HAZELDINE Tour Diary
Thursday, March 6
ON THE RADIO: Lucinda Demos
Reminds me of that radio geek that called me Lucinda in Nashville. Eric
Babcock was the only one to hear it. He called you Lucinda. HAH! Duh.
West Texas is one bitter cotton town after another. Places with humorless
donut shops, where the counter help at Comfort Inn is sincerely kind. Lubbock
is particularly brown and brittle, all industrial - edged with too many
telephone poles. Scabby, worn buildings.
I really want a cigarette.
So this is our tour diary from Shawn and the crew of Hazeldine. We
left last night and plan to keep this tour diary thing going -- at least
for as long as we're digging it. You see, we're handwriting all this stuff
and sending it back home. Graham, our webkeeper - at - arms, will do the
transcribing onto our webpage. God, if only we had a laptop. This pen is
already starting to hurt my hand. Graham, I hope you can read my handwriting!
I already miss you.
Friday, March 7
ON THE RADIO: Curse of the Mekons
Thinking about Langford....it's so weird meeting someone you've
had this peripheral relationship with for 10 years. Then all of the sudden
your shaking hands and face to face with this mental figure made flesh.
It's still a week from our SXSW date, but the good people at
Bloodshot organized a few shows in Texas for us with the Show-offs (one
of the other bands on the Boone County comp.) Actually, the Show-offs organized
it, I think.....I hope the go well. (Eric Ochinsky actually booked the
shows) The first official show of this 2 1/2 month trip is Ft. Worth -
the town of BMW's. We're all really exhausted from all the preparations
& business stuff we've been taking care of before we left. It was more
hectic & stressful than any 2 week period should be. But now we're
on the road, and it's almost like the beginning of summer vacation. We
all get along really well on tour -- or we did last time anyway -- so there's
some healing to do, then we'll hit our stride in a few days.
Tonight: Ft. Worth, TX
Anne here: PM, we rocked slow. Show-offs rocked fast. Time for bed.
Saturday, March 8
ON THE RADIO: 3 song demo Jeff Magnum '92 Tonya here:
I-35W south to Austin/San Antonio-there tonight. We play the
Green Onion? These shows Eric set up for us are so welcome. The sky's are
a thick hazy gray -- something you rarely see in New Mexico, and that I
used to miss. Now it just looks strange to me, and the air feels heavy
-- the weight of water........The best part of this tour for me is getting
to drive on lots of new road. Nothing is greater than a stretch of hiway
with minimal road signs & few power lines. JUST GRAY & BROWN. I
keep an atlas with hi-liter pen on all the roads we've driven. This trip
will fill in some choice spots. Waco 22 miles - Fear, Guns, GOD
Saturday, March 8
ON THE RADIO: Tom Petty "She's the One" Shawn:
Day 3 -- driven 'tween Ft. worth and San Antonio. I've been loving
Mr. Petty alot again lately. Kudos to the person who can put consistently
good music over the years......the Stones haven't done it, Nick Drake didn't
survive to even attempt it. I've been sick for the past 2 days, but today
I'm starting to feel like myself again--thanks to the shitty night of sleep
we all got at this horrible Motel 6 last night. The counter help even sassed
Tonya this morning.....but the band conceded to sleeping in for a change--we
woke up at noon, fer crying out loud, a real rarity. Our show last night
in Ft. Worth was a bit rough. Tempo was my bugaboo yet again, but at
least the Show Offs were nice guys AND Tonya gave us all our first fuseball
lesson--that girl is a champion filly of the fuseball. Today's drive is
rainy and grey across the first green part of the country that I've seen
in 4 months.
We're getting excited about SXSW--embarking on this No Depression Tour
couldn't have happened at a better time for us........we just finished
our first full length CD (for Germany's Glitterhouse label, European distribution
only) and there's lots of interest and energy swirling around us and our
music. This tour will give us more of what we need right now - chops, and
it'll give us a much-needed respite from working both the band and our
jobs. Just drive and play, drive and play.
Hazeldine is on the edge of something big right now. An American indie
band on its way...what? up? over? I'm right where all my boyfriends of
the past 10 years have wanted to be.....isn't it......ironic?
Dreamt that Tonya and I were backstage with Johnny Lyden last
night. I made him this horrible, bulky sculpture to take with him, and
he was gracious about the gift. HAH! Not
After our showcase in Austin, the band plans on taking Ryan's advice(Whiskeytown
Ryan):"after the show, you just have to go out into the alley &
make out with all the hippest people in the world." I'm sort of hoping
to swap spit with 1)Richard Buckner 2)Jim Scott 3)Howe Gelb 4)Jon Langford...umm
maybe we shouldn't print this list. I can't get Tonya to write down her
list, but I know she has one.
ON THE RADIO: Tom Petty - "She's The One" blowing my mind again. I
hope the truckers are benefiting from this - seeing 3 chicks dancing in
their seats down the highway. New tour motto - "HAZELDINE - Feel da love"
Hi, Anne here. I am rocking to Tom Petty, eating an apple and writing
this. Oh yes, and I'm driving. That's what cruise control is for. We're
just deciding to have a kissing booth at our merchandise table. That'll
be the girls' job....Too bad this van has so many amenities, I started
the day driving by watching Price of Tides. Bad move. Now I'm as weepy
as the gray sky outside. Neil Young, take me away. (ZUMA)
Sunday, March 9
Slept late again after a weird show in San Antonio last night.
Those Show-Offs are official party masters....stayed up till 6 AM this
morning telling stories and drinking shitty beer. Yee Haw! TEXAS, dammit.
We're in Austin today, but are driving into Houston tonight for our third
show -- at the Blue Iguana, I believe.
So things in my head are clearing and I can feel the spell of the road
taking over. It's sensual and hypnotic and it's going to last for 2 more
months. Jesus, I'm the luckiest girl on the planet.....too bad our van
is already perfumed with dirty clothes and fruit. To think of all the American
bands that have done this SAME EXACT thing.......all the bands that would
come through Jacksonville, FLA., and play the Einstein-A-Go-Go back in
the late 80's. No one's made us fried chicken yet, like Bill Faircloth
did for so many years at the club. They're moving this year, but don't
really do many live shows anymore -- for all the readers whose band has
been through there: Hats off!
Monday, March 10
TEXAS is full of people who are driving somwhere at all hours. Oh my
god. The traffic here is crazy. We played at the Blue Iguana in Houston
to 5-10 appreciative folks. Everyone else was prepared for "rock-o-billy"
nite; so sorry to let them down....Hi UFO John, Warren and Mac. Thanks
for comin' out. Last night was the first night that it sunk in for me that
we're on tour. David Bowie's Hunky Dory; a van passes us - full
of prisoners. It's wonderful to be in a place where there is so much green.
Spring is here. The short live oaks all have a bucolic animated quality.
Humidity, moss, things you don't have in the desert. Grass. Spanish moss.
Old wood and shingle houses. decay. For more decay see South Eastern U.S.
S & J are hawkin singles to Waterloo Records here in Austin - tonite
is our 4th of 5 pre SXSW shows in TX. The air is still heavy & Tom
Petty is still our tour god. I wish we had a hood ornamet & the
movie in our videocassette collection - Did anyone mention that our
van has a VCR?? Bench seat van riders eat yer hearts out.
The monotony of the road is starting to set in. I get to the point
where all I want to do is READ-READ-READ, and I mean read anything: mags,
newspapers, flyers, menus.....read today that the Notorious B.I.G. got
gunned down in L.A. Geez, it's a good thing Hazeldine isn't a gangsta rap
band. And now Quincy Jones says he's going to dedicate the rest of his
life to keeping the peace within the hip hop community -- does that mean
no more "We Are the World" records? naw.....good for Quincy, that's
a job I wouldn't want.
I sat on a dried-up old tree swing today in this perfect Austin weather,
& swung while watching heavy machinery eat up this ditch. A big tractor
with a jackhammer nose piece just pulverizing the earth, and I swung &
watched it with this brainless curiosity. Being on the road reminds me
of the person I used to be.
We're playing a teeny, coffee house tonight -- something we're not
all that crazy about for the sole reason that Tonya can't stomp on her
big muff distortion pedal & peel paint off the walls. Just play a quiet
little acoustic set and behave ourselves like good girls.
Wednesday, March 12
Yesterday we finally arrived at the house we'll be camping at for the
duration of SXSW: my bud Nanci's, a lawyer married to another lawyer. Just
slept and ate all day, did some laundry......our first day off in 5 days.
Watched some MTV for the first time in over a year. The videos look so
incredibly slick nowadays, slick & same-y. The Metallica looks like
the Toni Braxton. And that "singled out" show!! Too much.....but
I have to admit that I'm charmed by the sight of a shirtless man with a
bird chest; the host with the least pectorals on TV, & he's strutting
around au natural. You go, guy.
We're going into town today to register, then dinner tonight with Reinhard
-- the owner of Glitterhouse, our European label. We're all guessing what
he'll look like, how his Germaness might sync with our Southwesterness.
Saturday, March 15
So it's been three LONG days since I put pen to paper. Three of the
longest days in Hazeldine's career. Ryan was right when he said
that it's wonderful & horrible at the same time. Or maybe that's my
physical & emotional exhaustion speaking. It's cold in Austin, for
some reason, and we froze our butts off at our showcase last night AND
at the Yard Dog (Bloodshot/No Depression party today -- all day, all night.....for
the past three days. Today no food. 6 hours sleep in the last 3 days. My
face hurts from smiling - or maybe it just hurts cause the rest of me does
The industry & Forest Whittaker came out for our show, we did some
interviews, had lots of photos taken. Thankfully, I didn't have to deal
with too many weirdos overall. Gary, our manager, and Josh, our lawyer,
both made me feel safe & protected. I'm in love with both of those
guys......each of 'em are laid back to the point of irreverance, and they're
both good at what they do. After our first meeting with Josh, I just went
back to the van & screamed & screamed. I'm the luckiest, and he's
cute as a bug with eyes that squint up when he smiles. Smooches Josh.
All this rocking is making me.......happy. I like it here; living out
of the van, coordinating, sleeping very little, smoking too much, hearing
a lot of music.....Everywhere we turn there's someone to talk to. There's
a lot in this big world to love and be thankful for. Playing a great show
with some of my favorite people is one of them. Meeting new favorite people,
like the incredible Neal Casal, is another. Playing with Neal, another.
Best of both, really, relaxed and happy.
I love music. I wonder often what drove me away for so long. I had
to come to a place where I could make it my own. I had been playing other
people's music for other people. No matter how much satisfaction that gives,
I never really felt that it was my true choice - what I really wanted to
do. I am now so thankful for the incredible opportunities from my youth.
What an incredible amount of experience packed into such a short time;
fertile time. Let's hope I can do it some justice.
I'm in a dark, dreamy ballroom. John & Joey (of Calexico) are
making crazy twisted sense of the American west in a musical melange that,
right now, is good enough to eat. Could someone please tell me why tremelo
makes me feel that way? Wow.
My fave shows at this years fest:
1.)The Waco Brothers at Yard Dog: Langford & Co. DESTROYED
the crowd, not to mention the P.A. Really frenetic ear-bleeders that swung
like some ephedrine train wreck a la Hank Sr. My eyes are open to these
guys; and my ears are still ringing
2.)Joe Henry at the trade show stage: I love that "trampoline"
record. He's the sort of songwriter that I really connect to (Eitzel,
Oldham, Dylan....) and seeing him doing a solo acoustic set was like
lying back in my mothers arms. I'm getting his face tattooed on my right
hip. On my left........
3.)Mark Spencer w/Cheri Knight at Waterloo Brewing Co: This
guy looks just like that French actor Depardieu, and he's got this monster
bank of pedals that he stomps the shit out of. I later heard he played
this show drunk out of his mind, so I love him ever the more now. Cheri's
the greatest songwriter too. Just the coolest.
Honorable mentions to Whiskeytown, Moonshine Willy, Volebeats, Grievous
Angels, Neal Casal & Buckner himself.
I'll sleep the sleep of the dead tonight. I've not been capable of
sleep these last 2 nights and insomnia is a maddening sheetmate for me.
Tuesday, March 18
Hanging at the Sons of Herman Hall in Dallas now, watching Whiskeytown
soundcheck--looks like they're gonna cover that True Believers song
"When it's Over"...I love that song. I know the harmony part on
it, so they better expect me to bumrush their stage when they start playing
Things are back to normal now, sleep and food-wise. We've had a couple
of days to recuperate from the electric shitstorm that is SXSW. What a
blast we all had. Now we're ready to do this No Depression Tour...
These first few shows are being cushioned for us by the presence of
our manager, Gary Waldman. We can all just sort of check out, mentally,
and regroup after the Austin insanity. Our pal Jack Emerson is traveling
with us now too. I sort of wish he could see the last shows rather than
the first ones, but it's nice to have him here anyways.
Our Houston show last night (at the Satellite) was a weird one for
me. We're playing everyone else's equipment, so we had some wanker moments
accomodating ourselves to these powerful amps...ugh. But Dallas tonight
started to feel right--though there were wankers here too, dammit. Both
nights we've had really great crowds...I was a bit concerned about what
kind of audience this tour would attract, but if these shows are any indication,
we're going to be seen by LOTS of people. We're the opening band each night,
and since we start so early I thought the crowds would be small and sober,
but even here in Dallas there was probably 200 folks here by the time we
got offstage. Thanks to the Old 97s for bringing in the homecrowd.
Something about the other bands:
The Picketts--from Seattle, a 5-piece with a stand-up drummer(Blackie),
and a great woman singer(Christy). They play this high energy trad-ish
country with harmony and two super cool guitar guys, John and Jim(an ex-Young
Fresh Fellow). Walt the bass player has the best weed of anyone on this
Whiskeytown--Raleigh, NC rednecks capable of writing the perfect
pop song...these guys are our soulmates on this tour. Their music rocks
me deep, and Ryan is the perfect frontman, irreverent and passionate both,
a great singer and a charasmatic little twerp too. I can't take my eyes
off of him. Phil is the Ron Wood of the tour, and Jeff and Steve keep this
monster rhythm. Caitland on fiddle and backing vocals rounds off the women
of the tour.
Old 97s--Dallas homeboys who do this driving pop-country with
lots of harmony provided by Murray the bass player. Ken on lead guitar
is a madman with his tongue hanging out of his head, and Phillip, the drummer,
has the coolest glasses on tour. Of course there's also Rhett, the singingest,
sweatingest lead singer, with his symmetrical hairstyle and fogged-up glasses....too
Thursday, March 19
We stayed last night at the Paramount Hotel, right off of Dealy
Plaza in Dallas. Jeffrey could see the grassy knoll from his window...
For me there's this strange pall over Dallas. It's a place we always
avoided when I was a kid. And it seems so foreign to me. It's all spread
out, like Albuquerque, and quiet downtown in that deserted way, in the
middle of the night. The only thing missing was a hoarde of bums down and
out, disenfranchised, homeless, like in Abq. And as soon as you get out
of the big, clean city, everything's rundown and falling apart. I want
to go home and go to bed....
Now we're on the long drive from Dallas to Albuquerque...12-14 hours
straight through so we can spend a few hours at home. We have a lot to
do on our day off, mostly dealing with our merchandise, which we're selling
like crazy. Tonya flew home so the remaining 'diners are keeping each other
company in the van, working on the lyrics for a new song (another swooping
fairytale of a waltz). Can't wait to sleep in my own bed tonight.
Our tapedeck in the van just jammed on Tom Wait's Raindogs...rats!!...and
we're driving into the blazing, setting sun. Blinded and pissed in Muleshoe,
Texas, another of those bitter little Texas towns. Albuquerque is such
an oasis out here in the middle of nowhere.
Saturday, March 22
Leaving Tuscon now for the drive through the south tip of Joshua
Tree. Looks like I'm only going to get to this diary every few days,
so I better make it count....
Albuquerque was the greatest...we played a rocking good set for the
hometown crowd. If you were there, I want to apologize for the strap of
my dress...eek!! Our good bud Armando Ortega got up with us and
assisted on some guitar, he played on the Boone County track for Bloodshot
Records and he's just the greatest.
And again in Tuscon we rocked....It's funny how we seem to play better
when our emotional state is sketchy. The bands have started getting up
on stage with each other--hooray!! Rhett got up with Whiskeytown for "Victoria",
and Tonya and I are helping with harmony for both WT and the Picketts.
My perfect vision for the end of the tour would be to have EVERYONE on
stage the entire time just jamming out. Such fun. We want to get Phil and
Christy up for our version of Fleetwood Mac's The Chain tonight hopefully....
My equipment exploded last night and tonight--my amp, effects box,
and guitar all freaked out in the space of 2 days. UGH!! Thank God we're
travelling with such cool people that are okay about sharing stuff. We
stayed at this great hotel in Tuscon, the Hotel Congress, and Gene Loves
Jezabel were playing at the club in the lobby. So the hipster quotient
was high, all these leather and vinyl-clad dudes. We had dinner with Whiskey-Phil
and Tuscon grandaddy Al Perry after the show, but Howe Gelb wasn't
home when I called him....boohoo. Tuscon seems like a really cool town,
a lot like Albuquerque but with more junkies. Oh, I owe an apology to Scott
Fleck for being bitchy after the show. What can I say? This gets a little
hairy sometimes. Sorry Scott.
We're now driving through the Bugs Bunny cactus desert--saguaros, ya'll--and
it's stark and beautiful. Ahh....
Driving into L.A.--straight into this huge, orange,dusty sky,
and it's cars and cars for as far as you can see. The Squeeze's "Temptation"
on the local radio. I wonder how tonight's show will go? We've all been
sick, but Iam the dead sick one now, so I hope I don't totally blow it.
The club we're playing, Jack's Sugar Shack, is right on Hollywood and Vine,
where all the stars are in the sidewalk. It's the part of Hollywood where
all the beautiful people crawl after that orange sun finally collapses
into the ocean.
Monday, March 24
Finally got to spend some time with the Old 97s and the Picketts
in L.A. Both of those bands are as sick as we are, so backstage we
shared coughdrops and empathized with each others' ailments over Italian
food the first night, and Mexican on the second. The 97s label, Electra,
bought most of the tickets for the shows here, but we all managed to have
a good time, even though we're all on death's door. Celebrity watch: Chris
Robinson (Black Crowes), Jody Stevens (Big Star), Tony Gilkyson (X), Exene
Cervenkova(X)--she got up and sang with the 97s here--and that actor from
that movie "Swingers" all came to one of our L.A. shows.
We watched the Academy Awards during soundcheck on the second night
here...too cool. I'm such a little star-watcher that I thought I'd see
some really famous people, but I only got to see their limosines. And here
we are in the epicenter of celebrity and I'm too sick to try to scam my
way into Elton John's post awards party...bummer. Our pal Brad Hunt had
some good gossip for us after the show though, so that made up for it.
Spent the next day (a day off!!) hanging out in this cool hotel in
the Hollywood Hills bought for us by Eddy, the maniac who owns Jack's Sugar
Shack. We had been staying at Cherry Smash label owner Brian Doherty's
place, but decided to give him and his girl Margaret some space.
We wanted to do something really L.A., so we parked the van on Long
Beach and watched the Doors movie on our van's VCR while doing bong hits
and watching the people below with binoculars. It's so pretty here, much
nicer than I imagined.
On our third night in L.A. we went BACK to Jack's for the Barn Dance,
a weekly jamfest with all these incredible musicians, and we had the greatest
time. The other bands decided to head on up to San Fran, so we flew solo.
Eddy was so appreciative that he fed us (again), gave us free drinks all
night, and even slipped us some unexpected cash. If that wasn't enough,
we got to play with Jesse Dayton (the cutest boy ever to pick up
a guitar in Beaumont, Texas), and some of the hottest session dudes ON
THE PLANET...Dolly Parton's Fiddler, Bruce Springsteen's pedal steel, Johnny
Cash's piano guy, and this drummer whose won the best country drummer award
for the past two years in a row....Richard Buckner even showed up
and did a song too. One of the best nights on the tour for me so far. Later
on I tried to climb to the roof of Richard's hotel in high heels, but if
you're going to risk your life for someone, at least let it be Richard.
Bucky, we call him. Was finally lulled to sleep by the morning light coming
in our window at the Roosevelt Hotel.
L.A. has this sort of anxiousness, this vibrating energy that you feel
when you walk down Hollywood Boulevard at 8 in the morning...I could definately
live here. All of us hazeldiners could, I think.
Thursday., March 27
Slept all the way into San Francisco and woke up as we pulled
up in front of the Great American Music Hall--the most beautiful venue
on the planet. We had these great dressingrooms downstairs and Ryan
I spent a couple of hours jamming on our song "Drive", which he's
been playing with us each night. He's such a good guitar player, and we
played our songs for each other and did shots of bourbon getting psyched
for the show. The good people here fed us a wonderful meal and hazeldine
played our best show of the tour so far here in all the gold-gilded beauty
of this ex-bordello. Rob Bleetstein of Gavin showed up downstairs, and
tried to tempt us with one of his trademark HOGLEGS--deadly california
hooch--but we declined. Whiskeytown played a religious set, spurned on
by the light woman's refusal to turn the lights back on after Ryan had
asked to have them turned down. It was great seeing Ryan and Phil getting
pissed and taking it out on their guitars. They destroyed the last song
of their set, all feedback and angry rock glory, then Ryan came back out
by himself and did the prettiest song I've maybe ever heard, ever. Sanctity
and grace. Did anybody who is reading this get as choked up by Ryan as
me? If you saw this show, count yourself blessed.
Friday, March 28
After pumpkin pancakes at my pal Rachel's Mission District home (thanks,
honey...love you), we drove up the coast to see the Redwoods. This
part of the country is one of my favorites, the coast is just so pristine,
all this dark sand and polished wood and fucking ELKS....no kidding. It
was cold and wet and there's this rest area in the middle of nowhere with
a gigantic Paul Bunyan and Babe statues. Some guy sits there and talks
to people like HE'S Paul....the statue winked at me and said I had pretty
hair....it just figures that the first man to flirt with me on this tour
is 60 feet tall and made of welded steel.
Our show in Portand at Berbati's Pan was a rollicking one. Portland
is full of friends, even our buds in Harvester showed up, so we felt rowdy
and warm. Sometimes I don't know if people know how to take us live, like
they're confused but they keep watching. Three girls across the front promts
some intense scrutiny, especially from women. It can be a bit daunting,
but I usually just crank up my guitar and try to sing as pretty as I can.
We spent the night with my Florida pals Joann and Lou. Lou gave us
the quote of the tour...we were bitching about how no men will talk to
Tonya or myself, flirty-like, cause no men will, and he said, "It's
because you're walking around with an ass-pocket of Beaudelaire, when
what you need is an ass-pocket of Larry Flynt". Good things DO come out
of Florida, and Lou and Joann are proof of that.
Tuesday, April 1
Oh my god, was it packed this first night in Seattle at the Tractor
Tavern. What a cool place. And Seattle audiences are really attentive
and appreciative...no wonder it's where all the bands come from. More people
approached me here than at any other show so far. Maybe it's because Seattle
is so used to seeing rock stars that a nobody like me isn't intimidating.
Whatever the reason, I had the best conversations with strangers here and
ran around in the audience handing out Blackie's Easter candy like a kid.
That Blackie always has something sweet close-by, if you see him out and
are jonsing for a morsel of yumminess, he's the man...
The first Seattle show was a howler, we played our big electric set
and in the middle of it Tonya had to stop to tune, so I picked up my acoustic
and did a wompus version of Emmylou's "One Of These Days".
I've never done that before, just started some song, but the band all fell
in and Tonya had her guitar tuned in time for her lead. A rock and roll
moment, for sure.
The second night was almost all acoustic for us and for Whiskeytown,
who performed their entire set sitting down. Ryan's really sick now, and
he was just sweating buckets onstage. Getting to watch WT play every night
has been one of the best things about this tour for me and Tonya. I called
dibs on Phil last week, he's just the dreamiest, but he still hasn't made
a pass at me.....grrr...
The Picketts played two great shows for their homecrowd. Christy's
husband, Scott (REM's touring second guitar, and ex-Young Fresh Fellow)
got up and did a song, and we all got up onstage to present our Anne with
some birthday brownies a la Christy. Those Picketts also got almost every
single person up onstage for harmony at some point or another, such a generous
crew of folks. Blackie wore the world's coolest pants tonight that I swear
I'll wear before the end of this tour. The very coolest, though, was Peter
Blackstock's version of "Wichita Lineman", where he fell down on
his knees and bent back all limbo-style, really getting into it. After
that song, Tonya presented him with a flower, and I swear you've never
seen someone blush like that. Transcendent.
We had a day off in Seattle and Tonya and I spent the afternoon in
the hot tub at the Seattle Inn. We did our laundry and ran around the hotel
in our bikinis, drinking bourbon, and visiting with that cutie Jesse
Dayton (who has followed us up the coast with his band--he was playing
with the Supersuckers tonight....huh?). We seriously needed a day
off. Touring is tough on you--it's volcanic stress, stress, then numbingly
boring, boring, with some crappy meals and too many cigarettes and sleeping
on another floor somewhere...who am I kidding?? Touring RULES!! I wish
we could stay on the road for 6 more months...soon....soon.
My only Seattle disappointment was that Peter and Phil didn't get into
the hot tub with us. They just stood there and watched-wimps!! Now for
the big drive....
Friday, April 4
1,666 miles to our next show in Minneapolis tonight, so we had
three full days of driving across the top part of our country...Washington,
Montana, and North Dakota. God. We crawled out of the van in Minn.
feeling like insects....bzzzz...bzzzzz.....Drove through lots of mountains
and snow and big open land. It's pretty up here, but really isolated feeling.
Even more isolated than living in the middle of the desert. Just farms
on hills for hundreds of miles, farms and more farms. We heard about the
flooding and the winter storm that hit this part of the country the DAY
AFTER we drove it. One day later and the tour would've had to of been cancelled--the
highway we all drove on was shut down!!
Rainy Minneapolis...Randy at 7th Street Entry was the coolest soundguy,
but the sound was really weird here. I stand right in front of Jeff's drums
onstage, and I could barely hear him at all. I must be going deaf. Spent
some time talking to Murray from the 97s tonight, who looked just like
a Ramone. He's really the sweetest guy, and seems to be the levelheaded
leader of that pack of wild Texas boys. When they get to rocking, Ken's
swinging his tongue back and forth and Rhett's whipping his head around,
inviting whiplash, and the both of them are just DUMPING sweat. Whew!!
I sat in the same place Apollonia sat for the club scene in Purple
Rain..."Do you want HIM, or do you want ME, cause I want CHO!!"....1st
Avenue will forever be cool. I've loved Prince since then. Whiskey Phil
and I stood there looking at that huge, dusty club, and I wished I had
a tape of "Sign of the Times" in the van with us.
Stayed with our pal Marlee McCleod and played with her cats till 4am.....ahh....blessed
Saturday, April 5
Another seven hour drive today, and we're flying down the highway at
75 mph and we have a BLOW-OUT!! Thankfully, Jeffrey is a tire-changing
fool....it was kind of funny how it happened....we're jamming to Uriah
Heep on the stereo, and the tire blows, but we couldn't tell if it
was the tire or the Heep...argh! This great trucker dude stopped to help
us, and I swear to God, he looked and talked just like the trucker from
"Thelma and Louise"....
Drove into Schuba's at 7, quick soundcheck, then played at 8.
This has got to be one of my favorite clubs on the planet. Anastasia and
Michael Brady (the sound-hunk) are two of the coolest folks....she's knitting
while firmly dealing with the crowds, and he's working the soundboard like
he really cares. He always gives us tips on our sound, and she's always
got the very best gossip. I wish we could play here every night.
Hazeldine had the honor of having breakfast with Leeds ex-patriot and
handsomest man in rock, Jon Langford (he of Mekons and Waco Brothers
fame), who very graciously gave us some stage banter tips while telling
stories over polish ham at Sophie's Busy Bee in Wicker Park. If you're
familiar with Sophie's then you'll know what I mean when I say that we're
staying at one of the mansions that has it's picture on the wall at the
Bee. Our painter pal Jill Schultz is Chicago's most gracious hostess, and
we spent our day off talking to reporters and lawyers and mechanics (gotta
get that tire fixed!).
After yet another amazing meal at Hi Ricky! (one of the waiters
there is this hyper-sexual Asian Jim Morrison type-yum!), we rushed on
down to the excellent Lounge Ax for THE best show. Ryan played on
"Drive" with us again tonight, one of my personal highlights for
every show, and Jim from the Picketts got up and helped us with
our Boone County track "I'm Lonesome Without You".....and
all is right with the world when you're onstage rocking and the crowd is
into it. The energy exchange is so intoxicating from the stage sometimes.
Tonight was one of those nights, for all the bands, I think.
Caitland (WT's fiddle babe) is keeping a polaroid journal of this tour.
I've decided that she and WT's tour manager Skillet are sort of the emotional
center of this tour. They're a couple and they're both just the nicest
people, and they smooch a lot. The rest of us watch them and try to imagine
what it would be like to get smooched....
Phil and Ryan both bought new amps here, and Ry got a beautiful blonde
telecaster that just sings...I'm NOT jealous (especially because I get
to play Ryan's amp...)
After Whiskeytown's set, we all trucked over to Schuba's for the Waco
and Sally Timms show. I almost literally got into a fistfight working
my way to the stage --it was SO packed. Man, the audiences in Chicago are
dedicated!! I presented Jon with a bottle of Jack Daniels and he toasted
Hazeldine and made my world HAPPEN for the next 2 hours....he and his wife
are expecting their first child soon...I'm NOT jealous! Becoming friends
with Jon has been one of the coolest things about this tour for me. And
seafood soup with Phil at 3 in the morning at this leaky little Thai place....collapsing
into my sleeping bag a 5am and falling straight to sleep. I love Chicago.
I love Chicago. I love Chicago. Could live here too.....thanks Jill.
Sunday, April 5
St. Louis....Anne's hometown and we totally choke! We played
our best show last night and our worst show tonight...our emotional freakouts
happen here, and apologies are owed to Anne's good parents and to Anne
I have drinks with the parents of an ex-roommate that recently overdosed
on heroin. It was sad and sweet both, but good to spend time with Anthony
and Rosemary ( that's the Rosemary of the song, in case you're wondering).
Personal stuff too sad and painful to really comment on in this diary...No
Depression has taken on a new meaning for me....
Tuesday, April 7
Played to the smallest crowd on the tour so far tonight. Lynagh's was
a nice place though, and I'm starting to feel less sick, finally.
Tonya, Caitland and me have been singing with the Picketts on the
Clash's "Should I Stay or Should I Go", and it's becoming my favorite
part of the entire show. Christy is the coolest woman; a mother, wife,
and rock and roll BABE who can really write some swinging tunes...and Lord,
can that girl sing. Blackie is this shy cutie who reminds me of Crispin
Glover a little bit, except he's got nicer thighs and a WAY better singing
voice (oh, and I DID get to wear his cool pants in Minneapolis). We're
going to miss these guys. It's starting to sink in that we're going to
have to say goodbye to all of our new friends soon. Tomorrow night is the
last night of this tour, and I'm getting sad.
Someone has written "Fuck me like Rhett" in the dirt on the
side of the 97s trailer (a reference to our song Tarmac, which is "Fuck
me like Batman"). He's such a sweet guy that I think some people want
to pick on him just for spite. Not me though, he just makes me want to
hug him and borrow his cool sweaters. For as little as we actually got
to see and hang with the 97s, they all seem like genuine nice guys. Our
music and theirs couldn't be more different, so it was an eye-opener being
on tour with such professional indie-rockers. They're like the Possum Dixon
of alterna-country, and I mean that as a compliment. And their guitar tech,
Noah, is the best dancer out of this whole motley group.
There's 21 of us spending a month together rocking our way around and
across America. 21 different personalities thrown together under the No
It's like summer camp in bars.
Thursday, April 9
Last show of this incredible tour!! Every person in every band is getting
rowdy backstage here in Nashville at the Exit/In, and we're all
crashing each other's sets, bumrushing the mics....Tonya and I get up with
Whiskeytown for background assist on their version of Fleetwood
Mac's "Dreams"...slow-dancing with Peter Blackstock...meeting Steve
Earle...telling stories with Jack Emerson....swapping boy-bellies with
Rhett and Noah...swapping dreamy blue eyes with Pickett's John...exchanging
addresses with everyone....swapping spit with Phil (got him!!)....I wish
more of the tour could have been as wide damn open as tonight was--everyone
was FINALLY letting their hair down and having fun.
Bruce, the owner here at Exit/In, gets points for having the best soundman
on the entire tour AND the only show on the tour where there were actually
girl groupies backstage trying to make time with the alterna-studs. Cy,
the tour manager, gets points for putting up with all of us ("Please acknowledge"
doesn't count), Ryan gets points for his cajones, Rhett for his patience,
and Blackie for his pants. Hazeldine gets points for getting invited at
all, and Peter Blackstock gets them for suggesting us.
A personal note to Peter: This has been the best experience of my life,
honey, so thank you for believing in us, and thanks for the romantic dance
Thanks for reading...if you've made it this far then YOU get points
for dealing with this rambling, gossipy diary. I hope you enjoyed it. I'd
really love to hear from any or all of you about what you thought about
Hazeldine has a cd coming out on the German label, Glitterhouse, in
a month or so. It's called "How Bees Fly", and you can special order
it at any good record store. Our US release is still pending.....
-- Hey, how about some input on what you all think about this diary?
As we wind our way home, honky-tonk on the radio, our third time in
Nashville--I'll remember where we came from, where we've been, and where
we want to go.
To all journalists: You know, we're not trying to be representative
of an entire genre of music. We are all just lucky enough to be able to
go out for a month with each other, meet some people, and rock.
No Depression is a magazine, and this tour was put together and sponsored
by this magazine. There are lots of magazines in the world. They are created
because of a cultural need and desire for information. All magazines promote
specific ideologies, and since no one can believe or dig everything, backlash
Now, I've always been suspicious of things that are universally popular...(umm...we
just drove through Bucksnort, Tennessee, and I lost my train of thought).
Oh yes, but I learned something very important when I buckled under and
went to see the Smashing Pumpkins recently...every experience is different,
and it's what YOU make of it. And it's harmfull to allow someone else's
attitudes to keep me from making my own decisions.
The gist of what I'm trying to say is this: I hope that while you're
peddling backlash against the No Depression "Movement" (which is itself
something like a backlash against the mainstream "Alternative" music industry
machine), you bother to take a moment out of your movement-breaking, opinion-making
to actually take time to listen to some of the music. Cause some of the
most honest music being made today is made by the sort of bands that get
written up in No Depression. Cause there's some rockin' going on round
here. Cause every experience is different, and if you'd allow it, you just
may enjoy it. Goodnight, Irene.