This will be the final character snippet. This character is the keyboard-synthist Bryan, known as Bry in the trilogy. Much of the use of this character within The Prodigal Band Trilogy deals with the sexual tension he has with his wife, Mo, whom he felt obliged to marry after he got her pregnant. He is from an atheist household while she is from a Christian one, with her father being an Anglican pastor. He is also from a family of classical musicians; both parents are with a local philharmonic orchestra–dad plays piano and mom plays oboe.
Here is his description, from Chapter One of Battle of the Band:
‘The pot-bellied, biker-esque synthesizer player famed for red hair as wild as the wind, fiery as his brew, bore a downcast of regret.’
In other words, he’s also a biker and is the boss of the band’s road crew (which is mainly bikers). And he loves to drink beer.
The first snippet, from Chapter Three of Battle of the Band, deals with (as I wrote in the previous snippet) his antagonistic relationship with bassist Keith, and how this antagonism began, the night Keith rejoined the band Sound Unltd. This was the night of a concert at a fancy London music hall in August, 1989, with a performance that would be the excuse to ban the group a year later in the UK. In addition to playing in the band, Bryan, with the help of fellow musician Reg, also a techie of sorts, was developing his own brand of keyboard synthesizer. Before Bryan noticed Keith was nearby in a dressing room, he was speaking with Reg about that project.
Sometime during the night of the Music Hall backstage party in a darkened dressing room, Keith, just out of the adjoining bathroom, went over to the dressing tables to inspect the contents of the makeup cases and costume baubles. Tried on a dash of blush, wiped it off with cold cream, and then snooped around quietly.
Neither Bryan nor his business partner Reggie Lewis noticed Mullock when they entered the bathroom, nor heard him as they were ready to re-enter the dressing room, deep in discussion.
“You worried about our synthesizer selling Stateside? Shit, Bry, you people are selling a bomb in the States—”
“Yeh, the band, not our synth.”
“Right. You know if Sound Unltd’s doing great there, so will our synth.”
“Reg, as long as we can sell our synth Stateside, I don’t really care how well the band does. Well, except for the loot.”
“We don’t have anything to worry about. You could do the national anthem and you’d still be big hits there.”
They laughed as they entered the dressing room.
Bry smirked. “Yeh, we could even do—” He then saw Keith at the dressing table. “Oh! Hey, Keith, you looking for something?”
Keith spoke as if he hadn’t heard Bry’s disturbing opinion. “Well, now that I’m with the band, you know, I was looking at your makeup. Trying some on.”
“Well, yeh,” Bry’s snicker was thin and raspy, “you are in the band now, aren’t you? Then I guess that’s okay.”
As Reg and Bry went into the lounge, Bry looked hard at Keith, wondering. Did you hear us, Keith? You gonna tell Jack what Reg and I talked about? No. I don’t think so. You’re too crude to figure out what’s going on, aren’t you? But if you start anything, I’ll just convince the others of your stupidity.
And Keith looked at Bry, wondering. Did you really say you didn’t care about Sound Unltd? Sounded like you did, but—no, you couldn’t mean it that way, could you? Maybe I’ll tell Jack, but— No, Jack wouldn’t believe you’re being disloyal, so—forget it.
The second snippet, from Chapter Three of The Prophesied Band, relates also to this project. When the project is completed around 1993, Bryan and Reg find out that the new brand of synthesizer is not being marketed in the US as they had hoped. Bryan realizes that the only way they can sell it successfully there is to have it distributed by America’s primary distributor, and the only way that happens is if Bryan joins Swami Negran’s Church of the Circle of Unity, which is actually an evil cult. Thus he feels forced to join it in late 1993, after which the synth immediately sells plenty. Bryan expresses his ‘regret’ over having to join the cult (where he gets to wear the occultic red crystals Swami hands out to his most important followers) to the narrator of this second trilogy book, Jay Elliot, who opens the conversation.
“Look, Bry, I really need to ask you this.”
Part of my free-lance assignment for CounterCulture was to find out why, after over a year of struggling to market their new synthesizer Stateside, Bry and partner Reggie Lewis finally struck a megabucks deal with the world’s largest keyboard distribution outfit. But this is the question that came out of my mouth when I noticed he wore the red crystal Swami Negran gave him a few months before. “Listen. Everyone’s been looking for their red crystals.”
Laugh. “Yeh, Swami had ‘em all along. None of us remembered to put ‘em back on after we showered after the gig the other night. Happens a lot, eh? Negran’s always bugging us about it.”
I should’ve said, “Leave ‘em off, you play better without ‘em,” but I didn’t.
“Speaking of crystals,” I asked, armed with a question off the top of my head, “when did you join Swami’s cult?”
The big, red-head suddenly went sullen on me. “Right before we finished our last tour, last October. I didn’t really want to, eh? And no one else in the band pushed it on me just ‘cos they were in it. In fact, Jack really got pissed when I told him I’d joined it. He said, ‘Now there’s no one left of us who’ll stand against all of Swami’s Corion crap. Now we have no excuses for not being a propaganda tool for Negran’s recruiting strategy.’ Then I said, ‘I had to join because Swami promised he’d use his connections to get our synth manufactured and distributed Stateside if I joined.’ You know I still can’t believe Reg and I couldn’t handle it ourselves. I mean, shit, I’ve been a Motorduke motorcycle poster boy for years.”
Really. For several million a year endorsement money.
“It’s like Reg and I were thinking it was a conspiracy.”
“A conspiracy?” A conspiracy against a member of a band that seemed above the rules of the music business? A band that made the rules?
“Yeh, like it was all set up so we’d keep being rejected until I joined Negran’s group.”
“You think Jack or—”
“No!” He sneered like a biker ready for a rumble. “I mean by—the suits, eh? The music business establishment. Folks like X and Y, eh? Them, and Swami, and Joe’s bloody father, that Baron. I mean, the people who really run things?”
Now Bry was getting wound up. Waving his arms. On a roll. Usually he was such a laid-back guy. This was getting interesting.
“Everyone says Sound Unltd’s above the rules, like we’re so damned big, eh? A bunch o’ shit.”
He took a vial of whiskey and swilled. “You know we all convince ourselves every day that we made our success. But just how successful do you think we’d be if our manager wasn’t the son of Baron Torquay-Lambourgeau?”
I cocked my head. “So you’re saying you don’t deserve—”
“We damned well deserve it! Don’t get me wrong. There’s never been a band with the aggregate talent we have. Every single one of us is tops at his position—well, instrument. And no one’s worked harder. But not one of us thinks we did it singlehandedly. We know who’s backed us all along. Joe told us before Powerhouse made us that our success was assured. It’s the level of success I mean. We’re considered the greatest band ever. That’s what I mean. Even though they’re bringing back some 60s acts. They still call us the greatest band ever. And all of us know why.”
Another swig of whiskey. “Swami. Torquay. X. He’s trying to get Y to buyout Foray, or something. I dunno. Mick dunno.” Swig. “Scares the shit outta me, eh?”
As with many recording artists in reality, members of this fictional super-band know perfectly well why they are so successful–their giving in to the mega-moguls and the evil agenda these moguls desire to carry out. It was bad in the 1990s when I began writing these novels. It is, IMHO, much worse today. The satanic symbols one sees on award shows and on stage at pop, rap-hip-hop, and rock concerts today are just the tip of the iceberg.
The third snippet splashes a comedic scene exposing the hypocrisy of new age beliefs within celebrity culture. In Chapter Seven of The Prophesied Band, Bryan, on his search for his wife, Mo, who has left him while bringing their children with her, finds out from a hired detective that she has opened a ‘body boutique’ in a fancy section within the confines of Los Angeles near Hollywood, a wealthy section filled with celebrities. While he thought she was staying with her ‘shrink’ named Rimsgate, she had dumped him for new Church of the Circle of Unity head, the bogus ‘new age healer’ named Cole Blessing, who had an Ashram along the California coast near the Bay Area, near the fictitious city of Richmont. When Bryan visits the body boutique, he finds she is not there–and has changed her name.
LA Hills, summer, 1999
Before Bryan McClellan could go to the Hills to try to get Mo back with him, he had to convince himself the time was worth it. That she wouldn’t reject him out of hand. And, if she did, he had to mentally prepare himself to bare his emotional turmoil. He’d vowed to go after her in 1996 at an April band meeting at manager Joe’s London townhouse.
He waited too long.
When he stepped out of the cab at the curb of a palm tree-lined avenue and walked into a lobby of pastel furriness with velveteen walls and two-inch-thick soft carpet, the man of more simple tastes sensed she’d never return to him.
Total luxury to soothe the jaded senses. Definitely Mo the way I remembered her when she kept Rimsgate from me. Wanting more attention, more fortune and success. Now she’s showing just how much of it she has. Leather counters, snuggly, huggable chairs and couches. Her staff wears the ultra-latest fashions. Original Makko sculptures and warm-fuzzy paintings. The LA Hills body boutique.
“God!” He muttered to himself. “She must charge thousands a week for this kind of atmosphere. What the hell does her exercise studio look like? Probably has strobe lights and go-go dancers.”
“Can I help you, sir?” A slick, silky-smooth voice with a feigned French accent called to him from the counter. She was nearly topless.
He turned and his eyes popped at her breasts. Only her nipples were covered by metal plates with a dangling diamond on each nipple. Mo’s turned a bit kinky, eh?
“Yeh.” Still stared at her. His mouth watered.
She moved from behind the counter to show her anorexic-like form covered only by studded leather bikini briefs and six-inch spiked-heeled black leather boots. He looks like a damned good lay, as big as he is.
No biker groupie ever looked this hot. God! If Mo’s not here I just might— Control yourself, boy. This ain’t a MonstersRock tour, eh? “Sorry, love. I’m—I’m here to see Mo McClellan.”
Puzzled. “Mo—McClellan? That’s not her—”
“That’s not her name, you mean? Not her name?” Sneer. “Then what the hell does she call herself? I hope it’s not Rimsgate!”
She couldn’t fail to see the disgust on his face. “I’m sorry. But that’s not her name. I’m assuming you mean Mo Xulya, owner of Bodies by Xulya. This place.” Alluring smile. “And her newest location in St. Xenos. Up the coast a ways. At Dr. Blessing’s Ashram.”
Bry was still in shock. His mouth finally spit something out. “You mean— What the— Shit!”
The sexy young woman sauntered over to him and escorted him to the corner lounges. “Would you like to sit down, or lie down, and have some Natural water?”
“Natural water!” He sat in a not-so-plushy chair. The girl joined him, then flipped a switch. Muted Tibetan monk chants and gongs sounded through the hidden speakers.
“I bet she’s got an oxygen tank in the back.”
“Yes, she does. Her own private little therapy room. She used to spend an hour a day in there. It really does make you look years younger.”
“That does indeed sound like ol’ Mo.”
“Do you—know her?”
“Yeh, I know her!” Tried not to sound too aggravated. After all, what does this little cutie know? “Listen, can I just have some water?”
“We do have filtered water.” She got up from her seat with her buttocks swerving to entice the man. And, with hand on sexy hip, she returned with his water.
Sip. “She and I are still married, you know. Our separation never led to a divorce.”
“Your—separation?” She was taken aback. “I didn’t even know she was married. I’ve worked with her for over a year and she never mentioned it.”
“Is that right?” Sip. “Yeh, I’m her husband. Bry McClellan. And her name’s not Xulya.”
So he asked, “And who the hell is Xulya?”
“Xulya is the Andelusian goddess of health and beauty.”
Bry couldn’t stifle a laugh though he tried. “So Mo thinks she’s some kind of health and beauty queen. That’s even funnier than Ger Manilow being a diet queen.” Aside, he whispered, “Which ain’t so funny now that she’s got cancer.” Sorry, Erik, but I couldn’t resist saying that.
“But she is!”
Just then some thin women of obviously independent means walked passed and out the doors into an awaiting limo.
“Those women who passed by? They used to be obese, and they looked sixty-ish. They’re only in their thirties. Now, they look like teenagers. One of Mo’s most used therapies are oxygen tanks.”
“Yeh, yeh. And where the hell is Andelusia?”
“It pre-dates Lemuria and Atlantis. It is called the Society of the Gods. And Dr. Blessing says it will rise again and rule the world in the final age that is soon upon us. The planet will be cleansed, the animals will be free and everyone on it will be an enlightened being, a godhood. Won’t be overpopulated like it is now. When the planet is cleansed, the polluters and the unenlightened will be destroyed by nature. Our Earth Mother won’t tolerate people who pollute and exploit our animal and tree friends. Cole Blessing says so.”
“Cole Blessing? Isn’t he a healer? Ger Manilow was one of his patients. His treatment seemed to work, but her cancer returned a couple of months after she left the Eternal Life Institute.”
Her eyes opened wide and she spoke with hushed tones. “You know Ger Manilow?”
“Yeh. Quite well.”
“What did you say your name was?”
Shriek. “Of Sound Unltd? God!” Fell all over herself.
After a minute, she calmed down. “I can’t believe I didn’t recognize you! I’ve been to all your concerts and have all your CDs. I’m sooo sorry!”
None of that impressed him. “Yeh. Uh, listen. Since when is Cole Blessing doing religion? And you said he had an Ashram and Mo’s new body salon is there. Tell me how to get there. I need to see her. It’s an emergency.”
She’d been unsure. Yet now that she knew just who the red-bearded man was, she couldn’t do enough to help him. “Normally, only the enlightened students are allowed into the community. I’ve been there twice. Security is very, very tight. We don’t want the typical masses there. You know, the stupid ones who think it’s okay to cut down trees and trap wolves and stuff? We don’t want the masses. This really is an elite group. Many world leaders relax and commune with Mother Nature there. Mother Nature’s will is expounded there in peace and harmony. And her guidance leads to the consciousness of godhood we must attain if we are to rule the planet. She is preparing us.”
Sounds like Swami Negran’s bullshit. “And you are one of the enlightened ones.”
She smiled with pride. “Yeah. But I’m still only a student. Xulya is already a member of the godhood. And Cole Blessing is really a god. He performs miracles. And he will lead the godhood.” Then her sweet voice turned ominous. “And blow away those stupid people who hurt Mother Nature. Or maybe he’ll force them to make reparations to Mother Nature for the pollution and murder to the planet that they’ve done!”
I think she’s been watching Tree-Huggers too long. “I see. So, how do I become enlightened? Hug a tree?”
“No,” she said gaily again. “I mean, you’re only a member of the most important rock band on the planet today.”
“Now that’s reassuring,” he smirked.
“Oh yeah! You guys hang around Swami Negran. Well, you used to before some goddamned Christian extremist nut crashed into his car.”
“Huh? Christian extremist?”
“Yeah! Don’t you watch cable news? The government just extradited some radical Christian cult member from this country back to Britain. The creep that killed Swami.” Pause. “You’re not Christian, are you?”
Irreligious for years, Bry answered, “Not really.”
“I didn’t think so. Not if you were once a follower of Swami. And Cole was a big follower, too. Xulya says Swami, a real big friend of hers, was grooming Cole to be his most important disciple. In fact,” she turned serious, “maybe you won’t like this but I have to tell you this anyway. Cole and Xulya are lovers.”
Lub-dub, lub-dub, lub-dub…
His heart felt crushed and mutilated, pounding a quaking mass of jelly, existing only so that maybe it could rise up and pretend to live again, crying out for lost love.
But he couldn’t let this complete stranger know that. “I figured you’d say that. But I,”—his voice quivered—“I need to see her anyway.”
“Well, sure! I’ll give you directions. I’d like to take you there, but I have to watch the store, you know what I mean?”
Bry got directions to St. Xenos. As he left the place he looked behind him and saw the boutique’s logo on the stone outside wall: a sun-circle with two human bodies forming a snake-like cross within the circle. Like the band’s insignia.
Like the Corionic Cross.
Bry did not go to the Ashram.
This final snippet relates to the ‘downcast of regret’ expressed in Bryan’s description. To find out why he bears this downcast of regret, buy the book!
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.