On the road

Aug 16, 2000 at 12:00 am
Musicians around town always tell me that going on tour is the best part of playing in a band. Traveling from town to town, bar to bar, crappy diner to crappy diner, they always come back to Detroit with incredible stories. Over the past few months, we’ve shared Slumber Party and White Stripes with the West Coast and Waxwings with the East Coast. Right now, they’ve all met in the middle for a few shows and some much-needed relaxation. They’re not sticking around for long, though. They’ve got the rest of the country to see. But I managed to collect a few stories before we release these home-town rockers back out into the ocean of bad fast food and crowded vans.

Big party, little slumber

Aliccia Berg, lead vocalist and guitarist for the gloomy garage get-up Slumber Party, said that a highlight from the tour was when she saw Gina Birch from the Raincoats wearing a pink Slumber Party T-shirt with the sleeves cut off. The Kill Rock Stars quartet played Los Angeles and the surrounding cities, including a stint at Ladyfest in Olympia, Wash., which also featured Sleater-Kinney and the Bangs.

In Wilmington, an industrial town just outside of LA that made the Cass Corridor feel "warm and fuzzy," the band encountered its first follow-the-band fan. "We had a show 200 miles away the next day and he had hitchhiked to see us play again." So with the travelling fan in mind, the band was moved to give a ride to a "young, handsome fellow originally from Vermont, traveling from Eugene (Ore.) to Olympia (Wash.). He was 20 years old, thin and cute, with a backpack." Ahhh.

Slumber Party’s CD release shindig is Aug. 25 at the Gold Dollar. A tour of the East Coast, Midwest and South is scheduled for fall. The band also will be performing live on the "Skrockin’ Yer Butow" show (10 p.m.-midnight) on WHFR-FM 89.3 in Dearborn, Sept. 3.

Wax ecstatic

The jingle-jangle, strikingly smart power-pop of the Waxwings was well-received throughout the East Coast as evidenced by glowing press clippings from the Philadelphia Enquirer and Time Out New York. Over the course of the tour, the band played shows with Beachwood Sparks, the Vue, Delta 72 and Rapture.

"It was nights like those that motivated us and leveled out the slower, less-exciting moments," said Dean Fertita (vocals, guitar). In between LA and Houston, the band had a night off and drove to the Joshua Tree National Monument. They stayed in Room 8 at the Joshua Tree Inn where Gram Parsons died.

"A night in the desert was a perfect remedy for the previous week of long drives and sleeping in the van." Post-break, the Waxwings played a surprisingly satisfying show in Lawrence, Kan. "The White Stripes were playing there the night after, which made us feel closer to home." Closing in Chicago, Fertita was surprised to play for a number of people who were familiar with the record. "That was the first time outside of Detroit that people knew our songs.

The Waxwings are heading back out on a tour with other Bobsled recording artists Sept. 5, and will be back in town Sept. 13 for a show at the Gold Dollar.

Beware the buffalo

Jack from the White Stripes didn’t heed this advice and was nearly trampled when he awoke a big one in North Dakota. He managed to escape, but still ended up in the hospital after the last show in Chicago because of a kidney stone.

In happier news, the rockin’ power duo nabbed an opening spot for the sold-out Weezer show in LA. And Sleater-Kinney asked White Stripes to be tour mates next month for a Midwest-East Coast-Canada tour after watching a show. What Jack was most excited about, though, was meeting Veronica Lake’s granddaughter.

The White Stripes play Friday, Aug. 18 at the Magic Stick.

In other news…

The Moods For Moderns-Damn Personals-Spindle show went over well last Friday, despite a rumored demonstration by a new coalition of Pissed Off Boyfriends Against Shaggy Haired Pop Bands (or P.O.B.A.S.H.P.B). The "group" sent out a hilarious mass e-mail before the show, asking fellow "pissed off" brethren to "make large signs to wave at the bands as they play (e.g.: ‘We’re burning our girlfriends’ copy of your CD!’). And to join in chants such as "So sorry to burst your bubble, but shaggy haired pop groups are nothing but trouble!" I still can’t stop laughing about the supposed brother groups: "Boyfriends Against Tight Denim," "Boyfriends Against Todd Rundgren, Bread and Air Supply Covers" and "Boyfriends Against Matt Hatch." Seriously though, Moods For Moderns have so much going for them: talent, charisma, clean, hooky songs. You can’t help but have a smile on your face when these three young ’uns play. Melissa Giannini writes about music for Metro Times. E-mail her at [email protected]