa Monica College. At 11AM. That should be interesting. More party blank blond faces passing by. I want to scrape metal against metal in a sewer and show them piles of poop. At least I got to see Max from Fuck Shit Up. I used to work with him. We talked about the pull of bike messenger work.

unsent letter
It's the holiday. Driving through southern NY--fertile and hilly, lots of water. Saw a group of guys out in a wide stream, lawn chairs immersed, keg of beer and a massive american flag stuck in the sand. Yee fuckin haw. Today's going to be one of those long-ass pulls: Albany to hopefully somewhere in Ohio. Then Chicago a day early so we can find an amp for Mark. Yes, the Ampeg is dead. One night it worked; next night: nothing. Not even an explosion. Just dead.
And we can see what's wrong with my new effects thing--it quit, too. As well as Hugh's new distortion box, 4 or 6 cables, etc. etc.
Fuck this curse. I, from this moment on, refuse to believe in it.
Last night, when I left you the spelling inquiry message, was probably our worst show night yet. We were dog-tired and bumming. Maybe 10 people were there. We played everything really s-l-o-w. It was kind of funny in a pathetic way. People liked us, but what do they know? Me & Hugh & Brian sat around a table afterwards giggling helplessly and changing the words to Foreigner songs so they were all about BROWN. Like, "Brown Blooded" etc.
We got paid 17 dollars. What an insult.
The guy we stayed with--who owns probably one of the coolest record stores ever--(all indies, with emphasis on noise, experimental) was really disgusted with the promoter and said she could've at least given us $50 from the bar.
It was our fourth year anniversary. At the first show, in 1987, we made $20. Four years later, $17. And you wonder why I wonder what the point is? Masochism.
We did get to stay at record store guy's cool house and watch videos of Sonic Youth from 1985 and other noise things. And smoke pot and stay up until 5. I was so tired I was wired. I hate that.
Sonic Youth sure have changed, though. It was amazing they were so arty and kind of self-conscious back then. They stood around tuning alot. Kim Gordon looked shaggy and almost dull, frumpy--not like the blond superstar chick she is today.
Funny, I keep forgetting about their really old stuff. It's like two different bands. That was the same tour ('85) that I saw but it's mostly forgotten.

Walk into the customs office at the US border and there's a nicely framed photo of George Bush. And the cop glaring at two young alternative-type boys saying they have an attitude problem.
But tonight we play in beautiful Seattle. With Head of David. Will there be an army of black-clad, black-haired art people? Wait. I'm wearing black right now. BUT my socks are purple.

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Fall 1991

Enroute to NYC
Last night in Boston we (I) played a fantastic set. I was excited nearly the entire time I saw people getting off on us.
Phil Milstein gave me a bottle of whiskey for my birthday (just because I gave him a hard time for drinking all our hooch last time).
He looked great: paper towel tubes around his head, plastic tiger tooth necklace, ugly/fancy '60s jacket, wire rims. God, I wanted to go home with him. I keep laughing and thinking "Now, THAT'S the kind of man I think is sexy--a complete nutcase!"

When I was in Manhattan about 20 famous guys asked me out for a date, just during the course of a day. People I didn't even know, then later found out were in some famous band or film.
Michael Gira proclaimed his infinite adoration of my existence while on his knees outside Katz's. Jarboe happened to be emerging from a taxi nearby--she tried to commit suicide by darting through traffic, wailing about inequities.
The guy from White Zombie heard I might show up at Max Fish. He waited for two hours.
Nick Zedd and Richard Kern got into a slapping fight because they kept tripping over each other in their ardent haste to film my every move.
Kim and Thurston sent a note to me backstage at CB's asking if I was interested in getting it on with both of them.

Athens GA 9:30PM
Sitting in the virtually empty Flying Buffalo. The two other clubs in town each have big shows tonight--The Didjits and the Swimming Pool Q's. This kind of situation makes me feel uptight. A horrendous responsibility for lack of turnout descends upon me. Plus the fear and apologetic stance...
The dread that we won't get our guarantee, that we'll be hog-tied or kicked out. This place will lose $250 tonight. That makes it very difficult for me to get excited to play. And, of course, there's the hideous certain prospect of playing for 45 minutes to the bartender.
God, I hate it.
Oh, yeah. Then the more basic underlying anger at having to pays dues for ever & ever unto infinity.

Star Trek
6 1/2
Sinking Boats
Cold Cold Cold
Cute Retard
Tell Me

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Fall 1992

Walked out of my house at 11:11AM. A glorious psychic moment only to have to return to the front door immediately so _____ could spend 10 more minutes in the bathroom trying to straighten up--nearly sick from the mood of my departure.
Now I experience the multiple boredoms of the van. Seconds, sometimes minutes of abandon. Outburst of genius. Lame genius sucked into spasms of introversion.
In Victoria, BC The desire comes and goes. How much of it is just a game I play to amuse myself; to keep on edge?

The good and the bad tail each other. Last night in Winnepeg the Sun City Girls took me from one beautifully insane dimension to another. Every possibility evident and rising within my heart: my mind jammed open & so expertly twisted.
Alan in whiteface makeup crouching and leaning over the balcony above Charlie and Rick. Stilted/flowing gestures, flicking ashes gleefully upon them. Singing that incredibly female-like song. And Charlie behind a gay cartoon cow mask. They scared me. More, more more! No band has ever taken me this far. Not the Buttholes, Caroliner or National Disgrace. More.
Then we got detained at the fucking border again. Supposed pot residue in ______'s jacket. he gets humiliated and fined $500. Fuck the USA. ______ is a god-like being. he radiates otherness. The scum cops can't see it.
I'm in love with SCG.

Staying at Albini's while recording with Bob. Our schedule continues to nocturnalize. We're not even to NYC yet and already 4AM is bedtime. Albini runs his heater at 75 degrees no matter what weather exists outside his shaded windows. Alternately caustic, then friendly.
I've been battling sloth. Sometimes I enjoy how spaced out I can get, but I feel like we need a jolt. We're all so quiet: smoking too much, staring at walls or TVs.
I'm embarrassed by my lack of energy and control. Every time I'm faced with "straight-edgers" I think they're counting each vice and lazy quality and finding me coming up short.
The first night there I disgusted myself with my unchecked mental/hormonal ruminations. "I miss my boyfriend. Will you fuck me" kept flashing through my head.
Funny, but telling.

I proclaimed my love for the Sun City Girls. I was completely beside myself with insane girl-crush over seeing them again. I forced my way up front and felt like I was going to come...into another goddamn fucking dimension. "Where's my four boyfriends?" (them & recording master Scott)

10/31/92 (Ann Arbor)
Worst set ever. I could not believe my eyes when I pulled out that pint of Jack Daniels after the show & realized that me, Mark and Brian had nearly cleared the whole thing. My ears ring hideously. I'm drunk; mentally fucked. Sleep now. Go on, forget retarded foibles.

Columbus OH
Things are not getting better. This is becoming a test of my ability to continue. Mental, spiritual endurance is flagging. Do I think that I need to test my ego or am I ready to give up? Not that I expect boundless adulation from 100's of people at every show, but--this being the 4th national tour with 3 LPs under our belt and so-called acclaim, it hurts when we can't even get 25 people to turn out. The opening band even apologized for Columbus.

(I speculate that our label's not doing enough)
Wait: After the word "shitty", up came our promoter Bela and he was extending genuine care and concern. I chilled out. All I needed to was to know that someone who put shows on actually cared. SCG pleased me in yet new & different ways. We were ourselves & having fun onstage, then the best part was inciting them to join us at the end for, of all things, fuckin Kumbaya which began twistedly enough & quickly degenerated further.
*sigh* we did it together, now we can do it again. Too bad there aren't more girls so we could have an orgy.

The sun goes down the sun goes down the sun goes down at the same time every day. I thought til I created a measuring tool. Everything is a series of random events, I thought 'til I saw the cow walk into the barn.

Continual motion. Thank God for these East Coast shows. Hoboken. NYC. Boston. Philadelphia. All very good. We're worked toward it. Now maybe we'll break up and become a cult band.

Chapel Hill
At my urging we drove straight into Chapel Hill from DC last night. On "my" day off, I wanted to ensure comfort. Less than 1/2 hour after our arrival, Brian & I saw a familiar face (John Cutter) who immediately called Chuck's ex-Superchunk house and we were invited to stay the night. This pleased me to no end. I danced around in the Cat's Cradle parking lot while inside Babes In Toyland cranked out their screechy, punky shit. All I need is a sweet-looking environment and a cup of coffee waiting for me in the AM and I'm set.
A bunch of people came over after the show & were excited that we were there and are planning to come see our Wilmington show as well.
Home bases are ultra important on the road.

Last night at Masquerade in Atlanta. Us and SCG opening for the Dead Milkmen.
Such a huge goddamn club. I got into a nasty state of mind due to the hurry up, dude! atmosphere, even while I was piling excellent free pasta and vegetables into my face. When I heard the soundman ask if SCG could play something with some melody I became even more full of disgust. I need to learn to not get so wound up and pushed around by the atmosphere. No one was being decisive or quick enough for me.
I flew, enraged, into the backstage and began to drink Budweiser and gulps of water and smoke cigs.
I hung in that room the whole time, unable to go check out the rest of the club--the other levels: Purgatory and Hell.
I stayed in Heaven though I felt it naught. Focusing my attention on Alan and Rick helped. Finally crept out, wandered out, curiosity getting me going, as SCG were taking the stage.
The room was packed. Fucking kids! 14,15,16,17 years old pressed up against the expanse of the stage. The reality of the possibilities of the situation nearly made my head explode.
I couldn't even look anymore; I ran backstage again, grinning insanely and saying over and over these kids are going to have their minds blown! Then I ran back out and watched. I was so excited that my mind and spirit were several yards above my body as I thought: this is what WE face as well--a young, captive audience. Difficult, yet simple.
SCG almost immediately split the crowd into factions. Confusion, joy, bullish hatred, drunken bellows, flipping the bird; others cheering support. I knew I would completely get off on this. Preaching to the completely uninitiated. They are going to go home and mull this evening over. Talk and argue with their friends about it. How fine.
Alan became more and more certain of his control over the crowd, and the frontman for the Dead Milkmen and their manager were soon along side backstage, screaming their support. Alan threatening to kick anyone's ass who had the guts to come on stage. He eats them for breakfast. Telling everyone how great it is that they paid for it and HE'S going to get some of their money!
This made the Dead Milkmen guy nearly rocket through the ceiling, jumping up and down, clapping and yelling Yes! Fuck, YES!
I knew that I had to wear my black dress, fishnets and boots for those kids. We all looked marvelous.
I felt scrutiny as soon as I walked onstage. So I worked up the nerve to actually look up and say 'Hi!' Such young faces; and so many of them responded.
I was kind of high and when we began 'Hurricane' I felt the unified front. I was saying "peace, love" and laughing towards a section of the audience. Like the Nirvana show: people as far back as you could see.
Oh boy. Rejuvenation through juveniles.

New Orleans. (No show, just passing through) At some "original soul food" restaurant. I want to inhale the food so I can get out to absorb the feel of the streets. I can't imagine what it's like to live here in the French Quarter. A bigger circus than the Haight.
Saw some vintage stores and flyers for rock bands this time. Why don't WE ever get to play here?
I need to get away from my fellow travelers. They're driving me nuts. Last night we stayed in Slidell and I saw the largest cockroach in the world. I thought it was fake--like a rubber toy. Revulsion.

Austin, TX.
Alan and I sat outside at 4:00am, hunched over on the back steps smoking too many cigarettes.

Later on in the morning I called to check in with (booker) Peter Davis. I say: "No news, other than me being in love with the Sun City Girls." "Look, call me tomorrow," he says, not falling for it. "My girlfriend's sick and is on the other line."

Denny's, Las Cruces, NM
Dear Diary,
I did it! I didn't order eggs today!!

Now, it doesn't seem real. Somehow, after the whole sky lit up along the strip outside the Bruce Motel, nothing seems immediate.
WHAT made the black sky flash into light blue??

So then what happened?
Well, the big spaceships came down out of the sky and scooped us up, played pinball with our little pea brains and gently deposited us in Tucson. Near Toxic Shock where we bullied the poor kid behind the counter into giving us $50 of the $100 that they've owed us for 3 years.

In the Downtown Performance space (Tuscon) I wrestled with my nervousness by playing the piano. This really helps. And I talked to Montaigne (sp?) from Mondo Guano while all the bands hung out at the Dodajk Internation for a vegetarian spread. So wonderful to kick back in an open atmosphere. Very friendly and a well timed escape from myself.
Our set rather stank, though. Possibly the worst stage sound, ever, out of, what? 200 shows?
Everyone moving through mercury. I knew I had to lay down and had encouraged the dwindling audience to do so at the onset.

11/2? On the way home:
I must frequently stop writing to look for the 30-foot-high, neon dayglo "Welcome to California, Dude!" sign.

........Ok. So we made it in.
.......only 11+ hours to go.

The real prize is behind door number 23.

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Winter 1994

Europe Tour

Feb. 8 1994 Amsterdam

Sitting in a coffeeshop that’s playing boring dance/disco music. Jet lag manifests itself as sloth. I’m not feeling too cheerful at this point. The settling in process is one that’s always been difficult for me to endure when in a group. I realize I dislike seeming like a tourist. Duh. I want to know the customs before I attempt to do anything.

How these shop owners must feel–always having groups of confused people gawking around and asking the same questions into infinity. But what do I care? I’ll never see these people again.

I must try to gracefully go with the flow and not feel overly chained to my group.
The plane trip was much easier than I expected, at least.
Argh. I want to be a free agent and roam by myself.

Feb. 13 1994 (London)

After 17 years I still have this obsession with my thighs and ass.

[I made a hideous drawing of myself where I look fat and stupid–next to it I wrote the following:]
This done at the BBC Studios. Can you believe I could even care about how I look during TFUL282 John Peel Session???

[Further down the page I wrote:]
Actually this image left me as I listened back to our songs on Studio 3’s incredible speaker system.
SSL computerized board. We recorded Star Trek, More Glee, 1 Inch Tall, Father–all live except for vocals. It was the best sound we’ve ever gotten in a studio. Massive room w/ perfect acoustics. It was amazing to work with such an experienced engineer as well. I love to watch engineers feel out music and see how quickly they grasp it.

Feb. 15 1994

After an invigorating show in London it was difficult for us to go to bed early enough to make getting up at 7:00am seem normal–but then, it is NOT normal. I’ve awakened earlier on this tour than I EVER do at home. 7, 8 o’clock–what ARE these hours? I understand hours like 10 or 12.

The London show: Death, sloth, purgatory, all suddenly jamming full-gear into chaotic heaven. What began as confused exhaustion in a small, unheated room turned into a "media circus", then metamorphasized into quite a powerful and sweaty 75 minute set. It was akin to starting an evening thinking you’re in Columbia, SC and having it turn into New York City while you were in the bathroom.

And this morning we barely made the ferry. We’d reserved space on the only one which would keep us on schedule, due to last night’s show and road construction. Tensions were high as Menko (driver/tour manager/soundman) tried to make up for lost time by passing every car he could and everyone counted down the minutes. One extra trip to the bathroom, one stop for food or gas would’ve fucked us. Two minutes to spare.

So here I am, stretched out on a large half-circle bench/seat drinking red wine and writing and hoping I’ll catch at least another hour of sleep, after that early morning adrenaline rush.

Feb 16/17 1994

Met up w/ Lexa at Paradiso in Amsterdam. What a relief to have a girlfriend along and to have a friend to sleep with.

I haven’t gotten any exercise aside from the occasional stroll. But I’ve begun to lose my desire to get aerobic workouts. This is mildly distressing–like the onset of laziness or apathy that accompanies getting older? Scary thought. Perhaps that’ll motivate me. Too bad I’m still more concerned with looks than health. The only thing this tour’s doing for me is keeping me away from speed. Hoping to break the routine.

Feb. 19, 1994

Love. The drive to Den Haag was too beautiful to describe.

Waited Too Long
Get off My House
Truck Driving Man
Hell Rules
Tell Me
Descent into the Maelstrom
Gentleman’s Lament

On the Autobahn towards Switzerland

I have so little to say about this trip. I haven’t cracked the cover of my book nor missed having a walkman around. I’ve written only a few lines on a postcard–no five-page letters brimming with hormone-driven fantasies, outlandish desires or promises. No nightly or even tri-weekly long distance mewling over the phone. Just scenery, conversation and the insides of clubs. This is fine.

Occasionally I wonder if I should be recording all that I see so the faces or buildings or exchanges can be kept clear. But everything is so simple and I’m wondrous most of the time, or pleased, curious, close to "being"…what words can do justice to…

Some Saturday, Lausanne Switzerland

I got a mean cloud over my head. Walked through steep streets filled with strolling wealthy or wealthily attired people–travelers. Hermes, Chanel, Cartier–dowagers in their furs. Furs displayed luxuriously in store fronts. I couldn’t find any coffee and allowed antipathy to nest in my mind: "Come on in, hatred, and color my world!!" I screamed as I overturned festive fruit and displays and used the crates to smash all the ancient windows.

Some day in Switzerland

Full Moon in Basel last night.
Felt better as soon as we got away from Lausanne. Jay opened the channel to wacked-ity by taping our mascot, Al the bowler, upside down on the visor and giving him a lovely new hat: masking tape topped by a used tissue.

Basel pleased me right away with its big city, for-real and slightly ragged feel. Turns out lots of heroin is present. I didn’t see any impeccably coifed/clothed clones, either.

I felt powerful and in control of moods, auras–whatever--room vibe during our set.
Sometimes I can be taken with myself and worry about appearing to be egotistical. But I AM. I am.
This, happily, occurred before I got drunk. Everything seemed hilarious to me for a while, especially everything that I said. Joke.

With screaming ringing in my ears I found myself half-wastedly pacing around on the 3rd floor of our hotel saying "Where’s that band Seam?" Finally when I moved towards the middle of the corridor (after having stood by the wrong door saying where’s that band Seam 5 or 6 times) Reg opened the door a crack and refused to let me look in, saying first "We’re naked" then "we’ve got some business to take care of" and promised to come visit us in a few minutes.

When Reg showed up sans bandmates I couldn’t stop asking him what the deal was with his band. He left soon after. I guess that wasn’t entirely polite.

----stopped keeping tour journal at this point

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Fall 1994

Cushy Dodge Van
I can't believe we've left. How fortunate that we were able to buy this white-ass van. It now has the chicken. I wanted to kiss the Ford goodbye, but it's happy knowing Rick will take care of it.

Clean fragrant Autumn day; heading toward Vancouver.
We hung out on the Bishop/Colburn porch and chatted with Sari and Havier and their two sweet daughters. They had come over when they heard about Brian's back problems. Sari is an acupuncturist. So, while Brian received his introduction to 10s of needles, the rest of us went into the basement music room and had a gamelan session. Alan bought an entire set at an auction.
What an inspiring Sunday afternoon. We all believe our newly cleansed and invigorated "aura" helped us sail through Customs in record time.
Why does this entry sound like an excerpt from some retarded fantasy story written when I was 13?
I wish I had the time to sit down with a pot of coffee and some cigs and really talk with AB. I learned a lot from him two years ago, and believe we have some similar characteristics. Since he's a few years older, I view him as a type of yardstick. The old "oh, you went through that (Libra) phase too! Whew!" Apparantly our presence in Seattle brought Charlie out of hiding and he now wants to practice w/ SCG again. That's pretty amazing to me. Shit, we're just a regular rock band compared to them.

4 acetaminophen w/ codeine are NOT as good as 1 vicadin. In addition, even though this pen came with my wonderful organiser, I can't stand writing with it.

"The Arbiter" in Vancouver: A metaphysical moment. Confident exploration. Pure mood transmission. Jay drumming with his hands.

Richmond, VA
uh oh. We were sitting in the back corner of the Chronos Cafe and some big older dude came up and said "play pool" and Mark nodded as if "Oh, ok, you can." but it meant: "Do you want to shoot pool with me?"
He's actually doing it! AAAAAAAAAAHHH!

Still coughing. it is beginning to worry me. Never have I had so much congestion. My stomach and ribs ache from intense coughing fits.
I don't know what to do about this. I have no insurance and no time to go to a doctor. It's put a damper on everything. I'm wrestling with myself. This lifestyle and this pursuit seem more and more meaningless to me.
I feel silly, being in a band and touring and hanging out in ugly, boring rock clubs (at my age.) When I look at us I think we are ridiculous sometimes.

That was a moment of despair. I've experienced several low points on this tour. I'm sucking down Goldenseal every hour hoping it'll clear up my alleged lung infection. The really gross thing is that I'm still smoking sometimes.
Fatalistic behavior.
I'm beginning to consider the idea of TFUL282 functioning in a differant way--looser, more individual working on stuff. Living in different cities.
I feel compelled to leave Oakland ASAP.

Circling. Mind going nowhere. I am the antithesis of zen. I'm not finding a solution that will allow us to continue as a band AND fulfill our personal goals as well.
We ALL made a commitment, yet it seems tenuous. We haven't mapped anything out.
Two people are homeless and they won't say what they want to do.
I thought by the end of this tour we'd have at least a working idea of our near future.
No one brooches the subject.
Cognitive dissonance.
Ambivalence is not the word to describe my divided stance. half of the time on this tour I've thought--I've strongly believed--that we are fooling ourselves and shouldn't be in this business (at OUR ages).
I'm facing many decisions but I feel (fear) that important outcome-swaying information is being withheld from me.
If all angles can't be revealed, how can I make a decent choice?
A plethora of stated AND covert agendas.
Is it a game entitled "I can't decide what course of action I'll take until YOU decide what you're gonna do"?
I wish I could purge my mind of these thoughts and be more creative.

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Spring 1995

Live Tour 4/??/95
Thwarting Forever Ubiquitous Lameness
Totally Fuckin' Unbelievable Licks
Titual Ford (of) Underbeef Lozenge
Tingling Fuzzy Undulating Liver
The Fat Uncle's Lodge
Turds, Farts & Uber-logs
Torrential Flood of Ugly Losers
Torpedo Farts Unusually "lishy"
Tour Flunkies Under Live
Tubular Flagellation Undeniably Lucious
Tight Fisters Use Lube
Tit Fuckers Using Licorice
Turd Fanciers Union Local 282
Tit Fuck Uranus Lengthwise
Towards Furthering Universal Levity (lewdness, licentiousness)
This Feels Unaccountably Ludicrous
Tubby Flesh Uproariously Lurid
The Flappy Udders Lactate
Turd Farmers Unquestionably Loyal
Thighs Forced Upon Larry
Totally False Useless Lard (Larvae)
Thick-headed facebusters unwilling to listen

I wonder if there is any meaning behind the following chain of events.
While dining on a crumby excuse for a salad bar at Shoneys in Des Moines, Steve Houghton & his children visit us. He knocks over a glass of root beer. His youngest daughter says akden...akden (accident).
Steve later tells us that it sucks in Des Moines.
Pondering his statement while we gas up in nearby Newton I become possesssed by the "why does everyone accept mediocrity" tweak. I sing: "It's not that hard to make things good" Mark adds "Quality is not unattainable" Gibbs (our soundman) is delighted with these nice/smarmily singsong sentiments and delivery and thinks its a perfect chorus.
As the gas station attendant is staring out his window at us while talking on the phone (to the cops?) Hugh and I are chanting "Beer, beer, beer is that way"
Five miles later the right rear tire blows out and we're stuck on a small left hand shoulder with semis roaring past. We gather all the tire changing implements only to realize no one has the key for the small padlock which keeps the spare from being stolen. It's funny and not even very amazing. Jay manages to break the little padlock by jamming an extra-long screwdriver through and twisting. Yay, teamwork, ingenuity and a possible second career as a criminal.
Our jack is too small, however.
Jay and Mark set out to find a phone or a gas station, a ride, anything, while the rest of us smoke and add extra layers of clothing and jump around.
Jay and Mark return, having used a phone in the nearest house--the owner even gave them a ride back. We wait for nearly an hour for the tow truck, sometimes pacing, sometimes singing and dancing until a Highway Patrol man cruises up saying "Everybody's standing around not doing anything"
We assure him we were just waiting for the tow truck and he gruffly orders us to wait inside our van. Within 10 minutes another patrol car whips into the small space left in front of the van, cherries on. He's nicer. He says he stopped because he's looking for some young runaways. Could we have been reported by some car phone jockey? Hey--the Indians dance and we are just dancing for the tow truck!
We ask him if he could radio AAA after he wonders aloud why they haven't arrived since they're only 3 or 4 miles back that way.
10 more minutes, still 70 miles from Iowa City, running out of beer-purchase time.
AAA finally shows up and changes our tire. The spare is frighteningly lacking in air pressure. Ok, no problem. We'll stop at the first station, get air, call Jeff.
We exit I-80 at Grinnell, drive 3 miles into town past 3 closed gas stations. Hugh meanders through a grocery store parking lot, stops, goes in to see if anyone can point us towards a 24-hour station.
Ah, its a "Kum n Go"! Jay and Hugh manning the tire checking and not understanding each other until they both fear they've overfilled two tires. Discussion. Re-enter the store (after the initial bathroom visit) & buy a tire gauge. Turns out only measures up to 50psi while the van's tires are 65 psi. Amazing. The clerk tells Jay he should've read it before he bought it and with that missive completed returns his money.
"So, that's Grinnell!" we say as we get the fuck out.
Oh, yes...and the loft is now completely jammed full of items.

Getting the feeling that driving all day everyday is a job I've done for years. Now on the 80/90 toll road in Indiana waiting for that small pleasure of seeing the time zone change marker. How many trips on this stretch now?
Hideous mundanity of service plazas is made more apparant in my mind while reflecting on our accidental 2-lane detour in Illinois where we drove through Andover pop. 600 and Cambridge pop. 2100. Old homes, real life.
I feel compelled to begin questioning these service plaza customers. "What do you think of this? Does it please you to see the same fast food chain and yogurt shoppee every 30 miles? Do you think about these convenience centers at all, and, if so, what? Is it a good idea? Do you ponder the psychological or psychic impact?"
I guess only 3% will even understand the question or believe it is relevant, important, worth being analyzed.

Day Off: Monday May 01, 1995. Rain rain rain rain rain rain rain. Drive drive drive drive drive drive rain rain rain rain rain rain rain.
Orange. Part of bad banana. Mediocre Mexican plate. Trail Mix. Bread. Cheese. Tomatoe. Strawberry. Raspberries. bad coffee. M&Ms. French Fries. Fish Sandwich. 2 bottles of Beer. Beavis & Butthead. Motel. boredom. sloth. Yellow mucous deep in lungs, coughing, mentruating violently.
1/2 of Bristol is in Virginia; 1/2 is in Tennessee. Surrounded by malls on the outskirts. Haven't changed clothes since yesterday. boredom. sloth. mucous.
Moritorium on discussing tour. Because it's the day off. I usually hate day's off. Crabby. Whiney. Can't stand sleeping in the same bed with anyone except Rick. Don't breathe on me. Don't accidentally touch me. You snore like a pig. You snore ON PURPOSE!
(Rick doesn't snore.) I almost always despise day's off.
Unless I can escape.
Much better to work.

5/3/95 Augusta GA Hotel
Gibbs is playing some extremely palatable (in a good way) guitar. It's late, I'm kind of drunk. I keep thinking it's a relief to hear him play. He's very good--it's the first time I've experienced him "jamming" like this.
Jay's having his nightly talk w/ Ray. The way he talks makes it seem like Ray is here in the room. Mark writes. Brian crams himself under the sink & listens to something on his walkman. Hugh continues to work on his crossword puzzles. I write it all down and miss my babe.

Charelston SC looked like West Oakland. Today we drove along Highway 78, passing through town after town made up of shack-like dwellings, beautiful decaying monster homes, noveau-riche white trash show houses and trailers. I felt homesick for Chico. Everyone has those green or white metal porch/lawn chairs.

I'm going to change my last name to Teedote.
Mark's new name: 54 Eggs.
They made me king today. I tried to explain to them that as far as I knew only men were kings. But they don't understand talking. I acquiesed.
There was no crown or scepter. Instead, as is apparantly their custom, a small army of cats was assigned to me. I think there are 27 cats, but some look identical and others occaisionally disappear except for their tails.
It's not too formal-looking, not like the cats are trailing me single file, or preceeding me in a perfect crest formation. No, its more organic than that. I hardly ever trip over one or step on one's tail. (I did a few times during the first couple days)
Its quite a mixture of feline personalities. The tamest cats usually stay nearby and are interested in being named. The wildest cats have made it clear that they don't want anyone to place a name upon them & additionally they would never deem to reveal their true names to me. But they are very loyal, nontheless. Oh, ALL cats have their own true animal names. it's just hard to tell with the tame ones. Some of them seem as if they'll gladly abandon their own names for the title I bestow upon them. Two cats are so dumb I bet they keep forgetting their true names.

Heading to Omaha, Nebwabska.
Alternatiing between feeling groggy, anxious, unhealthy and lustful. Lustfull just in general. Sets my controls to worldwide search for any real or imagined titilation. Meaningless, harmless (fairly), stupid. Could apply that restless energy to something productive. Ah, fuck: I've written that before.
Time for a new walkman.

After show writing:
Ed (from Live) brought his classic cruiser bike into the venue and people took turns riding it around inside the auditorium. it was a massive, multi-tiered concrete box, big enough for a circus or monster truck show.
During Paul Borge's [Pete Droge--my always confused mom refered to him as Paul Borge] sound check, Brian was walking the cordoned-off area's ramps and hallways playing viola along w/ thier cover of Run Through the Jungle and the rest of us were stupid-dancing out in the GA pit.
I wanted more than anything to have a turn on that bike.
Our set was difficult for me. I may've jinxed myself by scanning the crowd a half hour before we took the stage & thinking they looked really straight (just like in DC, but with a more redneck "hue") ha!
Sure enough, the guys on Brian's & my side of the stage were bullish pricks. Mark and Hugh faired a litle better. Sometimes I feel so self-contained and assured of my place in this circus that little fuckers flipping me off and braying "You suck! Get off the stage!" etc. seems hilarious or bounces right off and back into the mass of pirahana-like teens.
But that night I could feel the abuse trying to work its way under my skin. We did a short, fun and revengeful noise jam which freed my mind a bit because I knew it ticked 'em off even more. I split the stage and quickly helped move our gear towards the load out door, basically blowing off our 2 'shroom-loving punk friends from Kansas City (whom I'd put on the guest list).
At that point it was more important to return to myself.
In catering I asked Andy, Live's tour manager, if he ever turned his walkie talkie off.
"No, I CAN'T" he said, spilling his soup answering a call on the afore-mentioned device & running out of the room.
After dinner I asked Joel (management) if I could ride Ed's bike. He said of course.
(He and Andy and Kenny (management) all like me now because I both professionally and girl-ly warmly acknowledging powerful man-ly thanked them for being so accommodating in Davenport, IA for our "family night")
Bike. Release! Beauty, positive. cool red one-speed smoothly climbing up and racing down the ramps in the sectioned-off areas, around the empty hallways in the unused half-circle behind the stage. Security ignoring me on the bike because I have the plastic seal which places me above their jurisdiction.
WHOOO! Down through an underground extrance by a parking lot, back up the other side saying "BOOP!" echoing.
Elaine (from Pete Droge band) drew a TFUL282 picture and left it in our dressing room. We all chose to sit in the hallway outside our room, sprawled on the floor talking to Elaine and Pete while Live furthered the industy's cause.

Hit the full moon after 2 too-long days of driving wall. Don't know where I am, who I am. Dreamt about black funnel clouds touching down on either side of the freeway in some remote area. Therese, the accountant from my old job at the Mix Bookshelf, was driving the van and we had to go extremely fast.
What does THAT mean?
Nearly impossible to know how long we've been out, but this unknowingness should be noted as a recurring psychic point reached on each tour--the point where I find it easy to imagine that is ALL my life ever was & that the supposed home and life I left doesn't really exist anymore.
Laboriously distracted, I think: 3 weeks, maybe 3 weeks.
I've been volitile for 2 days--the pathway to a shitty attitude is wide and open and smooth in my mind.

Driving through the Cascade Range. Snow on the peaks. The areas of WA state we've never seen until now are impressive. High desert sage-filled stark rolling hills into flat plains then fir-covered craggy massive peaks all in one hour.
Our set last night in Kennewick was explosive. We were definitly "on." A cohesive unit. I didn't give a flying fuck about the audience and they seemed to react positively to that--funny!
Confidence poured into my blood stream (chi power, full moon, whiskey, lust, insanity) and exuded from my rolled-back eyeballs as I simultaneously flipped the audience off and displayed the heavy metal satan sign.


*sick; bronchitis?*saw inside of bus
*we can't decide on anything *it was cool
*not cohesive enough
*too many agendas
*too hard
*got tired & forgot

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Summer 1995

Summer Tour 8/95
Chapel Hill
Arrived comfortable w/ our tardiness. The fear of whiling away another extended evening into late night inside the black-painted cement club universe actually propelled me out the door into the multi-layered Southern heat. I could barely walk at first and could only keep moving by reminding myself of the hundred other times this occured.
I knew my way, I was alone and briefly in control of my destiny. This was the necessary split caused by too much sloth and companionship. My mind does as little work as it can in order to preserve a sense of sanity.
So, yeah, walked, sat in a cafe eating bizarre vicceysoise (sp?) surrounded by the toney college town-style yuppies who I bet could smell me from their tables.
Drank a slightly off-kilter iced cap (they put something else in there that triggered speed-like diarrehea and non-speed-like free-wheeling mood swings.)
I couldn't appreciate music--this is before we played.
I had no idea why anyone would come to a music club. I stood in an open space, simultaneouly not understanding anyone near me and also fearing them. I was on display in a plexiglass box; stiff-faced, only no one was looking.
While we played I loosened up considerably, but was still unable to see the crowd, and it was big: 400 or so. They liked it but I couldn't detect any particular mood or vibe. But I don't care right now.

Yeah, so. This shorthaired girl approached me saying she liked it. Intensity beaming outwards. I'm often taken aback by the intensity of people's reactions to what we do, but that's another trail. She listens to mainly hardcore (HA! Got one! I thought to myself, gleefully). She wanted to know how long I've played bass, how long we've been a band. She was deeply affected by us she said. Wow. I don't know how to react to this--anything I say sounds trite or hollow. I ask her name. K______. She leaves and I go back to the post-show half-crocked, ears blown out lunatic babbling in the dressing room.
Jay and I decide that everything's great except for loading and driving. It's all just fine but for those hideous tasks.
No one else bothers to clear their shit off the stage yet, even though a good 15-20 minutes has passed. Then I'm up there alone winding cords and reciting aloud to myself the list of why this "job" is better. "I don't have to do inventory. I don't have to pull orders. I don't have to check in stock..."
K______ is suddenly there on stage handing me 2 zine-looking booklets--one has a sandpaper cover. It dawns on me that she likes me. We look directly into each other's eyes. I don't know what she expects or who she thinks I am. This girl will be hurt by her own intensity, her own construction of reality. (I can stand behind that statement after reading through her pain/love/confusion rantings).
it was simple and awkward and a bit surreal there on stage: her searching countenence, saying she should probably let me pack up, not turning to leave. She looked conflicted. Finally blurted out that she's shy, asks me if I want to go have coffee.
I tell her I can't then feel compelled to grab her and give her a big hug. I say "You're nice" then immediately feel shallow. How condescending that word sounds, and, even more importantly: how do I know whether or not she's "nice"? That word is probably furthest from an accurate call.

back to top

Winter 1995

Some point on tour in '95
3:30am Wednesday
The sleep-muddled motel proprietor squinted in the harsh artificial light at the pastel-enshrouded figure leaning over the counter.
"Would you like a room, sir?" the proprietor inquired.
The visitor opened his arms in an encompassing gesture saying, "I have traveled from star to star, across the Great Beaver Nebula--not one inch of which could be described as clean--to join with you, my brother."

11/10/95 Neveda
Today I fly, poopy, through thee clouds. They puffy up there. Scootingee slowly by frighty, ready to poopy soft white bits on me yeah. Spread out flat bottom-like sliding on the ice they bring...on we fly into the white-covered high desert, singing songs of nonchalance, pretending Mr. Whiteclouds are not turing grey.

Salt Lake City
When asked where a good record store is, the promoter sent us to a punk skate record store. We entered and burst out laughing.
Cold. Overpriced yuppie restaurant. Boring opener. Bleak beginning. Guy walking up to table we were "hiding" at, requesting "Heavy Head".
A boy passed out on the floor near the end of our subdued set and I sang "Heavy Head" to him, forcefully. during playing:Thankful for my new punk hair colors

Incredible winds pushed the van as I drove most of the way through Wyoming. I always drive through this state because I can't be passive in the face of its immensity.
It was easy to do 80-85mph, so we made great time.
The on-campus club was impossible to find and no one on the street ("starstruck" yuppie woman, fuzzy hippies, nappy rock children) knew where it was.
Ripping unreal winds, narrow stairs, Hugh freaked and broke his stuff that didn't work. I walked the hip strip 'til I found a shop blasting the Beastie Boys and knew I'd get good food from.
during playing: Hot lights. Detached. Wired
Lots of yakking in the van on the way to Limon (HUGE motel in the middle of nowhere)

Lawrence, Kansas
Two food co-ops, amazing bookstore, 24-hour cafe with great coffee. Lawrence beats Chico, CA by a mile. Arrived late, as per usual. Slow soundperson had to call the other soundperson before she'd change inputs on snake. This made us wait an extra 75 minutes to get food.
Dead atmosphere. The "there's NO WAY anyone will show up" feeling.
More hiding in a dressing room trying not to read the insipid graffetti. Stayed w/ Andy Graham again. Their house caught on fire between our visits.
nex day we had some time to hang out. I was in heaven, eating kick-ass vegetarian food made by jewish hippies. Walking through beautiful run down neighborhoods by myself, wondering why things get run down, i.e.: because people are beaten down and made passive--drugged and depressed by society, OR because order is a low priority?
I must admit that I felt cool as we got our leaving-town coffee and kids asked us where we were going next.
during playing: too relaxed? professional

----played many shows, didn't keep diary----

Columbia, SC
(We didn't want to ask for a place to stay)
Show set up at off-campus bar by University entertainment big buck-funded squad.
Us, Polvo and Edsel in a too-small room w/ minimal PA and a small kitchen for a backstage.
Promoter took us to his house for dinner but the other bands and his friends had eaten most of the food. A few strips of lettuce, pasta and sauce and an inexplicably large assortment of chips, pretzels and cookies. (yurg!)
Right before we went on a Native American-looking long-haired guy in his 40s stopped us to say he couldn't believe we were in Columbia and that he loves our records and tries to figure out the guitar parts. He makes it worthwhile. Sure, the place was jammed over the limit, but it was mostly the predictable populace. Harshout: even after dollar tips with our drink tickets all night, the goddamn woman who owned the bar made us pay for an after-set pitcher.
during playing: in control, unique, loud, hopeful

Bloomington, IN
Pulled in late, too cold, soundman had just left since he was tired of waiting. Jeb Banner helped carry our stuff in, then we hung out with his roommates. When we entered the house, it was clean, smelled like for-real stir fry cooking and the roommates were lined up on 2 couches as if waiting for the relatives to come over for the holidays.
Amazingly perfect food filled our picky California gullets and we sank back, fatigued to the point of the young roommates commenting on it.
4 guys, 1 girl, 2 bands, basement full of equipment. Seniors in college, trying to decide what's important, fully swept up in music. Sounds familiar.
This will be a recurring theme. Us, as the old sages providing some sort of inspiration while desperately trying to hide our doubt and our less reverent view of being in a band--don't want to disillusion anyone (well, not the kids in the good bands, anyway)
during playing: chi power, "city slicker"

Almost didn't make it to this one. The van had developed an interesting vibration on the way to Bloomington. We knew it had to be checked out, and were prepared to use vehicle repair as an excuse to blow off this last-minute warehouse show. Peter had set this up without asking us and without telling Lounge Ax, so we had a chip on our collective shoulder already, and why not just hang in Bloomington? Of course, we ended up doing the show.
First, we hid at a Vietnamese restaurant, trying to smash down the panic caused by increasingly serious snowfall.
Then we hid in the van outside the warehouse, drinking, doing the set list, laughing, and bemoaning the fact that no one going to the show was under 21 (a major selling point made to us--"come on! It's an ALL AGES show!")
At least Bob Weston was there. And Adam, the perpetual show taper, who I realized is like a personification of all TFU fans.
during playing: crowded. shy. uninspired. pre-occupied by weather

Athens, Ohio (NOT GA)
Of course we didn't take travel on 2 lane roads into account. The last 1 1/2 hours were a test of patience and sanity. We spent what seemed like 30 minutes at some convenience store/deli in a small town, wandering in that confused, existenially challenged way. no matter how many times you fail at filling or blocking the view of the void at a convenience store, the lame, inexplicable drive to search again always takes over in the middle of a tour.
The town had that "nothing going on" quality--not much foot traffic.
As soon as we got out of the van a car whizzed by and honked in that aggressive way. Hugh answered the challenged by yelling "Fuck you!"
Great way to begin in a new town.
Bela was already at the bar and we drug him out to the van to show him the prominently displayed photo of Richard (the female dog). This way he had to help carry equipment.
When we returned from dinner, I sat and watched Bela talk while he played pinball w/ expert roughness. He was drinking tonic w/out alcohol because he knew he would eventually get plowed and was trying to wait til the proper time.
I knew I had to extricate myself from this drink-encouraging situation. Lou, the swell, beefed-up Albini-looking promoter asked me three times if I needed another beer. ARGH!
A brief walk, then hiding in the van.
Missed the first band and got sucked in by the 2nd--Geraldine. I'd been wondering if I would actually watch and enjoy ANY openers on this tour. Geraldine weren't necessarily original (Dks, Lauging Hyeanas, Killdozer w/ Jesus Lizard hormone-affecting quality topped off by young boy over the top energy and enthusiastic screaming)
Quite traditional, but it was well done, convincing even, and loud, of course. it provided that visceral jolt.
our set was fucked up before we could even make a sound. Broken mic, screaming monitors, overwhelmed and slow soundman. Bela loaded the stage w/ beers, shots of Jager & gin and the large, definately partying crowd edged towards restlessness.
Once we actually played, anarchic, drunk, stumbling irony blatted out of all the speakers.
We stayed at the singer for Geraldine's house and talked til 5Am to his cool roommates. They showed us photos of their Halloween tradition. They turn this large shed into a walkthrough of horrors, spending multitudes of time on costumes, displays, placement, theme, gore, etc. They all drop acid before the opening.
This was another instance of me talking to 21,22,23-year old college seniors about the validity or (lack thereof) of school. This time felt extra strange, since I was sitting in this black hanging sling chair, wearing black, stoned and ethereal-feeling with a boy and girl at my feet. I kept wondering if they caught the sage aspect of the scenario. It seemed kind of ridiculous, yet the theatrics were appealing.
during playing: drunk. chaotic. a "real" band. lust-driven.

Lexington, KY
Stuck in crawling sports traffic, weakened from the Athens blow-out and long drive, it already seemed like Lexington would be blackballed by us.
For some reason Jay and Mark had assumed it was a small town and were mystified by its skyscrapers. This, of course, vexxed me. I'm learning to try to give different personality types a little slack--I know it's not mandatory to obsessively study the state-- and, if available--city maps before each show.
Pre-show, played horrible pool, ate at an old pub cum yuppie/jock hangout (everyone drinks Bud light. WHY?)
Walked through a dead Market street (SF)-like area w/ Brian, then through older neighborhoods until rain began.
I decided NOT to hide; stuck earplugs in, got a beer and sat up against the wall to watch Massey Fergussen. Another of that young, shorthaired guitar-playing intense screamer variety. In fact, the singers from Geraldine and Massey Ferguseen dressed identically. (stiped, collared shirt. Long underwear. baggy dark pants, Simple sneakers.)

During "Heavy Head" I felt in control. This occurs frequently when I sing--especially if I can hear myself going out over the mains. I know people strongly relate to the words. I hope nobody thinks it's about MY mental state. Rather, it's an observant admonishment of someone else.

Stayed in a house built in 1813 w/ Jaimie. The moment I opened the door to fetch a book from the van, several enthusiastic folks from the show appeared saying"We're here to bust in on the party!" Instead, they bust in on everyone sitting and reading and me bedding down in the other room (hiding). I made sure to look and sound especially tired while asking Mark when we should hit the road in the AM.
They left soon afterward.
There's not much worse than being exhausted with a long drive ahead in the middle of a 2-week-solid run of shows and being at the mercy of your host's environs, pals and roommates. That's why I dropped $100 on a 10-degree rated sleeping bag: so I can use the van as an escape route if none's available inside.
during playing: tired. calm. admirable.

St. Louis
Cranky arrival. Late. Soundman left. Perhaps influenced subconsciously by reading Courtney Love's Lollapolooza tour diary in Spin, I stomped in with each load of equipment saying things like: "They're putting THEIR stuff on STAGE??" and "What, he couldn't even wait 45 minutes for us?" and then to the cute, buzz-headed dyke bartender "we have to put all our stuff WHERE?!?" Then I apologized, remembering how nice she is. It was funny watching Butterglory retreat to the far corner of the room. Later I made sure to explain to them that I just needed a walk and the coffee/beer enema, I mean blend. An additional mood-lifter came from spotting a prime parking spot, leaping from the passenger door, flying across the street and shooing some yuppie away from it --a favorite activity of mine. (You also have to firmly yell: "No! This is MINE." While waving them on.)
The set change took over 45 minutes since, unbeknownst to us, Jay was upstairs having a fight with both the headwaitress and the manager of the restaurant because they had put Ray on hold for 15 minutes, long distance.
The space was jam-packed. We were singing only inches form the 1st row's faces and trying not to hit each other with guitars. It was a jolly time. Difficulty often births inspired sets.There was a pompous, Ignatious-type nearby who I bet was a local music critic. He explained everything we did to his girlfriend, and spoke loudly and officially about The Cure not coming to ST. Louis til '92. He made Brian write down some band name, noticed Brian's scrawl-filled notebook and said, "Ah, you keep a journal. Good! Good!"
He also made it clear that Brian should be honored that he was "impressed" with our set.
No one offered us a place to stay, so we happily drove to a motel in the suburbs.
during playing: rockstar. girlie. happy.

G____ met us at Lounge Ax. I can't believe we hadn't seen each other since Dec.'92.
After observing us for a few hours she began to give the impression that she was surprised by how either rag-tag or free-flowing/roadworn/hard living we were. She hadn't hung out with the "band us" for years. I felt that perhaps we seemed childish to her in some respects--us, the rocker losers, dirt-poor at 33, while she's at a job she struggled through years of school for, a job she excels at and enjoys.
I began to reflect upon how childish we may seem. Do we continue to live this life? To hang on to an age (our 20s?). I keep feeling like what we do is the property of that decade of existence and that one should move on in one's 30s. More and more frequently the thought occurs to me that perhaps I'm in a rut--10 years is a long time to devote to the band scenario.
G & J seem like adults to me--adults who've retained their sense of fun. As our longtime friends and fans become doctors, activists, self-employed graphic artists, landowners, I can't deny the nearness of desperation.
What am I doing for the world? How will I survive after acting like a 20-year-old for so long?
Unbeknownst to the band I've once again set a cutoff point--after touring the US, Europe and Japan for "I Hope It Lands"
Anyway, it was good to talk w/ G____. She's worried about how much the guys smoke, and since then I've noticed as well.
during playing: at home. accomplished. admired.

Soon as we got into town we began to remember why in 1991 we said "Never again."
Oh, the vast ocean of forgetfulness butts up against the land of Aw, Come on, give 'em another chance. It started snowing/raining; we drove around to what used to be the load-in area, got stuck first by a train, then one-way streets. The food was ultra bland pizza from next door and there were 2 opening bands on a Monday night.
Seemed like the giant, hidden, zombie-making machine was still hard at work in Kalamazoo.Yup. Empty streets and empty eyes.
At least during our one-way street tour we noticed a real-looking cafe & later took refuge-- only to leave too early and find that the first band had JUST started at 10:45pm.
One by one we ended up back in the van, and soon Adam joined us (he drove from Chicago to tape the show). I was gleefull that my new heavy-duty sleeping bag really worked!
Filtered back in after major label recording act Gren began. Many more people than I expected; I figured it was for Gren. All the beer was gone; we asked for more.
Gren seemed like a fake band; they had the youth, the dready hair, piercings, ultra-derivative borrowed attitude. They sucked.
I thought of how much money they probably owed their label and got even more excited. Their complete MTV Alterno bullshit was entertaining me to no end. They were such pusses yet thought what they were doing was somehow excellent and important.
We soon learned that the lead singer's mugging and false sincerity were "entertaining" the bulk of the audience as well. They finished a song that had the refrain "Pop star! Pop star!" and people were overly enthusiastically cawing "Poptarts! Poptarts!"
yeah! Poptarts!
The hearty round of "BOO"'s and a female rasping "You guys suck!" warmed our hearts.
By god, these people are here to listen to US! Well, golly. Shucks. Ok, then let's play some real music. It's nice to know that some people still don't get suckered by this Alterno crap.
during playing: "pregnant (fat)" old. good musician.

We split to a motel on the outskirts, looking forward to an afternoon of CONSUMING in

Ann Arbor
Used that college shopping area like the whore it is. Bought the boho staples of my life as chronicled in every issue of The Baffler, and I must say, I had a wonderful time.
We were warned not to lay any confidences on ____ because _____would post them immediately on the Web.
We stayed w/ someone whose cat can jump higher than any other cat. That's NOT slang.
The show was in a band house. Once I got over the urge to hide, feeling uncomfortable about being too old or having seen/done this so many times before I ended up having a great night. I suddenly felt at ease as the evening revealed its West Oakland house party aspects to me.
Lots of freaks and the bands were incredible. It was all weird noise with actual thought and humor behind it--or so I'd like to imagine.

Note from 2000: I stopped keeping a diary at this point in the tour. See Brian's entries for more on Winter '95.

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Spring 1996

4/20/96 Denver
Golden Tempura Bowl's Cold and Flu Killer Miso Ginger Garlic Soup.
Surprise again at how many derelicts decorate Colfax. Not quite like, but still similar to the Mission, the Tenderloin and Oakland's East 14th Street.
The Odgen theater. Too voluminous--even 300 people look like 25 people. Conquering us. Embracing the stage and its atmosphere. We're too loud. We're too loud.
Best part was the giddy uncertainty of the proto-song "Casio Loop"
It made me wish I could hear it from the audience's perspective.
Stayed w/ Robert and Hillary from The Apples in Stereo. Their street made me want to explore Denver. Ornate looming brick houses, slightly bad but beautiful neighborhood.
I was thrilled to see their 4 kitties and play dumb ditties on a cheap organ.

Now we go through many hours of Kansas, arriving to be, yes, late, at motel owned by Indians.

Kansas City
In Denver we learned that Mark's mom was in intensive care.
I had been concerned that something might go wrong, since Peter kept commenting on how quickly and easily this tour had come together.
It was decided that Mark would take Andy's car after St. Louis and drive to IA.

It was good pulling into a new city. It was larger and hillier than I'd imagined, with large rundown and industrial areas. The club had incredibly high ceiling and looked like it had been there since the turn of the century. Hundreds of blues and jazz and rock flyers covered every wall.
First came the promoter: a rock chick, record store owner wearing a mini skirt. She didn't say anthing about that Jesus Lizard shot glass she'd promised me over the phone, so I didn't mention that free T-shirt. Low had shown up, and we remained in our respective camps for nearly an hour until I couldn't take it anymore and went to introduce myself.
When the soundman finally arrived, it was instantly apparant that he was a new contender for the "slowest soundguy in the country" title.

Stopped keeping diary after that.
Played 14 shows w/ Red Red Meat & fell in love with them. Then played many shows w/ Polvo; every night we argued (good-naturedly) about who should headline. We only won once, meaning that they only had to play last once. Fuckers.

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