by Kurai bentorē (暗いベントレー)
This is Midwestern 92.53 FM! Welcome to KRCD Radio, host of all your favorite chart hits, inside scoops, interviews, and Indie Insider.
An annoyingly chirpy jingle rang out.
“Good evening, all. Welcome to the Indie Insider. I’m your host, Bryan Allison, and tonight, boy, do we have a great show for you! The lineup includes the latest rumblings from the indie underground, including new tunes from the Ramada Saints, the Walking Wounded, and Kevin Daley! Most exciting of all, Kevin is here in the studio with us, today! Stick around for our exclusive interview with this fella, who’s even going to sing for us. And, of course, we have our usual news roundup, at the end of the show. All right, let’s get started!”
Indie Insider ran through its usual program of subculture favorites, featuring plenty of indie classics from the ’90s, even throwing in occasional big names such as Nirvana and At the Drive-In here and there. The interview with the young star, Kevin Daley, was left till the end, as standard procedure when showcasing a big name. Keep the listeners hanging around for what they really want, was the idea. Put the star on too early and they lose interest in the rest of the show.
Daley was doing the promo tour for his new album, Bayswater Road, calling around to all the local stations, newspapers — whoever would help him spread the word. As an independent with no real attachment to a record label, he was responsible for doing almost all of his own promotion. As it turned out, he was rather comfortable with charming radio hosts, newspaper journalists, and the like. His long blonde hair and good looks didn’t hurt, either; they were part of why the Kevin Daley name was a big deal in the South Dakota indie scene.
His real start in the industry had been putting together a five-song EP of his own material and covers, with some high school friends. The recording, made with an old four-track recorder bought at a yard sale for $5, was technically sloppy, but artistically interesting. Daley’s lyrics and engaging vocals outshone the testosterone of his band mates. This EP was the gateway into gigging at small bars and clubs. Those were the days of playing weekends, missing school to rehearse, and scraping together enough cash to rent a van and make it across the state to more small bars and clubs.
Seven years later, here Kevin was, on the Indie Insider. He never really made it ‘big,’ mostly because he didn’t buy into the hoop-jumping capitalism of the industry. Gigging at local clubs still gave him enough drive and spare change to keep working on new material and to get by comfortably. Travelling out of state to feature in summer festivals, brought in more cash, but not the desire to climb any higher on the career ladder. Journalists often cited lack of ambition in their blurbs on Daley’s career, but being the big fish in the small pond felt comfortable.
* * *
“Welcome back to the Indie Insider, and yes, it’s time for what you’ve all been waiting for. Local legend Kevin Daley joins us for a chat, and then he’ll play us a song from his upcoming album, Bayswater Road, coming out on the 5th of April.
“Kevin, thanks so much for joining us. I’ve been a big fan since I first heard you play live three or four years ago at the Thirsty Duck bar. Things have come on a ways since then!”
“That’s nice of you to say, Bryan. Glad you’re a fan! I do remember playing Thirsty Duck, but I’ve gigged there maybe twenty or thirty times since I started off, way back when.” Kevin found radio delivery easy by now, after years of cramming into little booths, usually while being interviewed by aging, balding men. The studio here was cramped as usual, but at least the host was easy on the eyes — nicely built and with a cute smile.
“That’s cool, Kevin — you’ll have to remember us little people when you’re playing Ozzfest.” Bryan was just running the radio shtick playbook. “Now, can you tell us a bit about your new album, the one you’re going to be playing a song from in a few minutes?”
“Sure. The album is called Bayswater Road. I’m sure anyone listening who’s been following my work will get the reference. The album is sort of a concept album, but not quite. It deals with the issues a young musician faces: putting their work out into public, having it scrutinized and torn apart and played non-stop. It’s about the other side of the fame coin. I guess it’s not the most original topic, but it was important to me. You need that desire to come up with something good.”
“For sure, for sure! Fascinating to hear your thoughts on the songs. Can I ask, if you don’t mind, what’s the meaning behind the song Sioux Long?”
“Oh, that? Ha, that’s my updated take on the classic country-western don’t-steal-my-man song. Did you like it?”
“Loved it. All right, now let’s get you over to that guitar and we’re going to hear you play something new, isn’t that right?”
“Sure, I’ll play you something from the new disc. Just give me a minute to get ready here.”
Kevin walked over to the booth, picked up his Martin acoustic guitar, and started picking out a few notes to feel his way into the instrument. Getting a nod from the studio engineer, he began to play a song from the new album.
Bryan relaxed into his leather swivel chair, excited, stressed, and relieved, all at the same time, to get the highlight of the show underway. He was great at delivering the canned banter required of studio hosts, but he was much more interested in getting to know the young musician for himself.
Kevin began to sing. He had a sweet, not very powerful voice, but it carried a melody beautifully. His guitar playing was a subtle underlay to the vocals.
But after a few bars, it became apparent that something had gone wrong with the inputs into the mixing desk. Being broadcast live to thousands of local listeners was just the sound of the plectrum scratching against strings. No notes. No voice. Kevin had no monitors and continued completely unaware, while the sound engineer behind the window was in a clear panic, flicking switches, pulling faders, and swearing under his breath.
The audio was finally restored just as he was singing the outro verse. Bryan hadn’t wanted to interrupt Kevin, so the musician had continued to play on. The room buzzed with the creative energy of the singer and the silent panic of the engineer. Almost four minutes of essentially dead air had just gone out to KRCD listeners.
After realizing what had gone wrong, Bryan had no choice but to finish the show like a professional.
“It appears we had some fairly serious technical problems during the live performance that was just broadcast. Please accept my sincere apologies for this. Nobody was looking forward to this more than I was, and we’ve let our listeners, and Kevin, down.”
Bryan looked around to see Kevin in heated conversation with the engineer in the control room.
“I’m afraid we don’t have time for Kevin to play for us, again,” Bryan continued, “and we have to launch straight into our news segment. Please accept my apologies — we will make sure this doesn’t happen again!”
Bryan hit a button on his desk to queue up the canned news segment just in time to see Kevin drop his guitar and briskly stomp out of the studio.
“Kevin, wait!” Bryan called as he rushed after the singer. The engineer hung his head with his palms facing outward, as an admission of guilt.
“Kevin, I’m really sorry. I’ll find a way to make this up to you,” Bryan said as he caught up to Kevin and put an arm around his shoulder, as much to keep him from running off as to comfort him. “Look, we fucked up. This looks really bad for you, but the blame is on us. I’ll make it up to you. I mean, I thought you sounded really great. I’ve never heard you sing up close before.”
“Listen, forget about it. This has happened before, I know the deal. Just don’t call me up again. I’ll be better off that way.” Kevin didn’t exactly spit the words out with conviction.
“Dude, seriously, this was just a mistake. We don’t usually screw up this bad. Please let me make this right.”
“Ah, okay. God, sorry, I’m overreacting,” Kevin relented. “But how can you make this right? I’m supposed to be promoting the new disc, getting the word out. First impressions are everything.”
“Look, we’ll have you back on the show in two weeks. That’s our first possible slot, if I push some other guests back. We’ll get you to play again, and we’ll make sure everything goes right this time. I’m gonna have your album on our playlist as soon as it’s out, anyway. You know I love your stuff!” Bryan said, barely taking a breath.
Kevin visibly sighed, calming down with each passing sentence.
“All right, okay. I’ll take you at your word, Mr. Allison. It could not go much worse than today.”
“Great, brilliant. Look, why don’t you come out for a drink with me tonight, after I finish up in the studio, and we can sort out the details, get you penciled in for a couple weeks from now? I know a few nice bars near here. We can grab a couple drinks and blow off some steam.”
“Look, I dunno, maybe. Here, take my number. Call me later, if you’re serious about this, and we can work something out.”
Kevin took a dog-eared business card from his back pocket and gave it to Bryan, then turned and left.
Bryan headed back in to deal with the fallout. The KRCD boss wasn’t going to be too pleased, but he didn’t mind so much in light of the thought that he might be having drinks with Kevin Daley that night.
* * *
“Thanks for meeting me, man, I appreciate it. Feel really bad for making you look stupid on air earlier,” Bryan said.
“It’s okay, I understand. People make mistakes. I’ve cooled down from earlier, anyway… I’m not really the grudging type.”
The two young men had ended up in Lucky’s, a trendy cocktail bar near the city center.
“How’s your martini? Good? Must say, I’m enjoying my Sex on the Beach,” Bryan said, with a cheeky smile.
“I’ll let you in on a secret, Mr. Radio Host — music is my first love, but cocktails are most definitely my boy toy.”
“Interesting! I definitely didn’t have you pegged as the martini type — you’ve got the rocker long hair, and since when do rockers sip cocktails?” Bryan asked.
“Well, I had you down as the Diet Pepsi type, so I guess we’re both wide of the mark.”
“I’ve never been the designated driver, don’t worry. Anyway, I cleared out some space in the show after next, and we’ll be able to get you in for at least one song and maybe a couple, if you want. Does that date work for you? First of April?”
“I’ll have to see. I don’t have my diary here, with me, but it’s probably cool. Do you need a definite yes tonight? I don’t know if I can give you that without checking.”
Bryan winced. “A ‘yes’ would be really great tonight, but if you can give me a ‘probably,’ it should be good enough. I’ve already told the Walking Wounded they’re postponed back to June. Their manager was not happy, but that’s showbiz in South Dakota. It’s practically Hollywood here, ya know?”
Kevin forced a laugh.
“Yeah, I really can’t give you a firm ‘yes’, but I’ll think about it. Is that good enough?”
“Whatever you want, Kevin, I’m just trying to fix things — it’s all up to you,” Bryan said. “Look, you’re dry, there, buddy. Another round? Same again?”
The two drank cocktails for what felt like hours, but who knew how long it was? Both loosened up a lot, after the third or fourth drink. They worked their way through each of their life histories, bit by bit, as people do, after enough drinks.
“The best time for me, apart from now — because now’s pretty awesome — was high school. I was just getting into music, just had the real raw urge to get some songs down on tape. It was so much easier back then, just making songs with no pressure, no one expected anything, but me wanting to prove myself. You know?” Kevin said.
“Yeah, I guess I know the feeling. I mean, I’ve no musical bone in my body, but in some way, the radio business must be similar. Don’t know that I ever had that burning creative desire like you, but I did have to fight to get my first few radio gigs. And it was because I loved music. Sure, I didn’t make it myself, but I knew what was good, and I felt like I could really show people some killer bands they’d maybe never hear of.”
“That’s cool, I respect that. So you were saying you first saw me a few years back in Thirsty Duck?” Kevin asked.
“Yeah, that’s right. I saw you do a thirty-minute set opening for some rock band. As soon as I saw you, I knew you were something special. I mean… I thought your music had a really cool energy, and the words to your songs were really, you know, really unique. I knew you had something special right away. Didn’t hurt that you’re a total babe, too,” Bryan said.
Kevin, now rather tipsy, couldn’t help slipping an arm around Bryan’s shoulders.
“Thank you. I appreciate it. I’m glad that people dig those club gigs I do. Sometimes get the feeling that nobody cares because I’m not some big name, I’m just a dude with a guitar. But thanks,” Kevin said.
“Take my word for it, people definitely appreciate you!” Bryan said. “Listen… will we have one more cocktail and then call it a night? Bar’s closing in twenty minutes.”
“We just got started! I don’t think I can bail on cocktails this early, my friend. Are you working in the morning?”
“No, just… well, no, I don’t have work until tomorrow afternoon. That’s when my Saturday slot is. Well, this bar is closing, but I guess we could go for a walk or something — keep our chat going,” said Bryan. Neither guy apparently wanted the night to end.
“Actually, I have a minibar back at my place. How about we head back there, and I’ll make us a couple of daiquiris or white Russians, or whatever you fancy.”
Bryan paused, quickly mulling the pros and cons in his head, but alcohol quickly decided in favor of yes. “All right, I’ll come back to yours, but only for a couple. Guy’s got a reputation to keep, after all.”
They walked out to hail a cab, arms around each other’s shoulders.
* * *
Sitting in front of an ’80s sitcom rerun, the two guys continued their chat about life and music, mostly ignoring the TV. Kevin’s place was generously supplied with alcohol, and they made good use of it. Arms still around each other, the guys got closer together, and Kevin, half-sleepy, half-drunk, put his head against Bryan’s shoulder. They fell asleep like that, TV on, sitting on the sofa in the living room.
* * *
“Ahh, God, my head!” Bryan moaned, as he gradually dragged himself back to consciousness, in the morning. He reached for a glass of water on the nightstand, but coughed it up as he realized it was a martini remnant from the night before. “Are you up, Kev?” he asked.
“Urrgh,” Kevin replied.
“Yeah, same here,” Bryan said. He began to wonder where they were, and why they were in a bed together.
“This, uh… this your room, Kevin?”
“Ummm,” Kevin groaned affirmatively.
Bryan got up and shuffled to the kitchen in his boxers, returning with two glasses of water and some painkillers. He fumbled back into bed and handed Kevin a glass and some pills.
“Those were some serious cocktails we had last night, man. Drink up.”
“Tell me about it. Feels like I can see in four dimensions,” Kevin said, sitting up and gulping down the water and pills together. “What even happened, last night?”
“We had a good time!”
“Oh crap, the radio show. That totally bombed.” Kevin sighed.
“Do not worry about that. We’re going to sort it out. You’re booked in for two weeks from now, I’m going to promote the new album like crazy, and we’ll issue an apology on the next Indie Insider. Seriously. It’s all taken care of.”
“Thanks,” Kevin said. “I guess I didn’t thank you already, but I appreciate it, having me on the show and helping out like this. I really need support like this. Otherwise, my albums don’t really sell. So, thank you, Bryan.”
Kevin leaned over and kissed Bryan on the cheek.
“I’m just doing it because I think people should hear your music. Really,” Bryan said, turning round to hand Kevin his water and to kiss him on the lips.
They slipped into each other’s embrace and began to kiss, both guys still very hungover. The endorphins from making out helped to mask the throbbing headaches. Bryan took any opportunity to run his hands through Kevin’s shoulder length, soft blonde hair, while Kevin took off his own T-shirt and jeans.
Both guys, in boxers only now, pulled tightly together. Kevin licked at Bryan’s cheek, ear, neck, as he pushed his hands down to Bryan’s ass, pulling their hips close together.
“Is that morning glory I feel, Mr. Allison?” Kevin asked.
“Maybe. Almost certainly it is. You can find out, if you want.”
Kevin placed his left hand flat against Bryan’s stomach and gradually slid it lower, underneath his boxers.
Kevin breathed in Bryan’s ear, “Almost certainly is,” as he wrapped his fingers around Bryan’s growing cock.
“It seems I’m not alone, either,” Bryan said, pulling at Kevin’s upper lip with his tongue.
Before long, neither guy was wearing anything as they kissed under the bedcovers. Each had a hand around the other’s shaft, tugging in a syncopated rhythm. Kevin made the first move, writhing himself towards the end of the bed, tentatively taking Bryan’s head in his mouth. Bryan threw the duvet on the floor and laid back, arms behind his head, watching the young singer’s tongue dart about.
“God, you’re a tease,” he said.
“You don’t like to wait, huh?” Kevin blew on the tip and licked his lips provocatively.
“No, I don’t! Please continue,” Bryan said.
Kevin took to the task with extra vigor, licking further along the shaft, and finally taking it fully into his mouth. While he sucked and slurped, he played with himself to stay hard. Bryan’s dick was well-proportioned, a little chunky, thicker in the middle, slightly curved, and shaved. A thread of saliva tied it to Kevin’s mouth, as he pulled up off of it.
“You got a rubber?”
“Umm, yeah, give me a sec.” Bryan rummaged through the bedside cabinet drawer, and pulled out a little foil square, which he tore open. “You wanna help me put it on?” Bryan asked.
“Sure.” Kevin knelt down in front of Bryan, stretched the condom out, and then slowly slid it on, looking up with puppy dog eyes. He slid it into his mouth again and clasped his hands around Bryan’s ass, to try to pull it further in.
Bryan closed his eyes, focusing on the pleasure, and played with Kevin’s curly hair. After a few minutes, he could take no more.
“Okay, okay, get on the bed!” They climbed onto the mattress and got into a spooning position. Bryan grabbed a little bottle of lube and slathered it over the condom and his fingers. He gently teased open Kevin’s ass and made sure it was well lubricated.
“Kevin,” he said, reaching over to kiss the younger man, “do I have to wait any longer?”
“Part of me wants to test your patience, but most of me wants you to fuck me. Please.”
“I hate to keep a guy waiting.” Bryan eased inside Kevin slowly, just the tip at first, then tentatively more and more. His cock felt like exploding, so he kept the tempo low. Once he was all the way in, he reached around and used his free hand to play with Kevin, stroking his dick, then caressing his balls, then pushing against the prostate.
“Oh, God, yes, keep doing that!” Kevin said, contorting his neck to kiss his big spoon behind him.
Upping the tempo of both his thrusts and strokes, Bryan drew them both to the precipice of climax. Finally, the clenching of Kevin’s ass, tightly around Bryan’s cock, was too much for Bryan, and he grabbed Kevin’s hips and pulled hard into him, as he came.
For a few moments, Bryan was paralytic with bliss, only groaning and shuddering, before he remembered that other humans, including Kevin, existed. He moved over Kevin, as Kevin lay on his back, and did his best to keep up the quick pace of the prior stroking, now using his mouth and tongue.
Kevin’s cock was, like its owner, tall and thin, but Bryan was a match for it, taking most of it deep in and out of his mouth.
At the speed of Bryan’s mouth and tongue, Kevin felt the orgasm quickly building and couldn’t do much to stop it.
“Mmm?” Bryan gargled.
“Can you invite me to your radio show more often?”
“Mmm.” What seemed to be a smile and a nod.
“I love the star treatment you give your guests. Never got this at the South Dakota Gazette….” His voice tapered into a moan, as he spent his load. The climax felt like it lasted forever. But all too soon, they were back under the covers, cuddling.
“That’s definitely the best hangover sex I’ve had,” Kevin said.
“Is it a regular activity for you?”
“No. I mean, I have the membership card, but I don’t get to use it often. You oughta join the club.”
“I think that would be kinda cool.”
They went back to gentle kissing, till they dozed off.
* * *
This is Midwestern 92.53 FM! Welcome to KRCD Radio, host of all your favorite chart hits, inside scoops, interviews, and Indie Insider.
The chirpy KRCD jingle played.
“Good evening, all. Welcome to the Indie Insider. I’m your host for tonight’s show, Bryan Allison, and we’ve got a special treat lined up for tonight! We welcome back the young and very talented Kevin Daley, who will do us the honor of singing live in the studio, once again — technology willing, of course!
“Kevin, feels a bit like deja vu, doesn’t it? How are ya doing, and please tell us about the song you’re gonna perform for Indie Insider listeners tonight.”
“Hey there, Mr Allison, glad to be back on your show. This song is actually a new one. It’s not off the new album, and nobody has even heard it, yet. I guess this is the world premiere…stick that on the show promo! It’s called ‘Members Only’ and it’s about having sex when you’re so hungover, you want to die. I think you might like it.”