3 – Blog a17 – Bangladesh by the Beach

We are at the Daytona Bar & Grill, outside at the Chrysler. It is redneck heaven: Robby passing out joints, Iggy teaching all his fans Stooges songs, Hippie surrounded by all the groupies, and Candy perched on the hood talking with Michael about Jace.
“Oh, Tim. You really did love him, didn’t you?”
“’Til all the cows come home.”
“That’s not a Southern expression.”
“You ready to sing a full set. We owe ‘em another one.”
“I only know a few songs.”
“Hey, you knocked ‘em dead already. You tell us which songs to do. We’ll know ‘em.”

We all walk back on stage and the crowd starts cheering.
“Y’all want Candy to sing some more?”
A big cheer. Someone yells ‘more Skynyrd.’
“Well, y’all gotta come down to their show in Miami next month and get the real thing.”
Candy mouths, “Hey Paula.’
Jack comes up to the mic:

“Hey, hey Paula, I wanna marry you
Hey, hey Paula, no one else could ever do
I’ve waited so long for school to be through
Paula, I can’t wait no more for you
My love, my love”

Candy steps up and comes in with her response:

“Hey Paul, I’ve been waiting for you
Hey, hey, hey Paul, I want to marry you too
If you love me true, if you love me still, our love will always be true
My love, my love”

We all sing together:

“True love means planning a life for two
Being together the whole day through
True love means waiting and hoping that soon wishes we’ve made will come true
My love, my love…”

© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., SPIRIT MUSIC GROUP

Next she mouths ‘He’s a Rebel.’”

To prove the point we do ‘Dixie’ next. Southern Man and Neil Young be damned.

“Robert E Lee High,” I yell. A dozen people yell back “Skynyrd.”
We do ‘Peggy Sue,’

‘La Bamba,’

and ‘Chantilly Lace.”

“They all died Valentine’s Day 1959, in case you forgot,” she reminds them it is a tribute to dead rockers. “We were in high school. Don’t ever forget.”
Someone shouted, “Junior High.”
“Then you missed it, kid.”
We go through her repertoire of 50s and 60s pop. The crowd loves it but no one is riled up to buy more drinks. I mouthed to Jack ‘Little Richard.’
“Gotta get you dancing, fools,” Jack tells them and starts ‘Tutti Frutti.’”

There actually are some black folks there. They get up front and put on a 50’s swing dance exhibition. Soon white girls are dancing with each other, too. The boys are holding back.
Jack starts ‘Do You Love Me’ by the Contours, with Candy coming in for the duet:

“You broke my heart ’cause I couldn’t dance,
You didn’t even want me around.
And now I’m back to let you know I can really shake ’em down.

Do you love me?
(I can really move, )
Do you love me?
(I’m in the groove.)…”

Songwriters: Gordy, Berry, Jr
© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

The guys cannot resist showing off their high school moves. We have them dancing to their memories. Soon the lines at the bar get longer. We keep it up for two hours. Halfway through I yell at Nate, “Get this lady a drink.” He comes over with her favorite beverage and five frosties for us. It keeps us going well past 1 am.

Finally we’re almost done in.
“Now you know where our guitarist got his talent. We wanna thank y’all for makin’ tonight’s tribute a true Southern revival. His spirit soars. Give a big hand for Candy. Nate, give her another drink. She cain’t go out on a Saturday night and have just one drink.”
Candy kisses me and jumps down to run over to Nate, where she disappears into his big arms.
“We’re going to finish with Jace’s and my personal song. It ain’t Metal and it ain’t Southern, but it’s how we lived our lives together. Pink Floyd.”

No one yells or boos, so we do the lyric portion  of “Shine on You Crazy Diamond:’

(at 8:24)

“Remember when you were young, you shone like the sun
Shine on you crazy diamond
Now there’s a look in your eyes, like black holes in the sky
Shine on you crazy diamond
You were caught in the crossfire of childhood and stardom
Blown on the steel breeze
Come on, you target for faraway laughter
Come on, you stranger, you legend, you martyr, and shine
You reached for the secret too soon, you cried for the moon
Shine on you crazy diamond
Threatened by shadows at night and exposed in the light
Shine on you crazy diamond
Well, you wore out your welcome with random precision
Rode on the steel breeze
Come on, you raver, you seer of visions
Come on, you painter, you piper, you prisoner, and shine”

Published by
Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., IMAGEM U.S. LLC

I lift my arms and shout, “Jace.” I point to Candy at the bar. She toasts me with her drink.
We walk off, but no one is letting us off that easy. After about 10 seconds we run back on.
“You asked for it, so you’re getting’ it. But please hear how we changed the lyrics.”
I start singing “Southern Man…”

The beer rains down before they could hear our changes. We make it through, ducking and weaving as the plastic cups keep coming. We are covered in beer. Max runs out, barking at the crowd, then starts lapping at the pooled spilled beer. There is no call for another encore.
We sit on the edge of the stage while people come up.
Nate brings over more beer. Robby takes another joint from behind his ear, Jack gets horny  and everyone is staring real hard at the two of us. Time to blow this joint and my horny boyfriend.

Jake comes up with our bar split.
“You sure know how to make these boys buy beer. I should put a drain in on stage and recycle all of it.”
“You said to make ‘em want more. You didn’t say that they had to actually drink it.”
He lays down a thousand dollars. “And that’s after the cleaning fee.”
We do not complain. I just pocket the Jacksons.
Y’all still drivin’ north or ya lookin’ for a house band gig?”
“That’s tempting. But we gots people ta see, things ta do, and places ta be. New York City. Our families and girlfriends are meeting us there on Thursday.”
“Well, com’n back here someday. I know a few other road houses further north if’n you want to play some more?”
“How’s about North Carolina?”
“Sure. There’s the Tar River Tavern near Charlotte. Guy’s name is Sonny. I’ll call him fer ya. How’s about Monday and Tuesday nights. You seem to pull a crowd on yer second night.’
“Thanks, Jake.” As I pump his hand.

Candy comes over. “Take me with,” she whispers. Nate put his big arms around her and says she ain’t goin’ nowhere. Casper is sad. Candy looks at me.
“I felt it was Jace singing with me earlier. I could see his grin again.”
“It was. He’s in my heart. I wanted him to be in yours as well.”
“He’s always been there. I miss him so, but something in my heart says to trust he loved me.”
“He never stopped missin’ the mama he was too young to remember. He had so much love hidden. Your ex and his step family are mean, evil people. I loved him.” It all comes out in a rush. Then I start to sob.
“Oh, Tim. You’re just a boy, too.” She hugs me until the sobs are gone.
“I’ve learned not to do that,” I apologize.
“You ever need motherin’, just get back here. I’ll be a’waitin.’”
Nate wraps her in his arms while Jace has me in a shoulder lock.

At the Chrysler, Iggy is holding forth on the Stooges’ ‘Dog’ song. Max runs up and knocks him down. They roll in the dirt. The good ol’ boys are laughing and sharing the last of the joints. Max jumps up. Sitting in front of a toker, he barks to say he is in. The guy gives him a shotgun. Max rolls over and wiggles his legs in the air. Everyone laughs. Max runs over to a corner and does his Our Gang’s Spot/Petey routine. People are chanting, ‘Max Max Max.’ He jumps up and barks once for every time someone yells his name. I throw him in the back with Iggy. The other five of us are all in the front seat, hootin’ and a’hollarin’ as we fishtail out the parking lot. Goodbye Daytona Bar & Grill.

We go directly to 24 hour breakfast for burgers and shakes, hitting the motel again after 4 am. We promised Casper to make our own room his pleasure palace. Someone had rebuilt our bed. He rapes Jack, leaving me hors de combat. I pull out a joint and Jack revs up his aggression. This goes on until I need to soak my ass in the tub to help it recover its pristine beauty. We sleep for a couple of hours before Hippie tentatively knocks to ask if we are up. It is time for church services. Jack hops out of bed and pulls us with him. He wants us to put on our Sunday best. We tell him Mummy is not going to be there and just wear the few clothes we have that do not stink of stale beer.

We all file into the storefront. It is just the Pastor and the usual kids. Several of whom are new, having escaped from the pimp when he skipped town. Pastor welcomes us and the kids all cheer. He winks at us when he notes we must have worked extra hard the previous night. Jack squeezes both me and Casper on the knee. Halfway through the service, he asks if anyone wants to do the Bible reading. Hippie gets up and reads the parable about a rich guy having to squeeze through a needle’s eye to get into heaven, reflecting how few rich people were at the service: none, except if you count me with $1400 band earnings in my pocket. There is no collection. Again, the Pastor enthuses about our interest in his ‘flock.’ There are hymns sung. I notice this is more like a Baptist service than my stolid Catholic Mass. Hippie is right at home as the kids are standing up and waving their hands to heaven while swaying to the hymns. I expect rolling in the aisle, but it does not go that far. No tongues! After a short prayer, the Pastor asks if I would do the sermon. I come to the front.
I give my usual abuse speech.
“We thank y’all for being so welcomin’. I see there are a few more kids here from that group we chased off the pier. I know they are especially welcome. Somehow Pastor finds a way to keep you off the streets and out of the clutches of evil adults like that pimp. When I was 14 he tried to turn me with promises of money and safety. I knew he was evil from the feeling I got speaking with him. Learning to know who you can and cannot trust is the first step in becoming ‘street smart.’ I was lucky because I had made friends with kids my age from New York who taught me how to act and who to trust.
“Y’all trust the Pastor?” I ask.

They all yell ‘Yes!’
“Y’all know how to test a stranger as to whether you can trust them or not?”

“I open my heart to everyone. It instantly knows the haters from the good people by whether they open their hearts back. You can’t be open-hearted if you don’t have love in your heart. Yesterday there were several people who had trouble opening their hearts to the rest of us. Stand up if you were able to break down the wall that made you so hard-hearted.”
Three boys stood up and smile. I know they changed.
“Com’n down and help the new kids open up, even just a little.”
They come and stand by me. I ask the new kids to stand up. I feel their fear from what the pimp had forced them to do. They mostly hope they’ will find acceptance here.
“I believe you want to open up and be accepted. Com’n down here with us in the front.”
Three girls come down. I have them look into the eyes of the three boys who are already open. Slowly their spirits lift. They reach out to the kids across from them, just tentatively taking their hands. Smiles are exchanged and everyone cheers. I have the six sit together.
“Remember that the love in your hearts comes from the other people in your life that you have let in. No kid wants to be alone. Running away means you had no one at home to turn to. Finding this group is what your heart yearns for and needs. Trust each other and help those who also need to be trusted. No one’s perfect but your hearts are pure.”

That is enough. Teen Jesus is out of his cage and running amok. I know that learning to trust each other is what they need. Even we at 16 are not really in their peer group of runaways. Again, it is sex that divides teens at about 15. Kids naturally trust each other. Street smarts is learning which older people they can trust. As long as they have each other, they can move forward and enter the adult world. Any mistakes and hurts along the way are healed by the love of their friends. Having someone they totally trust means trusting them about sex as well. The homophobes claim gays are trying to recruit kids. The gay kids are no different, just needing other kids to accept them. Allowing good kids to learn from each other makes it seem like the homophobes are right, calling the gay kids exploiters. The haters’ purpose is not to protect kids but to hunt out and punish the gay ones. At least half these runaways have been sexually exploited, usually by a closeted adult or criminals like that pimp. I think about Jace and John, how damaged they were by an older teen, their brother Jeff. Jace was old enough to be healed and able to love, so when the love came out, it was boundless. John is younger. The guilt and shame results in him being unable to talk with anyone. Maybe there is hope for him in growing older with those who honestly love him.
All these thoughts come in a flash. I turn back to the group.
“I don’t know how Pastor feels about sex. Most churches are sex-negative. That attitude has produced an uptight, bottled up society. For me being sexual has been among the greatest joys and deepest sorrows of my life It makes me feel alive. I feel old at 16 because I see you at 13 14 15, ready to experience life to its fullest. Trust your hearts, not your hormones, and you will be fine.
How about we play some music and see if we can get people who can donate to the Church to come in off the street and share the joy?”

Pastor walks with me, as we go to get the equipment.
“You’re pretty bold to talk about sex.”
“I only worry that I was giving them a mixed message, as I don’t know what you feel about it.”
“I guess I avoid it. Most of them have been sexually abused. It’s traumatic to talk about.”
“Yeah, Jace’s 14-year-old brother is going through that. Last week he opened up to an adult. This week he stopped talking to everyone. He’s almost catatonic.”
“Does counseling help?”
“Right now he’s living with another family. His new mom is reading ‘The Little Prince’ to him.
“That’s pretty old-fashioned.”
“Yeah. I promised I’d never tell about what happened. It’ll be years before he’ll open up to a shrink.”
“Good luck.”
“So, we didn’t contradict what you tell them.”
“I wish I could tell them to love each other in all ways, but I fear repercussions.”
“Like I tell the kids, go with what’s in your heart.”
“You are like fresh air to them and me.”
“Well, if the sock hop works and you raise some money, just keep doing it. Records work almost as well as a live band.”
“I can only hope.”
“When the Police come, as they will, work with them. They have to be happy the pimp and his sex slaves are gone. With their support, I bet you can provide housing and services for your kids.”
“The kids are so fearful of the police. If I’m seen as cooperating with the cops, a lot of them will feel threatened and may run.”
“Talk with them. You have their trust.”

We play for two hours. The crowd of kids gradually builds, while Pastor stands outside and talks with passersby. Even the doubters about music see how happy the kids are. Pastor constantly has kids coming to him about every little thing. Seeing him work so well with the kids convinces many tourists that it is a worthy cause. At the end he has over $500 donated.

It is Palm Sunday, so I suggest we play a benefit at the doorway. The kids can spread the Word and collect donations from the tourists.
“We’ll play the Concert for Bangladesh, “ I enthuse, “Do you play, Pastor?”
“Yeah, a little.”
“Great. I’ll show you the chord changes, then we’ll get you playing for the kids. It goes on forever. I’ll get one of the kids to relieve Hippie. We’ll get this Church a’rockin’.”

I turn down my volume and play the Bangladesh anthem for him, making him do the changes on Jack’s spare guitar. Michael and Hippie are playing low until Pastor is ready to go.
I turn around. There’s a crowd built up on the pier spilling into the street.
“Okay, people,” I speak into the mic. “It’s hand wavin’ and foot movin’ time. Y’all gots to keep a’movin’ and shakin’ in the street ‘less the cops shut us down.’

I turn up the amps and switch on the mic, “It’s benefit time, so listen to what I have to say”
I lay down the leads like a pro, everyone comes in on time

‘Pastor came to me
With sadness in his eyes
He told me that he wanted help
Before his store church dies
Although I couldn’t feel the pain
I knew I had to try
Now I’m asking all of you
To help us save some lives

Daytona Beach, Daytona Beach
Where so many people are living fast
And it sure looks like a mess
I’ve never seen such distress
Now won’t you lend your hand and understand?
Relieve the children of Daytona Beach

Daytona Beach, Daytona Beach
Such a great disaster, I don’t understand
But it sure looks like a mess
I’ve never known such distress
Now please don’t turn away
I want to hear you say
Relieve the children Daytona Beach

Relieve Daytona Beach

Daytona Beach, Daytona Beach
Now it may seem so strange from where we all are
It’s something we can’t neglect
It’s something I can’t neglect
Now won’t you give some bread to get the starving fed?
We’ve got to relieve Daytona Beach
Relieve the children of Daytona Beach
We’ve got to relieve Daytona Beach
Relieve the children of Daytona Beach’

George Harrison
Published by

We get back to the motel by 2 pm. The uncles have hit all their spots in town and are anxious to get on the road. They talk about making it to Savannah GA by night, promising they will show us around all the drag show bars. Hippie shows a lack of interest. Our need to catch up on sleep vetoes their plans for a quick getaway. Casper also wants to spend a few extra hours with his mama.

We all line up at the pay phones and make obligatory calls to the parents. I hear Jack complaining about having to spend Palm Sunday at a storefront church but Mummy tells him she is just glad he is in church at all. Then he calls Isaac to brag about how tough he is, claiming to have fucked at least fifteen times over the weekend; gender is not mentioned. My ass still twinges at the mention of his expertise. He also brags about the brawl and getting wasted on Jack. Teenagers. Michael lets me speak with Mike Sr. about band business and how the logistics are working out.
“We made $1500 for two nights at the local road house, but I gave $200 to a storefront church.”
“Teen Jesus must still be with you. Do the others know you’re giving away band money?”
“Yeah, but..”
“So they have no say about your generosity.”
“I kinda need some advice, I guess.”
“Take the $200 out for petty cash and exchange the rest for travelers cheques for safe keeping. I’ll do the accounting later. Just to put the $200 in perspective, Martin’s production company sent us $30,000 for the video he shot.”
“Holy crap.”
“Language, son.’
“Yes, dad.”
He chuckles. “Well, I sense all is going well. Your wise-ass attitude is undented. Michael said Jace’s mom sang with you last night.”
“Yeah, it was angelic. Her smile is identical to Jace’s when she’s truly happy. Can we fly her to New York?”
“Let’s stop asking people to spend my money.”
“Well, her old man says she can’t leave him. He knows we might never let her go.”
“Adults have their own lives, son.”
“Yeah, but it was great having her sing. The crowd really turned to our side after that. She’s a local.”
“They weren’t eating out of your hand before.”
“They were loving/hating us for playing covers of their favorite band and playing Neil Young’s song about them all being racists.”
“Don’t rile up a hornets nest.”
“They all love Max. He keeps ’em in line.”
“How’d your own songs go over?”
“Well, they love hearing their favorite covers more, but it was the best reception yet”
“It’s a work in progress. On that note, Martin arranged for the Abyssinian Baptist performance on Sunday and a place called CBGB’s on Good Friday night. How will playing the devil’s music on Friday affect Sunday’s Easter hymns?”
“We’ll be angels with dirty faces.   I played CBGB’s when I was 14.”
“Love-able as ever. Michael seems to be having fun.”
“He knows he’s seeing Jenna in a couple of days.”
“Should we come earlier for the Friday show?”
“Great. Max will be there to protect her.”
“Why’d you chose the Chelsea. We are at the Waldorf.

”Dylan Thomas died there. We’re livin’ the life.”
“What’s the plan now?”
“We’re catching some zzz’s here. The Uncles plan on driving to Savannah and taking us to famous drag shows, if they can get us in. Then we’re booked in Charlotte NC for two nights. I got people there to impress. After that we have all Thursday to get to New York City.”
“No bible groups.”
“We pretty much max’d out here in Daytona. Teen Jesus was preachin’ sex for teens as long as it‘s with someone their own age. Love conquers all.”
”Tell Michael that Jenna’s not his own age yet.”
“He’s well aware. Be proud that he’s a true gentleman.”
“He still believes he’s Romeo. You know how well that ended.”
“All’s well with the Antonio’s and Lombardi’s? It’s not like the Capulets and the Montagues?”
“Definitely not.”
“Have no fear, then.”
“You are my hero, Tim.’

I finally call my folks.
“Hi, Dad. Put Mom on the other phone, so we all can talk.”
“Who’s giving the orders here?”
“You. Of course. But I don’t think she needs to be ordered about.”
“Wise ass.”
“Love you, too. Dad.”
“What do you need?”
“Did you go to Church with the Stones again.”
“Of course. They offered to send a car, if we needed it.”
“I can’t believe I’m so happy you both made it to Mass. I must be having a nightmare. Still coming next week to New York.”
“Your friends’ parents think they can order us around.”
“It’s all good, Dad.”
“Okay, okay. Here’s Susan.”
“Hi, Tim. How are you holding up? Where are you?”
“I need my laundry done. We played a roadhouse for two nights in Daytona and got covered in beer. They really liked us.”
“That’s nice but are you old enough to be in a bar?”
“They made us stay out in the parking lot the first night. When all our new fans went out to meet us, they lost bar business. We stayed in their ‘Green’ room the second night.”
“That’s nice that you have new fans.”
“Guess what, Mom. We met Jace’s real mama. We even had her sing with us last night.”
“Oh, Tim. You really miss him, don’t you?”
“Yeah, Mom. I even cried on stage a little. Not as much as before. She is so nice. She has all that musical talent he had, too. Guess what else, Mom. Just don’t tell Dad, ‘cause I want to surprise him. We got paid $30,000 to do that movie last week.”
“Oh, my goodness, he’ll be so proud of you.”
“What? What?’ I hear in the background. I gulp, realizing he’s listening.
“Just tell him I’m glad we’ll see you in New York next week.”
“We’re so happy for you, son.” That’s the first time she called me son.
“Gotta go. Love you both.” I get off the line fast, so I can sob by myself. Except Jack and Casper somehow appear and hug me.
“I gotta stop this crying shit,” I tell them.

Next: https://timatswim.com/3-blog-a18-empress-of-the-south/