10 Reasons Why – Doug Weston

After Tim’s funeral service at St Viktor and his kidnapping, we all headed to the Troubadour for the planned performances by his friends’ bands. No one wanted to start until we recovered Tim’s body. I had to make it an open bar to quell the complaints. Free drinks meant it was a party and everyone forgot why we were there.

Tony called.

“What the fuck are you guys doing?  We need the body here to start the show,” I yelled into the phone.

“I guess we got carried away.  Or, Tim was carried away. There was a whole crowd at Oki Dog, and then we went to a rehearsal studio where more punks were hanging out. They’ve really messed up Tim’s body. They want to come to the show.”

“They’re holding the body for ransom?”

“More, they’re defiling it until you say that they can come to the show.”

“Okay. Okay. Just stop the defiling. We’ll start when you get here. You’re his friends. Protect his body.”

“He’s dead, Doug. What can be worse than that?”

“Just get back here.”

 

I spoke with the priests.  They were amused but insisted they had to get the body back. There was a formal mass at the Cathedral the next day.

“Maybe you better plan on a closed coffin.”

The priests looked aghast.

“Should we have the coffin set up on stage?” I asked, “Or, can we just put him in a chair there?”

They looked confused. The celebration was not going as planned.
“The chair,” the old priest decided.

“I’ll set it up where the tables are. You can sit there and guard the body.”

“Good idea.”

 

I went backstage to set the order of performances. The old guy had his cello and announced he was going play a classical selection from ‘Fantasia.’  John Landis had set up a projector and had a print of the movie to play. A screen was set up behind the stage curtain. It wasn’t rock n roll. What did I know. I had only been putting on shows for 40 years.

The Boston band and Tom Petty’s band were arguing about who was the headliner. I tossed a coin and Boston lost. Their singer knew about the ‘Fantasia’ piece and said he’d play with them first, opening the rock show. Fine. The kid who did the Croc Rock story  with Elton John was there. He said he’d go on when the crowd needed calming down. The only responsible one was sixteen. Joan Jett was recruiting Tim’s high school and college girlfriends to play some of Joan’s new songs. The rumors about the Runaways breaking up were true. They would go on after the Mark Twain act.  Tim’s Miami band, False Gods, would follow Joan, and finally Tom Petty and the Hillbillies. I gave everyone their marching orders. I was less than confidant they would follow them.

I had the stage mic turned on and announced that Tim’s body was on its way.  Everyone rushed the bar to get ready for the show. Free drinks calmed the masses. I stayed on stage long enough to see Tony appear at the back door. He set up a chair onstage and reappeared with Jimmy carrying Tim. They carried him in front of the stage, to the cheers of the fans, rushing back from the bar. I was shocked at Tim’s appearance. He had been stripped of the white suit he wore at the funeral mass, wearing nothing  but the colorful briefs I knew so well. Almost all of his hair had been chopped, butchered off. Graffiti was written all over his white skin; his forehead read ‘KISS ME.’ The  calm, beatific expression that the mortician had labored over was replaced  by a ghoulish, teeth-bared grin. His eyes were open, each one staring lifelessly in different directions.

I ran up to Tony. “What the hell happened? Where did you take his body?”

“There’s a new place on Hollywood Blvd, the basement of the Pussycat Theater. It’s for punks only, called the Masque.”

“They did this to a dead body?”

“Yeah. Yeah. No one is allowed in with long hair. And they’re coming here now.”

“Christ. I’m locking the doors.”

“You’ll have a riot in the street. I can keep them under control.”

True to his word, a motley crew of fifty kids was streaming into the club.  I ran over and shut off the bar. They spotted Tim in the chair and rushed down front, lifting him over their heads and carrying him around.  The other young people joined them as they circled the open space in front of the stage. Tony’s efforts to retrieve Tim were rebuffed. I was speechless at the mic.

Landis rushed up. “I have a plan. Let me start the show.”

He motioned to bring on stage the older man with a cello, the crazed Boston teenager with a MOOG, Jack with a guitar,  a jock at the drum kit, and a hippie-looking long-hair with a bass. Jimmy was helping them set up the mics and amps.

“We’re going to play Mussorgsky’s ‘Night on Bald Mountain’ excerpt from ‘Fantasia.” He drew back the stage curtain and revealed a 35 mm screen. The action on the floor continued unabated. Once the performers were set, Landis motioned to the projectionist to start the film. There was no sound. Landis put on headphones and raised his arms to conduct his quintet on stage.

 

As soon as the image of the Devil appeared, a long-haired blond boy jumped on stage.  Raising his arms and mouthing a nonsensical oath at the swirling mass of bodies carrying Tim around, the crazed punks stopped, saw the Devil on-screen and a live devil directing oaths at them. They deposited Tim on the left front of the stage. The writhing mass of bodies  mimicked the screen vision of hell and souls being tossed to and fro. They followed their puppet-master’s directions. Landis continued leading his quintet, the amplified orchestra music echoed throughout the club. The adult patrons found seats well back of the crazed punks, enjoying a live performance of the Disney cartoon, with punks acting as a dance company. The demon worshiper turned toward Tim and uttered more oaths, exhorting him to wake from the dead. The dancers on the floor had scattered to every corner of the club. The oaths brought them slowly back to stage front, collapsing as the efforts to raise the dead failed to work. Eventually 100 kids were at Tim’s feet, exhausted, while on-screen, the flames of hell burst upon the lost souls as demons and orcs tortured them. The battle for the souls raged until a peaceful clarinet melody snuck in on cat paws; the MOOG could reproduce any instrument. The image of the Devil on the screen returned to its original shape, the peak of Bald Mountain. The long-haired bass player stepped forward,  playing and singing ‘Ave Maria.’ The live devil lay collapsed in front of Tim. The adult fans in the seats burst into applause. The rictus of a toothy grin on Tim’s face recomposed itself into a pleasing smile and his eyes closed. There was a collective sigh. The players and Landis stood up and bowed. The curtain closed and the quintet disappeared behind it.

 

Suddenly Bill Burroughs appeared at my side.

“I want to read my poem that I performed with Tim at St Patricks.”

I merely nodded. I was not in charge here. He pulled out a couple of sheets of paper and stood at the mic.

“I’m Bill Burroughs. Tim found me in my hovel in the Bowery at the Chelsea Hotel   two years ago. Since then he got Doug to sponsor my writing in Hollywood and rescue me from obscurity. I read this poem at the show he organized for a Beats reunion, that is, half of the Beatles.

 

‘Fear and the Monkey,’

‘Turgid itch and the perfume of death
On a whispering south wind
A smell of abyss and of nothingness
Dark Angel of the wanderers howls through the loft
With sick smelling sleep
Morning dream of a lost monkey
Born and muffled under old whimsies
With rose leaves in closed jars
Fear and the monkey
Sour taste of green fruit in the dawn
The air milky and spiced with the trade winds
White flesh was showing
His jeans were so old
Leg shadows by the sea
Morning light
On the sky light of a little shop
On the odor of cheap wine in the sailors’ quarter
On the fountain sobbing in the police courtyards
On the statue of moldy stone
On the little boy whistling to stray dogs.
Wanderers cling to their fading home
A lost train whistle wan and muffled
In the loft night taste of water
Morning light on milky flesh
Turgid itch ghost hand
Sad as the death of monkeys
Thy father a falling star
Crystal bone into thin air
Night sky
Dispersal and emptiness. ‘

Originally published as William S. Burroughs, “Fear and the Monkey,” Pearl 6 (Odense, Denmark: Fall/Winter 1978). Collected in The Burroughs File, City Lights, 1984. Republished by RealityStudio in August 2010.

 

He received polite applause. So far nothing had gone as planned.

 

The demon worshipper had recovered and brought out Tim’s band, ‘False Gods’ from Miami. Apparently he was the drummer. Jack was at the mic, only to be pushed away by the drummer.

“This is my song, Jack. We’re going to bring Tim back with it. His role in False Gods is the  White One. I am the Drinker of the Blood.  My role is to protect the White One. I need the Earth Mother to bring this off.”

He motioned to one of the back-up singers. She initially shook her head but eventually came forward reluctantly. He told her to lay in front of Tim. She shook her head more decisively.

“You are the Lover of the Mother, the only one with the power of the Earth Goddess. It won’t work without you.”

They argued back and forth. Finally Jack stepped up to the mic.

“This is our band song, ‘False Gods,” and he ripped into a heavy metal lead.  It got everyone’s attention. The kids were pressed against the stage and back several rows. The adults were standing up from their seats, trying to hear what was being said on stage. After the guitar leads, the bass player from the Fantasia act strutted across the stage, ripping strong bass rhythm notes.  The drums finally came in, and Jack’s vocals blasted clearly through the sound system.

 

‘Where others feared to tread,

they gave us up for dead,

memories linger eternally,

as Lucifer’s proud plea,

a world of our own,

on high a black throne,

sing to make them see,

happy for eternity

 

…we are False Gods, we are False Gods…

 

 

a world so meek and blind,

we laugh at all of  mankind,

fools misunderstand,

we’re Satan’s band,

a world of endless flaws,

facades and miracles applause,

eulogized but despised,

shed your false disguise,

fall to your knees,

utter useless pleas,

cause

 

…we are False Gods, we are False Gods…

 

pray in foreign tongues,

shoot your useless guns,

sacrifice hallowed sheep,

shun cold, dark streets,

you’re just nasty fleas,

Set your minds at ease

 

…False Gods, False Gods…

 

we live eternally,

we hear your painful screams,

keep cold certainty,

know just what we mean

 

…False Gods, False Gods…

 

We will live eternally

To hear your painful screams

Just wait 20 years or so

You will know just what we mean

….We are False Gods, False Gods..

 

… False Gods’

 

Again with the devil worship – ‘Lucifer,’ the demon worshiper started chanting incomprehensible oaths, finally throwing Tim’s body on top of the prone back-up singer. Raising hands above his head, he invoked all the evil deities he knew, finally throwing himself on top of the two bodies.  Nothing happened.

 

Jack was incensed at the blasphemy. He screamed, ‘Fuck Off’ and attacked the demon worshiper.

The band was prepared and the bass player stepped up to the mic,  spitting out to the next song’s lyrics.

 

‘Don’t fuck with me

I’ll take ya down

Gots ta be free

Hate makes me drown

 

Anger sees me seethe

Can’t seem to breathe

Yer arms on me

I gots ta be free.

 

Get outta my face

This ain’t the place

To make a stand

To be a man

 

Your nose I’ll crunch

My knockout punch

Will put ya down

La La Land bound.

 

Fuck Off!’’

 

They repeated the song to make sure everyone had understood. Jack ripped the demon worshiper off Tim and the girl, kicking him away. ‘Lucifer’ sat down on drums set up beside the original set. The girl scurried out from under Tim, who lay there face down on the stage, still lifeless.

 

“Robby has always been evil.  Here’s how Michael stopped his bullying in third grade – ‘’Look before You Leap’” Jack announced.

 

‘Wanna

Set you’re your buddy on fire,

Better buy a rug.

Wanna

Send your friends to hell,

Better get a priest.

Wanna

Beat up a bully,

Better get a gun.

 

Look before you leap

Better to say no

Then end up in a heap

No place to go.

 

Leap, leap, leap

You friggin’ freak

Leap, leap, leap

Strip and streak.”

 

Wanna

Beat up your friend

Get new friends

Wanna

Steal a new car

You won’t get far

Wanna

Dis some sweet lass

A beating comes fast

 

Look before you leap

Better to say no

Then end up in a heap

No place to go.

 

Leap, leap, leap

You friggin’ freak

Leap, leap, leap

Strip and streak.”

 

All the punk kids were whooping and hollering as they bounced around before the stage. Joan Jett came on stage with her all-girl pick-up band.  Her coterie of girl groupies cheered and ran down in front, pushing the boys aside.

 

“Hey, LA. This is my new band. We all loved Tim in our own way. This is Angie and Amy, his twin sisters from Iowa, Jill and Carol his roomies from Hahvahd, Flo and Edi, backup singers in False Gods, and I’m his only Hollywood girlfriend, as far as anyone knows. He was quite active in the pleasuring department. This song is how I knew him. He was a firecracker.” She lit into ‘Cherry Bomb.’

 

 

“Tim taught me exactly how to deal with a ‘Bad Reputation’ – I wrote this song for him.

 

 

Out walked Tom Petty and his Heartbreakers, kissing Joan and sneering at the crowd. He nodded at the demon worshipper.”
“That piss ant cain’t bring back a fly, let alone a rocker. I remember the second Tim screamed at the death of his dog in the middle of opening for Skynyrd. Y’all got no special powers, Robby, so jist stick to drums. But now we all is gonna sing our songs which Tim said were his anthems.”

They ripped into ‘Won’t Back Down.’

 

 

The slow rocker got all the adults on their feet and waving from the seats. The kids calmed down until Tom sang Tim’s next favorite, “I’m so Bad.’

 

 

 

Hoards of the over twenty crowd descended from the seats, pushing aside the punks or grabbing their girlfriends to swing dance with them. Up from the dance floor and onto the stage, next bounced Jim and the Crowd. Their Mod songs were perfect for both demographics.

‘Right Time, Right Place’

 

 

Next they played ‘Modern Machine.’

 

 

Once finished, OC Jim went over to Tim’s body and stuck a joint in his mouth.  The fans cheered. As soon as the Crowd exited the stage, three teens jumped up from the floor in front. The skinny one was the same kid who had played the MOOG in the opening ‘Fantasia’ sequence. He grabbed the mic.

“I’m David. With Jim and Mike, we’re the Neighborhoods.  When ya come ta Boston, ya gotta go to the Rat. That’s where we always play. I wanted ta join Tim and Jack in their Harvard Sitting Band, but old Tim made me get my high school friends together. That was good advice, I guess, since he’s dead now. Here’s the song we always open with, ‘Roxanne,’ she done me wrong and left me for some other high school jerk.”

He raised his middle finger to the heavens.

 

 

With punk energy and angry lyrics, the kids in front recognized their soul mates, thrashing and jumping around as David did the same on stage.

“Now settle down and chill,” he ordered. Walking over to Tim’s body, he plucked the joint from Tim’s lips, lit it up and passed it to out-stretched hands from the floor. Back at the mic he played the opening leads to a regular rocker.

“This is ‘Pure and Easy,’ for you Tim,” as he bowed to the body on the side of the stage.

 

 

All the girls rushed forward, swaying and waving their arms about. The punks made room for them, swaying to their wiggling butts.

“Thank you, ladies. Calm these boys down. This is a song for my one and only, Carol. ‘Prettiest Girl’,” he bowed to a thrilled girl, watching from the edge of the stage, standing  next to Joan Jett. He ran over, playing long leads. She was totally embarassed. She modestly kissed him. He spun away, looking sad, and played what may pass as a punk love song

 

 

As he finished, Carol ran over and wrapped herself around David and his guitar, yielding to his lip lock and deep french kissing. He broke away and went crazy on stage.

 

 

Two boys jumped on stage, picking up Tim’s body and thrashing along with David.  Like lemmings, a dozen or more kids were suddenly on stage. Maybe they thought it was Arrowsmith or the Ramones. Tim’s body was lifted above their heads and passed to those bouncing in front. He was passed around over heads  until someone dropped him to the floor. Rising up like he was ascending to heaven, someone had him by the shoulders. A conga-line formed behind the shaking dead body as it snaked its way to the back. As it passed a table with older adults, I recognized Tim’s dad. They were beyond shocked as their dead son shook and bounced past them. Once the body approached the stage again, Joan jumped down and socked the guy holding Tim.  Her band mates caught the dead body and dragged it back on stage..

Holding it up next to the singer.

“Yer all a bunch of fools. Tim’s dead. He changed my life from high school dropout to Harvard honors student. Yer just arrogant and selfish fools. This song’s fer youse. ‘Arrogance.’”

 

 

Everyone calmed down. They were not acting normal. There was a sigh of relief as the energy dropped.

“Come and see us at the Rat when you come to Boston.” The singer had everyone dancing. The temperature in the club was rising. The band stripped  off their shirts.

 

 

“This final song is about meeting Tim and Jack at the Rat. I mocked them, but then they got me in and bought me beers. I passed out and woke up in their dorm at Harvard. And I ain’t never left.”

 

‘Went to the Rat   

Stuck at the door

There I sat

Lonely and bored.

 

Out came two fags

Kissing and such

I just had to rag

They didn’t care much

 

They bought me a beer

Five beauties appeared

Made me their pet

I’ll get some yet.’

 

He played it like a nursery rhyme. Everyone was laughing, so he played it again. Carol, his girlfriend, ran over and gave him a big kiss. He got him some.

 

Standing off-stage, Tony came over.

“Well, you got your wish,” he laughed. “He’s all yours now.”

“This is not what I had intended.”

“All he ever wanted was to be a kid. He’ll never grow up now.”

“Think he enjoyed seeing himself carted around the club while the bands played.”

“Naw, he still thinks he’s surfing.”