“A Jewish guy, an Italian guy, a Black guy, and a guy raised by hippies form a band…”
Sounds like it’s the start of a bad joke… or an awesome rock show!
I do have an announcement to make today before I start the regular post.
In the original version of the Heart Soul & Rock’n’Roll, my fictional band had been called the “Grim Reapers,” but as I scanned the internet, I realized that a metal band with almost the same name (“Grim Reaper,” singular, not plural) had formed in 1979 and still is a going concern today. So… to avoid any unpleasant legal situations, I voluntarily am renaming the band in the novel.
That’s bad news for me (i.e., more work). But good news for you! (Read to the end of the blog.)
So… meet the newly-renamed Jersey Reapers! You’ve seen their logo at the top of the blog. It still needs work, but you get the idea.
Now on to my “boys.”
You’ve already met Neil Gardner, the Jersey Reapers’ front man. He’s the guy raised by hippies and I wrote about him in some detail in an earlier blog.
That means we’re going to meet the others. They are all in their early 40s. While the three of them sometimes come off like a rocker version of the Three Stooges, they do have some redeeming qualities.
First, there’s Joey Saks is a nice Jewish guy who goes to Temple with his wife and two kids. He also is supportive of Neil, meaning when the other guys start piling on, he tries to dismantle the pile. Joey plays lead guitar and is adept at, to quote Jack Black, "face-melting" solos.
Yankee Doodle is a mellow black guy whose first name isn’t Yankee. It’s Shadrack, and I think we can see why he chose to rename himself. “Doodle” is probably a variant of “Doolittle,” but I’m just guessing. Renaming himself indicates that Yankee has a sense of humor and likes to have a little fun. A married man with three kids, Yankee is the band’s drummer, and a man of few words, or at least fewer than the other guys. I think Yankee says more in general and about himself later in the book when he’s comforting a distraught Lins. He uses his words sparingly and wisely.
Ben Roma, on the other hand, doesn’t seem able to shut up. The band’s bass player is a sardonic, to-the-point Jersey boy. He’s like Tony Manero, only without the dancing and maybe less likeable. His job seems to be to keep the other guys from thinking too highly of themselves. And yet, he has a heart. It’s in there, trust me. Ben is not married and, as far as I know, not dating. However, he says he’d be interested in having me set any “interested ladies” up with him. What a can I say? The guy's a card.
Something not included in the novel but in the film script (hello, Hollywood...) is what these guys do for a living. After all, playing three nights a week in a bar just isn’t going to pay the rent. Especially in New Jersey.
So, here’s some heretofore unpublished background on the boys: Joey and his wife Susie are teachers; Yankee is a plumber and his wife Vonda is a nurse; and Ben… good ol’ Ben is a drive-time deejay. And now I’ll let Ben explain it: “It’s only a local station. Ain’t like it’s New York or Philly.”
And now for the news that I promised at the top of the blog. Since I am renaming the band, that means making changes in the book’s text. Squeaking Pips (meaning my dining room table) has fourteen copies of Heart Soul & Rock’n’Roll with the band’s old name in it. The book originally was priced at $7.99, but I’m dropping it to $4.99 and will sell at that price until I run out of copies. Plus, shipping is free.
By the way, I don’t keep people’s email information and because I sell through Square, I don’t see your credit card numbers or other sensitive information. I respect privacy. Hey, you may have noticed that I don't even ask people to subscribe to this blog. This may be why Squeaking Pips Press is broke, but it's how I roll.
I will be away this coming week on vacation but please order a copy anyway and I’ll send it out as soon as I get back. Promise. I mean, don’t you want a gen-u-wine collector’s item? "Pipe dream," to quote Ben Roma. But then again...
Until next time. Rock on, my friends!
Janet Stafford, Squeaking Pips Founder