Angelo is offered a record contract while he's on the road. Drake is upset when he finds out, because he hears the news from someone else. Frank Carr tells Angelo that Tony will be in the Russo Brothers' upcoming music video, and Angelo is extremely upset. Tony realises how much he misses Angelo. Angelo meets a good-looking British rock reporter on the road. Janet comes to L.A. Mac and Janet plan their wedding.
This book was previously published.
New Year’s came and went without incident. Johnny conceded to Drake that he wasn’t yet well enough to perform, so he sat with Tony and Janet in the front row of the New Year’s Eve show while his brothers and Mac performed.
Tony began attending high school in Los Angeles. His father registered him in a private school in Beverly Hills. Tony loved it, and immediately made friends. The teachers were great, and the facilities were top of the line. It was exciting.
He tried not to think about the possibility of his mother showing up, but it was always in the back of his mind.
His father seemed unhappy and told Tony that he intended to move back into his own house at the end of the month.
The Russo Brothers Band had a concert planned in New York City for the first of February. It was the concert that would launch a North American tour as well as Johnny’s comeback concert. It was already sold out.
Janet and Mac planned to be married in July of that year. Drake had already agreed to be Mac’s best man. Tony had been asked to be an usher, along with his cousin—if, in fact, his cousin was around. There had been no word from Angelo.
* * * *
In just six weeks, the group Company Angelo, consisting of Drake Russo Junior, the drummer Mike Haskell and the bass guitar player, Sam Dunkin, had performed in San Francisco and Santa Barbara. They were scheduled to do Ventura, Santa Monica, Inglewood, Long Beach and San Diego, and then move on to Fresno, Nevada, Las Vegas and Arizona. Richard Killerman had them booked straight through to the summer.
Angelo spent his nights performing, his afternoons practising and his mornings doing whatever else needed to be done. He got along great with Mike, but Sam Dunkin could be a royal pain in the ass. They got a good reception wherever they went, but the pay was crappy, and the accommodations left a lot to be desired.
Richard Killerman was a short, stocky little man of Irish descent. He had a mop of curly red hair and sharp green eyes. He was a nice guy when he was sober, in spite of the fact that he was a taskmaster, extremely homophobic, and racist. He liked to drink, and when he was drunk, he became Mr. Hyde. If he wasn’t such a good manager, Angelo would have fired him. He was often more trouble than he was worth.
One night, Killerman started mouthing off in a gay bar they were playing in San Francisco about ‘Queens and fairies’, and he damn near got the crap beat out of him. Later, Killerman claimed he didn’t know it was a gay bar when he had made the arrangements. Angelo didn’t believe him. It was clear to the guys in the band that Richard Killerman was in the closet, and Angelo had no intention of opening the door.
One night when they were sleeping in a trailer park in Santa Barbara, Killerman woke him out of a dead sleep. He smelled like a brewery, and he was leaning over him, trying to kiss him. Angelo threw him outside and locked the door. Killerman was so drunk, he passed out against a tree.
Problems with Killerman, however, seemed minor when compared to the problems he had with his guitarist Sam. Sam was okay as long as he was smoking a little weed, but he became impossible when he ran out, and he did, often. He was also a status seeker. He was a great guitarist, but he wanted to be the centre of attention all the time, and he liked to wrestle with Angelo for control over the band. Sam knew just how to piss him off, saying things like, “Just because you’re the little boy of the great and mighty rock star Drake Russo, you think you own the whole world!”
Angelo came close to telling him to take a walk, but he needed him, and Sam knew it. Mike didn’t like Sam either, and they both agreed that as soon as they could find another guitarist who could play as well as he did, they were going to get rid of him.
One of his biggest struggles with Richard was over his name. Angelo wanted to use Smith, but Richard insisted on exploiting the fact that he was the son of Drake Russo.
“It brings in the people, then they can judge for themselves,” Richard told him this night in Ventura.
“But I don’t want to ride on my dad’s rep, I told you that, Richard. I’m doing this on my own.” Angelo shook his dark head as he read the poster on the outside of the Ventura Club: Rock tonight with Company Angelo, starring Drake Russo Junior, Mike Haskell, and Sam Dunkin.
“Angelo, let me manage this group, will ya?” Richard raised a reddish-blond eyebrow. “It’s your name, isn’t it?” he jibed, looking at the poster.
“Yes,” Angelo sighed. “That’s my name.”
“All right then. It’s you that has to go up there to play tonight, not your dad. It’s just to get them here so that they can hear you.”
Angelo nodded. “Okay,” he replied with a sigh and walked into the empty club.
Later that night after the second set, Richard came backstage, accompanied by a good-looking man in his middle thirties with short, dark curly hair and light blue eyes. He was carrying a camera. He had a dynamite body; the black leather pants he wore with the tight dark blue tank top did nothing to disguise the fact that the guy worked out on a regular basis.
“Drake,” Richard said, “this is Matt Montega. He’s with The Beat. He’d like to take your picture and ask you guys a few questions.”
Angelo knew the magazine. He smiled at the guy with surprise. “Why is The Beat interested in us?”