Next up is band-founder, song-writer, and leader, guitarist Jack.
Before forming the band Sound Unltd, he led the street gang that some of those band members helped him lead as well. While both he and singer Erik lived in great poverty as children, Jack’s own father was abusive, beating his young son over the head with a Bible! Of all the band members, Jack thus hated religion the most. In a snippet also revealing the abuse, he himself dishes out another form of abuse, but not with a Bible. Yet, having to be the leader of the band and make sure any disagreements within the band are solved, Jack does manage to keep his wits about himself for the most part. He does occasionally take part in ‘verbal judo’ with is adoptive father, Billy, the band’s original manager. As with the singer and others in the group, he, too, is a sex hound of sorts, and does over-do on opium-laced drugs at times.
“The tall, angular-faced guitarist possessed dirty-blond hair now growing on once-shaved sides of his head. Now without the screaming instrument he fired into immortality.”
The first snippet comes from Chapter Eight of The Prodigal Band. After a miraculous ending to a live performance back home in Walltown at the large park there during a music festival in July, 2000, former manager and adoptive father Billy meets with Jack backstage as the band is getting ready to resume a tour in Europe later that week. Billy meets Jack behind the band’s tour bus, having sensed what likely happened during that miraculous ending–something spiritual. That’s because Billy had attended a band meeting at the same park near the angelic Tooters statue where the band members, but not Billy, was given a ‘mission of God’ by a spirit-being known as the ‘witch of the Hovels.’
“Here you go, Jackie boy.” Billy Prestin handed Lubin a King James Bible he just happened to discover when he got back to his warehouse Sunday after the concert, then brought it back behind the stage to the tour van before the six went on to leave for the rest of MonstersRock Europe in a day or so.
They stood behind the van.
He took the Bible, then quizzed Prestin. “So, man, you had a Bible all along? Where you hide it? Under your mattress?” And how does he know I need a Bible—well, soon anyway?
“Well, you did say—that meeting, remember?—you boys were going on some mission, of God if I remember correctly. And then didn’t you tell me that mission would be revealed to you at the gig, right?”
“Oh, come off it, boy!” Taken aback. “Don’t tell me you don’t remember any of that and don’t tell me you boys just stood there in a trance during that note of Erik’s. You don’t need to tell me what happened when that was going on. If you were all to be given a mission, who the bloody hell would give it to you, while you all just stood there, but—now let’s see—The Tooters?”
So if I tell him that’s exactly what happened he’s actually going to believe it? When I can barely believe it myself? “Yeh, if you say so, Billy.”
“Yeh, I say so! Now how many times have you told me you spoke with angels? And whether you want to believe it or not—the mission of God as you and the others call it, I’d say you’re gonna need this here Book to help you with it.”
“So you giving me your Bible.”
“Well, one o’ you boys is gonna have to read the thing, right? And it might as well be the leader of the band. Oh, and, someone who has actually opened it a few times.”
So, like, you already know what my mission is? “Gee, did The Tooters tell you why I’d need the Bible?”
“They didn’t have to,” Billy said, then began to depart from Jack’s presence. But then he turned around. “And whatever you do, don’t hit yourself over the head with it!”
The second snippet–and I will not spoil it by giving all the details–concerns how Jack reacts to finding out, months afterwards, that the woman (Laurie) he had planned to ask to marry him had become pregnant by him, but she never told him when she found that out–she kept it from him while Jack was still on tour in the US, in late 1993. The snippet begins with a revelation to band manager Joe Phillips aboard the band’s private jet. Note: Pearson is Jack’s butler. From Chapter Seven of Battle of the Band—
En route home from America, Jack sat down next to Phillips and informed the manager of his decision to propose to Laurie. “My mind is made up. I want her for my wife.”
“Are you sure she loves you, Jack? She’s into sex, not marriage.”
“It’s in her, man.” Serious eyes. “I can feel it. She’s getting older, and she ain’t gonna be Miss Super Sexy Bod forever. She’s gonna need love. When she needs a man, I’ll be there. She’s been more honest with me, lately.”
“Fine. You trust her now. But are you ready for that kind of commitment? I know your history, Jack. Your abused childhood and that time you beat her up.”
“That’s all in the past, Joe.” Or is it? Lubin lit a cigarette and wondered. How am I gonna ask her to marry me? I haven’t treated her well, have I? All my threats, my rudeness, and that one time I beat on her, right in front of Erik. She probably hasn’t forgiven me for that. How can I convince her I’ll never do those things again? Can she ever believe me? Believe I’d never hurt her?
Contrary to Joe’s beliefs, Laurie had indeed changed. On the way home by car, she told Jack, “I’m through with modeling. Maybe even Laurie Cosmetics.”
“But why, Lau?” Jack spoke tenderly. “Modeling’s so important to you, eh? And don’t give up your cosmetics, babe. I love you for wanting to make it on your own.”
“Why? Because it’ll help us to be together more. To show you I care about you. So I can be with you on tour more often.”
“Don’t give up your cosmetics for me, luv. But I’m glad you’re giving up modeling after the way Morreson’s treated you. And anyway, you’re putting on some weight, eh?” He playfully pinched her growing side inches.
“Weight?” Apprehension. “A little, eh?” For Laurie was afraid to tell Jack the real reason she gave up modeling, the real reason she needed togetherness. She was four months pregnant.
My God! How am I going to tell him? This is not something I can hide. I just know he doesn’t want the baby. But I do! I want someone I’ll always love and will always love me.
“Lau?” What is she thinking?
At that moment she turned around, pinched his flattened, fit tummy skin and played, “Gaining weight, eh?” She laughed. “Yeh, and so is someone else I know.”
Jack took her in his arms. “Oh, babe, I missed you!”
“You did? With all the groupies?”
“Yeh, yeh. But I wanted you all the same. Don’t you know I love you? Now more than ever?”
“Really? You’re not just sweet-talking me?”
“No. I’ve always loved you. But it’s me to blame. I haven’t shown it. I’m the one who screwed up and treated you bad. I’m gonna make it up to you.”
When they got home, the tenderness continued. After love making, Jack turned on the bedroom hot tub so that, as they relaxed, he’d pop the question. He took her hand. “Let’s get in now and feel the water heat up. I got some things we need to talk about.”
She hesitated. “Well, no, Jack. I shouldn’t go in there.”
“Why not, Lau? Hot tub’s your favorite.”
“I can’t.” Her doctor had told her no hot tubbing while pregnant. “I mean, I don’t want to now, okay luv?”
“Okay.” He turned off the tub. “Shoulda said something before, eh? But anything for you. Anything!”
He decided to ring Pearson to bring up some fine rose’. “I know what you need to loosen you up. You’ve been a bit tense all the time, eh?” He picked up the service phone.
“What are you doing?”
“Ringing Pearson to bring up some wine, okay babe? Anything wrong in that?” Jack grew more puzzled as he saw her sitting on the pillows of their bed, naked, biting her lip.
Off the phone, he swooped down upon her. “Look. I know I’ve been an ass at times, but there’s something up, eh? If I’ve screwed up again, tell me.”
The weight of his honest love began to crush her soul. “Nobody screw up.” She looked down at her baby as the words gushed out. “And I wanted to tell you this news when you landed, but—but I thought it would be too much of a shock and how you’d take it and I wanted to ease you into it.” She took a deep breath and blurted, “I’m pregnant, Jack, with your child.”
Hit by lightning, Jack shot away from the bed. “You? Pregnant?” Then he said aside, “Well, that explains the hot tub and the wine, eh?” He turned and looked directly into her baby blue eyes. “You know, I don’t know if I should congratulate you or not. Is it mine, Lau?”
“Yes! It’s definitely yours. I haven’t been with anyone else. It must have happened the weekend of your break in August.”
“When’d you find out?”
“About a month-and-a-half ago, and I woulda told you—”
“I was on break then, too, back here with you. What you do? Sneak off to a doctor?”
“Well, I woulda—”
“What you think I was gonna do? Throw you out because you’re having my kid?” He walked away, disgusted.
“No!” Her voice laced with venom, she yelled, “Knowing you, you’d throw me out because you’d assume I played around and it was someone else’s baby.”
That old feeling of betrayal returned. “So, you saying you don’t trust me. Dammit, Lau, why can’t you trust me?”
She sat straight up and shot an accusing finger. “You never can trust me. You’re always so insanely jealous! You’ve threatened to beat me if I ever leave you again!”
“That’s all in the past.”
In case the reader was wondering, Jack does work out his issues with Laurie quickly. How? Buy The Prodigal Band Trilogy using a link on this bookstore page to find out!
The third snippet displays Jack’s leadership qualities. After being informed by their new manager Joe, son of a banker-oligarch, that a court inquiry–which could have led to their being banned in the UK, their home country, for ‘obscene behavior’ at a concert at a London music hall–had exonerated them, the ban occurred anyway on the orders of Joe’s aristocrat cousin, the Duke of Effingchester. The ban occurred at the end of their 1990 US tour while in Chicago; a gig was scheduled that evening, just days after the exoneration. From Chapter Four of Battle of the Band—
“I don’t want to play tonight.” Jack slumped despondently on a couch backstage in Chicago. Less than twenty-four hours had passed since Sound Unltd was banned in Britain.
Bry put his hand on the guitarist’s shoulder in commiseration. “I don’t think any of us do. I’d like to call the rest of the tour quits, eh? Just screw it!”
A fiery Erik Manning leaped off the bar top where he sat. “Why? Why’d this happen? We were told the hearing judge exonerated us. Joe said his family protected us.” He banged his fist on top of the bar. “This is bullshit! No one’s ever been completely banned before.”
Jack had gotten his bearings. “It’s a load, all right. But Joe said his cousin, the Duke, eh? He wanted us out. He worked against Joe’s side and made sure we got banned. Political debt, he called it.”
“So what the hell we supposed to do? Nothing?”
All eyes focused on Jack. “We forget England exists right now. Like, I figured out last night—while I was playing, eh?—that since we’re already Stateside, we might as well stick around and set up shop here. But not Chicago. New York. It’s getting to be winter, eh?”
“Yeh, yeh.” Erik snickered. “Haven’t you figured out it gets bloody cold in New York? Don’t you think L.A. would be a bit more hospitable?”
A chorus of agreement ensued. “Yeh, man,” Keith emphasized with arms out. “You know, sunshine? Warm weather and hot bitches? LA Hills? You know, Jack, comfort, not cold?”
“Exactly my point. If we’re gonna stay here forever, that’s what I’d do. But we going back when the ban’s over.”
“Oh, really? Why? Aren’t we citizens of the world now?” Tom, resident of sunny Morocco, considered himself one.
“Right, but if we don’t go back and keep on raising hell, it’ll look like they’ve won.”
No one had the strength to argue with that.
Jack continued. “So that’s why we can’t get cozy comfy out in La-la land. That’s why I figured New York. It’s got what we need, but not always what we want. And we want to stay hungry. And Atlantix Records is there. You getting together with them to make a label distribution deal, Mick?”
“Yeh. When we get off this traveling circus. Mr. A hasn’t changed his mind. I got the feeling Hedgely wants to dump our controversial little asses as soon as possible.”
“All the more reason to relocate our families, whatever, to New York. We’ll set up Foray Records there. You’re in charge, Mick. Get us an angry logo. Pipes and chains on it. The Establishment thinks we’re too anti-social to exist, eh? So let’s give the bastards what they expect.”
Bryan, in a desolate mood over blowing his chances to market the synthesizer he and Reggie Lewis were trying to complete, said sincerely, “They probably expect us to not exist. You know, split up over this?”
Jack stood resolute. “Now that’s one thing we won’t do. We won’t give them that much satisfaction.”
The Prodigal Band Trilogy © 2019 by Deborah Lagarde, Battle of the Band © 1996 by Deborah Lagarde, The Prophesied Band © 1998 by Deborah Lagarde and The Prodigal Band © 2018 by Deborah Lagarde. Permission needed to copy any materials off this page.