Next up is in The Prodigal Band Trilogy character snippets is Keith, the bassist. As told here, he had a steamy sexual relationship with a pop singer while he was also married to a super-model-cosmetics mogul, Jarris, a woman he began dating as a teen and a woman he vowed to protect from her abusive father. He is also described as a “skuz addicted womanizer” in Chapter Four of The Prophesied Band. Skuz is a fictional opioid-cocaine laced designer drug that is used by the band and various other wealthy rockers living in the world of ‘sex, drugs, and rock and roll.’
His physical description? From Chapter One of Battle of the Band: ‘The dark, strapping bass player with bushy black curls and coal-dark eyes walked without his trademark gold chains.’ He is ‘dark’ because his grandmother is from Nigeria, on his mother’s side.
The first snippet, from Chapter One of The Prodigal Band also clues in the reader to his father’s side, a clan made up primarily of musicians. His grandfather is a classical acoustic bassist who was also a philharmonic orchestra conductor as well as classical composer, and his father was a 1960s local rock band musician. After partaking in an annual summer clan reunion in 1976 at the local Victoria Park, Keith, his father Sean and grandfather Angus sit together at a park bench-picnic table to discuss Keith’s future–he was eight-years-old and already a child prodigy of sorts having performed on acoustic bass a short time before in front of several clan members.
Later, after the food was served and eaten, and as folks started to leave, Dad, Grand-dad, and Keith sat together at a picnic table, discussing Keith’s future ol’ Angus felt assured he could control. “Four years from now, Keith, I expect to see you competing for a position at the Conservatory.”
“No way!” Turned to his dad. “You said I could learn electric bass on your old one and later get a new one and get in one of Billy Prestin’s rock bands he’s always forming, you know, like the Marauders?”
The elder Mullock protested. “Like father, like son, eh? You are better suited for classical, as you showed today. Only lesser musicians get into that rock n’ roll crap!”
Which angered Sean with the inference that his own father called him a ‘lesser’ musician.
“Well now I know, dad, that you always thought I was a—”
“No, no, no, Sean! I never thought that! But you let joining that street gang get in your way when I wanted you to go to the Conservatory, or at least the Music School. But you wouldn’t, because then all those gang boys you wanted to be with would have teased you about putting music skills ahead of fighting skills. I know how those gang boys are! So I let you figure that one out. I was disappointed of course, but you did make a few hits and go across the country and nearly to the States, right? So I cannot criticize you for that.”
But Keith had heard all that before. “Look, grand-dad, I don’t want to do classical, eh? I want to do pop, you know, rock, whatever. And I do want to join the gang next year. Plus all my friends are doing it. Sookie’s already in it, eh? Dad was in it. It’s gonna be a tradition.”
Grand-dad smiled but said somewhat sternly, “Even if it meant you’d give up first chair? They make lots of money, you know, and you could wind up at the Philharmonic.” Since he did, as well as his father, and on and on.
Though he smiled and kissed his grand-dad, Keith was adamant. “Yeh, but I just really, really want to play electric bass and rock music. Be like dad, only huge, man, like no one’s gonna throw me off a Stateside tour! I don’t just want to be another acoustic bass player, but the best rock bassist in the world, and the loot to prove it!”
The second snippet, from Chapter Three of Battle of the Band, is a short and to the point overview of Keith’s sudden transformation after rejoining the band Sound Unltd as he, who was forced by his father Sean to quit the band because he was flunking school and it was believed he had made his girlfriend pregnant (he didn’t after all), had been promised by the band he would be part of the band when they became successful, which they did in early 1989. He was officially made the group’s bassist again the night of a gig at a London Music Hall in August, 1989. While the band performed raunchy stage antics, Keith and his wife sat in a mezzanine.
Keith Mullock—who, with Jarris, arrived in London by train earlier that afternoon—imagined himself in the midst of the theatrics, driving and thrusting his own bass in mock frenzy. From where he sat in the private mezzanine with his wife, the other band member’s women and others, Keith, eyes and mind glued to the stage, knew the time was perfect to reunite with Sound Unltd.
When the Music Hall concert was over, Keith Mullock—man of traditional male values and keeper of The Code, happy-go-lucky, crude but even tempered, man of simple tastes, oversexed but always a one-woman-man—disappeared, and a rock star took his place.
It was on that same night that Keith was given the drug skuz for the first time. He became heavily addicted to it by the time a 1993 tour of the US took place. When he returned back to England, he was not only handed divorce papers (due to his infidelity with that pop singer lover) but became dangerously close to over-dosing on that drug, needing hits every couple of hours. The third snippet, during a band meeting at Keith’s place in January, 1994, drives home that point, and band leader Jack convinces him to go with him to drug rehab–their next upcoming tour would take place in a couple of months and they had to complete a new album to go with it. Rehab was necessary. Keith could not just ‘cold turkey’ that drug; Jack, addicted to smack, was able to go ‘cold turkey’ but still decided to accompany Keith to rehab.
Afternoon, January 18, 1994 at Cedar Woods
When band leader Jack walked toward the jittery, zombie-eyed Keith sitting in, and finger-tapping, a leather chair in Mullock’s drawing room, he knew his decision to call the meeting there was wise. Shit, Keith! You never looked this skuzzed-out on the tour. Good thing I set the meeting here. You’d never show up otherwise, the way your body’s shaking! The guitarist stood at Keith’s tapping feet. “How you getting on, Keith?”
They gang-shook hands.
“Hey, Jack.” Weak, trembling voice. “I’m—like—”
“You a mess, Keith.” Jack then said aside, “Not that I’m in perfect shape either.” Turned to Mullock’s black eyes. “Now why the hell did you let yourself go like this? You’ve been doing skuz since you rejoined the band. I’ve never seen you like this, eh?” Lubin sat on the chair arm. “I know I’m not one to be talking. But at least I got a weak excuse for me smack binging. The way I treated Laurie, eh? Like, what you got to say?”
Keith slumped over—partly in shame, partly in nervous craving. “Nothing. Except you right. I started when I joined the band.”
“Yeh. And I’m the one who encouraged you. A pisser.”
“Don’t blame yourself, man. I wanted to try it. Wanted to do it. It was—like—a sign of success, eh? Only folks with money could do it, eh? But I just didn’t handle it. Skuz.” He looked at Jack. “And maybe, success, eh? Working stiff like me. A riveter. And then, overnight fat-cat rocker.” Then the bassist bore into the other’s soul. “You hear what I’m saying?”
“Yeh.” Jack nodded several times. “Yeh. I can dig it.” Put his right hand on Keith’s shoulder. “But you need help. Me too, eh? You come with me to the rehab clinic, eh? I kicked smack but I ain’t gonna go through that cold turkey shit again. You come with me. No way can you do it alone.”
Mullock was too strung out to argue. “Yeh. When?”
“This weekend. We’ll be out the end o’ February.”
In addition, Keith and singer Erik are ‘blood brothers,’ and he and the next character, keyboard-synthist Bryan, are also antagonists as with Mick and Tom. They are antagonists for different reasons, though. Both have been musicians since childhood. Unbeknownst to them, they are also directly related to each other. To find out how, purchase the trilogy using the bookstore links here.
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.