This is one of my entries this week for therealljidol. I invite you to read and vote for the many fine entries. This week we're writing on several topic; this addresses the topic "One Way or the Other."
Marci's Music Blog
Just discovered a video of this guy, Erik Payne, doing an acoustic version of Michael Jackson's "Thriller." Not only is he a great musician, with superior phrasing and masterful guitar work, but he's also super-hot. He's got a quasi-Goth look, his dyed-black hair falling over kohl-rimmed eyes. He's thin and athletic, with long, pale graceful fingers. Momma likes!
Lately, I've been reading all the comments on Erik Payne's YouTube channel. If I've converted you into a fan, you know EP's a prolific poster, uploading renovations of old classics, original songs, and vlogs about his songwriting and arranging process.
I try to post positive, supportive comments, as do most users. But lately, this troll popped up, with the username "kewelboi," and he kept posting really rude stuff, like, "What's up with the makeup, faggot?" At first I just asked him not to be a jerk, but he responded by calling me a "fat old fart." So I Googled him and found his real name: Kurt Riggle. Not only did I flame him wherever he'd left similar comments, but I also wrote an anonymous note to the school board where he works, claiming to be a student and accusing him of several legally actionable offenses. Can you believe that toad is a gym teacher? Well, not much longer. That will teach him to mess with EP.
Are you sitting down? I just got a message from EP; that's right, Erik Payne! It was in response to a really long comment I'd written about his cover of Lady Gaga's "Born This Way," where I called it ethereal and said it changed my life. He thanked me for all my support, and said if I ever caught one of his concerts, I should introduce myself. Wow! According to his Web site, he's only playing small venues in the San Francisco Bay area. That's a long ways from Ohio, so I'll have to take a rain check for now.
Big Erik Payne news! EP's first album will drop this spring. His YouTube hits helped him secure a contact with the independent label, Ketch Yawl Records. Following the release, he'll tour some major cities, including Philadelphia and New York, both within driving distance. So excited!
On the off chance of a free album, I wrote EP, care of the record label, offering to review it on my music blog.
Found the street address of the studios for Ketch Yawl Records and found it on Google Maps. If you're completely clueless, that's the record label that's putting out Erik Payne's album, which he's deep into recording. The aerial picture shows it's in a suburban area. The street view shows a plain place with stucco facade, way too boring to be the home of the most important recording session of all time. Seriously, though, there needs to be a real-time Google Streetview, so that I can watch him coming in and out of the studio.
You'll never believe what I got in the mail! My very own copy of Erik Payne's debut album, signed, "To Marci, My Number 1 fan, Erik XXOO." Squeeeee! I've listened to nothing else since it arrived, and I'm going to keep blasting it until the neighbors pound on the floorboards. I'll try to write a more comprehensive review later, but let me just say this album is da bomb. Buy it, buy it, buy it!
I've been listening to Erik Payne's new album, "Come Play," and it's pure gold. No surprise: it includes a lot of the same covers that made him a YouTube darling, including his acoustic version of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" and the bluesy cover of Lady Gaga's "Born This Way." At first, it's a little strange to hear studio-perfect versions of these songs, especially when I've grown used to the way he inhales too loudly at the beginning of the second chorus of "Thriller," and the subtle but noticeable pop as he sings "Just put your paws up" in "Born This Way." But I guarantee: you'll soon grow to love these versions.
Even more impressive are his original songs, many of which have never appeared on his YouTube channel. These songs include some tender love ballads written to a "kindred spirit" he says is separated from him by miles but who lives in his heart. Call me crazy, but I'm reading these lyrics going, "OMG, could that be me?"
Listen to this lyric, about a woman with "pretty pony hair" and how he wants to take her "out of your box." I mean, my YouTube screen name is Mustang_Sally. Maybe the box refers to the little text box you type in when you reply to somebody. I've been going over and over these lyrics, telling myself it can't possibly be true, but the more I listen, the more I think I might be the mystery woman.
You can understand why this made it difficult to write about the album. How can I possibly critique a song that might be about me? I love every song and can't wait to hear them performed live.
I didn't think it was worth my time to respond to all the negative comments to my last post. Obviously, there's a lot of jealous bitches out there who don't want to believe somebody as gorgeous as Erik could fall for someone ordinary like me. Keep talking trash; you can't hurt me, because I know the truth.
In fact, I just received a response to my e-mail, asking if he wrote "Pony Girl" about me. He replied, "Maybe. Who knows? ;-)" So suck it.
A lot of people have been complaining that for the last several months I haven't posted anything unrelated to Erik Payne. Apparently, there's some Swedish guy who makes music with fishes or something that everybody's raving about now. But I'm having trouble concentrating, because I'm busy consolidating my plans to drive to Philadelphia to check out Erik's show at the Trocadero. I'm going to hold him to his promise for a little meet-and-greet action. So excited!
I'm in the lobby of The Bellevue Hotel in Philly. It's a classy place, so I had to dip into my savings, but it was worth it because guess who else is staying here? My honey, Erik Payne. It didn't take much to figure out where he was staying, just a few phone calls, since he's not even using a fake name. Of course, the stupid front-desk clerk won't tell me his room number, although she let me leave a message for him. I'm just going to hang out for a while, to see if I spot him before the concert.
So that was a bust. I'm outside The Trocadero, waiting for the doors to open. I did spot Erik at the hotel, walking briskly with a bunch of people. When I called his name, he didn't turn, but it was really noisy in there.
Since they were walking, I followed them as they rambled through Center City. There was some little short guy in sunglasses pointing things out to him, and Erik nodded and smiled. Guess they were doing a little sight-seeing. They spent some time browsing through stores at The Gallery, which is a lame indoor mall. He checked out some black ankle boots in Traffic, and then he stopped in FYE, where he shook hands with the manager, and the short guy gave the manager a box of what looked like promotional items.
Then, as they stopped in Tiffany's Bakery for some strawberry shortcake, I noticed he was holding hands with some bone-thin chick with pink hair and excessive make-up. At first I thought he'd picked up a streetwalker, but from their PDA, they seemed well-acquainted. I felt like someone had stabbed me in the stomach. Then I realized: she must be the one he was talking about in "Rainbow Dreams," where he sings about being torn between two people. Guess I just met my competition.
I debated going up and saying hi, but I didn't want to put him in an awkward position.
Back in my hotel room now, after simultaneously the best and worst night of my life. The Trocadero was a real dive. At one time it was a beautiful theater, but now it's disintegrating. There's a net strung under the ceiling to catch falling plaster!
It was open seating, so I got a great position in front of the stage. When Erik came out, I screamed so loud he smiled right at me. He launched into his cover of "Born This Way," then Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" and then some originals. Since he was the opening act for some dude named Aurelio Voltaire, a lot of people were milling in the lobby. I felt like I had him all to myself, and he kept turning towards me. Hearing him live, as he sang those beautiful lyrics to me, made me melt inside. I was lofted on high by clouds of gorgeous goth music.
Erik wore the leather pants from his Lady Gaga video, but I didn't dig the pink streak he's added to his hair.
Between the shows, I found an usher and showed him my business card: "Music blogger and reviewer." At first, he looked unsure, but when I told him that Erik wrote "Pony Girl" about me, he showed me backstage.
Erik's voice drew me like a siren. As I neared the door, which was part open, he turned to look at me. He was all sweaty, sipping his favorite drink, a diet red soda, with his shirt undone. At first, he looked startled, but I spoke up: "Hey, it's Marci. You said if I made it to one of your concerts, I should say hi." He still looked confused, so I added, "I'm Mustang_Sally."
Then the light went on: "Whoa! Great!" He waved me inside and introduced me to his band members. He asked me what I thought of the concert, and I told him I loved it, especially the new songs. "I knew you'd like them," he said, then added, "You're my biggest fan, right?"
He gave me a diet soda and said he was flattered to learn I'd driven there from Ohio. We shared notes on Philly and what a hell-hole the Trocadero is. After what seemed like just minutes but was actually an hour, he stood up and said, "Hope you don't mind, but I'm meeting my girlfriend at Morimoto. Can I drop you somewhere?"
A little dazed, I nodded, then followed him to a rented car someone must have delivered during the concert. We were finally alone, and my heart was beating like a baby rabbit's. Once the car pulled away, I asked, "I have a serious question for you: Who'd you write 'Pony Girl' about?"
With a laugh, he said, "I wrote that for a girl I had a crush on but never had the nerve to tell her."
"You can tell her now," I said, with anticipation.
"That would be awkward; she's married to somebody else with two kids."
My heart sunk. "Pony Girl isn't me? I thought -- Mustang_Sally, you know?"
He grew quiet, and his face looked concerned. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to mislead you. But I mean -- I don't really know you."
Are you freaking kidding me? I asked him about all the e-mails and comments, and the signed album with "XXOO" on it.
"You're out there spreading the word about my music," he said. "I really appreciate that. It's because of people like you that I got this album deal. I didn't mean to lead you on..."
I started to cry and told him to pull over and let me out. He patted my shoulder, but I shrugged off his hand and ran away as fast as my ankle boots could take me.
So now I'm back in my hotel room, punching my pillow. On the way back, I stopped at a CVS drug store and picked up a pack of red diet soda. As coincidence would have it, the store was also having a special on rat poison. I just got back from leaving him a little surprise gift on his doorstep: a soda with a little extra punch. I left a note that read, "From Your No. 1 Fan, No hard feelings, Love, Marci."
He might drink it, but if he notices the top was opened and he's smart, he won't. Either way, he's dead to me.
This piece was sparked by the very stalker-ish lyrics from the Blondie song, "One Way or Another." I was inspired to finally give life to two characters I created for my unfinished novel, "The Cult of Personality."
Big thanks to beta reader roina_arwen for catching some goofs.