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Thread: Rock and Roll Will Live On

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    Rock and Roll Will Live On

    I didn't get much sleep. We already went a whole weekend carefully recording without breaks. We wanted a high quality sound and we were ambitious. Thorough care was necessary and that required hours on each part as we tinkered with the sound. The repetition would get absurd and although we used a lot of tape we were cocksure that the song was going to catapult us into success.

    I was really on my wits end and I yearned to get out of the studio. I drummed my fingers on my notebook as I listened to Richard sing the last line of the song. Richard already sung the line a dozen times. His patience was as thin as mine. When we were done with that take I said over the intercom, "There were faint inflections on that one Richard. Let's roll the tape one final time then we'll call it done."

    Richard replied, "Yeah, like, let's make it quick."

    I pressed play on the music track then counted him in, "one and two and" on a silent three I pressed record on the tape and he came in with his vocals on a silent four. A red lit up sign on the recording room wall behind him said, "RECORDING". Richard sang his line. I let the music play a few seconds before I pressed stop. Richard took his headphones off then did a thumb up at me. I turned on the intercom again and said, "Tapes rolling. Got some last words?" Richard yelled into the microphone, "Girl dancing on a pole gonna liquefy my soul! Checkity check check ch-ch-ch-ch-check it!" He made a thumb down signal and I pressed stop on the recording. I said through the intercom, "Finish!"

    Richard was soon with me in the production room. I was unloading the tape reel. He said, "How much tape we got left?"

    I said, "Three full reels and I guess around two reels worth of leftover ends."

    He said, "Wow, we used a lot of tape on one song. Sorting through all of that's gonna get tedious."

    I said, "Take a look." A lockbox was on a chair next to me. I lifted the lid on the lockbox and carefully laid the last tape reel inside. "Reel nine. Richard's VOX. September 24th, 2016." I said aloud as I wrote on the ID sticker of the reel. I closed the lid on the lockbox then stretched, yawning. I said, "I'm going to call Shannon and Eugene tomorrow and we'll decide on when we'll put this thing together. I was thinking Wednesday, in two days. I need to get some sleep. My brain is on fry and I'm gonna burst a circuit if I don't get some quiet time."

    "Yeah I can tell." Richard said. "You got that look like maniac style." He spun his keys on a finger for a few seconds then caught them in his hand. He pointed and said, "I'm gonna roll out. Let me know ASAP when we're gonna mix this. I'm trying to book us a show at that new club Spazzmatic Soul. If I get us the opening slot on Friday there'll be record execs there and some scouts and who knows who else. It's a high profile gig, a chance of a lifetime that we can't afford to miss. We get this mix done Wednesday like you say then we can demo the song and distribute it at the show. What you think about that?"

    I said, "Rockin'. It's gonna happen. We can't fail."

    He said, "Alright Ted, see ya." Then he was gone in a flash.

    I sat in the studio all alone letting my mind unwind. Eventually I turned the power to the equipment off then got the lockbox off the chair. There was a poster on the door of a girl in a swimsuit. I turned the lights off as I left the studio.

    I signed a paper at the security guard on my way out the main entrance. It was earlier than I thought it was. The sky was pinkish as it was getting close to sunset. My car was an old clunker I bought at a used car lot. Paint flakes were scaling off the hood and there was rust on the trim. I didn't care though. As long as it got me where I was going I wasn't too embarrassed about it. My car sort of was like an exhibition of what I was like in life. Used up, worn out, borderline clunky. Fires right up, ready to go. Although I'm not a car in any sense because I got my own mind and make my own decisions, I could see the resemblance visually.

    I put the lockbox on the rear seat and got in the driver's seat. I turned the ignition key and let the engine warm itself up. I turned on the radio. Hard rock.

    - - - - - - -

    Tanya Henderson was Richard Franklin's girlfriend. She worked as a press agent at a movie production headquarters. She had an inside look at the entertainment machine and although she was a young 25 years old and inexperienced within the industry she was clever and a savvy decision maker. She let her intuitions guide her and usually made things happen. Her bosses got to liking her a lot, often listening to her suggestions. A close friend of hers named Cynthia Leferidge worked at a record label and they often talked about their jobs with each other.

    Cynthia told Tanya about the Steel Imposter show at the Spazzmatic Soul club, saying, "All the local wigs'll show up. Everyone thinks Steel Imposter is going to land a fat contract. Scouts for non-local labels will be buzzing around trying to get their hands on bands with radio sounds. The scene is really happening. There's high expectations."

    "Is there a full lineup?" Asked Tanya.

    Cynthia replied, "There isn't an opener yet. It's Steel Imposter headlining with A Supertest Gnup supporting. They want to round it all out and get another band on stage."

    "Those are unimpressive rockband names." Said Tanya, "They should come up with something on the serious side. Something like my boyfriend's band."

    Cynthia asked, "What's your boyfriend's band's name?"

    Tanya replied, "Rocket Fuel."

    "That's a good name, I wonder if it's already taken." Said Cynthia.

    "I don't know, but they got a beat and I'm the singer's girlfriend. They don't got a lot of songs. I think they're great. You should see them play." Said Tanya.

    - - - - - - -

    I was worn and drained. When I got to my house I went right to bed and slept 20 hours. When I awoke I cleaned myself up and got myself dressed. I called Shannon Mackee, bassist for our band. She was getting a manicure at a salon.

    I said, "Shannon, how are ya doin'?"

    Shannon replied, "Perfect, what about you, Ted?"

    I said, "Out of it. So hey Shannon, you want to get this song mixed tomorrow? Bill Honey said his studio was available this week. Richard's getting us a real important gig at Spazzmatic Soul on Friday. We mix it now then we can distribute it at the show. What you think?"

    Shannon replied, "That's alright with me. I'm all out of plans this week. When did you finally finish with Richard?"

    "Last night." I said.

    She said, "Oh really, Richard must've been messing up all over."

    I said, "Yes and no. I was getting obsessed with it so we did a lot of extra takes. We also tried a few variations. You'll see what I'm saying when we finally get it done. I was so damn tired I was out like a rock when I got to bed. I woke up like an hour ago."

    Shannon replied, "Okay, when should I show up at Bill's?"

    I said, "10am. It's gonna take all day and it's gonna sound ten times greater than our demo. That's a promise. If anything changes I will call you."

    She said, "Okay, bye."

    "Bye." I said then hung up.

    - - - - - - -

    Richard was always on an adventure. He wasn't one to sit around much. So when the band's manager Luther Bradshaw called him to do an interview he was bummed that his activities were interrupted.

    "They're gonna call you in ten minutes Richard." Said Luther, "So make sure you're somewhere silent and don't get testy. We don't want you to make any wrong impressions. It might make a magazine. Got it?"

    "Yeah, got it." Said Richard.

    "Okay. Now call me when you're done." Said Luther.

    "You're the boss." Said Richard.

    "And hey, try not to cuss, okay?" Said Luther.

    "Yep." Said Richard.

    - - - - - - -

    Ten minutes passed then Richard got the call. He answered with, "Richard Franklin speaking."

    "Hello Richard. Denny Senchom here with Rock Magnet Magazine. How are you?"

    "Good." Said Richard.

    "Nice to hear that." Said Denny, "Now I'm going to ask you some questions about your rock band Rocket Fuel. This shouldn't take that much time. You ready?"

    "Shoot." Said Richard.

    "Rocket Fuel was started about a year ago, am I right?" Asked Denny.

    "Yes." Replied Richard, "Our first rehearsal as a four piece was in January of this year. We wrote and recorded a demo this Summer and now we're in the studio producing our first single "Rockin' the Hotties."

    "Whose song idea was that?" Asked Denny.

    "That was mine. We all wrote lyrics on it." Replied Richard.

    "So how does that work with a female bassist? What hotties are you gonna rock?" Asked Denny.

    "We worked that all out in the way we play the song. Shannon does her own small vocal part. You'll need to hear the song to get it." Said Richard.

    "Are you going to record a music video?" Asked Denny.

    "I don't know. I'd like to record one but we don't got immediate plans for one right now. It's a great song. It rocks, it's bouncy, it's got uplifting attitudes. You'll like it." Said Richard.

    "Now I want to ask you about before Rocket Fuel. You were living a real tough lifestyle and you almost didn't make it. Can you tell me about that?" Asked Denny.

    "Oh yeah sure. Those were tough times. There was more than I could chew and ironically I wasn't interested in biting. It was like being forcefed but that's all over with now. Ain't a thing I want to ever go through again. That side of life won't ever happen anymore." Said Richard.

    "You pissed a lot of people off in the entertainment business. How'd you manage that? Where do you stand in relation to those superstars that revile you now?" Asked Denny.

    "You know. It was real deep and goes way back before I even learned how to sing. It's really elaborate and I can't really go into detail. I'm not really interested much in bringing much of it out in discussion either. I should say something about those years of my life because it sends a message to those people. Thing is, they started it. I fought back. It was one person, me, versus hundreds of them. When the long fight was done and finally they quit their media assault on me I was left to look like a rotten dummy. So when the new people who learned about me could only see the end result of a very long and a very unfair triathlon of asinine foolishness I got to look like the bitter fool and they got to act like they don't know what happened. It's all done now and I can't really get on dwelling about it so I'd like to go forward in life and get on with the show. I really don't want to talk about it again. That's how it is." Said Richard.

    "You got anything to say about this new chapter in your life?" Asked Denny.

    "You know," Said Richard, "Life can't always go the way you want so you got to get along with what there is right now. You might think that ain't much but that's all you got. So you shouldn't get discouraged. You should work hard and steady then one day you'll get it."

    "Do you got a philosophy about the entertainment industry or any words of wisdom?" Asked Denny.

    "You could own your own square. Your square might not be much but on the other side you would be a small element in someone else's square. Their square might be awesome, but it's not your square. So, make your choice." Said Richard.

    "Makes sense." Said Denny, "Rocket Fuel has gotten a lot of praise from fans. You've played about a dozen shows since your demo was recorded. What's your live show like?"

    "You know I think we got some good attention with rock fans. We play a small setlist but we're writing new songs. Our show is a work-in-progress. We want to do a lot more with the visuals, really put on a full show. My voice is higher than most singers in bands we've played with so with that we stand out and our music sounds different, definitely different." Said Richard.

    "What would you say about your first record? You got any idea when recording that will happen?" Asked Denny.

    "Not really." Answered Richard, "I'd like to think we will get done with our first record in early 2017. We should have more songs written than would fit on one album at that time so I think we'll get more liberty to play around with tracklist ideas. I like that approach as opposed to recording exactly when we get a full album of tunes written. We aren't pushed with the number of songs or the length of the recording that way, so we could focus on songwriting."

    "What do other bands say about you, are they easy to get along with?" Asked Denny.

    Richard replied, "Other bands sort of distance themselves and there's some competition. It's really the other opening acts who we meet. Altogether I say there's really not much hanging out with other bands right now. Maybe we can change that when our audience grows."

    "What do you think of the movies, Richard?" Asked Denny.

    Richard sighed deeply and paused a few seconds. He said, "It was like when I was a kid I thought movies were great. These days it's like I don't want to see movies anymore. I guess some people change."

    Denny said, "Do you got any passions outside of rock and roll? Are there other things you'd like to try out?"

    Richard replied, "Yes. Besides traveling the world with Rocket Fuel I would love collecting liquor bottles and shot glasses!" Richard laughed, "That's about all there is to me."

    Denny said, "Thank you for your time. It's been awesome talking with you and getting to know about Rocket Fuel. Take care."

    "You do the same. Take care." Replied Richard.

    - - - - - - -

    It was Wednesday around noon at Bill Honey's studio. The whole band was there at the mixing board along with our manager, Luther. Richard's gig went through and we were headstrong about getting an impressive sounding song ready for the show. Bill Honey was my drum teacher for a few months when I first started playing. I went on to teach myself and told myself "no more lessons." A lot of rock musicians are the same way.

    Bill's studio was nearly as good as any expensive record label studio. His rental rates were much cheaper so we invested together as a band out of our own savings on renting it.

    Luther was annoyed with Richard landing us a high profile gig but we were all happy about our chances to get on stage with record execs in the audience.

    In the studio at the mixing board Shannon smoothly took over a lot of the decision making. We all thought our song sounded great no matter what mix we used because all the parts worked together so nicely. When we were done and satisfied with our sound we thought it sounded a lot like a standard radio mix. Our demo was crude and raw. The difference was noticeable when the demo and single were played back to back.

    We all took a copy on disc and planned rehearsals for our Spazzmatic Soul gig on Thursday. Luther took our lockbox of tapes for safekeeping and told us he would see us at our show.

    - - - - - - -

    Spazzmatic Soul was everything you'd want in a rock club. Bar, stage, tables, patrons wearing their rocker gear, tee shirts and jeans, leather jackets. The crowd was ready and wanted to rock hard.

    Luther reserved us a table and he held it while we distributed our single, giving anyone who would accept their own copy. When it was time for us to get on stage the crowd was cheering. They didn't care what band it was, it was good times. They weren't ready though to get rocked so hard when we got on stage.

    Our setlist was short with our new single leading off the show. We ended with a cover song and the crowd went crazy. We were ecstatic over our reception and at that time it was the best show we ever played. We all walked off stage feeling electrified. I'll never forget it.

    And that's what landed us the record deal. It wasn't our demo. It was the show. We joined Luther at our reserved table and watched the supporting act who called themselves A Supertest Gnup. "What is a Gnup?" Luther asked. We couldn't say.

    They were a tight band with a big sound and played a longer setlist than us. We thought we rocked harder though. When the supporting act left the stage the crowd was still wound up. That's when one of the record execs approached our table and said, "I'd like to talk business with you boys."

    The headliner was great but we got the deal.
    Last edited by New Secret; 06-30-2016 at 01:05 PM. Reason: error correcting

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