Well, I’ve been working on my rock culture novel for at leats part fo the day, and I finally started typing it. Here’s how it begins so far. Any constructive criticism would be greatly appreciated. It’s a little over a page, so don’t be daunted.

When Eric Damascus walked on stage, his head looked at the lights. Though his eyes were over the crowd, it only brought him closer into them. The flashing strobes embraced his figure like swaddling clothes and, like a rock messiah, they came in droves to give gifts to their king. The great pilgrimage stood before him and he bowed to them for the honor. What little they understood of him amplified in his presence, and each person yearned to learn his new way.

At his last show, the audience cried. Sensing the approach in every chord, housewives and teenagers alike followed each leg of the tour. It was like they were hypnotized. Only Eric knew this would be the end, but they all heard it in each note sung. Every show that tour grew larger than the last as each new zealot on Eric’s road to Calvary left their homes and their jobs to follow it. I was born that year, 1977, when Blinding Light played their last gig at the Hollywood Bowl.

There are times when I chastise myself for being too late in birth. It wasn’t my fault, but every missed opportunity brings regret, and I’m sure that Eric had a lesson in his music for me alone that I never got a chance to learn. The first twelve years of my life were spent praying for a reunion, but I stopped praying when Eric died in 1989.

It is in those moments of abandon that the world conspires most to return us to stability. The killer, the sex addict, the daredevil — all of them lonely, empty vessels seeking salvation in emptiness. None like the rock start, distributing redemption like cosmic saints. For every inspired touch of pen to staff or pick to string, thousands are raised above their daily misperceptions and are given a glimpse at the great golden machinery of the universe.

In one of these moments I found my guitar. The Danelectro 56-U2 had hidden in my father’s closet like Long John Silver’s coveted treasure for years. In passing, I could almost feel the flawless notes it could produce calling to me in a perfect G chord.

The closet felt like a confessional, lit by a red bulb, the only remaining artifact of dad’s failed photography career. His frantic search for a tie had vellicated the synthetic underbrush of shirts and high school relics. It was there that I saw the gem.

The pages were yellowed and raw, creaking as I pulled back the fading blue cover. The cover page read “Born for the Spotlight: the Life of Eric Damascus.” I knew even then to hold the book reverently, and as I tried to replace it, I noticed the rusty catch on the beige case that served as the biography’s alter. With an anthropologist’s care, I excavated the fading guitar case. There was a slight creak as I opened the latch and carefully lifted the dusty lid.

As if the case was a defense mechanism to ward off non-believers, the guitar shined all the brighter within it. I waved my hand over the sea-green body, following the curves but afraid to touch it, scared that it was a dream. The neck was altered and the fret bars set closer together than on a normal guitar, as if it were made for my small hands. A pain possessed my middle finger as I cut it running my hand over the strings, trying to remember to breathe. I wasn’t yet worthy to wield such an instrument, but with enough practice I would have the calluses to offer tribute.

That’s why I played in my garage all those years. The amps, the drum set, the bass and keyboard stood still while I forced the music through the speakers, calling out to Eric’s ghost to play behind me. It wasn’t Eric Damascus that I drew in though, it was Brian Aylee, and that made all the difference.

Sam Peterson had once been a stock broker, but a series of bad investments had left him penniless and unemployed. Sam loved to work, and for lack of clients or funds to invest, he dedicated all of his time for a month renovating the top floor of his house, left empty by a dead wife and two children who were too busy searching for the fast track to success to visit their aging father. With little left to live on, he placed an ad in the newspaper renting out his accomplishment. Brian heard me while sitting on his freshly built window seat on the second story of Sam Peterson’s house.

Brian wasn’t much to look at. He swaggered across the street in a pair of black jeans and a white button-down shirt that he neglected to tuck in. He wore black horn-rimmed glasses and was the only 21-year-old I’d ever met that still had braces. He kept his black hair in a state of semi-length and it crawled along his scalp as if yearning to be free.

He didn’t introduce himself when he nearly tripped over my guitar cord and I didn’t stop playing to ask his name. The symbols crashed a little as he fumbled his way to the Roscoe Custom LG-3005 fretted bass and examined it like a jeweler. I had never set the strap, but it fit over his shoulders and held the bass at waist level for him, as if he had just left it the day before. Neither of us knew what I was playing, I made it up as I went along. But our notes fit next to and above each other. That day we bonded harmonically, and New Light was born.

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