All I can say is that you’re a pack of bitches! And I say that with “love in my heart” of course :-)
Whoa—you want to put Dylan and Marty through the proverbial ringer don’t you?
Well, I guess, what kind of band would it be if there wasn’t some kind of tension between the main players? ;-)
You got what you asked for!
Enjoy this week’s chapter—AND DON’T FORGET TO VOTE!
Love Toni xx
I couldn’t believe it. Marty was on board.
“We’re going to be fucking famous!” I said as I stood up. I’d have hugged Marty if he didn’t look like he was about to turf what was left of his breakfast all down the front of my shirt.
“Aye, you’ll be that,” the young blonde lady from behind the bar said to the two of us. I detected an Irish accent. No doubt another one of the many Europeans who couldn’t wait to escape the northern hemisphere and come down to New Zealand to enjoy our glorious scenery and legendary hospitality. “I guess you’ll be wanting me to show you Calvin’s office then?”
“Absolutely!” I said.
I wondered how the chick behind the bar would feel about being hugged?
“Follow me,” she said as she threw a bar towel across her shoulder.
“Come on,” I said to Marty. I didn’t slap him on the back this time. I wasn’t going to take any chances that there would be a repeat performance of his effort on the front step of The Globe.
Our Irish barmaid wore a pair of tight fitting denim shorts that pinched in at her tiny waist. A thick plait of hair finished just above her tight waist and fought with the bar towel for space across her slim back.
I’d scarcely finished admiring the swing of her hips before she turned around and ushered us towards a wide pine door with a green pane of glass in the top half. The door wouldn’t have looked out of place in a newspaper office.
“Calvin’s in here,” our little Irish barmaid said in her lilting accent. We were ushered into Calvin’s office with a wide smile that went all the way to her brilliant green eyes.
“Boys,” Calvin said as he looked up from over the top of the laptop that sat in amongst the general clutter of what could have been any kind of commercial office.
The only nod to the fact that we were standing in a pub—and a live music venue—were the assorted framed and autographed pictures of Calvin and some of the bands that he’d broken that lined the walls.
“Sit down,” Calvin said as he dropped the top of his computer and gave us his full attention.
I felt as if I’d stepped through a portal into some strange kind of alternate reality.
“You boys had a chance to think about my offer?”
“Yes,” I replied. “We’ll do it.”
“I’m bloody glad to hear that,” Calvin said as he wheeled himself around the edge of his large desk. He shook my hand and then leaned in the direction of Marty. “Your mate here didn’t have to twist your arm too hard did he?”
How did Calvin know?
Marty shook his head in the negative. “No, sir. I’m fully one hundred percent committed.”
“I’m glad to hear that, son,” Calvin said.
Calvin wasn’t the only one glad to hear those words coming out of Marty’s mouth.
“I’ll take you upstairs. Show you where you’ll be living and introduce you to your new bass player and drummer.”
Something inside of me moved when I heard those words.
This was it.
We were on our way.
Everything that we’d been working towards was going to come to fruition.
I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry—so I kept my mouth firmly shut and followed Calvin and Marty out of the room.
Calvin wheeled us out towards the accommodation section of The Globe.
“We had the whole accommodation area refurbished last year,” Calvin said as we waited for the lift that would carry the three of us upstairs. “There’s two floors. You and Marty will share the floor directly above us with Liam and Jesse. The top floor has been turned into two apartments. I live in one and the other is available for any acts that I have coming from out of town.”
I could scarcely believe that we were going to be living in the middle of town when we weren’t on the road touring.
The doors of the lift opened and Calvin wheeled us into what looked like a shared living area, with a kitchen to one side.
“The practise room’s downstairs,” Calvin said, “we like to keep the noise down in the living areas as much as we can. If you want to party, you’ve got a pub downstairs, so keep it reasonably clean up here, okay?”
Marty and I both nodded.
Four huge leather couches sat in front of a large screen TV. A games console sat on the table below the screen and what looked like the leftovers of someone’s lunch sat splayed across a low table positioned in the middle of the couch space.
Upon further inspection, I saw the blond head of someone wearing a black t-shirt and skinny drainpipe jeans curled up in a beanbag on the other side of the room.
Sunlight poured in over the entire space through large sash windows.
“Hey, Jesse,” Calvin called across the room. The blond head stirred and I watched as Jesse uncurled himself from the beanbag, much like the way our family cat unfurled himself from his spot in the sunshine on our lounge windowsill.
“Calvin,” the blond said as he stood up. “What’s up?”
“These are the guys I told you about, Dylan and Marty.”
“Cool,” Jesse said as he walked across the dark, wooden floor and reached out his hand towards us. “You joining the band?”
“Yeah,” I said as I took Jessie’s hand. “Dylan King and this is Marty Campbell.”
“You local?” Jessie asked as he hooked his hands in the pockets of the grey hoodie that he wore.
“From over the Shore,” I said.
“Is Liam around?” Calvin asked.
“Running around the Viaduct,” Jesse said. “Mad fucking drummer’s got too much energy to burn.”
“You’ll catch up soon enough,” Calvin said to me and Marty.
“What you play?” Jesse asked Marty.
“Keys and synths,” Marty answered.
“So you’re the amazing vocalist we’ve been hearing about,” Jesse said to me.
I wasn’t sure, but I thought I might have caught a tinge of sarcasm in his voice—but maybe I was imagining things.
The Bloody Mary’s gone to your head.
“Marty’s the creative genius,” I said trying to deflect the attention from me. “He writes some amazing shit.”
“Yeah, I’m looking forward to getting you guys in the studio,” Calvin said.
Could this day get any better?
“How soon can you boys move in?” Calvin said to me and Marty. “I can have the truck over the Shore to pick up your gear tomorrow, if that’s okay?”
I deferred to Marty.
Tonight was fine for me, but I knew Marty had to get his head around a few things.
“Tomorrow afternoon would be great,” Marty said.
“You sure?” I asked him.
Marty shrugged. “If I’m going to cause a shit storm, the faster we’re out of home the better.”
I couldn’t have phrased it better myself.
“Fuck, we’re really doing this,” I said to Dylan as we stacked our gear by the back door of my room.
I felt a lot better this morning, despite the storm clouds of disapproval that I could still feel coming down the stairwell from my parents.
“I think your folks took the news pretty well,” Dylan said as he leaned his guitar against his amp.
“They didn’t have a fuck load of options,” I said, “considering we actually had somewhere lined up to live.”
It had been the expected shit storm. Telling them I was leaving school, but for some reason, they weren’t surprised.
Dad even made some kind of moving speech about I’d always be his son and he’d never disown me. Mum just cried a lot and all my sister wanted to know was whether she’d be able to come to the pub for the gigs.
Considering I was kicking my education and any future educational prospects to the kerb—I thought I got through it all pretty well.
“What about these?” Dylan asked eyeing our surf boards.
I shrugged, “Not a lot of surf in the middle of the Viaduct,” I said.
“You might be able to snag the van one weekend, get us out to the West Coast,” Dylan said. For the first time since I’d agreed to go on this insane adventure with him he wasn’t talking any sense.
“Right. You reckon. When you think Calvin’s going to give us any time off to go surfing?”
“True,” Dylan said as he scratched his head, “but I still think we should throw them in the van.
By the time we’d finished, there wasn’t a hell of a lot left in my room.
It seemed strange, leaving my family home. The posters on the walls of musicians I admired and surfers doing their thing off the coast of Hawaii, testament to some kind of time capsule I’d been living in for the last ten years. I’d be lying if I said that there wasn’t a bit of a lump in my throat by the time Calvin’s man with the van arrived.
But, I didn’t have much time to grieve. Stan was an able man and, apparently, he’d be lugging our gear for us when we went on the road.
I’d made it.
My own roadie!
The fact he was probably at least twice my age and the van we were travelling in looked like it had seen better days didn’t do anything to dispel my feelings of excitement as we drove across the Auckland Harbour Bridge.
As Westhaven Marina came into sight and the expanse of Auckland’s city landscape came into view, I couldn’t help but feel in my gut that it would be a long time before Dylan and I would be heading back to our old neighbourhood.
I knew years ago when I first met Dylan King that there was something about him. Something that was going to take him places in the world. What I hadn’t counted on was the fact that I was going to be travelling by his side.
Today, I was content to sit beside my friend and face our new adventures. As long as we were together, then I knew that the possibilities for us were endless.
We were on our way.
A great adventure.
The great adventure that we’d dreamed about for years.
Nothing could come between us now.
By the time Stan had helped us get our gear up into our apartment, I was officially exhausted. I thought I was fit—hours out on the water on my board—but I couldn’t keep up with Stan.
Fuck only knew what kept him going.
He was a powerhouse of sinew and muscle.
He’d shown us which of the bedrooms we were to take and said that Calvin would be up later to sort the paperwork—whatever that meant.
“Weeks on the road, lads,” he’d said as we panted in his wake while we carried out the last of our gear from the back of the van to the lift.
Marty had taken the bedroom that overlooked the back courtyard of the bar. I preferred to have the one that overlooked the main road below. I could sleep through anything and I liked the idea of sitting in the wide sash window late at night and watching the comings and goings of the city folk.
Each room was a mirror image of the other. Double bed sat on one wall. Wardrobe, fitted with shelves and drawers opposite the window and a good old-fashioned basin sitting in the far corner.
“What’s with the sink sitting in the corner of the room?” I asked Stan.
“Every hotel pub room had one in the day,” Stan said. “When Calvin did the refurb, he decided to keep one in each of the bedrooms. Kinda quirky, don’t you think?”
“He’ll be up soon,” Stan said, “Calvin. Liam and Jesse will be around somewhere. I’ll be out back if you need me.” And he was gone.
I sat on the bed.
It was comfortable. I guess I was going to have to get the hang of sleeping anywhere—if we were going on the road.
On some level, it still gave me the shits. The idea of touring with a band—especially with a couple of guys that we hadn’t really met. But, I reasoned with myself, if Calvin thought we were a good fit, then I had to take his word for it.
I got up, stretched.
I was knackered, but there was still a pile of mine and Marty’s shit sitting in the middle of the lounge floor. I picked up my guitar and amp and headed for my room when the bell on the lift sounded.
I turned around and Jesse stepped out, followed by a thick set guy with long, black hair and a string of tattoos down his arms.
“You’re here already,” Jessie said to me.
“Yeah,” I said just as Marty arrived back in the lounge. “We’ll get this shit stowed and get out of your way.”
“Your home now too,” the thick set bloke behind him said. “I’m Liam.” He held out his tattooed arm. I put down my guitar and shook his hand.
“Marty,” Marty said from beside me.
I watched as Marty’s hand disappeared in the grasp of Liam’s. Liam struck me as the kind of man that you wouldn’t want to take on at any time of the day or night.
“Look, we’ll leave you to settle in,” Jesse said. “Has Calvin been up to talk business shit with you yet?”
“Apparently he’s on his way,” I replied.
“We’ll go downstairs and grab a beer. Why don’t you come down and join us when you’ve sorted out your contracts with Calvin?”
“Yeah, cool,” I said.
“Calvin wants us to have a practice tonight, you up for that?” Jessie asked.
Marty nodded, “Yeah. No worries.”
“Great. See you down there, then,” Liam said. They were gone as soon as they’d arrived.
Marty and I stood there looking at each other, then Marty shrugged.
“Fucked if I know either,” I said as I picked up my guitar and carried it into my room.
Paperwork dealt with, it wasn’t much more than half an hour later that Marty and I were in the bar with Liam and Jesse having a beer.
“To the band and our raving success,” Jesse said as the four of us touched the necks of the brown bottles together.
“You wanna line us up another round, doll?” Liam called to the little Irish waitress who’d looked after us yesterday.
She cocked her head to one side, “You know how Calvin feels if you guys get pissed before rehearsal.”
“Alannah, darlin’ we ain’t gonna get pissed on two beers,” Liam said. “Now, we need something to break the ice over here, these boys are practically glacial.”
I’d been called a few things in my time, but glacial wasn’t one of them.
Something about Liam began to rub me the wrong way.
Maybe I was tired, or overwhelmed by everything.
Maybe I just needed my guitar in my hands—but sitting here, with Liam—who had what looked like a perpetual sneer on his face, wasn’t doing it for me.
“Why don’t we take these into the rehearsal space,” I offered. “Jam a little, you know, get to know each other.”
Alannah arrived with another four beers and began to place them on the table.
Liam leaned forward, getting as far into my personal space as he could, even with the expanse of the table between us.
“Something we need to get straight right now. Just because you’re the lead singer in this band don’t mean that you’re the boss. Got it.”
“You not done enough laps of the Viaduct today?” Alannah asked as she placed herself in between me and Liam. “You need to give these boys a chance to settle in before you start throwing all that muscle of yours around.”
“Just making sure that we set the ground rules. So we all know where we are,” Liam said as he leaned back in his chair, his hand going to the small of Alannah’s back. He began to twist the end of her blonde plait between his thumb and forefinger.
“And haven’t I told you to keep your big old hands to yourself on more than one occasion?” Alannah said as she took a step towards me and out of reach of Liam’s hand.
“If anyone’s calling the shots around here,” Calvin said as he wheeled his way to the table, “it’s me.”
Before she headed back to the bar, Alannah gave me the same sweet smile she’d given me when she ushered me into Calvin’s office yesterday.
Liam saw her and scowled.
“Nice to see you boys getting to know each other over a beer,” Calvin said. “But just remember, I have the power to hire and fire here and not one of you is indispensable.” He took a moment to eye each of us individually. “You’re on my payroll now and everyone on my payroll acts like a professional or they’re no longer on my payroll. Do I make myself clear?”
There was a general muttering around the table.
“Good. Now we’ve cleared that up,” Calvin said, “your first gig is in five days. You’re opening with six songs in front of Rise on Saturday night. Here’s your play list.”
Calvin dropped four pieces of paper on the table. “You might want to get your arses into the rehearsal room, you’ve got a lot of work to do before then.”
What the fuck had we let ourselves in for?
* * *
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