Snippets of The Prodigal Band Trilogy: Comedy

Everyone has their definition of “comedy” because everyone has their own sense of humor and everyone has their own idea of what is “funny” and what isn’t, which could also include satire (which I will deal with later…in my opinion there is more satire than comedy in these three books that make up the trilogy.)

The first example also includes some slapstick…well, that’s my opinion anyway. This example is found in the final chapter of Battle of the Band and comes right before another category I just added to the series, Tragedy.

While creating videos for a new video marketing company in their home town, Walltown, the singer (Erik) and the bassist (Keith) are leaving a pub called the White Horse Pub and heading back to the tour bus so as to get ready to party somewhere else high on a designer drug called skuz. It is evening in early February, 1996. Both were drunk on whiskey, but Erik more so–he was trying to drown his self-pity over his wife’s (Ger) supposed “betrayal” in that she never told him she was bulimic. She was a TV hostess as well as supermodel. Note:  I have heard and read in magazine articles that many supermodels as well as models, to keep their weight down, turn to eating disorders such as bulimia or anorexia.


Two-and-a-half hours and uncounted whiskey shots later, Keith, himself swaggering drunk, had to support his blood brother as the two swayed back to the bus parked by the alley site.

It was almost eight o’clock when the singer finally told himself he’d drunk enough for the blues to swim away. Now, he needed something to pep himself up so that, maybe, he and his brother rogue could go out and party somewhere else.

Keith had just the something—a hit of skuz. Or two. Or three.

Moments from the van, Erik fell into Keith’s chest. “Am I gonna make it, bro?” He slurred. “I can barely—”

“We almost there, eh? Just a wee bit, eh? Get the hell of me!” The besotted bassist held him up. “Shit! You a ton o’ dead weight.”

Ten more tortuous steps. Slam! Erik’s body hit the back door of the van.

“Hold on to the handles, eh bro? Gonna open the door in front, eh? Then I’ll figure out some damned way to get you in.” Keith rounded the van. “Why the hell I let you drink so much? And now you gonna need a whole packet of skuz to get you right.” He entered the van, cussing at himself. “Nice going, eh Keith?” Nearly tripping over the black bags in the aisle way, he kicked them to the side, yelling, “Move your bloody bag next time, eh Bry? Little—big!—shit screws his back, so he thinks he can leave his bags wherever the hell he feels like. Up yours, Bry!”

Erik banged on the back doors. “Open the goddamned door, Keith! Bloody cold out here!”

“Wait up, bro.” Tripping over the handle of Jack’s ever-present portable amp—“Get the hell off me!”—Keith’s head accidentally slammed into the inside back doors. Cusses galore.

Erik, about to fall down, yelled, “Stop your bloody cussing and let me in, Keith!”

“Hold your goddamned balls, Erik! Bloody door won’t open.”

Wham! Erik crashed backwards into the van as Keith kicked open the back door.

Five minutes and a cavalcade of cussing later, Keith had Erik within, the singer sprawled atop the amp, his own bag as well as Jack’s and Tom’s, nearly out like a dead lightbulb.

“I found it, bro. Skuz. Good for what ails you, eh? Right here in the side pocket o’ me bag. We fix you up.”

The whiskey-soaked singer barely found his thick voice. “I’ll prob’ly need—” His voice trailed off into slumber.

In the second example within Chapter Three of The Prophesied Band is found the women of four of the band members, by then married to these members. Laurie is married to guitarist Jack; Jarris is married to bassist Keith; Ger is married to singer Erik; and Mo is married to keyboardist Bry. Also mentioned is Bry’s synth-building partner, Reg Lewis. Some groupies are also mentioned, Peaches and Artesia. The scene begins (narrated by a pop culture journalist) with the women exiting a heliport atop the hotel and heading to their men’s fancy suite rooms. Meanwhile, a groupie, knowing Ger is coming, tries to get Erik to let her go before Ger shows up but he keeps her there on purpose. When Ger enters the suite a round of ‘verbal judo’ ensues. Later, during a band concert, the four women are off-stage, but close enough to the performing band, and are smoking a joint, discussing what happened when they had arrived at the fancy hotel in New York City that day to be with their men. They are trying to “one up” each other, which was standard operating procedure for this foursome.

Warning: the following is rated R.


And then there were the women:  blonde-bombshell-turned-mommy Laurie Koolig; fiery red-head cosmetics tycoon Jarris Mullock; Ger Manilow, Britain’s top super-model; and wavy red-head Mo McClellan. Since they couldn’t join the tour in Los Angeles, it had to be New York City. As in the luxurious New York Wynworth Hotel, The Club, and The Studio—where, for a fifty-thousand dollar membership and all the skuz you could snort, you could engage in foreplay as you and your date strolled past hundreds of milling wanna-bes and gossip hounds.

Besides, the Richmont Port Authority wouldn’t let a hired helicopter land at Richmont Speedway. It wouldn’t have been in good taste for the one in New York to refuse the same request from four of the world’s most glamorous females, so a whirlybird from a local airport arrived atop the Wynworth one roasting afternoon in mid-June.

Must have been sweltering weather for the girls. They all wore their most alluring sables.

I doubt if Ger’s racks of ice around her neck, waist, and wrists cooled her off. But that’s okay. She needed to be in the Big Apple anyway to do her Diamond Girl video. Rumor had it the world’s top supermodel, back in form after birthing her son Alec, wanted to upstage her rival.

She definitely upstaged New York’s most bodacious groupie, fiery red-head Peaches La Crème. Next to Rona, no Fun Girl could enflame Erik Manning’s manhood as the freckled former street-tough with Brooklyn accent to match.

But Ger was his something. The consummate pro at seduction. Her sultry eyes and voice, her Southern-Belle-ish smile played to enthrall the male race. Of expensive means, that is. She allowed no serious competition.

 

Having thrown a tawny-colored mink-and-leather wrap on her left shoulder, Peaches turned to leave the singer’s room.

Wearing a towel around his lower torso, Erik came out of the bathroom with a sigh. “It’s that time already, eh?”

She opened the bedroom door into the suite lounge and noticed the clock on an antique ornate table. “It’s past time, after two.” Turned to him with plaintive blue eyes. “I better get the hell outta here before Ger comes.” Out the door.

He briskly went after her. “Wait a bit, babe. One more hug, eh?”

Ger, and then the others, stepped out of the down elevator onto the Deluxe Suite floor.

Several wet kisses and squeezes. Peaches tried to push him away. “I gotta go, sweet love. She’s gonna walk in—”

“So what?” Grabbed her tightly. “What she gonna do?”

Ger opened the grand suite double doors.

“Well, I don’t—” Peaches, within his caress, turned her head around at the whoosh of the opening doors. Mouth opened.

Her eyes firing lava at the groupie, Ger cocked her head and seethed with stiffening body. That Peaches bitch! You kept her ‘til now on purpose, didn’t you, Erik!

“I’m outta here.” The blushing red-head almost shot out of the lounge, hastily passing Laurie, Jarris, and Mo, who stood at the doorway waiting for a scene.

For effect, the brunette whipped the carpet with her sable. “God, Erik! Didn’t you remember I was coming at two?” Sneer.

But Manning was too manly to be cowed by her play at wrath. He coolly glanced at the clock opposite the door. Two-twenty. Then slowly turned his head back to her with mockery. “Yeh, babe, at two. Just where the hell you been?” Snort. Then he went into his room, leaving the page-boy styled model there to stew in her vain possessiveness.

For her singer was the only man in the world who could put her back in her place. She’d never be above him.

That was why, with her plethora of tasty young lovers, she’d never put any of them ahead of him.

She picked up the sable, looking sidelong back at the girls as they entered the suite. “Sorry about that.”

Jarris looked her in the eyes. “Don’t apologize to us, girl.”

The others went to their men, and Ger went to hers. Humbled, she stood, sable, diamonds and all, in his doorway waiting for a pardon.

Propped on pillows, he lay naked outstretched on his bed. Victorious smile. “So like I’ve waited three months for you, and you just standing there sheepish?” He slapped the bed. “Get that gorgeous ass of yours over here.”

Her will to conquer him returned. On her way to his pulsating fruit, the bed would have come alive for her passion.

 

That night off-stage during the show at a nearby stadium

 

“So, Ger, what happened after you went into his room?” Laurie lit a joint for herself and the rest of this foursome of inseparable women. Long toke. “Did you two argue?” The sexy blonde’s smiling eyes wanted scandalous news that might set even the rafters and blazing speakers above them to listen. “Or did you give in to his lust?”

Cocky cool and jutting her left hip, she toked. “He was putty in my arms, girl. You know he was already naked when I got there. I strutted to his bed licking my diamonds and rubbing them in my twat, you know, and I threw ‘em at his feet. Then my sable at his pecker. Then I stripped, and threw my clothes at his face.” Toked again, then handed the joint to Jarris. “I slinked onto the bed and—you know.” Toothy smile. “So,” laugh, “that’s my story of salacious seduction.” Ger smiled sweetly to Laurie. “So like what’s yours?”

Laurie had to yell now because the music suddenly got a lot louder. “Would you believe he was taking a shower?”

“Oh, yeh?” Jarris interrupted. “Who’d he just lay?”

“How the hell would I know? You think the first thing I did when Jack came out of the shower was to ask him who he just wanked? Not bloody likely, Jar!”

“But you wondered, eh?” Mo asked with a throaty voice and a street tough accent. Toke.

“Yeh, right. But in the meantime, I was preparing myself for the feast, you know.” Took the joint from Mo. “You know that whipped cream I brought?” Laughs.

“Ooooohh!” Mo licked her lips. “And you licked him dry in the passion play.”

“He was limp with exhaustion, girl. Like, after I squirted his pecker and licked it clean, he could barely control himself. He never humped me so bloody hard in his life. Like he hadn’t any in weeks.” Laugh. “Well, hours, anyway.” She looked at Jarris. “Your turn, babe.” Toke.

“When I opened the door that bitch Artesia was biting Keith’s ear, so I grabbed her, dragged her out of his bed and threw her out the door.”

“Shit, Jar!” Mo shouted above the now muted music, causing Mick, the closest on stage, to give her a dirty look.

Mo saw the guitarist glare at her. “Ooops! Sorry, Mick.” Turned her volume down. “Shit, Jar, you serious?”

The skinny red-head laughed. “No. He was playing his VideoGame.”

Sighs of relief all around.

“So I threw off me sable and marched up to him and said as a vixen in heat, ‘You put that stupid game away, Keith Mullock!’ and proceeded to rip off his leather trousers, eh? Then I took a flying leap on top of him that burned the hair off his chest. Before he could even unplug that game, he tossed it to the floor, eh? Then we wrestled each other’s clothes off.”

“Totally delicious!” Ger giggled. “Like you always say—he’s sooo good in bed. Need to try him sometime.”

“In your dreams, babe.” Snide laugh. “Now, Mo, can you top that?”

“Maybe.” Mo toked again, eyes flashing pride. “At least I got to throw someone outta Bry’s room.”

“Who?”

Stifled a laugh. “Reg Lewis.”

As the girls cackled, the music exploded and the audience roared.

With the other women nearly rolling on the floor with riotous comedy, Mo wiped tears of hard laughter from her eyes. “Yeh, I said, ‘Goodbye, Reg,’ and flung him out the door. His head almost,”—shriek of laughter—“hit the door frame!”

The girls were picking themselves off the floor.

“Bry got off the bed to protest, eh? So I shoved him back onto his bed and ripped his clothes off. Ripped ‘em, eh? Seriously.”

“Good for you, girl.” Laurie said.

“Yeh. When you deal with Bry McClellan, you sometimes have to get rough with him. The rougher, the better. Turns into a real sex machine.” Like he always was before he got me pregnant and we got married.

In the third example, from Chapter Eleven of The Prodigal Band (or chapter 13 of the PDF) the six band members are in a spiritual void–not heaven and not hell–after being “rescued” from a calamity on their private jet headed to a London Airport in order to attend a Directorate meeting. At first separated, the six band members find themselves together again a short time later–but in a realm without time. Spoiler alert: two of the band members had already experienced a similar spiritual void a few years before while their bodies were physically in hospital beds.


“Fancy meeting you here,” Erik smiled.

Keith went up to him. “This is the place, eh bro?”

“Yeh. Same place, but no black holes and no other people. But how’d we get here?” Then the singer dropped his jaw. “Are we—?”

The bassist anticipated the question. “No. We not dead.”

“You sure, bro?”

“We’re on a mission of God, eh? Not a mission to God.”

A glowing light turned on in Manning’s brain. “Well, that explains it, then!” He waved his arms with such joy he wanted to jump on the others with the news. “We’re on a mission of God but now we’re on a mission to God! That way, God can tell us what He wants us to do!”

Jack was nonplused, but turned annoyed. “Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute!” He stood there, hands on hips in disbelief. “God isn’t some guy you meet on the street! Like you really, really think the Almighty God, Jehovah, Yahweh, whatever, is going to deign to face pipsqueaks like us and put us in a circle around Him and tell us big-time unrepentant sinners what He wants us to do?” He then marched up to the singer. “Are you freaking out of your freaking mind? Who do you think we are? Ezekiel, Daniel, Elijah, Jeremiah, Moses and David?”

“Who?”

Jack slumped, exasperated. “I thought you said you were reading the— Never mind!”

Tom said, “They’re Biblical prophets, right?”

“Not all of ‘em,” Jack answered. “Moses was the guy who took the Jews out of Egypt. David was the guy who slew Goliath with a sling shot. The other guys are big time prophets.”

“Why?” Erik wanted to know.

“Why were they prophets?” Jack had to think fast. “Because according to the Bible, God told them to say things to the Jews like repent from your sins and stuff like that, ‘cos if they didn’t, God would destroy them. And basically, that’s what happened. Most of the Jews— they had twelve tribes, but ten of them were wiped out. They were conquered, then scattered. The other two tribes were taken by the Babylonians, but later they returned. Anyway, God punished ‘em ‘cos they wouldn’t stop sinning. Something like that.”

“Okay, I get the picture!” But the singer got going. “But that brings us back to what we were saying months ago when we were given this mission. Why would God choose us unrepentant sinners to do this mission? Which leads us to why would God bring us here to tell us what—”

Jack flew off the handle. “I didn’t say that, you did! You’re the one who’s saying we got raptured up here!”

Keith’s eyes popped out. “You mean, this is THE rapture?”

“What rapture?” Bry asked.

“You know, THE rapture in those ‘end-times’ novels. That’s when all the Christians get taken up into Heaven—”

Jack shouted for effect. “It’s NOT the rapture! Bloody shit!”

Tom shot back, “No cussing in Heaven.”

There are more comedy scenarios with the three-book-novel trilogy.  And I had a lot of fun writing these scenarios! More snippets to come next week!

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.

Why is OmegaBooks “Home of the World’s Most Unique Fiction”? (Repost from my author blog, March 2, 2018)

But before I do the repost, here is some news regarding my The Prodigal Band Trilogy e-book to be published by Lulu Publishing: I have just sent in the manuscript revision sheet for the final proof…and I couldn’t believe how many typos and grammar issues I had to revise! And I’m sure I forgot one or two… Printed copies of the three-books-in-one will also become available, and Lulu will send me a few when it is completed…complimentary copies.

Onto the repost…

Originally posted March 2, 2018 on my Blog

I know that sounds bloviated, unrealistic, conceited even, to call my little independent publishing company hardly anyone has ever heard of “home of the world’s most unique fiction.” But folks, I do believe it is true. Here is why:

None of my fiction books fit into a fiction genre. My books are not simply romance, though there is romance in them. Or spiritual, though there is much spirituality in them, and the same goes for the “Christian” label–my novels contain sex, drugs, and rock and roll–now how “Christian” is that? Or fantasy–but there is plenty of fantasy in my novels! Or horror–but there are elements of horror in all my novels, such as Satanists drinking blood like vampires. Or adventure–but there are adventures in all of them, and even a bit of “western” in my forthcoming “The Prodigal Band.” Or the notion of “based on a true story”–no novel is based on one particular true story, but many truthful events which at some point I will document. One “truthful event” scenario that prevails in all my novels so far is the well-worn notion that rock and roll artists, from simple rock stars to mega stars, have “sold their souls to the devil.” Thus my novels are spiritual, fantasy, horror, with a bit of adventure, romance, “Christian” and western thrown in. Historical facts are also at play here.

The over-riding theme, being spiritual, is simply this–and I hate to play spoiler here–a rock and roll band learns how to defeat evil and accepts the ultimate destroyer of evil, but not to spoil anything I won’t say Who. So, folks, are there any other novels out there with the same theme using a rock and roll band? If so, let me know.

The main characters in these books were created by me when I was somewhere between the ages of 12 and 14, the time period being 1964 through 1967 or thereabouts–the time of the Beatles, Stones, Who, Cream, etc.–that is, the beginnings of the true “classic rock” period. Now, what do the bands mentioned above all have in common? They are Brits. To me, these English bands made the genre, so therefore, after spending about 6 weeks in England as a HS graduation gift, along with five others, one my best friend, and learning about living in England (we lived as guests with families near Brighton and attended lectures at Sussex University), I decided my main characters would be from England, and would be in a rock band. (Besides, I love hearing English accents, especially northern ones).

Now isn’t it conventional wisdom that one’s novels almost always contain characters and landscapes similar to or exactly where one grew up? Stephen King’s novels almost always take place in Maine, where he is from, right? JK Rowling’s Harry Potter novels are set in England, where she is from, right? My fave American author if all time, Kurt Vonnegut? He is from central-upper New York State, near Ithaca, and aren’t many if not most of his novels set in that area? A great English novelist, Charles Dickens, has most of his books set in or around London, where I presume he is from, right? So, another “unique” aspect to my novels is that my main characters, which originally were from my birthplace on Long Island when I first created them, were moved to England around the time I went there. But not because I know a huge amount of stuff about England or even would rather live there, but because since they would be in a rock band, in my opinion they had to be from England, which created the best rock music in my day. Plus, I had become an Anglophile, so to speak.

Why a rock band? Two reasons. One, rock music was one of my very few connections to my generation and friends–I was mostly a loner then and I am mostly a loner now…an introvert. Being a fan of rock music allowed me to have at least some good friends and become, if not “A-list” in High School, at least “B-list.” Two, because when I was a teen I wanted to become either one or two things–either an author or journalist, that is, a writer, or a rock star with guitar. I learned some guitar when my grandparents got me a regular guitar for Christmas in 1965 and learned mostly chords. I got more lessons from a friend who happened to be the front man for his local band, which after some lessons I joined–and this band was quite good. But it split up in 1969 or so. Plus, I was okay at guitar as well as singing but not really up to professional standards. So as for college, I had become pretty good at art as well, so I went to art school in NY City but dropped out after a year–I was good, but again, not professional. So then, why didn’t I become a journalist? Because I realized that “journalism” was what the editor and newspaper publisher wanted one to “journalize” about! I did not want to be a “journalist” who had to re-write the truthful story into falsehood just to please my “bosses.” So, after a period of years, I began my first novel featuring a fictional rock band.

If I was never a rock star, how could I write about fictional rock stars? Ever hear of Rolling Stone magazine? The “magazine about rock stars” from the late 60s until today? Research, folks. Plus what happens at gigs, how music/tracks/albums are recorded, back then and today with digital, various instruments, etc. The music business, recording contracts, managerial connections, etc. The research isn’t that hard–and I did most of it back before I had internet! But though fictional rock stars are featured in my novels, the novels aren’t about “rock stardom.” The novels are about good vs. evil. And did I dance with evil! The occult, witch craft, tarot cards, Ouija boards, séances, etc. Just to try it out so to speak–but after one particular horrifying séance were I and two other friends actually called up the dead and the “dead” responded–sending the Ouija board into the air and the curtains in the room flying hither, thither, and yon!–that was the last of my doing “witch” stuff!  So, my novel characters also wind up calling up what would turn out to be demons and wicked angels to “assure” their huge success. If I could do it (never mind success)…

And, if my novels present and future do achieve sales success, it won’t be because of evil spirits, but Good Ones if you know what I mean. I’m on a “mission from…” Remember that line from the movie Blues Brothers?

 

 

 

The Prodigal Band Trilogy: The Why (Originally Posted on Blog in 2018 in Five Parts)

For the original blog posts, they are here at the Blog.

Since Lulu.com is now in production mode of my “three-e-books-in-one” The Prodigal Band Trilogy, now is a good time to rehash “the why” I created these books beginning years ago.

Part One

As I have said in previous posts, I began my journey as a writer of fiction around the age of 8 or 9. I was returning home, on Long Island, New York, with my parents and older brother in a car from a visit to my grandparents (mother’s side) who lived in Mount Dora, Florida (about 20 miles from what was then Orlando). It was the summer of 1962; thus, I was 9 at the time. And I just happened to bring some non-lined notebook-sized paper and pencil with me. The paper was folded in half, width-wise, and looked like a “paperback book.”

Glad I brought the paper and pencil, because I was bored. I do not remember what my brother, in the back seat with me, was doing–he was 14 and likely listening to transistor radio up to near his ears (and folks, before the Beatles came along, pop music was very very boring, cutesy-wootsey “love songs” and other meaningless tripe about teenagers falling in love. From the time of the plane crash of Big Bopper, Ritchie Valens, and Buddy Holly in 1958 until the Beatles in 1964, “rock” music, if you could call it that, was IMHO, tripe. Dion and the Belmonts and Del Shannon and perhaps the Four Seasons were about as good as it got, and who the heck was Elvis? But anyway…) I had no idea what my parents were doing other than driving.

This was my first journey into the “deep south.” And the only thing I knew about the “deep south” related to the Civil War and the abominable institution known as slavery back then. There were times along Route 301 or even what was then I-95 when I would see what were called “negro shacks” along the way, plus we all visited some Civil War Confederacy monument somewhere, can’t remember. Now I was a “buff” so to speak of Civil War history. So I decided I was going to make up some story about this kid in the South during the Civil War who, along with his friend, a black kid who had been freed from slavery somehow and lived with the kid and his family, hated the south and slavery! So what he and his friend did was help the Union Army blow up a Confederate “ammunition dump.” And they did. I did not mention the state the kid lived in, or even the kid’s family name, but I called him “Johnny Reb” and the black kid was named Sammy. So, I named a kid who would blow up a Confederate ammo dump Johnny Reb? When my dad actually read the “book” (named “Johnny Reb” and was about 20 pages long in pencil) he brought up this irony! After all, weren’t the Confederates called “Rebels”?

Around that time I also had a diary–didn’t all young girls have diaries then? So, there I was in late 1963 just starting to have any interest in the watered-down “rock and roll” back then. When it rained outside, and in the Northeast US, home of “Nor’easters,” it almost always rained some in the fall and early winter, the public elementary school kept all the students in the gym after lunch, too wet to play outside. I was in sixth grade at the time and, not being popular so-to-speak, no boy wanted to dance with me. So all I did then was listen to whatever 45 RPM record discs were put onto the record player. Not being a ‘A-list’ or even ‘B-list’ (more like ‘D-list!’) that’s all I could do as most of my friends were dancing on the gym floor with boys whom had asked them to dance. Well, I had to try to ‘fit-in’ somehow so, even though I thought the music was boring tripe, I pretended to like it anyway. Thus, in my diary I would make up stuff about myself–in terms of a fiction character I can’t even remember the name–being popular and folks like Chubby Checker or Frankie Valli (spelling?) wanting to ‘dance’ with me (not knowing the actual hidden meaning of ‘dance’ at the time…’dance’ was code for a certain ‘f’ word if you know what I mean!) And of course I made up the boy characters as well. And named them the same names I have used for the original rock band characters in my books! (Note: the band concept came about in the latter 70s, and then I added two more band members, then deleted one of the originals in the 80s only to put him back in during the 90s). The reader is going to have to wait to find out the names of the characters for a bit.

Part Two

Continuing from Part 1, no boy would dance with me in the public school gym on rainy days, so I pretended they would using a fictional diary character, a “new persona” so to speak, just to make myself feel like I was okay and not the ‘D-lister’ I imagined everyone else thought I was. I didn’t even think my neighborhood friends thought I was up to snuff (and I don’t mean “snuff film snuff” either! If this happened to day I’d have been called a “geek” or “emo”). Four of the fictional diary boys later became four of my Prodigal Band fictional characters.

But in late December, 1963, before school was let out for Christmas vacation, I noticed a magazine picture on a shelf along the blackboard wall headed out the door. On the picture were four young men dressed in dark-colored suits and long-ish hair…back in those days boys or men generally had either crew cuts or short hair not below the neck line. These four men had much longer hair than I was used to seeing! The name or title above the men was written as “The Beatles.” Well, that was it, no other mention by any other student that I’d heard. And I had no idea who put this picture on the shelf, or why. The teacher was in her 50s–certainly she wouldn’t have put it there!

Then Christmas came and wouldn’t you know it but my older brother got two Beatles albums as a gift! (Did he put the picture there? Likely not, he was already in High School. But clearly he’d heard of the Beatles or else why would he request Beatles albums, LPs back then, for Christmas?) So he let me listen to both; one was Introducing the Beatles featuring ‘And I Love Her’ and several others I can’t remember, and the other was Meet the Beatles featuring ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand’ and “She Loves You.’  Well, that Meet the Beatles LP just blew me away, especially ‘She Love You’ (Yeh, yeh, yeh…) Now THAT was rock and roll! So, I became an instant Beatles fan, and nearly went crazy when I watched them on the Ed Sullivan Show in February, 1964. And then went even more nearly crazy when I saw the movie, A Hard Day’s Night, that summer in a nearby movie theater.

But it wasn’t just the Beatles. By summer, 1964, the so-called ‘British Invasion’ was in full swing and pretty much took over the airwaves from American acts by then. After the Beatles came, in spring, the Dave Clark Five (who I actually got to see live in early 1965), and other Liverpool groups like the Searchers and Gerry and the Pacemakers; then in summer, the Rolling Stones and the Animals; then in fall, Herman’s Hermits and the Kinks. Then in 1965, the Hollies and the Yardbirds (both of which would lead to even greater things with Crosby, Stills and Nash and Cream and Led Zeppelin).

Note about the Animals: ‘House of the Rising Sun’ originally by Bob Dylan was one of my fave songs back then, and, when I saw them on the Ed Sullivan show, he interviewed them after they performed and what got me was that while I could understand what the Beatles were saying (they of course are from Liverpool and speak ‘Scouse’), I could barely understand what any of the Animals were saying! They were from Newcastle-upon-Tyne and had a very strange accent! And, in a later post, I will explain how I became fascinated with this strange accent, called ‘Geordie’.

But as for my fictional diary characters, since I didn’t know squat about how rock and roll bands did things and couldn’t play guitar then anyway, I didn’t yet have them form some fictional band–they became a gang. American, of course. Didn’t know squat about England–yet.

Part Three

Continued from Part 2, I said my ‘boy diary’ characters became a gang, but not a drug gang or a violent gang. Just a close knit group of boys, and all these teen boys had girlfriends. Remember, this was fantasy stuff in my fake persona diary that I kept, basically, because I loved writing and writing about a persona that was very popular among boys literally kept me sane (even if it seems as though making up fantasy personas seems insane! I will say this: I am sure any friends I had did think I was a bit on the weird side because I was such a non-conformist. And love of rock music was almost the only way I knew I could fit in with ‘the crowd’).

But, as rock music went psychedelic beginning with the 1967 ‘summer of love’ in San Fran’s Haight-Ashbury district, hippie central, and the release of the landmark Beatles’ album, Sargent Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band—you know, the one with Aleister Crowley on the cover—I suddenly found myself absorbed in this music and decided I wanted to learn guitar. For Christmas in 1967 I got an acoustic guitar and a chord chart and a lesson book. Then in 1968 I got lessons from a teen around my age (16) who had his band, a neighbor. It turned out I could play an electric guitar much better than an acoustic one—the frets were narrower and the strings were closer together, a benefit to one with shorter fingers and a wee bit spastic in the ring finger who had trouble with chords that required outstretched fingers such as B, B flat, A flat, etc. So that I got good enough to play in this band as well as sing. Well, this got my ‘boy diary’ characters out of ‘just a gang mode’ and into ‘gang and rock musician mode.’ While the band I played with some broke up shortly, at least I got a taste of what being in a rock band was all about. By 1969, I had my fantasy boy rock band made up, and I wrote ‘stories’ about how they made records and toured and stuff.

And then came 1970 when a boy—he was pimply as all get up and curly blond hair and not exactly ‘A-list’ either—asked me out on dates, and even the senior prom. I turned down the prom offer, but at least I got to ‘make out’ so-to-speak. By then, I was ‘B-list,’ and working at an afternoon job at a local supermarket. Near graduation time from high school my best friend showed me an ad in the New York Times about a ‘university lecture program’ for students interested in European affairs from a British point of view at Sussex University near Brighton, which is on the English Channel and a seaside resort of sorts, with the added bonus of ‘living’ with a local family, as part of what was called ‘Inter-Teach.’ My folks knew I was somewhat an ‘Anglophile’ (thanks to Brit rock bands mostly along with a fascination for British accents…heck even American accents are fascinating to a degree), so they decided to put up the money for me to partake in this program as a graduation gift.

The program began in mid-July, 1970 and my friend (who had just turned 16 and I was nearly 18) and I and three college students and one HS freshman (we almost never saw…he was there solely for the education) lived in houses of program patrons in a Brighton suburb and attended daily lectures at the university given by three professors, one of whom was Welsh. In addition to  lectures we all did the following: saw a Shakespeare play in his home-town of Stratford-on-Avon, got coffee at Oxford University, saw several museums in London including one honoring one of my fave authors, Charles Dickens, some folk music festival near Guilford in Surrey, and various trips to pubs (without the freshman…while my friend and I weren’t quite 18 yet and thus weren’t old enough to consume alcohol, no one noticed that and for the first time in my life I drank warm beer. My friend and I also made a special trip to the northern London Hackney district so she could see her aunt, her mother’s sister, and her cousin for the first time (they lived in a tower block…at the time, Hackney seemed okay; now, it is supposedly an ‘Asian’ (read Muslim) district and there were riots there several years ago!). And various car trips with the family I stayed with.

We were supposed to leave England around the 25th of August, but my friend and I and two college students stayed an extra week or so. To attend the second Isle of Wight Rock Festival, Britain’s Woodstock (the other two on this trip returned without us) we learned about when we met some young men at some youth hostel or something. And no way was I going to miss a chance to see the Who, Pink Floyd, Traffic, Emerson, Lake and Palmer and many others. (Note: the final day, Sunday, featured Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin, but we had to leave during that day, or else we never would have been able to return to the States in time—it took days for everyone to leave Woodstock in August, 1969, and this was on an island!)

The festival was wonderful and interesting, but that really wasn’t the best part of this extra-week stay. The best part was a trip by van (driven by a male college student who quickly learned how to drive on the left side of the road in the right side of a vehicle!) into and around Wales, including the Cambrian Mountain area (spending a night at a bed and breakfast in said mountain area), then onto Bristol and Bath—named for ancient Roman hot baths—then onto Stonehenge, then onto South Hampton (or was it Portsmouth?) for the night to take the ferry to the Isle of Wight the following morning. So we spent the night ‘camping’ by the van, but before I went to sleep in the front seat of the van I had a very interesting conversation with three men in their twenties that spoke with that very strange accent I mentioned in my last post.

Part Four

The four of us—my friend and I and two college students—parked the van we rented in the overnight parking lot next to the ferry dock for the Isle of Wight to head for the Isle of Wight Rock Festival the following morning. Next to our van was another van, and next to us in front of that van were three men likely in their twenties that really only I spoke with, from Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Of the three, I could only really understand one of them; the other two had much thicker Geordie accents. No matter, the accent was fascinating (and, in fact, most English accents are somewhat fascinating). According to this Northeast England website,   this accent/dialect is derived from the Angles (not the Saxons) and is related to Celtic tribes that border Scotland. (In fact, all northern England accents/dialects derive from the Angles instead of the Saxons). Nor was this dialect affected by the Viking invasions and subsequent Danelaw kingdoms that were later conquered by the Normans. In fact, from the time of Robert the Bruce’s successful take-back of most of Northumria (above the Tyne, at the site of Hadrian’s Wall above the city of Wallsend) until England took it back in the 1740s, that area was part of Scotland. If you hear the Geordie accent, it almost sounds Scottish.

A couple of things to note this accent/dialect: one, instead of “ow” or “ou,” they say “oo,” and instead of the long A sound, it sounds like the long E sound, a sharper long I sound and long O sound, the short “a” sounds like “aaa” or “ah,” and the short u sounds (as with other northern accents) like a cross between “u” and “oo” (for instance, take the “u” in “push”, but not quite the “oop” for “up.” And other different sounds. And more, such as the expression “to hell with it,” they’d say “to hell wi’t.”

And that, folks, is why my band fictional characters are from this area. The accent.

And the history as well. I mentioned Hadrian’s Wall before. Then, in the latter 700s (as seen on the History Channel TV series “Vikings”) Norsemen raiders from mainly Norway sailed, among other places, up the Tyne River and nearly took over the Kingdom of Northumbria. Later the area was Christianized and today there is a famous monastery in the city of Jarrow, also made famous by the “Jarrow March” of striking coal miners and ship-yard workers in 1926. Across from Newcastle is the city of Gateshead that features an angelic-like or winged-bird-like statue, near the entrance point to the world’s first suspension bridge. The point about the ‘angelic statue’ plays a role in my novels. One has likely heard the term “coals to Newcastle,” and of course this river is a major shipping artery for more than just coal. In fact, and I didn’t even know this until after my first novel was published, there is a direct shipping lane from the city of Stavanger, Norway, to Newcastle. This also plays a role in my novels.

So I kept all this in mind when I seriously started writing the Prodigal Band Trilogy.

Part Five

Now is Part 5, discussing the various changes I made over the next twenty or so years from 1970 until the final version of the first novel in the series, Battle of the Band, was published, that set the stage for the next two books, including the FREE PDF of The Prodigal Band.

In the early 1970s I had planned to write the story of a 60s band, but that made no sense since no prime plot was set, and why write a story about a 60s band when the 60s were over with and in the mid-70s the music genre was changing? And, oh yeah, the mainline pop music at the time was a genre I hated—Disco! And then in 1975 another rocker I had no regard for, Peter Frampton—remember him?—was suddenly foisted on us rock fans at the same time the early 70s wunderkind, Led Zeppelin, was stagnating? Just as with today and my feeling that rock is dying or died with Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell resting in peace, I felt that by the latter 70s rock was dying as well. What was around was milquetoast at best (with a few exceptions like the Eagles and one or two others). Thank God for punk—the Ramones, the Cars, the Police and others. As I said, a 60s or a 70s band made no sense to me, and again, what was the over-riding plot?

And, oh yeah, I was in my mid-20s and had to support myself and figure out my life, right? That meant working full time, and then later, attending college, which I thought would help me figure out just what I was going to do with my life. So, from 1972 or so until about 1981 I stopped writing (except for college term and research papers).

In 1981, I graduated from a state university in New York. I had been accepted for a master’s degree/PhD at the New School for Social Research in the midst of New York City, a very expensive college, with the goal of getting a PhD in Psychology. Well, President Reagan screwed that one up by signing into law a provision whereby graduate students could no longer apply for Pell Grants or other grants, which was how I was planning to pay for college (and then there was the issue of getting room and board in New York City besides). I was NOT going to force my parents to pay for all this; they had just retired and moved to snowbird central, the Tampa-St. Pete area of Florida (where my mother’s folks lived). So, thanks to Mr. President, I had to put off my college plans, so I moved in with my parents in a nice retirement HOA home in a very nice subdivision with swimming pool, golf course, etc. But in 1982 I was hoping to head back to New School after having worked at several jobs. In the meantime, I began working on the band story again for a month or two. Then, in early fall, an event happened that would put the story off for years—I met my future husband, who lived in far west Texas, a beekeeper and lifeguard near the Oasis of far west Texas, mostly mountain and desert country. We married in a small Catholic church in a town of 600 people, then a couple of years later bought property in a local POA, then built a house there. In the meantime, I returned to college, Sul Ross State U, and got a teaching certificate in secondary math and English, then taught math in local high schools. In 1993 after having two kids, I got a Master’s Degree in Counseling, but never got a counseling job—my Spanish wasn’t good enough! (Note: I lived within a hundred miles of Mexico…).

So there I was…being a wife and mother and beginning to home school my kids and such in the middle of nowhere in the mountains in the early 90s and was no longer teaching (getting the Counseling degree in the meantime, then teaching a year in El Paso since we badly needed the income for various reasons I’m not going to get into here…but might be explained later in a non-fiction book I plan to write about an event that really happened in my neck of the woods in the mid-90s). One night in the early 90s—I can’t remember the year, but it was in the middle of autumn—I prayed and prayed for Divine intervention because I was feeling as if I must get these characters out of my head if I was to be a proper mother/teacher/wife, as if these characters haunted me. And that is why over the next couple of years the stories I had in my head became my first book, written on someone else’s Mac computer and then finalized on my own Mac computer in early 1996. Because of praying for Divine intervention, this book morphed into the spiritual genre.

Of course, that was the plan all along.

About the Prodigal Band Trilogy–Main Characters-Part 3: Support Characters and Women

While not quite as important to the novels as the six band members of Sound Unltd, all big-time rock bands or rappers or pop singers or whatever have ‘administrative staff’–managers, road managers, roadies, producers, promoters, accountants, lawyers, consultants, and what not. A few of these types of support staff personnel within the three books are important characters that appear in all three books. And they are–

Manager Joe Phillips, son of a banker-oligarch who heads the ‘evil side’ (I will get into my ‘evil’ characters in the next post), and has the pony-tailed ‘Laurence Olivier’ look, with typical upper-class London accent. While he is descended from an evil family, he is opposed to this evil. But his family influence definitely aids the band into reaching huge success.

Former manager and mentor Billy Preston is the man who helped put the band together in the early 1980s and also adopted two of the band members, Jack and Tom, who came from poverty-stricken and abusive or neglectful families. Preston is mostly bald and rather plump, whereas Phillips is thin. Preston appears in all three books, primarily in The Prophesied Band and The Prodigal Band.

Road manager Billy Hallslip is a prominent character in The Prodigal Band, is rather short, porcine, has a Cockney accent, dresses weird and is actually the manager until Phillips takes over.

Chet and Stu, head roadies, are Hell’s Angels bikers, large and brutish, with north London accents and tend to get into bar fights. Bry is their boss and he has to bail them out at times. Some roadies are full-time, but many are part-time or even fan-temporaries.

Bobby is one of the ‘fan-temp’ roadies, who not only ‘baby-sits’ some of the band on road trips, but also helps the band later while they are on their ‘righteous journey.’ Bobby is a teen, and is also into the occult before he goes to jail for robbery and is set straight by a Christian convict.

Pearson, Rogers, and Rudi are important ‘personal assistant-butler’ types who help some of the band members get over drug or alcohol addiction, and other supports.

There are also many rival and friendly rockers, groupies, ‘lovers’ of various sorts, old friends and even family members, including children, that appear at varying degrees in all three books.

The Women

There are four primary female characters that appear in all three novels, to varying degrees. All become successful super models–matching the stereotypical meme that rock stars date super models, if not actresses. And all create their own business models–cosmetics, clothing lines, jewelry lines, body boutiques and the like–to become as successful as their men.

Ger, which is pronounced ‘Jer,’ is Erik’s ‘something,’ his ‘queen’ so to speak, originally from central London from a middle-class background, is medium height as he is, with ‘bedroom eyes’ and ‘sultry-sexy’ look about her, with page-boy brown medium-length hair. Of the four women, she is the most prominent. Her original name was ‘Geri’ but I decided to shorten it.

Laurie is Jack’s woman, but he doesn’t always treat her as well as he should, suspecting her of infidelity and having a lack of trust, which later backfires on him. She is gorgeous, long haired-blonde, tall, skinny and sexy, with a toughie voice and lurid smile. She is the first super-model of the four. As a teen, she is neglected by her father, and she lost her mother at a young age.

Jarris is Keith’s girl and marriage partner, abused by her own father which forces her to become very tough and thick-skinned, with flowing red hair and high-pitched voice, and very skinny even before she started modeling and later developed several profitable businesses. She and Laurie are often antagonists, but friends the same.

Mo is Bryan’s wife, though their marriage is rocky despite having three boys. While Bryan’s folks are confirmed atheists, Mo’s father is an Anglican vicar! Only her father calls her by her real name, Maureen. She is red haired, medium length, large boned, but thin enough to model. She is manipulative when it comes to her husband, with consequences for both.

Other women-

There are several groupies mentioned, but one in particular stands out–Princess Tina of the fictitious principality called Leandro, set inside the Italian peninsula. She is Tom’s ‘only love’ and due to his ‘low birth’ he must meet with her in secret. He has a very good reason for wanting to associate with her and her kind, aristocrats and other wealthy folks. Another one that becomes important and is in The Prodigal Band is Julie, a classmate of Mick’s in Music School and later a lover. She plays first chair violin in the city orchestra.

And finally there is Morwenna, but she is as much spiritual in nature as human, and will be discussed in a future post.

To Heck With the ‘Consensus’: Try it Anyway

There are Blogs or Sites within the writer-author community here on WordPress doing great, and there are those not doing great, just as there are authors mega-selling and those who aren’t. I’m not going to get into the reasons for that (except to say that if you aren’t a ‘celebrity’ you’re likely not going to be a ‘mega-seller’ until you become one!)

And how does one become a ‘celebrity’? I’ll sum it up in one word: consensus.

Here is how the consensus works, for examples.

The consensus ‘greatest rock band of all time’ is the Beatles, and nothing any other rock band does is going to change that, even if some band comes along in five years to revive this music genre that has–mainstream, anyway–fallen by the wayside somewhat as ‘everyone’ (according to the consensus) has now made rap, hip-hop, or ‘pop’ music their favorite (again, I’m not going to get into why this has happened, but I think it’s obvious why this has happened. The proof? Guitar companies like Gibson have declared bankruptcy, and guitar seller-outlets have also…because rock music isn’t THE popular genre it once was). Remember, this is the consensus, not necessarily the truth. And another thing: this is only true ‘consensus-wise’ in the US. In Europe it is still likely number one, and it has been growing in Asia for years.

The consensus ‘greatest guitar player’ in rock history is Jimi Hendrix.

My opinion? Hendrix IS the greatest guitarist in rock history, while I DISAGREE that the Beatles are the greatest rock band in history. While NO ROCK GUITARIST could play like Hendrix could back then, or in the 70s, 80s, 90s or today–could Page or Clapton or Walsh or Vaughn play his guitar like Hendrix played the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ at Woodstock? I  doubt it! So then why would the consensus claim the Beatles are the greatest rock band in history? Influence. Not talent, not music-writing, not stage performances (and the Beatles stopped touring in 1966 anyway! Too much Maharishi?), or personality (though John Lennon certainly tried here). Influence? Basically, as I’ve already states on other posts, the Beatles revived the genre that was already fading by 1963-64 what with most ‘Billboard’ chart-toppers being ‘boy meets girl’ tripe (and enough one-hit-wonders to make it tripe…thanks, American Bandstand!). Then came the Beatles and the so-called ‘British Invasion,’ which also revived the best of the American groups including the Four Seasons, Jay and the Americans, Bob Dylan, and a host of mostly Afro-groups and pop-soul stuff such as by the Supremes and the Four Tops and others.  Add to that the Beatles influence in the ‘psychedelicizing’ (as the Chambers Brothers would put it in their monster hit, ‘Time Has Come Today’) during the late 60s, new age stuff contrasted to Lennon’s huge faux pas in denigrating Christ in 1965 which nearly led to the out-casting of the Fab Four in the US on radio anyway, and Lennon’s ‘anti-war’ stances, again contrasted to George Harrison’s support for the Bangladesh ‘independence’ movement from Pakistan (and dependence on India…some even claim Harrison was a proxy agent for the Indian government under the Maharishi’s guidance!) and his crapola ‘My Sweet Lord’ nonsense supporting Hari Krishna’s cult (I had a friend who was victimized by this cult, and I do NOT appreciate Harrison’s promotion of this cult!)

Whether or not the Beatles are the greatest band ever by the consensus and whether or not you believe this (I don’t) doesn’t matter. What matters is how the consensus influences one’s thinking, one’s conformity (as I am someone who prefers non-conformity), and one’s buying habits. And one’s writing habits or creative habits, as well.

Don’t write something just because ‘the consensus’ would prefer that you do. Stephen King and Kurt Vonnegut–two of America’s greatest fiction writers IMHO, to heck with ‘the consensus’–wrote what they wanted or were inspired to despite what a so-called ‘consensus’ wanted. In the 1990s virtually nobody self-published with printed novels (and only James Redfield of “Celestine Prophesy’ fame made it big in this business!), but I did so anyway because I was inspired to despite NOT having lots of money to do this. Today, anyone can self-publish, including in print (Lulu.com has some really affordable print-e-book programs if you want to check it out). I’d like to say these days ‘the consensus’ is meaningless, but I won’t, because it is only meaningless for me, a non-conformist and proud of it.

About the Prodigal Band Trilogy–Main Characters-Part 2: the Band

The fictitious rock and roll band that is on a journey to either choosing a good vs. evil path that ultimately all must take at some point called–for a very good reason–Sound Unltd, consists of six musicians of worthy talent, ambition, drive, and goals, with an instrument make up resembling most rock bands regardless of origin: guitarists–in this case, two–bass, percussion, keyboard-synthesizer, and lead singer/frontman. Since the time of the Beatles, this has been the usual configuration, more or less. Some of the six can play other instruments, as well, and some also have classical or operatic training. Three of the six come from musical families.

Descriptions of the band members:

I will offer physical descriptions two ways: one by actual overall description in word, and also a comparison to actual rock musicians or singers that should be well known…that is, character A looks like or plays his instrument like “so-and-so.” The word description of each band member comes from the beginning of the Prologue of ‘The Prodigal Band’, and I will name the character within the description:

“A lead singer (Erik) with dark brown shoulder-length hair accentuated by sensuous bangs on a baby-face was slender, thin-lipped and of medium height. Voice a Godly gift. Yet, some said, the devil’s tool.”  Within The Prodigal Band I compare his looks to Elvis Presley, but a lot skinnier; plus he has a Nordic complexion. His mother is from Norway, thus his name is spelled with a ‘k’ and not the usual ‘c’ ending. His voice is also similar to Elvis, deep and rich sounding.

“A tall, angular-faced guitarist (Jack) possessed dirty-blond hair now growing on once-shaved sides of his head. Now without the screaming instrument he fired into immortality.” I don’t really have an actual guitarist he resembles, but as for his playing style, it is not quite Hendrix, but still innovative, and has various qualities one would expect from Clapton, Page, Townsend, Walsh, or Prince.

“The dark, strapping bass guitar player (Keith) with bushy black hair and dark-coal eyes walked without his trademark gold chains.” The closest comparison to a renowned bassist is Jack Bruce of Cream, who, in my opinion, is the best bassist in rock history. And, for the sake of diversity which is rampant in England since the 60s, Keith’s grandmother is African, from Nigeria. I made Keith part-black while I was writing ‘Battle of the Band,’ but I did not stress this change until ‘The Prodigal Band’, where I bring up the issue or racism–I hate racism of any kind! As for looks, he certainly isn’t as dark as Hendrix! He and Erik call each other ‘bro.’

“The tall, lanky, beak-nosed, ringlet-haired album producer and master of many guitars (Mick) worried over his past perversions.” Mick is a cross physically between Jimmy Page, Alice Cooper, and Ozzie Osbourne, but much taller and skinnier (his nickname is ‘Skinny’). As with Page, he is an occultist, more or less. Jimmy Page bought occult cult leader Aleister Crowley’s Loch Ness occult estate, while in the books, Mick lives in an ancient occultist castle in the Cambrian Mountains of Wales near a burial site of an ancient Celtic occult high priest. The supposedly satanic memes of Page’s Led Zeppelin also provide a comparison for my fictitious band.

“The pot-bellied, biker-esque keyboard-synthesizer player (Bryan) famed for red hair wild as the wind, fiery as his brew, bore a downcast of regret.” I really cannot think of a keyboard-synth or piano player in rock music that has a similar description, but he does look like a typical Hell’s Angels biker. His nickname is ‘Bry’ or ‘Redbeard.’ As for playing style, his style reminds me of the keyboardist for Dire Straits, but the keyboardist of the previously referenced 60s group the Animals, Alan Price, is also a reference here, if you remember back to those days. Plus, he also plays Northumberland bagpipes and some horned instruments.

“A short, curly-blond percussionist (Tom) once angered by lost love approached with the others to an unknown destination, glad with a full life behind him.” The closest resemblance here is to Ginger Baker, rock and roll’s version of the greatest drummer of all time, Gene Krupa, who was the drummer for Benny Goodman’s Orchestra, an icon of the ‘big band era’ of the late 1930s and 1940s. Plus, Tom also looks kind of like Baker, with blonder and curlier hair, and shorter a well. Tom’s nickname is ‘Shorty.’

Music style–One reason I named them ‘Sound Unltd’ is that they can play virtually any rock and roll style, from fifties throw-back to progressive-psychedelic-late 60s to heavy metal to punk to new wave to grunge to rock-rap to even orchestral and rock-aria and operatic. There is a scene in ‘The Prophesied Band’ where the narrator, a fictitious ‘Rolling Stone’ reporter, imagines lead singer Erik on operatic stage while performing a rock aria he wrote. Their stage performances resemble the gigs of the 90s, with all the pyrotechnics, raunchy stage-mic stand-sex antics, guitar-bashing (first performed by the Who’s Pete Townsend in the 60s), faked amp burning, and other attention seeking behaviors.

Music influences–The Beatles, certainly, but also Mick Jagger’s notorious stage antics, and Led Zeppelin’s supposedly occultist influences as well. Other influences include Kurt Cobain and Nirvana, Prince–who is one heckuva musician–Michael Jackson even, with his dancing on stage, and, of course, Jimi Hendrix…there will never be another guitarist like him!

That’s all I’m going to say about the characters and their personalities. If you want to really know their personalities, read the books! Hint: my own daughter loves these guys! Maybe so will you.

About the Prodigal Band Trilogy: the Main Characters, Part 1

In the previous post and other various posts, I stated that my main characters morphed from a gang or clique of boys in the area I grew up, Long Island and New York City, to rock musicians from England–a decision influenced by, first, the fact that I actually made it into a local band; second, rock music was my main connection to youth culture of my generation (60s and 70s); third, my fave bands of that era–and the most influential bands of that era–were Brits, and I had visited England as well as attended the 1970 Isle of Wight Rock Festival which featured the Who, Traffic, ELP, Led Zeppelin, and Jimi Hendrix (who died in London a few weeks later) and others of note (some whom I missed since we had to leave early to get the flight back to the States).

That the most influential rock bands of that era were from England was a major reason my fictional band, Sound Untd, is from England. And what band from that era had the most influence on how I constructed my fictional band? Why, the Beatles of course! The so-called Fab Four–whom many claim are the greatest rock band of all time…basically re-invigorated the genre leading the so-called ‘British Invasion’ in 1963-64 as rock music in the States had been, IMHO, flat-lining since the plane crash of Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens in 1958. One doesn’t need to read the ‘Rolling Stone History of Rock and Roll’ books to know that from 1959 until the Beatles, rock was tripe, was cutesy-wootsey, was just ‘boy meets girl, boy ‘dances’ girl’ stuff (and you know what they mean by ‘dance’–having sex, right?), with a few true rock outfits to keep the genre alive (Del Shannon, Dion and the Belmonts, Beach Boys and a few others). Folks, it wasn’t until the Beatles came around–and the groups that followed them–that I had any interest in rock music at all. With the arrival of the Beatles, my world–and the world of my friends–became consumed by listening to the radio and records, reading ‘fan magazines,’ including the British one called ‘Melody Maker,’ and even getting together and pretending we were the Beatles on stage as the Beatles records played on victrolas or stereos (and not just the Beatles, either) in bedrooms or basements. It was this “pretending” to be John or Paul or George that would later give me the idea of learning guitar.

It was the Beatles and the other groups that helped me to grow up amongst my peers and not just be the loner, sort of, that I had been before. Finally, I was able to ‘fit in.’ Finally, I became interested, somewhat, in boys–it would take several years, however, before boys became interested in me. I wasn’t exactly a ‘hot date’ if you know what I mean. It wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I even thought I was good-looking enough (despite my acne) and finally landed a boyfriend of sorts (whose acne was even worse, but anyway…). Oh, as for my friends–most were better looking than me, and one of them, who looked like the model ‘Twiggy,’ (remember her? And she appeared in the movie ‘Blues Brothers’ as well toward the end), actually had a rock musician boyfriend–lead singer and lead guitar, of course. Another friend also dated once or twice another band singer who graduated the year before I did. And another friend had her band and she could sing like Janis Joplin! So, folks, since I knew I had writing talent since I’d been writing since the age of 8 or so, what better way to get the ball rolling than to write fiction stuff about an imaginary rock band?

But from England…but where in England?

My fictitious band absolutely could NOT be from Liverpool because that’s where the Beatles are from, and because they spoke with one of the weirdest accents on God’s green earth–Scouse. Sing-songy, to the point of crazy (and yes, folks, out here where I live a recent property owner just happened to be from Liverpool). And anyway, no way was my group going to be from where the Beatles were. London? Nope. Several bands, especially the Rolling Stones, were from London and, as with the Beatles, the Stones were prominent enough to where they, too, would be a serious influence on how my band was created. Manchester? A group that hit it huge for about a year, Hermann’s Hermits, was from there, but after a while they just did what I thought was tripe. And it seemed to me that most of these British Invasion groups were from either Liverpool, London, or Manchester.

Another group from another part of England hit it big in the summer and fall of 1964, and this group did some very interesting–and different–music, more bluesy, and with a really, really good keyboard player that really titillated my ears–the Animals, whose first hit was a remake of the Bob Dylan song, ‘House of the Rising Sun.’ Later songs had a bluesy style, such as ‘Boom Boom’ and ‘Bo Diddley.’ I saw them one night on the Ed Sullivan Show, and, after performing, Sullivan started to interview them, and–well, talk about weird accents! Neither I–nor by the looks of it, Sullivan–could understand about half of what they said, but it turned out they were from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, which is way up north and close to Scotland. In fact, the accent had a Scottish lilt to it–and that was the fascinating part. Their music, and their accent.

Then, in 1970–and I’ve stated this in a previous post as well–the night before taking the ferry from Portsmouth (I think, or South Hampton) to the Isle of Wight, I just happened to meet three guys from Newcastle, and while one of them was hard to understand, the others were easier–but still, they spoke with that fascinating accent, called Geordie. Several years later after meeting some folks from Scotland, they told me the Geordie accent (and there is a dialect, as well, but I won’t get into that) was very similar to and actually derived somewhat from Scottish. Historically it makes sense: Hadrian’s Wall, which the Tyneside town of Wallsend is named for, was in fact the old time border between England and Scotland. The portion of the county of Northumberland (or Northumbria) north of that wall was part of Scotland off and on for centuries, and was finally incorporated into England in 1744, the days of ‘Bonnie Prince Charley” and that war. And, the more I hear Geordie (YouTube videos and the like), the more I’m glad I chose that area and that accent for my characters in the band.

They come from the fictitious city of Walltown (south of Wallsend on the Tyne river where they build boats and stuff, and east of Newcastle), and the main tourist attraction of this fictitious city is an angelic statue called The Tooters (referencing the horn-blowing angels in the Book of Revelation). Well guess what? Across from Newcastle is Gateshead, and it just so happens that the main tourist attraction in Gateshead is–and angelic statue! (The thing is, it looks more like a bird, but at least it has wings, if not horns). And bear in mind I didn’t know ANY of this when I started writing my book(s)!

Finally, why did I call my group ‘Sound Unltd’? The original name for the group was the actual original name in my books, the Smash. Later, I changed it to ‘Smash Unltd’ (you do realize ‘unltd’ is short for ‘unlimited,’ right?). Two things caused me to change it to ‘Sound Unltd’–one, the fact that a group called ‘Sounds Incorporated’ existed in the 60s (of course, they never made it here), and that spiritual inspiration that came to me in the early 90s. Further, the name Sound Unltd is so ‘pretentious sounding’ that I figured no one would ever call themselves by that name, and so far, no one has–and they better not, since the name exists in copyrighted manuscripts! I do hope I never to lay out a couple o’ hundred dollars to trademark it!