Roughly $0.83 per band.
Easily one of my favorite photos in my collection, this snap was taken after the three week tour Franklin and Fracture undertook in August of 1994. Our very first. We had just played our final show of the trip in a garage in Virginia Beach and before packing the vehicles to head home, we stopped to grab this shot.
Featuring everyone on the trip save for Chris who was being grouchy (including Rod and the guys from True High Fidelity) it’s one of those great moments that you’re just as happy to have captured at age 20 as age 38 and beyond.
Starting from the lower left hand corner, we’ve got:
Atom working harder than the rest of Fracture.
Ralph in the great salt flats. This was in the middle of the night as we made our way to San Francisco.
Greg, Amy, Jeb, Jesse, Mark and Chris on steps in Detroit, MI. After the show, we met a fella who wandered out of the dark with a pretty serious head wound. Roy would refuse to allow us to call the police to aid him and so we spent a good 30 to 40 minutes driving him around in our van trying to find his home. The head wound did not help him, nor us, find his home. Ultimately, we left him on a corner.
Fracture would end up taking Mark’s Mom’s minivan as their tour vehicle on this first trip across country. Two folks would sit up front, while the rest of the band (3 people in all) would lay down in the back on a folded out futon couch laying in a space no higher than 24 inches, quite literally, on top of the band’s equipment. Very safe and very claustrophobic. Clearly in this photo, someone needed something out of the carry all! That’s Ralph to the left, Greg on the roof and Roy sitting.
Why does a band break up? Why doesn’t a band break up is a far more interesting question.
The only easy part about being in a band is actually saying, “Hey, let’s start a band.” From that point on, being in a band is constant problem solving.
From the word “go” you’re faced with problems like:
Who should be in the band? Where should we practice if there is in fact, anywhere we actually can practice. How do we get our equipment to practice? Actually, where should we get equipment? How can we even afford equipment? How do we write a song? Can we write a song? Can that person we asked to be in the band actually play an instrument? Can they even learn to play an instrument? Should we kick that person (who is our friend) out of the band? Are these noises we’re making enough noise to be considered a song? Do we have enough songs? Where should we play a show? Can we even get a show? How do we get to the show? How can we afford to get to the show? Are we getting paid to play the show? We’re not getting paid to play the show? The show is donation only? How do we get people to the show? Who’s making a flier for the show? Did anyone come to the show? How can we get folks to our next show? Do we have a next show? Should we buy a van to help us get to shows? How the heck do we pay for a van if we’re only getting paid for shows in donations? Who’s name is the van going under? How do we get insurance for the van? Where will we park the van? Whose parents don’t mind a late model van parked in front of their house? Do we need to buy new equipment? Should I buy a vintage tube amp? Should we record a demo? Where should we record a demo? Does this demo sound any good? Should we send the demo to venues that are out of town? Should we go on tour? How do we go on tour? Who do we call to book the tour? Will we get paid enough to cover our expenses on tour? Does an overnight drive from Chicago to New Orleans make sense? It does make sense? Who’s driving the overnight shift? Should we put out a record? Would anyone want to put out our record? How do we ask someone to put out our record? Should we record at the same place we recorded our demo? Who’s paying for the recording of our record? What should our artwork look like? Who’s going to buy our record? Will our record actually come out on time? Will anyone actually buy our record? Should we go on tour to promote and help sell our record? Do we need to make t-shirts to sell while we’re on tour trying to sell our record? What should those shirts look like? How should we pay for these t-shirts? Should I quit my job to go on tour to help sell these records and shirts? What do I do with all of these left over records and t-shirts? Should I quit school and just dedicate my life to this band? Is this band actually going anywhere? Do I even like this band? Do I even like the people I am playing in this band with? If I am not in this band then who am I exactly? What if I’m never in a band again? Is it okay to not be in a band? Should we break up the band? When should we break up the band? Should we play a last show? Where should the last show be? That was the last show, now what do I spend all my time doing?
Along with the fact that any possibility of financial return (the most practical reason for most people to do anything for a sustained part of time) is laughable at best and the only way a band stays together is by sheer will and determination. Determination that for that period of time the people playing together have a universal shared need to say something. To define the world around them using noise and volume.
Franklin played its last all ages show September 9th, 2000. We played with Unwound from Olympia, WA and our bestest, Atom & His Package. The poster at the top of this post advertised the show. Sorry I don’t know the artist but it’s a real beauty and I had it framed shortly afterwards.
The two photos below from that show of Franklin were taken by Eric Wareheim.