Fame < Infamy
Today’s Brew: I’m drinking the French Toast Coffee I bought for Julie. Because I feel like it.
ONE WEEK UNTIL NIGHT MOVES!!!
I’ve always been fascinated by musicians. When I was really young, like kindegarten, first grade, my dad used to bring his favorite records into my room and play them for me on my Bee Gees record player. We listened to Johnny Cash, Buddy Holly, The Kingston Trio, and Waylon Jennings because my favorite song was The Dukes of Hazard theme.
Do you see the groundwork that was being laid for my life? You take out the Australian Disco sticker on our delivery device and I was being set up for a lifelong love of outlaw musicians. Buddy Holly seems tame now, but in the 50’s, he was a trailblazer. Not only did he set the standard for what we know as the recipe for a rock band: 2 guitars, bass, and drums, but he helped blur the racial divide in popular music. The Kingston Trio helped lay the groundwork for the folk rock movement in the 60’s. I loved these nights.
Fun Fact: I’ve seen Johnny Cash live! In 1995, at the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame Concert in Cleveland. My friends and I were on a mini tour and actually there to see Bon Jovi. Every time I said I was excited to see Johnny Cash, people gave me funny looks. Take that, hipsters. I am thirty years ahead of you.
I’m addicted to the way I feel when I think of you.–Fall Out Boy, Fame < Infamy
As time went on, music became a part of the fabric of my life. I’ve gone to hundreds of concerts, maybe even into quadruple digits, I don’t know anymore. These people have become my friends, and more than that. I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. Because the music is magic, I’ve always been fascinated by the world that revolves around a single note plucked from a guitar string. The amplifier calls us to gather, and we watch and listen, beginning for something original and outrageous. We ask these people to take us away from our lives for a song or an evening. The musicians are the conductors of our fantasies, not just physical, but emotional. Tell me your mind has never wandered to imagining a better life while you’ve listened to your favorite band. I’ll call you a liar.
And that’s why I write about musicians.
I am God’s gift but why would he bless me with
Such wit without a conscience equipped–Fall Out Boy, Fame < Infamy
But it’s not just the fantasy I’m interested in. I love juxtaposing it with the reality. In Because the Night, Callie knew Tristan before he was famous, and she has a hard time dealing with the changes it’s caused in him. This wasn’t exactly fiction. A friend of mine struggled in years, playing in cover bands and tribute bands (because that’s all that really makes money if you’re playing the local circuit), and finally got a chance in a band that became successful. I’m not naming names here, but if you went to any high school anywhere in America, you’d see this guys face on at least one T-shirt. I make very subtle references to the band in Because the Night. I went to see him in this new band, and was shell shocked. He wasn’t even the same person. Shallow, self absorbed, and just generally a jackass. It was hard to deal with, especially knowing what a funny, sweet person he used to be.
In Night Moves, you’ll meet Soul Divider. Soul Divider’s heyday has passed, but don’t tell their singer, Drake Bonham. I can’t tell you who I based him on, because like Drake, this person’s lawyers are much better than mine. He still thinks he deserves his place on the A-list, and will do anything to stay there. The rest of the band, his employees, have been forced to come along for the ride. Riding a wave to the top is fun and exciting. Trying to climb back up after falling off is soul sucking and degrading. If you’re a writer trying to get your work out there, you know how it feels to think no one gives a shit. It’s awful. You do all this work, and everyone’s all like “hey, Dino erotica!” Soul Divider understands your pain.
As these guys get older, some of them are tired of sewing their wild oats. They just want to settle down, buy a house, have some kids, and play gigs. But they’re trapped in other people’s fantasies. It’s hard to make those things agree. I have friends in this situation, too. One rock star girlfriend can’t even have a Facebook account under her own name. Fans have broken through every security feature she put on it, and posted her private info on public forums. I blended a few musicians together to create Ryder Maddox. The guy who loves the music, but is tired of the fame. What else can he do? He’s been playing in bands his whole life. I’ve read many interviews with musicians who have had to move on. No one wants to hire them. They have no marketable skills in our world. Because they’re artists, they’ve figured out a way to persevere. But some of them have a love hate relationship with the fantasy.
These guys have everything that we mere mortals want, but does it make them happy? Not always. That’s what makes the story.
Get ready for Night Moves!! Because the Night is 99 cents until March 25!