Sorry this post is late…no internet for 24 hours, went up about 1 p.m. today…
Now that the holidays are about over, next up is Tom, the drummer. Of all the band members, Tom was the most difficult to characterize and has that ‘walking contradiction’ feel. On the one hand he grew up extremely poor, son of indentured servants, in a true slum section called the Hovels; on the other hand, he surrounded himself with jet-setting celebrities and sons and daughters of aristocracy. On the one hand he was a loner of sorts and tended to show up at gigs and band meetings late; on the other hand he could only be himself surrounded by his band mates, their women, or roadies. On the one hand he loved to argue–with his antagonist Mick, but also with his band manager, his woman, a princess, and other friends among the jet-setters; on the other hand he has no truly discordant agenda with the group and seeks no attention within the group. And, when he is bored with his jet-set entourages, he travels the world meeting ‘real’ people (such as Sherpas in Nepal, African tribesmen in Tanzania, and Muslims in Morocco), and loves mountain climbing (but not skiing). One minute he’s an arrogant pretender among those he considers phonies, and the next minute he’s as humble as a celebrity could get. He pretends to ‘channel’ the so-called ‘god’ Corion using one form of ‘persona’ and then meets ‘real’ people and becomes an activist of sorts, and even converses with good spirits. He even paid off all indentured debt in his hometown of Walltown.
Here is his description: “A short, curly-blond percussionist once angered by lost love approached with the others to an unknown destination, glad with a full life behind him.” He is five-foot-six and tends to wear cotton clothing.
The first snippet is from Chapter Three of Battle of the Band and takes place at a party at a fellow rocker’s estate in April, 1989. Tom is surrounded by his entourage made of up fellow celebrities, and shows his penchant for arguing and his disdain for what he considers ‘celebrity phonies’ as they ‘amuse’ him while he tries to discover who is responsible for the indentures on his family and ancestors. Later in the snippet Tom pretends to ‘channel’ a Druidic god named Corion after supposedly clairvoyant pop star Prissy insists that he perform this act.
Tom, once consigned to the background as clairvoyant pop star Prissy Wyatt’s toy boy, had the street sense to develop his own jet-set following which turned enraptured on his every word. Lying against pillows depicting woven dragons, his little entourage surrounded a hookah. They discussed the future of Prissy’s singing career guided by her producer and promoter, Mushroom Paul, son of an MP. With his advice, Tom might as well have been her manager, agent and songwriter.
Prissy inhaled some hashish. “Whatever happens, I swear I won’t make any decisions without consulting Mushroom Paul and Tom. Tom’s sorta my spirit-guide right now. He knows. He knows.”
Peter Slade, a low-level aristocrat and singer with Hot Vinyl, asked, “What kind of music will you do? Raunchy metal? Orchestral? Mystical?”
“None o’ those,” Tom answered in his nasally baritone voice. “All that shit’s on the way out, eh? Prissy’s gonna do what I call honky-tonk. Really, Pris, you have that show-parlor style. You could do a flapper act, eh girl? Tell you what. I’ll even be your drummer, eh? With EpiGram’s permission and all that crap.” The five-foot-six drummer laughed, then took a hookah hose and inhaled.
Paul snickered. “Right. And her songwriter, and her manager, and her limo driver.”
“Yeh, and you could be her bootlicker.”
Paul responded with a cuss. Tom responded with, “Not in this lifetime.”
“Really, you two.” Lady Moira Sedgewick sighed. “Why do you both always have to argue?”
“Tom’s an arguer, that’s why.” Paul whined.
Prissy came to the drummer’s defense with a giddy smile. “Now that’s not true, is it, Tom?”
“That’s what Mick and Bry say. I love to argue. But I feel I have something to say, so I say it.”
Tom saw Prissy gleam at him. He quickly turned away to roll his eyes. She’s such a little nuisance.
Slade said, “You don’t like ol’ Mick, do you?”
“It goes back to when Mick and Bry joined us. Mick acted like I was going to consume his skinny little bod. Like I was a vampire. Little prevert. And get this. He really grimaced when I smiled and said hello to him.”
“Knowing Mick,” Slade said, “he probably would have loved it if you did consume his skinny bod.” Laughs.
“No. I won’t even have lunch with the bastard.”
Tom laughed to himself as he thought about the others lying with him. No sense telling these silly people why I don’t go for that perv shit. They’d never understand. They’ve never been abused, poor, homeless, indentured. Really such stupid little rich kids. So ripe for my plucking. They’ll never guess I’m only using them to find out who indentured my family.
That Prissy, whose tabloid predictions usually came out true, needed a spirit-guide bothered talk-show celebrity Moira. “What I don’t understand, Pris, is why you—a fortune teller—need Tom or anyone else to make your decisions for you.”
“Because my auras and chakras have been so clouded lately. Too much interference from bad angels. I can’t handle it now, and I’ll prove it.”
Lady Sedgewick slapped the floor. “Prissy? Are you saying you can’t be my medium anymore? Please don’t tell me that. Just who the hell am I supposed to get to replace you?”
“I’ll show you who. The spirits that communicated with me will now do so with Tom. Tom’s a channel. He didn’t even know it when I met him last year. Did you know the god Corion speaks through him?”
Slade, a debonair but insecure star who was new to New Age ideas, asked, “Who the hell is Corion?”
Prissy answered. “A god of light born in darkness. The One we call God threw Corion out of Paradise, but then Corion changed his ways and is now a god of light. There’s a tribe in Africa that claims Corion is married to the deity we call The World. He will now speak through Tom when I call him in séance. Isn’t that super?” She looked at everyone. “Now let’s hold hands.”
The crowd surrounding the hookah sat yoga style holding hands in a circle. Prissy went into a trance and called Corion. “God of light born in darkness, speak to us.”
Very quickly, ‘Corion’ answered her through a deeper voice of the conniving drummer. “I am here. Your question, please.”
“You once said there would be world unity and peace in a few years, and all the world’s tuned-in people would follow your chosen minstrels.”
“Could you tell the tuned-in friends here who will be your chosen minstrels?”
With a meditative poker-face, Tom-as-Corion answered, “The band called Sound Unltd.”
An uproar of protest ensued. “Oh, come off it!” Slade yelled. “What sorta crap is that, Pris? Of course he’s gonna say that!”
“Hear me, unbeliever!” Tom-as-Corion bellowed back. “There is no doubt! They will be persecuted next year. But they will afterwards rise up and lead the youth of this planet into an era of—novordopax, nuevopax, tricameron.”
Tom then woke up from his pretended enchantment. “Well, did I? Did Corion speak through me?”
“Yeah,” Slade said with a sneer, “and he said your quintet would be the leaders of the world’s youth into an era of—what the hell is ‘novordopax’ and that other gibberish?”
No one could answer that.
Cornsby, with authority, said, “It’s Corion’s word for world peace, or didn’t you know, with your proper public school education, that ‘pax’ is Latin for ‘peace’?”
“It’s just that I find it ridiculous that Corion—through you—would say Sound Unltd will lead the world’s youth as if you’re the reincarnation of—”
“And who are you to doubt Corion? The man’s a god, eh? If he says we will, then we will. So—we will. We got that ambition, eh?”
The second snippet from Chapter Six of Battle of the Band shows Tom’s more humble side as he meets with his lover, Princess Tina, in a London park. She has bad news for the drummer, causing him to get on his knees in humbleness to plead with her to be with him in love. At the end, he realizes he has, again, lost track of time–he’s late for a band meeting regarding a new album production. This occurs in fall, 1991.
Tom was late, as usual. He couldn’t get away from his ‘twin flame,’ Princess Tina in time, having to set aside quiet moments to explain that he really did love her. They got together on a bench in a London park.
“Moira’s wrong about me, Tina. I’m not a fake. I really can communicate with many gods. I don’t even have to invoke them. Sometimes, they just get into my mind at their will. Just ask Jack or one of the others. The gods always tell me everything’s okay, just do what I’m doing. I have no control over that, and I don’t use my capability for evil purposes. My original purpose was to find out who indentured my father. I still want to know—”
“I can’t help you with that. I don’t know who it is and have not been able to find out. Like it’s some kind of awful secret. My family is related to the Torquay-Lambourgeaus, and so far as I’ve been able to gather it’s not one of them. Your royal family perhaps. You need to ask one of them.”
Tom wasn’t placated, but he dropped the subject. “Fine. I will. But that doesn’t solve my problem with you.”
Princess Tina watched perplexed as the young rock idol forsook his usual touch of noveau-riche arrogance and fell to his knees before her.
“This is the best I can do, Tina, to try to make you understand that I’m not showing off now. I do, do love you, and I do, do want you to be with me forever. I don’t care about the title of Duke or your family’s wealth and power. I just want you!”
“Oh, Tom, I don’t think marriage—”
“You know, Tina, it’s really lonely for me when I get off tour. No one I really care about to come home to. Why do you think I hang around Moira and Prissy and the others? I’m bored just like they are. I spend ten months out of the year on the road. I can’t just suddenly unwind by myself. But all those others do is amuse me. I really need you. I love you! Do you love me?”
“Yes, I do—but I—I c-can’t marry you, Tom.”
His eyes pleaded for her ‘yes.’ “Is it because of my low birth?”
“My parents just don’t approve of anything about you—well, except for your money. Moira’s right, Tom. I can’t be the ruler of a country married to—”
“Shit, girl! Didn’t some prince marry an actress?”
“Yes, and the Duke of Windsor married a commoner, too, and had to abdicate.”
“So you really want to marry that bloody Effingchester?”
“Then— Look. They have to pass on the throne to you, eh? You’re their only heir. You don’t have to marry anyone.”
“Right, Tom. No marriage. No children. No heirs to the throne. I can’t do it that way, Tom.”
“Okay, okay Tina. You have to marry. But does it have to be that—Effingchester? What a bloody bore. Moral prick! Got us banned, eh? I just can’t see you with him!”
“I can’t either. And he won’t let me tour with you. I am in a quandary. Makes me wish I was a commoner myself.”
Tom finally got off his knees to sit facing her. “When do you have to marry him?”
“There is no set plan. I have until the end of 1993 to make up my mind. Then a year’s engagement time.”
“Maybe,” Tom said putting his arm around her shoulder, “maybe you can—” The drummer then noticed his watch. “Shit! I’m an hour late for the band meeting! I have to go, love.” He kissed her quickly. “Catch you later, Tina.”
In the final snippet from Chapter Six of The Prodigal Band, Tom shows his true nature, ‘just a guy.’ This is the side he’d more likely show if he was drumming with African natives or mountain climbing in the Himalayas with Sherpas, but in this case he is sitting in a limo after a 1993 concert with a ‘roadie’ who is really a fan of the band that cajoled his way onto the road crew. The fake roadie, Bobby, is also featured in Battle of the Band and becomes a more influential character later in The Prodigal Band.
So Tom entered the limo and saw Bobby. “So I guess you’re my ‘rock star sitter’?” Chuckle. “Good one. What’s your name?”
All Bobby could do was sit transfixed on a dream.
“You okay?” What is it with fans, anyway? This guy’s no roadie!
Bobby woke up. “Yeah, I’m fine. My name is Bobby. It’s just—”
Yeh I know it’s just! “Look, you can relax. With me you can relax.”
“Do I need a sitter? Because when we on tour and we are by ourselves, that’s what we do. Because if we don’t, we might do something we shouldn’t do, like go off somewhere alone and not know where the hell we are and maybe miss the gig, like I did almost in 1988, somewhere. Iowa, I think.” So then Tom explained that one.
“Look, I know you are totally stunned to be sitting in a limo with some big time rocker.”
“Well, yeah! I never imagined this would happen. Like this is my dream!”
“Well, forget that ‘big time rocker’ shit. I’m just a guy.”
“Um—no you’re not!”
“Yeh, I am. We all are.” Tom then laid back onto the back seat, preparing to relax as he tried to get Bobby to. “The gig is over, right? And when the gig is over, none of us has to be someone that we have to be when the gig is on. It’s a stage, right? So we have to perform something we wouldn’t do if we were, say, at home, relaxing, watching TV, that sort of thing. We do what we do on the stage because that’s what is expected of us and what ticket buyers want. We have to live up to our egos on stage, or, say, at Forkyz tonight, because that’s what people there expect to see. So I’ll put it to you this way. When we are by ourselves with no press monkeys—you know, reporters—no paparazzi—shit those jack asses need to get a life!—no celebrities looking to latch onto you so they can rev up their washed-up careers, or wasted rockers hanging around just to get juicy info on you they’ll use to try to stab you in the back later—when we are by ourselves, including the full time roadies and groupies, then we can be ourselves and be, just guys.”
Son of a bitch, Bobby thought. He wanted me relaxed, and he just relaxed me! “But don’t you have some groupie or someone to ride with?”
“I do groupies every now and then, but don’t have one, like, say, committed. I’m not a sex hound like Jack or Erik or Keith are. They all have full time groupies. East coast and west coast. Which is why I’m usually the only one that needs a ‘sitter.’ Bry travels with the biker roadies, on bikes. Mick travels with Adam Bloodlove, who is hanging out with Mick because he’s trying to get Mick to sign him to Foray. And, oh yeh, they’re ‘partners’ if you know what I mean.”
And on and on. But though Tom had told the others he would not be at Forkyz that night, he had apparently changed his mind, for the limo drove into the Forkyz packed parking area. “I don’t really want to go in there—too crowded. I hate crowds! Now gigs are one thing. I tend to just block out the noise of the fans. But this is no gig.” Even if it kind of is. “But, like, I’m expected to be there. Even Bry’s gonna be there. So I’ll go in there about an hour or less and be right back out.”
“You can come if you want.”
“Uh—no thanks. I’ll get lost in the shuffle there.”
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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.