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In October of ‘97 Idle set out for what was to be our final tour. In retrospect, I think we all knew it, but the pressures of what seemed like overwhelming lack of response to our third cd, Ego Park, by our record company, radio, and stores in general led at least myself to forge defiantly out once again with something to prove. I kept a journal during the tour and the following weeks leading up to our being dropped by our label. What follows is my (mostly) unedited chronicle of my band and the life of 99% of indie-rock band’s crossing the country in search of an ear.

Will Croxton, New York City, 11/8/99


Detroit, Michigan

Took off yesterday for Detroit. Should’ve known something ominous was building when Renard showed up two hours late for a 12-hour drive. Got packed, kissed the crippled wife goodbye and turned the van key to nothing. It finally started and we headed into Manhattan for supplies and hit two parades. Then 35 miles out of NY our tire almost blew. Getting a replacement in Jersey on a Sunday was a stretch. Finally got one for $59 & took the long journey to Detroit. Arrived at Michael’s at 3AM. Spent today getting Burke’s amp repaired & learning to waste time in large amounts again.

Friday’s show at Arlene was decent. A good crowd. We played adequately. Hit a lull during mid-set due to poor set list. Ivan (Julian) joined us for “Trouble Man.” Nice stuff. I need to steal some of those licks & then learn how to play them.


Detroit, Michigan

Still at Michael’s. Show last night went great. Played w/ old friends of James’ that brought whole crowd. We sounded good - club guy taped it - we heard pre-mix. They were new & while not great had a little promise. Sold some cds - not bad for a Monday night in Detroit. The entire area surrounding the club (the Gold Dollar) is desolate. This town, as Keith described, looks “like it was hit by a neutron bomb.” Someone broke in our back door, but took nothing. Have to get that fixed today. Highlight of the show was James dedicating “Fallen Hero” to John Denver, who died yesterday in a plane crash.


somewhere in Indiana

Driving to Iowa City. Got a late start due to staying in Detroit an extra day. Burke is still sick. All he does is sleep. Last night, Keith, Renard and I hit the Booby Trap. Spent too much money, saw lots of boobs. Big Deal tour money just came through right in time. Can’t wait to start 10 shows in 10 days. Getting bored.


Des Moines, Iowa

Sitting in some sports bar watching “Friends”. Had to happen at some point. Last night’s show (Gabe’s Oasis) was ill attended. Only the other band remained at the end, but they loved it and we traded addresses, etc. They’re Love Kit, from Chicago - a pretty cool pop band. They’ll try and make it to Monday’s show. Good to see Doug Roberson (booker and guitarist for the Bent Scepters). He remembers DT fondly and was hyped by our set. He liked the album as well and invited us back any time. That’s the point of this trip I keep reminding myself and the band. It’s rough after not doing this for so long. The van’s also a problem. There’s a crack in the timing van thats’ leaking oil. It’s pretty bad and will cost $4-600. We can get by just dumping oil in it, but it’s a dark cloud overhead. Not getting good vibes about tonight’s Des Moines show - though the club (can’t recall the name) looks good - but it’s the midwest on a weeknight. Think this weekend will offer us more. Meet the Green Pyramids tonight.


near Omaha, Nebraska

Headed to Sioux Falls. Show last night sucked w/ a couple of exceptions. A guy walked up after (the only non-band person in the stage room) with a copy of Downers’ he’d bought after reading about us in the (Village) Voice. We signed it for him. Then, an old punk rocker came up after and paid us some nice compliments. 8 Bucks opened the show w/a punk, metal circus. The first few songs were fun. They were pretty young and had tons of energy. The drummer was phenomenal. They may be picking up a gig with us in Minneapolis.

The Pyramids were pretty decent. Crystal’s a pretty good guitarist and the band rocks pretty hard. She’s real detail-oriented, kind of runs the show. Tonight should be alot more fun. It will be great to see some people at a show.

I miss my wife. Not out of control, but I miss talking to her. It gets a little old sometimes seeing the same 3 guys 24-hours a day. The lame shows haven’t helped much either, w/ no one around to talk to. Spirit’s are good though and the band’s playing well.


St. Paul, Minnesota

Sitting in the van at Macalester College trying to line-up an interview at the campus station. Last two shows in Sioux Falls (Pomp Room) and Mankato (Minnesota, Buster’s) were a bit disappointing. Especially Friday in Sioux Falls. Both rooms were huge and had great PA’s, but they were more generic rock clubs than



Driving to Iowa City. Got a late start due to staying in Detroit an extra day. Burke is still sick. All he does is sleep. Last night, Keith, Renard and I hit the Booby Trap. Spent too much money, saw lots of boobs. Big Deal tour money just came through right in time. Can’t wait to start 10 shows in 10 days. Getting bored.


outside Chicago, Illinois

“There is no justice in this world”


Madison, Wisconsin

Got sidetracked back there. The rooms Friday and Saturday were huge, but empty Friday and full of mostly idiots and farm boys Saturday. Not that there’s anything wrong with either, but hardly the fan base we’re going to get much out of. The sound guy Pat was cool on Friday night. He knows Ivan and the next day a tech guy in town fixed my delay (pedal) for free once he found out I was on tour. Got to remember to send him an 8x10 signed. That’s been the coolest part, feeling a kinship w/ some of the music guys.

Played with an awful band in Mankato called Zebra 3, but they turned out to be very cool. We stayed w/ a couple of em at one of their girlfriends. She actually bought a cd first. Ended up having a drunken night swapping Minneapolis anecdotes & blaring the Mats, Soul Asylum & Fugazi. Justin, the bass player, ended up coming out to see us at the Entry (7th Street Entry, Minneapolis) the next night.

It was cool to play in Minneapolis, There’s certainly alot of history in that club. Unfortunately, the Pyramid’s dicked us and made us go last (something they do whenever it suits) which sucked cause everyone left. We were left with a few stragglers and the cool soundman Dan. He’s a trip.

We parted ways with them after the show. Mark Holland (the tour booker) also didn’t show up for the show. He was there on Saturday though. We stayed w/ Christian from the Pyramids. He’s really nice, but a tad bizarre. His house is littered with pictures of he and his wife in Elizabethan garb.

Chicago (the Beat Kitchen) was terrible. Mark hadn’t informed us of club policy. Bands owe the soundman $40 for sound. You provide the doorman. There’s no walk-in crowd. There’s no promotion. We were going to leave, but struck a deal with the soundman - who, once again, really liked us. He took the discography as payment. We played in front of him and three others - all people Keith invited. My college friend Greg never showed, nor did Edith Frost. We did tape it though and the tape sounded great. One thing that’s gotten lost in what’s becoming a totally miserable tour is that we’ve rarely played better. We’re switching the sets every night and are pretty right on. “June’s” become our closer and it works well in a new Velvets-y tribal stomp through the beginning.

Off in a few to do a radio interview to plug tonight’s show. Hopefully, that, and the choice we got in the student paper will get a few bodies out. They’ve already told us Tuesday’s are a bad night in Madison. Well, it’s been a bunch of bad nights. Our cd’s aren’t even in stores here. I don’t know where to start or where to end. I’m tired, beaten up, and missing Gina. I can’t quit now though. I’ve put too much of myself in it. The whole process of recording (and writing) a new album seems very daunting at this point.


“In another time zone”


Toledo, Ohio

Last show tonight in Buffalo. Had an off night last night so we drove a little over halfway. Tuesday’s show in Madison (Mango Grill) was a bust (so what else is knew). We played 4 songs to 2 tables of people who were finishing dinner. They left and we stopped. Kathy, the lady who runs the club, and Jamie, the soundman were both really nice though. “Tuesday’s a rough night” and so on. Radio interview was interesting as well. We’re at WORT (UW-Madison) w/ the Wilson Brothers on their new tracks show, when the DJ asks, “so I guess you’re already tired of the record?” when Renard responds, “I hate it!”-- “no really, I do.” Always sets a good tempo for the rest of the evening. Saving grace was later after a few beers when a bunch of guys rambled in (to the Grill) during a birthday celebration. They encouraged us to play and we played 5 or 6 more tunes to a rousing cheer (& sold a cd!).

Stayed at a hotel in Madison & went out to some meathead UWM bars. Left in the morning to Milwaukee. Madison’s losta little charm since the late 80’s. Never looked up Cliff Hopson & it now looks like generic college town - though the lake’s are beautiful.

Radio interview at WMSE in Milwaukee in the mid-afternoon. We drove into town and went right on the air. The DJ Melissa Ryan was pretty cool. She played “For Better”, “Record Store”, & “Automatic” and did a pretty good job with us.

Hung out for a while afterwards. Went to Atomic Records - where there were no cds - they bought a couple. That’s a big problem. I haven’t seen one cd in a store. We’ve gone through some good stores as well. Fucking sucks.

Well, Milwaukee has 1500 bars, and we found the Greenpoint Tavern. We planted ourselves for a few hours, meeting a local ex-Marine psycho named Warb. He went to the show as well.

We were forced to play a “new band night.” (at the Globe) The opening band was laughable. The band after us was a blues band. Being that we are now the band that can’t be humiliated, we were impressed that there were people there. We played an adequate set to good response. The closer “June” got a great reception.

Now it’s on to Buffalo. I think with the day off, we’ll do a good show tonight. I hope it’s an up turn. I’d like to end this thing on a high note. I also hope the van makes it. That thing has run great, but it still wigs me out. There, I jinxed us.


New York City

Tour’s been over for a little over a week now. Buffalo was more of the same. Had a few people there. Met Marty Boratin, Buffalo’s resident band guy. He’s great. He set us up with the show and was going to put us up for the night and feed us. Cool guy. Wish there were more like him around.

Renard announced to James and Keith before the show that it was his last. At this point I don’t care. I’d rather see him go. I’m getting tired of his whining and bitching. I’d love to have 4 equals.

We did Pseudo Online the other night. It was alot of fun. We talked & did songs acoustic. It’s kind of the last straw as far as Renard’s concerned. He announced he was going to “sit this one out” on tour and again upon return (forgot to say he announced he’d stick around on ride home (from Buffalo)). So, I got Keith to ask Jay (Wilkins) to sit in on percussion. Partly cause I knew it would piss Renard off & part to add some new life to stuff. It was fun.


New York City

Dropped by Big Deal on the 12th. Went in for a status meeting on Ego Park. Ray Mancison, the A&R guy, basically admitted total defeat. There was no future there, so it came as no surprise or shock when Dean (Brownrout) came in and broke “the news.” I’m still under the opinion that I could’ve taken a shit on a cd & sold more (than they did). Whatever. It is strange that after 4 years, I don’t have a contract and have nothing outwardly to show for it. I realize I have 3 great cds, but it doesn’t take the sting away. Lost time I suppose. Renard’s also gone. His girlfriend broke up with him and coupled with the fact that we wanted him out anyway led to his departure. Keith, James and I talked about it and we’re soldiering on anyway. I do think we have our best record in front of us.

Started some demos at Ivan’s place. No new Idle material yet, but that’ll come with new drummer I’m sure. I guess it’s time to start the whole thing again.

I don’t want any sympathy over the fallout. We’ll all be better for it whatever the outcome.