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And so it was that Remo got to hear the demo I’d made of “Midnight” before anyone in M3 did.

He picked me up at the airport and didn’t say much as he drove toward his house. I hadn’t told him anything about why I was here, only that I needed to get away for a while. But he knew there was something wrong at home—-on the phone he’d said something like “Just like the old days, eh?” and told me to come out right away.

We picked up some take-out on the way, fried chicken and biscuits, another old standard, and had eaten most of it before we even reached the house. The house itself was on a winding wide street. Like every house on the block it had a wall around the front yard and a gate into the driveway. I was betting other celebrities lived on this street but he didn’t bug me with tour guide patter.

Once there we settled down to shooting the shit on his back porch overlooking the lights of LA and drinking (me root beer, him bourbon, old habits die hard). He told me about two new guitars he’d bought, a new American-made Gibson from the top of the line, and a second-hand steel dobro he picked up in Tijuana last week. I told him about the new material and BNC bullshit politics and how they were stringing me along. He told me about the new stuff Nomad was planning for their next sessions.

And then we ran out of things to say and I stood there on a redwood deck in a city I’d wanted to follow him to years ago, not looking at him.

“Remo,” I started, but couldn’t finish.

Until this moment, I hadn’t been sure what I had come here to do, and now that I knew, I couldn’t bring myself to do it.

“It’s okay, kiddo,” he said.

“Don’t call me that.” Man, I sounded more defensive than I’d meant to. Kiddo was something Digger used to call me, they all used to call me. As in, hey kiddo, whadda ya say you wait in the car? Get me another beer, willya kiddo?

“Take it easy,” he said, all apologetic. “Alright. Daron. If you want to tell me what’s bugging you, I’m all ears.”

That was just like Remo, all straightforward and open. The way I wanted to be. But every time I opened my mouth I felt seasick, dizzy and nauseous. Maybe this was a mistake. “It’s band stuff. Getting along stuff. You know.”

He nodded and I tried not to imagine him thinking “poor fucked up mixed up kid…”

“That’s why I had to get away from them for a while. Get my head clear.” I looked into the empty glass in my hand and turned to face him. He sat in a redwood chair on the deck, the bottle of whiskey next to him. I took two steps to it and poured some into my glass. Remo never drank Jack Daniels or other mass produced stuff; he always went for single-malt scotch or small batch American bourbon. The bottle read Knob Creek, American. The first sip made me cough. “Vile stuff.”

“It is when you mix it with root beer,” he joked, but his face stayed serious.

“There’s just a lot going on,” I ventured. “Complicated.”

“You can tell me about it if you want.”

But I wasn’t sure that I could. I chewed my lip.

When I didn’t say anything, he did: “It’s you and Ziggy isn’t it.”

That really goosed me in the nads and I almost dropped the glass. But that didn’t mean anything, necessarily, that didn’t… “You could say that.”

Remo leaned forward. “Have you read that Spin article?”

Jeezus, that again? “No. Well, part of it. Not very much.”

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