The Time Shifter Chapter 33


Things settled down after that and we spent the rest of the day justkicking back. I made a nice dinner for him and then we had sex againthat night.

The following morning,  though, all hell broke loose. Thin Lizzyguitarist Brian Robertson broke his hand in a bar brawl the previousnight. When Derek learned of the incident that morning at work, hecalled Lizzy's management and said he knew someone who could step inright away so that  they won't have to cancel their U. S. tour afterall. Furthermore, because she was American, she wouldn't need a workpermit from the U. S. government to play. The band's managerreportedly reacted, "She? You mean a girl?" "That's right," Derektold him. "AND she can play circles around either Scott (Gorham) orBrian. " "Are you winding me up (playing a practical joke), mate?" "Oh for fuck's sake, no. Listen mate, what have you got to loseexcept the band's momentum in America and lots of money if you putthe kabosh on the tour?' "Well, I suppose at the very least we couldhave her audition just to wind Brian up, especially since he andPhil hadn't been seeing eye to eye on the "Johnny the Fox" album. Okay, we'll have a look. " "Brilliant! Derek celebrated.

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   "Look mate,if she's shit and you're wasting our time your paper will be dead tous, you understand?" "Don't worry mate. Now tell me when you want tohave her come round. "

While this discussion was occurring, I was out guitar shopping andsightseeing. In fact, that day, I bought a Strat and a Gibson Flying V. I came trundling up to Derek's building and saw himstanding on the steps leading up to it. I was looking forward totossing the guitars in his car because I was getting pretty armweary by that time. When he saw me, he ran up and blurted that I wasgoing to audition for Thin Lizzy. I thought my ears were deceivingme. "Say that again sweety," I directed. That is when he told mewhat had happened to Robbo, as he was  known by friends and fans, ofwhich I was one. Brian was a really tasty player, but he was alsohot tempered. If I did do the tour with them, how would he react?

Anyway, my head was spinning at the unreality of it all. One minuteI'm a  tourist visiting her new boyfriend and now I might hit theroad with Thin Lizzy? And what made the whole thing even moreintense was that I had to do it the following day and I didn't havemy usual gear other than my Les Paul in country with me.

Derek fetched his car and I tossed my two new acquisitions into thetrunk. We jetted off to the nearest  Virgin Records store, where Ibought all of the band's LPs.

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   "Can you learn  the material in aday?" Derek asked. "I already know the money stuff," I bragged, "ButI'll have to woodshed the rest. I can do it, but I'll be up allnight memorizing it. . My greatest problem, I think, will actually benot shitting myself when I meet Phil (Lynott)," I joked. Of course,Derek's paper was also planning an exclusive feature article on mewhether I got the job or not. Due to my relationship with Derek,they gave him the rest of the day off so he could take me home and Icould prepare for the audition.

By 6 p. m. , I had all of the latest album dicked and played it fromstart to finish for Derek. I used making dinner as a mental breakand so he wouldn't be relegated to pub or takeout food that night. By nine, I knew "Jailbreak" backwards and forwards. My mainfrustration, actually, was that I didn't have my pedal board becausesome of the TL songs require a wah pedal. Then I went after a fewsongs from their earlier output. I already knew "Whiskey in theJar.

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  " In fact, Joe and I used to occasionally jam on it. But I didhave to work on "Sarah," "The Rocker," "Still in Love With You,""Sha La La," "Rosalie" and "The Wild One. " I had them under myfingers by 11 p. m. I spent the  next three hours studying morrematerial off of the "Fighting" record and then went to bed.

Derek and I woke up at 10 a. m. and, after I cooked up breakfast, Iput on the white leather mini skirt outfit I mentioned earlier withthe draw string white bustier, white thigh high stockings and thesame colored platform heels. I cranked my amp up and went throughhalf a dozen songs I thought were the most likely they would want meto play. "How do I sound baby?" I asked Derek. "Fucking brilliant!"he smiled. I pulled out the Strat, which I was going to use as abackup, and played three or four more tracks. I was psyched andready to kill.

At noon, we left for the band's rehearsal studio. I didn't think anyof the members would actually be there.

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   Rather, I believed they wouldprobably have the manager check me out and, if I passed muster,there would be a second audition. Mind you, the band was alreadysupposed to be in the U. S. to start its tour in New York at thePalace Theater on the 28th, three days hence. I assumed they wouldcancel the first week of the tour then soldier on for the rest of itif they liked me.

My heart was in my throat as we came to a halt at the rehearsalstudio. A huge security guy let us in, where we were met byLizzy's manager and Gorham's guitar tech, who both looked at meskeptically. There was a Marshal stack on one side of the stage witha Les Paul on a stand in front of it. Derek and I rolled my halfstack in and hooked up to the mains power. I turned my amp on towarm up while we kibitzed with the guitar tech. The manager sat inthe middle of the hall waiting for us to start playing. When thepower tubes were properly warm, I flipped it on and hit a few powerchords and then did some standard licks, a bit of Zeppelin, someDeep Purple and then 12 bars from Yngwie's "Rising Force" solo. Naughty, but it completely dispelled my nervousness. "You ready?"the tech asked. "Yup, Pick a tune and count me in," I suggested.

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  "Don't Believe a Word," he called and then immediately counted ifoff. I hit it right on the downbeat and pulled it off flawlessly. Next was "Cowboy Song/The Boys are Back in Town," which I had beenplaying for months in my cover band. I was able to do that in mysleep. "Jailbreak,," "Emerald," "Rosalie," I nailed them all and, bythe end of it, I was posing up a storm. The audition continued with"Whiskey in the Jar" and "Sarah" and then "The Rocker. " On thelatter tune, the tech and I just jammed on it, allowing me to blazeall over the fretboard.

The manager pulled the tech aside and asked his opinion of me. Theconversation seemed to go on forever. Finally,  the manager came upto me and asked if I could stick around a while longer. Naturally, Ididn't say no. Derek spent some time interviewing the guitar tech(on background, of course, which meant he would only be quoted asonly an anonymous source) about how I played. The feedback he got was pretty glowing, I found out later.

We waited and we waited. After nearly two hours, in through the doorcomes Brian Downey, one of the most underrated drummers ever,Glendale, CA native Gorham, and the big man, bassist/singer Phil Lynott.

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   Ifelt some butterflies in my stomach as I continued to noodle aroundon my guitar. I stood there shifting nervously on my feet. Theirroad crew loaded a skeleton backline on stage. But even after theywere finished, I was still standing there waiting. They kept talkingwith their manager  staring at me on occasion, and the managerdidn't look happy. One of the members, and I'm not going to say who,thought it was a joke when they saw me. Finally, they climbed up ononstage and said hi in an offhand way and strapped their instrumentson. Phil called out "Johnny the Fox" and Brian kicked it off with apounding drum intro. Scott drifted over to my side of the stage fora better fix on what was coming out of my speaker cab. This is areally simple song. Again, though,  not having a wah pedal made itimpossible for me to precisely duplicate the sound on  the record ,so I did the best I could. The songs fades out on the LP, but here,they stretched it out  and I laid back until Scott nodded over to meto take another solo. I didn't blow my wad with a lot of fastplaying, but instead went for a more groove oriented cadenza like theothers on the album version of the track. I nodded back to Scottwhen the main riff came around again, but he bounced it back to meand I basically ripped off Roy Buchanan and Rory Gallagher with alittle Lonnie Johnson tossed in there, too. They still kept givingme "WTF?" kind of looks.

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That finally ended and Phil called for "Rocky," another song off ofthe latest LP. The faster tempo and more rambunctious feel of thetune helped loosen me up and, when the harmony guitar part came up,I walked over to Scott, stood in front of him and pulled someoutrageous guitar faces and posed my ass off. If I was going to failI wanted to go down in flames, not with a whimper. . Coming out ofthe harmony section, I had an individual solo, which I did usingrapid hammer ons up the neck before finishing it with some speedpicked 32nd notes at the end just to change things up a bit. Philthen asked for "Cowboy Song"/"The Boys are  Back in Town" I gotpretty cocky. After the intro and the first harmony part that goesinto the first verse, I jumped in the air and hit the riff right onthe one, did a spin and then produced some Jimmy Page style posesbefore double timing my solo, which I played cleaner than Brian didon the live album. I was back to being my arrogant old self on stageand on the second harmoy, stood next to Scott again and then toreoff the solo note for note before the next harmony sequence.   I thencrashed the opening chord to "The Boys are Back in Town" and actedlike I was playing to 50,000 people instead of an empty rehearsalhall. On the final solo section, this time, Scott walked over to meas we did it in harmony, which I took as a mark of respect.

"Emerald" was shouted out. If  you can keep good time you can playthis song. The unison guitar lines are meant to emulate a company ofpipers as they accompany men into battle and the little harmony partthat precedes the main solo helps build so much tension it's unreal. It's a simple song, but a great piece of music. This would be thefinal  part of  the audition.

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Scott ambled over to me and shook my hand. "You played great," hesmiled. "What's your name again?" "Melody. " "Where are you from?""Orange County, California. " "No shit, really?" Brian sidled over toshake my hand, but otherwise didn't really say anything. Phil leftthe stage as soon as the final tune concluded. Derek came up to geta statement from Scott. I walked away so that Scott wouldn't feelthe pressure of me being there. I commenced unplugging myequipment. I got it off the stage and rolled it out toward the exit. "Derek, let's go honey," I shouted. "Hold on a minute love!" hebellowed. He was still speaking to Scott. There was a photographerfrom Derek's paper standing around outside because the band didn'twant any pictures taken of the audition. "So how did it go Melody?"he asked.

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   "Whatever the final verdict is, I'm glad I did it," Ibubbled. " He pulled a camera out of his bag and began shooting snapsof me, some with my Les Paul.

Ten minutes later, Derek came walking out. "Sorry I didn't get thejob, honey. But thanks for trying," I said. "Who told you that youdidn't?" he shot back irritably. "Well, nobody told me I'm hired, soI can only guess they weren't interested. " "It doesn't really worklike that on this level," he propounded, "especially with a  tourcancellation looming. " "Oh, okay," I accommodated. "Are you throughhere Roger?" Derek interrogated his colleague. "Let me get a few ofyou with her, Derek, for the ol' family scrapbook. " Roger peeled offa number of pics of Derek and I being lovey dovey and then we loadedmy gear into Derek's car and went back to his residence.

No matter what Derek said, I was still convinced that I wasn't whatthey were looking for. They were just so blase toward me that Icouldn't conceive of them having me sit in for Brian. I called Joeand told him what happened.


   I informed him that I was going to hirehim as my guitar tech if I did end up getting it, so he should staynear a phone during the next three days. "That would be sobitchin'!" he exclaimed.

Derek interviewed me about the whole process and then we went out toa pub for dinner because I was too mentally worn out to want tocook. Upon returning to Derek's, I took a shower and went to bed. Derek joined me several hours later.

I felt refreshed when I got up with Derek the next morning andconcocted a nice breakfast for us. His paper wanted me to come totheir office, so I accompanied him there. I took my Les Paul with meto have something to fiddle with while I was there. Just beforelunch, Derek got a phone call. it was Thin Lizzy's manager'ssecretary. They were urgently looking for me. Derek called me overand handed me the phone. "Who the fuck could be calling me?" Ithought to myself. "Hi. Is this Melody?" the voice on the other endasked.


   "Yes it is," I verified. "This is Thin Lizzy's managementoffice calling. We need you to go to our solicitor's (lawyer's)office as soon as you can. We can send a car around if that's okaywith you. " "Hold on," I instructed. I explained to Derek what wasoccurring and asked if he needed me to  stay. Flash bulbs startedgoing off in the office  "Okay, I'll be waiting for it," I stated. Derek and I waited in the lobby. About 20 minutes later, the carpulled up and carried us both to the plush office of the band'smanagement's lawyers. They made Derek sit in the waiting room whileI was ushered into the office.

"So what am I being paid?" I inquired. "300 pounds a week," someonesaid. "Sorry guys, but that ain't gonna get it. I want $1000 US. a week plus $200 a week for the guitar tech I want to hire.

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  " "That'spretty rich for a prospective sidewoman  who has never played on amajor tour before," an assistant riposted. "Listen buddy boy," Ishot back sharply, "you can either meet my asking price or I wouldbe quite content to go home. I'm not one of those desperate musoswho has kids or a drug habit to feed. What'll it  be?" They knew Ihad them by the balls. But they  were going to try to lowball meanyway. "We can come up to 400 pounds a week and that is all. " "Okayguys, here is my  walk away offer. If you don't take it, the nextthing you'll see is me happily heading off back to my man's place. $800 a week plus my own guitar tech and he will receive $200 perweek. " "Miss. Kang, think of the prestige and name recognitionyou'll acquire as part oft he band. And the experience will be goodfor your growth as a musician. " "My offer is a yes or no question,you lot. If the next word out of somebody's mouth isn't somevariation of 'yes'  I'm pissing off to lunch. " "You can't beserious," somebody blurted.

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   "Gentlemen, good day ," I said whilestanding up and heading toward the door. "Fucking cheap bastards," Imuttered under my breath as I passed through the threshold of theoffice. I whispered to Derek, "come on baby, let's go eat. ".

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