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(See bottom of post for info on a special fanworks call…)

Jordan Travers dropped by the next day while Ziggy was there and hung around for about an hour. He’d freshly shorn down his hair and was looking sharp overall. We hobnobbed.

Three important things were conveyed in the course of the hobnobbing. One, Jordan told me they were doing a thing as a publicity stunt where the record company was going to release the soundtrack album for the OKC film as if it was just a genuine punk album by a band from Oklahoma City. I pointed out that given punk’s anti-obsession with posers, this was likely to backfire, but he assured me we were far enough past the actual punk era that this would be seen as a cool retro move. Um, sure. Two, I told him if he ever gave Ziggy X again I was never speaking to him again.

That might seem kind of like an overreaction but I wasn’t angry about it–it was just a fact not a threat–and Jordan took it in stride. It was like with Jordan I could skip all the explanations and go right to what mattered most to both of us. In my case: Ziggy’s health, in his case: access to both of us.

I can’t remember what the third thing was.

We were also interrupted during the portion of the rehearsal when Ziggy wasn’t there by Carynne, Barrett, and The Aesthetician, who brought me logo designs to look at. It had not occurred to me they were moving that fast, and that we’d have a logo before we had a record label interested, except I realized normally if a band toiled in obscurity for some years of course you had a logo and all that sort of thing worked out before the label got interested. It just felt weird for it to be like this, I guess.

“I didn’t know Linn was working for me, too,” I said to Carynne at one point.

“She doesn’t usually do this level of thing but she likes you,” Carynne explained. Huh.

For what it’s worth, I liked what Linn had cooked up. Then Carynne told me they already had two bites on the line. One of them was Wenco, which I expected because of Artie.

The other was Megastar, the company formerly known as BNC, or well, BNC still existed but only as a brand name within Megastar, the parent company. The argument boiled down to something like this, only much longer:

Me: You’re kidding me.
Carynne: Not kidding. It’s a guy you haven’t worked with before.
Me: Does that matter? If he answers to Mills the answer’s no.
Carynne: Daron, Mills doesn’t control everything.
Me: Mills absolutely hates my guts and will do anything possible to sabotage my projects.
Carynne: That just doesn’t seem very likely.
Me: Then how about this, I absolutely hate Mills’s guts and so that’s the number one reason not to sign there.
Carynne: Okay, I guess I really can’t argue with that. I’ll use them as leverage to get higher bids, though, all right?
Me. All right, I guess.

I felt self-conscious about the band waiting around while these meetings were going on. There was something of a shift in my mind happening, though, because the meetings were taking place in what was essentially my “office” instead of in Barrett or Carynne’s actual offices. But it was holding up everyone else and I didn’t want everyone bored out of their minds.

Eventually we got back to playing but I felt like the meetings had eaten up too much time.

When we were packing up Marvelle made some kind of a comment to me like, “Between running Nomad and this show here, when are you gonna have time for your solo project?”

And I gave him a blank look and then realized he meant Star*Gaze. “That’s not a solo project. That’s a band project.”

He gave me a look. “Do Bart and Chris think so?”

“They better,” I said. But that made me think, how were we going to split up the proceeds when there were some to split? We hadn’t worked out any of that stuff yet. It had all happened too fast. Heck, we still didn’t know if we were counting Jordan in for points or not.

So we talked about it over dinner. Me, Bart, Chris, Carynne, with Carynne taking notes. “Daron, everyone thinks of this as ‘your’ project,” she said.

“Yeah, but didn’t everyone think that about M3, too?”

“I guess. That was different.”

“Why was that different?”

No one seemed to be able to come up with a good answer.

“Here’s what I want,” I told her and the guys. “I want you guys to feel like the split is fair. If that means splitting everything in thirds, let’s do that.”

Chris and Bart looked at each other and I realized it wasn’t to figure out what they wanted–it was to figure out which one of them was going to talk. Bart won–or lost–the battle and spoke. “Setting aside the question of whether Jordan gets any royalties, Daron, we think it makes more sense to count you as two people, musician on the one hand and principle songwriter on the other.”

“Okay…” I was confused and it must’ve showed.

Chris simplified it. “So what we’re saying is it should be exactly like the old band agreement we had as M3 except you should count as both Daron and Ziggy, now.”

I looked at Carynne. “Does that work?”

She nodded. “Well, it does simplify life a lot if we just use the same old wording.”

“We all liked the wording before. We worked hard on it,” Bart said. “This won’t even change the math. It just changes what Daron gets in the end.”

I scrubbed my face. “I still feel like you guys should get more.”

“We’re being realistic about what our actual contributions are, Dar’.” Bart cracked his knuckles. “When I do a solo album and ask you to play on it, see if you feel the same.”

“It’s not a solo album,” I insisted. “I have one of those and this is not it. We’re a band.”

“I didn’t say it was or that we weren’t,” Bart said. “If it was you could’ve paid us scale for the sessions and taken 100% of the royalties and publishing rights for yourself.”

“You actually wrote some of those riffs yourself,” I pointed out. “This wasn’t like we just emptied my notebook.”

“Yes it was,” Chris stage-whispered to Carynne.

“Okay.” I stopped fighting them. Maybe they were right. Maybe it really was mostly about me, and the press was going to make it mostly about me, and I should just accept that. I kind of wonder if I was trying to make it more about the band, the three of us as a group, to spread some of the responsibility around, though. Marvelle was right about one thing: I was carrying a lot.

But it didn’t feel like pressure, which sounds negative. It felt much more positive. I liked juggling things and keeping my brain stimulated and it was really good to feel wanted and not like my career was dead in the water.

That night Ziggy and I stayed up late again–though not so late that Barrett came down and scolded us–and worked on songs together just because we enjoyed every minute of working on songs together. I had no idea where these songs might end up, on whose album or even if they’d ever see the light of day. That just didn’t matter.

What mattered was that we were finding stuff together, making twists in the riffs that pleased each other, clicking. Such a good feeling.

What was not such a good feeling was the morning when I met with Priss and she knew damn well that I hadn’t been doing the exercises. I expected to be roundly scolded, and when she realized I expected to be roundly scolded, she didn’t disappoint me. “There, will you be better motivated now?” she demanded to know.

“It’s not motivation I lack,” I told her. “It’s just hard to fit everything in.”

“You rehearse eight hours a day. Make it seven and a half and spend the other half on your vocal exercises and your Feldenkrais techniques.”

“Alexander Technique,” I corrected her. At Guitar Craft school there had been an Alexander Technique instructor who helped students fix bad posture and stuff like that. The idea was not only would you be able to play longer without hurting yourself, if you weren’t fighting your body to play, then music would flow more naturally out of you. I had been kind of surprised to find out that I didn’t have a lot of bad habits to break. My classical training had helped. I didn’t slouch when I played, didn’t look at my fingers or the strings, kept my neck straight, my head high.

“Whichever. The effect is the same.” She nudged me where I sat beside her on the piano bench and clucked her tongue. Because sitting at the piano I did slouch. At least until we started singing.

So I just described what went on in about one twenty-four hour period. Seems like a lot, doesn’t it? Now imagine twelve more days in a row like that and you have some idea what my life was like then.


Reminder: DGC Ebook Volume 9 launches on June 29th. If you’d like to review the ebook on Amazon or Goodreads, or be part of the blog tour or release excerpts blitz, fill out the form here: http://goo.gl/forms/QdqhADMTeJ2Y5gwm2 I’ll be sending review copies of the ebooks out on June 15th so sign up if you’d like to snag one or help spread the word about the book’s launch in some other way or drop me email to tell me your ideas: daron.moondog @ gmail.



FANWORKS SPECIAL CALL:
It’s been a very tough weekend around here as you might imagine, given the news out of Orlando. Two different acts of gun violence in the same weekend: first Christina Grimmie, a finalist from the 6th season of The Voice, was shot after a concert where she had performed and then was autographing and selling merch afterward. The other was the 49 people shot and killed at the Pulse nightclub, a well-known gay club, plus another 53 wounded. Praying that they all make it. Both of these incidents obviously hit very close to home. Daron is already obsessed with the way John Lennon was shot–this is even worse in a way, at a venue, with security. And the gay nightclub…I can’t even. The entire reason gay bars and clubs exist is so we can have a place to feel safe.

Of course Orlando is very closely associated in the public mind with Walt Disney World, and as some of you know I’m a huge fan of the theme parks there. It’s the happiest place on earth, but also one of the most emotional places on earth. ADDED: And of course also where Universal Orlando is and the first big Harry Potter theme park is part of that.

I think we could all use some happiness to help us get through these dark times, so the fanworks challenge for this month (I was planning to suggest one for Pride Month anyway except I was so dang busy until last week when I turned a book in that I hadn’t gotten a chance!) is send any of our dear characters to Disney. Magic Kingdom, Epcot, (or the Universal Studios theme parks!) there for vacation, there to perform, there to bring Ford for the first time, who knows, let your imaginations fly. That’s what Disney is all about.

Art is the only way I know to heal. Making it and sharing it and consuming it. That’s why Lin-Manuel Miranda is my hero, for the sonnet he read at the Tony Awards on Sunday night (a friggin’ sonnet! and a good one, too!). So make whatever you make on this month’s theme (let’s say July 4th as a cutoff but don’t wait until then, ok) and send it in to

dgcfanworks @ gmail.com

I’m offering bounties! That’s right goodies for your creativity. Any fic which is longer than 1200 words or any artwork (or recorded song?) gets a notebook, while fics shorter than 1200 words, poems, and song lyrics get your choice of a DGC bumpersticker or Moondog 3 guitar pick! (Those of you who backed the Kickstarter, check which things you’re getting in your packages–they’ll be going out in a few weeks!)

OK? Email your fanworks to dgcfanworks @ gmail.com and we’ll work on posting them on off days from regular chapters.

-Cecilia

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Comments 3

  1. s wrote:

    It was definitely a weekend full of tears. My daughter was a big fan of Christina Grimmie’s, so by extension, I’ve seen every youtube video she ever made. We were heartbroken. And then the nightclub shooting. I have no words.

    I’ll have to put some thought into writing something. I haven’t been to Disney for over 3 decades (though I’m going in the fall!), but I’ve been to Universal so many times I could describe it in my sleep (that’s where the Harry Potter park is!).

    As for the chapter, well, first of all, you have good friends, Daron.

    Second, practice your damn vocal exercises ;)

    Third, what exactly was Mills’ title at BNC? Just curious if you can go over his head in any way if they truly are interested in you. Not that I think you should. You don’t really need any more drama in your life, but it would be an interesting thought to entertain if you could somehow get some measure of revenge on that bastard… Oh, lookie, my vindictive side shows again…

    [Reply]

    daron Reply:

    I don’t remember what his title was and it changed various times, anyway. There are a couple of levels of A&R, and he was at the level where he wasn’t just a high level A&R guy, he was a vice president or something in the company, meaning he didn’t have to go to higher level of approval to make signings the way his underlings did. Now he’s a VP or other mid-level executive suite in Megastar — at the level where now he would be the boss of who he used to be. Does that make sense?

    And yeah, we should add Universal to the fanworks call, not just Disney. I’ll go edit what ctan wrote.

    [Reply]

    s Reply:

    Aw, nuts. I’ll just keep patiently waiting for Karma to kick his ass then.

    [Reply]

    Alan Katz Reply:

    I do have words. Or at least one word: “anger”. Not just anger at the evil madman who did such a horrible deed, but a world in which human beings are devalued because of how they are constructed, and the ways they have found in which to love.

    And, as a child of the ’60s, I have lived through infinitely too much of this hate, violence, denial, bigotry and hypocrisy. And I didn’t realize until how how angry it had left me, how those awful, hateful decades scored my soul and robbed me of joy. Act-Up was right: “Silence = death”.

    We’ve come a long way, in that time, admittedly, but I’ll be damned if I can figure out why any of it took more than thirty seconds to resolve – the way it should have in a rational, compassionate, caring world.

    But most of all, I’m abidingly angry at the loss of all that potential, all that love, all those young people with their lives cut short. That, my friends, is beyond anger, but well into the realm of the unforgivable. All those who ever enabled this hate, profited from it, grew politically powerful over it – may they rot in the the hottest circles of Hell for all eternity for what they have done to such promising youth, not just in Orlando (though that alone is enough)but in the decades I, myself, have witnessed when so many beautiful, exceptional young people suffered such infamy and discouragement for no rational reason whatsoever, except for the evil ambitions of a core of hateful, lying miserable subhumans, more concerned with establishing their own dominion than treasuring and celebrating the beauty and good created around us all.

    I am grown old. Old and angry.

    [Reply]

    Cecilia Tan Reply:

    I feel your anger, Alan. And we need it. This killer wasn’t created in a vacuum. He was fomented in the atmosphere that fought gay marriage so viciously and is now trying ever possible fear tactic to turn people against us (public restrooms? seriously?). They make it seem like small things, like trivial things, like whether someone has a right to turn us away from a bakery for “religious reasons,” but that creates the baseline of anti-compassion and dehumanization that makes gunning people down the next logical step.

    And I am beyond disgusted by the Republican leadership who flat out lied that they would bring a vote if the Dems would end their 15-hour gun control filibuster and then did not do it.

    If I am heartened by anything it was listening to that filibuster, though. Listening to one member of Congress after another stand up and say things not just against guns but pro-LGBT rights. I heard one tell the story of Matthew Shepard and then rail and the fact that hate crimes laws don’t stop actual hate which is why we need to do more. I heard one read off the names of the dead and speak about the importance of public spaces where marginalized communities can meet. I was so amazed by the fact that ten years ago you couldn’t even get a member of Congress to even say the word “gay” in a political context except *maybe* during a floor discussion of don’t ask, don’t tell, and even then it was as if we did not exist, as if LGBT people did not exist in political reality. Then in 2008 Obama used the phrase “gay Americans” in a speech.

    Orlando is a devastating tragedy. The only thing that has uplifted me is that they see us, these leaders see us, they recognize what happened, they see us as PEOPLE, and they are fighting for us. Maybe they’ll be drowned out by the Trump-ites and the Westboros of the world, but maybe they won’t. No, I know they won’t. We are going to prevail. It’s just going to take longer than we thought. We have to take back the whole country this time, not just fight for individual rights state by state. The whole soul of the USA is at stake in this election, and no one can say LGBT rights are trivial ever more.

    [Reply]

    s Reply:

    I understand your anger and I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with all of that. I’ve never had to walk in those shoes, but I know the level of anger and disgust I feel from what I’ve seen and heard and read (especially on social media. god the ignorance rampant) and I can only imagine how much worse it is for the people those words are specifically aimed toward. I don’t understand it either. I don’t understand why anyone has had to fight for equal rights. We’re all human, we all deserve the same rights. Period. I can’t imagine hating someone I don’t even know for their race or ethnicity or religion or sexuality or whatever else people want to discriminate against. It doesn’t make any fucking sense! I think you hit the nail on the head though: we don’t live in a rational, compassionate, caring world. We live in a world full of fear and hate and ignorance, and with social media we now have the ability to spread that far and wide. But some of us do care, and some of us are willing to speak out against discrimination and to do what we can to make our world equal. It’s just that the haters seem to always be louder…

    [Reply]

    Posted 14 Jun 2016 at 10:12 am
  2. Amy wrote:

    Ooh, I really want one of those notebooks!

    Is the Harry Potter part of Universal Studios all right? I know at least one of the people killed worked there, and there’s a Slytherin still in the ICU last I saw as well. :( But I love the idea of dressing the boys up to go to Diagon Alley…

    Though, have we had the who is in what House debate? I mean Z is obviously Slytherin, but I’m not sure about the rest of them.

    [Reply]

    daron Reply:

    I think there was a debate about which Hogwarts Houses we’d each be in a while back but I can’t remember if it was here or on my Facebook page or what… FWIW I think I’m Gryffindor, Ziggy is Slytherin, Bart is Ravenclaw, and Chris is Hufflepuff?

    I’ll add Universal Orlando to the notes up top. Sure why the hell not. ctan’s a huuuuge Potter nut.

    [Reply]

    Amy Reply:

    I accept those designations, because they really do fit. Perhaps I can give someone Mickey ears to show where they went before they went to Potterlandia. ;)

    [Reply]

    s Reply:

    Idk about Chris as Hufflepuff. I remember Colin the sherpa being Hufflepuff because he was so loyal to you. Not sure where I’d put Chris…

    [Reply]

    daron Reply:

    Colin could be Hufflepuff also, although I think he’s got a Gryffindor saving-people streak, too.

    [Reply]

    Posted 14 Jun 2016 at 2:04 pm
  3. G wrote:

    I’m in Costa Rica right now, so internet connection is spotty and I’ve just seen the news about Christina Grimmie and Orlando.

    I have the “stripped” version of her song Find Me – it’s another one that I think of Daron and Ziggy when I listen.

    It’s unfortunate that I saw a story in which some of the media outlets are trying to swing the Orlando tragedy as religious terrorism. I’m not sure why they can’t see it for what it really was. I was watching it in Spanish and a bunch of us were gleaning what we could, so are we seeing that correctly? Or is it generally seen as a hate crime, or a closeted or homophobic man taking out his frustration or anger?

    And I agree with the Harry Potter houses. I’m having a hard time figuring out mine. I

    [Reply]

    s Reply:

    I’ve seen several different theories. He was mentally ill and had a history of violence, had been investigated by the FBI a couple of times, connected to ISIS, religious hate crime. You name it. I don’t think they’ve established a ‘reason’ yet.

    FWIW, there are several websites that will sort you into a Hogwarts house. Pottermore is a popular one, but there are others. I’m a Ravenclaw :)

    [Reply]

    ctan Reply:

    It’s all those things. Guys who were in the police academy with him thought he was gay and one of them apparently turned him down for a date. Meanwhile one of his current co-workers as a security guard requested a transfer because he was afraid of how the guy was violent and would get suddenly touched off by certain subjects, particularly women and gays. He beat his wife who divorced him after four months because of how unstable he was and her parents practically had to forcibly rescue her from him. He wasn’t trained by ISIS, they’re merely a magnet for a lot of marginalized yet masculine-entitled nutjobs like Omar Mateen.

    [Reply]

    Posted 15 Jun 2016 at 12:46 pm

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