I’m currently working on a book of short stories called ‘Rock n Roll Dreams’.
It’s a book of short stories that were inspired by songs, where the story and message in the song really spoke to me.
It’s proved a difficult book to populate because I’m aiming for a particularly grey area. I don’t want to use the obvious or the big hits, this is a very personal project. Although inspired from the music I’ve been forced to demand some artistic licence as a writer. The stories won’t directly translate perfectly into the song that inspired them.
If one of the stories introduces you to a particular album or band you may never have heard before then that’s an added bonus. If you don’t recognise the artist then I’d suggest the story first, then the song but your choice.
The first one is complete, it’s a story I called ‘Due Cause’. Inspired by a song written by Michael Franti from the ‘Spearhead’ album Chocolate Supa Highway. Available from Capitol Records (1997)
The song is called ‘The world in your hands’.
As a band they have skirted in and out of my musical life over the years, entering and leaving my tastes like an ex girlfriend that never fully leaves.
I first made their acquaintance one hungover morning when Michael Franti jumped onto the stage to open up Glastonbury Festival around 1995. It was 11am in the morning and if it wasn’t for our tradition to crawl out and see the opening act we might never have bothered.
Spearhead and Michael Franti performed with all the energy of a headliner and I’m sure it wasn’t just me that they won over that morning. In honesty we were fans the minute they walked off stage. It wouldn't be but a few hours till we met again.
Although we technically weren’t performers we had performers tickets that year. This unscrupulous privilege gave us access to a huge area behind all the main stages. This housed the performers bar which that year contained a very drunk Robbie Williams whose behaviour would contribute to his sacking from ‘Take That’ (another story).
It also contained exclusive camping for those acts who didn’t have a tour bus. Not only were we not acts but we had no tour bus either, perfect. Many hours after ‘Spearhead’ had blown us away on stage they did it again in the field behind the stages. As we approached our tent that night we saw a group walking towards us, amongst them was what could have been an angel singing.
It was the band ‘Spearhead’ presumably heading back to their tour bus for the night. We were too starstruck to talk to them but simply shared a knowing glance and headed back to our tent, forever regretting we didn’t say hi.
A few years and albums later and I saw that ‘Spearhead’ were coming to my hometown of ‘Manchester UK’. Working for a local FM radio station I headed down there to see if I could grab a sound check interview. I waited on the stairs and Michael approached, shook my hand and walked away, that was the last I saw of him till he hit the stage several hours later. In fairness to him, I had no appointment to talk to him and he had just finished with the BBC.
None of this has any bearing on the story I wrote for my book. The song was simply one of many that Michael has written over the years that hit a moral sweet spot.
Forgive a certain amount of artistic licence by shifting characters around and changing locations.
That’s something that will be a theme throughout this project and I make no apologies. Another thing that will run through this book is the changing dialogue from it’s original song version.
Franti writes great dialogue for a song but in a story it sounds comedic because it rhymes. This would make any short story sound like a Winnie the Pooh comic, nope.
So, I always knew that this story would be the first for the book ‘Rock n Roll Dreams’ and I hope you like it. I hope Michael gets to read it too but most of all, like all these stories I hope I help you discover something new musically.
If Spearhead hits the spot then here’s a couple of my personal favourites.
'Chocolate Supa Highway' for sure, 'Everyone Deserves Music' and 'Home' are great places to start.
The story ‘Due Cause’ will be here tomorrow. Here's the song.