Excerpt from The Deadly Bees (2013)

The following is a passage from The Deadly Bees (2013), a remythologizing of elements of the 1966 British horror movie of the same name. But in this version that is the name of a small rock band that Jack Dracula (here, as a teen, just Jack) is trying to start up. In this scene, set in Hartog, summer of 1966, he explains to a rock n roll singer come to town to recuperate from stress, Leslie, loosely modeled on Leslie Gore, what he thinks of the new album by the Beatles, Rubber Soul. He will subsequently set forth his theory of self-transcendence, the eventual disappointment with which will send him on a destructive mission to assassinate the Beatles at their appearance in Kleinschmitt, unleashing the negativity to come in Heavy (2013) (the sequel).

From The Deadly Bees (2013)

Jack took out the album and put on the turntable Leslie had in her room.
The record began. Jack started talking, Leslie shushed him. Every song he wanted to talk over it. Every time she shushed him. They listened to the first side, then Jack flipped it over and they listened to the second side. When it got to the end, Leslie just sat there, silent, letting the needle glide free, finished, in the ungrooved vinyl near the rotating rainbow, the endless rainbow, the inaccessible rainbow, the rainbow others live over, listening to the needle buck with a crisp and fallback against the label. She sat there listening to that nothing for some time. Then she stood up, walked over to the record player, and flipped it back over to side one, lifted up the needle from the underside of the arm with the top of the tip of her index finger, and said,
OK, now, you tell me, what’s the matter?
Jack then dug in.
When, in the middle of the song called Norwegian Wood (it’s lyrics are beautifully oblique, Leslie said; they’ve been listening to Dylan, is another thing she said), Jack heard the sitar, and said
What is that? I mean, he’s done it, what is that?
Sounds like a guitar, he’s playing way up on it, then feeding the sound through something.
I don’t know. Can you make a noise like that with a guitar? I was up all night trying to get it. He lifted the needle back, then played over it what he had (it was at low volume now, a quick turn of knob, so his guitar could sound).
I don’t think that’s it.
He must have a guitar with another two feet of fretboard and strings maxed out to the end to get five more octaves out of it. The wobble in the string too, where does he get it?
I don’t think it is a guitar.
But it is, it’s got to be. He loves that twang, that twang is key.
I know, it makes me shiver. It’s so fab.
So, this is that, times ten.
What do you mean?
He’s put that twang into outer space, It’s like he put a fretwork tab at fret 10 and jet propulsion mercury 13 Saturn rocketed it up to the tenth octave above it. It just sounds transcendent.
Transcendent. That’s exciting, what does it mean?
It means this guy is about to blow the roof off of rock, that’s what it means. It’s ironic, it’s such a guitar song, and then, pow, quietly, without warning, he propels us into the fucking stratosphere.
You think it’s all studio? I hear Phil was working with them.
Wall of sound, walking in the rain.
Yeah, I’m a believer.
I like that song too.
No, I mean, I’m a believer. He did one of my songs and I was just amazed by all these tracks of echoes he put over it. It almost felt like I was singing in an echo chamber, but it was an echo chamber that was the universe.
So maybe he is the guru, you think?
Seems so, where would he get that idea?
But what is the idea?
I don’t know, it just makes it more…soulful.
Beat, soul, soul music, soul brother, but this is something different?
Soul is inward, it goes to the sad heart of a human stuck bluesly in the world, but this, this is a soaring over.
What do you mean?
He switched over to “Nowhere Man.”
Those words, Leslie gushed, I’m going to cover this.
But listen, the song went into its chorus, “Nowhere man, don’t worry….”
It’s so—out there.
What do you mean?
I don’t know, but it was in the first hit too.
Which one?
Hold your hand.
When, where?
“And when I touch you I feel happy.”
Well, that’s it, it’s happiness, it’s the sound of being happy. She scrunched up her shoulders,
It just gets you all worked up, but you do feel a certain kind of abandon, like you are out of step with the world, you haven’t a care in the world, you’re just lying back taking it as it comes, and let it take you along, you’re going with the flow, that’s what this is, the song before that is pushing forward, it’s making a song, but, then, suddenly, it falls back, to let itself drift carelessly, wistfully, with soulful abandon, in slack awe and wonder at the miracle of life, of even being lost in life, it’s an ethereal, elevated, detached, wonderful state of being, a reverie
“the wo-orld is at your command.”
Oo, that makes me just shiver. Lesllie again curled her toes, and scrunched up her shoulders.
This turned Jack on, he, momentarily, had energy, he pounced.
Stop it! What are you doing? This is definitely not music to make love by. Making love, who wants anything as serious and involved and physical as that? I want to be walking along out there without a care in the world just enjoying my freedom and my life and my living in the world. That’s their genius, who else ever captured that feeling? That strange magic that comes over you when you are truly happy? What? don’t be hurt.
It’s not that, he said, returning to ante status quo, he was far more used to that than to acceptances, it was normal. It’s just that, I’m not happy, it aches to hear that, then to hear you confirm it.
But don’t you see? I don’t know if they are either. Are any of us? That’s a vision of happiness by someone who is not happy, who is dreaming what happiness might be like.
Oh, that’s good, that’s good, it’s transcendent again.
If you will.
That about that La, la, la, though? They’re still doing the Ronettes.
That’s a higher la, la, la, it’s only been two years, since yeah, yeah, yeah.
Remember when that’s all they were known for?
Amazing, isn’t it? they’re moving—very fast.
But it’s still cover music style.
But that la, la, la is on a whole other level, a hallelujah level, they’re angels.Listen to this.
He played the lead break. He listened.
At the end of this majestic piece of musical architecture, moving from its house-building stateliness to its sad collapse, there was a plunge of bass, and, then, pause, a high ping.
Amazing! Have I ever heard that anywhere on a record, ever?
I don’t think so.
I mean, do you know what that is?
I don’t play.
It’s a harmonic. If you pluck on the seventh or ninth frets with a light touch of the butt of your fingering hand.
Fingering, I like that.
That’s why you’re so good at it.
Really? She asked in wonder. He laughed and went on.
If you do that it is like sending that note express mail to the two octaves above it. You literally with that pluck send that note into orbit, its proof positive that this is where they are going with this.
It’s true, vertical thrust.
Exactly, it’s not rock, it’s rocket music, they’re taking us up, transcendentally.
But there’s a bass too.
Exactly, but that’s also way off the charts.
In this one (“Do What you want to Do”) that bass is very deep, it’s got a buzz on it, it sounds like a subway rolling through the song, its burrowing in under the song, to gobble the rest of it up.
Exactly. Up and down. They’ve taken the fretboard and expanded it on both ends. Then, in the middle, he’s a great guitarist, so great, I can’t tell you, I play guitar, it always sounds like guitar, it gets boring after a while.
I don’t like guitar.
It is limited, but listen.
He played “Michelle”.
This is so soft, he said of the lead break, it doesn’t even sound like guitar. Then, here, he picked and skipped to the lead break in “In My Life,” that’s guitar transcended, back in time, to a clavier, it speaks to time, and history, the death of the past.
It’s true, it is—why IS that here? And 18th century clavier? In a pop song, it’s so teddy boy.
They were teddy boys, they liked their ruffles and flourishes.
That’s so English, we can’t go there.
It’s true.
Then listen to this, he went back to the lead break of “What Goes On?”
Oo, Ringo, don’t like that singing.
You don’t get it, they’re a group.
I could never be in a group.
But they decided, it’s going to be a real group, everyone is going to try everything. It’s a great policy, in every other group everybody gets stuck and that’s that.
But he’s not a good singer.
But this is a poignant. He’s like your uncle at the pub singing an old love song, it’s charming.
That’s a point, I hadn’t thought of that, It’s good, that move.
That’s them. But listen, this break it’s, what IS it? It’s like he wrote that work and thought I want this to sound like a bunch of pots and pans being pawed off the kitchen counter by the singer, it’s just daft, it’s so choppy, it’s like he’s playing in the middle of traffic, it’s percussion, in a lead break, what a transcendent concept.
What can you mean?
It keeps going.

by RM


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