Long Cold Winter: Chapter Ten

1978. Punk was on the rise and disco was on its way out. Matt knew about how music trends worked. For the most part, they were a five-year plan. Rarely did they last any longer. But disco had grabbed a hold, though slowly, In 1970. It’s popularity was big with the dregs of the hippie movement due to the carnality of the clubs. Drugs filtered in with the hippies. The rampant open sexual encounters had already been there. the seventies had become known as the decade of decadence.

And for good reason. Everything was out in the open. The rebellion that had driven the war protests now drove the sexual revolution. But it always had. Only difference now was that there were no more protests.

The sad part was that there was a whole generation of soldiers coming back from Vietnam that were being hated on. Ignored. Abused. Driven away.

The only ones who were assured any work were those who opted to stay in the military. Otherwise, they were almost always turned away. And for no other reason except that they had served in a very unpopular war. They had done as duty had instructed them.

They had not turned away. They had not burned their draft cards. They had not shit their pants or fled to Canada. They had served their country, even if they had thought it to be the wrong war.

He admired them. Respected them. Had he been of age, he probably would have been one of them. And so, he took many-as many as he could-in and began working with them musically.

He knew that they had seen things he would never have to see. Their companions and fellow soldiers blown to bits. Maybe even tortured. They hadn’t started the war. It hadn’t been their fault.

Politics started the war. Alliances. Treaties. Corporate interests. Political interests. Not the soldiers.

They had only followed orders. Some had lost their minds. Their souls. Their self-respect. And maybe even themselves.

He had been the reason several bands were now appearing. Some had an excellent chance of making it to the big time. He would just have to wait and see. He would be happy if they could just gain a following. But, then, that wasn’t hard for any band he was associated with.

He’d long left R&B, soul, and pop behind along with disco. Now, he explored rock. He was now fronting a metal band. Metal Health, they had called themselves. One of Hollywood’s finest house bands. Even the Whiskey wanted him as did Bill Graham . The biggest venues in California!

But he refused to sell his soul to Bill Graham. Or anyone else. He wouldn’t sign with anyone for any reason. He loved his freedom.

He had his own successful record label. One he had put together himself, hiring only those who he knew he could trust. It was bigger than RCA. Hell. He beat out Alpert and Moss who put together A&M. And his band was the only talent on the label. Well, not the only talent. Most of his veteran friends also recorded for him.

They had been riding their new found success for a year now. All got paid the same, so there wasn’t any squabbling over the money aspect. Yes, all were happy. For now.

He knew it would be an amazing feat if the band could hold together past five years. Hell. Three years was doing good once the fame aspect became a factor. And the possible drugs.

Sure, he drank. But he did not do it when he was around his siblings. Just while he was at the club, and always after each show. And on the road.

At home, when being mom and dad, he was stone cold sober. He had to be. His sisters were more important than his desire to fade from reality for a few moments. So was his brothers. He struggled through the nightmares, remaining rock solid for them all. His needs were less important.

At least he thought so. For now. He wanted them to grow up and have a good education. Better than his own. Not that his was all that shabby, but he wanted them to go on to do whatever they desired to do with their lives. Not stick to music.

Music was his love, not theirs. He knew that. He knew that they took his lessons because they loved him. Not the music. No matter.
Right now, he was back in New York playing CBGBs. Hell. He was good enough to fill arenas. Not just clubs. Or bars.

He was headlining material. A major ticket seller. Every nightclub he played was always packed. Every bar, too.

But it was all about the love of the music. Not ticket sales. Or bars. Or nightclubs.
And the junk flowed like wine here. So tempting. But his mother was still firmly in his mind. He could remember what it had done to her. What it was still doing. So he left it alone.

And the blow. It was just as bad. Weed, on the other hand, was cool. It was harmless. Or, at least, he thought it was.

At least it allowed you to go without whenever need be. The junk and blow kept you coming back for more. And more. Until your every penny went into keeping yourself high.

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