264. Cuts You Up

(Kickstarter status: 53% funded! 16 days to go! We just have to keep up this pace and we’ll make it! http://kck.st/IlE7Bi)

Carynne. Oh my god, good old Carynne. She sat down with me in the first row of seats and went over every mother-loving detail I asked about. Come to think of it, it was a good time for us to check in about all kinds of show stuff, even if I had an ulterior motive.

I tempered my questions about various details with inquiries as to her opinion on things, which kept her talking and kept it from seeming like I was second-guessing her. What was going to be our best venue? Which show was likely to pull top gross? Did we need to know anything special about Canada? Et cetera.

Sometimes I am a really good bullshitter.

She didn’t have a lot else to do just then, either. The luxury of playing two shows in a row in the same place.

“It’s almost weird,” I said. “One and done feels so normal now. Two nights same stage… I’m going to be having deja vu all over again.”

“Don’t get too used to it,” she joked.

“Hah. So how much media is lined up tomorrow?”

“Not that much, actually,” she said. “You knocked off just about everyone today. Ziggy’s got one TV spot to do, and we should be checked out of the hotel by noon anyway. With traffic, figure three hours to get to San Diego…” She trailed off, as her eyes met someone coming from behind me.

I turned to see Mills. I almost didn’t recognize him not in a suit. He was wearing a polo shirt and slacks and had a sweater tied around his shoulders like he’d just walked out of the J. Crew catalog. California-style, I guess. I stood up and shook his hand. He and Carynne gave each other little chin-nods like they’d already talked, which they probably had.

“Everything going good?” he asked me. His hair was thinning on top, making the gel-stiffened waves look even stiffer.

“From my end, yeah,” I said.

He slapped me on the shoulder with a knowing smile. “Dodged a bullet the other night though, you know that.”

“You mean with Lacey?”

He nodded. “We’re going to throw you guys a going away party tonight, too. A couple of other BNC artists may pass through. Actually, a couple of non-BNC guys, too.”

“Cool.” I wondered if he would tell me who, or if he was waiting for me to ask. I settled on, “Anyone I know?”

“By name, at least,” he said with a wink. Okay, so he wasn’t going to tell me. Or maybe he just wasn’t going to get me too excited. “A couple of them are putting up tracks for a soundtrack album for your friend, there.”

If I haven’t made it clear before, I hate the way these guys talk. “Your friend.” He either meant Ziggy or Digger, and why couldn’t he just come out and either say their names or say who they were? Like it was some kind of unspeakable thing. Like a dirty secret. I had enough actual dirty secrets, I didn’t need more innuendo in my life.

“The film isn’t scored already?” is what my brain thought to say.

“Oh, it is, but this is the new thing, orchestral score is one album, soundtrack of pop songs used in the film is another. Fantastic market synergy.”

Synergy was one of those words Digger used a lot. “Ah, I get it. Instead of just one ‘theme song,’ yeah, that makes sense. How come it wasn’t always done this way?”

“You want to know the truth? Artists were too greedy and studios were too cheap. The artists wanted way too much to get them to ‘sell out’ like that, they all wanted to get paid was the theme song would get, and that just wasn’t going to happen when the studios were trying to get away with not paying for anything at all.”

“Huh. What changed?”

“Well, for one thing, the studios and the record companies are owned by the same media conglomerates now, so cooperation isn’t just encouraged, it’s practically mandated,” Mills said. “But it’s good for everyone. Everyone makes a little more money–at least on the music side we do–and you get exposure to an audience who might pass you over in the album section. It’s win-win.”

“I like winning.”

“Do you like it enough to cut a new song on your day off in New Orleans?”

“I take it you’ve already discussed this in some detail, then,” I said. If he knew our schedule that well, that is.

He chuckled and slapped me on the arm again like I should lighten up. “There’s a good studio there will take you, and I hear tell you’ve got a lot of new songs in the works.”

“That is true,” I said.

“If you’re open to the idea, I’ll pursue it with Digger a little more. If you’re not sure, we might just kidnap your singer for a day and have him lay down a solo track with some studio musicians.”

I rubbed my eyebrows. Shouldn’t this all have been figured out months ago? Maybe not. I didn’t know how the movie business worked, and knowing Digger the rules probably changed as often as his underwear. “I’m open to it,” I said. At least, I liked the idea of getting the band into a studio better than the idea of Ziggy going in without us. As in: over my dead body was he going to cut a solo track with backing musicians.

In fact, the entire conversation put me in the mood to work on a new song, the whole “your friend” thing, how two nice words, normal words, can just mean the shittiest thing. One of those songs that starts out like it’s going to be a nice song… but then isn’t. I sat on the floor of the green room with a guitar and my notebook on a milkcrate and no one bothered me.

So remember how I thought everything would be the same, since we were playing the same place two nights in a row? I was wrong. This crowd was way more lively than the previous night, much more fun, and Ziggy was on fire, and so was I in that I don’t even remember half of what went on. Which was probably because I wasn’t worrying about where everything was or the new venue, I just let everything go on autopilot, but the crazy-good kind of autopilot, not the boring kind.

I forgot all about Mills and the party, and soundtracks, and Digger, and Colin, and it was just me and Ziggy up there turning the air around us into fire, basically.

After we took our final bows and came off stage, he had his arm around my shoulders like it was the most natural thing in the world.

But maybe it was. He was touchy feely to everyone for a while there, a pair of women Petey introduced him to included. I lost track of them before we got back to the hotel.

I took a shower and changed my clothes, blowing my hair partly dry for the sake of being somewhat presentable, and went up to the party.

I met a lot of people. Remo introduced me to some of his soundtrack contacts. Paul Simon was there. (Paul Fucking Simon!) He wasn’t on BNC as far as I knew but I guess that was the place to be that night. Bart told me later that Michael Keaton had been there, too. I tried to be nice to everyone. I tried to remember some names. That might have succeeded better if I hadn’t ended up in a side room later, after having drunk too much champagne, smoking something that seemed mild enough but I think was laced with something.

How else do you explain that I woke up from a nightmare, in my bed alone later? Nightmare isn’t the right word, but I sat bolt upright in bed, the way I would if I were terrified, except I wasn’t afraid, just deeply startled by the image burned into my brain. It was of Ziggy, on an album cover, looking straight into the camera, and therefore straight into my eyes, reaching for me with his hands looking like some pale alien space orchid, and his face and body painted with streaks of black and white almost like clouds in a moonlit sky, with rhinestones and bits of glitter on his skin shining like his whole body was the Milky Way.

Maybe I was terrified, actually. Because I could see it so clearly. Only a solo album would have a cover like that. My heart hammered like it had happened already, like I’d already lost him, like I had to remind myself it was only a dream.

But it seemed so real.

(Kickstarter update: We are just past the halfway point in the campaign calendar, and also just past 53% funded! With 16 days to go, if we keep up the pace of funding, we should make it. I’m still chewing my nails a little, but if folks keep spreading the word, we’ll get there: http://kck.st/IlE7Bi).

Meanwhile, I posted some song lyrics and such over at the Kickstarter update page, and if you are a donor, you can even leave comments over there. So go check out the words to “One Two Three”: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1458565937/darons-guitar-chronicles-omnibus-book/posts


  • Oh wow. This is a whole new level of artist-specific relationship angst. “You’re cheating on me with other musicians.” “Do we have an open relationship with studio muscians?” 8o

    • ctan says:

      And one which didn’t even occur to Daron before. But you can bet Ziggy’s already thought about it.

      • I hadn’t even thought of it! But wow, you can betray your partner creatively too. I should have thought of that. What an excellent and believable twist…!

        • ctan says:

          I’m amused that Daron’s far more consciously shaken by the idea of Ziggy playing with someone else than he is by him sleeping around, as well.

  • steve says:

    Oof: and I’m “caught up.” Which I’ve been looking forward to and dreading in approximately equal measure. More waiting now, but more sleeping, too.

    Cecilia, thank you, this is awesome. You ripped me away from Umberto Eco, you know.

  • cayra says:

    *gives Daron a hug* I don’t think Ziggy would break away from the band that easily.

  • Yvonne says:

    Glad to see you and Ziggy still got it. He may have thought of making a solo album but I can’t see him leaving you and the band you are too good together.

  • s says:

    My first thought was to tease you about marking your territory, but then the dream…I wouldn’t worry to much about it. He wants YOU, you know.

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