Good Friday is a blustery winter day. It’s almost April. Our big stadium concert is next month. All I worry about is confession. It has been years. How do you tell a priest that they’re wrong about sex and drugs and rock n roll? Is Teen Jesus just total heresy? What about sex without love. What about incest or was it really molestation? What about fighting?
We have bagels and lox for breakfast. Jack looks at me, seeing my anxiety climbing.
“What’s up, butt fuck?” he asks. Everyone laughs.
“His panties are in a twist about his Nazi dad coming in this morning and ruining all the fun,” Iggy guesses.
“Naw. Dad’s been cool lately. He just hates it when the Stones pay for everything,” I demur.
“He does? “Jack seems surprised.
“Don’t worry. He’ll figure it out with your dad.”
“Well, what’s wrong?”
“Confession. I like Father Frank. If I tell him everything, will I still be friends with him?”
“Jeez, Tim. You worry too much. He’s the coolest about confession. It’s more like asking him if what you thought was so bad is really a sin.”
“Now’s no time for doubts, man,” Michael pipes up.
After another cup of coffee, I feel better. It’s already nine. The plane gets in at nine-thirty. We plan to meet in midtown at the Waldorf Astoria by ten. Good Friday Mass is at noon. Jack and I plan to grab Father Frank and do our confessions right away. We swear we won’t skip the bad parts, pretending we’ve truly confessed. We go back to the Chelsea for wake and bake. Iggy and Robby are still pretty woozy. They figure that bong hits will perk themselves up. They’re wrong. Iggy goes back to bed. We dress Robby, putting dark glasses on him, so no one can see how out of it he is. We need him tonight to do monkey madness at CBGB’s. I’m over worrying about things I can’t control.
We dress up as best we can, even putting shoes on. The NY subway takes us to Central Park East. We walk in to the Waldorf’s lobby. It’s right out of the Gilded Age with dark wooden paneling and sconces for lights. We park ourselves in the lobby couches and chairs. A desk clerk comes over to find out if we’re just vagabonds looking to stay warm. Jack explains that we’re waiting for the Stone-Antonio party to arrive. He is more gracious and bings over coffee and sweet rolls. We make quick work of the rolls. More appear without our asking. We prefer the Chelsea – no pretensions. We’re lulled into a stupor until, with a burst of activity at the front door, the Jacettes run in. They throw themselves at us, as we stand up. Mary has to stop Robby from falling over from her hug.
“What’s wrong with him?” she quietly asks me.
“Don’t ask. At least he’s somewhat vertical.”
Mary makes an appraising glance at all of us. “You’re all stoned.”
“Shh. Don’t tell,” Michael puts a finger to his lips. His other arm has Jenna in a tight hug.
Grant comes over. We all high five’d him. He laugh at our ratty appearance.
“Least, y’all’s wearin’ shoes,” he notices.
“First time. Just for you.”
“Wait ‘til you see the outfits y’all’s folks brought. Proper little sissy boys, you’ll be.”
The Stones and Antonios both have suites in the Waldorf Tower. The other families have rooms in the hotel. Mike Sr. winks at me, but then revert to parent mode. “You boys look like you’ve been on the road for a month. Go get cleaned up and we’ll meet in the Tower suites to coordinate today’s activities. I understand most of you will be attending church.”
Father Frank, looking quite pleased with himself, surveys the family party.
Jack and I corner him.
“We need you to take our confessions, Father Frank,” Jack announces.
“What have you done that makes it so urgent, adventures on the road?”
I relax. “No, but we can’t go to Mass until we are absolved.”
“True, if you want to share the host. Let’s sit over here. No need for the confessional nowadays.”
I’m so glad we don’t need to kneel. He does us together. Most of Jack’s sins happened since we got together. Father Frank doesn’t ask for the details of our sexual histories. I explain that Jack fell in love with me due to his nocturnal fantasies and the school boy crush he carried the past year in English class. I had found him so endearing, that I ignored my misgivings and had loved him from the first night we were together. It has gotten better since then. We both feel we’re perfect for each other after all our adventures. We bring out the best in each other. We even spoke about the holy (Maundy) Thursday message we spread the previous evening.
“I assure you that the Church is only against unnatural love, meaning forced and deceptive seduction. You boys have been wholly natural in your feelings for each other. There is no sin, except those venal ones, such as doing it excessively. Pray you don’t become blinded in your passions for each other. You are absolved.”
Jack sits back, looking angelic.
“Father it has been three years since my last confession,” I began. “I have sinned and not asked for forgiveness. Bless me father. I have shown disrespect to my parents. I have taken the Lord’s name in vain. I have lied to protect my friends, including hiding people from the authorities. I fought with my friends and enemies. I participated in a pagan Halloween ceremony where I ingested a psychotropic drug. I saw fantasies of the devil and of the spirit world. I tempted these spirits by allowing them to show me visions. When my boyfriend was murdered, these spirits brought his soul back from the dead. He is always with me.”
“Is he the one that’s called Teen Jesus?”
“He is, Father.”
“Is he the one who has awakened Jesus in your heart and allows you to see the good and evil in others?”
“He is, Father.”
“Has he led you back to the Church.”
“Why would you need forgiveness for these things?”
“It is heresy, Father.”
“Perhaps not. The concept of the Sacred Heart may explain how you have found a part of Jesus that you can identify with as a teenager. Jesus forgives our sins and encourages love of others. I can only encourage you to see the good and challenge the evil in your life. You need not repent of doing good.”
Casper comes over and hugs Father Frank. The glow I have been seeing now emanates from the priest.
“Thank you, Father,” we both say.
“Go in peace. You make an old man again feel the hopes and dreams of his youth.”
We hug him. Then we ran off to be with our families before Church. Jack looks angelic. I look relieved. Casper doesn’t know who to follow, so he stays with Father Frank.
Susan hugs me, while Dad looks at me with bemused criticism. I’ve changed into church clothes.
“Well, you survived your first road trip,” he smiles.
“Every day was different. You wouldn’t believe all the things we did.”
“We don’t have to believe you. We have all the police reports that have piled up on Mr. Antonio’s desk.”
“What? We haven’t had to deal with the police, except our friend, Sheriff Tom, in North Carolina.”
“It wasn’t the picnic he reported on, but the show in Mount Holly where you destroyed a place called the Tar River Tavern. They sent a $300 check for your bar take less the damages.”
“Oh, yeah,” I admit.
“And the run-in at the Daytona Beach pier with a prostitution ring, that the police ran out of town. Then you started a daily sock hop at a storefront church. Mike sent the $300 to the Church, as the City had to open youth shelters for runaways.”
“We gave our busking money to them.”
“What about the parking lot riot at the Daytona Bar & Grill?”
“The bouncers rescued us from them and Iggy showed up and made those rednecks our friends.”
“What’s this about a drag show in Savannah?”
“We got invited by the black people there. It was impolite to refuse.”
“That’s why’d you exposed yourself?”
“Not me, Robby and Michael weren’t wearing anything under their dresses when we did the Can Can dance.”
“So, you wear underwear now?”
“Yeah, Jack and I get paid to model and sell it in the Grove.”
“Then on Wednesday, you were in a bordello and an older woman left your room screaming?”
“That’s Bruce Springsteen’s girlfriend. We were trying to explain Teen Jesus to her and she freaked. Bruce didn’t say the hotel was a whore house.”
“And you got your picture in today’s New York Post kissing an old man.”
“He’s Andy Warhol, a famous artist.”
“He may be famous, but you’re now infamous. Why do you look so smug, young man?”
“I just said confession with Father Frank.”
“So, I can’t still complain because you think you’re sin-free.”
“Not, when I took such good care of Max.” I whistle and Max runs into the room and jumps up to put his paws on Dad’s chest. He is furiously licking Dad’s face.
Dad shakes his head, all the while smiling at Max. “Jesus, I get no respect. We better get you to Mass before the absolution wears off.”
“We know you’re a good boy, Tim. Your dad just worries.”
“So do I,” I admit.
We all gather at the Stone suite in the Tower. Most of us are going to St Patrick’s for Good Friday noon mass. Hippie with his two moms and Grant with his mother are going to Abyssinian Baptist in Harlem. Casper signs he wants to go with Hippie. He’ll meet us at St Patrick’s. The limos are waiting. We agree to eat lunch afterwards at the Waldorf. We rush to make the start of services.
It feels weird walking in as a large group. Even though we wear dark attire since it’s Good Friday, we’re a stunning group. People turn to stare as Father Frank leads us down to enough pews for six teenagers and their parents. I keep noticing the extra glow that our group emanates. Even the sun comes out through a stained glass window to spotlight us. After we all receive Communion, the priest mentions in his homily that a group of teenagers has come to sing at Easter Mass, nodding in our direction. Near the end of the service, I notice that Casper has returned and is hovering next to the crucified Christ at the altar. It picks up the glow that I’d been noticing. Walking to the front door after the service, many people smile and nod to us. As we stand outside, with the sun finally out, we’re an extremely attractive group, well tanned, slicked hair, and in tailored suits (with shoes on). After a few brave kids come up to speak with us, all the kids at mass come and surround us. They ask about our band, how old we are, school, and why we came so far. We tell them to come to youth group on Saturday to get to know us. When asked, we promise to play there. We walk back to the Waldorf which is only a few blocks away. A group of the New York kids walk with us. Outside the Waldorf, a boy asked if we’re rich.
“Heck no, we’re staying in Soho at a rundown hotel. The movie company’s paying for the parents and girls to stay here.”
“There’s a movie?”
“Yeah, this is part of the memorial for our guitarist who died at Christmas.”
“How’d he die?”
“Come to youth group tomorrow, but just to let you know, 10,000 people came to his tribute, he was so loved.”
Casper is beaming.
We join the parents at a large table in the Waldorf restaurant. We’re waiting for the Baptist group to return before ordering. I sit with Mike Sr. who notes how good-looking the whole band looked at Church.
“I was worried that you boys looked so ragged when we got in.”
“We clean up pretty well,” I brag.
“I wish you’d kept in better touch during the trip up.”
“I understand the police kept you well-informed.”
“Your dad spoke with you?”
“Yeah, I had to confess more to him than to Father Frank.”
“I saw you taking communion and wondered if the Pope had to be involved.”
“Still sin-free after two hours,” I brag.
“Keep it up.”
“Have you spoken to Martin about the filming? We should at least do a sound check at each Church.”
“He has a whole itinerary for you,” he pulls out an envelope with several sheets inside.
“We played at a club last night. The big gig is tonight in the Bowery.”
“I saw the photos in the Post. How’d you seduce the Pop Artist of the Century?”
“I met him when I was 14. He told me to come back when I was legal and he’d make me a star.”
“I’m not sure 16 is considered legal in New York.”
“We just charmed him. His protégés were more persistent, but we retained our honor. The photos were spontaneous. The music critic Jon Landau has been following us around. They’re doing a story for Interview.”
“You promised to keep me advised, Tim. I can’t help you if you don’t.”
We look at each other. “Look at Michael. You know him best. Can’t you tell how much the band has made him mature? He is so happy. We all are doing great. Everything falls in our laps. People love that we’re kids and that we share our passions in our shows. It’s not scripted. We’re living the rock n roll dream.”
“What’s the story with Mr. Stone-Face over there?” pointing at Robby.
“Yeah. He’s just out of it. New York’s too much for him. We’re just trying to get him ready for tonight’s show. We have a hit song that he sings and really gets out there performing. He’ll snap out of it. He and I aren’t as tight as we used to be. His friend Iggy showed up in Daytona and they’re double trouble.”
“It amazes me how mature you are. Try to tell me when you need help. You guys need professional management, but it would ruin the fun factor. Get Michael to help you with Robby.”
Jon Landau walks in, having tracked us down at the Waldorf. I introduce him to Mike Sr., our manager. Jon gets out his notebook. I leave them to it. I get Michael. We take Robby and Mary into the lobby.
“What is wrong with him?” Mary insists on knowing.
“Bad drugs – heroin,” Michael admits.
“How’d that happen?”
“Iggy showed up in Daytona and has been with us since.”
Robby isn’t saying anything and doesn’t appear to be listening.
“Can you take him upstairs and get him functioning?” I request. “I think he’s bored because after tonight, he’s not involved with the Church stuff.”
“Are you suggesting what I think you are?”
“Yeah. Fuck his brains out,” Michael is more direct.
“Whatever. Watch my folks. If they look like they’re leaving the restaurant, call room 1021 and warn us.”
“Thanks, Mary,” we both say.
Finally, I’m able to sit with Flo and Edi. Jack has been busy telling them about my breakup with Tina. Casper signs that Jack is out of control. Jack looks from Casper to me.
“I guess I was gossiping,” he admits.
“What is this hand signaling you boys do?” Flo demands.
“Jack told you about Tina and Pete?”
“Yeah. Sorry. I know you cared about her a lot,” Flo commiserates.
“It’s not exactly as he said. All four of us agreed to share the love we all feel for each other. Pete was dying, trying not to show his real feelings. He had the whole ‘boy next door’ thing going. My feelings toward her will always be strong, but our time was when I was 14 and 15.”
“So, you moved on?”
“No. At this age we have so much emotion, love, friendship, rivalry, drama. If we don’t share it, we explode. Better to love more than one person. Maybe when I’m old, one person will be enough.”
“Still got some lovin’ for me?” Flo asks with a smile.
We kiss for about twenty seconds, prompting Jack to smooch Edi. Michael takes the hint from us and kisses Jenna. Hippie hugs Max.
“Looks like the boys missed their girlfriends this week,” Father Frank laughs.
Flo and Edi’s parents start to get up, but everyone else says, “No. Ellos son muchachos y muchachas. Tam bien.”
What happens in New York, stays in New York.
Grant and Hippie arrive with their Moms. They’re riding a gospel music high. Arriving at church in a limo with three Southern Baptist friends had been a new high point in Mrs. (as we called her) Grant’s life, only to be exceeded by the Choir’s singing. Hippie’s two moms are equally exhilarated. They had never been fully accepted by their local church. In New York no one even notices. Grant and Hippie have really bonded and are working out how to include background Doo Wop into ‘Amazing Grace.’ Hippie asks if Grant could sing with us at CBGB’s.
“You know we have a song where everybody acts like a monkey?” I tell Grant.
“Well, ya made me a love slave at school. I guess I can be a jungle monkey in New York.”
“We’ll all be doing it, so it won’t be a stereotype.”
“All Black males are stereotypes.”
“You ain’t nothin’, if not original,” I counter. “Here’s a stereotype you’ll like: you’ll be standing with the Jacettes and singing your Doo Wop style.”
“Y’all better watch yer bitches.”
I’m more worried about watching Jack. For the first time, I feel we aren’t on the same page. His gossiping about Tina confuses me. Does he feel he has to remove any competition for all of my heart? Can’t he share me? Is it like Dad has said, the rich treat others like possessions. I sign all these questions to Casper, who wraps himself around me. I feel better. Jack notices something is up, coming over to join Casper.
“What’s wrong?” he asks.
“Let’s go for a walk,” I suggest. The three of us walk up to Central Park and sit by a fountain. The noise and bustle of the City drops away. I take out the itinerary from Scorsese and read it to Jack, The first event is a sound check at CBGB’s at 8 pm. After that, we’ll be busy with no break until Saturday night.
“What’s wrong,” Jack asks again.
I look at him. His concern is real.
“I guess I’m mad at you,” I admit and look down.
He grabs my hand, with confusion in his eyes.
“You told the girls that Tina and I broke up. I don’t think you understand. I still love her.”
“But you told her to be with Pete.”
“Because I want her to be happy. My feelings haven’t changed. I love her for what we had. My feelings were keeping Pete from showing his feelings.”
“I’m not enough for you?” he looks so sad.
“Can’t we share our love with Tina and Pete?”
“You have all my love.”
I tear up but keep from crying. “I can’t stop loving other people. Casper is trapped in this world because I can’t lose him. You and I both love Casper now. His heart is so big, he has room for both of us and the many others who now love him.” I try to show Jack that love is not a zero sum game. “Are you jealous that I love others?”
“I want you to love me as much as you can,” he admits. “Since that first night, we’ve never been apart. I’d die if you didn’t want to be with me for one second.”
I think about how Scott had felt the same way and why that ultimately was impossible. Jack reaches out. I hold him as he cries in my arms. My tears are gone, replaced by fears and doubts about our future. Casper signs that Jack is still as strong as ever in his heart, even when he only wants to love me. He also signs that he will never leave me but we’re learning that we can be apart because we trust nothing can ever keep us apart. Jack watches our signing and stops crying.
“I wanted you all to myself. That’s why you’re mad. I could never stop you from loving Casper. I love him, too. It makes me love you even more.”
“I thought you’d feel the same way about Tina and Pete. Our reason for coming to New York is to share the love, for your heart to open to them and create a lifelong bond.”
“God, Tim. Two months ago I was a scrawny nerd who thought no one would ever love me. Now everyone we meet and bond with loves me. All because of you.”
“No, Jack. Because you broke through your fears that kept your huge heart from being open to everyone. Think of all the crazy things we do. We never doubted each other before. I thought you closed your heart to Tina, that she threatened your place in my heart.”
“How do I stop wanting you all to myself?”
“Know I never want us to be apart. You amaze me every day. I get jealous, too. When you were flirting with Robert yesterday, I started to act crazy. I had Casper spill his drink all over him to stop you.”
He smiles, at last. “I loved that.”
We laugh together. Casper looks all proud of himself.
“Never apart?” Jack asks.
“Never to be parted,” I respond.
Casper signs, “Lets go fuck in the Rambles.”
“Ew,” we both decline. “No quickies, please.”
By the time we get back, everyone is finishing dessert. The Stones have us sit with them, as we order burgers and fries, our road staples. To be honest, they taste better at the greasy spoons we frequent.
“Trouble in paradise,” Mummy knows something transpired.
“We had our first fight,” Jack happily announces.
“It wasn’t a fight,” I correct him. “I didn’t understand what he felt about meeting my girlfriend yesterday.”
“Do tell,” the Uncles prompt us.
“All that’s left is for us to kiss and make up,” Jack smiles, jumping into my arms. What the hell, making out for the parents is just another new experience.
“You’re shameless,” I whisper in his ear, as we frenched each other.
“Let’s make up at the Chelsea.” Casper is in full agreement.
We finish lunch. The Stones have all the guys and girls come up to their suite for a group photo, taken before we change back to our ragged road clothes. The girls want to go shopping. We need to get back to the Chelsea to check on Iggy and walk Max. We all agreed to meet at Max’s Kansas City in Union Square for dinner at 6:30 before going to CBGB’s for the 8 pm sound check. Mary is keeping Robby vertical. I worry he wouldn’t be able to do the show and start thinking how we can pull off the monkey song without him. Asking Grant to swing from the rafters is too racist. Maybe all the guys can do it and leave the singing to the Jacettes. I barely remember what the inside of the bar looks like, let alone if there are pipes or other fixtures from which to swing. We would literally have to wing it.
I check in with my folks who have dinner and theater plans with the Stones for the evening. Susan insists I pose for another photo before changing. They seem proud and happy that we got this far without a major screw-up. Susan asks if I want to talk about my break-up with Tina. I start to brush it off. Then I realize she really wants to know. The new caring me sits down and tells them how the four of us worked it all out.
“So you just handed-off your girlfriend to your friend?” Dad interjects.
“They’ve been best friends for years. He watches out for her. Because he’s my friend he never showed his real feelings for her. She and I are better as friends, since I hardly see her. I knew we were not growing closer lately. Now that Pete and Tina are going together, they’ll grow together in every way. Her father is determined to keep her from dating. Now Pete can be romantic without anything really happening. They understand how I feel about Jack, so it’s like two old couples when we’re together. Does that make sense?”
“In no way does any of that make sense,” Dad complains.
“Well, Jack was gossiping about it with the girls before lunch. I got mad that he is glad Tina and I broke up. It’s like he was gloating. In reality, our feelings haven’t changed. We’re just not exclusive.”
“It sounds very mature to me,” Susan states.
Dad goes back to scratching Max behind the ears.
Susan takes out my Easter Sunday suit. I had feared that it would be some Mariachi outfit but it was pure white and conservatively tailored. No wide lapels or bell bottoms. I actually like it.
“It’s not too much like a Tastee Freeze uniform?” she asks.
“It’s nothing like a uniform. It will be perfect for our performance.”
“You want to wear it tonight?”
“No, Mom. Jeans and tees are better for the Bowery. This is Sunday best.”
Jack comes in, as I’m taking longer than the others to get changed.
“Wow. I have my own personal angel,” he jokes.
“You better sing like an angel, then. You don’t want your guitarist showing you up.” I brag.
Susan has us both pose for another photo. He changed, so it was like a before and after setup, angels with dirty faces.
When we finally get back to the Chelsea, Jon Landau is waiting for us. Max goes over, sniffs his pockets, and barks.
“That means you’re holding,” Michael announces.
“Well, let’s check out your rooms.”
He gets us baked in no time. New York weed was a gas gas gas. Robby promptly passes out on the bed with Iggy.
Landau takes note, but doesn’t say anything. He obviously knows what happens at the Chelsea.
“Looks like you’re smart to have two drummers,” he remarks.
“Yeah, but we need Robby for our pop monkey song. I’m not sure if I can do it myself.”
“Is that what you’re worried about?” Jack asks. “I can do the monkey shines.”
“What about the flying about? Robby is the real master of that.”
“Grant can throw me around, so he won’t have to look like a jungle bunny. You’ll have to do the singing, with the girls on backups.”
“I wanna fly around, too.” I complain.
“It’s all just chaos. No need to choreograph that.”
Everyone else sits around telling stories to Landau. Jack and I escape to the other room. His pot-fueled sex drive is raging. Little does he know that I still plan to take out my revenge on his body for his jealousy bout. He expects me to play my recent bottom role, but I turn the tables on him. I throw him on the bed and rip his clothes off. Flipping him over, I grab his hair to yank his head back and get his butt sticking up. My tongue lavishes a thorough rim job that has him moaning and arching for more. His butt pushes against my tongue. I start teasing him with the tip of my dick around the pucker of his ass. My pre-cum adds to the wetness of his hole. I reach around and grab his straining hose of a dick. I jerk it hard.
“No. No. Stop. Stop. I’m too close,” he moans.
I’m relentless and keep him at the edge just before he has to cum. I jerk him even harder. He screams as his ass tightens and the first blast of jism erupts. I penetrate him all the way to my balls as the first spurt finishes and his ass relaxes. He cums again and again as I use short thrusts to match his ejaculations. He cums about seven times and starts to collapse on his face. I jerk his hair back again as I continue to fuck him. He shakes like a rag doll as I rocked him back and forth. “Take that. And that and that,” I yelled at him over and over. He was whimpering from the abuse. His dick remains as hard as a rock. I cup it lightly as I rock him back and forth. It is so sensitive, he shudders from my touch. Finally he stops gasping and moves with me, moaning and loving it. I bring myself to climax rutting into him, with his face buried in the pillow. After finishing I pull out, flip him over and sit on his hard dick. My ass is soaked from sweat. I scoop my own jism as it leaks out of his ass to lubricate his cock. Holding on to his shoulders, I go up and down on his dick. Again he loses control before he wants to cum. I sit down as far as I can and do short bounces on his dick. He is thrusting in rhythm with me. As he throws his head back to cum, I fall backwards, pulling him on top of me. His dick exits my ass just as he explodes. Cum goes all over my stomach, chest and face. He kisses me as he continues to spurt. Sliding my dick on our slime, I hurry myself to reach a quick climax. He sits up on my thighs and holds onto my dick as it cums for the second time in five minutes.
In my sexual fury, I turn around and see Casper casually beating off at the head of the bed. I lunge at him and swallowed his dick to the pubes. I massage the shaft with my tongue and swallow the head like I’m vacuuming his cock. He’s already close and soon is spurting down my gullet. I turn him over and start fucking him with my quickly reviving cock. Jack leans against the foot board of the bed. I drag him by his feet, lifting his hips to engulf his dick with my mouth. I’m fucking and sucking the two of them. Jack revives and holds my head while he fucks my sucking mouth. Casper is sneering at me, confident he can make me go at his ass with my dick forever. I begin twisting his hard titties to make him squirm. He soon thrashes and cums, shooting over his head onto my sucking face. The sight has Jack laughing, then suddenly cumming. I finish myself off in Casper’s ass. We collapse into a pile on the bed.
“Are you still mad at me,” Jack tentatively asks.
“How can I be?” and I squeeze him with a bear hug.
“Whew. That was incredibly hot,” he admits. “I’ll have to gossip more often if it ends up in mad fucking.”
Hippie wakes us up. We head for CBGB’s. The limo is parked by the side door, with the four girls waiting inside.
“We don’t dare get out in this neighborhood,” Mary admits.
“Very wise,” Michael agrees.
The De Soto is behind the limo. We move all our equipment inside. The stage is so small, there’s no room for two drum sets. Robby continues to be mostly incoherent. I tell him he’ll regret not playing here. He doesn’t care. He progresses to the vomiting stage of his recovery. Mary makes him drink water, which doesn’t help his stomach but he needs it to stay alive. I go over to Grant to set up plan B on the monkey song.
“I can get used to traveling by limo with my ladies,” he brags.
“You mean, Clyde?”
“Oh. No, Missy Tim. He’s your lady in waiting.”
“Don’t encourage him too much.”
“Robby’s useless tonight. He’s usually our grand finale where he swings from the pipes and rafters while we make monkey noises.”
“You ain’t askin’ me to play a fool monkey, fool!”
“No. We need you to keep us flying around, by hoisting Jack and me up to the ceiling and staying underneath in case we fall, like a spotter.”
“I can strut around and show off my physique. You had me worried, brother.”
“Some jobs just call for a black boy.”
“The girls and I rehearsed the backup vocals. They liked my Doo Wop repeats and nonsense words that I can throw in.”
“It’s good you came.”
“My mama’s in Harlem heaven. How much we get paid for tonight?”
“Let me talk with Martin about that.”
Scorsese was setting up the recording system with live and still cameras. I wait by his table for him to be free.
“Hey, Tim. Do you understand the itinerary I sent you?”
“Yeah. We’re yours for the next few days.”
“How come there’s only one drum set. You fired that druggie?”
“Naw. He’s just sick,” I laugh.
“New York does that.”
“We can’t really fire anyone. We’re all friends.”
“Wouldn’t life be nice if that’s all that counts.”
“We’re still 16. This road trip made me feel like 30.”
“You want to be in charge. So, how’s this show gonna go?”
“We’re only doing our own songs. Who knows what the audience will think. We have one song that is a sure hit, which Robby usually sings and performs. Jack and I will do it tonight. It requires we swing around the room from the sprinkler pipes and act like monkeys. Other than that, we sing about Miami and our lives, sex and drugs, y’know.”
“Jesus, kid. How am I gonna film that? I gotta get more lighting. Can’t ya just stay on stage like a good rock band?”
“We’re not trying to be good. We like crazy.”
He takes off to find a phone.
I see Tina and Pete walk in. Before I can greet them, Jack runs over and gave them a big, gay welcome. Pete is getting used to it. I walk over.
“Hey, you came. Come out the side door and see our dressing room,” I tell them.
The girls and Grant are already in the limo. The four of us pile in. It’s classic.
“Flo, Edi, Mary, Grant, these are my best friends from the Bronx, Tina and Pete,” I introduce them.
The girls instantly start speaking Spanish and the ‘chisme’ is flowing. They need to quiz Tina. I tell Tina that Flo was also ‘mi novia.’ The girls dissect my craziness and charisma. Jack is discussed but dismissed as a newcomer and way too slutty. Grant has no idea what is being said. I try to explain.
“So, yer boyfriend and two girlfriends are all here now?” he laughs.
“Yeah. They’re really laying into me.”
“Wanna step outside while they decide who gets to cut off yer balls?” he shows me a Miami spliff. The three guys immediately exit. Michael and Jenna are about to get in the limo.
“You might wanna wait until it cools off in there,” I warn them. We all jump into the De Soto with Uncle Tam, who smokes with us for the first time. Jenna abstains. She’s the only one who wants to know why I put all three lovers in the same car together.
“Guys are gross,” she concludes and leaves to catch the dirt in the limo.
“Everyone breaks up after she shut the door.
“Don’t be giving Jenna any idea that I want your arrangement,” Michael warns me.
So, we proceed to dissect Michael’s steadfast loyalty to monogamous abstinence. Grant’s ganja gets us super high. Jack is about to cum all over me, so we venture back to the limo.
“There he is, the player,” Mary announces. The girls break up.
Jack sits between Tina and Edi and begins making out first with Tina and then with Edi, Pete pulls Tina away from him. Michael had Jenna on his lap. I start making out with Flo. Grant puts his arm around Mary, who cuddles with him, Robby be damned. The limo’s air conditioning comes on.
Martin sticks his head inside the limo, “Time for sound check, lovers.”
We all pile out. There isn’t enough room on stage for everyone. A third mic is set up on the opposite sides of the stage, with Grant, Mary and Jenna at the left and Flo and Edi on the right. Jack, Michael and I were on the stage, which is about 6 inches above the bar floor. Hippie is nowhere to be seen. We page him with the mic. He comes running out of the lady’s room, trailed by two skanky looking groupies. We mix the vocals. Grant does a Doo Wop ditty to keep everyone amused. Michael is done setting the drum mics in 15 seconds with no Robby to duel over levels. I turn my amp down and set the guitar level for the PA, giving me room to amp it up. Hippie follows my instructions to do likewise. We run through ‘Sneakin’ Around” to give Jack a chance to set the monitors so he can hear himself. The sound man says everything looks good. I tell him, “Now we need you to make us sound good.”
Jack, Grant and I walk around the room to set a route for our monkey shines. It looks very doable except the place is such a wreck. We need Grant in case a pipe broke.
Martin is talking to Bill Page, CBGB’s Manager. I go over to see what is up. We had plan to be the opener, so we can relax afterward and enjoy the rest of the show. Bill is telling Martin that since we have been getting press, notably in the New York Post, that since Interview has photographers there, and that since Martin wis filming, they’ve had a lot of calls about when we are going on. He wants to bump us up to headliner. Bill is mostly interested in the bar receipts. We argue to go on first, claiming we are not a headline act, just kids from Miami.
“Well, how old are you?” he asks.
“We’re all 18,” I lie.
“Okay, you wanna go on first. That’s fine. But if I get complaints, ya gotta play a second set.”
I whispered to Martin, “How much do we get paid?”
“Hell, I’m paying him, so I can film it.”
I look Bill Page in the eye. “We’ll play when and as long as you want, but we get 25% of the bar for the night.”
“No way, kid. 15%.”
“Then 20%. Remember, we keep track.”
He agrees and we walk away. Martin grabs his cameraman. “Did you get that.”
“Kid, I may have to say you’re actually eighteen in the movie if we use that. How’d you know how much he’d pay.”
“Hell, these clubs never expect the crowd to get all hot and sweaty, so the bar’s negligible. We’re making a thousand a night in the Southern road houses. Half the beer bought gets thrown at us for calling them out for their racism. Hell, at five bucks a beer here in the City, we’ll double that.”
Martin just shakes his head, turning around to make sure the camera is still rolling.
I get everyone to pile back into the limo to discuss the show.
“Okay. We’re going on first and maybe last, if we do good. I got our usual bar percentage for the night, so we gotta rile the crowd up. Patti tells me it’s okay to do a couple of covers, but the policy is no cover bands here. So we live or die on our own songs. We’ll reverse the Skynyrd and Neil Young songs, but only play ‘em as tune ups before we do our own. I’ll play the ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ intro and Jack will do the ‘Neil Young will remember’ line. We’ll stop once the crowd realizes we’re mocking them. Then we’ll do “Sneakin’ Around.’ Jack you have to taunt the crowd about being poseurs and burnt out hippies. Hippie you do your lame defense of your tribe. Grant, you start complaining that we never do any soul music. I’ll do the intro to the Silhouettes’ ‘Get a Job.’
Once you do the first verse, we’ll stop and complain that we’re sick of rock n roll being taken over by Motown. You okay with that?”
“No. But we’re going for outrage, so don’t complain when you get it, from me.”
We all laugh. Jon Landau sticks his head in the limo.
“Pile in, man. Where ya been?”
“You goin’ on soon? The crowd’s waitin’ for ya.”
“You’re right. This is the Good Friday show. We wait much longer, they’ll wanna to call it another Saturday morning show.”
We all get out and go back into the club. It’s 11:35pm. Time to open the show.
There is a good-sized crowd, standing around and self-absorbed. The smoke is thick and the air is buzzing from a hundred different conversations. Martin turns the movie lights on and the cameras are rolling. We walk across the stage. Jack grabs the stage mic, leans forward and stares at the crowd.
“Where ya been?” someone yells out.
“Down South, deep in the heart of Dixie,” He answers.
I played a couple of the opening riffs from ‘Sweet Home Alabama.’
“Y’all ready for a country good time?” I riff again.
“Fuck you,” the same guy yells back. “Get some shoes, hayseed.”
“I had my shoes but gave ’em to some bum sitting outside the bar. Then he spit on me for asking for a thank you.”
“Grow up kid.”
“Well, I am growing up. In my hometown. Miami. Ever hear of it. This is our Bad Friday show. We’re False Gods. Here to make you fall to your knees. First song is ‘Deep South.’”
I switch from Southern Blues to thrash metal chords, with hippie coming in with heavy bass riffs.
“Go deep to the South
When you can go no more
Find our city to try to score
Come to our cool house
Life too rough?
Take the time
Follow our sign
Girls are free
Jack your shit
Get into it.
We bewilder with our drug
Whether it be love
Or just need of a hug
We’re free to meet the need
Life too rough?
Take the time
Follow our sign
Girls are free
Jack your shit
Get into it.
Miami’s here to serve
Keeps you safe and sound
Southern man beats you down
That’s what you deserve
Life too rough?
Take the time
Follow our sign
Girls are free
Jack your shit
Get into it.
The verses are stretched out and we do the choruses up tempo. I finish with a screaming metal riff, turning my amp up several notches.
“Take that, fuckers,” I yell into Jack’s mic. The Jacettes follow Grant’s lead and are doing the ‘Walk on the Wild Side’ doo wop to fill in before the next song.
“Yeah,” someone yells.
They like the familiar New York sound.
I go back again to ‘Sweet Home Alabama.’
Jack eggs them on. “You ain’t nothin’ but a bunch dumb rednecks dressed in black.”
I start playing the Trashmen’s “The Bird,’ cutting it short after the first verse.
Jack gives the crowd his middle finger. He walks over to Flo and Edi. They go over to Martin’s table and get Tina and Pete to join them at the mic.
“What the fuck do you guys want?” Jack yell.
Hippie and I start ‘Oy Como Va”
and the Jacettes plus Tina and Pete on the left do the Spanish vocals while Grant’s crew does a ‘bob shu bob’ on the right.’
“Too shy to speak up?”
“Suck my cock.” someone yells.
“I only suck his,” Jack points at me.
“I started ‘Sex 1,’
“ He’s the boy who breaks all the rules.
He takes his time until you’re primed,
then gets it done 60 seconds flat.
Out the door always wanting more.
Don’t tell him you’ll do it later when you know
he’s gonna do you now.
“Fuck yah,” three girls yell.
“Fags,” the same guy yells back.
The three girls confront the yeller. “You want some of me?”
He disappears toward the bar. Ka-ching, 20%.
“You wanna us to kiss?” Jack cajoles, as he walks over behind me. I start playing the Doors’ ‘Love Her Madly.’ Hippie is strutting his bass leads. Jack starts licking my ear.
The Jacettes are chanting the ‘what you say,’ chorus. Grant sings the line ‘gonna be your Daddy.’ Jack is kissing me on the neck until I stop playing and turn to French him over my left shoulder.
Hippie turns toward Michael and yells, “’Sneakin’ Around,’ one two three four.”
Jack jumps away, winking at a leather guy in the front. He comes in perfectly,
Never been caught
All over town
Better than not.
Thrill’s in the chase
No time to waste
Folks on my case
All is in haste.
Waiting’s the worst
You were my first
I need you now
We’re on the prowl.
Back of an alley
Sprawled in the dirt
No time to dally
Who will cum first.
shaka shaka love?
‘shaka shaka love shaka shaka
Shaka shaka love shaka shaka.”
The Jacettes on the left come dancing out front and shake their boobies to the chorus, pushing the crowd back. Finally two guys watusi up to them and start dancing back. A dozen girls run up, joining the Jacettes shaka line. We keep on playing the song over and over. More guys jump up and we have a whole disco scene going on. Grant comes in with a low and deep ‘love’ in the middle of each chorus line. Jack raises his arms. Grant’s Jacettes righteously stop.
“Do we havta show you what you want? Speak up. mo’fo’s”
“More thrash metal,” from Iggy in the Back. I start ‘Paranoid.’
I stop and step up to the mic, “Our second drummer caught some disease in Washington Square, so I’ll sing our band anthem in his place. He did belladonna and his vision told him to start the band and send out his message, ‘Get on your knees you pitiful fleas.’”
“We are ‘False Gods,’
“Where others feared to tread,
they gave us up for dead,
memories linger on eternally,
as Lucifer’s proud plea,
a world of our own,
on high a black throne,
we sing to make them see,
to be happy for eternity
…we are False Gods, we are False Gods…
a world meek and blind,
laugh at all of mankind,
we’re of 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 useless guns,
sacrifice hallowed sheep,
shun cold, dark streets,
you’re just nasty fleas,
Set your minds to be
…False Gods, False Gods…
we live eternally,
hear painful screams,
Just wait 20 years or so
You will know just what we mean
….We are False Gods, False Gods..
… False Gods”
It confuses everyone to go from disco to metal. The dancers stay up front, while the metal heads are pushing their way forward from the back of the crowd. A couple of fights break out when the disco dollies get pushed aside. Their boyfriends push back. The bouncers jump in and start whaling on the disco people.
Jack uses my line from the frat party, “Hey, Leave those kids alone. They’re our friends.”
Max comes bounding out on to the tiny stage.
Somehow he had fans in New York, as several people call out his name, “Max.”
He barks until the bouncers stop.
“Chill out, people. Who’s got a joint. Gimme a joint,” I yell into the mic.
No one volunteers.
“Max, weed,” I tell him. He bounds into the crowd, and stops before a girl in fish nets and a cocktail waitress dress. He sits and barked. We know what that means.
“You got a joint?” I ask her.
She pulls one out of her purse.
“Spark it up and pass it around. Kiss Max with a shot gun hit.”
She does as I ask. Max barks and goes to the next weed holder, sits down and barks.
“Spark it up.”
We soon have four or five joints going around. Casper is sitting next to him taking the second-hand hits, as well.
“Take it down a notch,” Jack tells everyone. “We got a silly love song fer ya.”
“I never feel this way.
Just happy full of play.”
“I wake up every day,
You’re by my side,
You reach and touch,
I say goodbye.
There’s no future,
But we have now.
“We’re perfect for each other,
I never think of another.”
Can’t be love, but who can say
I know you’re here to stay?”
There’s no future,
But we have now.
‘We can’t live by ourselves.
We need people that we love
We hate those who hate themselves
We know what they’re made of.
Love, love, love
I need your love
I need your love
I need your love
I need you…”
Jack is on his knees in front of me, singing the ending chorus to only me. I start fucking my SG guitar, thrusting it toward him. Naturally I start getting hard. I am going commando tonight, so it is swelling and riding up my left thigh.
“Faggots,” the tormentor yells.
I throw down the SG, readjust my dick, and yell at him, “You want some of this. Come and get it. My jeans top button pops open and the head looks out at the crowd. The girls scream. The tormentor is only stunned for a second. He charges me right through the crowd. I’m not watching but trying to button up as he is about to punch me. Hippie clocks him with his P bass. Down he goes. More screams.
“You asked for it now,” Jack screams, “’Barefoot in the Park.’” Hippie and Michael stay on stage playing, while Grant, Jack and I chase the guy to the back of the bar. His friends are there, ready for us. Jack and I leap up on the tables and then into the rafters, catching the sprinkler pipes, and swinging away from the haters. Grant holds his ground, stopping the five assholes in their tracks. He turns and runs under us as we swing hand to hand around the club. More people are pushed out of the way. The Jacettes come in with the monkey cries. We echo them from the various corners of the bar. Grant gets into it and was doing his own Cheetah dance and singing,
“Ha ha ha
He he he
Haw haw haw
Chee chee chee”
Five girls surround him and are doing the Watusi dance for him as he bounces up and down. We run out the door and escape into the limo. Grant stays to meet his new ladies. Jack runs back in the stage door, screaming the monkey chants, before running right back out again.
We all collapsed in a pile, giggling and clutching one another. Martin is at the limo with his cameraman wanting in.
As he sits opposite us, he says, “They’re screaming for you to go back on stage.”
“Yeah, they want to lynch us,” I laugh. “Tell ‘em we’re doing a second set, after the other bands.”
“They’ll find out. What the hell happened out there?”
“We’re 16. We like to piss adults off.”
“We asked them what they wanted. When we could, we did it,” Jack asserts.
“The dog? Getting everybody high?”
“Max is like a police dog, sniffing out weed. He’s Spot from Our Gang.”
“Thanks, Hippie, for clocking that guy. I was so concerned about my dick, I didn’t see him coming.”
Martin need to confirm, “Your dick actually popped out?”
“The jeans buttons popped and it wanted to be part of the show.”
“I’m gonna havta edit that. Exposing yourself is a crime.”
“Just doing what Morrison did.”
“Do I need to call Mike for legal aid?”
“The only ones who saw it were right up front. The redneck that Hippie clocked was totally insane that he saw my dick. Don’t bother Mike. We’re underage, so the worst they can do is put us in foster care.”
“You are one cocky son of a bitch.”
“Don’t be talkin’ about my mama. I got seven of ‘em.”
“Yeah. There’s hippie’s two moms, Jace’s Mom, Stu’s Mom, Jack’s Mummy, my dad’s fiancée Susan, and the mama that deserted me. I never tried foster care. I’ll bet I could pick up three or four more.”
Everyone is cracking up. We decide it was so good in the limo we won’t leave. Landau squeezes in. “The next band can’t go on until the bar clears the line of refills,” he reports. “All the guys are waiting for you to come back so they can beat your asses. And all the girls just wanna kiss ‘em. What turns girls on from watching guys fag out?”
“That’s a band secret. You should see the 10 to 12-year-old girls. They buy briefs just like we wear and make their little boyfriends wear them. We even autograph ‘em.”
“We sing ‘Amazing Grace’ to them but change it to Amazing Jane or Amazing Claire,” Jack crows, pulling his briefs up above his waistband.
Edi grabbed the back of the waistband and snaps his ass. He started getting a bulge for everyone to see. Flo tries me, forgetting I’m going commando. Her hand slips down my butt crack. I squirm and the top button pops open again. Grant had been handing out drinks and beer from the limo mini bar, but we were dry now. Martin gives the driver a hundred bucks. We drive to a Bowery liquor store. No one wants to get out as the driver goes in to restock.
I say, ‘Fuck it,” and everyone piles out.
We must’ve looked scarier than the bums, because all the guys hanging out in front retreat to the corner. Finally the youngest Black kid comes up and asks, “What’s a bunch of no shoe hillbillies doin’ in the City.”
We tell him we are a band playing around the corner. He wants to get into the limo with us, but his older brothers c0me over. We share beers with them and hang out for about an hour. They are a trip. We tell them we’re a boy band from Orlando.
“Like the Jackson 5?”
They mock Grant for hanging out with honkies. He tells them we all goto school together, which blows their minds. They start getting insistent about meeting the girls inside the limo.
“You put on some moves, they might just come out here to meet ya,” Grant tells them.
They whisper and someone brings out a harmonica. They do an a Capella version of ‘On Broadway.”
Grant is in his element and has us doing his Doo Wop act for them. Martin gets great shots and footage. The girls finally come out. It is much more relaxed, except everyone is trying too hard to be cool. The kids on the block jump into the limo and it gets real crowded. Everyone exits when we get back to CBGB’s. We sneak the boys inside through the side door. The other bands are done. When people see us, a shout goes up that we are back.
Jack grabs a mic. “I can’t believe you really want us to play again.”
The girls were all yelling, “Please, please.”
“What about the fag haters?” Jack asks.
“They’re gone. They were shamed by a bunch of gay boys.”
‘We didn’t plan a second show. So, tell us what you wanna hear,”
“That we made up so we could escape. How about something by our favorite New York Band, Lou Reed?” – Wild Side
“The crowd starts clapping. Grant starts the girls doing the “Doo do doo, do doo, do doo,do do do doo.”
We do the whole song without a complaint from the booker. I get to do the ‘little Joe never once gave it away,’ in honor of Joey.
People are clapping and yelling, “Yeah.” We were back in favor. We did all of ‘Paranoid,
even sneak our ‘Look Before You Leap’ in, before doing ‘Radar Love.’
It is all fun. Max goes around and outs the potheads. The vibe stays mellow. Iggy was shouting for American metal. We have him come up and do ‘Search and Destroy.’
Max was standing next to him and barks until we start ‘I Wanna Be your Dog.’
We finish with ‘False Gods,’ but the crowd won’t let us leave. Hippie and Michael stay on stage to play ‘Barefoot,’ while everyone else goes into the crowd to sing, chant and get everyone dancing. The street corner gang is shocked that we want them to act like monkeys. When they see Grant jumping around, they laugh and point at him. In a minute or so, they are right in there with everyone making fools of themselves, after seeing Grant surrounded by the ladies. Jack and I swing around the ceiling and exit to the limo. The rest of the crew piles in. Martin tells his assistant to break down all the equipment and load it in the De Soto. Uncle Tam says he calculates the bar took in over $4000. I talk to Bill. He tried to tell me that cover bands aren’t allowed.
“I guess that means we’re fired. Pay up.”
He low balls the take at $3300, thinking I’ll be stunned.
I told him we had kept track. “It was $4000.”
He wants to haggle, but I stayed firm. He gives me $800.
“And here’s a tip,” he says, “Grow up.”
When I get back to the limo I pay each of us $50. including the Jacettes and Grant. The remaining $200 goes into the petty cash fund.
Martin reminds me to be at Abyssinian Baptist in Harlem at noon for their youth group. He says he got great shots but was confused that our attitude had been so aggressive.
“Apathy, man,” I tell him. “We had to wake ‘em up.”
“Well, make sure you wake up on time this morning.” It is 4 am already.
Tina and Pete realize they are well past their curfews. We have the limo drive them to the Bronx after he first drops off the Jacettes and Grant at the Waldorf in Midtown. The five of us and Max walk to the Chelsea.
We go to Michael’s room and find Robby finally awake. He apologizes for being a flake. No one says anything. We aren’t going to play parent to him. He wants to smoke us out, but Hippie, Jack and I are done for the night. Before leaving I thank Michael for being so great at the show. He kept it all together.
“Did you think it went well?” he asks.
“Not so great. It’d be nice to play to people who didn’t need to be aggravated to get into it.”
“Would be nice. Maybe we need to go back to Shakespeare.”
Hippie asked if we need ‘time’ before he goes to bed. I realize he couldn’t tell when we are horny or not.
“No, man. You can sleep with Max,” who trots along behind us.
Whatever floats your boat.
“You’re coming with us to Abyssinian Baptist, right?”