Good Friday was a blustery, winter day. It was now April. Our big stadium concert was this month. All I could worry about was confession. It had been years. How do you tell a priest that they’re wrong about sex and drugs and rock n roll? Was Teen Jesus just total heresy? What about sex without love. What about incest or was it really molestation? What about fighting?
We were having bagels and lox for breakfast. Jack looked at me and saw my anxiety climbing.
“What’s up, butt fuck?” he asked. Everyone laughed.
“His panties are in a twist about his Nazi dad coming in this morning and ruining all the fun,” Iggy guessed.
“Naw. Dad’s been cool lately. He just hates it when the Stones pay for everything,” I demurred.
“He does? “Jack seemed 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, can 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.”
“No time for doubts now, man,” Michael piped up.
After another cup of coffee, I felt better. It was already nine. The plane got in at nine-thirty. We planned to meet in midtown at the Waldorf Astoria by ten. Good Friday Mass was at noon. Jack and I planned to grab Father Frank and do our confessions right away. We swore we wouldn’t skip the hard part and pretend we’d confessed. We had time to go back to the Chelsea for wake and bake. Iggy and Robby were still pretty woozy. They figured that bong hits would perk themselves up. They were wrong. Iggy went back to bed. We dressed Robby and put dark glasses on him, so no one would see how out of it he was. We needed him that night to do monkey madness at CBGB’s. I was over worrying about things I couldn’t control.
We dressed up as best we could, even putting shoes on. The NY subway took us to Central Park East and we walked into the Waldorf’s lobby. It was right out of the Gilded Age with dark wooden paneling and sconces for lights. We parked ourselves in the lobby couches and chairs. A desk clerk came over to find out if we were just vagabonds looking to stay warm. Jack explained that we were waiting for the Stone-Antonio party to arrive. He was more gracious and brought over coffee and sweet rolls. We made quick work of the rolls and more appeared without our asking. We preferred the Chelsea – no pretensions. We were lulled into a stupor until, with a burst of activity at the front door, the Jacettes ran in. They threw themselves at us, as we stood up. Mary had to catch Robby from falling over from her hug.
“What’s wrong with him?” she quietly asked me.
“Don’t ask. At least he’s somewhat vertical.”
Mary made an appraising glance at all of us. “You’re all stoned.”
“Shh. Don’t tell,” Michael put a finger to his lips. His other arm had Jenna in a tight hug.
Grant came over and we all high five’d him. He laughed at our ratty appearances.
“Least, y’all’s wearin’ shoes,” he noticed.
“First time. Just for you.”
“Wait ‘til you see the outfits y’all’s folks have brought. Proper little sissy boys, you’ll be.”
The Stones and Antonios both had suites in the Waldorf Tower. The other families had rooms in the hotel. Mike Sr. winked at me, but then reverted to dad 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, surveyed the family party.
Jack and I cornered him.
“We need you to take our confessions, Father Frank,” Jack announced.
“What have you done that makes it so urgent, adventures on the road?”
I relaxed. “No, 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 was so glad we didn’t need to kneel. He did us together. Most of Jack’s sins had happened since we got together. Father Frank didn’t ask for the details of our sexual histories. I explained that Jack had fallen 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 had together. It had just gotten better since then. We both felt we were perfect for each other after all our adventures and that we brought out the best in each other. We even spoke about the holy (Maundy) Thursday message we had 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 sat 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.”
“He is 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 went over and hugged Father Frank. The glow I had been seeing now emanated from the priest.
“Thank you, Father,” we both said.
“Go in peace. You make an old man again feel the hopes and dreams of his youth.”
We hugged him. Then we ran off to be with our families before Church. Jack was angelic. I looked relieved. Casper didn’t know who to follow, so he stayed with Father Frank.
Susan hugged me, while my dad looked at me with bemused criticism. I had changed into church clothes.
“Well, you survived your first road trip,” he smiled.
“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 admitted.
“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 had given 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 would be 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.”
“That’s Andy Warhol. He’s 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 whistled and Max ran into the room and jumped up to put his paws on Dad’s chest. He was licking my Dad’s face furiously.
Dad shook 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 admitted.
We all gathered at the Stone suite in the Tower. Most of us were going to St Patrick’s for Good Friday noon mass. Hippie with his two moms and Grant with his mother were going to Abyssinian Baptist in Harlem. Casper signed he wanted to go with Hippie. He would meet us at St Patrick’s. The limos were waiting. It was agreed to eat lunch afterward at the Waldorf. We rushed to make the start of services.
It felt weird walking in as a large group. Even though we wore dark attire as it was Good Friday, we were a stunning group. People turned to stare as Father Frank led us down to enough pews for six teenagers and their parents. I kept noticing the extra glow that our group emanated. Even the sun came out to spotlight us through a stained glass window. After we all received Communion, the priest mentioned in his homily that a group of teenagers had come to sing at Easter Mass, nodding in our direction. Near the end of the service, I noticed that Casper had returned and was hovering next to the crucified Christ at the altar. It had picked up the glow that I had been noticing. Walking to the front door after the service, many people smiled and nodded to us. As we stood outside, with the sun finally out, we were an extremely attractive group, well tanned, slicked hair, and in tailored suits (with shoes on). After a few brave kids came up to speak with us, all the kids at mass came and surrounded us. They asked about our band, how old we were, school, and why we came so far. We told them to come to youth group on Saturday to get to know us. When asked, we promised to play there. We walked back to the Waldorf which was only a few blocks away. A group of the New York kids walked with us. Outside the Waldorf, a boy asked if we were 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.”
“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 was beaming.
We joined the parents at a large table in the Waldorf restaurant. We were waiting for the Baptist group to return before ordering. I sat with Mike Sr. who noted 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 bragged.
“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 bragged.
“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 pulled out an envelope with several sheets inside.
“We played 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 if 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 looked 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 walked in, having tracked us down at the Waldorf. I introduced him to Mike Sr., our manager. Jon got out his notebook and I left them to it. I got Michael and we took Robby and Mary into the lobby.
“What is wrong with him?” Mary insisted on knowing.
“Bad drugs – heroin,” Michael admitted.
“How’d that happen?”
“Iggy showed up in Daytona and has been with us since.”
Robby wasn’t saying anything and didn’t appear to be listening.
“Can you take him upstairs and get him functioning? 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 was 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 said.
Finally, I was able to sit with Flo and Edi. Jack had been busy telling them about my breakup with Tina. Casper signed that Jack was out of control. Jack looked from Casper to me. “I guess I was gossiping,” he admitted.
“What is this hand signaling you boys do?” Flo demanded.
“Jack told you about Tina and Pete?”
“Yeah. Sorry. I know you cared about her a lot,” Flo commiserated.
“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 times were when I was 14 and 15.”
“So, you’ve 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 asked with a smile.
We kissed for about twenty seconds, prompting Jack to smooch Edi. Michael took the lead from us and kissed Jenna. Hippie hugged Max.
“Looks like the boys missed their girlfriends this week,” Father Frank laughed.
Flo and Edi’s parents started to get up, but everyone else said, “No. Ellos son muchachos y muchachas. Tam bien.”
What happens in New York, stays in New York.
Grant and Hippie arrived with the three Moms. They were 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 were equally exhilarated. They had never been fully accepted by their local church. In New York no one even noticed. Grant and Hippie had really bonded and were working out how to include background Doo Wop into ‘Amazing Grace.’ Hippie asked if Grant could sing with us at CBGB’s.
“You know we have a song where everybody acts like a monkey?” I told 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 you won’t be a stereotype.”
“All Black males are stereotypes.”
“You ain’t nothin’, if not original,” I countered. “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 was more worried about watching Jack. For the first time, I felt we weren’t on the same page. His gossiping about Tina confused me. Did he feel he had removed the competition for all of my heart? Couldn’t he share me? Was it like Dad had said, that the rich treat others like possessions. I signed all these questions to Casper, who wrapped himself around me. I felt better. Jack noticed that something was wrong with me, coming over to join Casper.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
“Let’s go for a walk,” I suggested. The three of us walked up to Central Park and sat by the Pond. The noise and bustle of the City dropped away. I took out the itinerary from Scorsese and read it to Jack, The first event was a sound check at CBGB’s at 8 pm. After that, we’d be busy with no break until Saturday night.
“What’s wrong,” Jack asked again.
I looked at him. His concern was real.
“I guess I’m mad at you,” I admitted and looked down.
He grabbed 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 looked so sad.
“Can’t we share our love with Tina and Pete?”
“You have all my love.”
I tear’d up but kept 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 tried 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 admitted. “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 thought about how Scott had felt the same way and why that ultimately was impossible for him. Jack reached out. I held him as he cried in my arms. My tears were gone, replaced by fears and doubts about our future. Casper signed that Jack was still as strong as ever in his heart, even when Jack only wanted to love me. He also signed that he would never leave me but we were learning that we could be apart because we trusted nothing would ever keep us apart. Jack was watching our signing and stopped crying.
“I wanted you all to myself. That is why you are 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 was 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 have broken through your fears that kept your huge heart from being open to everyone. Think of all the crazy things we do. We never have doubted each other before. I thought you had 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 smiled, at last. “I loved that.”
We laughed together. Casper looked all proud of himself.
“Never apart?” Jack asked.
“Never to be parted,” I responded.
Casper signed, “Lets go fuck in the Rambles.”
“Ew,” we both declined. “No quickies, please.”
By the time we got back, everyone was finishing dessert. The Stones had us sit with them, as we ordered burgers and fries, our road staples. To be honest, they tasted better at the greasy spoons we had been frequenting.
“Trouble in paradise,” Mummy knew something had transpired.
“We had our first fight,” Jack happily announced.
“It wasn’t a fight,” I corrected him. “I didn’t understand what he felt about meeting my girlfriend yesterday.”
“Do tell,” the Uncles prompted us.
“All that’s left is for us to kiss and make up,” Jack smiled, jumping into my arms. What the hell, making out for the parents would be another new experience.
“You’re shameless,” I whispered in his ear, as we frenched each other.
“Let’s make up at the Chelsea.” Casper was in full agreement.
We finished lunch. The Stones had all the guys and girls come up to their suite and have a group photo taken before we changed back to our ragged road clothes. The girls wanted to go shopping. We needed 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 was keeping Robby vertical. I worried he wouldn’t be able to do the show and was thinking how we could pull off the monkey song without him. Asking Grant to swing from the rafters was too racist, but maybe all the guys could do it and leave the singing to the Jacettes. I barely remembered what the inside of the bar looked like, let alone if there were pipes or other fixtures from which to swing. We would literally have to wing it.
I checked in with my folks who had dinner and theater plans with the Stones for the evening. Susan insisted I pose for another photo before changing. They seemed proud and happy that we had gotten this far without a major screw-up. Susan asked if I wanted to talk about the break-up with Tina. I started to brush it off. Then I realized she really wanted to know. The new caring me sat down and told them how the four of us had worked it all out.
“So you just handed-off your girlfriend to your friend?” Dad interjected.
“They’ve been best friends for years. He’s been watching 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 will 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 complained.
“Well, Jack was gossiping about it with the girls before lunch. I got mad that he was glad Tina and I had broken up. It was like he was gloating. In reality, our feelings haven’t changed. We’re just not exclusive.”
“It sounds very mature to me,” Susan stated.
Dad went back to scratching Max behind the ears.
Susan took 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 liked it.
“It’s not too much like a Tastee Freeze uniform?” she asked.
“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 came in, as I was taking longer than the others to get changed.
“Wow. I have my own personal angel,” he joked.
“You better sing like an angel, then. You don’t want your guitarist showing you up.” I bragged.
Susan had us both pose for another photo. He had changed, so it was like a before and after setup, angels with dirty faces.
When we finally got back to the Chelsea, Jon Landau was waiting for us. Max went over, sniffed his pockets, and barked.
“That means you’re holding,” Michael announced.
“Well, let’s check out your rooms.”
He got us baked in no time. New York weed was a gas gas gas. Robby promptly passed out on the bed with Iggy.
Landau took note, but didn’t say anything. He obviously knew what happened at the Chelsea.
“Looks like you’re smart to have two drummers,” he remarked.
“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 asked. “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 monkey. You’ll have to do the singing, with the girls on backups.”
“I wanna fly around, too.” I complained.
“It’s all just chaos. No need to choreograph that.”
It was set.
Everyone else sat around telling stories to Landau. Jack and I escaped to the other room. His pot-fueled sex drive was raging. Little did he know that I still planned to take out my revenge on his body for his jealousy about Tina. He expected me to play my recent bottom role, but I turned the tables on him. I threw him on the bed and ripped his clothes off. Flipping him over, I grabbed his hair to yank his head back and get his butt sticking up. My tongue lavished a thorough rim job that had him moaning and arching for more. His butt was pushing against my tongue. I started teasing him with the tip of my dick around the pucker of his ass. My pre-cum added to the wetness of his hole. I reached around and grabbed his straining hose of a dick. I was jerking it hard. He moaned “No. No. Stop. Stop. I’m too close.”
I was relentless and had him at the edge just before he had to cum. I jerked him even harder. He screamed as his ass tightened and the first blast of jism erupted. I penetrated him all the way to my balls as the first spurt finished and his ass relaxed. He came again and again as I used short thrusts to match his ejaculate. He came about seven times and started to collapse on his face, I jerked his hair back again as I continued to fuck him. He shook 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 remained as hard as a rock. I cupped it lightly as I rocked him back and forth. It was so sensitive, he was shuddering from the touch. Finally he stopped gasping and was moving with me, moaning and loving it. I brought myself to climax rutting into him with his face buried in the pillow. After finishing I pulled out, flipped him over and sat on his hard dick. My ass was soaked from sweat and I scooped my own jism as it leaked out of him to lubricate his cock. Holding on to his shoulders, I went up and down on his dick. Again he lost control before he wanted to cum. I sat down as far as I could and gave short bounces on his dick. He was thrusting in rhythm with me. As he threw his head back to cum, I fell backwards, pulling him on top of me. His dick exited my ass just as he exploded. Cum went all over my stomach, chest and face. He kissed me as he continued to spurt. Sliding my dick on our slime, I hurried myself to reach a quick climax. He sat up on my thighs and held onto my dick as it came for the second time in five minutes.
In my sexual fury, I turned around and saw Casper casually beating off at the head of the bed. I lunged at him and swallowed his dick to the pubes. I massaged the shaft with my tongue and swallowed the head like I was vacuuming his cock. He was already close and soon was spurting down my gullet. I turned him over and started fucking him with my quickly reviving cock. Jack was leaning against the foot board of the bed. I dragged him by his feet, lifting his hips to engulf his dick with my mouth. I was fucking and sucking the two of them. Jack revived to hold my head while he fucked my sucking mouth. Casper was sneering at me, confident he could make me go at his ass with my dick forever. I began twisting his hard titties to make him squirm and he soon thrashed and came, shooting over his head onto my sucking face. The sight had Jack laughing, then suddenly cumming. I finished myself off in Casper’s ass. We collapsed into a pile on the bed.
“Are you still mad at me,” Jack tentatively asked.
“How could I be?” and I squeezed him in a bear hug.
“Whew. That was incredibly hot,” he admitted. “I’ll have to gossip more often if it ends up in mad fucking.”
Hippie woke us up and we headed for CBGB’s. The limo was parked by the side door, with the four girls waiting inside.
“We didn’t dare get out in this neighborhood,” Mary admitted.
“Very wise,” Michael agreed.
The De Soto was behind the limo. We moved all our equipment inside. The stage was so small, there was no room for two drum sets. Robby continued to be mostly incoherent. I told him he’d regret not playing here, but he didn’t care. He’d progressed to the vomiting stage of his recovery. Mary made him drink water, which didn’t help his stomach but he needed it to stay alive. I went over to Grant to set up plan B on the monkey song.
“I can get used to traveling by limo with my ladies,” he bragged.
“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 waited 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 laughed.
“New York does that.”
“We can’t really fire anyone. We’re all friends.”
“Wouldn’t life be nice if that’s all that counted.”
“We’re still 16. This road trip made me feel like 30.”
“You wanted 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, but Robby usually sings and performs it. 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 took off to find a phone.
I saw Tina and Pete walk in. Before I could greet them, Jack ran over and gave them a big, gay welcome. Pete was getting used to it. I walked over.
“Hey, you came. Come out the side door and see our dressing room,” I told them.
The girls and Grant were already in the limo. The four of us piled in. It was classic.
“Flo, Edi, Mary, Grant, these are my best friends from the Bronx, Tina and Pete,” I introduced them.
The girls instantly started speaking Spanish and the ‘chisme’ was flowing. They had to quiz Tina. I told Tina that Flo was also ‘mi novia.’ The girls were dissecting my craziness and charisma. Jack was discussed but dismissed as a newcomer and way too slutty. Grant had no idea what was being said. I tried to explain.
“So, yer boyfriend and two girlfriends are all here now?” he laughed.
“Yeah. They’re really laying into me.”
“Wanna step outside while they decide who gets to cut off yer balls,” he showed me a Miami spliff. The three guys immediately exited. Michael and Jenna were about to get into the limo.
“You might wanna wait until it cools off in there,” I warned them. We all jumped into the De Soto with Uncle Tam, who smoked with us for the first time. Jenna abstained. She was the only one who wanted to know why I had put all three lovers in the same car together.
“Guys are gross,” she concluded and left to catch the dirt in the limo.
“Everyone broke up after she shut the door.
“Don’t be giving Jenna any idea that I’d want your arrangement,” Michael warned me.
So, we proceeded to dissect Michael’s steadfast loyalty to monogamous abstinence. Grant’s ganja got us super high. Jack was about to cum all over me, so we ventured back to the limo.
“There he is, the player,” Mary announced. The girls broke up.
Jack sat between Tina and Edi and began making out first with Tina and then with Edi, Pete pulled Tina away from him. Michael had Jenna on his lap. I started making out with Flo. Grant put his arm around Mary, who cuddled with him, Robby be damned. The limo’s air conditioning came on.
Martin stuck his head inside the limo, “Time for sound check, lovers.”
We all piled out. There wasn’t enough room on stage for everyone. A third mic was 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 was about 6 inches above the bar floor. Hippie was nowhere to be seen. We paged him with the mic. He came running out of the lady’s room, trailed by two skanky looking groupies. We mixed the vocals. Grant did a Doo Wop ditty to keep everyone amused. Michael was done setting the drum mics in 15 seconds with no Robby to duel over levels. I turned my amp down and set the guitar level for the PA, giving me room to amp it up. Hippie followed my instructions to do likewise. We ran through ‘Sneakin’ Around” to give Jack a chance to set the monitors so he could hear himself. The sound man said everything looked good. I told him now we needed him to make us sound good.
Jack, Grant and I walked around the room to set a route for our monkey shines. It looked very doable except the place was such a wreck, we needed Grant in case a pipe broke.
Martin was talking to Bill Page, CBGB’s Manager. I went over to see what was up. We had planned to be the opener, so we could relax afterward and enjoy the show. Bill was telling Martin that since we had been getting press, notably in the New York Post, that Interview had photographers there, and that Martin was filming, they had a lot of calls about when we were going on. He wanted to bump us up to headliner. Bill was mostly interested in the bar receipts. We argued to go on first, claiming we were not a headline act, just kids from Miami.
“Well, how old are you?” he asked.
“We’re all 18,” I lied.
“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 looked 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 agreed and we walked away. Martin grabbed 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 were making a thousand a night in those Southern road houses. Half the beer bought got thrown at us for calling them out on their racism. Hell, at five bucks a beer here in the City, we’ll double that.”
Martin just shook his head, turning around to make sure the camera was still rolling.
I got 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 told 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 ‘Sweet Home Alabama’s’ intro and Jack will do the ‘Neil Young will remember’ line but stop once the crowd thinks we’re mocking them. Then we’ll do “Sneakin’ Around.’ Jack you have to taunt the crowd about being poseurs and burned 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’ve done 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 laughed. Jon Landau stuck his head in the limo.
“Pile in, man. Where ya been?”
“You goin’ on soon? The crowd’s been waitin’ for ya.”
“You’re right. This is the Good Friday show. We wait much longer, they’ll wanna to call it a Good Saturday show.”
We all got out and went back into the club. It was 11:35pm. Time to open the show.
There was a good-sized crowd, standing around, self-absorbed. The smoke was thick and the air was buzzing from a hundred different conversations. Martin had the lights come on and the cameras were rolling. We walked across the stage. Jack grabbed the stage mic, leaned forward and stared at the crowd.
“Where ya been?” someone yelled out.
“Down South, deep in the heart of Dixie,” He answered.
I played a couple of riffs from ‘Sweet Home Alabama.’
“Y’all ready for a country good time?” I riffed again.
“Fuck you,” the same guy yelled back. “Get some shoes, hayseed.”
“I gave my shoes 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 switched 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 were stretched out and we did the choruses up tempo. I finished with a screaming metal riff, turning my amp up several notched.
“Take that, fuckers,” I yelled into Jack’s mic. The Jacettes followed Grant’s lead and were doing the ‘Walk on the Wild Side’ doo wop to fill in before the next song.
“Yeah,” someone yelled.
They liked the familiar New York sound.
I went back to ‘Alabama.’
Jack egged them on. “You ain’t nothin’ but a bunch dumb rednecks dressed in black.”
I started playing the Trashmen’s “The Bird.’
Jack gave the crowd his middle finger. He walked over to Flo and Edi and they went to Martin’s table and got Tina and Pete to join them at the mic.
“What the fuck do you guys want?” Jack yelled.
Hippie and I started ‘Oy Como Va”
and the Jacettes on the left did the Spanish vocals while Grant’s crew did a ‘bob shu bob’ on right.’
“Too shy to speak up?”
“Suck my cock.” was yelled.
“I only suck his,” and Jack pointed 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 yelled
“Fags,” the same guy yelled.
The three girls confronted the yeller. “You want some of me?”
He disappeared toward the bar. Ka-ching.
“You wanna us to kiss?” Jack cajoled, as he walked over behind me. I started playing the Doors’ ‘Love Her Madly.’ Jack was licking my ear.
The Jacettes were chanting the ‘what you say,’ chorus. Grant sung the line ‘gonna be your Daddy.’ Jack was kissing my neck until I stopped playing and turned to French him over my left shoulder.
Hippie went to Michael and yelled, “Sneakin’ Around, one two three four.”
Jack jumped away, winking at a leather guy in the front. He came 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 came dancing out and shook their boobies to the chorus, pushing the crowd back. Finally two guys wahtusi’d up to them and started dancing back. A dozen girls ran up, joining the Jacettes shaka line. We kept playing the song over and over. More guys jumped up and we had a whole disco-scene going. Grant came in with a low and deep ‘love’ in the middle of each chorus line. Jack raised his arms. Grant’s Jacettes righteously stopped.
“Do we havta show you what you want? Speak up. mo’fo’s”
“More thrash metal,” from Iggy in the Back. I started ‘Paranoid.’
I stopped and stepped 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.’”
“This is ‘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 confused everyone to go from disco to metal. The dancers stayed up front, while the metal heads were pushing their way forward. A couple of fights broke out when dancing-girls got pushed aside and their boyfriends pushed back. The bouncers jumped in and started whaling on the disco people.
Jack used my line from the frat party, “Hey, Leave those kids alone. They’re our friends.”
Max came bounding out on the tiny stage.
Somehow he had fans in New York, as several people called out his name, “Max.”
He barked until the bouncers stopped.
“Chill out, people. Who’s got a joint. Gimme a joint,” I yelled into the mic.
No one volunteered.
“Max, weed,” I told him. He bounded into the crowd, stopping before a girl in fish nets and a cocktail waitress dress. He sat and barked.
“You got a joint?” I asked her.
She pulled one out of her purse.
“Spark it up and pass it round. Kiss Max with a second-hand hit.”
She did as I said. Max barked and went to the next weed holder, sat down and barked.
“Spark it up.”
We had four or five joints going around. Casper was sitting next to him taking the second-hand hits, as well.
“Take it down a notch,” Jack told 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 was on his knees in front of me, singing the ending chorus to only me. I started fucking my SG guitar, thrusting it toward him. Naturally I started getting hard. I was commando, so it was swelling and riding up my left thigh.
“Faggots,” the tormentor yelled.
I threw down the SG, readjusted my dick, and yelled at him, “You want some of this. Come and get it. My jeans top button popped and the head looked out at the crowd. The girls screamed. The tormentor was only stunned for a second. He charged me right through the crowd. I was trying to button up as he was about to punch me. Hippie clocked him with his P bass. Down he went. More screams.
“You asked for it now,” Jack screamed. “’Barefoot in the Park.’” Hippie and Michael stayed on stage playing, while Grant, Jack and I chased the guy to the back of the bar. His friends were there, ready for us. Jack and I leaped up on tables and then into the rafters, catching the sprinkler pipes, swinging away from the haters. Grant held his ground, stopping the five assholes in their tracks. He turned and ran under us as we swung around the club. More people were pushed out-of-the-way. The Jacettes came in with the monkey cries and we echoed them from the various corners of the bar. Grant got 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 surrounded him and were doing the Watusi dance with him as he bounced up and down. We ran out the door and escaped into the limo. Grant stayed to meet the new ladies. Jack ran back in the stage door, screaming the monkey chants, before running right back out.
We all collapsed in a pile, giggling and clutching one another. Martin was at the limo with his cameraman wanting in.
As he sat opposite us, he said, “They’re screaming for you to go back on stage.”
“Yeah, they want to lynch us,” I laughed. “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 asserted.
“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 needed to confirm, “Your dick actually popped out.”
“The jeans buttons popped and it wanted to be part of the show.”
“I’m gonna havta edited 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 was cracking up. We decided it was too good in the limo to leave. Landau squeezed in. “The next band can’t go on until the bar clears the line of refills,” he reported. “All the guys are waiting for you to come back so they can beat your asses. 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 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 crowed, pulling his briefs up above his waistband.
Edi grabbed the back of the waistband and snapped his ass. He started getting a bulge for everyone to see. Flo tried me, forgetting I was commando. Her hand slipped down my butt crack. I squirmed and the top button popped open again. Grant had been handing out drinks and beer from the limo stash, but we were dry now. Martin gave the driver a hundred bucks. We drove to a Bowery liquor store. No one wanted to get out as the driver went in to restock.
I said, ‘Fuck it,” and everyone piled out.
We must’ve looked scarier than the bums, because all the guys hanging out in front retreated to the corner. Finally the youngest Black kid came up and asked, “What’s a bunch of no shoe hillbillies doin’ in the City.”
We told him we were a band playing around the corner. He wanted to get into the limo, but his older brothers came back. We shared beers with them and hung out for about an hour. They were a trip. We told them we were a boy band from Orlando.
“Like the Jackson 5?”
They mocked Grant for hanging out with honkies. He told them we all went to school together, which blew their minds. They started getting insistent about meeting the girls inside the limo.
“You put on some moves, they might just come out here to meet ya,” Grant told them.
The whispered and someone brought out a harmonica. They did an a Capella version of ‘On Broadway.”
Grant was in his element and had us doing his Doo Wop act for them. Martin got great shots and footage. The girls came out and it was much more relaxed, except everyone was trying too hard to be cool. The kids on the block jumped into the limo and it was real crowded. Everyone exited when we got back to CBGB’s. We snuck the boys inside through the side door. The other bands were done. When people saw us, a murmur went up that we were back.
Jack grabbed 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 asked.
“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 was made up so we could escape. How about something by our favorite New York Band, Lou Reed?” – Wild Side
“The crowd started clapping. Grant started the girls doing the “Doo do doo, do doo, do doo,do do do doo.”
We did the whole song without a complaint from the booker. I got to do the ‘little Joe never once gave it away,’ in honor of Joey.
People were clapping and yelling, “Yeah.” We were back in favor. We did all of ‘Paranoid,
even sneaked our ‘Look Before You Leap’ in, before doing ‘Radar Love.’
It was all fun. Max went around and outed the potheads. The vibe stayed mellow. Iggy was shouting for American metal. We had him come up and do ‘Search and Destroy.’
Max was standing next to him and barked until we started ‘I Wanna Be your Dog.’
We finished with ‘False Gods,’ but the crowd wouldn’t let us leave. Hippie and Michael stayed on stage to play ‘Barefoot,’ while everyone else went into the crowd to sing, chant and got everyone dancing. The street corner gang was shocked that we wanted them to act like monkeys. When they saw Grant jumping around, they laughed and pointed at him. In a minute or so, they were right in there with everyone making fools of themselves, Jack and I swung around the ceiling and exited to the limo. The rest of the crew piled in. Martin told his assistant to break down all the equipment and load it in the De Soto. Uncle Tam said he calculated the bar took in over $4000. I talked to Bill. He tried to tell me that cover bands weren’t allowed.
“I guess that means we’re fired. Pay up.”
He lowballed the take at $3300, thinking I’d be stunned.
I told him we had kept track and it was $4000. He wanted to haggle, but I stayed firm. He gave me $1000.
“And here’s a tip,” he said, “Grow up.”
When I got back to the limo I paid each of us $50. including the Jacettes and Grant. The remaining $400 went into the petty cash fund.
Martin reminded me to be at Abyssinian Baptist in Harlem at noon for their youth group. He said he had gotten great shots but was confused that our attitude had been so aggressive.
“Apathy, man,” I told him. “We had to wake ‘em up.”
“Well, make sure you wake up on time this morning.” It was 4 am.
Tina and Pete realized they were well past their curfews. We had the limo drive them to the Bronx after he first dropped off the Jacettes and Grant in Midtown. The five of us and Max walked to the Chelsea.
We went to Michael’s room and found Robby finally awake. He apologized for being a flake. No one said anything. We weren’t going to play parent to him. He wanted to smoke us out, but Hippie, Jack and I were done for the night. Before leaving I thanked Michael for being so great at the show. He kept it all together.
“Did you think it went well?” he asked.
“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 needed ‘time’ before he went to bed. I realized he couldn’t tell when we were horny or not.
“No, man. You can sleep with Max,” who trotted along behind us.
Whatever floats your boat.
“You’re coming with us to Abyssinian Baptist, right?”