In the weeks prior to the release of Painful in 1993, we were offered eight shows opening for the Breeders. Last Splash was a sensation, and the Breeders were playing clubs smaller than they could have. Space on stage was at a premium, and as good as a mix as it may have been musically–we were aware of Kim Deal watching more than one of our sets–that’s how awkward it was personally. I wish I could say none of it was our fault. The second date was in New York, and we contemplated bailing on the remaining six, which included full-day drives to get from Providence to Chicago, and then again from Chicago to Portland (where we had our lone show without the Breeders). We were convinced to press on. After playing in Chicago, 21 years ago today, we left early, getting a head start on the trip west, sleeping somewhere in Iowa. We felt pretty good–soundman Terry Pearson, who knew the Breeders a bit dating from their dates opening for Sonic Youth, spoke for us all when he declared we had “turned the corner.” He was right: As Georgia, James, Terry and Joe ate breakfast, I got the call from Bob Lawton that we’d been kicked off the tour. What to do? Convinced that it was all a misunderstanding–the communication between the two bands was that inept–we were reluctant to give up and drive home. But the Breeders were flying to the west coast, and no appeal could be heard until they landed. Our timetable to get to Portland did not allow us the freedom to wait for them to be accessible again; we continued driving and hoped that we weren’t adding eight hours to a frustrating backtrack. If you saw us in Seattle, Los Angeles or San Francisco, you already know how this story ends. At a post-show soiree the final night at the Troubadour in L.A., I managed to call Kelly Deal Kim.
Before leaving Los Angeles, we turn to the mailbag. Justin writes: In December of 2008, the day after Christmas, Sarah and I went on our first date, at the Tiga Bar in Portland, OR. She was sick and nursing hot toddies, and outside, it was pouring rain. Your song, “Our Way to Fall,” came on over the speakers, and we talked about how fond of it we both were. It was around that time I told her I was moving to Los Angeles in a month. “Okay . . .” she thought. “Well so much for this. But maybe we can still make out or whatever.” Five years, two cats and one big move later, we got married in Joshua Tree, California on September 14, 2013. “Our Way to Fall” was our first dance at the wedding.
Jetting our way up the coast to Sebastopol, we hear from Miles: September 14, 1997 is the day I was born. The first two days of my life were filled with what my father called “goddess music.” On the third day the women having absented themselves, my father picked me up and held me so close as we danced to “Moby Octopad.” Thus my introduction to Yo La Tengo and rock ‘n’ roll. I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One became my rhythmic lullaby for the next three years.