The Ravens Fly At Night (Revised)
Chapter 1: On Most Surfaces
Caution: This Romantic Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Fa/Fa, Consensual, Lesbian, BiSexual, Humor, Tear Jerker, Group Sex, Oral Sex, Anal Sex, Cream Pie, Body Modification, Slow, Caution,
Desc: Romantic Sex Story: Chapter 1: On Most Surfaces - A struggling journeyman musician finds musical success but fails at winning the romantic acceptance of the troubled young lady songbird he loves, but cannot seem to have. A romantic drama of unrequited love with little/no sex until the end. This is a comprehensive rewrite of one of my very earliest stories.
I knew within five minutes of walking into the room what the trouble was, and I almost decided to turn around and walk out right then and there. But I didn't ... and I nearly came to regret it, but now I can look upon it as a learning experience. Sometimes in life you really do have to eat all of your vegetables before you get to enjoy your dessert.
The Montrose Ravens were a local Houston metal band, better than most actually, possessing a couple of very talented musicians that could have their pick of working for nearly any local band with a snap of the fingers. They were also masters of the fine arts of infighting, backstabbing and other numerous self-inflicted wounds that are invariably fatal to any working band. They were ripe for a break-up long before I walked in the door. Only the presence of a signed contract requiring the MR's to spend the next three months as the supporting and opening act for larger touring band (and the significant cash advance already received and spent) was enough to keep the band even remotely functioning together. This wasn't the big time by any stretch of the imagination, but it was national exposure, and if nothing else a wider area to spread ones musical resume over.
I was to be their new replacement bass player, Carl Hawkins, by name. Veteran of ten years of the pop wars of the 1980's, and at least as many local and regional bands. I hadn't had very good luck finding the right long term fit, but I had built a solid reputation over the years for both professional reliability and my 'progressive' influenced skills with the bass (an instrument of considerable underrated ability in the hands of a master like John "The Ox" Entwhistle, John Paul Jones, or my favorite bassman Chris Squire of 'Yes'). My predecessor, whom in my opinion was an untalented hack that did little more onstage than repeatedly 'bang the root note', had clearly been their musical weakest link but was now he was gone for good.
In a tale that would have been quite funny, if it wasn't really rather sad, he had been caught as part of a late night police sting operation at a popular Houston public park at a spot notorious for nighttime 'pervert activity' with his pants down around his ankles and his pockets stuffed with drugs and paraphernalia. He was now spending his days more fruitfully at a long term drug rehab facility, and was frankly being missed by no one.
It was their remaining weak link, Samantha, aka "The Dragon Lady", that was the main focal point for trouble. Early in the band's career, when they had seemed poised for some success, she had starting to hang out with the band and she promptly sunk her nails into Darryl, the front man, lead guitarist, and main songwriter for the group. Once ensnared, she then committed the most selfishly evil act I'd ever heard of, by deliberately getting Darryl hooked on increasingly powerful narcotics in order to better manipulate and control him. Yes, she was exactly that sort of evil manipulative witch.
He was now an addict and utterly dependent upon Samantha to do virtually everything in his life. Her ego unchecked, she was now pretty much the 'face' for the band and had taken center stage performing most of the main vocal duties. Not well in my opinion, even for the light demands of metal rock. I started to call her 'Linda', after the late Linda Eastman who had a similar ego and often sang and played keyboards (both excruciating badly) for her husband Paul McCartney's band 'Wings'. (Don't believe me? If you look hard enough on the Internet you can find soundboard recordings from concerts of just her singing track. It raises the challenging question of demoting Yoko Ono from her throne of "Worst singing Beatle Wife who just wouldn't shut the fuck up".)
Darryl had been very talented, and the driving force for the band in its early days. He played lead well, in an extremely unhurried and understated sort of way that imparted a good deal of emotional tones to his songs, which used to be quite first rate material. He was no Clapton, Page or Beck, able to rip off blistering riffs but he didn't want to play like that anyway. If he could be straightened out he could vague resemble something like a 'lite' version of David Gilmore or better yet, Eric Johnson. There are much worse things.
Darryl, being the primary songwriter, controlled nearly all of the music rights; they were mostly all his songs, and he also had the technical ownership of the legal name-rights for the band. Samantha, however, controlled him ... and thus by proxy the entire band. She set the band's schedule and controlled every single band expense to the last penny. She blatantly was skimming the cream off of the top and making every else below her beg to even receive gas money.
Voting her out was an utter impossibility. Darryl was essential to the band and she was essential to Darryl. The only way out was for everyone else to quit — which every other band member was quietly (or not so quietly) planning to do after the end of this final three month tour.
I was brought in to be temporary hired help only. Kind of like a long term session player. No 'shares', just a small signing bonus if I accepted the job and a flat rate per diem once we got out on the road. There were vague promises of 'reevaluating the situation' at the end of the tour, but nothing in writing. From the looks of things most of the band wouldn't even be around by that point anyway.
The drummer Irv (he hated Irving), was a spacey gangling galoot who tied his long way past shoulder length red hair into a pony tail and abused his drum kit nightly like a man possessed by the furies. His hero was Ginger Baker of Cream, and he must have watched 'Goodbye Cream' at least ten thousand times. He made a habit out of destroying his apartment and hotel furniture everywhere he went by constantly beating out rhythms with his drumsticks upon anything that wouldn't move ... and some people and things that could.
Irv may have been a total head case, but he came by it honestly and not via chemical additives. I never saw him once with his eyes opened while playing, he felt the music and let it flow within him. He had the true musical instinct needed for good improvisational playing, and more importantly he listened well onstage to what I was doing and he soon became able to anticipate melody changes. Soon our rhythm section could almost effortlessly anticipate the others changes from one pattern to the next. More than anything, it was my first jam session with Irv that convinced me to accept the temp job and stay. Separately we were each very good musicians; together we began to show signs of creating an entire new (and much improved) foundation for the band to build upon.
Simon, our keyboardist was old school 70's Progressive rock all the way. He had a formal education in classical music and had trained in that genre fervently since childhood, but now he found it much too limiting. He admitted in private to me that it really sucked and killed his ego to hear little ten-year-old geniuses play a classical piece far better than he ever could). His rock music influences were primarily Keith Emerson (ELP) and Rick Wakeman (Yes), in other words way over the top bombastic Mellotron and Moog synthesizer eruptions. It was pure Prog masturbatory wanking excess ... but it was occasionally pretty good Prog wanking. The problem was it just didn't mesh well with the stripped down and subtle style that Darryl was playing on lead. He needed to listen to the rest of the band a bit better and not just follow one of his random whims of excess. Despite these faults there was no disputing that he was talented and sometimes, even in his excess, there were moments that showed potential for better things the band could do in the future. Next to Irv, Simon became my closest friend within the band, and the three of us started to hang together and jammed together at every opportunity.
Eric was our rhythm guitarist and the source of our 'signature sound', a pounding whine of non-stop power chords. There was nothing subtle about his approach whatsoever, and from his on-stage posturing (next to Sam he was the flashiest performer) I can only guess that he spent his childhood chain-playing KISS Alive II and pretending he was Ace Frehley. As the 'pretty boy' of the group he was always fighting Samantha for face time with the local music reporters and he tried to bang more than his fair share of the groupies. Fortunately, he couldn't sing worth a darn and that helped keep his ego somewhat in check.
He was a bit of a loner backstage and was already making his plans to parachute out of the band at the last second he could 'before the plane crashed'. His dedication and motivation to succeed was suspect at best, so he would be no great loss at all when he left. He was usually the last one to arrive and the first one to leave a band meeting or the gig. An ok guy; a fairly competent player, but certainly not irreplaceable in my opinion.
We had a week of pre-tour practice sessions in which invariably at least one person would get pissed off at somebody and would pack up and leave early for the night. Situation normal, I was told by Irv and Simon, and by our last night when we had a dress rehearsal gig at a local club, everyone was sullen and pretty well out of sorts, and our playing pretty much reflected that. The crowd mostly didn't notice or care, but I did. And our ninety days of hell on the road began ... and it was definitely hell.
Our playing was so obviously disjointed the first few weeks that we were almost fired and very nearly released from our contract to be the opening act for this tour. The only thing that saved us was the promoter couldn't find anyone else to replace us on such short notice, and we had already received substantial non-refundable advances. Thus we kept our jobs, but barely.
Really for all intents and purposes we became at least two separate bands, each playing differently on the same stage, and on some really bad nights early on the tour, it sounded like no two of us were playing the same song at the same time. Irv, Simon and I gelled together more with every performance and we began to do long improvised jams together on our right hand side of the stage. Back over on the left and center sides, Darryl, Eric and Sam were stuck in their mold, 'the way we've always done it', and the slightest change from routine was likely to throw Samantha into a furious on-stage snit fit.
As the first awful weeks passed and as we played more together, Darryl started to get the feel of what we were doing and by mid-tour was drifting more and more to our end of the stage, to Sam's volcanic fury.
Eric, was well ... Eric, and did his own thing on his far left hand side of the stage, and I doubt he ever noticed a thing anyone else was playing or doing. Most nights the aggregate was still a heaping mound of shit, but more and more often now we would have a few little flashes of brilliance where we would look at each other while playing and think aloud to ourselves, "This is good, keep it going!"
Matters came to a head about two thirds into the tour at a gig in Evansville, IL, when Sam got so angry at everyone that she stormed off the stage before the show was even half over and she dragged Darryl off with her. We finished the last two songs of the set without them, in full 'Wank mode', improvising as wildly as we could, and with Simon handling the lead vocals at least as adequately as Sam was capable of. For the first time, we received some hearty sincere applause of appreciation, and even managed to catch the Promoter off-guard and confused, but smiling at us.
Sam and Darryl were already on the tour bus waiting for us and World War III was declared all the way to Chicago, with Samantha in full volcanic eruption. We were "ruining the sound of her band" and "playing badly, deliberately, just to sabotage things!", she screamed on and on, mile after mile, while we mostly pointedly ignored her. Darryl once tried to take our side of things, saying he thought we "sounded nice and tight tonight". That started another row until she cowed him into silent submission, and by the time we were in our hotel bed in Chicago, she was furious at absolutely everyone. But she did have a plan up her sleeve.
Sensing that I was the core troublemaker, she came knocking on my door just as I was about to put the light out, and greeted me with soft tones and wearing a short silk kimono robe wearing obviously nothing underneath it and asking "if she could come in just for a moment so we can talk". As we politely talked, she began to openly hint that she could become 'much more friendly with me' if I would support her and 'stick with her program', and play a bit more 'the way we're all used to'. Luckily, I had been warned that Sam might pull this ploy by Irv and Simon and was well prepared for it, not that I would have touched her anyway even with one of Irv's mangled old drumsticks.
I cagily suggested that she should show me, "just how friendly she was prepared to get" and was rewarded by the sight of her removing of her robe, confirming that she was indeed quite naked underneath it. She did have some attractive external qualities, nice tits and a very fuckable ass, but her soul was certainly definitely pure poison. A minute later I was telling her exactly what I thought about her and tossed her nude screaming ass out into the hotel hallway and I slammed the door on her, leaving her robe with her room key in it, in my room. She made enough noise to wake most of the floor (it was early in the morning) and quite a few folks got a good look at her charms as she eventually gave up trying to beat down my door and hammered on her and Darryl's room as she tried to wake him from a heavily drugged slumber.
There was some hell to pay for this moment of amusement, but it was worth every little bit of it.
She and Darryl refused to perform that next night in Chicago, and also the following night in Milwaukee, but that fazed us not in the slightest. We cut our forty-five minute set list from seven songs to just the four ones that Simon could handle alone vocally best, and we jammed out every song to the fullest. Without a doubt, they were our two single best shows of the entire tour. I recently heard a poor quality bootleg recording of that Chicago show for the first time, and it still sounded good nearly fifteen years later. We were definitely on to something!
Hearing the wild ovation we received both nights, Sam concluded that since we weren't going to collapse and fail on our own without her, she'd have to come crawling back, for at least right now. Her ego demanded that her ass be right out there on that center stage to receive that applause that was rightfully hers, so it was back to business as usual the next night and for the rest of the tour.
The music went back to sucking again, but none of us really cared by that point. By our final note at the end of the last San Francisco show, the band was officially dead. Eric, predictably, already had his plane ticket ready and left directly from the show to the airport to join his new band in Atlanta; as I said earlier, small loss.
Before I left, I managed to get five uninterrupted minutes talking with Darryl (that had almost never happened before, but Sam was trapped dealing with the promoter handling final post-tour arrangements, and I got him all alone, out of her sight. I told him in the bluntest way I could that Samantha was poison and she was going to utterly rot him out from the inside and steal him blind before she dumped him for fatter pickings, and sooner rather than later. He had great potential within him, he was a good guitarist and his songs used to be good ones, full of meaning. I begged him to break his drug habit ... and her control of him, and escape while he could. With those last words of advice, I formally quit the band myself.
Sitting together later that night in a North Beach all night bistro, Irv, Simon and I put our hands together and decided to form a new band. Now we just needed a lead singer and a guitarist, and we returned to Houston the next day much encouraged and full of hope for the future.