“You need to answer your phone, man. Shit is blowing up left and right here. We have a month to finish the album before the tour launches. Marcy’s bailing on us because her dad is sick. We’ve hired a new road manager, and I’m stressed as hell. You’re either in or you’re out. I’m not kidding this time, Chaz. Either your ass is at my house and ready to record in two days, or you’re out…We need you, okay? The band isn’t the same without you.
After playing Grant’s message a second time, I thought about my options. Go to Austin or move on. I wanted to go, but was worried things would be different. How could they not be? Thanks to Chelle, my life was a fucking mess. My rhythm was jacked to hell. To an outsider, a messed up beat didn’t compute. It wasn’t like losing a set of keys or misplacing a cell phone. A drummer without rhythm was like a writer with no words, an artist with no vision, a singer with no voice. It was essential to life, like breathing, sleeping, or eating. Without it, I felt like a stranger in my own skin, and all because I let that crazy bitch into my life. Even though I wanted to, I couldn’t place all of the blame on Chelle. She might have lured me in with her magic pussy, but at the end of the day, it was my decision to stay. I believed the lies. I kept going back for more. Hell, I went back even after I had questions. What did that say about me? Nothing good, that’s for sure. I’d always been loyal. In fact, I prided myself on my loyalty to my fellow bandmates. Yet, I’d put that lying bitch ahead of my friends. Lesson fucking learned. I was an idiot who probably deserved to live my life in this rhythmless bubble of silence. I’d been in this place once before, but that was a time I tried not to think about. A time where things were so dark that I’d lost my desire to play and questioned my reason for being. I’d been helpless back then, lost, suffocating…dying a slow death. I tried to tell myself this was different. I was a kid then. I had no control over what happened. Too bad this didn’t feel different. It felt exactly the same. That period in my life nearly broke me. Not this time. This time I would work through it. As much as I’d like to forget, the memories were always there, like harbingers from hell. Always. Fucking. There…
Mom married Don six months from the day we met. For my ninth birthday, they threw me a surprise birthday party and invited my entire class. I thought I’d struck gold. In a way I had, because that’s when Don gave me my first drum kit. The drums came with lessons from a guy who knew his shit. Not only did he teach me how to play, but he taught me that part of the reason I had trouble focusing was that I had such a strong internal rhythm. He taught me ways to tame the energy constantly thrumming through my body. For over two years I lived that golden dream, and then Don got demoted. Getting demoted on the police force was a big deal, at least for Don it was. Everything changed after that. My music teacher was let go and my life went to shit. Fucked up became my daily existence. It remained that way until I turned eighteen.
I thought about the difference between now and then. I was a man now. I’d taken my shit life and turned it into something to be proud of. I had more money than I knew what to do with. I had a career that most people would die for. Nash accused me of being closed off. Nash didn’t know shit. He was in. They all were. I disliked people in general, but the guys…they were different. I missed the laughter. I missed the bitching. I missed my life. Most of all, I missed the music. I guess I had my answer.
For better or worse, it was time to go back.