Editorial: September 1997
Touring with Killing Floor to CMJ



INITIATE TRANSMISSION
Day 1: Flying - [ Portland OR - Minneapolis, MN - Des Moines IA ]

I spent half of the day at work until around noon when I drove my car out to a friend who would use it to drop me at the airport. Once at the airport, I boarded the first of two flights to Minneapolis, Minnesota. Lucky for me, my connecting flight was a mile across the airport (as if) so I used the time to call up Christian on his cellular to inform him of my arrival time in Des Moines.

Night 1: Clear Lake, IA - [ Lake County Inn ]
Christian Showing Off His Pretty Face
Christian After being picked up from the Des Moines airport we hit the road. We drove maybe 2 hours when the sky just opened up and started dumping rain. Then the lightning started. It was as if the sky was bright as day perhaps even 2-3 seconds as the lightning lit up the sky in massive sheets. Apparently we were driving right underneath a thunderstorm and we could see the lightning roll around the clouds.

After stopping at a Super 8 Hotel and finding it filled we managed to find a dive of a hotel to crash. Of course we had to sit around and shoot the shit until we pissed each other off enough to get some sleep. The whole room was a fucking snoring symphony which made sleeping difficult, of course the humidity wasn't too great either.

Day 2: Driving - [ Clear Lake, IA - Lacrosse, WI ]
The intrepid reporter and a Korg
Jester We drove 2.5 hours to LaCrosse and arrived without incident. Upon entering the city we started looking for somewhere to kill time because load-in at the Warehouse wasn't going to happen for several hours. Scanning the town from the bridge that crossed the Mississippi we noticed a large sign on top of a building that said Leithold's music. We aimed the caravan at the store and found a place to park.

John needed to purchase an electronic tom stand so we browsed the store looking for it. The prices were a bit high ($129) for a stand that had an extra clamp that he could not use. He also needed to buy a new clamp for his needs so we decided to hold off purchasing and look for another music store. We wandered across the street into a used clothing store called Wasteland.

We just happened to ask them where the club was located and they pointed a half block away. What luck we had stumbled close to not only the club but a bunch of cool stores (including Deaf Ear Records). We also found the location of the other music stores in town (Dave's Music) where we managed to find a used tom stand for $29. John also picked up the clamp and a few other odds and ends, then we proceeded to scope out the club.

Performance 1: Lacrosse, WI - Warehouse [Killing Floor, Greyline, Screet]

Unfortunately we found out that we had to go up 3 flights of stairs for load-in. The club is a building that used to be a cosmetic school back in the 1920's. It was rather large, with solid wood floors, and a ton of interesting places to dump our gear. So we loaded into the Warehouse and prepped for the show.
Marc belts out the chorus
Marc After they set-up, the band played '12-10-48', 'Glass' and a portion of 'Strand'. Then we headed off to find some food while the other bands, Greyline (from Chicago with members of Thanatos) and Screet (a local 4 piece punk outfit) did their sound check. We killed a few hours composing letters and postcards to our loved ones, CD shopping, drinking, etc and lumbered into the club as it opened at 8:30.

I took my place as merchandise slut and proceeded to sell a handful of T-shirts & CD's rather quickly. The local opener also had a brand new cassette so I did them a favor and took care of selling their tape as well. So I sat back, enjoyed the show and took other people's blood money for a bunch of nickel and dime merchandise, erm... cool T-shirts and music.

Screet was a rather interesting local, four-piece punk band that while having a great deal of musical talent, needed to work on their stage presence a bit. The vocalist did a good job of catching everyone else's attention, but the rest of the band just stood still throughout the entire set. Of course the average age of each band member had to be 16, so that might explain it a bit.

The funny thing about the Warehouse was not only was the show all ages, but the entire audience were kids. If you averaged the age of all the people in the club, and the band who were playing and it might come to 18, that's how young the crowd was. I guess that there was nowhere else in town for the kids to go, so they cam here for entertainment.

Next Greyline from Chicago took the stage with their blend of electro Darkwave. The four-piece had two keyboardists, a full drum kit and a vocalist. Their downfall ended up being a lack of cohesion and tightness. The band, while sounding decent, needed to spend a great deal more time playing live so that they could play off each others actions and sound. I think with practice, they will have a decent live show, but for now they were rather boring.

Karl grooves out on his bass
Karl After a quick set change, Killing Floor took the stage. Armed with a video camera and a regular camera I filmed the majority of the show for this tour diary. The set list included '12-10-48', 'Two Dimes', 'Perfect World', 'Wood', 'Tear it all Away', 'Ecosystem', 'Strand', 'Come Together', 'About to Break', 'Glass' & 'The Way It Goes'. Personally, while having known Christian for 5 years, I had never seen Killing Floor before. I thought they were a really tight band who knew when to sacrifice the sound of their set for the sake of the stage performance whenever it suited them. I thought they came off rather well in front of a crowd of mostly kids. At least the audience had the decency to get up and dance a little (including a mini-mosh pit) unlike what they had done for the previous bands.

The most amusing thing about the show was that we sold so much merchandise. The kinds there loved the band and they shelled out a ton of cash on T-shirts and CD's. We only started with a box of 25 copies of the first album and we ended up selling 20 of them. Two of the jewel case were destroyed, so we only had 3 CD's left for the Maryland date. Lucky for us, Chase was shipping 50 copies of the new album along with a bunch of samplers for Hagerstown, so we will have plenty of stuff to sell.

After the sale blitz we packed up and loaded out. Amazingly enough is was much easier to load down 3 flights of stairs than it was to load up them. We packed and I hit up the club owner for our pay. Our guarantee was $200, but he insisted in docking us $10 for a mike stand that Greyline supposed bent.

Deciding to not argue over $10 We took the cash. We also grabbed a huge 6 foot poster that the club had made to promote the show. The owner even offered to let us crash on the foldout beds in the dressing room, but we decided that showers were needed and he could not offer us that. So the band all headed to a local bar to pass away a few hours before finding a hotel.

Night 2: West Salem, WI - [ Americinn ]

Vince (of Greyline) and Michelle (who helped book the show) decided to stick around and not take the 5 hour drive back to Chicago. So after two hours of drinking we braved the fog and set out to try and find a hotel. We drove all over LaCrosse in the fog and every single place was booked. Apparently this is very normal for a labor day weekend just before the start of college in Wisconsin.

Unfortunately all this driving and the day before left our gas tanks empty and all the gas stations were closed as well. Thankfully a nice lady at a Budget Inn gave us directions to a 24 hour gas station and the gas station gave us directions to an Americinn that was just opened which had a free room.

James and I sweet-talked a guy working the desk of the hotel to give us a weekday rate, a 10% discount for James AAA membership, and a late checkout. Overall we got 25% off the basic room rate for a double queen sized bed room for us, and a king size + hot tub for Michelle and Vince. So we crashed and recovered around noon, heading off to find food and go to Chicago for a Lab Report show on Sunday night as well as a laundromat.

Day 3: Driving - [ West Salem, WI - Chicago, IL ]

The road trip was totally uneventful until we hit traffic coming down the toll road on I-90. We arrived at the huge loft and got introduced to Kurt & Jason McNinch (formerly of Lick). We loaded in, walked down Halsted to find dinner and lounged around for a bit. Then we headed out to the Lab Report loft show as well as perhaps a little bit of Bondage night at the Dome Room.

Night 3: Chicago, IL - [Lick Loft]

The Lab Report show was a two part performance that took place at a huge loft called the Lab. The whole thing (video and audio) was broadcast over the Internet to anyone who wanted to watch. Most of the instrument were hand made and functioned much like a Theremin. Definitely a very ear shattering performance.

After the first part of the performance we went to a small loft party at a friend of Vince's. We stayed for perhaps 2-3 hours and then headed off to the Neo for a little dancing. The Neo (located on North Clark) was having it's 18 year anniversary and was kicking until 3am when we left. They played a mixture of Gothic, Industrial, and New Wave music alternating genres on the hour. The set-up was really nice, even for the small size. There was an ample dance floor, bar space and seating.

We left the Neo and headed for a 'Burrito' place over on Ashland by Vince's. The whole crew (Killing Floor, Michelle, Kurt [from Lick], Greg [from Final Cut]) had food. John and James proceeded to critique the food when compared to 'real' Burrito's from San Francisco. Afterwards we headed back to the loft where we tried and failed to watch the video of the LaCrosse, WI show. So we all decided to crash and recover.

Day 4: Chicago, IL - [Lick Loft]
Christian hanging at the Loft & Me!
Christian & Jester The next day we cleaned up a little and headed out to find some food and a laundromat. Unfortunately, the closest Laundromat was packed and the food availability was rather pathetic. So we headed back to the loft, chilled and then had Kurt take us down to Greek-town for lunch. Kurt then took us on a little driving tour through Chicago including Lake Shore Drive, the Clark/Belmont intersection, and Wacker drive.

Eventually we ended up back at the loft, where I asked someone to cut some of my hair. Lucky for me, Marc had a pair of clippers and cleaned up my hair really well. He also trimmed up Karl, as well as Kurt and Jason McNinch. Once he was finished we headed over to the barbecue at Vince's where James was supposed to meet Levi Boston (of too many bands to mention here), and Marc & Christian were supposed to meet a tattoo artist named Ben Wa.

Night 4: Chicago, IL - [Lick Loft]

The party was really cool. It turns out that Vince lived with William Tucker (of Ministry) and Greg Lucas (of Final Cut) and had a cool loft/studio. A whole bunch of Vince's friends were also there. I tried to get Amy Gorman (of Invisible Records) to drop by the party but she ended up not showing up. Marc spent most of the party getting a tattoo from Ben Wa and showed up late. All things considered, it was a fun party. The next morning we packed up, said our goodbyes to the Lick loft, grabbed some food, picked up the truck, which was at Vince's, and hit the road.

Day 5: Driving - [ Chicago, IL to Hagerstown, MD ]

Although the drive was around 650 miles we took over twelve hours to make it to Maryland. Everyone decided to stop on the road for almost any reason. However we did run into a band called Fool's Progress at several toll plazas. They were from Denver, Colorado and were on the way to NYC to do a show, but not for CMJ. They gave us a copy of their CD which was far too much like Dave Matthews Band or Hootie & The Blowfish for their own good.

Night 5: Hagerstown, MD - [ Quality Inn ]

We arrive late in Hagerstown and stopped by the club hoping for a show. It turns out they open early and close early so no one was around. So we grabbed a hotel, unloaded and grabbed some dinner with the last of our show money at Denny's. We the proceeded to pass out and die from lack of sleep.

Day 6: Hagerstown, MD - [Bumming around]

We went to a laundromat (finally) and did our dirty laundry much to the dismay of the local populace. Imagine a tribe of techno-geeks debating computer operating systems, dressed mostly in black, invading a rustic eastern seaboard town and you get the idea. We also paraded throughout the town to such places as the local mall, all while killing time before load-in at the club.
Christian entertains the locals
Christian Around 4:30 in the afternoon we rolled into the club and set-up. In the process I noticed the batteries on my camera were dead, Christian decided that he needed some chloraseptic for his voice, and the sound man was conspicuously absent. The local promoter, Tom, drove me to get batteries and Chloraseptic, and John played the role of sound guy. He completed all of the sound check for Killing Floor and was working on the Electronic Control Organization sound check when the sound guy finally showed.

The normal sound guy completed the check for Electronic Control Organization and we all settled back to enjoy the food provided for us, swap road stories, and arrange to go to Club Orpheus in Baltimore on Thursday night. I set-up the merchandise stand and hoped for an onslaught of rabid buyers like I had experienced in LaCrosse. Then I sat back, prepped the camera and camcorder for another night on the job.

Performance 2: 180 Degrees - [with Electronic Control Organization]

Unfortunately, only 20 people showed up at the venue. However we did get paid, had an excellent buffet, and all the people at the club were really cool. The opening band was a three piece, electronic outfit from Baltimore called Electronic Control Organization. They did a short set with the aid of a bassist. They were definitely the best opening act (cohesive-wise) that opened for us yet.

Night 6: Hagerstown, MD - [ Quality Inn ]

As we planned to leave the club for the evening, we found out that we didn't have a free place to stay, so we made plans to go to Baltimore with Electronic Control Organization. Unfortunately we found out that the starter/solenoid on the pick-up truck had gone bad. After calling a AAA towing truck and consulting with the owner of the club, Adam, we decided to crash at a local hotel, and get Adam's friend John Clark to help replace the starter in the morning. John graciously volunteered to sleep in the vehicle to protect it from roaming crackheads and we all slept.

Day 7: Driving - [ Hagerstown, MD - Baltimore, MD ]

We woke up at 9am, cleaned up, called the repair guy at 10am, he determined that the problem was indeed the starter, removed it, got a reworked starter for $38, and installed it by 11:15. John tipped the guy $60 for his time and swift work and we grabbed the names of guys who helped us out for the liner notes on the next Killing Floor album. We then hit the road for Baltimore to meet Steve from Electronic Control Organization.

Night 7: Baltimore, MD - [ Days Inn ]

We arrived in the city, found Club Orpheus, picked up Steve and found a hotel. Karl & James crashed at the hotel because they wanted some time to recover while the rest of us did the tourist thing and grabbed lunch. We toured the downtown area, looked for a pair of vinyl pants for Christian to no avail, hung out at Steve's (of Electronic Control Organization) and went to the club at 8:45pm. We prepped 5 Killing Floor CD's & 17 Re-Constriction Sampler CD's for giveaways at the club after successfully getting in free. We then hung out, chatted, grooved to the music while Steve spun 'Ecosystem', and then threw out the promotional material after he played '12-10-48'.

The most amusing portion of the day was when Christian, in an effort to rest his voice for the NYC show, stopped talking. Instead, he took a piece of cardboard on which he wrote a handful of key phrases, numbers and letters. He then proceeded to point at word/letter combinations as well as performing pantomime in order to communicate with us. This continued for most of the evening while he nursed his throat with tea and cough drops. He only talked to interested fans after giving out the promo's. Afterwards, we headed back to the hotel early so we could get a head start in the morning for load-in at New York at the Bank.

Day 8: Driving - [ Baltimore, MD - Manhattan, NY ]

We drove from Baltimore on into New York City, almost without a problem. Due to a navigation error, the two vehicles got separated in Wilmington, Delaware and we had to spend 30 minutes finding each other. Without the UHF radios that Christian had purchased for the trip, we would have never found each other. This single incident was well worth the $120 price tag of the radios.

We arrived in Manhattan around 3:00pm and drove to the venue. Christian, James & Marc took a Cab to Chase's hotel to pick up the CMJ badges while the rest of us waited. While they were gone, Clay People arrived and someone who worked at the venue mentioned that load-in wasn't until 6:00pm. So once everyone was back together we went to a Polish restaurant a few blocks away to eat and kill time.

After eating we hung around the venue talking to Clay People and Alien Faktor until the venue opened. We loaded in as Evil Mothers were arriving and everyone took their time prepping their equipment for a quick set change over between bands. The first three acts (Alien Faktor, Killing Floor, Clay People) chose to use the house drum kit in order to save time. Doors opened at 8:00pm and the show began.

Performance 3: New York, NY - [ The Bank ]
Christian and Marc rock out!
Christian and Marc Alien Faktor took the stage first. The live band consisted of Decibel Records owner, Tom Muschwitz, on vocals, Lars of Oneiroid Psychosis on keyboards and guitars, another guitar player and a drummer. Most of the set consisted of tracks off the new Alien Faktor release that came out the day of the show. The music focused on more conventional coldwave tracks and avoided all of the noise elements that the band is well known for.

Killing Floor took the stage second. (Un)fortunately due to time restrictions they were forced to use the venue's drum kit. This ruled out the use of the spike as well as reliable drum pads. Other technical issues forced Christian to only use one vocal patch throughout the entire set instead of switching like he usually did. Nevertheless the band gave their all to the largest audience of the tour. Christian was thrashing all over the floor and stage all while using his megaphone a great deal. The sound, while technically the weakest of the tour, didn't manage to detract from the best stage performance of the tour.

James and John get into the music
James and John Clay People took the stage third and made a point about not having a keyboard player playing with them. While Dan Neet has an excellent voice, it was the electronics on the last album "Stone-10 Stitches" that really made the music work for me. Unfortunately, the bands keyboard player quit Clay People several days before they were to play CMJ, so they were stuck without any electronics on stage. The rest of the performance was what you would expect from a coldwave band who was suddenly without a keyboard player.

Uranium 235 took the stage next. This local five piece somehow managed to pull a decent time slot. Unfortunately they had a relatively lousy stage presence and their music sounded like it had been programmed by a computer. Needless to say they had a very boring set during which I spent most of the time chatting with many friends.

Finally Evil Mothers took the stage. Curse Mackey, the vocalist, didn't really seem into the music, and I found out later this was because he was in the middle of a sudden break-up with his girlfriend. Regardless, Evil Mothers put on the most raucous set of the evening, enticing large portions of the crowd to dance around like maniacs. Some of this might of had to do with the two drum kits and the crowded stage or the fact that the band was giving it their all before leaving for London, England where their next show was to take place in two days.

The whole evening was really cool because I got to finally meet many of the people with whom I've either traded e-mail or talked on the phone for years. I carried on a conversation with the following personas during the evening; Chase of Re-Constriction Records Ashley Serotta & Randolph of WMFO, Keith the sole survivor of Fifth Column Records, Mick Hale of Crocodile Shop, Dan Neet & Brian McGarvey of Clay People, Curse Mackey & Patrick of Evil Mothers, Tom Muschwitz of Alien Faktor & Decibel Records, Lars Hansen of Oneiroid Psychosis and the owner of Sideline Records.

Night 8: Driving - [ Manhattan, NY - Philadelphia, PA ]

Day 9: Driving - [ Philadelphia, PA - Chicago, IL ]

We were unable to locate the person the band had planned to stay with so we arranged for Karl to crash with Chase and go to the airport on Sunday at his convenience while we started the drive back. Christian and I, being the most awake took the helm and drove until we got to Pennsylvania. Marc & James took over and we continued to drive until we reached Chicago. We got a hotel so we could recover from the horrid drive.

Night 9: Chicago, IL - [ Super 8 / Lick Loft ]

While everyone else went into the city to hang out with Kurt, Vince and Michelle, I choose to remain in the hotel to sleep. This turned out to be a big boon because the rest of the gang were out until 6:00 am partying and I was needed to drive the next day. However, the partying wasn't without a bit of promotion for the band. First they went to the Dome Room where they gave a copy of the new album to the DJ. He played 'Perfect World', a dancier track on the album. They also went to Neo again and did the same thing. Then they crashed at the Lick loft until 11:30am when we left the city.

Day 10: Driving - [ Chicago, IL - Kearney, NE ]

We decided to try and drive to either Cheyenne, Wyoming or Salt Lake City without stopping for a hotel. Christian and I took the first shift and drove to just outside of Des Moines, Iowa. Then Marc and James took over and drove until the middle of Nebraska while the rest of us caught some sleep. We switched over again at a rest stop and cruised past Lincoln, Nebraska.

Night 10: Kearney, NE - [ Ramada Inn ]
Killing Floor worships TV!
Killing Floor About halfway through the state everyone was too exhausted to continue. So we stopped at the halfway point on the 3,000 mile trip and managed to find a half price hotel room for the night. Our best guess for the reason why the hotel was half off was due to the fact that several million mayflies were hanging around outside the hotel. The swarmed to the lights like a cult to it's leader. After gawking at the bugs the band finished off the last of the beer pillaged from the Hagerstown show, watched some television, posed for a few corny pictures and passed out until morning.

Day 11: Driving - [ Kearney, NE - Silver Zone Pass, NV ]

We drove most of the day and arrived in Salt Lake City around 11pm. We were originally planning on going to a club called the Vortex where James had played with Thrill Kill Kult a month before. Unfortunately the club was closed and his contact in the city was nowhere to be found. So we passed a few hours at a bar called Ichabod's drinking and playing pool before deciding to continue on down the road.

Night 11: Silver Zone Pass, NV - [ Rest Stop ]

We decided to head to Wendover, Nevada which was just over the Utah border to gamble. Once there we hopped into a casino and started to gamble. The band lost what little pocket change they had rather quickly, yet to my amazement I managed to win over $15 playing slots. We ended up using the money to buy ourselves a late dinner / early breakfast. We loaded up the vehicles with gasoline and drove until we were so tired that we were forced to sleep on the side of the road.

Day 12: Driving - [ Silver Zone Pass, NV - Reno, NV - Portland, OR ]

We woke the next morning shortly after dawn and drove to get food in the next town. We stopped in a number of little villages along the I-80 corridor in Nevada for bathroom breaks, gasoline, food and gambling. The only two eventful items were the commando bathroom breaks in the wild and the cashier at Burger King in Elko hitting on Marc & I. Eventually we made it to Reno where the band said goodbye as I boarded a plane back home.

Night 12: Portland, OR - [ Home Sweet Home ]

Once at home, I called up my ride who took his merry time in the horrendous rush hour traffic to come get me. I dropped him off at his house and drove home, stopping momentarily to pick up my girlfriend. Once home I meandered my mail, let my ferrets loose, unpacked, showered, and general made myself busy. I was very surprised to find that my girlfriend had decorated my apartment for my pending arrival as well as had sewn a ferret hammock for my loaner ferrets. I guess I'm just a lucky guy to be involved with someone so thoughtful.

FADE TO BLACK

[Sonic Boom]

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