The Last Call: Episode 5

an audio play series by Ernio Hernandez ©2017

original photo by Edwin Andrade
Listen to the audio now© 2017

MUSIC: Fade in on Demo of “Blood Heart.”

AHOTE (in song)
The world is set
nothing is true
You’re in my head
what am I to do?

Just sit and wait til then.

Blood dripping out of my heart…

MICAH I’m Micah Taymor and you’re listening to “Aftermath” on BPR One. The song is “Blood Heart.” The singer, the late Ahote Black.

AHOTE (song)
beating and bleeding anew
You’re here in my arms
but your life is now through
This cannot be the end.

MICAH If you’re just joining us, that was an early recording of the indie music singer-songwriter whose burgeoning career came to a sudden end last year at the hands of a rabid fan. The storied event was particularly well-documented at the time by music journalist Vy Coleman Reed — who happened to witness the tragedy first-hand. Vy has been recounting the incident with us here in the studio. (to Vy) Thank you again for being here.

VY Of course, Micah, thank you for having me.

MICAH I understand that song was the last one Ahote ever sang on stage.

VY Indeed. He actually introduced the song as the first one he had performed there. And sadly, it turned out to be his last as well.

MICAH Black had performed at the now-defunct downtown venue, The Vista Maya, for nearly a decade. As Vy uncovered in her reporting, his standing gig was in danger of ending anyway.

VY Yes, the owner was in arrears on the rent for more than half a year. She managed to land a deal with a real estate developer and was about to start closing up shop. Ironically, Ahote’s popularity had just began to take off.

MICAH A lot of financial woe surrounding Ahote. The owner and, as you mentioned earlier in the program, Ahote’s brother Tate — who is serving time for tax fraud.

VY Glad you brought that up. What I forgot to mention before was the tax charges only came about after an investigation into possible ties to the assailant.

MICAH Did the police suspect foul play?

VY From my understanding, they were being thorough, acting on suspicions from a number of witnesses who had just seen the two talking that evening. Coupled with the fact that Nema’s body was found in Ahote’s apartment.

MICAH Nema Quialochi was the fan who shot Ahote Black and then took her own life later that evening.

VY Those suspicions were eventually ruled out. But not before a number of other red flags were raised.

MICAH Speaking of flags, my producer is waving me down to segue into our caller, whom I believe has further info on Tate. Hello, Sky, are you there?

SKY Mm-hmm. Hello, Micah. Hey Vy!

VY Hey, Sky.

MICAH Sky, of course, is Vy’s co-author on the book “American Idolatry,” which details the lead-up to as well as the mayhem that ensued at the Vista Maya that night.

SKY Thank you, Micah, for mentioning the book. I’m beyond proud of the picture we have painted of Ahote. And in a broader sense, that we speak to the fetishization of culture, death and idol worship.

MICAH The great American past-time?

SKY Well, not solely American, but we certainly do it bigger here. Think of the rise in popularity of artists like Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain, Tupac, Biggie, Selena, the list goes on.

VY It’s certainly not a new thing either, you can go back to Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke, John Lennon…

MICAH Although, arguably, these artists were on their way to legend status in their own right.

SKY No, of course, but the question becomes more “What’s their story?” — their tragedy becomes entwined with their talent, their music.

VY In fact, when I met Ahote, his brother fed me his “story”; tragic car accident, parents killed, sudden-exceptional musical talent.

MICAH Embellishment?

SKY Nu-uh. No, Micah: Pathological lies. Tate, was relentless in his thirst for attention.

VY He spun such a web of deceit.

SKY Micah, I have a big spoiler. I hate to ruin the book for everyone, but Vy, we finally got confirmation…

VY I just saw the text from our publisher.

SKY This wasn’t in any of the advanced copies, but it will make it to the first print…

MICAH We don’t usually break news on this show, but go ahead.

SKY Tate and Ahote were not related.

VY The very first conversation Sky and I had — on that night I was to interview Ahote — she confirmed that he once revealed to her their true relation. It took this long to dig up and verify all that information. I’ll leave the detail for the book, but we can now disclose they crossed paths in foster care and also… in prison.

MICAH Wow. And it seems “the legend of Ahote Black” continues…

VY It’s a taller tale than anyone expected.

SKY And dark. And handsome. Of course.

MICAH Ha, well there you have it. Thank you, Vy. Thank you, Sky. That’s all the time we have today. For more from our conversation with these authors, subscribe to the “Aftermath” podcast on the BPR One website and you can also pre-order “American Idolatry” from our homepage. As usual, one lucky caller gets a free copy, and that is…

SOUND: Punching button.

…you! Hello, what’s your name?

CALLER Hi…Blake.

MICAH Blake, you will receive a signed copy of the book along with a BPR One t-shirt and an extended digital download of today’s show.

CALLER Sounds great.

MICAH Thanks for listening. “Aftermath” is brought to you by The Maria Stella Foundation. Mark Lucas-Jackson produces for BPR One. Special thanks to Christina Gustav and The Owl’s Roost.

PRODUCER (via speaker) And we’re out.

MICAH Thanks for coming in, Vy. Looking forward to the book. Best of luck.

VY Take care. Thank you again, this was fun.

PRODUCER (via speaker) Micah, our caller wants a second?

MICAH Sure thing.

SOUND: Punching button.

MICAH Hey… was it Blake? This is Micah, what can I do for you?

CALLER Hi. Great show.

MICAH Thanks, man.

CALLER Yeah, I was just wondering, the song you played earlier…

MICAH Blood Heart?”

CALLER Yeah, s’been a while since I’ve heard it like that… just wondering where you got the recording?

MICAH Ah, an Ahote fan?

CALLER Yeah, guess I am.

MICAH I believe it was a live recording we got from the author you heard, Sky. If we can, we’ll include a copy for you with the download. Sound good?

CALLER Thanks, man. Wow. I’d appreciate that.

MICAH Not a problem. Have a good one.

CALLER Send my thanks to Sky. Tell her “Thanks for the memories.”

VOICE: The Last Call is an audioplay series written by Ernio Hernandez, produced and featuring music by Michael Aquino. Full series at Voices featured include Michael Aquino, Ernio Hernandez, Gus Ibranyi, Dania Ramos and Mike Traynor. Special thanks to Kate Hernandez for continued support, Dania Ramos and listeners like you. Cheers.

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All episodes available at Drama Club.

🎧 Listen to the full theme song, “Blood Heart,” by Michael Aquino

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