7 – Blog 07 – London Calling I

After a big meal, we retire to the Bowie Castle lounge for mojitos, our new favorite drink. We talk about punk and the death of old-time rock and roll.

“I blame Brian Eno’s box of magical music tricks,” I state.

“You love ‘Heroes,” David argues.

“Rock n Roll is in its middle-aged doldrums. Just like classical music, everything is formalized,” I challenge the King of Glam Rock.

“Soul still sells,” Mike defends his genre.

We sit around despairing the schisms of rock into separate genres.

The second mojito does Mike in; he falls asleep in my lap. Charles is summoned and carries the pop star to bed. I follow.

“Good work today, boss,” Bowie sends me to bed. I realize that his successful collaboration with other artists is a charm that makes his music so original and fresh, even though it may be too slow. He will not turn punk.

I wake up with Mike still asleep next to me.

“Time to go swimming,” I exhort him.

A brief flash of panic reveals that almost drowning in the pool has tempered the joy of being in the aquatic world. Sinking does that.

“Com’n, we’ll be safe and never go out too far.”

“Maybe another swim lesson in the pool?” MJ prevaricates.

“Sure, but tomorrow we are singing the Bowie song we wrote for our friends at the Lake.”

“Right. I need to build up my confidence to go into the water.”

Charles tells us that Bowie is sleeping in. We don our swimsuits and spend an hour at the pool, splashing around and making fools of ourselves. At the end, Mike swims into the deep end without sinking. He holds on to the side of the pool with a death grip.

“Okay. I’m going to show you how to come up from the bottom. Hold my hand.”

I see the fear in his eyes, as we sink to the bottom in about 10 feet of water. I have to expel lung air so I sink with him as he goes quickly down. He stares wildly into my eyes through the clear water. We hold hands. I squat to show him how to get as close as possible to the bottom. With my fingers, I count 1 2 3 and push off the bottom. He mirrors me. We both rise quickly to the surface. He gets hysterical from the thrill of almost drowning. We repeat the drill until he can do it by himself. I keep a close watch, but he never panics. Lesson learned. I breaststroke him to the shallow end. He presses his body to me with his arms around my neck.

David is drinking coffee as we stand in the pool. Mike still clutches me, even though he knows he is safe.

“You boys act so cute,” David smiles.

“I was afraid to swim in the Lake after almost drowning yesterday. Laz taught me how to rise to the surface.

“Laz, your personal lifeguard?”

“Personal savior.”

“Do we need to attend church today; to worship Saint Lazarus?”

“Ha ha,” I contend. “Lightening may strike us down if we do. “

“That’s a relief. How about breakfast instead?”

“Food,” we yell. Swimming created an appetite.

English breakfasts are the rule in Castle Bowie. Everything is great except grilled tomatoes seem weird. Somehow, I know how to crack the boiled egg without the yolk running all over. Mike has yet to acquire that skill. When he looks disappointed with his meal, Bowie orders flapjacks for the King of Pop, Aunt Jemima style. No maple syrup means confectionery sugar on top. We do not complain.

“When will we debut the new Bowie hit ‘Boys.’

“Self-titled, how nice,” the man smirks.

“I may need more swim lessons before going back into the Lake,” Mike is not ready to drown again.

“How about water wings?” David suggests.

“I’m not a little kid,” MJ complains.

“You’re an over-grown little kid,” David observes.

“Come sit on my lap, little boy.” I order. Mike quickly moves over. He is too gangly to sit comfortably.

“I’ll call Freddie’s and get Jim to go to the lake to tell anyone there we plan to return on Monday afternoon,” I announce.

“The mysterious Jim,” Bowie remarks.

“He’s Freddie’s Personal Assistant.”

“Right. Let’s hope there is some fans there for our surprise performance.”

“Your real fans will know.”

“The glam T-Rex burnouts?”

“No, the  kids. I told you they idolize you, you old hippie.”


“What’s your name? What’s your name?”

“I’m in my golden years now.”

We chase him into the pool. Mike smiles.

“Who wants lunch?” David asks, as we dry off.

“Tu es trop Américain,” I observe.

“Pour les Américains jeunes.”


“Pas de quoi.”

“S’il vous plait, en englais,” MJ feels left out.

“Do you want burgers for lunch?” David translates.

“Yes, please.”

“What do you want with your burgers?” David is taking orders. We feel so entitled, Young Americans.

“Pepsi,” we are the new generation.

“How about pommes frits?”

MJ looks confused.

“Fries,” I whisper.

“Oui, oui oui, all the  way home,” Mike knows what he likes.

We sit by the pool and scarf the burgers and fries, while Bowie attempts to mimic our teenage appetites and the mindless pleasure of eating inferior ground beef.

“Don’t stuff yourself and risk losing the title of Thin White Duke,” I mock our patron.

“That sounds racist,” MJ complains.

“Just one of many personas our friend has assumed. He even played an alien from Mars called Ziggy.”

“That was cool. But I didn’t understand ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth,” MJ has further questions.

“Too many drugs,” is Bowie’s excuse. “I was accused of being a fascist until I moved to Berlin.”

“How does that refute racist remarks?” I ask.

“I stopped being stoned all the time.”

“Living in Switzerland doesn’t actually mean you haven’t embraced the Nazis.”

“The Swiss were never Nazis.”

“Just their bankers,” I laugh. Time to move on.

“Well, I love you even if you think I am inferior,” Mike sits on the edge of David’s chair and hugs him.

“You boys are so cute,” David complains again, now forgiven for mindless behavior during his calloused mid-life crisis.

We spend the rest of the afternoon by the pool. I give Mike more swimming lessons and David more dolphin swims. By 4 pm, mojitos appear, and we enjoy happy hour. After two drinks, David suggests we jam in the studio.

I sing several more songs, with both Mike and David joining in. Although, David seems shy about being part of our singalong. I critique his ‘Space Oddity’ version from the early 1970s.

“It’s almost a dirge. Major Tom escapes Earth’s hold into weightless space, but the song makes him sad. Try doing it faster,” I order, tapping out a lively rock beat. It sounds a bit tortured, but at least he is trying.

“So, what is your genre, boss?’ David challenges me. “Maybe you’re just a producer like Eno. Nothing original for us? Mike & I both wrote new songs. What can you come up with?”

I think about it. I am a Young American. I have dues to pay. I will write an anti-war song.

“Check this out,” I pick up the SG guitar and rip leads at a blistering pace.

‘He’s my Uncle Sam

My Uncle Sam

Sent me to Nam

Wasn’t our fight

He had no right

Without a cause

We lost our lives

To top it off

We lost the fight’

MIB 1981 David Delgado

They look stunned.

“How can you play so fast?” David complains. “That’s totally punk.”

Mike gets it, grabbing the bass and adding his lyrics,

‘Red and white stripes

Blue starred pants

He never fights

Just gives commands

I love my Uncle Sam

I love my Uncle Sam’

David grabs his Fender Stratocaster and rocks out an R & B song, ‘Be My Wife.’

“We’re not marrying you, David,” we reject his plea.

“I wrote it for Angela,” he explains. “I’ve never performed it live. It’s too personal.”

“Well, I like it because it is different from your hits,” I respect his right to sing about his life. “That’s what punk and other basic rock n roll is, real feelings from your own life.”

“But why play it so fast?”

“It gets people’s attention. No time to think and contemplate this life when it changes quickly. If you can’t keep up, life passes you by.”

“Okay. I’ll speed up the new song, ‘Boys. No more swinging.”

“Okay, David,” I decide. “You mark the beat with your foot. No more rhythm box sounding like a metronome.”

“Check it out,” David has us stand at the mic, counts out a faster beat with his feet, and we come in after his intro vocals.

It is big improvement. The beat drives the song, rather than following the guitars. The three of us march around the mic stand.

“When we perform it tomorrow, no marching. Everyone will dance while playing their instruments.”

We have our marching orders.

Charles brings a fresh tray of mojitos, including one for himself. We make him dance with us. The drinks are needed when we are done. David has added more lyrics about being a boy. Mike shows Charles how to do the ‘Moonwalk.’ We are all aliens.

Our day of rest comes to an end. Tomorrow’s morning call to London portends to be the end or revival of Queen. We will celebrate or mourn by entertaining the kids at the Montreux lakefront. We all love the new Bowie song. It is his ode to us.

Monday morning, bright and early, we wake up ready to shake up the music business. Charles lays out business attire for the two of us. When we come into breakfast, Bowie laughs at our attempt to look like serious adults.

“We are on a mission, a mission to save Queen from the lawyers and bean counters that have turned Freddie’s band against him.

“The Queen’s Royal Guardsmen?” Bowie scoffs.

“Seriously, David. We are going to kick the record company’s proverbial arses,” I claim.

Bowie breaks into song:

‘Oh no, not me
We never lost control
You’re face to face
With the man who sold the world’

Songwriters: David Bowie

The Man Who Sold the World lyrics © Chrysalis Music Ltd., Tintoretto Music, Chrysalis Music Ltd, Rzo Music Ltd

“What’s for breakfast? We’re starved,” I ask.

“For such an important day, nothing beats crepe suzettes to start,” David is our host.

Charles brings a saucepan, with a can of Sterno burning underneath. He pours the batter and soon turns over the thin pancake-like crepe. Next comes a mixture of butter, sugar and lemon twist. To make sure we have attitude, Charles pours heated Grand Marnier and lights it on fire. I rush to put out the flame that torches Mike’s dreads. We are fired up.

David drives us in the Aston Martin to the Montreux Casino, arriving well before the 10 am call to London. I feel like 007 James Bond arriving at the Casino in Monaco. We are ushered into Claude Nobs’ office. The man is surprised that Bowie will participate in the Queen reunion or breakup call.

“I’m only here to support the boys,” David motions to us. “I can verify that Freddie is ready to perform without those deserters.”

“Our show was magnifique, ne c’est pas?”

“You are a showman, Claude. Taking the Knobs on the road if Brian and the boys make up with Freddie?

“We can always be the Casino house band.”

“Today’s call is more than your rock n roll career.”

“Bien sur. Do you want to headline with Queen at this year’s festival?”

“I prefer playing in the streets for free. The boys and I are debuting my next hit this afternoon at the lake.”

“I’ll call Henri. He can have the press there.”

“Merci, non. We’re just playing for the kids.”

“Tres bien.”

Freddie and the Knobs arrive. Jim ‘Miami’ Beach is in tow. They look ‘loaded for bear.’

“David. You came. Thank you,” Freddie is effusive.

“I am here for moral support – not a big fan of music managers and corporate lawyers.”

“Our corporate people already have a court order to inspect the books, if we need it.” Claude is prepared.

“Let the bleeding begin,” Freddie is fired up.

Henri dials a London number as Freddie sits at a round table with Claude and Henri. A speaker phone is in the middle of the table. The rest of us sit around the meeting room.

Jim Reid comes on the line, asking to speak with Freddie.

“Put Brian on,” Freddie demands. “I’m not dealing with you, Reid.”

There is a pause until Brian May speaks up. “Oi, mate. You doin’ okay by yerself?”

“Thanks for the concern. When are you coming back to Montreux? Claude wants us to headline the festival this year.”

“Jesus, Freddie..”

Reid cuts in, “You’re not responsible for booking the band, Freddie.”

“Listen to me Reid, very carefully. First you asked me to go solo. Once I refused to break up the band, you got Brian, Deacy and Roger to leave me. You have violated your responsibility to act in our best interest. You are destroying Queen.”

“Now, wait a minute. You have no right to make decisions on your own.”

“I have the right to examine the books which I am pretty confident will show how you have been robbing us blind, like you do with Elton.”

Reid sputters with no response.

“I want you to open your books immediately.”

“No way, Freddie. We need time to make sure the books are clean,.”

“Yeah, to falsify all the records of our money you spent on yourself. If you refuse, then I am firing you on behalf of the band.”

“You’re not the band, Freddie. You can’t fire me.”

“My accountant is outside your door in London right now with a court order to turn over all records immediately. The London police are with him to arrest you for fraud and embezzlement if you fail to comply.”

“Jesus, Freddie. Who’s giving you this bad advice?”

“Get over here, Miami Beach,” Freddie has his lawyer sit at the phone.

“Met Jim Beach, my lawyer and the new manager of Queen,” Freddie plays his trump card.

Henri has informed the solicitor from Miami Beach’s London office to enter and deliver the court order.

There is confusion in the background. Reid moves away from the phone.

“Brian,” Freddie asks May to speak up.

“What the fuck, Freddie. Reid has been stealing from us? You never told me he wanted you to go solo.”

“I refused to break up Queen. I can’t make you, Roger and Deacy stay. I just want you back here and playing the Festival.”

“What’s this about you already replacing us?”

“The roadies know all the songs. We played outside, next to the Lake. We have a new song that we played.”

“Yeah. We heard it. Roger hates it. Deacy likes it. I just don’t wanna go disco.”

“You ready to lipsych it on Top of the Pops?”

“Christ, yer a mean bastard.”

“Yeah, but ya gotta luv me, Maysy.”

“Well, London’s pretty boring without you. The Clash replaced The Who. It’s punk rock now.”

“I have an LA punk living with me. He stirs up the pot. Get back here. Yer wives making you do household chores?”

“What’s this about David Bowie playing with you.”

“Cheerio, Brian. How’s it goin’ mate?” Bowie speaks up.

“We’re doomed,” Brian moans.

“Not if you get yer asses back here. You’re missing the fun. We’re all playing on the street. Bowie and two Americans are playing his new song at the lakefront this afternoon. He sings ‘Heroes’ while they swim around like dolphins.”

“Fuck me,” Brian moans. “I give up. You are Queen.”

“Tell Reid he’s done. I bet we find he owes us a ton of money.”

“Good riddance,” Brian is convinced. “And who or what is Miami Beach?”

“A local lawyer that Claude Nobs knows. He organized this whole scenario to get rid of Reid.”

“And the Knobs, who are they?”

“Claude Nobs, the founder of the festival. He plays tambourine. It’s what we call the roadies’ band, Claude and the Knobs.”

“Tell them they are fired and cannot play any Queen songs.”

“They want you back too. We only play songs I wrote; they are the only good ones.”

“Fuck yourself, Freddie.”

“Glad you still love me. Now get back here.”

Reid hangs up the phone at his end. We jump up and high five everyone. The Knobs are less enthusiastic. Claude promises them they can be house band when Queen is in Montreux.

“Don’t give up on your dreams, Billy,” I encourage him. “You rock on guitar. Is it so bad to be opening for Queen?”

“Will you still play with us?”

“Of course, but Freddie and David will probably be otherwise engaged. You wanna watch us play Bowie’s new song at the Lake this afternoon. We can use some Knobs backup.”

We leave it at that.

For me, it is a time to sing ‘The Great Rock ’n’ Roll Swindle’

People said we couldn’t play
They called us foul-mothed yobs
But the only notes that really count
Are the ones that come in wads

They all drowned when the air turned blue
’cause we didn’t give a toss
Filthy lucre, ain’t nothing new
But we all get cash from the chaos

The time is right to do it now
The greatest rock’n’roll swindle
The time is right to do it now

E.M.I. said you’re out of hand
And they gave us the boot
But they couldn’t sack us, just like that
Without giving us the loot

Thank you kindly A & M
They said we were out of bounds
But that ain’t bad for two weeks work
And 75, 000 pounds

The time is right to do it now
The greatest rock’n’roll swindle
The time is right to do it now

The time is right to do it now
The greatest rock’n’roll swindle
The time is right to do it now

I just want to play with my band
Are you good enough for me
Hiya boys I’m the chosen one
Can’t you fucking see

I’m a jealous god and I want everything
And I love you with a knife
I’ll take you, if you’re ready for me
And I’ll give you my life

The time is right to do it now
The greatest rock’n’roll swindle
The time is right to do it now

The time is right for Nickey’s Special
The greatest rock’n’roll star
The time is right for me, now!

Songwriters: Julian Temple / Steve (gb 1) Jones / Paul Cook

The Great Rock ’n’ Roll Swindle lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc, BMG Rights Management

All the Knobs know the words and join in. Freddie and David just laugh. The adults in the room shake their heads. We all head to the restaurant for lunch

I corner David “How about letting the Knobs back us on Boys are Swinging.”

“It’s complicated, needing power for the amps, a drum kit, mic, etc.”

“You’re right. But when you tour, lets the Knobs play backup. You heard them Friday. They have talent.”

“Bloody hell, boss. Stop trying to control everything. I’ll consider it.”

“Can Mike and I go on tour with you?”

“Just get through playing it on the beach this afternoon. It may not be a hit.”

“You doubt your genius.”

“You called me a burned out glam hippie playing slow dirges.”

“That was you on drugs.”

“This is your opportunity to apologize.”

I kiss him on the lips. He looks shocked. Good.

Apology accepted.

Freddie corners me before we go into the restaurant.

“Are you now staying at Bowie’s Castle?” I figure he saw me kiss David.

“Mike’s my age. We really hit it off. It’s kinda boring there. But playing with a rock legend is cool.”

“I’m not enough of a legend for you?”

“You’re just getting started at being a legend. Come to the show at the Lake this afternoon. It’s all impromptu and fun. You’re still my King Farouk.”

I kiss him to even the score. It is another complete surprise. By the time he recovers and reaches to hold me, I have turned away and escaped. Sex is so complicated. I am convinced that my past is sordid. I do not want to know.

The whole Queen crew orders bangers and mash to go with their ‘Bitta’ beers. David, Mike, and I order another round of Crepe Suzettes. When the server sets them alight, Freddie is impressed.

“We’re going swimming after lunch,” David announces. “No heavy food before going in the water.”

“We want to come,” Freddie announces. “I hear you have a new song.”

“It’s for the boys,” David points at us.

“More punk rock,” Freddie mocks us.

“Come and hear us. You’ll be impressed. I’m over being the Nazi White Duke.”

“We’ll meet you at the Lake House,” I tell the group. “We need to change into swimsuits.”

It is after 2 pm when the whole group walks down to the lakefront. There is a crowd, which cheers our appearance, having waited for hours on a rumor. I carry bongos while David has an acoustic guitar. Mike has a battery-operated keyboard. Freddie and the Knobs all have tambourines.

The crowd is buzzing. David tries to speak in a normal voice, but no one can hear him. Those in front yell at everyone chatting in the back. 90% of the crowd is under 16. Like good school kids, they all shut up.

David repeats his opening remarks, “These two guys are the Young Americans who sang with me Friday Night at Taboo. It was so much fun that we want to sing and play today for the kids from Montreux.”

The crowd cheers for themselves. David counts off 1 2 3 4 and we start with ‘Young Americans. Mike makes the keyboard squeal like a saxophone.

‘All night
All night you want the young American
Young American, young American, you want the young American
All right
You want the young American…

Ain’t there one damn song that can make me
Break down and cry?

All night
I want the young American
Young American, young American, I want the young American
All right
I want the young American, young American
Young American, young American, I want the young American (I want what you want, I want what you want)
All night
You and I
I want you’

Produced By Tony Visconti

Written By David Bowie

David gets great applause. He waits for the kids to quiet down.

“You already heard that song. So, after Friday’s show, the boys came here to swim and sang it to themselves. A few kids were here, surprised to see how well Black and White American kids can sing together. They came home and we wrote this song about all kids and how great it is to be ‘Boys’.

‘Heaven loves ya
The clouds part for ya
Nothing stands in your way
When you’re a boy
Clothes always fit ya
Life is a pop of the cherry
When you’re a boy
When you’re a boy
You can wear a uniform
When you’re a boy
Other boys check you out
You get a girl
These are your favorite things
When you’re a boy
Boys keep swinging
Boys always work it out
Uncage the colors
Unfurl the flag
Luck just kissed you hello
When you’re a boy
They’ll never clone ya
You’re always first on the line
When you’re a boy
When you’re a boy
You can buy a home of your own
When you’re a boy
Learn to drive and everything
You’ll get your share
When you’re a boy
Boys keep swinging
Boys always work it out’

Songwriters: David Bowie / Brian Eno

Boys Keep Swinging lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Tintoretto Music

Mike has the little keyboard’s sound squealing past saxophone and into screeching cat. The crowd loves it. We had been sitting on the ground playing bongos and keyboard. We jump up and join David at the mic. The crowd sings out, “When you’re a boy..’

 We respond with new individual lines. Freddie and the Knobs keep the rhythm going on their tambourines. Finally, we cannot come up with new lines. Everyone is clapping and yelling. Adults walking past the crowd look highly displeased that the kids are having fun. If it does not include chocolate, then fun is banned in Switzerland.

“Thank you, friends. That’s the first time the song has been performed. I bet Brian Eno will get it on the radio soon.

“We came here to swim,” I shout at Bowie, grabbing my towel and Mike’s hand to lead him to the water’s edge. I squeeze it to give him confidence which appears lacking as he looks out over Lake Geneva.

“We’ll stay close to shore but forget your fears. You hang on while I do the swimming,” I whisper.

“Boys are the heroes in this next song,” David starts the intro a Capella to ‘Heroes.’

I, I wish you could swim
Like the dolphins, like dolphins can swim
Though nothing
Nothing will keep us together
We can beat them, for ever and ever
Oh we can be Heroes, just for one day

I, I will be king
And you, you will be queen
Though nothing will drive them away
We can be Heroes
Just for one day
We can be all us
Just for one day…’

Songwriters: Brian Eno / David Bowie

Heroes lyrics © Warner/chappell Music Scandinavia Ab, Tintoretto Music, E.g. Music Publr. Ltd., Wolf Cousins

I lead Mike into the water by the hand. He grips my shoulders, and we dive into the shallow water. I start kicking butterfly, pulling both of us to the surface with an arm stroke. We circle around and I stroke slowly with undulating dolphin kicks, as David sings from the shore. We hear the whole crowd singing along. David does a shortened version of the song, strips to his bathing suit and joins us in the shallow water. He switches out with Mike, holding me lightly as I stroke easily with him on my back. Not needing to worry about Mike’s limited swimming ability, I dive underwater with each arm stroke recovery, rising up with each pull and diving underwater again on the arm recovery. We are dolphins, just for one day.

The crowd is stunned at first. Like lemmings, they rush fully clothed into the water. Freddie and the Knobs stand by, laughing at how crazy it is. The show is over. It is now a mass baptism, with David as John the Baptist.

Soon the local gendarmes arrive, telling everyone they are not allowed in the water in street clothes, some law about suicide. We get out. Freddie has the Knobs back him on vocals for Bohemian Rhapsody, all the nonsensical Opera lyrics seem appropriate for the mass chaos. Later the newspaper says over a thousand fans were in attendance. We know that is a gross overestimate. Freddie smiles, “That will get the boys’ attention in London.”

Henri runs up.

“Your boys in London told the Press about you firing Jim Reid. The local music hacks are gathering outside your Lake House. Come back to the Casino. We can handle a press conference better there.”

“And we were just starting to have fun. Please call Jim at home. He can direct the news hounds to the Casino.”

We walk back to the Casino just in time to run into the reporters coming from the house.

“Come back to my place. I am not up for an interrogation,” David tells Mike and me to come with him. He is not interested in the melodrama.

“You guys go. I need to show my loyalty to the cause,” I excuse myself.

Mike gives me a longing look. “We’ll be fine,” I tell him. “This will blow over.”

He grabs me and refuses to let go. Jeez, I am just his swim instructor. I pull David into a group hug. He is less needy, and we pull back from each other.

“Thank you, David,” I show some manners. “I had a great visit. Someday I want a castle.”

“It’s a rental. Like Freddie, I can’t live in England for tax reasons. Please come back soon. The media circus concerns me that someone will recognize Mike if he visits you here in Montreux.”

Mike continues the yearning look.

“Call me tonight. We’ll fall asleep cradling our phones.”

He laughs and nods.

I slip into the back of the interview where Freddie is relating what happened on the fateful telephone call. He insists he is saving the band from breaking up.

The rumor is Reid has convinced the other Queen members to sue Freddie for breaking up the band.

“What has Brian said?” Freddie asks the reporter.

“No one can find him or the other two members.”

“We left it that they will come to Montreux. Queen will headline this year’s Festival.”

“What about the band you played with Friday night, the Knobs?”

“I’m writing new songs. They are the Queen roadies. They are just filling in.”

“Reid said you have some American punk rocker who is disrupting everything.”

“My own personal Johnny Rotten?” Freddie laughs. “He’s teaching the Knobs how to play their instruments. He even has Claude Nobs playing tambourine after finding out he’s tone deaf.”

The reporters laugh. Claude’s face turns red.

“Désolé, Claude,” Freddie apologizes. Seeing me standing at the back, he motions to me, “Get up here, Laz. Let me introduce you to these bloodsucking reporters.”

I am relieved that Charles had me dress conservatively that morning. No ripped clothing and I stifle my attitude.

“This is the supposed punk rocker. He’s a rock wizard on all instruments. He has also been singing with David Bowie and together they produced our new song and work together as sound engineers”

“How do you know Bowie?”

“He’s Freddie’s friend and neighbor from Lausanne,” I answer. “We needed someone to mix the tape we sent to BBC-1 with the new song. He wants to help keep Queen from breaking up. We’re his favorite rock act.”

“We’re? Does that mean you’re in Queen now?”

“I just help Freddie. He helped me with a medical issue, and I am recuperating here.”

“So, you and the roadies moved in when the original members left?”

“We play in the streets to show that Queen is still alive.”

I pull out my harmonica and start singing Frampton ‘Comes Alive’ to Freddie. I cannot help myself. The Knobs jump on the stage and back me up.

‘I wonder how you’re feeling
There’s ringing in my ears
And no one to relate to ‘cept the sea

Who can I believe in?
I’m kneeling on the floor
There has to be a force
Who do I phone?

The stars are out and shining
But all I really wanna know

Oh, won’t you show me the way, yeah
I want you to show me the way

Well, I can see no reason
You’re living on your nerves
When someone drops a cup and I submerge

I’m swimming in a circle
I feel I’m going down
There has to be a fool to play this part

Someone thought of healing
And all I really wanna know

Oh, won’t you show me the way, yeah
I want you to show me the way
I want you day after day

Well, I wonder if I’m dreaming
I feel so unashamed
I can’t believe this is happening to me

Oh I watch you when you’re sleeping
And then I want to take your love

Oh, won’t you show me the way, yeah
I want you to show me the way
I want you day after day
I want you day after day’

Songwriters: Frampton Peter (k)

Show Me the Way lyrics © Almo Music Corp., Nuages Artists Music Ltd.

“That’s what it is like at the house now. If that’s punk rock, I’ve been this way for years. We just put all our feelings into songs.” Freddie is a true rock n roller.

Henri breaks in to get the press conference back on track.

“This is Jim Beach, a local attorney. He represents Freddie.”

Having performed, I lose interest in the legalese about firing Jim Reid.

I miss Mike already. I call him at the Castle, telling him all about singing Frampton’s ‘Show Me the Way’ at the press conference. He misses me and all the fun we have.

“Get David to come out and we’ll raise hell. You need your dreads fixed. All the swimming, the dread I broke off and glued back on, and the flaming Crepe Suzette this morning caught them on fire. You need to see Toots for a makeover.”

“You are so much fun,” he starts crying. Fun was not in the Joe Jackson family band management playbook.

“Hell, we only have a few weeks to still be teenagers. We’ll both be twenty soon enough, old and boring.”