A Novel Excerptby Nickolas Butler
While the rest of us doggedly plowed our way through college or two-year technical schools, Lee was forming short-lived bands, traveling the Midwest and the mid-Atlantic, playing bars, fraternity parties, and talent competitions. Word came back to us every so often that he was picking up momentum, that some record label or another was interested in signing him, that a celebrity had seen him play in Chicago, or Boston, and dispensed some champagne-and-caviar advice, but it never seemed to pan out and every year was another year Lee grew older, and the notion of his musical success seemed less and less likely.
His friends, Henry included, understood. They were defensive about him, about his dream. In crowded dorm rooms and in smoky off-campus apartments smelling of spilled beer and stale bong water, they played his demo tapes to strangers, people we hadn’t grown up with, people whose parents didn’t clip out every positive newspaper article, every wishy-washy concert review ever published about Lee.
“He’s going to be famous,” they’d say. “You hear that? You hear what he just did there?”