Walking into Michael’s, who do I see but erstwhile cub reporter Jimmy Olson waiting for me.
“What’s happening, my man?” I stick out my hand. He seems to know we are in need of publicity. Good timing.
“You ever hear of Jon Landau? He tried to do a hatch job on us when we let him hang in New York.”
“What a dick. C’mon here little boy and let me give you some candy,” he laughs.
My indignation evaporates instantly. I wonder what Jimmy’s real name is. (John)
“We need some press to over-subscribe the frat parties we’re playing this weekend.”
“Yeah, burn down the house,” Jack interjects.
“So, you’re the new singer?” Jimmy hasn’t met Jack before.
“And guitar,” Jack brags. “Jack’s the name, rock’s my game.”
Jimmy shakes his hand. We sit down to do an interview. We tell him all the stories from our roadhouse tour. He breaks up and tells me he knows we made it all up when we talk about Springsteen (all except the Patti part). We tell him to put it out that we’ll play at an unnamed frat, so people will have to look for us on campus. If we get a crowded house, we play better.
I give him the name of the photographer in Savannah for stills.
“I got plenty of those off the wire services. My favorite is Hippie running barefoot out of the Waldorf.”
We all laugh. All the times with Andy are well documented. We now play to the Art crowd.
Rehearsal goes well. Jay has given us a list of songs we can do for Skynyrd. There are about twenty. We know them all. We go through all the songs and select five we like the most – ‘House of the Rising Sun – the Animals; ‘Light My Fire’ and ‘Roadhouse Blues’ – Doors; ‘Ramblin’ Man’ – Allman Brothers; ‘Let’s Spend the Night Together’ – Stones. Roadhouse is the sentimental choice. It means Jack and I can spin tales about our Roadhouse days on stage. Fun to be 16 and have memories.
Isaac and the nerds come to one of our rehearsals. When they see how much pot we need to fuel our playing, it shocks them and keeps them away. They never say anything about it, but we don’t exactly invite them to partake. Jack is sure they are abstainers. After they leave, we talk about them.
“Prissy bunch, ain’t they,” Robby observes.
“They don’t understand and don’t wanna know about drugs,” Jack defends them.
“So, they’s your old band? Them nerds. Do they even know rock n roll?”
“Naw, they just did what I told ‘em to do, like you do for this band.”
“Hell, sweetheart, you and Tim run this show.”
“You’re just layin’ back and lickin’ your wounds, ‘til you decide to fuck everything up.”
“Whoa,” Both Michael and I stop them.
Robby stares Jack down, then laughs.
“Ya got that right, pretty boy. I just want all this to blow up to prove a point.”
“What point?” Jack takes the bait.
“That’s just my point. There ain’t no point.”
Jack looks at him for a long second, then wheels around, only to run into my arms.
“Stop, you both. If it ain’t fun, then there ain’t no point,” I settle it.
Robby pulls out a joint, causing Jack to be all over me. We play some Zeppelin covers, so Jack can scream and ride me from behind while I rip the Jimmy Page licks.
Michael does all the John Bonham rolls, while Robby pulls off his The Who’s Keith Moon antics, standing up and twirling his sticks. The Jacettes walk in just in time to sing backups and all arguments are forgotten.
“Hot, hot, hot; you boys are on fire,” Flo yells at the end.
They sit, while we play the five covers for them. We’re really into it. It’s what we do, letting the music deal with our emotions. Jack is screaming at Robby while I play long blues riffs. He ends on his knees to Edi, rapping his blues licks while I cut leads at the end of each line. I’m answering his pleas. Michael cuts in with rolling, get-out-of-town rhythms to drive the beat. …..’Boogie all night long – stoned in paradise’.
Finally, Robby does a crash down beat and we stop. I want to ‘boggie all night long.’
Jack is shaking, unable to stop bouncing and thrusting. I pull him into the bathroom to calm him down. He lasts about 30 seconds. We’ll sell those undies for top dollar.
Jack is still worked up. We split from Michael’s. In five minutes we’re upstairs in my tower room. It takes all night to be satisfied. No one says a thing the next day. Robby watches to see who is walking funny. Both of us fake massive butt ache, much to his shock. I fall asleep in English. ‘The Tempest’ has yet to inspire me. My life is too tempestuous.
On Friday night we get to the frat house early. Intrepid cub reporter Jimmy has gotten a long piece into the Herald’s Arts section that morning. He makes it sound like our gigs that night and the next are the reward of a rock n roll treasure hunt. The brothers are worried that their party will be sold out and/or closed down. I tell them to up the entrance fee to ten bucks.
“If it gets too crowded at the door, tell us to take a break. Then tell the people still outside that the gig is over.”
I make sure they have enough spare kegs to keep the bar busy. When they see that our roadies are fourteen and younger, they throw a fit. Stu is out of control with nervous energy, hoping we’ll let them play ‘Diamond Dogs.’ He even has a rhinestone dog collar. Mike Jr. is a model of calm, keeping Stu from self-immolation. Iggy is in full Stooges drag and makeup. He reminds me of Joey going to NYC. I tell the frat boys we’ll keep the ‘Out-Crowd’ kids from drinking. We do a quick sound check and disappear to Sorrento’s for pizza, beer and pot. Mike Sr and Jay are waiting for us. Not sure if Jay is out to anyone, we both just wink at him. He’s as excited as everyone. It’s our first hometown show since New Year’s. I suddenly miss Jace so much. Not that I need his guitar guidance, but because we always had such fun at these shows. Jack knows what I’m feeling and squeezes my leg as we wait for our pizza.
By the time we return to campus, there is a buzz in the air. People are calling the frat house to confirm that the show is there. Chalked letters spell False Gods and an arrow in the campus road to lead the outsiders to the site. We sneak in the back, as a long line is out front trying to get in. We’re set up in the front room. The brothers open the windows to the street, telling people if they can listen outside for five bucks. They won’t be able to buy beer. It’s time to start, even though it’s only eight o’clock.
“Hello, Miami. We are so glad to be back here and playing for our friends.”
Hippie starts the bass line to the Doors’ “Roadhouse Blues” – bump a bump a bump a da da – while Jack does his monologue.
“We’re gonna start with a cover that brings me back to the road houses we played in Northern Florida and North Carolina.” A few cheers go up from transplants.
“Now you don’t play a roadhouse without some southern blues and without a few minor riots. Our friend Iggy,” and Jack points to him leaning against a wall in then back, “pulled our asses out of the fire a few times up there. So this song’s for him, ‘Roadhouse Blues” by the Doors.”
“Keep your eyes on the road your hands upon the wheel
Down in the roadhouse we’re gonna have a real, a good time…”
John Densmore;Jim Morrison;Robbie Kreiger;Ray Manzarek
DOORS MUSIC COMPANY
Hippie keeps up the beat while I use my SG axe to echo the Manzarek electric piano effects while pushing out the song’s lead riffs. Jack spins and struts for the frat crowd pushing in towards us. As they grew too close, Jack picks out a foxy chick in the front to sing to:
“Ashen lady, ashen lady
Give up your vows, give up your vows”
The crowd is instantly on our side. Time to do our band song, False Gods.
“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,
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,
…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
Just wait twenty years and
know just what we mean
….We are False Gods, False Gods..
… False Gods”
Songwriters: David Delgado, Tar Larner
It isn’t the Doors, but it’s what the crowd wants. The whole room is rocking, yelling back the ‘False Gods’ chorus at us. Jack leaves enough space at the end of each line for me to tweak leads while Hippie spins like a dervish. Robby jumps up from his drums, joining Jack for each chorus. Michael never misses a beat. We throw the song at the crowd. They roar back at us.
“You like that?” Jack demands. The crowd responded with multiple ‘Yeahs.’”
“Well, we’re going to slow it down,” and we slip into ‘Ramblin’ Man,’ changing the tempo and the mood from pent-up anger to Southern drawl.
Halfway through, as I was doing my solo, Jack sees the Frat boy in charge of the door, waving frantically. We must take a break due to over-crowding. As we finish the song, Jack announces we are leavin’, just like the song, ‘ramblin’ on.’ Three songs are not enough. People were screaming, “More, more.” They all step back but keep shouting for us to stay on.
I signal Dave and John that it’s the Out-Crowd’s time to come on. They all jump up and after a quick change of instruments, they start playing the intro to Bowie’s ‘Diamond Dogs.’ Out jump Stu & Mike Jr. The crowd is instantly silenced at the sight of a 12 & a 13 year tricked out in dog collars and mascara, with spiked hair.
“This ain’t rock’n’roll. This is genocide!…”
Songwriters: BOWIE, DAVID
Diamond Dogs lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC, TINTORETTO MUSIC
Half the crowd goes for the exits, while the other half apparently into Glitter, especially the girls, push to the front to see real pre-pubescent androgyny rocking out. It is better than Jack and me fagging out. The boys go down on their knees and are growling out the lyrics:
“(Will they come?)
I’ll keep a friend serene
(Will they come?)
Oh baby, come unto me
(Will they come?)
Well, she’s come, been and gone.
Come out of the garden, baby
You’ll catch your death in the fog
Young girl, they call them the Diamond Dogs
Young girl, they call them the Diamond Dog”
Out bounds Max to great applause. Everyone knows who Max is, the hero of the Jace murder (sorry, Dad). The room is not nearly as crowded, allowing Max to search and enjoy the joints that are going around. The mood is mellow. Max gets back to John in time for his line:
“Bow-wow, woof woof, bow-wow, wow
Call them the Diamond Dogs…
Diamond Dogs rule, OK
Beware of the Diamond Dogs
Beware of the Diamond Dogs”
It is perfect. Max’s fans are in ecstasy as their canine hero is performing on stage for them with perfectly timed “woofs” at the end of each line. The Out Crowd bows to amazed applause. Stu winks at me. We jump back on stage.
“How about that?” Jack crow. “Two bands for the price of one. That’s ‘The Out-Crowd,’ our protégées in waiting (to grow up).’
The frat boy at the door signals a thumbs up. We resume our set.
“Those roadhouse gigs we did were to warm up for our first arena show this month with Lynyrd Skynyrd.” A loud cheer erupts. I start playing the leads for ‘Free Bird.’ A big cheer rises up.
“No, no,” Jack tells them. “You get to see and hear the real McCoy at the Hydroplane Stadium in the Bay next week. We’re just getting you warmed up.”
People are shouting Free Bird, so I jump into ‘Southern Man.” Beer cups rain down on us. It may be Miami but these boys are still Southern. I switch to “Sweet Home Alabama.” The Jacettes jump on stage. Jack and I sing to them, our “Alabama Mamas.”
“Big wheels keep on turning
Carry me home to see my kin
Singing songs about the Southland
I miss Alabama once again”
VAN ZANT, RONNIE / ROSSINGTON, GARY ROBERT / KING, EDWARD C.
Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group
I think of Jace’s mom. A few tears slide down my cheeks. I hold it together by playing slide on my guitar, while Jack wipes my cheeks dry. I rip into the long solo. The crowd is back into it, crowding back into the room. Jack takes the piano part, banging out sharp notes through his Mustang. I follow his leads. We put on a dual, “at the Crossroads”
It is time for one of our new originals. Jack mouths, “Curfew,’ to us.
“You may have noted that the Out-Crowd is a younger bunch. They get to stay up tonight past their bedtime just to entertain y’all. We wrote this song to protest their having to be home too early. It’s called ‘Curfew.”
“We’re still in our youth
But we have our ken
That these lives are ours
And they don’t belong to them
We’re having fun doing what we like
Then they come around and take away our rights
Makers of trouble
Wild and insane
Just because we’re young
We’re the ones to blame
The time has come
They’re telling us to leave
They’re pushing us around
So we gotta leave the streets
The streets are our domain
So they come and give us pain
But what gives you the right
To come and blow out my light
But since I’m having fun
You’re gonna make me fight
And I just wanna say
Curfew must not ring tonight”
Songwriter: David Delgado
The verses are way up tempo, and the chorus is just chords and twice as fast as the verses. People up front were totally into it, spinning and smashing into each other. The girls move back. The crowd at the back is puzzled by the thrash metal speed. Some push forward, knocking into the people trying to escape the crush up front. It’s uncontrolled mayhem, Time for the Monkey song. I tell Robby to take my mic.
Makes a stand
To take his joy
Going hand to hand
Flying out free
Branch to branch
Through the trees
“Free to be
A monkey like me
Ha ha ha
He he he
Haw haw haw
Chee chee chee”
He jumps on top of the stacked amps, making monkey noises, scratching his armpits, and repeating the final chorus. He throws himself onto the shoulders of a big football player and bounces off the backs of several other football jocks. At first stunned, they quickly decide to chase him around the room. Robby is doing a simian-like run until he reaches the front windows, trying to escape his pursuers. They almost have him on the front lawn, but a huge crowd of the $5 outsiders opens up and swallows him. He reappears in the trees near the sidewalk. The football players surround the tree, thinking he’s now caught. Robby continues with the monkey taunts, pulling green mangoes from the tree and hurling them at the jocks. He then ascends to the tree top and is gone.
We run after Robby until we see how many people are outside. The jocks rush back inside, followed closely by the $5 crowd. The Out-Crowd has taken our spots on the makeshift stage and start playing Elvis’s ‘Hound Dog.” Max is right there, barking at the end of each line. Most of the girls in the audience start jitter-bugging to the oldie. The jocks aren’t about to charge through a bunch of girls to beat up 13-year-olds. They turn around, frustrated and determined to take it out on the rest of the band. We see them coming back out the front door. We clamber into the mango tree and are gone. The four of us join Robby at the top of a tree where we can safely observe the whole scene in and out of the frat house. Stu and Mike are churning out the 50’s and 60’s songs of their regular set. Max is inhaling all the good weed going around, while the jocks stomp around intimidating anyone in their way. Campus police finally arrive and chase them back to the football dorm. They shut the party down. We descend from the trees. Robby and Max are the heroes of the night. The crowd surrounds us. The only person unhappy is Iggy who dressed up for his Stooges’ songs, but the gig is cut short.
“Jesus, you scared the crap out of me,” the frat social director complains. “I thought the house would be burned down by those angry assholes.”
“U of M football sucks,” I tell him. They did that year. “How much did the bar take in?”
He goes over and counts the till. It’s over $4,000.
“That’s over a thousand beers,” he was skeptical until he looks at all the empty cups strewn around.
“Those are just the ones they threw at us,” indicating to him how we are still covered in beer. “The cops arrived just in time.”
“Yeah, the rent-a-dicks,” he jokes. He hands me $1400. “That’s more than we paid all the bands we had last fall. How’d you learn to agitate a crowd and make ‘em buy more beer?”
“We’ve been playing Southern road houses. Happens every time, especially when we play Neil Young. You know how to get us back. Who ya gonna call?”
Stu runs over with Mike Jr. trailing behind.
“We were great. We were great,” he shouts. Mike Jr. just looks bemused.
“Yeah, but don’t tell Mom there was a riot. You’re too young to get into fights.”
“Ya think they’d of hit us?” he looks worried.
“Naw. They’d a just killed ya. Never doubt the idiocy and ignorance of football players. You wanna have some pizza?”
Stu was my man, always easy to please.
Sitting in Sorrento’s, I pay the band $100 each, plus fifty for the Out Crowd, Jacettes (who never got to sing that night) and Iggy. That leaves $500 for Mike Sr., who pays for the pizza and beer.
“Try this wine,” he offers me a glass of Chianti.
I smell it and take a sip – pretty bitter. The stink of stale beer on my clothes makes it a good substitute.
“Jay says you’re worried you won’t get the crowd into your own set at Skynyrd. I think he likes you guys.
“That’s ‘cause we like him. He always does right by us.”
“He got you permission to do covers at the concert?”
“Yeah. We asked him to. Our crowds need to know the songs we play to get into it.”
“I never thought I’d see you lack confidence in your performance.”
I look at him, realizing he’s right.
“Maybe we’ll just use the covers if we fall flat.”
“I’m just saying…”
“Okay. I see your point. Why do it at all if I’m afraid we’re gonna fail.”
“Exactly. Just play what you love. The crowd will respond to that more than some old hippie top 40’s crap.”
“Those are the songs we love.”
“I’m just saying…”
“No need to repeat yourself. We’ll just practice our songs harder and learn to love ‘em.”
“They’re going to love you, Tim.”
I beam and finish my wine.
Jack comes over and has a glass. He already loves Chianti.
In bed that night, Jack asks if we can be more romantic. I had expected we’d just go at it. I realize he hasn’t smoked enough to spark his usual pot-fueled ardor.
“You don’t feel I love you enough?” I ask.
“Not that. I just miss the kissing and foreplay part before we jump each other.”
“Come here, lover boy,” I order, sitting up in a cross-legged position.
Jack sits in my lap with his legs around my waist. We drape our arms around each other’s necks. I place my palms over his ears and with my thumb lightly stroke his cheeks. His smile brings out the dimples on each side of his mouth. We stare into each other’s eyes, blinking as we feel our true connection. He touches my lips, rubbing and caressing them. I initiate a passionate kiss. His response is immediate. Finally he breaks off our kiss.
“How did you learn to kiss so hot?” he breathlessly blurts.
“I guess it’s from the girls. The guys I’ve been with weren’t much into kissing, too straight.”
“Well, I ain’t straight,” Jack initiates another lip lock session. We have been staring into each other’s eyes the entire time. He is completely satisfied with my romantic moves, even though I barely said a word.
“Do you want me to tell you what I feel,” I ask.
“Naw. I’m feeling what you feel,” he answers. “I can read your mind.”
We both laugh, which causes my dick to slip out, making a burping noise. We laugh even more.
“That was an unbelievable show tonight,” he remarks.
“What? The band or the sex?”
“Both, but I was thinking of the frat gig.”
“When did you learn to climb trees?”
“I never had before. I just followed you.”
“That’s how I learned, from following Rob.”
“Have you forgiven him for trying to rape me?”
“I guess, I don’t think about it. Fighting gets all my anger out. I really don’t hold grudges. He better not try it again.”
“Kinda my fault for not being able to defend myself.”
“He’s the asshole. He’s always on some power trip.”
“It seems so long ago. He was one of your best friends. Now he’s afraid of you.”
“Good, Someone needs to curb his scheming.”
“He really was the show stopper tonight.”
“Yeah, I think Max is jealous.”
I look over and Jack is falling asleep. It’s 3 am. What the hell, I curl up with him after wiping cum off my stomach.