“It’d be great if it had a piano.”
Carynne looked up from the piece of paper on her desk she had been taking notes on. “Why?”
“I’ve heard it’s good for hand injury rehab,” I said. I was lying and I had no idea why. I guess because I didn’t want to have to try to explain Priss’s hymns and why I was practicing them? “I can always bring over the DX-7 if necessary.”
“Or we could get you one of those Korgs that is weighted like a real piano keyboard,” she said, making notes again, and taking everything I said very seriously.
Her office walls were decorated with framed photos and articles and posters, almost all of Moondog 3. I felt a little like I was in a museum to a lost tribe. “Are you okay with this? You haven’t said.”
She looked up again and I remembered that phrase I’d used for Priss and Linn, lion-toothed women. Would Carynne be one of them when she got older? She let me sweat for a second before she said, “Honestly, I think it’s a good idea. New York is a mess. Mental health services here are overtaxed. Ziggy’ll be the first to tell you that. And that’s even if money is no object.” Her gaze remained level.
“But? I feel like another shoe is going to drop.”
“But just be aware that moving is always a big mental stress. Any kind of relocation. They say even if you’re happy about moving, it’s a shock to the system equal to having a family member die.”
I wondered vaguely how Digger’s liver was doing. I was staring at the frame on the wall that held a black 1989 tour T-shirt autographed in gold and silver Sharpies by the band and crew. “That might explain a lot about why it’s so hard to stay sane on tour.”
“Oh, jeez, I don’t think it applies to–” She stopped herself and thought for a minute. “Yeah, maybe.”
I sat down in one of the chairs under the framed shirt. “How long do you think I should take to do this?”
“Do what? Rehab and recover? Daron, honestly, take as long as it takes.”
“I’m just…” I tried not to look at the photo of us getting the gold record at the BNC offices in Hollywood. “I know if I’m not earning, neither are you.”
“Hey.” She snapped her fingers. “Look at me. The whole point of joining up with the agency is I’m on a salary here. I’ll be fine. Besides, I’ve still got plenty of paperwork of yours to manage in the meantime.”
Plus maybe she could concentrate on getting some other artists onto her roster if she wasn’t busy with me. I knew it was already an unusual arrangement that she and Barrett had both come on tour to South America, but she had strong skills in road management as well as injured-Daron management—and Barrett hadn’t hesitated to use them when building the entourage.
The phone rang. She picked it up. “Carynne Handley.” Then she frowned and hung up. “Second time today that’s happened. I swear they hear a woman’s voice and panic or something.”
“Isn’t the agency receptionist a woman?”
“Yes, but my number probably belonged to some guy before.” She shrugged. “Some wannabe out there thinks his ticket to the top is impressing some guy with the size of his dick.” She made the universal wank sign.
“Were we always this jaded?”
“God, yes,” she said firmly. “At least, I think I was.”
I still hadn’t told her what I’d told Ziggy, and if I was serious about what I said and not just using it as an emotional bludgeon on him, I needed to tell her, too. “I know it’s early to be talking about what I’m going to do after I get my chops back.”
“Yes, it is.” She put down her pen and gave me all her attention. I guess she could tell from the tone of my voice I was trying to say something important.
“I don’t want to do that again.” Be more specific, Daron. “I mean, a good-paying gig is a good-paying gig. But if Michael Jackson comes calling for a guitar-playing music director, or just a guitar player for that matter, tell him I’m not available.”
She seemed to be waiting for me to say more. So I did.
“I want to do more with alternative rock. Or, to be clear, I want to do more of what I want to do, and if the industry calls that alternative rock, then I guess that’s what I want to do. I mean, think about those punk bands we saw that time in San Francisco.” Not even a year ago.
“Not one of them has signed to a major label.”
“Because they suck or because the major labels are ignoring them? Why the fuck is everyone so down on alternative? I hear everyone bitching about how ticket sales are down and no one’s going to arenas”–in North America, anyway–“anymore. Except you know what sold out? Lollapalooza.”
“You’re preaching to the choir here, D. But if radio won’t play it, alternative rock is dead.”
“Then it’s my job to carry the torch for it.”
“Your job is to get healthy,” she reminded me. “Okay?”
Grumble grumble. “Okay.”
“And call Sarah, will you? She’s in town.”
“I’m not sure if I’m up to being social.”
“I’m sure she’d be happy to eat pizza in her pajamas with you.”
Lion-toothed women. I’m telling you.
(Another power-pop hit from 1991. Martika had a bunch of them. She seems to be pretty much forgotten now? -d)