The Morrow Family Saga, Series 4(1980’s), Book 1: “Once Around the Ride”, Chapter 9

Sal Giovanni had been with Matt since ’74. He had seen the endless line of groupies, male and female, hoping for their moment with the ambivalent Matt…whose sexuality was no secret within the band, but remained hidden from his fans. Unlike him, Matt was very heterosexual and was choosy where his dates were concerned. Rarely seen with models or actresses, or even the intermittent groupie, the press often speculated about Matt’s preference.

Then Belinda entered the picture. Magazines and newspapers conjectured about the engagement. She was clearly a groupie, out of character for Matt, and keeping some sort of secret. Was she pregnant? Was she blackmailing him? the rumors swirled immediately.

The quick, private marriage had raised the bar even further and the rumor mills began producing wildly untrue gossip that would have angered Matt had he not been as jaded as he was. But Matt had never cared what others had to say. Sure the man had dated off and on during the ‘70’s, at least since Sal had joined the band, but nothing serious. But, then, Matt had been a teen. Not an adult.

Sal smiled when the press compared Matt to David Bowie. While it was clear that Matt was no David, Sal knew that David had been no Matt as well. There was no comparison. While David had gone through his Ziggy Stardust androgynous phase, Matt had concerned himself with music and being himself. There had been no experimentation. No drugs. No genderbending. Just Matt doing what he did best.

He had left the genderbending and androgyny to those who wanted to be someone other than themselves. Not that he had any problems with the whole scene, he didn’t. it just wasn’t him. those in his band could do whatever they desired, but Matt would stick to sobriety and a solid self-identity.

Matt knew that Sal was gay. He was supportive and understanding. Hell. He supported what each member desired to do. Except drugs. Alcohol was fine.

But something told Sal that those days, the days of sobriety, were almost over. Matt’s reasons for remaining clean and sober were coming to an end. His mama was dying. His new wife had lasted only nine months, just long enough to pop out a baby and think that she could take Matt for all he had.

But Matt had shown her otherwise in classic Matt Morrow style. He’d had a post-marriage “prenup” drawn up and forced Belinda to sign. She had no choice. Unlike Matt, she had not went in with any legal representation. She hadn’t even had the presence of mind to hire one.

Unable to fight legally, she was forced to accept the terms of both the prenup and the implied divorce. She had rejected the idea that his brothers and sisters were to remain in his house, with him as their acting guardian and parent, and were to be treated with the same kindness as she would want. All she had wanted was money and fame, so she took the money and ran. Well, walked away.

Matt was left with a baby and several children to raise. He had, out of obligation, promised to raise his brothers and sisters. But the baby had been his attempt to create his own family as well. Unfortunately, Belinda had wanted nothing more than money and fame. Matt had seen to it that she had the money, but had stripped her of the fame.

In the end, Belinda had conned herself out of happiness. Once her relationship with Matt was over, no one else seemed to want anything to do with her. at least no one who had money and fame to bask in. Too many knew her to be a gold digger.

Sal was not sad to see her go. She had been trying to get in good with everyone in the band, including him. her flirting had given him a headache and the silence that had filled the void where she had once been was wonderful. He chuckled at the realization that she had never known his sexuality.

***

Tandy Lewis sat behind his drum set. He had been Matt’s drummer since the early days. At fifty-five, he was the oldest remaining member of the band. Norvis Sinclair had been bassist, but had retired and replaced by Sal Giovanni. Todd Haelstrom was still keyboardist, but Norm Lowthrup had left in ’78 after Matt had refused to record a full album of disco. Matt had wanted to try his hand at both new emerging styles, disco and punk. But rather than attempting a full album of both, he decided two or three songs of each.

There had been more, of course, but they had never been released. Something told Matt that disco was going to cause a major backlash. Tan and Todd had backed him up. Norvis had sat the sidelines, taking neither side, knowing that he was going to retire the next year. But Norm believed that disco was going to catapult them, meaning him, to stardom. When Matt refused to go all in, Norm left.

And Matt had been right. Though disco had a brief rise, the backlash had just begun. Matt had sensed this and had refrained from getting too deeply involved in the music. Or the scene.

Tandy was now glad that Matt had stood his ground. Rod Stewart and David Bowie were being ostracized and their careers were under attack. Matt, on the other hand, was not. And those who had stayed with him and stood by him had remained sheltered from the nightmare of scrutiny.

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