We opened for Dada in the winter of 1992 and finally saw our name on a marquee – which provided a thrill (in spite of the fact that it was misspelled!). By April we were in Chicago, crammed into a cargo van, playing clubs. On a small budget we managed to bring a driver/roadie and a soundman/tour manager along. I remember sometimes getting some rest on the floor of the van so Linda could lay down on the benchseat to sleep so she would not lose her voice. We slept sitting up, too. Just thinking about it makes my back ache.
We were also getting some airplay on MTV as our video for What’s Up? had debuted on March 14th. Things started happening very fast. Our lives adjusted to the road fairly easily in retrospect. Every day we had another show in a new town. Each day provided an exciting new challenge.
We were a team and we rallied all of our collective energy into each show then recouped and did it again, night after night. Beer soaked stages, smelly microphones, and crappy sound systems. I missed my friends back in San Francisco but was way too busy to dwell on it. I did go to NA/AA meetings along the tour route to compensate.
Back in San Francisco, we won our first Bammie Award for Best Debut Album in March of 1993. We sat at a table next to En Vogue, and wandered around in the green room with the stars. I met Carlos Santana and Neil Young that night, among others.
Our performance of What’s Up? earned us a rousing applause. Receiving that award was a big deal to us; it helped solidify our launch into the national music scene.
Our album was also closing in on the #1 position on the Billboard Heetseekers Chart, which tracks the position of new artists’ debut releases.
In May we picked up a tour opening for for Big Head Todd and the Monsters. They have always maintained a loyal following so the shows were packed. No one in the audience knew who we were (yet), but it was a good experience; even if some nights that just meant winning over a skeptical crowd. It’s always a little more work when people aren’t there to see you. You have to convince them – which we always managed to do.
At one point Todd felt so sorry for us all crammed into a van with our equipment, with two extra bodies and no room to breathe, that he gave us $500 so we could rent ourselves a U-Haul trailer for the gear. I guess that pretty much illustrates how cool those guys were.
We were working our asses off and putting on great shows. Linda was giving 110% as usual and starting to have throat problems from lack of sleep. Every week we would find a copy of Billboard magazine and see what our record was doing. And as our record continued to climb up the charts we demanded a bus. The days of U-Hauls and crappy vans were over.
In May we played London for the first time. We had a blast. A good friend our ours from San Francisco lives there and she brought a bunch of her lovely friends to the show. It was a wild time and the first of many trips to the U.K.
In early June we were on the Arsenio Hall Show. The guests were MC Hammer, and heavyweight fighters Riddick Bowe and Evander Holyfield.
In early July we got a spot on the Neil Young/Pearl Jam European tour. Neil’s back up back was Booker T & The MG’s – an amazing experience. I made friends with his guitar tech and spent every night watching Neil and Pearl Jam from the side of the stage. It was the best music class I could imagine.
On July 14th we did a morning TV show in London called “Big Breakfast” and also played on “Top of the Pops” for the first time. The Neil Young tour included shows in Dublin, London, Glasgow, Milan, Schlossbark, and Cologne and we loved the traveling. At the end of July we opened for Prince in Edinburough, Scotland and Sheffield, England. We flew back to the states, did a few more shows and then took off for LA to film a video for Spaceman. On July 21st we played on the pilot episode of Jon Stewart’s new show on MTV.
On August 25th we were leaving to open for Aerosmith during their Get A Grip tour, a dream come true. We played arenas in Canada, New York, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. The Get a Grip Tour was successful for Aerosmith, and while we were on that tour both bands’ records were hanging out in the Billboard Top 20.
We did an interview back in May in the American Music Press during which we were asked what band we would like to someday open for. Everybody wrote down Aerosmith except for me; I was going through a serious musicial love affair with Annie Lennox at the time. I am glad I was outnumbered.
I was somewhat amazed that we’d even been offered the gig, but we were very warmly received by the audience and the guys in Aerosmith. They couldn’t have been nicer to us. After getting past the initial whoa I am touring with Aerosmith factor, Steven and I sat around and talked about recovery or I would crash their catering and do shots of wheatgrass juice; and most days I would hang out at their soundchecks and request songs. I remember one afternoon requesting Mama Kin. One night Linda and I were standing off to the side of the stage and Steven ran over with the microphone and let us sing some backgrounds to Eat The Rich. They were a lot of fun.
Joel Selvin interviewed Linda for the SF Chronicle in August 1993. He also talked to Shaunna (and Wanda) for this article. It seemed to me like he was trying to stir up some shit by dwelling on the past; it had been over a year and a half since the controversy surrounding Shaunna’s departure.
A month or so after the tour ended we were headlining a show in Paris. I looked over to the side of the stage and Tom and Brad were standing there, cheering us on. When we walked down to our dressing rooms after the show there was a large crowd of fans waiting – and none of them recognized these two rock legends standing next to us.
I found out years later that Steven’s daughter, Liv Tyler, was the one that asked her dad to give us a chance opening for them. Thanks, Liv!
As we walked towards the Universal Amphitheatre there was a wall of paparazzi standing on the other side of a rope, on bleachers, flashing bulbs non-stop – just like in the movies. Microphones, cameras everywhere … even a red carpet. I walked up the stairs to the nominee’s entrance behind Curt Kobain, Courtney Love, and their daughter Francis. I said hello to Flea. Our seats were close to the podium, in front of Dr. Dre and beside Natalie Merchant. Pearl Jam, Neil Young, and Aerosmith all performed that night.
Bigger Better Faster More! entered the Billboard Top 50 in April. It would stay on the charts for over 30 weeks, eventually peaking at #11. The album eventually reached #1 in Austria (10 weeks), Germany (10 weeks), Guatemala (4 weeks), Hungary, Netherlands (7 weeks) Norway (9 weeks), Sweden, and Switzerland (11 weeks).
Our single also climbed the charts in Europe, reaching the #1 position in Argentina, Austria (13 weeks), Belgium (7 weeks), Denmark (5 weeks), Germany (10 weeks), Guatemala – (12 weeks), Mexico (8 weeks), Netherlands -(10 weeks), Norway (10 weeks), South Africa, Sweden (4 weeks), and Switzerland (14 weeks).