Jay would like to
make matters absolutely clear. This is a work of fiction.
Characters and actions depicted here do not and are not meant to represent
the actions or desires of members of the band Alabama 3.
the meaning of things as they appear to others
Saturday October 1st, Step 1, Manchester Apollo
You admit you are powerless under me
means Heaven and a boy with a wicked twist to his hips that promises
more than a wank in the john. It's maybe two o'clock with no gig tomorrow
and a room in the Hilton with wall to wall carpet, although it ain't
Larry on his knees. Hasn't made it as far as the bed yet, back up against
the wall, hands gripping the waistband of his jeans 'cos touching someone
else's hair is a point more intimate than he wants to get for a post
gig lay. Doesn't know the trick's name, doesn't want to: trick's a mouth
in the dark, moment of immortality, a statement of personal politics
- yeah, that's right, like that, fuck. He's got his eyes closed and
rhythm's taken hold of his hips, blessed post-x come-down sweet BJ.
It's that moment, maybe a minute before he comes, the moment when his
balls cramp and the rush hits in at the base of his spine-
Knock on the door.
Fuck, did he-
Not a knock on the door. Full-length thud and the door clicks open like
a shot in the night. Light hotel-harsh and a painting of washed-out
yellow roses on the wall and D. Wayne swaying in the doorway, his eyes
slitted open and his shirt rucked up round his waist. He's lost his
trousers, boxers bagging, belly gleaming pale flesh. "- hey, Larry,
got any skins-"
D. Wayne blinks through his hair. Larry comes, useless, nothing more
than taking a piss.
D.Wayne's hands flutter. He takes a step back, peers at the boy on the
floor who is, entirely self possessed, stripping off the rubber and
knotting it. Mouth opens and closes. He steps back, washes up against
the wall, levers himself off it and stumbles away.
Monday October 3rd,
Step 2, Liverpool Astoria
You figure that's just gotta be jelly cos jam just don't shake like
The Rev. D. Wayne Love makes it for the last ten minutes of soundcheck,
his t-shirt on backwards and a flaming hickey on his neck, pupils wide
and black as coal under the tangled mess of his hair. He stinks of sweat
and sex, his body loose as a plastic doll's and his tongue sharp as
a needle and twice as fast. "You miss me, Larry? You wanna hear
all about it?"
"Keep it to yourself, D. Wayne." Larry growls through the
microphone. Someone laughs.
4th, Step 3, Halifax Victoria
Make a searching inventory of all your good shit
It's a good gig, a fucking blazing gig, which by rights it shouldn't
be 'cos the Victoria's a shitty little theatre in the middle of nowhere,
but it's one of those nights when the divine spirit of music comes on
down and spreads its feathered wings over the members of the good band
A3, setting their guitar strings on fire and adding its voice to the
mixing board. Better than the sweetest chemical rush ever created, salvation
in sound, serendipity for an hour and a half of the best country acid
house techno on the face of God's earth. Feels like heaven under his
skin, hot as an Ibiza aftershow party: he can feel the spirit movin'
and this, this is why Larry Love, son of the valleys, acid house DJ,
country music good ol' boy in a black hat and a Texas shirt...this is
why Larry Love was made to walk the straight and narrow righteous path
of making music.
5th, Step 4, Leeds Town and Country
Inventory taken, you hand all that good shit over to me
Wakes up on the wrong side of the bunk and takes it out on the band.
Sound system's a mess, set up takes forever, call sheet's two hours
off and counting and the promoter's disappeared with the cash. Larry
puts his shades on before breakfast, but not before the Rev. pulls himself
out of the bus, squints at the sky, pats his belly and says, "My,
my. Looks like a day for stayin' in bed." He's got his boots on.
"I'll see you later," he says, and his eyes slide sideways
under the ridiculous mess of his hair.
He doesn't make it back until five minutes before time, and he doesn't
come back alone: he's fucked up, fucked over, giggling, a blonde on
his arm and another one propping him up. "Larry! Larry!"
"Meet.." D. Wayne bends awkwardly, looks down at the blonde
on his arm and frowns. "My dear, I don't remember your name, but
you have to meet.."
"You're late, D. Wayne. Get your arse on the stage."
D. Wayne freezes. "Don't worry. He won't be interested, unlike
my ever-lovin' self. Now if you'd just like to wait here.."
But on stage, the Rev. is hot, on time, on tempo, making up for every
wasted minute of every hour, the mess and the hustle and the broken
amp and the half hour wait for the tape and the cold coffee for breakfast.
Rev. D. Wayne Love, doin' what he does best, pulling the whole congregation
together and making it sing. 'Cos this isn't what Larry does: Larry
makes music, Larry pulls the band together along the road, Larry makes
it work, but he does it for this, for the moment when D. Wayne walks
on stage and says Good Evening Glasgow or Brentwood or Taunton, the
moment when the magic happens. No D. Wayne, no band, he knows it sure
as he knows the feel of a steel guitar string under his thumb.
6th, Step 5, Hull Arts Centre
Having divined I am the real thing you get down on your knees
There's an east wind off the North Sea that's cold enough to flash-freeze
his balls. The sea is gray and the sky the colour of prison flannel,
and although he's two hundred miles from the place he was born Hull
feels as narrow as a coal mine, tight as a virgin's ass. He stays on
the bus: the Mountain has a pocket full of sinsemilla, home grown sticky
buds of consolation. It smokes mild but kicks in later and by the time
he hits the stage he's flying: the gig goes past in a muffled wave.
Even through the haze he knows D. Wayne scored tonight, eyes hidden
under his hair, not looking at the band, that sweet forgotten smile
on his face that says he's in his own personal heaven.
Five days since Manchester. With a lazy, sharp, after-smoke horn on,
Larry jerks off under the blankets, watching D. Wayne watching him across
Friday October 7th,
Step 6, Newcastle Riverside
....and humbly ask me to remove your underthings
Newcastle's all about interviews and politics, back to back, lined up
like bowling pins. Student newspaper at nine, Sounds at ten: NME for
lunch, local radio at two, sound check, and some guy who says he's from
AI and would they be interested in doing a free gig? D. Wayne goes off
on one about shipyards and the first world war, Marx, coals to Newcastle,
the lack of student activism and how ecstasy changed the world which
is not something he normally says in public. Larry rolls another joint
and fields a question about Mormon underwear which is not something
he's prepared to discuss.
8th, Step 7, Castlemorton Common
And make ready for me to do mah thing
The common's deserted, no trip-happy hippies, no trance DJ's, no police:
bus pulls up on the side of the road and Spirit sets the sound system
up, bass beat thumping like the pulse of blood in the veins, deep down
and low in the gut. The guys set up a barbecue and pull the mattresses
off the bunks, it's a fine night, maybe the last fine night of summer.
They play Paul Oakenfield, Kenny Dope Gonzalez, Ron Hardy, Cybertron,
Nightwriters, Inner City, a Rampling mix from Shoom, a couple of tracks
from Mahalia that make Larry smile. He falls asleep on the mattress
under the stars, head on D. Wayne's belly.
Monday October 10th,
Step 8, Edinburgh Venue
Naked now you're ready to understand mah kind of lovin'
Edinburgh is poor gear and the smell of the railway station, pigeons
and cagey politeness and a rambling set, D. Wayne shooting off at tangents,
uncomfortable, his accent stronger. Larry watches the girls come in
and out of the band room, rolling joints 'til he burns his thumbnail
with the zippo and his fingers start to shake.
11th, Step 9, Glasgow ABC
Lovin men, lovin women, lovin all God's creatures
It's always a good gig in Glasgow: D. Wayne's home town, hard as granite,
rough as a herring girl's hands, where the music is sweet and the crowd
likes it hot and hard. Larry breaks out his new shirt for the show,
D. Wayne wears Armani and puts a comb through his hair. He's been gone
all day, but he comes back sober, smelling of Tetley and tunnocks, teeth-rotting
sweet. Larry's never met D. Wayne's mother and never will. After-gig
party at the Astoria, D. Wayne surrounded by men he might have met in
a pub once when he was seventeen, leaning back, hands clasped over the
curve of his belly, hair over his eyes, smiling, not saying much. Larry
heads down Sacchiehall Street to the station and finds himself a taxi,
gets himself dropped off on Kelvin Way and pulls by the fountain.
When he gets back to the bus D. Wayne's asleep in his bunk.
12th, Step 10, Northampton, Deangate
And in turn you're divestments having been completed
"Fuck, I can't go on." D. Wayne says. His hands are still
"Fuck you can." Larry says. He's been feeding the Rev. black
coffee and Guiness since two o'clock.
"Where were you last night?"
"What the fuck it's got to do with you?"
Hair shaken over his face, D. Wayne looks at the stage. "You got
a bar stool?"
Larry steals one from the VIP bar, closed, and sets it up on stage,
but as it happens Larry's the one who uses it, foot propped on the bars,
guitar across his knee. D. Wayne's voice is ragged round the edges which
adds a raw depth to the music, sends it plunging down to that blues-line
wail. It's a slow set, beats drawn out, waiting for the dam to burst.
13th, Step 11, Brixton Academy
Ah get turned on by you, and in turn being turned on by you
gig of the tour, best gig of the tour, Brixton streets, white faces
and black faces and friends of all different colours and shades, crowd
like a living thing, fists in the air. The bus has gone, the guys are
dancing in the wings, A3's shit hot and smokin' up the stage with the
devil on their backs: light show blinding, slide guitar screaming the
blues and the DJ drops acid into the mix. There's nothing feels as good
as this. Larry's smiling behind his sunglasses, high as a motherfucking
angel on the music, D. Wayne grinning at him across the stage. Loving
all God's creatures, yes indeed. Feed me that country music techno blues,
I'm coming home.
Early morning, Friday
October 14th, Step 12, Brixton
I know you're ready to become a disciple, a lonely little reverend
making his way day by day in the congregation
Hustling a dollar here, a dollar there, selling pictures of The King
to bring back to the coffers of the all powerful all holy Reverend Doctor
Love first Reverend of The First Presleytarian Church Of Elvis The Divine.
gets the call about three o'clock, which is about time to have poured
some JB and put Hank Williams on the stereo, but the night is still
young. D. Wayne's waiting on the corner of Coldharbour Lane.
They have a deal, he and D. Wayne. They don't fuck on tour.