froufroufoxes
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froufroufoxes

Getting Lost

A short-ish story.

Details: Far outside Austin. Present day. Mid March.

This is a story about losing your dreams… and perhaps, finding them again. It’s about the ones that got away. The ones that you never got back and never will. The loss of your art, the loss of love. It’s about the other side of surrender and resignation. The big time existentialism of your forties. It’s about being far outside your comfort zone, blades of grass swaying slowly, Springtime thunderstorms, stiff glasses of whiskey, the musky smell of recordings studios and the low, comforting hum of a Rhodes. It’s about feeling like all was lost, accepting that and then… remembering what a sliver of hope feels like.

(This is best read while listening to This Will Destroy You or Explosions in the Sky.)

A beat up Prius pulls up to a lone house on a long, country road in the late afternoon. The house is not dilapidated, but sure isn’t new. Elena hides behind giant Audrey Hepburn glasses wearing all black — as usual. Black jeans. Black boots. Black shirt. Black leather jacket.

This is not the right place and she knows it. Everything inside her tells her to just have the driver turn around but her ego is strong. Elena does not like to be wrong. She breathes deeply, gets out of the car and simply says, “Thank you. I’ll take it from here.”

The driver looks at the house and then back at her. “Ugh. You sure, lady? You won’t be able to get a ride for hours if you’re wrong.”

Elena is not sure, but Elena is a woman in control. (If this were a movie, a narrator would say, “Or was Elena a woman whose life felt out of control… who needed something desperately to change?”)

She confidently smiles back at the driver, “Yes, I’m very sure. Thank you.” She steps out of the car and then looks toward the house.

She smiles at the driver again to assure him. He shakes his head at her and drives off muttering something under his breath about city folk.

Her shoulders slump and her face falls.

“I am stranded in the middle of nowhere and probably going to get murdered. Cool. Well, I had a great run,” She thinks to herself.

She stares down again at a crumpled piece of paper in her hand that lists the address. She looks back at the house. “I don’t understand,” she frustratingly muses, “This is the right address. Amos never makes mistakes. Maybe he’s pulling a prank on me?”

Amos, is Elena’s assistant. A fifty-something-year-old career assistant at Rise Records in New York who has worked in the industry for decades. He’s seen it all, girl. Amos knows everyone and knows where all the bodies are buried. His job is simple, but he’s always loved it and didn’t want more trouble. “Why make too much money, when you can have less stress and just be happy, girl?” is what he tells people when they ask why he doesn’t want to do something else.

Elena solemnly stares at the house for several minutes trying to figure out what to do. Jason pulls the curtain in his living room aside to stare back, but she doesn’t see him. “Who in the hell is this?” He wonders.

He finally opens the door and flashes a charming smile. Ruggedly handsome. Salt and pepper haired, late forties wearing one of those plaid western shirts with abalone shell buttons and well-worn jeans. (The standard uniform for any former musician.)

“Hi. Can I help you or are you just having a staring contest with my house?”

Startled, Elena looks up and waves awkwardly, “Oh! Um. Hi.”

“Hi. I’m Jason.” He extends his hand.

“Hi Jason, I’m Elena.” She hesitantly approaches, forgets to shake his hand and begins to nervously talk with her own hands, “You see, I… I have this address from my assistant and I… I am very confused because I… thought I was going to… a barbecue.”

“Like, a barbecue joint or a barbecue in my backyard?”

She quietly squeaks, “Um… a restaurant. He… he said it was this… great place just outside of town”

He approaches her, “Hmm. Can I see the paper?”

Demurely, she outstretches her hand and holds out the crumpled paper. It feels like a sad peace offering acknowledging that she is not in control and in dire need of help. Jason takes the paper with a chuckle and says,

“You know, you don’t need to look so sad.”

“I know, it’s just, I’m embarrassed. Ok. I’m clearly lost.”

“Literally or metaphorically?” He laughs.

“Good question.”

Jason looks down at the paper. “Huh. Well, that’s weird. This is the right address. I’m just not sure why someone would give it to you and say it’s a barbecue joint.”

“Fuck. I must have heard him wrong.” She sighs with the most dramatically dejected tone.

“It’s OK,” He chuckles, “and I’m afraid I’m currently trying my hand at being vegetarian… more or less… so I can’t really offer you any barbecue, but I do have whiskey.”

Elena looks up, a flash of hope in her eyes.

“Oh God, that would be great. I would love a glass of whiskey right the fuck now.”

They both start laughing.

“Come on,” he nods his heard toward the house and she follows him in. She thinks to herself, “Well, look, if I’m going to get murdered… at least he’s kind of cute.” Beneath that thought however, was another thought, and one that was far more disconcerting, “What if… this is where I was supposed to wind up today?” (And also, she knew this didn’t look like a restaurant.)

Inside Jason’s home, Elena finds a 1960s wonderland frozen in time. Vintage oven. Vintage fridge. Vintage couch. Vintage chairs. Vintage curtains. Vintage music posters. Vintage ashtrays. The place has been meticulously kept up, but not upgraded in a single way. Lights flicker. The television is outdated. It seems like a mid-century museum. She walks around marveling and stops to investigate each quirky knick knack.

“Soooo, I’m guessing you don’t have wifi,” she laughs.

Jason hands Elena her whiskey, “Not up here. No. And I’m guessing, you’re in town for South By?”

“That obvious?”

“I mean, we don’t get a lot of designer-sunglass-wearing goths in this neck of the woods.”

“I think of myself as more post punk than goth, but OK.”

“Of course.” Jason rolls his eyes and nods. “So, what do you do?”

“I’m an exec for a record label in New York.”

He smiles wide, “Oooooh. A label executive.” Jason kicks back in his chair and extends his legs on the coffee table. “So… tell me about your failed music career.”

“He’s got jokes, everybody.”

“Am I wrong?”

She stares intently at him, then looks down.

“No.”

“Frontwoman, right?”

“Yep.”

“Guitar?”

“And keys. I’m sorry… how do you know all this?”

“Don’t worry about that. Let’s keep going. Did you play solo or with a band?”

“Both. I mean, usually it was my own band. I played in other people’s things for a minute but never liked it.”

“So, what happened?”

“I mean… what always happens? It was the late 90s. I found drugs, fucked up my life and my record deal. Same ‘ol, same ‘ol.”

“How?”

“What do you mean, ‘How’? That’s the story.”

“No, it’s not.” He says staring at her with a loving determination before leaning in, “Listen, you and I both know that record labels will fund a whole lot of drug addicts if they think you’ll make them money. So, what really happened.” He takes another sip of his whiskey like a shrink observing a patient.

A long pause.

“Checkmate.” Elena takes a deep breath through her nose, “I guess it really doesn’t fucking matter if I tell you the truth since you’re some rando who lives in the middle of nowhere. But the story is… Fuck…I can’t believe I’m telling you this…I haven’t thought about this shit in years…”

“Look, as you mentioned, I’m just a ‘rando’ who lives in the middle of nowhere. I have almost no reception and I’m not even on social media so… your secret is safe with me, lady.”

She looks down. After a painful pause she begins, “I fell in love with a guy in a very famous band on the label I was signed to. He had a wife… and because of me, he also had a drug habit. So, to the label, between my drug use and romantic escapades, I had become a liability to their big, cash cow artist. So, the label president dropped my band before we even finished our album. I was humiliated and heartbroken. They told the press that I had a ‘rare health issue’ that I needed to care of. So… I took care of it… and it took my music career.”

“Heroin or coke?” Elena sighs deeply. He goes on,

“I mean, you’re kind of a spazz, so I’m guessing heroin.”

She laughs in an exasperated way and taps her pointer finger on her nose.

“But you drink?”

“Yeah. I’m one of those rare freaks who was able to go through rehab and kick for good. I don’t really drink often. I don’t crave drugs. It was just a really fucked up two-year period of my life and when I was done. I was done. I’ve never really looked back since.”

“That’s good. You’re in the minority.”

She nods, “Yeah. Did you ever get into drugs?”

“Not really my thing. I’m kind of an old school guy who just likes his beer and whiskey. I mean, shrooms are alright. Weed is fine, if it doesn’t make me paranoid but I just like to…”

“…keep it simple.”

“Yeah. So, back to you, Ms. Guitar and Keys… when is the last time you played a show?”

“Oh, that ship has sailed my friend.”

“That long?”

“Yeah. But I like to karaoke these days, does that count?” Elena quips. (Her sarcasm increases whenever she starts feeling uncomfortable. He can sense this.)

“No, it doesn’t count.”

“Right. Look, I just feel like… in this phase of my life… my gift is that I help other artists chase their dreams. You know? It’s not really about mine.”

“That is very noble and a very record label person thing to say.”

“But, I mean it.”

“You think you mean it.”

“Ok, Obi Wan. I see what you’re doing.”

“What am I doing young Padawan…” He grins wide.

“You’re just… you’re trying to break me down. To you, I’m just some lost city slicker, stereotypical has-been-musician-turned-suit and… you just… you just want to unravel me and wow me with the wonders of living a sensible blue collar life as a farmer or whatever-the-fuck-you-are out here in the woods. That’s it, right?”

Jason laughs and then his face becomes more somber.

“No… that’s not it. We’re more alike than you think. Come with me.”

He gets up and begins walking toward the back of the house and then outside. They step on to a covered porch that overlooks acres of land and then down some stairs. He throws open the basement doors and says, “Down here.”

“Oh, so this is definitely the part where you kill me.”

“What? No. God. You watch too many movies. To be fair, I have no neighbors, so I could have just killed you up in the house.”

“Oh… good point.”

As they walk downstairs into the basement, Elena discovers an underground music studio almost as large as the house. There is a state of the art sound board, old Persian rugs, egg crates on the walls and even rooms to record vocals in. Christmas lights are strewn across the ceiling making it seem like a fairy land. The house may be stuck in the 60s, but the studio isn’t.

Elena looks around in awe, “Oh, my God. What the fuck. This place is amazing. This is yours?”

“Yep.”

“So… you’re a producer…”

“I am.”

“Well, and a musician, clearly.” She gestures toward the wall of guitars.

“Indeed.”

She walks around the large space picking up odd instruments (a theremin! A musical saw!) and marveling at vintage gear. Nineties posters line the walls. Ashtrays dot the space as do incense holders. She collapses onto a beat up leather couch against the wall next to an upright piano.

“So this is where the wifi is…”

He winks.

She smiles, “Alright, your turn. What’s your story then.”

“Well Ms. Label Executive, that is going to cost you.”

“Um, I have four dollars in my purse so let me know if you take Venmo.”

He opens a drawer in a desk and takes out another bottle of whiskey. He pours it into two glasses and motions toward the piano,

“Here’s your whiskey. There’s the piano.”

“What?”

“I want to hear one of your songs. Play me one of your songs and then I’ll tell you part of my story.”

“Oh,” she laughs awkwardly. “I’m not even trying to fake humility. I literally don’t know if I remember anything anymore. At home, I have to keep a little notebook of my songs because I don’t even practice them enough to remember the melodies. You know?”

“I believe in you. I‘m sure you can muster one up.”

“None of the good ones.”

“Then play me a bad one.”

She makes frustrated sighing noises under her breath.

“Elena, it’s not a big deal. In case you didn’t notice, this is not Madison Square Garden. This is a shit basement studio in the middle of Texas. Who the fuck cares what your songs sound like? Just play. Why can’t you let yourself just… be?”

Her tone of voice changes, “Because… I don’t know how anymore. And that’s the truth. That girl,” she gestures toward the piano “feels like a story in a book I read a long time ago. I don’t know how to tap into her angst or her tragic sense of longing anymore. The lovelessness that permeated her being. I don’t know what that feels like anymore. I have been trying to get as far away from her as possible to be honest.”

“So, you can’t play me a song because you’re happy and in love is what you’re saying?”

“No, not at all actually. I’m just… I’m just not as fucked up as I used to be. You know? I channeled all of that angst into my work and making paychecks and becoming successful and someone I could actually be proud of… and I think the price was my music.”

<beat>

“Hmm.” Jason looks around the room then takes a sip.

“This is a very weird day,” Elena sighs again and walks toward the piano and checks to see if there is dust on the keys. (There isn’t.)

Jason calls out, “OK. Just play me one about him. The musician who cost you the record deal. Pain like that we don’t forget.”

“No, we don’t.”

Elena sits at the piano.

“This song, I was going for like a Jesus and Mary Chain vibe,” she says as she begins to play.

She sings…

You stole my heart and it’s not fair / I crawl in your room when she’s not there / You say I come on strong like a heart attack / I say your hands were made for the small of my back…

Her voice sounds like a drugged-out torch singer, like a slightly-more-alto Hope Sandoval. She hits a wrong note on the piano, pauses and shakes her head mad at herself. She says nothing though and keeps going. She knows better than to make excuses. He is enthralled. She is good. She is very good.

She finishes the song and doesn’t turn around. She just sits quietly staring at the piano. She feels exposed. She has remembered the pain of that heartbreak. She also feels slightly embarrassed waiting to see how Jason responds. She is surprised that she even cares.

He is quieter now. The sarcasm is gone. When one artist recognizes the greatness in another artist, the vibe changes. You realize you’re part of the same club in that moment of recognition. It’s the “Ah… you are just like me” moment.

“You’re good. I get the Jesus and Mary Chain vibe. Throw a shoegazy guitar on there, some tambourine and a fuzzy bassline…”

“and some reverb to the vocals…” she says while still not turning around.

“Yeah. It’s good.”

“Well, it’s an old song from a long time ago.” She finally gets up and goes back to her seat.

“Just because it’s old doesn’t mean it isn’t good.”

“I know. I just think I was better a songwriter then than I am now.”

“Maybe.”

“Anyhow. I paid my toll. Gimme your story Mr. Axe Murderer. How did you wind up living like a hermit in the middle of nowhere with this incredible studio.”

He laughs.

“Fair enough. Let’s go outside and take a walk.”

Scene soundtrack: What You Need Isn’t There — Hammock

As they step out into the fresh air, it is bright but the sun is beginning to wane. Elena puts on her giant sunglasses again. Jason’s property stretches for miles. Surrounded by trees and lush grass. There’s a vegetable garden. The requisite “I live on a farm” beat up old truck. A cow. Flowers. Hawks. A wide open sky and the feeling of possibility.

They begin to walk.

“So… here’s the ‘how I got here’ story. This farm has been in my family for over a hundred years. My dad inherited it after my grandfather Bob Archer passed around ‘89. We were living closer to the city at that time. My mom Anne was a teacher and worked at a Baptist elementary school near Austin. She didn’t really want to move out here, but wasn’t the kind of lady who would put up a protest. She was quiet. Salt of the earth. I remember my dad giving us this big speech about, ‘We have to honor the family legacy and return to the Archer farm’ blah blah. My brother and I both knew the real reason he wanted to live here. It was paid off. It would give my mom less of an excuse to harp on him when we was out late… because… ‘Look Anne, the rent doesn’t have to be paid anymore. It’s already been paid off, just let me live.’ Tom Archer, what a fucking piece of work.”

“Do you get along with him?”

“That was thing. He was charming as hell. Everybody got along with him. He was handsome. He was funny. He had an answer for everything. You could never win a fight with Tom Archer,” Jason laughs. “But he was also a fucking liar. I loved him, but I couldn’t respect him. Cheated on my mom left and right. Broke her heart. My brother was just like my dad and I was just like my mom so anybody who hurt her, I had a problem with.”

“Did she know he was cheating?”

“Elena, I think the women always know.” He raises his eyebrows toward her as he says this… he knows her question wasn’t just about his mom. “A lot of times they try not to admit it, just to keep the peace. So, I never brought it up when she was around.”

“Where are they now?” she quietly asks.

“Tom died a few years after we moved here. Doctor had told him to knock off the booze or else. He didn’t. So, that was that. I will say, it was a strange blessing we were here because my brother and I were in high school and didn’t make much money. Mom’s salary would have never covered rent at our old house. So, this farm actually saved us from being homeless after he died.

“Anyhow. Dad’s death really hit my brother hard and he got into all kinds of shit. He moved out the next year to live with friends. So, it was just me and mom. She was heartbroken over all of it. I tried to help, but there are some things that are bigger than you. She died of cancer few years later as I was graduating high school. My brother died in a freak car accident couple of years after that. So, ironically, I have stayed on this farm for the very reason Tom Archer said we should move here… to preserve what’s left of the Archer legacy. Funny how life works.”

“Wow. I’m… sorry for all of your loss. That is a lot.”

“It is, but it’s also just life. Y’know? Everybody’s mom and dad is going to die. Siblings fuck up and make you love and hate ‘em all at once. Drinking ruins lots of families. The economy goes up and down. Whatever, man. It’s all the same shit, wrapped in different storylines. I’m not special. I’m just a guy who realized younger than most that what matters is the friendships you build, the family you take care of… while you have them, and doing a good honest day’s work. That’s the legacy you leave, the rest of this shit you can’t take with you. Anyhow, I think we should eat…”

Hunter Moon — Russian Circles

They’re now seated on the covered porch at a worn table and benches.

“The sky is starting to look crazy. It didn’t say it was going to rain today,” Elena small talks as Jason starts placing plates down.

He laughs, “Welcome to Texas, Elena. I think it’s going to storm in a few. In the meantime, this is going to sound kind of weird but I made a quiche this morning. That cool?”

“That’s kind of impressive.”

“It’s an easy way to dump a bunch of vegetables and keep me off the bacon. This will be a simple meal but I wasn’t expecting… you.”

He places the quiche down on the table, a salad, a bowl of fruit and some glasses for water. The clouds are moving in. A sense of awkward tension begins to build.

“Elena, can I ask you something?”

“At this point? Anything is fine, I’m sure.”

“You’re not married?”

“Divorced.”

“And I’ll just tell you the story because you’re going to get it out of me anyhow. Um… after I lost the label deal and was licking my wounds, I met a nice guy. And that was the best thing about him — he was nice. We didn’t have much in common, he didn’t care about music but he had a steady job and didn’t shoot dope. I figured if I chased the suburban dream maybe it would fix me. We eloped three months after meeting and divorced less than a year after that. Since then, I’ve just done my thing.”

“Did you ever see that musician guy again?”

She freezes. She nods.

“Three years ago, one of my artists was opening for his band in New York. I went to the show assuming nothing. I didn’t think I’d see him, I didn’t think I’d care. He spotted me at soundcheck right away and this huge smile came across his face. I fucking melted like it was ‘97 all over again. He asked if we could grab a bite after the show and I figured, ‘Why not. Just ol’ friends.’”

“He still married?”

Elena nods. “Yeah. They’ve been together 30 years.”

“You ask him anything… about that era?”

Tears slowly roll down her cheeks. “I asked him if there were any other girls when I was seeing him. Because I told myself that there had to be. Because, if there were other girls then I was just one of many and it wasn’t special. We were just two fucked up kids doing fucked up things.”

Her lip begins to tremble. “And he took a second to reply to me and then he said, ‘No, there was no else but you’ and I replied, ‘Are you lying? Why did you pause?’ and he said, ‘Because I was debating whether or not to tell you the truth.’ And then I felt my heart fall out of my chest. We weren’t looking each other in the eyes. It was painful. He apologized for what happened to me, my record deal and us. And I told him that I thought he had made the right decision leaving me because I was too fucked up then. But man, I drove home that night fucking sobbing. I was so in love with him. Life is fucking brutal some times. So, that was the last time I saw him. I emailed him once after that, but he never replied.”

It’s raining heavily at this point. Peals of thunder are heard in the distance. Trees are swaying in the wind. Jason sits in silence with Elena. She is soft now. She wipes her eyes and asks if he has any tea. He smiles sweetly and nods. He pats her shoulder and says, “Come on.”

They go in the kitchen where Jason shows Elena an oddly prolific collection of tea. She shakes her head and laughs. This fucking guy.

Villa del Refugio — This Will Destroy You

The kettle screams and Jason pours water into her cup. He’s debating internally whether or not to reciprocate her openness. He has a knack for getting people to open up, but he hates doing it himself. He has the stories he’s comfortable with. Mom, dad, the farm. But the other ones, those are nobody’s business. But, she’s a stranger. What does it matter?

“Candy. Park. Walker.” he says.

“Huh?”

“Her name… was Candy Park Walker. She was half Korean, half English and the coolest fuckin’ chick around these parts.”

“Oh…” Elena nods, she picks up what he’s laying down.

“She was in this Riot Grrrl band The Metallics that would rehearse at the same place as my band. Every guy was in love with her… and scared of her. She’d wear these silver leather short shorts, pigtail buns and 20-hole docs that you were sure she’d put through your heart in a second. She was wild. Our bands would play local shows together, use the same studios and we’d always end up talking for hours. We were like… the same person in so many ways. I remember she once told me, ‘You know, you’re like the guy version of me.’ which I knew. She helped me feel like I made sense.

“What was crazy about her though was that for all her punk rock aesthetic, she was kind of religious. Her dad was a pastor and she dated this guy… Doug… who was a youth pastor at their church. Nobody could figure it out. Meanwhile, her and I would talk for hours each week at the studio. I was head over heels. There was this part of her who was wild and wanted to just go live her life, play music and be free… and then there was this other part of her who had this guilt that permeated everything she did.

“I kept thinking she would snap out of it. She got engaged to Doug right as my band was getting signed to our deal with a major. I remember picking her up to get coffee to tell her my good news and seeing that fucking ring. Something came over me and I yelled at her, ‘What the hell are you doing? You know that you and I… you don’t feel… anything?’ And she gave me this weird meandering monologue about feeling a lot for me and us being soul mates but ‘life is complicated and maybe we have a lot of soul mates’ and I just remember the sky… the sky was pink orange red that day. I will never forget that sky.

“And in the back of my head I told myself, ‘She’ll come around. We are soul mates and she knows it.’ I went off to New York. She got married. Two years later, I was back home doing some over dubs and needed background vocals for a song and asked if she could quickly lay something down. She came by the studio and we talked for five hours like time hadn’t passed.”

“Were you two… in touch all this time?”

“Yeah, that was the weird thing. We kept emailing or having clandestine phone calls where we’d talk for hours… on and off for years. We talked about music or the church or how you make sense of life… but never us. Never feelings. I’d try to give her advice, she seemed kind of depressed. I could never pin her down thought. Sometimes she wouldn’t write me back for a month. Might take three to get a call. Each time, I would drop everything like an idiot who had nothing to do.”

“After her first kid, she gave up music. Then there was a second kid and then the third. The emails and phone calls stopped. I’d hear from mutual friends that she was unhappy, their marriage wasn’t good and she wasn’t really leaving the house much. I want to say it didn’t affect me, but it did.”

“Because you had hope.”

“I had hope. I knew she’d be back. In fact, I feel like part of why I blew up my own record deal was because of that.”

They’re now seated on a couch on the porch watching the storm as he talks.

“So, where is she now?”

“Last I heard she was in the suburbs of Houston. Works at some church, sings worship or some shit. Not too happy, doesn’t talk to her friends very often and reads a lot of philosophy.

“You know, for years I thought the worst thing that could happen to me would be that she would die and I never got to see her again. But you know what the worst thing is? That they’re alive and maybe they just don’t care about you at all… or they can’t. That’s the worst thing.

“And the part of all this that I never told anyone is that I waited for her. Decades. I didn’t let myself get close to anyone because I knew what I knew. I would date here or there. Rack up six months with this girl, three months with that girl but none were like her.

“And then five years ago, I was in Houston to see a band I has producing and I’m walking out of this gas station and I see her. Fucking minivan, husband in the driver seat… the whole nine. She looked great though. And our eyes locked. I lost all my words and raised my hand excitedly to say, “Hello.” And I instinctively just started walking toward her and she just stared at me with tears in her eyes and mouthed back, ‘I’m sorry.’ and then got in the car drove off.

“So, that was that. I want to say I regret it, wasting all of those years but there’s something about it that I feel was noble. You know. Some archaic chivalry bullshit. I don’t know.”

“Look who’s the goth now…”

He laughs.

Elena sits silently and then gently changes the subject, “You said, you were signed to a major? Do you have that album here? What happened?”

They go back down into the basement and Jason opens up some file cabinets. Flyers pour out. Old pictures. He hands her some.

“Oh wow, dyed hair. Look at you.”

“The 90s were a scene, man.”

“What happened with your deal?”

“I mean, it’s not as exciting as your story Elena. We signed to a three album deal. We were doing this kind of alt country thing. Released a first record. Mostly toured Europe… which was fucking great.”

“Neutral Milk Hotel vibes or something?”

“More like Whiskeytown with a little Mojave 3 thrown in...”

“Oh, I got you. OK.”

“But at that time, the label people wanted more Brit pop and grunge… you know the deal. Our A&R guy said our songs for the second album had to get more poppy, more produced and less acoustic. We needed a radio hit and none of this slow shit was going to cut it. My band didn’t really care, but I just felt like I didn’t want to make a record I hated and have to tour that shit for years. I had already been building this studio and I just wanted to make the music I liked. So, I asked them to let me take the songs they hated and let me out of the contract… and they did.”

“Well, and you said earlier, you kind of blew up your deal because of her. Right? Were you trying to come back here to be closer?”

“I said that?”

Elena nods.

“Yeah.”

“So, when was the last time you played a show or toured?”

“Twenty years. I produce, I’m a producer.”

“Oh… ok… Mr. Giving me shit. We are more alike than I thought. You’re right. OK, so… now you play me a song… about her.”

He takes an acoustic off the wall and plays something that sounds kind of like… this. Elena can’t really look up. She’s moved. He’s good. So good it makes her want to spring into action and help resurrect his career. Her forte is always helping others you see… never herself.

“That song,” he demurs at the end. “…was never for one of the records. It was just for me. For her.”

“It’s beautiful. It’s heartbreaking…” as she says this, a black and white photo that has fallen to the ground from his file cabinet catches the corner of her eye. She spies someone familiar…

She picks up the photo, “Whoa. Oh my God. That’s Amos!”

Jason looks up, “You know Amos?”

“Amos is my assistant. Amos is who gave me this fucking address.”

Jason roars into peals of laughter. “Fucking Amos, this is brilliant.”

“How do YOU know, Amos?”

“I was signed to Electric Records. He was the assistant to Michael Bloom, our President. I loved Amos, we became good friends.”

“Oh my God… Michael Bloom? Fuck. That was who dropped me in 1998. I don’t… I don’t even remember meeting Amos back then. I didn’t know he ever worked for Electric Records.” Her face flushes.

“My band got signed by Michael Bloom in ‘99.”

Elena shakes her head and looks down. He continues,

“Amos emailed me six months ago, wanting to send me a bunch of old promo posters from my band he’d found. Asked how I was doing. Told him the usual, recording bands out here, watching the weather… not much else. He told me I should get back out there and start playing again… said the world needs it. You know how he is.”

“So, he gave me your address and said it was a barbecue.”

“Well, I think he knows your story too is the point. And he also knows you would have never come out here…”

“I wouldn’t have.”

“…but maybe you needed to.”

“Maybe I did…”

Supplements

His music sounds like this with this

Hers sounds like this

The mood / chaos of being an artist in the 90s — Jeff Buckley interviewed live on JBTV

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