In Part One of this episode, Six, the Prodigal Band mirrors the beginnings of the Prodigal Son within the Gospel of Luke Chapter 15, where the prodigal son is given his inheritance and then proceeds to waste the fortune given to him on ‘riotous living,’ which, if one ever read from the celebrity tabloids and popular culture magazines of the 60s through the 90s, mirrored the lifestyles of the most famous and notorious rock stars. Some of these rockers, however, would regret their wasted—and I mean wasted!—drug addictions and such, including the so-called ’27 Club’ of rockers who died or suicided (or, some say, were murdered) legends such as Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Janice Joplin, Brian Jones, and others of whatever age, such as Kurt Cobain, Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington and more. And let’s not forget the recently passed Eddie Van Halen, who had serious health issues likely brought about by his ‘rock star lifestyle’.
Luke 15: 14: “And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in the land; and he began to be in want.”
The next two verses say that the prodigal son “joined” himself to a citizen of that country he was in, and was to feed swine in the fields; in the meantime, he craved being about to eat those corn husks he fed as he was given virtually nothing in return.
15:17: “And when he came to himself, he said, how many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish in hunger!”
The ‘famine’ referenced in verse 14 is spiritual as well as physical but certainly not financial, as the members of the prodigal band are all filthy rich. They have ‘spent’ all of their true actual beings, especially spiritual, on the ‘riotous living’ in verse 13 as stated in part one. They were wasted in every way they could think. Chapter Seven of Battle of the Band features several instances of their ‘wasted’ selves: singer Erik, not being able to get near his baby son, turns to alcoholism; guitarist Jack, in anger over hurting his woman who was pregnant but didn’t let him know that until the 1993 tour was over, turned to drug addiction, as did bassist Keith, who lost his wife over infidelity; drummer Tom lost his lover to another hated man; guitarist Mick was poisoned by a drug laced with poison, blamed on his partner but committed by his ‘friend’ Swami Negran as punishment for not fulfilling their ‘soul-selling oath’ to the satanic figure Corion; synthist Bry suddenly hurt his back on a short vacation that would bring about unintended consequences later. So yes, they were certainly in want!
The next two verses about going to another country and working for someone there feeding pigs and going hungry over it doesn’t really play out in the novel, unless one considers the ‘citizen’ they are ‘working’ for is an evil satanic agenda of debauching the youth as they had been ‘assigned’ to carry out. And they do their best to carry this evil agenda to fruition to the point where they are anything but economically ‘hungry,’ so that this ‘hunger’ is a spiritual one that is having its negative consequences in more ways than one. And no band members feels this hunger more than its front man, singer Erik. In Chapter Nine of Battle of the Band, his wife Ger ‘betrays’ him by being with her personal assistant for sex as well as ‘exercise,’ for she has convinced herself that she is ‘fat’ because the tabloids say she is, which also leads to her serious bout with bulimia (referenced here) that she hid from her man. Angry over it, Erik leaves her and continues his self-pity over it even when she tries to apologize, which he will not accept—and then gets plastered with booze that evening, leading to him (as well as his ‘bro’ bassist Keith) winding up with mild heart attacks in a hospital, having added Bry’s back medication to their drunkenness. And their wanting to end their spiritual ‘hunger’ in the process.
In the only snippet I will post here–a long one, from Chapter Four of The Prophesied Band, both Erik and Keith realize that they must change their ways: not just giving up alcohol and drug addiction, but becoming husbands and fathers as well, who must turn their lives ‘right side out’ if they are going to ‘come to’ themselves: spiritually, physically, and in many other ways. The date is February 9, 1996, at night, while recovering from mild heart attacks in a Walltown private hospital room.
Even with all the drugs given to Erik and Keith to help them rest and recover, neither slept well after their friends had left the hospital. Fitful, at best. Nagging thoughts, remembered from coma-consciousness. As if they’d died and got a foretaste of judgment.
Erik, tossing and turning. Doctor said it would be at least three months at home before I’d be well enough to work with the band again. Three months! Sitting at home doing nothing! Laying around watching TV. Right! Can’t smoke, can’t drink. Shit, shit, shit! What the hell am I gonna do? My problems are there. The reason I needed to drink in the first place. Home. South Hold. The place where I always drink my problems away. Clutched the pillow. So glad Ger’s back with me, but when I get back home though I’ll have to face my son, Alec. My father said—
He sat up and looked around furiously. “Keith,” he called. Heard his blood brother give a loud snore.
Fell back on his pillow. Snicker. “My father said!” Snort. “My father said? What kinda crap is that? I was dreaming! It wasn’t like I’d died and gone to Heaven, met him and—”
But he couldn’t remember that he’d ‘met’ suicidal Wolfin singer Spradlin, who told him he had to balance bad with good.
It was so clear, like it really happened. My father forgave my hate, and told me to live again to make it up to Alec. Be a dad to him. Can’t even talk to him. Can barely get close to him! A tear came to his eye, but then he pounded the bed and shouted aloud to himself, “Just how the hell am I gonna get through to him? For the next three months he’ll be there to remind me I’ve been a sorry excuse for a father. What can I do to change that?”
And then he thought about his baby daughter Amethyst, called Amyla. He had no problems with her—cute and cuddly and girlish—and even looked after her at times while he had been separated from Ger the previous two months. Was it Alec’s moodiness? Was he just like daddy?
So what am I gonna do with him? He doesn’t like my singing the way Amyla does. When I try to get on the floor and play with him, he gets up and leaves. He doesn’t want to play outside with me, and he runs to Ger or the nanny instead. “How the hell am I gonna get to him?”
He stared at the white wall, open-mouthed, desperate.
Keith’s dreaming began to stir the bassist as well. For years I tried to ignore the promise I made to Charlie. Uphold The Code or my soul would rot in Hell. I promised it that night in the White Horse when Jack and Erik told me I’d be back in the band soon. But back then, upholding The Code while in the band seemed easy. I wasn’t in the band. I wasn’t travelling the world, loving those gorgeous women. Wasn’t living like a king then. Wasn’t the fat-cat star. It was easy to believe back then I could be the way I always was! He made grumbling noises. What an ass I was! Promised him something I should have known I couldn’t keep. Just like I promised to love and cherish Jarris, then I go and nearly break up my marriage. Just like I promised to kill—
Mullock sprang up. “Huh?” he shouted.
“Keith!” Erik turned to him. “What happened?”
Disoriented, Mullock did a double-take. ‘Oh! I was only—dreaming. Like, I thought I was back in that white tunnel or something, and—I was about to—” Look of anxious wonder. “Kill?” Stared into space. “I dunno.”
Still stared into space. “I dunno, bro. I was chasing someone into a dark hole or cave or something. I don’t remember who it was.”
Keith wasn’t allowed to remember that he almost had the brutal—dead—Gus Melby within his grasp. He’d promised Jarris in front of The Tooters years ago to kill her dad if the brute ever tried to lay a hand on her again. As Melby did, the Ides of March, 1994. A hired guard shot him in the chest just as Keith had flung her to the morning room floor, clearing the way for a lethal bullet. He wanted to remember, but couldn’t.
Mullock then faced Manning. “I don’t remember that. But the other thing was I remember that when I was in a coma, I met Charlie.”
Wide-eyed, Erik shouted, “But he was killed in Ulster! How the bloody hell—”
“Right!” Keith moved to sit at the edge of his bed. “But I guess I dreamed I met him again. And Roddy was with him. They were pissed at me ‘cos I’d promised to live by The Code when I joined the band.” Snort. “I did everything but. Still, I dreamed they gave me another chance. And I made another promise. Do you believe that?”
“But that promise was in your dreams.”
“So what? I still feel I have to keep it. I have to teach my son Brent The Code.”
Erik sighed. “All I have to do is teach Alec to love me. I actually told my father—”
“Your dad? You were with your father in your dream?”
“Yeh,” he laughed. “You not the only one with dreams about dead people. Only I can’t remember who else was with me.”
“What did you tell your dad?”
“I told him I was—sorry.” Sarcastic laugh. “Would you believe I apologized to a dead man? And I told him I was sorry I was never there for Alec, like I was gonna make it up to him. Not make the same mistake twice so Alec would keep hating me.” A tear began to form.
“How do you know he hates you?”
Pounded the bed again. “Because, man, he won’t even let me near him!”
“Well, why the hell is that?”
Fell back on his pillow with a slam. “How the hell do I know? He’s only two, Keith. He probably doesn’t know either—except I’m never around, and when I am around I’m—” A light came on in his head. “I’m—” Turned to hide his shame. “I’m boozing, man. And sometimes, I’m falling down drunk.” He wiped his face with his right hand as if to wash his guilt away. “That’s it!” Turned to Keith. “That’s it, bro. He was born in June, 1993. A week later, we went back on tour. The next time I saw him, I came home wasted. He musta smelled it on me when I took him in my arms. I’d just gotten in the car. I held him. A minute later, he flung his limbs around as if I was hurting him. And I know I reeked, because I’d been drinking on and off all the way home in the jet. Ger told me later she thought I’d dowsed a whole fifth o’ whiskey on me before I got off the plane.” Reached for a glass of water and sipped. “For weeks after that, Alec wouldn’t sleep at night ‘cos he was used to Ger being there in his room. Not way down the other end of the hall with me. So nanny would ring our room and Ger would go to him. Sometimes right in the middle of love-making. Well, one night, right after Drew”—his accountant—“rang, interrupting me and Ger, nanny called. Alec couldn’t sleep. But this time, I went to him first. Alec just went crazy. I gave him to Ger and he immediately calmed down. By then, I’d had it with his nonsense. Which led to my drinking binge. You remember that, bro?”
“Yeh, but hey, I was too busy skuzzing. That didn’t seem to bother Brent. Then again, I didn’t see the kid until Lisa Brent left, I settled with Jarris and her dad was threatening. I had no choice if I was gonna help Jarris. I had to try to stop skuzzing. Rehab, eh? When I got out, I spent time at home when I wasn’t with the band. I was clean. I wanted to be with Brent. He’d make me stay clean.” Reached over and sipped some water. “Anyway, Brent knows who his father is. And don’t forget, bro, I had a dad when I was growing up. You didn’t. I know how dads act. You don’t. You too bloody hard on yourself about it, eh? Maybe when you not drunk you try too hard. And when he does treat you like he hates you, that’s when you take it personally and get drunk.”
“Yeh,” he sighed. “My usual solution.”
“At least now you know where you can start. Don’t drink when you’re around him.”
“I got news for you, bro. I’m gonna have to stop drinking. Maybe then I can save what’s left o’ me liver. Doctor told me two months ago it’s a bit gone.” Sarcastic laugh. “Right. Stop doing something I’ve done since—my dad left us.”
“I hear you, bro. And this is gonna be even harder. I’m gonna have to start following The Code again.” Laugh. “There goes the fun o’ life. No more groupies, no more highs, no more—fun.
Erik smirked. “I don’t think you have to go to those extremes!”
“Well, bro, it wouldn’t be right for me to keep on living in sin when I have to be a Code-abiding example to my son. And you know what’ll happen if I don’t, away from home. Bloody Tattle Tales’ll make sure Brent knows about it!” Looked straight at the singer. “Erik, I’ve never tried to be a hypocrite—except to Jarris, eh? But I swore I wouldn’t again. I want me life up front.”
“Except I got a problem.” He shook his head rapidly. “I don’t know The Code. The real Code, that is. I don’t mean the gang version of it. That’s the hypocrisy. I mean the real Code.”
“You mean like the Ten Commandments, eh?”
“They say there’s no difference. There’s not meant to be, bro. And how do I teach it to my son? By living it. And, bro, that’s gonna be just about impossible for me, Keith Mullock, who never met a woman I didn’t want to—”
Laugh. “Yeh, what?”
“Make love to.” Then implied a cuss, but wouldn’t use the cuss word. “Shit, Erik, am I gonna go for sainthood, or what?”
A loud laugh. “Shit, Keith, I hope not!”
Both laughed easily.
In part three, they all do indeed ‘return’ to their father. Check the link to the bookstore in the menu above as to how to purchase the trilogy book or the others from this site, as well as where to download the FREE PDF The Prodigal Band.
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.