(Site news: The adults-only bonus scene with Colin and Ziggy is finally done! Sorry it took so long, but it came out about three times the length of the usual bonus scenes. Unlike Daron, Colin isn’t repressed, so he gives a lot of details, I guess..? If you were supposed to get it but didn’t, drop me an email and I’ll send it again! And if you didn’t make a donation but you want the scene, it’s not too late. Just drop a tip in the jar now and make sure you ask for Bonus Scene #5…)
Don’t ask me why, but I glued myself to Ziggy then. If he was annoyed by this he didn’t say so. He seemed fine–a little tired, but he’d been coherent and pretty much his usual self during the press conference. So why was I so worried about him? I don’t know. I guess I was worried it wouldn’t last. It was a long walk from where the press confab was to our dressing room.
“You want to rehearse a little of the random stuff for tomorrow?” I asked him as we walked.
“I think I better save my voice for tonight,” he said, his eyes scanning the various venue employees we passed. “Why don’t you give Colin a guitar lesson, though? Then you can play through some stuff.”
“Huh.” That was a bit of an odd idea, since if I was playing with Colin I wasn’t really going to fly through some new things, but whatever. I followed him to the catering table. “Are you feeling okay?”
He sniffed at the selection and didn’t take anything. “I’ll live, Daron. I’ll live.”
“Okay. I’m just, you know, being a worry wart like usual. Sorry.”
He took my hand and patted it. “I appreciate your concern, but I’m very properly medicated right now.”
“Oh.” He barely seemed like it, compared to how he would’ve been a few weeks earlier, when he would have been wide-eyed and dreamy on half a painkiller.
Well, I’d begged him to do whatever it took to be himself tonight. If this was what worked, I guess I couldn’t argue. He ducked past Antonio into our dressing room then.
Our dressing room was the hardest one to get to, which I think was nominally to help our security and privacy. If I’d thought the LA show and the Garden State Arts Center had a lot of industry people hanging around, this was like a music business convention. I took a plate of coldcuts from the spread and followed him.
The whole band was there, Antonio wasn’t letting anyone else in, and I relaxed a little. None of us seemed all that eager to schmooze right now.
I sat next to Chris. “So how are you? You’re the only one who didn’t have some kind of a flip-out today, far as I know.”
He gave a little laugh. “Yeah, well. Lacey’s been keeping me busy.”
“She seems nice. I mean, she was actually nice to me,” I said. “I think I was expecting a supermodel to be more… um…”
“Yeah, that’s the word,” I agreed.
“I know what you mean. It’s why she and I get along so great. She’s not like that at all. And it’s what she likes about me, too.”
“You’re down to earth?”
“It’s what I like about you, too, Chris.” I didn’t add: which is why it seemed so weird when you were the one freaking out. “Hey, are your folks coming to see the show in Mass.?”
“Eh. Not sure. I know two of my cousins are coming. Not sure about my old man.” He took a swallow from the bottle of water in his hand. “That was funny when Bart’s parents showed up today.”
Bart looked up from the magazine he was reading. “What was funny?”
“Your parents,” I said.
“I should’ve warned you,” he said. “Honestly, I wasn’t totally sure they were going to show up.”
“They don’t approve?” Chris asked.
“They’re starting to come around, I think.”
The salami tasted off so I quit eating it. “What can they complain about? You’re one of the few successful musicians out there.”
“Well, you know, they’re weird. On the one hand, my father did my tax return and was impressed by the money. On the other hand, his whole shtick was that he wanted me to do something prestigious where money wouldn’t matter. You know, it’s not like bassoon players make really big bucks, and symphonies are constantly scrambling for funding, but he would’ve happily supported me if I did something, you know, respectable.”
“And rock and roll ain’t exactly respectable,” Christian said.
“Exactly. Except that now that we’re actually getting some prestige points, i.e. we’re playing places like the Garden, which they and their friends have actually heard of, well, like I said. They’re coming around.” Bart shrugged. “It’s a little weird to think of them bragging about me to their friends, after I spent so much time trying to be the black sheep. But I guess I don’t really do that anymore, either.”
Chris clucked his tongue. “Whereas my old man still, deep down, thinks I’d be better off digging ditches or painting houses for a living. Because that’s real work. He’s sure this music thing is going to dry up any day. I told him, fine, if it does, I’ll start painting houses. But you know, I’ve been supporting myself for almost ten years. He still thinks I’m a bum for doing it, but the fame thing, that’s got him thinking about it a little differently, too.”
Bart perked up suddenly. “What about you, Zig? Didn’t we travel anywhere near your folks?”
Ziggy was touching up his makeup using a handheld mirror. He looked up. “My mother’s here in New York,” he said.
“Did you invite her to the show?” Bart’s voice slid from curious to cautious though, as he must’ve started to wonder why Ziggy hadn’t brought her up before.
“Um, I did, but I don’t know if she can make it,” Ziggy said quietly. “She’s… not in the best of health.”
I saw Bart make a silent “oh” with his mouth.
I wanted to say something, but I didn’t know what. Ziggy stood up then and I stood at the same time. He waved at me in annoyance. “I’m fine. I can make it to the men’s room and back without an escort, you know.”
He swept past Antonio and I sat back down.
“Sorry I asked,” Bart said, his round cheeks pink.
“I had no idea,” I said. “He’d told me she moved here with him when he was a teenager but he never said where she was now.”
“Does he have brothers or sisters?” Bart asked.
“You know, he told me once he had brothers, but he’s never mentioned them again.” The stories of Ziggy’s youth he had told always made him sound like an only child. I was disconcerted by how easily it seemed he could still lie to me, as if having an easy conversation were more important than the content of the conversation.
Carynne came to check on us. She then sent Tony to the men’s room to make sure Ziggy hadn’t fallen in, and she watched the door until he came back, Ziggy in tow.
“Let’s do our vocal warm-ups,” he said, flat and emotionless.
Instead of going back to the men’s room, we did it there in the dressing room, and Bart and Chris joined in, like they probably should have been all along. Each chord I struck on the Ovation rang like a bell, and then our monk-like chants would follow.
It was a notable moment of band togetherness. The fact that it was notable made me think I ought to work harder to keep our group spirit up next time we hit the road. Then again, where togetherness mattered the most was on the stage, right? At a minimum, maybe. I didn’t want the members of my band to be my employees or my co-workers, though. They were my family. And I don’t mean they were “like” my family. They were my family.
Was it fixed between me and Chris? It was patched, at least, like a tire, enough to get us home, I hoped, without another blowout.
Was it fixed between me and Ziggy?
Not really, no. But I felt… like at least when it came to the band, we had the same goals. And that was something. A very important something.
Sometimes I hated the time right before the show, that hour or two when there’s nothing to do except wait for the time to go on stage. But tonight I liked that the only thing I really had to think about was the show. Anything else would have to wait. The charity show tomorrow, Mills, European dates, drug rehab, house renovation, press… that was all for some other time. Right now, there was only one thing on my mind: Madison Fucking Garden.