Ken Stringfellow’s Studio Log – 1995/96
By Ken Stringfellow, 1995-96
I thought it might be useful to give a weekly play-by-play of our LP making, since most people seem to have some at least slightly media-distorted views on what actually goes on in there. I’m sorry (IRONY: because actually I’m happy) to say there’s no Jim Morrison/willing babe #5873 vocal booth antics or any ritual goat slaughtering but we are making the music that goes on the records that give this list much fat to chew, so in the interests of killing the mystique of rock for good I’ll continue on. I know that it might kill some of the surprise, but I think the sound and music will do that effectively enough…
Nick Launay arrived from LA, where he was working on another project, on Tuesday, came straight to my place, and we all went out to dinner. I think we were supposed to talk about the record we were gonna be working on for the next month or two, but we ended up comparing Brian, Jon and Nick’s little psuedo-computer personal organizer things.
Spent several hours a day in our rehearsal space playing most of the songs and exploring things we can do with/to them. Some of the songs changed radically, some seemed fine the way they were. But I think this was the most valuable time we have ever spent making a record. If only we’d spent this kind of time rehearsing with our other producers, I can’t believe every producer doesn’t require it. It really clarifies the things that each song is trying (or failing) to achieve. After night #1 Nick & I went to see “The Last Seduction”, having discovered a mutual addiction to cinema. Indeed, I was so bummed we ended rehearsal (priorities, Ken) too late on Fri. to see “Wings of Desire” at the Varsity, I made sure to see the midnight showing of “Police Story III: Supercop” that night at midnight even though I knew I had a big day ahead.
Got picked up at about 10:30 AM by roadie Joe (who will be working for us in the studio up until we mix or he goes on tour w/Love Battery–featuring Mike M. on drums–whichever comes first), having conveniently missed loading most of the equipment much earlier that morning. There was no room in the van for me, you see. I put most of my guitars and amps, basses and banjos in the van and we drove up to Richmond Beach, where the studio is located. This is the same studio where we recorded “Feel”, “Cosmos”* & “Spite & Malice” in 1990, and “Open Every Window” and the guitar solo to “Going Going Gone” in 1991. Sky Cries Mary, Truly, Pond, TAD, all sorts of stuff has been done here since. It’s cahnged a lot since we were there last but it still retains its unique charm. I won’t even bother to describe the place since it’s a visual thing. We set all our stuff up and proceeded to get to work, getting the drums & amps mic’d up, and we set off on basic tracks to “Please Return It”. We played live, Brian in a small room, Joe in an adjacent smaller room, Jon & I in the big room with a baffle between us. I also sang a guide vocal that won’t end up being used but kept us from getting lost while we were jammin’. After a few tries we got a keeper take, and Joe fixed up a couple of bass mistakes. We discovered soon after that a faulty connection in the mixing board had prevented the mic on Brian’s ride cymbal from being recorded. Oh well. It was already late, most of the day was spent setting up, but Nick suggested we try another song w/the same set up. So we quickly cut “Grant Hart”, it took three takes to regain the energy to play it fast enough to really rock. And then we decided to split, except Brian stayed behind and overdubbed the missing ride cymbal on “Please”–he’s good enough that you’d never know, honest.
Somehow Joe had fixed the bass line on the wrong take! So he fixed the goofs on the right one. We moved the drums into the echo-y room, moved Jon into the room Brian was in, and spent a long time getting sounds (esp. choosing the guitar/amp combo that I was gonna use). We ended up doing eleven takes of “World” and calling it a night. Jon, of course, did the guide (‘scratch’, in the musicians’ argot) vocal.
Decided to do a few more takes, and use a drum machine click track piped into our headphones as a timing reference. The song has a few stops & starts, and the way we’re set up, not everyone can see each other well enough for visual cues. We finally figured we got some good performances. Now, Nick’s crazy idea. He wanted the pre-chorus sections to sound backwards, so he had Brian & Joe play along with the parts they’d recorded but with the tape going in reverse, so when recorded with the tape in reverse, they’d come out forward as backwards-sounding but with the beats & notes in the right place. Yes, it’s confusing. But it worked. It took a long time to do, though. So, we had these little sections of the song that had to join the rest, so: Nick cut up the master tapes and put them back together again, so a verse and chorus from take 14, most of the rest of the sections from take 13, the three ‘backwards’ pre-choruses, and the last guitar chords from take 3. This took the rest of the night, I’m going to listen to a cassette now and see if it sounds OK. Like the click-track thing, this practice is more common than you think. I’ll keep ya posted, unless you hate this and want me to stop.
Studio saga continued
Our first week has come to a close, and althouhg we don’t have a *hell* of a lot to show for it, I think the results are pretty promising. The log for the rest of last week:
We continued to work on the backing track for “World”. Brian added some sneaky overdubbed cymbals & kick drum accents. Jon added a guide vocal so we could figure out where we were in the song, and Joe Bass completed his bass parts on the now complete rhythm track. Joe proceeded to earn his moniker by adding 8-string bass a la Tom Petersson on the choruses and Moog Taurus bass pedals (yikes–2112 here we come). I finished up my basic guitar track and Jon did the same. I also added some gnarly guitar to the choruses, a la ‘Heart Shaped Box’. On this day we took a break to go toy-shopping, I came home with an early 1960s blackface Fender Pro Reverb, Jon came home w/a wonderful 12-string guitar called “Murph”, an early ’60s Hofner guitar, and an Ibanez Phase Tone pedal. We put Murph and the pedal to work right away, Jon doubled his basic guitar with a slinky, syrupy Murph-y sound. Brian overdubbed yet another snare drum in certain parts, and then our A&R dude, Mark Kates, proceeded to kill the productive part of the evening by taking us all out to dinner, and dragging out all of Nick’s John Lydon stories.
Back to work on ‘Please Return It’. I added some serious shred guitar, and attempted to add some heavy metal chord riffage, but one problem we’ve been having is the lack of a decent Marshall head. So I bagged the riffage and went straight to doing some singing. It was sucking, so thank god our horn section showed up. Enter Barbara J Marino (baritone) & Jessica Lurie (tenor), from the Billy Tipton Memorial Saxophone Quartet, who added some seriously amazing shit to this song, plus Marino did some backwards soloing on ‘World’. This backwards kick has got to stop. We also recorded about 15 min. worth of them making keying noises on DAT for an as yet unspecified future use. We sadly watched them leave and I attacked my riffage idea w/a renewed vigor–and a ’67 Marshall head & Les Paul Goldtop w/PAFs, courtesy Al’s Guitarville. I spent the rest of the night doing my lead vocal; Joe & Jon thought it sounded “too much like Eddie Vedder”.
I continued to work on my Vedder-esque masterpiece of a vocal, I even doubled it and stuff, but it still sucked. So we decided to branch off on this tangent of making a sound like the pulsing synth on ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’, & we tried all sorts of keyboard sounds. It got down to me playing a heavily distorted & phase shifted guitar, that Nick put a delay on, and then blocked the channel w/ a noise gate that could only be released by Brian hitting a key on a drum machine in the pattern of the pulse we wanted. Which is a roundabout way of saying it ended up sounding like Duran Duran. So then Brian & I pursued another one of Nick’s tangents, doing two tracks of very fast handclaps, Nick wanting to recreate a sound he heard on a Roxy Music song…all in all a _very_ productive day. But it didn’t stop there. We went back to work on ‘World’. Jon did a marvelous backwards (arrgh) guitar solo, Brian added some shaker, and Jon started to work on his vocal.
The studio had already been booked by someone else this day, so we couldn’t record until 7pm. The whole evening was devoted to Jon’s vocal on ‘World’. I tried to lay low, driving around w/Joe Norcio, we even thought of trying to go see 7 Year Bitch but ended up chickening out of doing karaoke at a nearby (to the studio) Chinese Restaurant.
We checked into Bad Animals Studio B. This is where we mixed the ‘Feel/I Am the Cosmos’ 7″ & ‘Spite & Malice’ back in 1990. REM, Nirvana, Soundgarden–all the biggies w/too much $$ record here. Did an interview first off, also chatted w/Jeremy Wilson, our old Dharma Bums pal. His band Pilot was just checking out. Adam Casper (FOTB engineer) was mixing Mudhoney’s tracks from the Pearl Jam broadcast in the main studio (Studio X). In Studio A, Terry Date (Soundgarden, Screaming Trees) was working with some band that had Death or Deaf or Def in their name. Pearl Jam & Neil Young had just recorded in X, and during the course of the day Seaweed moved into X, and Mr. CNN/Darth Vader/IfYouBuildItTheyWill- Come himself, James Earl Jones, came in to one of the studios to do some voice over work. Plus I hear Kim from the Fastbacks was hanging out there as well. Well, my ‘Please Return It’ vocal sucked so bad I did it all over again, and doubled it on the spot. Jon did some killer harmonies and I went off to see Pharoah Sanders @ Jazz Alley. While I was out having my mind blown, Jon did a couple of extra guitar parts, the studio having a decent Marshall head & cabinet, and Brian added some maracas. By the time I came back, it was all done, and Nick was listening to ‘World’. Everyone else was watching ‘Star Trek: the Undiscovered Country’ (was it ST VI or VII or what?) I listened to Seaweed rock out for awhile, and was all ready to sing on ‘World’ when we decided to call it a night.
Next week: will they ever work on any other songs?
Keptayne’s Laugge III
Our gory details, the third week.
We continued to fix up stuff @ Bad Animals. I did my bck. vocals for “World”, Jon fixed up his vocals, and his lead vocal was comped down. He did some more funny stuff, oohs & ahs and such. I went back in & built upon his ideas and finally we got to mixing, which is what we were supposed to have been doing for the past couple of days. Worked on a mix for “Please Return It”.
Spent the whole day mixing (w/o automation) “Please Return It”. Put two mixes on tape.
A deserved day o’rest. We all had romantic evenings of various sorts, except this time not together…
More rehearsal w/Nick. Went to see Big Chief @ the Moore on Wed., had no luck getting into the Violent Femmes/Possum Dixon show @ the Moore, seems I was the only person in town _not_ on the guest list. I tell ya, I get no respect.
We returned to the Bob’s Bunker & Recording Studio; it seems a few things have changed since the previous week. Bob, the studio proprietor, had returned from a trip to Arizona, where he had been showing a peculiar piece of marble to various interested parties, scholars & such. When Bob was building the studio–actually he’s still building it–he was cutting some Chinese marble up into various floor & wall pieces, when he came across what appeared (to him) to be an image of Jesus (I’m not kidding about this) in one of the chunks of marble. We’ve seen it and personally it looks more like a Klingon warship than an object of worship…anyhow now it rests in the corner of the room where we have the drums set up, but it since its return from Az. we believe it to be the source of some serious bad juju. Being a band of atheists, maybe it’s angry Haysoos getting us back. Here’s some examples of curse-like symptoms that started plaguing us today w/”His” return:
I sat down in one of the chairs in the control room, and immediately one of the legs slid into a hole in the floor, knocking it & me over.
I leaned against a section of wall, which suddenly collapsed and brought a heavy ceiling board down on my head…oooooh, child.
*None* of Joe’s basses or bass amps sounded good, and
*None* of Brian’s snare drums sounded good.
Not to mention the swarm of huge, cow-like flies that coated every wall.
In spite of cosmic intervention, we got some work done. We did a killer basic track for “Everybody Is a Fucking Liar”. We also took a stab at a couple songs that we’ve yet to play live, “Daily Mutilation” & “Every Bitter Drop”. But they didn’t come out that hot.
Joe fixed up a couple of bass mistakes on “Liar”, we attempted to to basics for “Throwaway” and “Hate Song”, but nothing was happening. Our manager, Tim, came to town, and we went to Richmond Beach’s hottest nightspot, The Cabin, for dinner, beers, pool and Simpsons viewing.
We showed up on time for once, and the inspiration allowed us to finally play “Hate Song” correctly, a couple of times in fact. Nick edited the best bits of each take together, and then Joe decided his bass part sucked and did it over completely. We then proceeded to work on a basic for “Song #1″. After a few frustrating tries, we had visitors, which gave us an excuse to not work for awhile. The visitors happened to be Tom Petersson, Robin Zander, Rick Nielsen & Bun E. Carlos of Cheap Trick, plus their tour manager & sound guy. We managed to control our awe, and after a few beers (etc.) were cracked, we were shooting the shit with natural ease. Of course, you can’t have your childhood heroes come by without putting them to work, so we had Rick do some noodling on the outro to “Hate Song”, and then Robin did some screaming on the bridge. The bridge of the song, that is. I made him sound like Capt. Bly just then…ahem. We listened to the other songs we’d done, talked about stoopid stuff, and eventually they went back to their place. We wore ‘em out, hehheh. It seemed banal to get back to cutting “Song #1″, but we tried and honestly I can’t remember if we finished…
Oh, yes, today we went by PopLlama towers and picked up the new LP by the Presidents of the United States of America, plus the new version of _Failure_ with some new photos, collectors take note.
Studio die-ary IV
Nobody felt very good today. As a matter of fact, none of us remembered cutting the backing tracks to “Song #1″ the previous night. Wincing from headaches, we listened to the two takes, and surprise, they were quite competent–even good. I whipped off a scratch vocal and Joe redid his bass, and all was well–6 hours later. We tackled “Sad to be Aware”, a song we haven’t played live yet. We did a bunch of takes, Nick chopped a few sections together, Jon fixed up a couple of guitar goofs & we went home.
Did six takes of “Terrorized”. Threw some essentials into the van, and went to Under the Rail for our Cheap Trick experience. We had already worked out with the Lemons to use most of their gear, very nice of them it was. When we showed up CT’s crew was *still* trying to get the soundcheck done. The band showed up eventually, we watched soundcheck. They did “Big Eyes” and some new song. I got booted from the room for taking a picture. The show began, the Lemons tried to play but the P.A. kept blowing up, we went on late and played like furious weasels–a 40 minute set in 32 minutes. The sax players who played on our record came up and did their thing on “Please Return It”. We played “Daily Mutialtion” for the first time live. Kim & I watched the Trick from the balcony, along w/ various Supersuckers, 7YBitches, SkyCriesMaries, SubPop staffers, ex- and current Fastbacks, Seaweeds, Presidents of the United States of America, Love Batteries, Soundgardens, etc. I know Loren once of Gnome was there, but I think he was glued to the barricade. Oh, yeah, after our set we were photo’d with CT, for possible use in the _Rocket_ or maybe even _Rolling_Stone_. Well, I for one had a great time, the old songs were great, esp. “Heaven Tonight”, and even the new stuff was worth listening to just to hear Robin Z.’s incredible pipe-age. Afterwards there were some depressing shenanigans trying to get back and say goodbye, the L.A. Guns-looking Human Buttplug that was CT’s security guy actually dragged the Lemons’ soundguy out of the building, etc. All the macho crap you’d expect. That’s why they call it ‘classic’ rock. At least I got to introduce Kim to Tom & Bun E.
Joe fixed up his bass parts on “Sad to be Aware” & “Terrorized”, and on “Sad” he added some psychedelic wah pedal bass. We spent the rest of the day fucking around with various versions of “Throwaway” at different tempos, rhythms, etc.
Jon put an extra guitar on a spacy version of “Throwaway”. We did a new, better version of “Daily Mutilation”. We tackled “Precious Moments”, and did a more rockin’ version of “Throwaway”, which we all decided was better. Jon immediately put a guitar solo on it. We closed out the night doing 13 new takes of “Every Bitter Drop”.
This day we had off. Kim & I went to a dog show at the Exhibition Hall, had an early dinner, and then she and the Fastbacks (w/Mike M. on drums) left for a month-long tour. I went to see the Supersuckers at the Colorbox, got a ride home in the 7YB van from Selene & Val.
We listened to all the new takes of “Every Bitter Drop” and decided that the first one was the best. Nick did chop in a couple of parts from other takes, but only a couple. I fixed up a couple of guitar goofs and did some doubling (in doubly of course). Joe, as usual, freaked out and redid his bass completely. Actually he was really freaking out, he just quit smoking and was wearing a nicotine patch. After yelling at Nick & Brian at different points in the day, we actually recommended that he start smoking again for awhile. Like until the record’s done. We did a new version of “Limitless Expressions”, the song we recorded last year for the Home Alive Comp. Nick really likes this song, enough to convince ius to redo it as a potential track for this album. I hope this doesn’t mess with our participation on the H.A. thing. In any event, even if the song does end up on our album, the H.A. album will have a much different version, and will probably come out before our album does. Anyhow, we got the song in two takes, the second being better and having a longer rock-owt section at the end. I fixed my guitar in *one* spot; Joe actually punched in a bass drum part in *one* spot; and fixed his bass part in *one* spot. He also overdubbed a whole other bass line in two parts of the song, _then_ added bass played through a fuzz pedal to other parts of the song, and _then_ added bass played with a volume pedal to the intro. After this we recorded a couple versions of “Broken Record”, each with different parts, just fucking around with it. I won’t say how the last 1/2 an hour of the night was spent, just that it involved lots of feedback, lots of delay effects, and our studio helper Gavin on drums.
We did some gnarly takes of ‘Broken Record’, Jon came up with a new riff that now serves as the intro and bridge of the song, it took 10 takes, but the results were spiffy. Nick edited a couple bits into to take 10, Jon doubled his guitar part, Brian added some little clicky noises, and of course (are you beginning to see the pattern?) Joe redid his part completely. Jon attempted to do a guide guitar track for ‘Elena Aria’ (you haven’t heard us play this one yet), but scrapped it. Next we worked on ‘The Certainty’ a short little song of mine you might have heard at some of my solo shows. We tried it with me playing with Brian, me by myself, and finally Jon & I together, which worked the best.
2.28 Frat Tuesday
Nick transferred Jon’s 4-track demo of ‘Elena Aria’ onto 24-track, and then spent the rest of the day doing Nick things, like cleaning up tracks (taking off unwanted noises and people saying ‘turn me up in the headphones’) and stuff like that. We came out to the studio to rehearse (with headphones) and get some of our stuff, and during the early evening we loaded into the Fenix Above Ground, in Seattle’s historic and often horrific Pioneer Square. Basically the night went like this: I got drunk, I told a lot of awful jokes, I fell on the drum set, I counted the money perfectly after we were done, I went home. I don’t remember it well, but I believe I had fun.
After catching a ration of shit from my bandmates for my performance the previous night, we got to work. Joe fixed his bass on ‘Precious Moments’ and ‘Daily Mutilation’. Nick edited together a version of ‘Throwaway’, and Brian added hihat taps in the parts where no drums happen. The basic tracks pretty much done, Nick wanted to make rough mixes, so I did guide vocals for ‘Song #1′, ‘Precious Moments’, ‘Grant Hart’, ‘Fucking Liar’, ‘Terrorized’, ‘The Certainty’ and ‘Limitless Expressions'; Jon did the same for ‘Every Bitter Drop’, ‘Sad to be Aware’, ‘Hate Song’ and ‘Daily Mutilation’. We left Nick to his mixes.
Nick was still doing them when we returned, he told us he went home at some point but we remained skeptical. Brian did some percussion stuff: maracas on ‘Hate Song’, and a bunch of stuff on ‘Song #1′, incl. tambourim (it’s like a very tiny timbale), maracas & kashishi (a little basket w/beans or some such things in it), and casaba, if you can imagine. Nick thought that ‘Throwaway’ was too fast, and that it sounded really cool slowed down just a little bit. He was right, and so to keep the song in the same key we redid the bass & guitars. Actually we did it twice, ‘cuz we tried two different speeds. Jon added some lead guitar stuff, some feedback noises and some little chime-like parts in the choruses. I added some acoustic guitar (first use of it on this album), and Jon worked on a lead vocal as I left.
We spent most of the day working on building stuff on top of Jon’s ‘Elena Aria’ demo. Joe did some bowed upright bass, and then did some electric bass. After a while he got frustrated and gave the bass to Jon to give it a try. All this took like 5 hours. We were all kind of burnt and frustrated by the end of this, but I tried to do some vocals on ‘Throwaway’, but gave up soon. I said I was gonna call it a night, and Jon said he’d stay for awhile. He worked on vocals for ‘Daily Mutilation’ and started on ‘Every Bitter Drop’. I went to see Fear at the Offramp, I had a nice supply of drink tickets left from the last time we played there, and I couldn’t have enjoyed them more. I was disappointed that Mr. T Experience weren’t playing as advertised, but I wanted to see Fear anyway.
We all had a day off. I slept in, still felt run down and shitty anyway. I took a cab down to the Showbox in the afternoon, I was meeting the people putting on the show that I’m playing Mar. 6. We went to Cafe Sophie on 1st Ave. for an interview. Portions of the interview and the set I’ll be playing will end up in a TV show, eventually. Later in the evening I went to our friend Micheline’s birthday party in the Cloud Room. Joes Bass & Norcio were in attendance, as was good old Irish Ron Garcia, who is famous for being in Gnome back in ’94. Next I tried to get into the Foo Fighters show at the Velvet Elvis, fat chance. Patty Schemmel was in line before me (she was on the guest list) and suddenly I remembered that I had a dream the previous night that featured Courtney. In it, we were making out, and, uh, other stuff, when she reminded me that I was married…of course I was embarrassed and couldn’t figure out why she had to remind me. Then I sat down on the surface of this river and paddled downstream (w/o a boat), observing all this incredible wildlife, like turkeys and ocelots.
After the debacle at the Velvet Elvis, even though I was crushed and heartbroken and figured that I was never meant to see that band and never would, I carried on and went to see 7 Year Bitch at the Rockcandy (another place I had drink tickets left over from a show of ours). They were really amazing, they’re becoming quite professional, you know. I wonder if Caesar’s Palace is in their future? Of course I had a really great time, and afterwards Roisin took me to Val & Selene’s house for a party. I spent most of the night slobbering over/with Jeremy W. the Pilot, he was in the car when I was being driven home but that’s all I can say or remember.
Joe picked me up in the van, and I left him & his son at the Puss Puss Cafe, and drove myself to the studio. I really don’t drive much at all, I’m not good at it. The only mistake I made was driving up to Snohomish County before realizing I was supposed to get off I-5 in Richmond Beach. I made it eventually, and it turned out I was the only person coming in to record that day. Nick & I mapped out all the things we wanted to do, I’d listened to the rough mixes over the previous couple of days, and had lots of ideas. So we did tons of guitar stuff, on ‘Fucking Liar’, ‘Throwaway’, ‘Hate Song’, ‘Sad to be Aware’, and ‘The Certainty’. I even did a guitar solo–despite the fact that I’m incapable of playing one–on ‘Every Bitter Drop’. Jon should be surprised, that’s usually his territory. I also played slide guitar–another thing I’m incapable of doing–on ‘Terrorized’. I looked at my watch and it was 12 hours since I’d arrived, so I headed home.
the 6th week’s 6th sheep’s sick
Now that we’re in deep on the overdub scene, Jon & I have started coming in on alternate days. Jon came in today and did a ton of guitar parts. On “Hate Song”, he did 3 parts, including one he described as being like Thin Lizzy…on “Every Bitter Drop” he did a couple guitar solos, but none kicked ass like my Steve Vai-worthy stylings. On “Sad to Be Aware” he did four guitar parts, including some acoustic guitar–quite rare in these sessions. On “Daily Mutilation” he did some slide guitar that reminds me a bit of Love Battery, certainly not a bad thing, some acoustic guitar, fuzz guitar, and a sitar-sounding 12-string part. On “Precious Moments” he did some subtle doubling; on “Terrorized”, he did some nu-wave shit, and on “Limitless Espressions” he added some Hev-ee chordage. On this night, I played a show at the Showbox. It was a freaky ‘unplugged’ type of deal, which was filmed/recorded for a TV show. I wasn’t up to it in some ways, I was burnt out and sick, but I managed to pull it off. Also, I got to use the phone in their office, my phone had been out all day ‘cuz of some demolition work they were doing down the street. Hazel was the headliner, they seemed more than a little uncomfortable with the whole thing, Jody stopped the intro to one song to annouce: “now I know why this is bothering me so much–when we broke up for awhile about a year ago it was because we tried to play a show like this!”. Micheline Impossible played as well, and played well.
My phone still didn’t work, those fuckers didn’t even seem to be working on it when I left the house to go to the studio. Today I did some tremolo guitar & vocals on “Limitless Expressions”, and then vocals on “Terrorized”. Our friend Gary brought over one of his mellotrons, I’d never played one before, and of course before long it was on everything. Well, it was on “Terrorized”, “The Certainty”, and “Limitless Expressions”.
Another Jon day. I’m not sure exactly what he did, but I know he played mellotron on “Sad to be Aware” & “World”. He did some very Hüsker-ish guitar on “Grant Hart”.
I redid my vocal on “Limitless Expressions”, and did vocals on “Song #1″, “Grant Hart”, and “Fucking Liar”. Vocals are quite a bit more involved than guitar parts or whatever, so each one of these took a couple of hours. I had come in an hour earlier than usual so I could leave an hour earlier, all for the sake of seeing Elastica at Moe, who totally ruled. V. nice people as well. Their road manager just happened to be the one who was working for Blur when we did the Dour Festival in Belgium last summer (they played before *us*, mofos). His threats of physical violence to me if I did not leave the stage IMMEDIATELY (even though I wasn’t in the way and by no means was the only other spectator on stage) keyed me up significantly and perhaps help set the stage for my altercation later (like 4 hours and 72 beers later) with one Mike Musburger, subsequently no longer of the Posies. Needless to say, I didn’t go out of my way to be (re)introduced.
Another Jon day, mostly for vocals, but we started with Jon & I having breakfast with our A&R dude Mark Kates, who also signed Elastica. He and Bill Bennett (one of the biggest of the DGC bigwigs) came out to the studio and listened to stuff. I got a ride home from Mark, we were hanging out on Broadway a little while before he went home. That night I went to see Juned & Mike Johnson at the Weathered Wall. Such a great little show, Juned never ceases to get better each time they play, such great little beers kept coming my way, such great little cabs operate in Seattle to take you home, such great lit…zzzzzzzz.
We had the weekend off. Nick went to Florida to see a band that he’ll probably end up working with play. I slept in til 2, and stayed home. I wanted to see Jonathan Richman, but I couldn’t drum up any enthusiasm from any of my friends to go. I didn’t feel like going alone. You’d think that driving to Ballard was like dogsledding across Siberia, I tried to explain that thousands of people make the trek _twice_a_day_ but no go. I didn’t even mention that Kicking Giant was playing in Bellevue, too, I think most people would have hung up on me. Wimps. I did have a lovely dinner with Susie & Chris Swenson (Susie has been the local DGC/Geffen representative for the last 5 years) and Gaby Skolnek (who will be taking Susie’s job over when Susie starts working at SubPop next month). Also, Kim called me from Cambridge MA, where they were playing (w/Motocaster on most dates), and put me on the phone with Hilken Mancini from the band Fuzzy, who’s self-titled LP was one of my favorites of last year. Certainly “Flashlight” and “Bill” are two massive songs. I was in bed asleep by 12:30, will wonders never cease.
7 weeks for 7 brothers & a ragged tiger
Day off. Nothing happened.
Jon worked. He won’t tell me what he was up to. A reporter & photographer from our hometown newspaper, The Bellingham Herald, came to town to hang out and get an inside glimpse at our rock & roll excesses. I bought the Mellotron we’ve been using for the last week. It took a couple of days for me to figure out it wouldn’t fit in my apartment.
I did vocals for “Song #1″, “Fucking Liar”, “Precious Moments” & “The Certainty”. Jon did vocals on “Daily Mutilation”. Joe, Jon & Toolie (Brian) went to see Weezer @ DV8. As you can see, I spent the evening doing vocals, which really can take a long time.
I did harmonies on “Throwaway”, “Hate Song”, and “Daily Mutilation”. Jon did harmonies on “Fucking Liar”, “Grant Hart” & “Limitless Expressions”. I did an Urge-Overkill-esque slowed down talking part on “Fucking Liar”. Even though the paragraphs are getting smaller, we are actually working our asses off.
We had decided a few days ago to scrap “Elena Aria”, and in its place we decided to resurrect “Will You Ever Ease Your Mind”, a song written in 1989, that we’ve recorded numerous demos of, plus an unreleased version in 1991, and a released version on “The Adventure Club Sessions” in 1993 (a compilation put together by Dallas radio station KDGE of acoustic songs by various Alterna-heavyweights incl. us [duh], Frank Black, Jellyfish, The House of Love, Blur, XTC, the Lemonheads & Suede) All the previous versions were just Jon & I and acoustic guitars, but Nick had a vision of this as a band track. We brought in Jon’s 8-track recorder (not the popular 70s format that chopped songs in half but an inexpensive multitrack analog tape format) and transferred a 1989 demo recorded at Egg studios onto the 24-track tape. The demo has Jon on acoustic guitar and vocals, and me on vocals. From this we began building, adding Brian’s drums, Joe’s bass & fretless bass, and Jon’s electric guitar. It took all day, but it turned into something really cool.
Not just St. Patrick’s day but also Dave Fox’s birthday. I put acoustic guitars on “Song #1″, Jon brought down a Harmony archtop just for the occasion. I also did some trippy detuned 12-string parts on “Song #1″ & “Will You Ever Ease …”. Jon did all sorts of Mick Ronson-style leads on “Limitless Expressions”, and I put some Wurlitzer elec. piano on it. Nick liked the sound I was getting, putting the piano through a distortion pedal and an amp, so we also added it to “Every Bitter Drop”.
The piano was still set up so we put some on “Song #1″, and then some Mellotron too. Brian & Joe came up to take some of our stuff back to the practice place, so we could rehearse on Sunday for our show that night, and while Brian was there he added a cymbal crash to “Throwaway”. We also tried to play this sampled flute sound through my distortion pedal & amp on “Limitless Expressions”, just like we did on a previously recorded version of the song, but it sounded like shit. Jon located and brought down the 24-track master of the version we recorded last year in hope that we might ‘fly in’ the sound from that version. Nick comped my vocal takes on “Precious Moments” and I doubled parts of it. I did some smashing backing vocals on “Sad to Be Aware” & “Every Bitter Drop”, Jon added a Mellotron part to “Sad…”, which ended up being a duet w/me. We worked til 1:30 am, and considering we had a gig the next day, that’s pretty ambitious.
8 1/2 weeks
I was looking forward to having a quiet day off, up until soundcheck anyway, but of course there’s no such thing and I received a morning phone call from Joe Bass telling me he’d “wrecked the van” and nothing more. So I had to wait around nervously and wait for him to call back, having no idea if he’d killed 10 people or what. Finally, the van showed up at my place. Joe came in and gave me the details. We should have seen it coming, the brakes have been strange for awhile, and this time they finally went out completely. Luckily, Joe wasn’t going very fast, but he did damage another car. Our van was OK. Joe, however was not–he found out from the officer responding to the accident that his license was expired and a few other delinquencies that could very easily land him in Sing-Sing for the spring. But the van’s brakes made it essentially undriveable, we parked it at Joe’s and had to load our stuff into the Weathered Wall with Brian’s truck–it took two loads. Jon’s voice was still thrashed, so he couldn’t even sing, he only sang “Dream All Day” that night. I sang the rest, which I guess makes up for my performance at the Fenix last month.
Kind of a fuckaround day. Really we’re waiting for Jon’s voice to get better, until that happens, I just get to putz around. I did some Mellotron on “Every Bitter Drop” and alot of it on “Precious Moments”. We borrowed a Farfisa organ from Kurt Bloch (even tho’ he was still on tour), I put a part on “Hate Song”. Very Steve Nieve. Jon did some 12-string guitar on “Precious Moments” & “Sad to Be Aware”. He also did some more Mellotron on that song & “Broken Record”.
No Jon vocals yet. Nick added some AM radio sounds to “Fucking Liar”. I did the closest things I can do to lead guitar on “Precious Moments”, with slide guitar and some gnarly rhythm stuff too. Jon played my Martin Backpacker guitar on Throwaway. Nick put the vocals through a Leslie speaker. Jon did some lead guitar stuff on “Terrorized”. We beefed up “Broken Record” with some hot Moog synth, which we borrowed from Gordon the Sky Cries Mary keyboard guy; then we had our studio helper Gavin blow a little trumpet. I mean a small amount, not a small instrument. Not that size matters. Jon put some acoustic guitars on “Song #1″. I repaired my trippy backing vocal on “World”.
Our last day at Lang’s. For the time being, anyhow, I know we’ll be back. Joe came in and did a bunch of extra bass parts on “Song #1″, including the “amazing bass harmonics through a Leslie” speaker that he’d been hyping us about for years now. BTW, we borrowed the Leslie speaker from Egg studios. Joe added Xtra bass to “Fucking Liar” & “Throwaway”. Jon’s voice was a little better, he did some harmonies on “Terrorized”, and tried some other stuff, but we decided to wait instead of damaging his voice further. Scott McCaughey came over to visit for awhile. While Jon tried to sing, I took all my shit back to my house in Toolie’s truck. Everything, that is, except for my Mellotron, which I *still* haven’t got from the studio.
Seaweed moved into Lang’s. They were definitely into using the Mellotron in trade for letting it take up 90% of the control room space. In the afternoon, Steve McDonald (Redd Kross bass) and Tim Rogers (You Am I guit/voc) showed up on my doorstep, I was expecting them BTW. You Am I are an Australian band, they toured N. America with Soundgarden last year. Jon mixed their latest LP, called _Hi_Fi_Way_, which happened to enter the Australian charts at #1, and garner a 5-star review from down under Rolling Stone. Tim was in LA remixing (with FOTB mixer Dave Bianco) a few cuts from their earlier album _Sound_As_Ever_. Both of these albums are incredible, and both should be released stateside soon. You Am I plan to tour the US this summer. Anyhow, the two Dando’d up to Seattle to see us play, to see the town, to see their many Seattle friends, etc. Right as they arrived at my place we were assaulted by freak slush-hail-thunder-lightning storm, we ran all the way to the Thai Restaurant we were dining at. That night we went to see Wool at Moe, absolutely kick-ass live as usual. We ended up that night at an apres show at a loft space downtown where a friend of Tim’s lives, we listened to Fang and I started to driftttt offfffff. But we cabbed home, as S & T were staying with me.
Walked around w/Steve & Tim, took them to Sub Pop, both S & T had people there they wanted to visit. Jonathan P. entered the room with a bonafide celebrity (to me): Spot, who recorded many great records incl. Hüsker Dü’s _Zen_Arcade_ & Black Flag’s _My_War_; both life-changers for me. Steve had actually run into him at Wool the night before and it hadn’t even occurred to him to introduce me. Next, we walked up to Rockcandy to check out the equipment we were gonna use for the Joan Jett show. A little background for you non Seattleites: 2 years ago, Mia Zapata, singer for a punk band here called the Gits, was brutally murdered sometime after she left a tavern alone. The killer has yet to be found, and her bandmates have been paying for a private investigator to work on the case since the police are spread thin, busy, etc. The Home Alive Org. was founded after her death to help make the streets safe for women, teach self-defense, etc. How does Joan Jett fit in? On her last album, she & Bikini Kill’s Kathleen Hanna wrote a song called “Go Home”, inspired by and dedicated to Mia. She also included a note about what had happened, and included the P.Investigator’s # “for more information”. Oops. Soon, the Investigator was swamped by hundreds of useless calls, and like a lawyer, charged the surviving Gits for every one, wasting $ that could be helping find the murderer. They called Joan and brought this to her attention, and…essentially she agreed to do a series of benefits with the Gits backing her up. The Gits have continued to play w/o Mia, adding a 2nd guitarist and calling themselves “The Dancing French Liberals of ’48″; you’ve seen ‘em play with us @ the Moore Theatre 6.94 and the King Theatre 11.94. For these shows they billed themselves as “Evil Stig” (Gits Live backwards, or actually gitS livE). They did shows w/Joan in PDX, Vancouver and here, and we were asked to play on this night’s show @ RCKCNDY. Oh, the shows benefitted the Mia Zapata investigation fund, Home Alive, and Seatle Rape Relief. So, on this night, Ovarian Trolley, from San Francisco, played–I walked in 1/2 way through their set and really enjoyed what I saw. We got up there and did a quick sloppy set on their equipment, and for the lart 2 numbers, Steve took the bass over & Tim took my guitar, Joe moved to elec. piano. We did “Anyway Anywhere Anyhow” by the Who and the Velvet Monkeys Theme. We threw the gear off the stage and the Evil Stig show commenced, I thought JJ did the stuff well w/the DFL’s, they did a mix of her songs and Gits songs. I’d certainly rather see her with some punky musicians than the long haired butt rockers she usually has w/her. After the show, Joe, Mr. & Mrs. Auer, 2/3 of Ovarian Trolley, Nick, Steve & Tim, Matt from DFL48, and a few other friends came over to my place for one of my rare parties. I won’t describe the devil-worshipping frenzy that ensued…
Jon took us (Steve, Tim, Nick, Nicky Thomas (who works @ SubPop and plays in a band called Mavis Piggott) out to breakfast, and we walked around Cap. Hill shopping. Went to Fallout, introduced Nick to Tom Price (Gas Huffer/ Monkeywrench), and found a punk compilation that had a song I’d been trying to locate for years, “Nazi School” by Cracked Actor, totally cheesy Long Island c.1981 sorta-punk, the song was covered by my band in High School, the Genetic Defects. We went back up to my place, Tim & Steve cabbed it to the airport. I then was faced with the task of cleaning up the house before Kim came home, I would hate to have her come home from 1 mo. tour to a home that still smells like a tour. Beer bottles out, a little vacuuming, and I made the bed for the first time since Kim left…she rolled into town at about 8:30, we immediately hauled ass down to the King Theatre for the 2nd night of Joan Jett. This time Hater and the Presidents of the United States of America were opening. Tim had given me a couple copies of his CD to pass on to Matt C. & Ben S. Kim & I had a little ‘welcome home’ treat to make the night a little warmer & fuzzier, I won’t say what it was but let’s say I couldn’t stop hugging everybody. After JJ was done, we went to the Crocodile, unfortunately we’d missed Bum, but we did see the end of New Bomb Turks’ set. Kim was WASTED by this point, I think I made a mistake when I introduced her to Spot.
Ken: This is Spot.
Kim: _The_ Spot?
Spot: No (laughing).
Kim: Who the hell is Spot?
Ken: You know, he produced some records you like–Zen Arcade, Black Flag…
Kim: You know Lisa Fancher!
Spot: No, I can’t say that I do.
Kim: Aren’t you Spot 1019?
Ken: That’s a band. Spot is a person, nothing to do with that.
Kim: You’re _the_ Spot?
Spot: Well, I guess you could…
Kim: I’m Darby Crash, maaaan…
Tom Price: (rolls his eyes, laughs later).
Kim: (As we get kicked out) I really love the LA punks! Tell me all about it…I’m a girl, I’m a boy…why is Spot 1019 here?
Needless to say, I had to drive the van home.
Thank god we had a day off. I had to help Kim get her car from the towing lot, it had been impounded after appearing to be abandoned in front of Kurt Bloch’s house. We went to a private screening of “The Year of My Japanses Cousin”, a film by Maria Gargiulo (Lulu FBX’s sister), which stars Selene Vigil, and has little appearances by people you know incl: Kurt Bloch, ex-Muffs drummer Chris Crass, Gas Huffer, Mike Muzz, and even a little bit of me, singing a FBX song. Worn out by Kim’s intense energy, I fell asleep at 9 that night.
Even though the recording is done now, we’re still in the studio mixing. There’s no real purpose to doing logs as detailed as I’ve been doing but I figure I’ll outline the weeks still to give you an idea of how exciting this part is (implied sarcasm).
We had a few overdubs to do, so we popped into our future mixing room, Bad Animals Studio A. Joe put some piano on “Song #1″, we put it through a Leslie speaker. I put forwards & backwards piano on “Terrorized”, also, our friend Michelene was there, so she & I added a little harmony to the choruses. I put some backwards piano on “Sad To Be Aware”, and Toolie (Brian, to the uninitiated) put some tambourine on. Jon did his doubling of the lead vocal on “Every Bitter Drop”, and put some more harmonies on “Song #1″. We didn’t get into the studio until the late afternoon, Joe, Toolie & I spent the morning like this: we met at the site of our new practice pad, which we won’t be moving into until May. It’s bigger than our current one, and we can rehearse 24 hours there, our current one has a business upstairs which usually doesn’t allow us to rehearse during the day, our preferred hours. Jason Finn, President of the USA, was there, we were gonna share the room with them, but he didn’t call me back in time–so we share with Sage & Stella Maris. He was looking at a room for them and…whoever they can find! Afterwards we picked the van up from the shop, we could only afford to have the brakes fixed so it still runs like shit. We went up to Robert Lang Studios to pick up: the Mellotron (it weighs about 300 lbs), the Leslie speaker from Egg, Joe’s weights (!), and some of Jon’s guitars that were still there. Seaweed was there just finishing up. Guess where they’re going next–Bad Animals, just like us.
Day off. Don’t remember it.
We moved to studio B, since A had been booked already. Jon put a new 12-string acoustic on “Will You Ever Ease Your Mind”; He also changed one word in the lyric, which he just dropped into his original lead voc. Toolie put some tambourine on. Jon finished his harmonies on “Song #1″. He did a one note part on each chorus of “World”. He added a heavy guitar to “Hate Song”, and I redid the Farfisa organ part I had done earlier, with something a little less annoying. This meant Toolie & I had to go over to Kurt Bloch’s house and borrow it again, which later caused Toolie & Bill from Stella Maris to return it the next day, along with Conrad Uno’s Leslie speaker. After we did the organ bits, Toolie did tambourine on “Throwaway” & “Daily Mutilation”. I don’t think the “Mutilation” tamb. got used. Actually, I know it didn’t, ‘cuz it’s not in the mix.
Back in studio A. Heart was in B, doing something associated w/their live album. I saw the Wilson sisters, I even petted Ann’s dog. Hehheh. We were supposed to start mixing, but we had a few ideas for overdubs first. Toolie put shakers on “Mutilation”. I put a minuscule Mellotron part on “Will You Ever Ease Your Mind”, and a pretty cool guitar part. Kim & I went to see Mel Torme at the beautiful 5th Ave. Theatre (we’ve gotta do a gig here), Jon put a twangy guitar on “Throwaway”, and scraped some piano strings on “Mutilation”. Nick started to…actually mix a song. He started w/”Daily Mutilation.” We helped load Seaweed’s gear into studio B after Heart left.
The whole day was devoted to mixing “Daily Mutilation.” We had a few technical problems–effects sends that didn’t work, effects that didn’t work, problems with the automation computer program, etc. Joe & I actually braved hordes of drunken sports fans by travelling to Pioneer Square to see PopSickle’s first gig upon moving back to Seattle. We saw their last gig before they moved away–opening for Weezer & Compulsion at Rockcandy to about 10 people (40 more showed up by the time Weezer played–how times have changed). They were great, but I had to get out of there quick. We stayed at the studio for awhile, but Joe wanted to look for some friends at the Crocodile Cafe, walking distance from the studio, so I went with him, hoping to run into the person that books the club. We both struck out, but upon leaving we ran into a long-time Posie fan who had kind of disappeared for awhile. We chatted, and eventually we went to the store so I could indulge in a cigar (big mistake) & conversation. Joe had gone back to the studio…and returned with a funny look on his face. I thought he was kidding, but…it seems Kim had showed up at the studio after having some beers with Kurt Fastback and Tad H. (YFF)…enough beers to make her forget where her car was. So I had to help her find it. She was totally grossed out by my cigar-smoking, I had to wash my mouth out with more than soap. Now, this was all a surprise ‘cuz I thought Kim had turned in early, she even turned down my invitation to see “Nobody’s Fool” (I went by myself). Just goes to show ya. We did find her car.
Decided to add a couple of harmonies to “Mutilation”, both Jon & I did it. Jon did a little Mellotron part, put it through a Leslie. More mixing. More equipment failures. I popped over to Seaweed’s room & did a backing vocal (through the ubiquitous Leslie) with Seaweed singer Aaron. Then I bailed, to Moe, to see the Fastbacks & Flop. On drums for Flop, his 1st show: Dalton Davis, who auditioned for us post-Mike; on drums for FBX: Mike, on a 1-show hiatus from Love Battery. Even Mick Vee was there, throw in Dave Fox on bass for Flop, plus the presence of Joe & I, makes for a lot of Posie alumni in one room. During the FBX set, we presented Kim with a birthday cake w/36 candles, 6 days before the actual date, but who cares. It said “Happy Birthday Punkin” and had a moshing, mohawked cherub on it. Oh, yeh, the ‘backs ruled. Flop was great too. I was listening to their new album tonight…
_Still_ mixing “Mutilation.” Went to see a couple bands at the Velvet Elvis in the afternoon.
Finsihed it. And it does sound killer. Started on “Everybody Is A Fucking Liar”. Kim came in and did a vocal on the Seaweed record. Had dinner w/our A&R ally, Mark Kates, who was in town to see us, Siouxsie, and the Final Tour. Also at dinner: our new local Geffen rep, Gaby, who is just moving here from LA. She’s taking over for Susie Tennant, Geffen rep for the last 5 years, as Susie is be working for SubPop. It all stays in the family, and I couldn’t be happier. Gaby is the coolest, and you should know how high our standards are after working with Susie all these years.
Finished “Fucking Liar” and started on “Throwaway”. Seaweed moved out, they’re done–except for mixing in New York. I’m feeling burnt out. I went to see “The Wild Bunch” with Kim. Stopped by the studio afterwards to find I’d missed a visit from Dave Grohl & Pat Smear; by now, Mark Kates has probably brought a bunch of Banshees over too. But I had to bail, sanity was at stake. On the way home I listened to “Liar” in the car and started to worry the backing vocals were too loud!! I called Nick and told him, at 12:45am, while I wrote this…
We worked on the mix for “Throwaway”. We decided to add a couple of harmonies in the verses, which I did. Alice In Chains began recording in X today. I went to see Compulsion at the Crocodile.
Finished mixing “Throwaway”; began “Song #1″. Had a great meeting with a graphic design co. called Burning Bush. The meeting consisted of Jon & myself, the 3-person staff of BBush, a Geffen person, Ed Fotheringham & Michael Dougan. We drank Red Hooks, played with the computer, etc. Had dinner with Kim, various SubPop & Geffen folk. Went to see Siouxsie & the Banshees w/2 Geffens; walked over to the King Theatre alone and caught the end of the Melvins. Amazing Melvins set, huge crowd. Went back to the studio–“Song #1″ totally kicks butt.
Kim’s birthday. Her 1st present: breakfast w/Danny Partridge. Danny Bonaduce has a radio show in Chicago. He came to Seattle to appear on a TV show. He still had a radio show to do. He wanted to include some Seattle shit on it. He asked SubPop people to go. Kim & another staffer went, Kim dragged me along, we went on together early that morning, told jokes, drank coffee, took calls from Chicago fans, I played “Grant Hart” and the Kingston Trio’s “Scotch & Soda”. DB was actually really cool, he has such a bad rep, doesn’t he? Debris from his drug & alcohol years. Kim has the same problem sometimes. Back at the studio, “Song #1″ was improving even still from its initial awesome-ness. I took Kim out to dinner for her birthday, bought her a bottle of wine (an ’88 Pauillac). Zumpano came over to the studio for some beers, rock, etc. We went to see them & Poster Children play (more dumb jocks making watching the show difficult). Afterwards hung out at the studio for awhile.
Supposed to be a day off. I stopped by the studio to pick up a cassette of new mixes, and found Nick and our assistant Jon working on “Song #1″. Seems the 2-track started buzzing late last night, they gave up and came in this afternoon to solve the problem and put mixes of the song to tape.
Began work on “World”. I took the day off to go to Bellingham and hang out w/family. I fully intended to spend the evening at the studio, but I didn’t get there until about 9:30, “World” was really just shaping up. Toolie & Joe were there, Jon wasn’t. Seems that there was a big party Sat. night, Joe said it was ‘a wild night’ but was unable to explain more. I decided to take the night off.
11th Auer (Studio Logge)
Mixing “World”. I played a solo show at the Romper Room to a small handful of friends. I remember this as a stressful day, but now I can’t remember why.
Mixing “World” & “Precious Moments”. My friend Anthony Smedile, late of Dig (whose new band the Hollowbodies is really good) came to town to visit.
Mixing “Precious Moments” (which rocks) and “Hate Song”. In studio B, Jon was remixing two tracks from _Neurotica_ by Redd Kross. This 1987 LP was a *Major* influence on the Posies at the start. The label that originally put out this record, Big Time (LX Chilton & Hoodoo Gurus also were on it) went tits up but now there’s interest (rumor mill sez SubPop) in re-releasing it. The band wanted to hear a couple songs remixed to see if remixing the whole LP would sound better, Jon offered to do two songs for free. “Peach Kelli Pop” and another unreleased track were what they sent. The unreleased track has Vicki Peterson from the Bangles singing on it, the song is a primitive version of “Bubblegum Factory” with different lyrics.
Mixing “Hate Song”. Jon continued to work on Redd Kross. We rehearsed w/o him. Scott McCaughey & I did a Minus 5 gig opening for Liz Phair at the Moore Theatre. Afterwards socialized w/Liz a bit @ the Nitelite Bar down the street. Was gonna see Chris & Carla @ the Crocodile, but they played too early. Anyhow, Kim & I just bailed from the bar and went home.
Mixing “Hate Song” & “Limitless Expressions”. Nick & Jon had different ideas for mixing HS, and in the end it was shelved and Nick moved on to LE. I took Anthony on a whirlwind rock tooor of Seattle–Adam Ant @ the Moore (totally VH-1, ick). Mary Lou Lord @ the Crocodile (couldn’t stay for GBV), and Motocaster at Moe (amazing–actuallly have Keith Moon on drums). Anthony moved to our place for the weekend–Kim sez no out of town guests during the week.
Mixing “Limitless Expressions”. Went down to hear the mix, then we practiced for a couple hours. Tonight we played a gig at the Crocodile Cafe, located just a couple blocks from the studio. We blew off soundcheck, mostly I hung out at the studio or dined w/Kim. Watched a little of the Momm
Latest and Degradest
Hmmm. Sometimes playing shows in burgs of less than 250,000 people when you haven’t released an album in 2 years, and you’ve never really been that famous can be less than phenomenal in terms of being phenomenal. Here’s where we went, and what we did.
Drove out to Pullman (population: about 21,000). Waited for over an hour for anyone to show up to the club (the Zoo). Pullman was our first indication of how cold (in several ways) this trip was to be. Since there was no restaurant within walking distance, and no one felt like driving around looking for one, I ended up at Burger King, next door to the club. I had a fish sandwich. I’d like you all to know that this was the first time I’ve patronized a fast food outlet for several years. I became depressed, and later, somewhat queasy. Caustic Resin, the excellent band from Boise whose new LP _Fly_Me_To_The_Moon_ on Up Records is wonderfully psychedelic and murky and howling and buzz-bomb-like, opened the show. They spent the first song trying to light a pool of lighter fluid on top of a small oil drum on fire. The song was a version on the Beatles’ ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ which sounds like it would be corny but you’ve gotta hear it. Great guitar playing by Brett Netson, who used to play bass in Built to Spill. 80 people came to the show. Not only did I forget to sell any T-shirts (the new ‘Archies’ drawing of the Posies that Chris M. did), The promoter only had enough cash to pay 46% of our guarantee…ouch! We drove all night to Idaho after the show.
I woke up when we stopped for breakfast at a truck stop near Boise. I took the wheel after we were done. I had tried to do a couple phone interviews but none of them worked out. None of them worked out the whole tour! I drove the rest of the way (through the breathtaking Sawtooth Mts.) to Ketchum ID (population: probably less than 2,000). Once again, no one was at the club when we were supposed to do soundcheck. We did it eventually. The club, the Dyn-O-Mite Lounge, is one of two in the town owned by Bruce Willis. No, he wasn’t there. But he has lot of dough to blow, so we were paid a lot of money and they gave us 3 nice hotel rooms. Brian, Jon & I had the hottest Thai food ever for dinner. When Joe went down to the venue half an hour before we were supposed to play, there were 4 people in the bar who didn’t work there. By the time the rest of us showed up (Caustic Resin was going to play but their van broke and they cancelled) the crowd had swelled to almost 25 people, who told us to hurry up and start because they “wanted to boogie”. They even tried to do so, bless their weird little hearts. About 3 people there actually knew who we were, and most of the people there liked our set, but geez. After the show I went to a bar w/Jon for a couple of stiff ones (we needed it) and we hit the road for Montana.
I woke up when we arrived at Joe Bass’ friend Barrett’s house in Bozeman (population: nearly 20,000). After I cleaned myself up Joe & I explored the town where he lived for 11 years. Joe came out to visit his brother for a one-week skiing vacation and ended up making Bozeman his new home. He played in bands, got married & had children, booked shows (Sonic Youth, Flaming Lips, Firehose, Jonathan Richman…). Everybody still knows Joe. We were interviewed by old friends of Joe at the college and commercial radio stations. We had dinner at Casa Sanchez, with owner Ron Sanchez. Of course, Joe used to work there. We went to Ron’s house and saw all his records, guitars, his basement recording studio, and his amazing photo album. Ron grew up in San Jose CA in the ’60s, and took pictures of bands that came to the bay area. Just touring bands playing the clubs, with funny names like ‘The Who’, ‘Jimi Hendrix Experience’, ‘the Move’, ‘the Doors’, ‘the Yardbirds’ etc. He even had a picture taken of the little band that was opening for Procal Harum on their 1969 tour. A band of very youthful English boys called ‘Led Zeppelin’. All these pictures were taken from about 5 feet away, so you can imagine how incredible a collection this was. The musicians in them didn’t look like larger-than-life rock gods to be postered on pot-smoking teenagers’ bedroom walls, they just looked like bands that you could go see playing in clubs at the time, like when you go see the Fastbacks or the Posies and you talk to them afterwards or don’t even bother because it’s no big deal. The show: at the Cat’s Paw, normally a poker & pool joint frequented by cowboys. A couple hundred people showed up. We played a pretty decent show. Mont. St. Univ. is in this town, and there were a lot of people from foreign countries at the show. One of the two people interviewing us after soundcheck for the college paper had seen us play in Amsterdam. And what did we do after the gig? Drove all night towards Utah.
This time, when I woke up we were near Pocatello ID. I drove the rest of the way to Provo (population: 86,800). We got a couple of nice hotel rooms, had a good soundcheck, had dinner at an Italian restaurant (I ordered pasta with ‘red sauce’–other items on the menu had ‘meat sauce’ so I thought I was safe. Guess what–I wasn’t!). Utah is not a state of wine conniseurs. You can go to jail for driving with an open container rum-raisin ice cream! The waitress at this Italian restaurant had never heard of chianti. During the first band’s set (they were supposed to be the second band) Caustic Resin showed up. The bass player walked in the club and said “we were high and we got lost–where do we load in?” This admission set off many alarms and the club was going to refuse to let them play. Finally, after a lecture, they were allowed to get on stage. Tom Romich, the stoned bass player, forever earned my love when, while facing the Westworld-like 6’4″ cowboy security guards blocking his entrance, asked them “can I have hug?” We all knew they were going to push things as far as they could go. For their 3rd song, Tom did the introduction:
“This song is about…having SEX…when you don’t want to!!”
Stunned silence from the crowd of about 250 (about 20 people left during CR’s set because they found them ‘offensive’. Utah kids are not the kind who rebel; they’re the kind that would turn in those who would try to).
“This song is about how I was fucked up the ass by a camp counselor when I was 10 years old!!”
At this point they tried to start the song but the cowboys took to the stage and pulled the plug. They intervened due to strict rules about “cussin'”. I say, what about the rules about “cousins”, you damn blue-skinned hicks?
We apologized profusely for making them drive hundreds of miles to play 2.08 songs. We made sure they got paid and played our set. Before the show we had been talking to Scott, a bulky developmentally disabled guy who is a huge music fan and can remember the strangest details of the many shows he’s seen. We had Scott come out and dance during ‘Grant Hart’. He was a great pogo-er. This show lost so much money that the promoter couldn’t pay us at all, and he agreed to pay us within the next month. OUCH! We went back to our hotel and I washed my hair, which I do once a week. The next morning I gave Joe & Brian some $$ and put on clean clothes (not in that order) and Jon & I took a shuttle to the airport and flew home. Joe & Brian are driving back as I write this, they should be home this evening.
To give you one more idea as to why I found all this so depressing is that during these same 4 days my wife’s band was playing to at least 15,000 people a night opening for Pearl Jam, living in total luxury–flying from city to city, having every need seen to, etc. Not that she doens’t deserve it. But hey–I can’t help my feelings and right now they’re the consistency of finely chopped liver.
Tomorrow Jon & I flying to New York City, NY (population: 7,322,600). This leads me to my usual Schedule update:
11.8 Big Star/Meat Puppets @ Tramps, New York NY. This show is sold out.
11.10 Posies/Loud Family @ Slim’s, San Francisco CA (population: 724,000)
11.17 Posies @ the Royal Room, Bellingham WA (population: 52,200). 21+
11.18 Posies @ Orcas Center, in or near Eastsound WA (population: 800) on Orcas Is. All ages.
11.21 Matthew Sweet/White Flag (w/Ken on guitar) at a club in Riverside CA (population: 226,500). Check local listings for the name of the club.
12.31 Posies/Super Deluxe @ Moe, Seattle WA (population: 516,300). 21+
That’s all. Bye.
Nigh (t) of a ,000 bigstars
Back again, which implies I left again. Bad German accent saying I need a wacation.
Jon & I headed off to SeaTac for the 1,000,000,000th time. Flew on airplanes. Read. By the time we were circling LaGuardia Airport, I was thinking…”I’m not as excited about this as I should be”. Even the glamourous rock life needs some perspective to keep it fresh and exciting. I didn’t feel like going out by the time we checked into our hotel. The Hotel Pennsylvania, right across the street from Madison Square Garden, was the world’s biggest when it was built earlier this century. 1700 rooms. Its phone number was immortalized by Glenn Miller’s hit song “PEnnsylvania6-5000″. SOME people I know can still remember when phone numbers employed such mnemonic devices; indeed, SOME people I know can remember when Seattle phone numbers had only 6 numbers…Jody came up to visit me in my room for a few minutes, after he left I put some more blue dye on my head, read, and zzz’d.
Breakfasted with Jody. Struck out on my on to do some hvy. duty shopping, which is what one should do when in New York. First stop: my childhood hangout, FAO Schwartz, the toy store adults can learn to love/hate (depending on the power of the greed organ in their child’s bod). I was shopping for some Hello Kitty/Sanrio paraphenalia to present to Hollowbodies’ drummer Anthony S. for his birthday, which is the same day as mine, which is the same day as Henry Winkler (who’s 50), Grace Slick (who’s significantly older), and HELLO KITTY. It’s true: 10/30/70-something. Anyhow, I hadn’t been in the store long, when two girls stopped me and, looking startled, told me they’d seen the Posies in Madrid. They had a cashier take our picture. (Cashier, skeptically: “Is he famous?” Me, firmly: “No.”) Later, as I was browsing the Sanrio section, I ran into Tom Petersson of Cheap Trick. My turn to be pleasantly startled. Seems they were in town to play on the Conan O’Brien Show, plus they’d be playing the same club as Big Star in a week or so. He said they’d come down to the show after the taping, but they never did. After FAO, I visited the ultimate Japanese bookstore Kinokuniya in Rockefeller Center, got some books, and some ridiculous but gorgeous Japanese stationery (one of my major weaknesses). Then I stopped in Manny’s Music and got some guitar picks–thank god I remembered. Eventually we soundchecked and we played our show. The Meat Puppets opened, I was sad because some rude Big Star fans yelled for Big Star all through their set. Finally Cris Kirkwood, the bassist and Mickey Dolenz doppelgänger, said, “Oh yeah, BIG COCK!!” in frustration. You should all know that I love the MP’s, and I will go as far as saying I dropped acid for the first time at one of their shows. So there! VIPs that night included some D23 list people–incl.the mysterious Geoff Shandler; Evan Dando, who looked very good and was very friendly and coherent and got Alex stoooned; our booking agent Bob who I forgot to call and luckily books the MPs so he was there anyway and I didn’t look like a dork. Tony Maimone, who played bass with Pere Ubu and Bob Mould, told me he loved my bass playing (I thought I sucked the worst shit ever that night), and even compared me favorably to my hero Joey Spampinato (NRBQ). Worst/best ‘musical’ moment of the night: our attempted encore of “PEnnsylvania6-5000″.
After another breakfast w/Jody, Jon & I spent the whole day flying to San Francisco. I had arranged to stay with a friend, and she & I went out to coffee and cake (I’d forgotten to have birthday cake on my birthday!). On the way we stopped in a bar and talked to formerly-of-the-Dwarves BLAG DAHLIA, and the much less funny VADGE MOORE. Blag happens to be very funny, anti-heroin and pro-acid.
Traipsed about the Haight by myself. Had breakfast/lunch/dinner all at once at SF’s best taqueria, El Balazo. Our show at Slim’s was well attended, twice as many people as when we played there 2 years ago, but they didn’t DO anything. They refused to move. What boring fuckers people can be. We played with the Loud Family, who have a new bass player and one less guitarist since I saw them last. They were great, really powerful. I think I had something to do with a line or harmony or two on some of these new songs, but it sounded like them, I could never have told you different. VIPs: Pansy Div. drummer Dustin; former Game Therory and Loud Family members too numerous to mention; Kim & my favorite Bay Area journalist Gina Arnold, who is mysteriously hated in her home region; my former heartthrob (don’t worry folks, I’m over it now!) Michael; Sky Cries Mary producer Norman Kerner; D23 listers Loren K. and Anna B.–thanks for helping me sell the shirts! VIP no-shows included: Anthony S., after he had said he would come up with Ruthie from Magnapop and everything, after I bought him presents and all…the Ovarian Trolley folx didn’t come either. Sigh. Non-musical highlight: I claimed my allegiance to the Bay Area’s best bands: the Loud Family and Metallica.
We all went home except for Joe. Non-musical highlight of the total trip: I read 4 books…
See you at:
11.17 Royal Room, Bellingham WA (Posies)
11.18 Orcas Center, near Eastsound, Orcas Is. WA (posies all ages)
11.21 House of Rock, Riverside CA (Ken plays guitar in White Flag opening for the dreaded matthew sweet)
12.31 Moe, Seattle (Posies & Super Deluxe).
And at other stuff too. Did anyone see the add in the _Rocket_ for the band Tubetop, with ex-Posies mike M. and Dave F.? Weird.
Turkey meat is still murder
On the eve of the day when many ugly but content birds go to the guillotine for the crime of being in the wrong tradition at the wrong time, I bid you all the warmest wishes possible. As I gaze across my family’s table tomorrow, I’ll probably drift off and think about an alternate history where the people of the Americas went east and beat Columbus & co. to the punch, and fervently ‘saved’ the people of Europe by imposing their religion on whitey. Tomorrow, I’d be on a reservation in a central european country whose name (because our language was taken away from us too) we wouldn’t recognize, watching human sacrifice on TV and thinking how bogus organized religion is. As the priest administers the peyote buds during communion….I snap back to our table and forget what question about my blue hair was being asked me by some relative of mine…
We played up in Bellingham, the birthwaters of the Posies. I’m not sure if we’re respected or remembered or revered or reviled here anymore but I have to say it was a pretty fun show with a respectably large and enthusiastic crowd. The big mystery was whether there would be electricity for our set, the lights kept flickering as the town was being pummelled by intense winds. The facade of an apartment building just up the street from the Royal Room, where we played that night, was ripped off by lashing gales. My parents house lost power and so Kim & I stayed in a hotel instead of their cool house on Lake Whatcom. We had a big feedback fest at the end, and I did the shirt hawking from the stage.
Did some record trading at Cellophane Square, and then Kim & I drove down to the place where one catches the ferry to Orcas Island. All the Posies ended up at the venue, Orcas Center, a very nice facility built in 1986. And yes, we played on the set of “On Golden Pond”, which had been held over an extra week. I loved this show. In that auditorium setting, I felt like we were delivering a lecture on the performance styles of ‘rock music’ and I took my educator’s role seriously. FYI, Joe Bass tried to stop me from playing ‘Fucking Liar’ ‘cuz it has a different tuning on the bass than the song that was on the set list. After the set we talked to the kids, I hawked the rest of the merchandise, and we all went to a Legionaire’s Hall where my high school buddy Chip was playing R&B type covers in his band Those Meddling Kids. Many martinis into the night he let us take the stage–big mistake. 3 songs–‘Black Knight’ (Deep Purple), ‘Surrender’ and inexplicably, ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’. On this last number, many Posie fans and Kim took the stage and pretty much wrecked the place and scared away the 40-something crowd. I think I owe Chip a nice present. We snuck away to private party in a house owned by a guy that Kim actually knew from the punk days; she demolished a lava lamp on their white tile floor playing with their dogs (reliving the good ol’ days, KW?). Kim & my turn to beat a hasty retreat. You do not even want to know what the other 3 Posies were doing while Kim & I stayed at a resort and watched a TV show about orangutans until 5am.
The band made their way back to Seattle; Kim & I didn’t bother–we ate lots of food and rode horses (thanks Pete & Deb) through the woods and stayed at a little hotel where the electricity goes off at 10pm…
Had a meeting with our managers.
Got up at 4am, flew to Ontario (California) and spent the day as a member of White Flag. I will not attempt to describe the 15 year history of this band. They have practiced in the drummer’s sister’s bedroom since she was 11; she’s now 24 and going to work for the CIA. Imagine a ‘teen dream’ detached bedroom with a crappy Peavy PA and Sunn guitar amp with potted ferns on top. Now imagine me playing a Flying V–I think you’ll see a lot more of this tho’. We played our set opening for Matthew Sweet–it was our good fortune that the band in the middle threw a tantrum and left because their drum cage wouldn’t fit on the stage…so we were the only other band. I think we added a lot of confusion to the day–we played ‘I’m Down’ and Anthony from the Hollowbodies came and played drums, which turned into me playing drums and Anthony playing guitar on the Zeros song ‘Wimp’. I didn’t get to meet Matthew Sweet, but I’d met his bass player working on the film ‘Georgia’. And I’d met his guitar tech when he was working for Freedy Johnston. I was given 2 six packs of Budweiser for my trouble and I proceded to make lots of friends during Matthew’s set. He played all my favorite songs of his, mostly ones from the new LP. After the show, I hung out w/Anthony, and my long-lost pal Julie Ritter and her husband (who I’d only met for 30 seconds at their wedding, on my birthday last year, when I had to fly from Memphis after a Big Star show, and the plane caught on fire, and I was stranded in Arkansas, etc.). Anthony & I went to WF drummer Trace Element’s apartment and watched ‘Backbeat’ until it was time to take me to the airport again. Too early.
Here’s the scoop on upcoming stuff.
12.9–I’m playing a solo show at the Colorbox in Seattle, it’s 21+. I’m second on, at maybe 10:30 or so?
12.31–We’re playing with SuperDeluxe at Moe on my LEAST favorite holiday of the year. So come down and make it pleasant for us, OK? Recently I heard the Presidents of the USA might be the headliners, but this has yet to be absolutely confirmed. Fine by me–I get to drink for free more after our set’s done.
Baked-in black bird stains
We returned to the studio to *finally* put the death blows on the recording of this LP. Getting ridiculous, innit? At the beginning of last week (actually, Tuesday–cuz Monday I remastered the 2 LPs I produced in Spain so I had to cancel) we practiced for the first time in *10 months!*, the first time ever in our ‘new’ practice place–the place we moved into in March. We didn’t practice that long, but man, wha’ a feeling.
On Wednesday we had our friend and now producer for a song Steve Fisk come over while we practiced again. This could get to be a habit. We played him the song that was chosen out of our new batch of tunes to be the song that we would record and put on our LP to make it complete. Steve is the keyboard playing wizard behind such groups as pigeonhed & Pell Mell (yes, he’s *in* these bands); plus he has recorded LPs for Screaming Trees, Beat Happening, Unwound, Boss Hog, the Wedding Present, etc. He’s done remixes for Soundgarden, and people are still bugging him to produce their Ecuadorian grunge bands because he recorded 2 Nirvana songs umpteen years ago. Steve, Aaron ‘the artist formerly known as Spook’ Stauffer and I recorded some stuff a couple years ago that was never released, and Fisk also appeared on stage w/us playing some hot organ on a Deep Purple song. And, yes, he was in a high school band with George Lynch of Dokken fame (fame?).
We didn’t bring as much stuff to the studio as we did last time, but we were at Robert Lang’s again. In addition to Steve, we also had John Goodmanson (see: Juned, etc.) engineering. We spent the day setting everything up and putting a lot of microphones around. It was decided that Brian’s snare drum sounded shitty so Steve asked if a new drum head could be put on it, which was fine except that we didn’t have one of those. So the poor guy who worked at the studio had to drive to Lynnwood (former home of Alicce In CHains, I believe) to get one. After a while we started to record takes of us playing the new song, called ‘Ontario’ (Canada or California I know not). We did a bunch of takes and went home not too late.
We came in and listened to the best of last night’s versions, and joe suggested we record a couple of more for the hell of it. We ended up using the first take of the day as the keeper. Joe fixed a bass mistake and it was off to the overdub races. Which ended up being me mostly. I put on some distorted guitar, some squealing feedback (how rock of me), a bunch of vocals, and a little tremolo’d guitar. I had to sing one line two different ways because I say the word SHIT which in this country for some reason can’t be acknowledged in mass media even though the masses who are being represented via this media use this word and much worse every day. So, on the radio I won’t say SHIT in this song, but on the album I will say SHIT, plus I say FUCK and SHIT in other songs so for all you four-letter word fans there will be plenty for you to sink your teeth into. After that, Joe & Jon did some ‘ahs’, Brian’s in there too, except that he was laying on the floor while J & J were in front of the mic. Brian put some tambourine, Steve & John ran the ‘ahs’ through a guitar amplifier & phase shifter and we went home a little later this time.
We listened to the song and decided it needed a little something from Jon, so he put a cool rock harmonic (as opposed to Pop Narcotic) guitar on it; we then started to examine ‘Broken Record’. I left at this point because I had a show to play–Kim came & picked me up from the studio and took me home where I was picked up by BILL BARTELL of WHITE FLAG. Eek! He’s a skiier. He took me to the Colorbox where I played a Madonna song, a Smiths song and a couple of my own numbers; Joe Bass was there too playing with Marc Olsen formerly of Sage. I did my bit and wanted to go home so bad that I forsake getting paid. I still haven’t. While I was there Jon put an extra guitar/guitar feedback part on ‘Broken’ and Steve whipped out his French synthesizer from the 1950s, called a Clavioline. He put a little ‘oline on the end of the song. This instrument is the middle-eastern sounding thing on the song ‘Baby You’re A Rich Man’ by the Fabs. They then proceeded to mix the song, 4 different ways and killer each way.
So–all we have to do is decided on a title (Amazing Disgrace? Broken Record? What Color is A REd Light??), have the guy who mixed Green Day mix ‘Ontario’ and remix ‘Please Return It’, take a few pictures and put it all in a nice package and we will have one killer LP.
I’m going to a sneak preview of ‘Georgia’ tonight. See you New Year’s Eve.
OK, I just got back from said preview–I knew the song I sing on in the film would be cut to a 10-second snippet, but all the other songs in the film are left to almost their full lengths. Was it something I sang? Probably not. But, to make matters worse, I’m in another shot, but am I standing there looking cool? NO! I’m looking nervous and chewing gum like a GODDAMN RABBIT and not contributing anything but ugliness to the whole proceedings. In the musician’s credits at the end I’m listed as *Kevin* Stringfellow. Ouch! Oh, Mercy me. Not a bad flick tho’. You’ll recognize some local talent–2/3 of Sage backs up Jennifer Jason Leigh; our sometimes roadie Joe Norcio is quite a bit more than an extra in one scene (is that a Posies POSER shirt he’s wearing?).
I’m done now.
All the shite you can swallow
I have returned from our jaunt, counted the money and the computer says I have come up wanting (William Morris joke). Recap.
1.24. Berbati’s Pan, Portland OR
We set out late but not too late. 4 Posies, roadie Joe, and our friend Rosana, the person who brought the Posies to Spain last year. We had a fun little drive in our perpetually repaired van, and we got into grimy grey PDX only fashionably late. For a long time it seemed openers Lucky Me weren’t going to show (they’re opening for I believe Hagfish at the Showbox on Sat., check ‘em out), even to the point that the club called some guy to play an acoustic set in their place but they rolled in at the last minute and played an out of tune, gnarly, and altogether fantastic set of screamy dreamy rock. I like this band, and I liked the pained expressions of friends and fans as they watched them. Stars in attendance: Pond, Rebecca of Spinanes, ex-Dharma Bum Jim Talstra, Elliot Smith. Encore situation: for an interpretive dance/duet on ‘You Avoid Parties’. Jon did pull down Bud’s shorts, but only because Bud bogart-ed Jon’s mic.
Took our time getting underway. Drove south for hours & hours. I played one of my infamous mix tapes, once hated but now of course respected (Coltraneinto DamnedintoDolphyintoEvilStigintoGameTheoryintoGodstarintoRoyHarperintoCisco HoustonintoJJJohnsonintoLighthouseintoMariaMcKeeintoMoondogintoNirvanainto PigeonhedintoQueenintoLaRiverdieintoMariaSchneiderintoShoesintoElliotSmithin to SprinklerintoSunnyDayREintoBigMamaThorntonintoVelvetCrushintoWoolintoBadfing er…) Beautiful moon-y drive. We tried to get into a hotel in one town only to find that all the hotel rooms in town were booked up due to an auction of bulls in town. Many, many cowboys. We ended up in a town inhabited solely by olive growers. Watched ‘The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming’.
1.27 Bottom of the Hill, San Francisco CA
We checked into our hotel, we had to go to a music store. I hate music stores. I don’t need any more guitars or anything related to them. Don’t get me wrong–I like guitars, but, Ceeehrist, man. After soundcheck I went out for a drink with Scott Miller, Loud Family genius (also the genius behind ‘Together Now, Very Minor’ on my mix tape) and Chris Xefos, multi-faceted genius who was also in King Missile back in the days. Our show was positively a blast, I really loved the venue, a tiny little place with a twisted fake Spanish facade along one wall. BTW, Jon *loves* Oasis, and it was I who walked offstage and visited my friends while Jon chose to elongate what should have been a brief sample of ‘Wonderwall’. Rock glitterati in attendance: the aforementioned Scott & Chris, 2/3 of Ovarian Trolley, a Sneetch, a Mommyhead (at soundcheck only), Dustin fr. Pansy Div., and a cigar-smoking Kirk Hammett who enthused about the gig to a bemused me and a confused Jon. Let the record show that I love _Garage Days Re-revisited_. Who’s the real metalhead here?
1.27 Hollywood Grand, Los Angeles CA
As we crawled up the grapevine, we listened to _Amazing Disgrace_. Not a bad LP. We pulled up the venue, a dingy 1960s watering hole down the street from Mann’s Chinese Theatre, an hour late (perfect). All hell immediately broke loose as Pat Fear (White Flag), our managers Alex & David, and the Muffs all pulled up at the same time. Alex was driving a ridiculous health-food-shake-brown Chevy Nova with a rocket engine inside. We wasted time at soundcheck, I tried to play Pat’s Flying V but it wasn’t feeling right. Had a big ol’ metal jam. Post check, Anthony, you’ll remember him as the drummer from the Hollowbodies, came to pick Brian & I up, we were to be staying with him for the next few days. I wached most of Astrid’s Mother; I watched all of the Muffs, whom I worship with an unstoppable passion. As their set was getting done, I realized I had to find a clean bathroom and powder up for the show. I slipped into the building next door and a security guard approached me and asked if I ‘needed help’ (ie, “I’ll be drawing my gun soon”). I asked him if there was a bathroom here. He said no, that I should try the convenience store up the street, and that I could ‘shoot up there’. I honestly didn’t get it until I was already heading to the Roosevelt Hotel…later I found him checking IDs at our show and I confronted him saying that I was not a drug user and that people should be treated with a little more trust and respect than that. He apologized profusely and said that wasn’t what he had met. Then a friend of mine showed up and I greeted her and said I’d get her and her friend into the show, and he checked my friend’s friend’s ID and gave her a wristband and said “here you go darlin'” or ‘sweetheart’ or something similar–she exploded at him and said “don’t you EVER call me that! I fuckin’ HATE that shit!!” I felt like everything was OK. He got so scared he dropped all his wristbands on the floor.
We played our rock concert, including the Land Speed Record for Grant Hart. No covers. I love that. I didn’t know what to say to those people at the show. But it’s LA, and they hear people talk about music and related bullshit all day long so fuck ‘em, they can just hear some music. Which we did provide. I thought we played really quite well. It was I who havesd the pink hair, BTW, and it was I who dove into Brian’s kit and bashed my head repeatedly into the ride cymbal. After the show I sold the rest of our T-shirts from the front of the stage even as the place converted itself into a massive disco. Rock asters: Redd Kross, Tim from You Am I, Julie Ritter, Matt who isn’t in Permanent Green Light anymore, Trace Element from White Flag. I jumped up and down with Kim from the Muffs, and tried to burn her with her hairspray and my lighter. She seemed to love this. Gilby Clarke fr. G&R asked Brian to put him on the list but he never showed of course. Afterwards, some of us went to a horrible bar called the Frolic Room, and then to a weird lounge called the Dresden Room (married lizards, he with a chest merkin, playing ‘New York New York’ and the like), and Anthony & I and a couple of friends ended up at Canter’s, site of the infamous Jon & Ken vs. Rodney Bingenheimer & Alan McGee battle of ’93.
1.28 day off
Eating & shopping. This day was Joe Bass’ birthday, and I got him a pair of white cords. Sexy. Actually watched part of the Stuporbowl until rescued by Pat Fear and Anthony. I found myself at one point in the house of a well-known acrobat.
1.29 day off?
Jon & I played an acoustic set to the Geffen staff, all our old pals. Had meetings, manned the phones, mailed out all those T-shirts you ordered. That night Anthony & I went to see Permanent Green Light at Spaceland, but they had cancelled. Oh, yes, while at Geffen we watched a new film by the director of ‘Spanking the Monkey’, called ‘Flirting With Disaster’. Ben Stiller (nerd from ‘Reality Bites’) takes his wife, Patricia Arquette, on a search for his biological parents, with a freak from the adoption agcy. along as an observer. Cast includes Mary Tyler Moore, George Segal, Alan Alda, Lily Tomlin…outrageous. If you see this in the theatres (I don’t know when it’ll be out) be sure to stick around for the credits. This film had a special meaning to me.
1.30 day off
More biz. Went with Joe & Brian to see the ever-excellent Blur, whom the Posies should ALWAYS be on tour with til the end of time. Or of the century…
1.31 Cal. St. Fullerton Univ., Fullerton CA
Noontime show. Drove to the gig with the Hollowbodies in their mega-vehicle, a massive uber-van complete with TV/VCR, swiveling captain’s chairs, etc. Of course, it took 20 minutes to *start* the damn thing. Our show was to be outdoors but it rained (a BIG deal in LA, almost as much as ‘Windstorm ’95’ was to the PNW). So we played in the Pub, the student eatery. College: a bunch of people in baggy clothes eating bad pizza and listening to Dave Matthews. Our future leaders = more misery for the human race. That diatribe aside, the show was fun, the people putting it on were nice, my knee bled. Roadie Joe drove Joe, Brian & I to the airport, where we met Pat Fear and a lawyer (the latter on his way to Dave D. from PUSA’s wedding) for a first class flight to Seattle. Pat rented a car so we got a free ride home, which was nice ‘cuz he was staying at my place. Oh, yeah, on the way to the airport we passed a building in LA that said ‘BASS ENTERPRISES, A HOWARD COMPANY’ on the side, Howard being Joe Bass’ orig. name.
Here’s some dates.
2.7 Big Star (with Jon & Ken) at the Roxy Theatre, Atlanta GA
2.8 B.S. at Smith’s Olde Bar, Atlanta GA
2.13 Posies at Mercury Lounge, NY NY
2.16 P. at Moe, Seattle. Free 21+ show. We’re on at 11:45pm.
2.17 P. at Occidental Park, Seattle. Free all ages show. We’re on at 4:30pm.
2.22 P. at Capitol Theatre, Olympia WA. All ages show.
2.23 P. at Royal Room, Bellingham WA. 21+
2.24 P. at the Backstage, Seattle. 21+
3.16 P. at the Copper Tank, Austin TX. This one’s a maybe.
4.8 P. at Cockpit, Leeds UK
4.9 P. at King Tut’s, Glasgow UK
4.11 P. at Foundry, Birmingham UK
4.12 P. at Hop & Grape, Manchester UK
4.13 P. at LA2, London UK
4.14 P. at Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth
UK 4.15 _Amazing Disgrace_ released in Europe
4.16 P. at Elysee Montmarte, Paris FRANCE
4.18 P. at Milkweg, Amsterdam NETHERLANDS
4.20 P. at Pumpehuset, Copenhagen DENMARK
4.21 P. at KB Halle, Malmo SWEDEN
4.22 P. at Gino, Stockholm SWEDEN
4.23 _Amazing Disgrace_ released in USA
4.24 P. at Logo, Hamburg, GERMANY
4.26 P. at Underground, Cologne GERMANY
4.27 P. at VK Club, Brussels, BELGIUM
No need to argue.
The onset of madness
And so it begins…it sneaks upon you, doesn’t it? One day you’re home, on the phone, absent- mindedly telling a friend in L.A. how you’ll be there in a few weeks, and then you’re in some vehicle *going* there, you’re actually out there, doing the shows and the interviews, and it’s real and unreal at the same time. We’re two nights into it right now, I’m on the bus on our way to Philadelphia, listening (against my will?) to Joe Bass and Jon rock out to a Chris Squire solo album…
First off, I wanted to express my gratitude for all the people who showed up to our in store appearances in Seattle, I was blown away that there was actually a line around the store for the midnight sale at Tower, where we didn’t even play, and you’ll be happy to know that our perormance at Cellophane Square was the most well-attended in store they ever had there. It was fun,too,and I thought we played pretty well. After the in store Jon, our manager David and I taped a ridiculous spot for Fox TV to promote the ‘Homerpalooza’ Simpsons episode, it was to run on the 3 days prior to the May 19 season finale.
Then we went on tour.
5.12 Esquire Tavern, Moncton NB
The punkest gig. We didn’t get hotel rooms, Mike D. & I took showers at the promoters house. The promoter (named Ken) was also in the opening band, the Monoxides. He lives w/his parents, his dad drives them around on tour & stuff. His dad used to work for CN Rail, we chatted about how they have cranes that lift locomotives off the tracks in the repair shops, Courtney Love, etc. (?)
Had lobster (Fr.: Homard) w/Mike D. Went to a record store and listened to Nirvana bootlegs. They had one that wasa supposedly Kurt’s home demos, just instrumental solo guitar versions of all your faves. I thought it was bullshit, who can tell if it’s Kurt or not? The Esquire Tavern is a tiny shitkicker bar, the PA & stage were miniscule but the show was packed. The Monoxides have rock moves, all their songs quote 70s hard rock riffs but turn into punk songs. Of course members of Eric’s Trip were there. Actually a lot of Posies fans in this burg, and of course we gave ‘em the goods. The mics kept shocking us during soundcheck and there were no windscreens so we had to put socks over ‘em. The Monoxides took us to a party afterwards, and I eventually made it to the place where we were supposed to be staying, at this guy who works at a local record store’s apartment. No one else did tho’. Jon got his own hotel rm. most people slept on the bus. So I had no competition for the bathroom the next morning and I took a big long bath.
5.13 Birdland, Halifax NS
I fell asleep during the 4 hour drive to Halifax, and when I woke up we were on the bridge that goes over Halifax harbour. Beautiful town. The first band didn’t even go on until 11pm so we had a lot of free time to explore. We all went out for lobster that night, most people got bummed cuz it’zs a difficult critter to eat. Not me. After dinner I went over to Matt from Hardship Post’s apt. They were having a dinner party there, and Mike fr, HP had baked an incredible apple/clove pie w/a cheddar cheese crust…you can imagine how I felt onstage that night. We went on at about 1am, just like CBGB. We had a massive crowd that totally stomped while we played, we couldn’t believe our good fortune. Got to talk to Patrick from Sloan a little, too. We went to some guy’s apartment afterwards and listened to Big Star all night.
5.14 Birdland all ages show
Got shown around town by Shawn & Rachel from Cinnamon Toast Records–plus i got to raid the swag closet at Cinnamon Toast & Murderecords. Went to the Citadel, the hilltop fortress in the centre of towne. Did a TV interview for MuchMusic on the beach. Today’s show was really early, TC opened and went on at about 6:30pm. Hardship Post played–they’re superb. they have a record coming out on SubPop this month, it’s totally cool. 3/4 of Sloan was there, so was Alyson from Jale–rumor around town is that she’s quitting the band. *PROBLEM*. We had a fun little show, the kids bounced around & stuff. After the show we didn’t wanna leave town, so we told Bus Driver Bob he couldn’t leave til 1am. Rosie & I walked around with a few locals, we snuck into a park, went to their apt. & played with their kitty, etc. We were really sad to leave as usual. and so, we began to head west at last. I’m kinda sad, but the pleasures in life are fleeting and subsequently precious. Now it’s 4am, the bus is bouncing like crzy. We stopped at a truckstop out of town & I got a chance to wish my mom a happy mom’s day. I’m in the back of the bus, the bounciest part but it’s quiet and the outlets are handy. Bill TC is reading on the opposite couch. I think most people are asleep but Jon tends to stay up really late, so he’s probably up front listening to music.
I got up at 4am, and while waiting for the van to come (sitting on a corn flake?) I quietly listened to a great yet to be released album by Olivia Tremor Control. Joe N. picked me up at approximately 5:10am and we got everybody else and got on a very full flight to Chicago, where I was crammed into a window seat (shit!) but at least I was so tired I could sleep most of the time. Our flight from Chi-town to TO was delayed an hour so I made a bunch of phone calls, got my boots shined, and spent $ at Starbucks. We made it to Canada, with no immigration or customs problems, but since our flight was late we had to high tail it to the club. Jon & Joe had to be whisked off to CFNY radio for an interview, so we had no soundcheck. This proved to be a bad thing. We did have a nice hotel, and since I was acting tour manager, I got a huge room with a king size bed all to myself. We were reunited with treble charger, our partners in crime across Canada last year. Sweet boys. And good musicians, too–their brief set opening for us was all new material. Way to go. Their bass player, Rosie, is a total ROCK STAR in the best way. A god, no less. Eventually, the Posies played, and boy, did we suck. ‘Ontario’ seemed to go over well, for some reason. I sported the full length green and white striped polyester dress I bought in Austin for $2. But, we played a really erratic set on shitty sounding rental gear. Rosie hopped up onstage and mostly undressed me, which was nice. Other rock stars in attenance: Chris Murphy, bass-ist of Sloan. He said to me that I was “really pretty” and that he hoped I wouldn’t think that was weird. No way! But, alas, he did not share my spacious hotel suite with me. I slept alone! V. un-tramp-like.
Did interviews all day at the hotel. Rosie & Greg from treble charger interviewed us for MuchMusic TV, and we all lunched with Sloan, who doing interviews in the same hotel. They are much more introverted than the Posies, but they are kind people. Also, Jon met William Shatner in the hotel lobby! Amazing–but the disgrace was that he was totally grumpy and half heartedly signed an autograph without really even looking at Jon. So, with our tails in between our legs, we flew to Boston and Air Canada lost Jon’s guitars, our chords/effects case, and Joe N.’s bag. The good news is that it all got to us the next day, and we got to our hotel and got a good night’s sleep and in the morning were reunited with Menko, our sound engineer/road manager from the European tour. BTW, I’m still debating as to whether or not I should do a recap of the European tour; I know there were a lot of Posts from listmembers over there, but I might do a little recap. Some list members have asked me to at the in stores.
5.17 (It’s easier this way)
Jon & I started the day by driving out to WFNX and taping a really good interview–it’s quite a way from Boston. Then we just hung out at the venue, read our really good press from the area, did a decent soundcheck, etc. Bob & Lou B. from Sebadoh came aboard the big bus to visit Menko, whom they had toured with before. Lou gave Menko a tape of Sebadoh’s new LP. This bus we have is super nice, and, it once housed for a tour Kurt Cobain, Frances Bean C-L, Pat Smear, and Nirvana’s tour manager Alex, who now manages us with David M. No, I haven’t found anything interesting and I’m sure I won’t.
Our show tonight was actually really good. I fueled up with Thai food from the restaurant next door, and I rocked out nice & hard. Rock stars in attendance: Lou B., who hung out on the bus w/us afterwards and is one of the nicest guys ever. He liked Jon & my vocals and thought that Sebadoh should get a second mic at their practice place so they could have some harmonies; Juliana Hatfield, though we never saw her; Juliana’s drummer, Todd, who even said we were ‘cheesy’ but evidently meant it as a compliment?
Spent the day relaxing & watching the Sonix game at our hotel in Bensalem PA. All the hotels in Philly were booked up due to some convention, so we ended up in a Holiday Inn (they banned the Who!) in this strip-mall infested burg. At about 3pm, we were all on the bus ready to head to soundcheck, except the bus wouldn’t start. And nothing we could try, jump starting, etc., would work. So we called a tow truck and waited. And waited. It never came–so as our set time loomed near we threw our guitars & stuff into a couple of cabs and shot down the highway to the city. We got there before the first band was on, and we worked out between them & headliners Stereolab what gear we could borrow. And it worked out fine. We played a compact opening set, and then a guy writing a book on power pop interviewed Jon & I, and then we settled in to the soothing sounds of Stereolab. We were pleased, and the night ended on a good note, after the minor hassle. We popped into an ancient jazz club for a few rounds and then headed back out to Bensalem.
After dozing luxuriously until 11am, we drove to the New Jersey turnpike and crawled along to Secaucus, where we had a hotel for the night. Seems that the bus was still technically broken–the problem being that the battery wouldn’t keep a charge, so we simply had to rely on a multitude of freshly charged batteries to use as continual replacements for drained ones. We lolled around in the hotel for awhile, and then as the bus pulled out, we started watching the Bulls game…it was hellishly hot in Hoboken as we arrived at the legendary Maxwell’s, site of a 1990 Redd Kross/Posies show–we actually helped load in, and then ordered some food, yes we’re drinking lots of water, living up to our end of the deal. Soundcheck was abysmal, but it doesn’t matter anyway in a little club like that–we’re just going to turn up too loud an obliterate the system anyway (graffitti in the Maxwell’s soundbooth: “This isn’t doing sound, it’s minimizing damage”). Fell asleep in the bus, did a radio interview, and realized it was 10 and almost time to go on. I sat down at a table with our agent, Bob; Stereolab’s agent, Ellen, and the booking agent for Maxwell’s, Todd. For like one minute. Lots of listmembers present. We went on, played a good hour and a half of our patented schlock-pop (highlights: me giving Toolie dirty looks over misplaced accents in ‘Compliment'; unrehearsed stage debut of ‘What’s Goin Ahn’). Rock stars in attendance: Dan Cuddy, bass wrangler from Hypnolovewheel. Which reminded me I forgot to call Steve H. from Hypno, the only one of those guys whose # I have. Post show, I dripped sweat all over, talked to folx, bought the Young Fresh Fellows a bottle of wine for their show there 2 days later. Slept like a baby in Secaucus, the next morning there were divers in the river behind the hotel looking for a body.
We were then paralyzed. 90 degrees, at least, plus the bus was being repaired, so we had no choice but to lay around all afternoon at our hotel and sweat and moan (sounds XXX, doesn’t it?). I did an interview with a Swedish magazine (*still* sounds XXX, no?). We went into Manhattan–the heat just killed me, I fell asleep in the bus, and when I awoke I stumbled around St. Marks like a helpless baby goat until a slice & an iced coffee woke me up. Hung out with openers Les Thugs a bit before soundcheck. After soundcheck, we went to another bar and participated in a Geffen-organized event that brought various retail people in contact with us, other new releases, and food/drinks. Jon & I played a few songs–I forgot to bring a pick, so I earned a huge blister on my thumb–the bar had art by Steve Keane up–see the cover of the Apples In Stereo LP (Lou Barlow’s fave recent release). I walked back to the gig, and thought that the 30 or so folks watching Les Thugs (who are incredible, BTW) were going to be it–so imagine my surprise when I came back upstairs and saw that the place was packed. And, yes, it was hot. So hot, it almost didn’t make sense to play. But we often don’t make sense (stop!), so we rocked as best we could, sweating buckets. Jon was plagued by a nasty mic shock all night. I thought it went OK. Rock stars in attendance: the Hollowbodies, surprise–they had a gig at Mercury Lounge that night; the keyboard player from Luscious Jackson; our agent Bob was also in the house. Apres show: socialized a bit, and bussed to Baltimore.
Day off. In theory, we were to attend a AA Baseball game between the Bowie, MD, Baysox & the AKRON Indians, and hang out with rec. co. and retail folx, and Jon & I were going to play a short acoustic set, etc. But, a major thunderstorm and a set of bad directions meant that we ended up hanging out in a tent with a handful of people for 45 min. while we watched the tarp crew work. Ended up being bad TV night at the old Mt. Vernon hotel/retirement home/culinary school dorm in B’more.
Fax: Our album is still top 40 in Sweden, and after being the #1 alternative album in Holland for 3 weeks, we entered the album charts at #97, and are slowly creeping up.
Our show in Norfolk tomorrow (Th.) has been moved to the Boathouse.
June looks like this now:
1: Posies/Velocity Girl/Fuzzy @ Trees, Dallas TX
2: Posies @ Zephyrfest, Marconi Meadows, New Orleans LA (11:30am set time)
3: Posies/VG/F @ Gibsons, Tempe AZ
4: “/”/” @ Belly Up Tavern, Solano Beach CA
6/7: Posies/VG/F @ The Roxy, L.A. CA
8: Posies @ KTEG Radio fest Albuquerque NM
9: Posies/VG/F @ Great American Music Hall, San Francisco CA
11: “/”/” @ the Edge, Palo Alto CA
15: “/”/Lucky Me @ Showbox, Seattle WA
16: “/”/” @ La Luna, Portland OR
19: “/”/” @ First Ave., Minneapolis MN
20: “/”/” @ Shank Hall, Milwaukee WI
21: “/”/” @ Cabaret Metro, Chicago Il
22: Posies @ Radio Fest, Denver CO
23: Posies/VG/LM @ St. Andrews, Detroit MI
24: “/”/” (venue tba) Cleveland OH
25: “/”/” @ Rosebud, Pittsburgh PA
27: “/”/” @ Tramps, NYC NY
28: “/”/” @ Lupo’s, Providence RI
29: Posies/Lucky Me @ 930 Club, Washington DC
We will probably do a 2nd San Francisco show, but details are slooooooow forthcoming.
Songs for a pink bunny
Still recovering from CTrick mania.
Glorious day off, spent entirely in a hotel room while a hurricane whipped memphis into tatters. Tornado warnings scrolling across the screen during the Bulls Sweepasaurus. Washed my hair for the first time in 8 days, got my mail for the first time in 4 days, got all of it this time EVEN THOUGH HOTEL PHONES ALWAYS SUCK. Had food delivered, called Fuzzy and discussed going out to Beale St, but the storm killed that notion. Was interviewed by Gina Arnold for San Jose paper, and also did an interview with a radio station in New Brunswick.
Visited Graceland (pronounced ‘Gracelund’, or almost ‘Gracelnd’) today–everyone but the 2 Joes. Saw the whole shebang, the house, the trophies, the cars, the planes, all with exciting commentary from the walkmans they give you–it’s a weird place, you start thinking werird things like: ‘Elvis was a visionary artist, and these room decorations are his art…’ TCB at lightning speed. I think the secret to the guy was that he was very simple, not stupid, but not a genius, and he ended up being something like an elaboratley clothed emperor in a kingdom full of people with no clothes. Generous fella, too–gave away tons of money and didn’t seem to mind that he was getting about a tenth of what he should have been making. He had to have known…
We bussed back to the venue (how rock & roll to pull up to Graceland in a tour bus…no Spinal Tap graveside singing, btw…Fuzzy’s van was in the parking lot when we left, but we never saw them. Anyway Jon & I did a brief acoustic set on a radio station, and then we soundchecked at the New Daisy Theatre (site of a 1994 Big Star show) on Beale St., the historically preserved street of music clubs that was actually completely torn down and gutted in the 1960s, only to be thinly recreated in the 1980s. And, let me remind you that Stax studios is a parking lot, and Sun studios was an autobody shop for thirty years after elvis & Co. were there (it’s reopened only now). So there. OK, after soundcheck we went to a bar to watch as much of the Sonix game as possible, which turns out to be the first 3/4. The show: rocked, one of the best of the tour, it was fun & heavy and the crowd was great and young and into it. Alex & Jody came out for a rendition of the Eddie Floyd favorite ‘Never Found a Girl to Love Me Like You’, there was much merriment, autographing, etc. I bashed *my* knee this time.
Jody picked us up at the hotel at about 11am, and we dropped off stuff at Ardent (where Jody works, where Big Star recorded their last two LPs –the first was recorded at Ardent’s old location–, where the Replacements made _Pleased to Meet Me_, and REM, Afghan Whigs, even Led Zep recorded there). We were going to get together with Alex beforehand to work up the song we were to record–the first Big Star recording session in 22 years–but decided we’d just wing it and see what we could make out of whatever Alex brought to the session. When we arrived the drums were already set up and ready for tracking, we got the bass and guitars set up. Alex showed up with his bass player Ron Easley, whose brother owns a hot studio in town (Easley Recording: see LPs by Sonic Youth, Velocity Girl, Spinanes, Grifters, etc.). Ron had fixed up an old guitar of Alex’s, and brought part of Al’s special dietary requirements along. Alex is very into health food. So we got to work. Alex had a couple of musical parts, we came up with a ‘funky’ riff and added the two parts together and worked up an arangement, and as far as the lyrics go, Al had culled lines from “a bunch of bad songs I’ve written over the last 6 month, I took my favorite line from each one and just sang them in the order I wrote ‘em down”. The result: ‘Hot Thing’. It’s a fun, cool, song, which has elements of various Big Star and Alex styles from years past. We played the song a few different times a few different ways over the next few hours, and we got a take we liked, plus some lovely versions of ‘Never Found a girl…’ and ‘Duke of Earl’. We tracked live, Jody out in the big room, and the rest of us each had an isolation booth of our own. Al did his vocal along with guitar, so the take is very loose and spontaneous. Jon & I added some background vocals, some of our ideas and some of Alex’s, and we did some handclaps and it was all done by ten. By that time, Alex had become absorbed in the Red Wings hockey game. I went back to the hotel and soaked my knee. Oh yeh–on the way out Alex said that he’d had a great time, that it was ‘really enjoyable’ which means a lot, you know?
Jody picked us up at the hotel at about 12:15, we stopped by the studio to hear the song being mixed, with the addition of the Memphis Horns–it’s shit hot. Alex reminded us that he’d see us in New Orleans this weekend. Jody thanked us, gave us copies of _1970_ on CD, and told us how he had come upon Chris Bell’s car wreck 20 minutes after it had happened, but turned onto a different street because he didn’t want to see it, not knowing it was Chris. He was glad he turned.
Jon & I flew to Houston. That’s where I am now, waiting to soundcheck at the Satellite Lounge. When you arrive at Houston’s Hobby airport, there are jackrabbits running around everywhere on the field.
Actually, tonight was a great rock show, good stage banter, etc. I watched VG, but missed Fuzzy due to the Sonix.
We stayed the night in a seedy-ish hotel in Houston, and then went to Austin, I dreamt pleasantly in my bunk until Menko woke me in anticipation of our in-store appearance at Waterloo Records. I stumbled around, grabbed my guitar, and we drove with the Geffen rep. to the store, stumbled around there for awhile and woke up. Saw some list members there, plus a guy who once passed out during our opening number at RCKNDY in Seattle 4 years ago, because he was high and it was hot, and in his own words, we were ‘intense’. Chris M. from Sloan was at the store, visiting friends in Austin. Jon & I played a little acoustic set, we goofed around, played a bit of ‘California Girls’, etc. We signed some CDs & posters, and did some shopping–I got a Commodores Best Of, some sitar music, etc. After this we went out to dinner with Geffen & Uni people, I didn’t want to eat much, but I did, fuck it, it was good.
Back at the Liberty Lunch (Posies played here in Aug. ’93) we didn’t do a soundcheck, but there was a brief jam between Jon, Winston (FZY), Joe Norcio, and Kelly (VG). We all were hanging out in the dressing room joking and story-ing, and Hilken FZY gave me some lipstick to wear. I watched bits of FZY & VG in between running around and sometimes going on the bus to rock out to the Commodores, and then it was our turn. Even tho’ my sinuses were killing me and the dinner was like a lead weight in my stomach, I had some fun. I thought we played well, the crowd being mellow as usual, but appreciative as usual. A frind of Joe Bass’ was plucked out of the audience so I could sing ‘Precious Moments’ to him. After the show, I ran into Spot, the man who recorded many vintage Husker Du, Black Flag etc. LPs (I dedicated ‘Grant Hart’ to him tonight); he gave me a 7″ and a CD of his.