[SleepingDragon]: 268.Metal Daze.Chapter 1 - The Sermon
‘Cause Rock-N-Roll is my religion and my law
Won’t ever change
May think it’s strange
I’m born to Rock-N-Roll
I’m here to stay.”
-‘You Can’t Kill Rock-N-Roll’
Steve ‘Slam’ Talbert played air guitar in his small bedroom; legs spread wide apart, long hair flying about wildly. Ozzy’s latest, ‘Diary of a Madman’ played on his small turntable. Grim faced, he fought back the tear that always wanted to come when he listened to the album. He still couldn’t believe Randy Rhoads had been killed. It was tragic, and it always seemed to happen to the good ones; John Bonham, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, the list went on.
Tickets were going on sale today for the Ozzy show at The Castle. Steve’s mother had promised she would take he and his friend Matt to the record store to get theirs after she got home from church. The concert was a month and a half away. Steve wondered how Brad Gillis would be as a replacement. He hoped the show wouldn’t be canceled. He’d read in Hit Parader that some of the tour dates had been.
The song ended and Steve cranked up the stereo for the pounding bass lines of ‘Believer’, the last song on that side of the record. Almost immediately, his door burst open. Steve’s father stood in the hallway, fuming.
“God damn it!” He lit into Steve. “I’ve told you before to keep that shit turned down! I don’t want to hear it over the TV!”
Frowning, Steve removed the needle from the vinyl manually. Fuck it, he thought. If you can’t hear it loud, what the hell is the use? To his Dad he simply gave a raised eyebrow of compliance as he sat down on the edge of the bed.
“Don’t make me tell you again.” His old man said as he slammed the door shut behind him.
Steve grabbed his guitar, a cheap Charvel copy, and peeled off a couple of quick licks. He didn’t even consider plugging in; that would be louder than the stereo by far. He ran through Paranoid and Rock the Nation, two songs his own band, ‘Flame Sabre’, would never do because Matt Brady insisted on doing all original material. Their drummer, Sean Berry, could play anything, but preferred standard rock to metal, when he was actually around to rehearse.
The trio was to play at Tim Holbrook’s graduation party in a little more than a week. They would suck as usual. They had three original songs together, and no bass player. Steve had been the original bassist, until Tom Howard, the wanna-be guitarist, had quit the band after finding out it was actual work to learn songs. Steve had picked up his own six string at that point and had taken to it well enough to get the lead guitar spot in the group. Brady did most of the writing with Steve’s help during their jam sessions, where Sean was usually not present. They would then schedule a rehearsal with the full trio so the drummer could work out the rhythm section.
Steve sighed as he practiced the lame material, working out lead riffs over the three cord progressions in his mind. If only the other two would buckle down and learn some real songs note for note. It would improve their original material by a mile. It was no use though. Brady refused to learn tab and Berry had little interest in playing Judas Priest or Scorpions tunes. Steve never considered joining a different band. He didn’t know of any metal groups in the area that needed a guitarist for starters. Aside from that, Matt and Sean were his best friends. Even if they sucked, the important thing was that they all stuck together, no matter what.
The sound of a door opening in the kitchen got Steve’s attention. Evidently, church was over. Matt would be there soon as well. Steve couldn’t wait. He put his guitar down and went into the living room to greet his mother.
“Steve, we have to talk.” She said with that look that never bode well.
“What’s up?” He asked, apprehensively
“I can’t let you go to see this Ozzy guy.” She announced. “I’ve just heard all about him at church. He’s the spawn of Satan and no son of mine is going to...”
“Aw Mom.” Steve protested. “You don’t really believe that crap, do you? It’s just a concert!”
“If it were just a concert, then why would Reverend Mike spend the entire hour at church warning parents about it? Steve, the man is a Satanist and he does awful things onstage. You’re not going and that’s final.”
“But Mom!” Steve pleaded.
“No buts.” She said firmly. “You’ll just have to wait for a different show; one of these other bands you listen to.”
“Until Reverend ‘head up his ass’ says they’re Satanists too?”
“Don’t you talk to your mother that way!” Steve’s father interjected loudly.
“Pffft!” Steve spat and then turned about on his heels, storming out of the house. He couldn’t believe it. What a bunch of shit!
As Steve was crossing the yard, a dilapidated Chevy Malibu pulled in the driveway. Matt Brady was in the back seat, window rolled down. As the car came to a halt, Matt held up a pair of concert tickets in front of a broad smile.
“Mom decided to save your mother a trip.” He said, handing one of the tickets to Steve. “Just make sure to pay her back.”
Steve’s eyes grew wide in surprise.
“Wow, Thank you Mrs. Brady!” he said, digging out twelve dollars and handing it to Matt’s mother. “You’re the greatest!”
“No problem Sweetie.” She smiled. “You kids just have fun. Tell your mom I said ‘Hi’. I gotta run.”
Steve couldn’t believe the luck. He only hoped his mom had not seen the exchange. As Matt’s mother pulled away, he grabbed his friend by the sleeve of his Led Zeppelin T-shirt.
“Don’t breathe a word about these tickets to my mom.” He whispered. “I’ll explain later.”
The pair went into the house and after a short exchange between Matt and Mrs. Talbert, found themselves in Steve’s room.
“Stand in front of the door.” Steve whispered. Matt’s expression was curious, but he complied. Steve bent down by the baseboard of the wall and peeled back a corner of the chapboard paneling that was already loose, exposing a two-by-four stud underneath. He stuck his concert ticket behind it and let the paneling settle back where it had been.
“The fuck you doing Slam?” Matt laughed.
“Shh!” Steve looked around, paranoid. “Mom just got a sermon on Ozzy at church. I’m not supposed to go.”
“Tell me about it.” Steve whispered. “Anyway, don’t say shit about the concert or nothin’. No one knows this ticket is here. Got it?”
“No problem, Man.”