(Part 1 can be found in last week's edition of Thieves Jargon)
There’s a reason why I work for myself. If I wanted to go back to high school, I’d sign up for high school – not the watered down version of it you’ll find in any office building. It keeps me pretty modest on the financial front, but I’m told that if I stick with it, things might change around once I make a name for myself. Then I might make enough money to make a name for myself down at the tax office. It’s a losing proposition. No wonder so many people try to steal, whether it’s music or candy bars. It beats trying to make an honest living, especially when the stakes are so small.
After about a half day’s worth of Jacking, I pulled the headset off my head and made for the door. I grabbed a brand new fedora and overcoat that I’d bought – merely to cover the god-awful hole in the back of my head. As I walked around bleary-eyed office drones out on their own personal lunch breaks, I felt like a 21st century schizoid man. My thoughts were all over the place. I wasn’t sure what to think.
On one hand, I loved the fact that I could actually have conversations with people, like you would a phone call. Maybe it was the part of me fighting off my own paranoia, or maybe it was the fact that it beat having to read these inaccurately titled song lists. For instance, if some guy gave you Mr. Roboto by Styx instead of the latest Radiohead single, you could actually chew him out about it – if they didn’t hang up on you first. Also, having to talk to people actually beat having to navigate my way through bad text messaging-speak where everyone talks in Prince song titles because they are 2 lazy 2 properly type out grammatically correct sentences 4 U.
On the other hand, I’d found there wasn’t really that much worth downloading – at least within all of the mainstream Top 40 bullshit I’d forced myself to endure, figuring that might be my ticket to finding some clues to this whole Spiking phenomena faster. Maybe I was turning into a crotchety old man or something, but a lot of what I listened to wasn’t really worth my time.
It wasn’t the usual complaints that this new music was louder or heavier or just too different – it really seemed like a lot of the stuff I was forced to endure was either overtly manufactured or didn’t really resonate with me. I’m not just talking about the boy bands, which have been around more or less since the beginning of recorded popular music. I’m not talking about that infernal rap music, either – which I’d actually enjoy more if its performers weren’t so morally bankrupt. (It’s one thing to sing about counting your bling-bling, smackin’ your hoes and popping your Glock off at nobody in particular. It’s entirely another thing to actually do this, regardless of whether its to accentuate your hit-maker status or not.)
Instead, I’m talking about the cross-collaborations and cross-pollinations. In the past, you split genres to come up with something new. Now, you had artists from very different music styles coming together in three- and foursomes trying to cross as many boundaries, blur the lines between genres. Rap meets metal and country twang. Country meets metal and punk. Punk meets rap, with a metallic sheen. It was all trying to be different, but it was all the same thing, really.
A lot of this stuff sounded little more like a bunch of guys scraping it out on the schoolyard, trying to get to the top of the monkey bars. The only problem was the fight’s outcome would always end up in a three-way tie for last. It sounded so flat, so bland, so under-whelming. I’m not naming names, but they would have been better off just trying to be boy bands. At least there’d be the conceit of honesty. At least it really would be all about the Benjamins.
Plus, every second song was about how the world is a horrible, horrible place. Teenaged angst was still serving people well. The problem was that I was now bored, if not old. My world clearly didn’t need now was another redundant, angry band. I could make an argument that I needed that like I needed a hole in my head.
It took me a good hour to finish off a large helping of fish and chips from a nearby wholesome family restaurant that wasn’t owned by some large corporation, and then I finally dragged myself back to the office and tried to get back into the swim of things. I plugged myself into the little black box and instead of going after whatever the kiddies were listening to, I began to punch in the words ‘70s punk’. For starters, it seemed a little less creepy – I didn’t know how much longer I could act like I was 16 in those phone conversations. Secondly, I had hopes that I could maybe spend the day wallowing in more familiar terrain: the past. While Miles had only given me a lump sum – and a big one at that – I figured that I might be able to milk a few extra bucks out of him the longer I worked on this one. Some people might call it stealing. I prefer the term ‘creative billing.’
Just as I was about to tap the return key, I stopped myself and changed my request to ‘country’ instead. See, a good friend of mine once told me that all good punks eventually go country when they no longer had the blistering anger or passion anymore. Country seemed just about my speed as a genre at the moment. .
It took a good 15 to 20 minutes before I finally got a bite on my line, and I burned off the down time by playing solitaire on my new computer. I was starting to actually get depressed thinking that some people might actually buy computers to play such a seemingly simple inexpensive game, when someone contacted me.
“Hey, anything you’re looking for?” an older sounding male voice said in my ear. There was a certain slurry-ness to his words that told me the guy had probably had a few too many bouts with the bottle, and the latter had more or less succeeded in pinning him to the mat.
I looked down at his handle on the monitor. Psoriasis Scar. I smiled. My friend might have been pretty bang on the money with his observation after all.
“Nah, I’m just burning some time,” I said.
“I see,” he mused. “You don’t, just out of curiosity, play guitar do you?”
“Only thing I play is solitaire, I’m afraid.”
“That’s too bad. I’m in a band, you know.”
“Really,” I replied. It wasn’t a question.
“Yeah, I’ve been in a band for, I dunno, two or three years. Been trying to get heard, but nobody seems to really care. Guess I wasn’t born into the right family or don’t play the right clubs or something.”
“What’s your band called?” I asked, merely trying to humour him.
“Anal Chinook,” he said, matter-of-factly.
I nearly fell out of my chair. I had the fleeting thought that maybe Miles and this guy were in a band together at one point. Iron Lung. Anal Chinook. It was all the same to me. Guess it was part of that great, longstanding pop music tradition of not taking yourself too seriously, even when you thought you were the greatest thing since sliced bread. David Lee Roth, anyone?
“Ever wonder if that might be the problem – your name?” I said.
“Not really,” he said seriously. “To me, the only thing that really matters is if you’re any good. See, there was this really cool ‘90s insurgent country band on Matador Records called, well, they named themselves after the f-word. Seriously. I’m not making this up. I’ve got some of their stuff … .”
“That’s okay,” I said. “I can swim off the beaten track, but not that far. If you know what I mean.”
“Oh,” he said, deflated. “Anyhow, I’ve been trying something new.”
“Something new, huh?” I said, my voice now clearly dripping with sarcasm.
“Yeah, I thought about doing some stuff on my own. You’re not dickering with the drummer over stupid things like their vision of the band. Stuff like that.”
“Uh-huh.” I started making puppets with my hands, mimicking the back-and-forth banality of the conversation.
“I could play you some of my stuff,” he said. “Some demos, you know.”
One of the hand puppets reached out and swiped the other one and I nearly feel out of my chair. Great. It was now time for amateur hour. (Didn’t Joe Jackson write a song about that?) I’d now have to endure the honor and the privilege of listening to someone else sing for their supper. Especially some guy who liked to hold incredibly one-sided conversations. Not my idea of a good time. In fact, I was only being reminded on my insistence in being alone.
“Uh, that’s okay,” I said. “Listen, I think I have to go. My wife is calling me on my cell – .”
Of course, the day I had a wife calling me would be the day I died. This might explain my line of work. Spying on wayward spouses was an easy job because, at the end of the day, I was dealing with somebody else’s problem. It was a mess I didn’t have to clean up. All of the evidence that pointed to someone’s infidelity got passed onto someone else. It was like exchanging money: quick and nearly anonymous. I liked things that way. Especially after living through at least one relationship that had turned into a real car wreck. It had nothing to do with some kind of misogynistic revenge, believe me.
It was easy to spy on people, too, when you knew how to disappear completely. Most of the time, it was a matter of following paper trails. Following the path of credit cards weirdly maxed out from expensive restaurants and boutiques, often at weird hours of the day. You’d be surprised at what people put on credit, how easy it is to watch a cheater go about their work. People get stupid when they think they’re in love, or lust. I guess I know. I’ve been there.
Mr. Scar was clearly in love with his own work. His music was a part of himself that he was willing to offer up a slice of himself to a complete stranger right off the bat. It made me uncomfortable. It also made me feel vulnerable. What a bizarre feeling. But there it was.
I looked over to my laptop and saw a little power bar appear on screen. It’d let me know that, in a heartbeat, it’d downloaded something called “There’s Something Missin’ (In The Hole Of My Heart).” One of Scar’s own compositions no doubt.
“So what does this sound like?” I asked, clicking the playback button on my monitor.
“Nothing like you’ve heard before, I promise,” said the voice in my ear.
I waited for something to start after selecting play, but all I heard in my headphones was silence. I thought that was strange. Silence was something I was clearly used to. Silence. I’m normally quick on the uptake, but it took me three minutes or so – more or less the length of a song – to realize I’d been Spiked. That all I was hearing was a whole lot of nothing. I looked over at my computer monitor, which was now spewing out random gibberish about various errors cropping up on my system, which might as well have been kanji to me. I pulled the jack out, and wrote down everything I could remember about the conservation I just had. It looked like I had something that looked like a lead. I shook my head as I began writing. Psoriasis Scar. An itch you couldn’t help but scratch. The bastard had been practically enticing me to take the bait. Why hadn’t I seen it coming?
Foresight wasn’t one of my strong points. I might have saved a personal relationship or two had I possessed that ability.
I had a girlfriend who once told me that a watched pot never boils. That, sometimes, you have to go looking for something else before you can find the one thing – the big break – that you’re looking for. I never really listened to my girlfriends much. It might explain why I wasn’t much of a hit with the ladies.
My ex had been right. I sometimes had a habit of working a little too long, a little too hard, cracking a tough case. I was prone to a lot of head banging – and I don’t mean the heavy metal kind. I’d never backed down when the going got rough, only when the going was going nowhere. And when it came to finding the source of Spike, the going was really going nowhere.
I’d spent two weeks going paranoid in my little office, turning away other prospective clients just to find out whom Psoriasis Scar was and why he’d Spiked me. I surfed around, trying to see if lightning would strike twice. No such luck. I even asked around, hoping that I could find out if anyone else had experienced problems with Scar. Again, no dice. I was figuratively walking around in circles. The only thing that kept me pinned to my desk day after day was the money. Miles had been nice enough to keep paying me, despite giving him a progress report that rather startlingly showed my lack of progress.
I was worried that this little project would eventually be yanked on me if I didn’t find something – which was paradoxical considering that the source of revenue would dry up when I finally cinched the case. Still, I wanted to finish whatever I started. I wanted to say that I’d earned my paycheque.
In short, I was almost starting to see spiders crawling up the walls. I felt like I was going mad.
Finally, I gave up. I put my phone off the hook and went out into the summer sun. I wore a hat to hide my scar, my Jack portal. I walked around, poked my head into various stores just to have a look at things my newfound source of income could buy, and then left without so much touching a thing. I didn’t need to buy anything – just knowing I could was enough of a rush for me.
Eventually, I caved in and bought something. A newspaper. Usually, I had enough problems to worry about than to bother with the sorry state of affairs in this small, pathetic world. Now, more than ever, I needed a diversion. I needed to read about somebody else’s problems.
As I began to walk back to my office with the paper tucked under my arm, my stomach began to rumble, I needed something of real sustenance to get through the rest of the day. I decided to go to the nearest bar I could find to grab some grub. Maybe I’d even watch the rest of the world indulge in an afternoon beer or whatever particular brand of liquor just to get through. I had all the time in the world, after all. I had nobody to worry about but me at the moment. That was the nicest thing about being your own businessman, really: accountability to no one. Well, clients notwithstanding.
I entered the bar, The Cock And Bull, and was quickly ushered into a booth by a nice young lady with thin legs and a short skirt. The joint was near empty – dank and humid at that. Business was obviously slow, but at least I’d be well attended to.
I ordered myself the first thing my eyes fell upon on the menu that sounded remotely appetizing, a bacon mushroom burger. With that, the waitress scurried away and I wondered if maybe I should have taken a bit more time in ordering, strike up some conversation. Of course, I chided myself. You don’t go picking up the waitresses – that’s like hitting on your mother. It’s something you just don’t do as a rule. I sighed and opened the rag and began to scan through it to idly pass the time.
Eventually, I found myself skimming through the Entertainment section, with its fanciful, no warts reporting on whatever act would be playing in the city soon. That didn’t surprise me. There was lots of money involved for the papers, the promoters, and the bands to get all cozy and non-critical of each another, after all. There was lots of money to get fat from. Lots of money to grow old with.
I looked up and noticed that the food had been served rather quickly with a nice side order of fries. I wasn’t sure if I’d ordered that or not, but I didn’t bother to complain. What did I care? I had the money to pay for it. As I started munching on my burger, my eyes fell upon the Club Notes column, which dealt with all the little bands that didn’t have yet enough marketing muscle or publicity to get them onto the section front. I nearly dropped the burger back onto my plate. This is what I saw:
A Benefit For Mr. Kite
The outpouring of support in the local music community still continues for Greg Kite, the lead singer and guitarist of local band Anal Chinook, this weekend. Kite, 33, who went by the stage name of Psoriasis Scar, was found unconscious two weeks ago in his basement apartment by his mother following a stroke. He now lies in a coma with severe permanent brain damage, and a number of local bands are quickly rallying to hold a benefit concert for him.
Anal Chinook, a playfully cheesy recreation of ‘80s hair metal mixed with country music, is certainly little known outside of local pub rock circles, but news of his current health woes have touched a chord in the local music community.
“I could stop thinking that it could have been me,” says Robin of the band Carnal Knowledge. “It was so out of the blue. He was so young. It’s such a tragedy.”
There was more, but I couldn’t read any further. I was sick to my stomach. I felt my gut rejecting the greasy food. Stumbling upon neat little coincidences – the one-in-a-million chance that the guy was in the same city as me – tends to make me feel ill. I always want to put in the work and find this stuff on my own by the usual method: hard work. But the reason why I wasn’t feeling well, this time, was different.
I clutched my stomach, and knew full well it was time to drag Miles into the office, tell him that he probably didn’t need to pay me anymore. But, first, I needed a drink. I wanted to order a milk and antacid, something to combat the ill feeling rising inside me. I settled on a gin and tonic instead. By the time the bill came around, I’d had one too many. I was a little tipsy getting up.
That was OK, though. I wasn’t hurting anyone but myself this time. And, at least, I could afford the indulgence for once.
I spent my time waiting for Miles to show up in the office by dulling my conscience at my desk. I had lined up bottles of liquor and mixers on my desk like the CD collection I had in my closet as a kid – alphabetically. I was no Nick Hornby. I wasn’t creative enough to categorize my drinks by best breakup shots or something like that. Besides, every glass of liquor was akin to hearing a breakup song for me. When the drinking began, that’s when the relationship ended. Always.
I’d started with the Acapulco Sunrise, and then moved onto straight bourbon. I skipped over those fruity-looking Cosmopolitans and moved straight into dry martini territory. I was working on nursing my first Harvey Wallbanger when Miles showed up. Needless to say, my desk was a collection of glasses, potions and one very unused coffee pot.
I hadn’t touched a drop in at least four years, just about the time I’d started this business. Coincidentally, that had been about the time I’d had my last girlfriend, Katy. I thought I’d found a job where I didn’t have any problems of my own, just someone else’s problem to look after. For the first time in my newfound career, I knew that was no longer true.
When I’d started in the detective biz, I’d gone from being an accountant to being on the skids. I should have known that I was in trouble when I started dating women that had been written about in song. Alison. Lola. There was even a Layla in there somewhere. But Katy took the cake. She’d been actually named after a Steely Dan album titled, wait for it, Katy Lied. Now why didn’t I see this one coming?
Our relationship had been about as bad as a country song. First I lost my apartment. Then I lost most of my belongings. I’d avoiding signing any kind of agreement as to how we should split the stuff up if and whenever we broke up. She made the most of that, I tell you. She actually tried to take me to court to get possession of the car, the furniture and anything else we shared that was worth something. I gave up in defeat before the case file even made it there. By that point, I’d more or less given up on humanity and all it’s little problems. I would simplify my life. Pare everything down to the barest essentials. Move from a pure pop lifestyle to a punk one.
But by running from my own problems, I’d been indulging in someone else’s. Despite that, I was now directly responsible for nearly killing a man. That was something new on my conscience, and that’s why I drank. I wanted my head to feel like a hole. I wanted to feel numb. I didn’t want to even think. I usually felt this way when I ended a relationship – which, in a way, I was. I only regretted getting into the relationship in the first place. Had there only been someone watching the detectives … .
When Miles came into my office, his eyes darted around. He seemed aghast at the apocalyptic view before him. Naturally, there were bottles, shakers, ice cubes and shooter glasses everywhere. Some were still upright, filled with liquor, while some had been knocked over.
“What’s been going on here?” he asked.
“Been having a party of one,” I said without the slightest hint of intoxication. I was proud – I could still hold my liquor even after a brief hiatus. I must have inherited Keith Richards’ kidneys or something.
“Sit down,” I then commanded.
He turned around to glance back at the door, as though he were having second thoughts about my command. In doing so, he gave me a good clear view of the back of his head. He had a Jack. I’d never noticed it before, but that was probably because I hadn’t been looking for it. Not that it really mattered, though. He’d very nearly turned me into a murderer, hadn’t he?
I stood up and walked towards Miles, as he turned back around to face me. I tried my best not to stagger, my mind already half clouded by the alcohol as it was. Then, I caught Miles totally by surprise – between his flaming lips.
I probably broke some sort of rule about assaulting your clients when I reached out and plowed Miles in the mouth. Despite my somewhat intoxicated state, I managed to hit the bulls-eye. You can get away with a lot when people are least expecting it, like follow them, take pictures and report your findings back to their husbands without them ever having to know.
I felt a few of Miles’ teeth break in his mouth like tiny piano keys. I plowed Miles again, and, this time, he fell straight down. All those years being a record company weasel might have taught him a thing or two about backstabbing, but they obviously didn’t teach him a thing about standing up for himself. Figures.
“Get up,” I ordered. “I’m not through.”
“Wha the huh-ell are you doing?” I heard him gawk through his mushy mouth, as he got up off the wooden floor.
When he did, I grabbed him by the collar and slugged him again. My fist went numb as I plowed it into his mouth again. That was good. That was why I’d gotten drunk in the first place. To feel no pain, let alone any remorse.
“That’s for lying to me,” I said.
“I donth know wha – .”
“Did you have any idea that I would find out?” I interrupted. “Or was this just part of the game?”
He stared at me blankly. I couldn’t get over it. He was still in denial. As far as I was concerned, Miles should have been an actor, not a musician.
“Whose idea was it to get rid of all of the unheard-of bands posting their original stuff up, just trying to get heard?”
Miles looked at me like I was speaking Japanese.
“Yuh crazy,” said Miles, blood trickling down his chin like a little vampire.
“Quit pretending like you don’t know,” I said, tasting my own fumes on my breath. “And what the hell am I doing Spiking people?”
Miles threw up his hands.
“I told yuh,” said Miles. “Yuh were just hired to be a troubleshooter.”
“Troubleshooter?” I said.
“Y-yuh,” he said, practically quivering. “Hardware tester.”
I breathed deeply, tried not to get even angrier than I currently was. This guy was really starting to tick me off.
I left him go and cracked my knuckles. He collapsed backwards to the floor. I went back to my desk and took a sip of the Wallbanger, and blanched at the taste. Not strong enough, I decided, so I poured some more vodka into it.
“Let me tell you something,” I said while I poured. “Because of what you asked me to do, there’s a guy sitting in a hospital bed with his lights out.”
Miles remained motionless and didn’t say a word. Trails of blood were starting to trickle down into his beard that was not a beard. I took a breath and I told him all about my run-in with Greg Kite.
After I was finished, I said, “Naturally, I can’t really prove anything since Kite can’t talk to me. His friends wouldn’t let me into the hospital to nose around, either – thanks to this little hole in the back of my head. They thought I might have some part in this, even though they’re claiming it’s merely a stroke on the record.”
I took a gulp of my drink. “Luckily, they don’t even know how right they were,” I added.
None of this seemed to faze Miles, who was rubbing his bloody jaw with his right hand. He stared up at me, looking like he was in agony but didn’t want to publicly admit it. I took a gulp of my drink and then continued.
“I was able to take my Jack to a bunch of underground equipment specialists,” I said, trying not to smile as I thought about how much money it took to pay Missy for more of her expertise. “Incidentally, that was your first mistake. You might have been generous with the cash, but you didn’t want to come in here lugging the rest of your Jacking hardware, huh?”
“I wus afraid of having the wrong people see me,” he said.
“Yes, I know you’re a paranoid,” I said, after another swig. “But your second problem was that you were not enough of a paranoid to actually pull whatever it was you were expecting to pull off.”
“Wuh do you mean?”
“Don’t give me that,” I replied. “The clues were in the hardware you gave me – quite the slice of Swiss precision machinery I might add. My team of experts found that the Jack really acted like a mirror that could bounce back an incoming signal at an extremely amplified rate. One high enough to fry the chip in the sender’s head.”
I finished off my Wallbanger, and wiped my hand across my mouth.
“Maybe enough to make the chip shatter into a thousand tiny pieces. Just like how a soprano’s voice could shatter one of these with her voice.”
I raised my cocktail glass slightly.
“Isn’t it clever,” he said, smiling, showing me his gap-filled bloody mouth.
“Get off yourself,” I said, walking over to him. “I don’t like being made a patsy, Miles. Did you actually think I’d be that stupid, just like the audience your industry panders to?”
I crouched down to his level, expecting him to smell the fumes come off my breath. I thought it’d intimidate him – make him afraid of me. It’d worked with all my past girlfriends, none of which had stuck with me longer than six weeks.
Miles just gave me a faint little rock-star smile, one he might have used to charm the groupies backstage years ago. It was though he thought he could get out of this sticky situation by being as cocky and arrogant as a real rock star, even though I’d smashed his good looks to bits. I stood up again, fighting back the urge to kick him.
“Yeah, that’s exactly what you thought,” I said, putting my empty glass back on the mess of a desk. “I was dumb. I was just a contractor. Someone outside your little cesspool of industry types who wasn’t being paid to have a conscience. Someone who wasn’t paid to care about right or wrong, even if I was a detective.”
Miles didn’t say a word. I sighed and thought about pouring myself another drink. Instead, I just leaned back on my desk.
“Not that I’m being paid to care, but your organization is nothing but a front, right?” I asked. “You’re less interested in the people who don’t pay for their online music than those who can’t afford to pay into your industry’s wonky pyramid scheme.”
“Wuh does it matter to yuh?” Miles replied sharply. “I own yuh.”
Miles words hit me like a well-placed fist to the stomach. I’d heard stories about artists like XTC, Nine Inch Nails and Aimee Mann not being able to record or release one note of music for years because their labels had them bound to a draconian contract that prevented them from recording anything or negotiating with other record companies. Often, it had been for little reason other than the fact that the label could get away with it. It was as simple and perverse as that. No other reason – or one grounded in logic.
The thing was, Miles had done the same thing. He’d bought me off when I’d taken the contract. All in the name of power and control. He could get me to do whatever I wanted. Solve a case. Nearly kill a guy. It was all the same to him.
I sighed again in frustration, and fought back the urge to ask for a smoke. I always used to smoke when I got drunk. Always. Meanwhile, Miles finally decided now would be a good time to pick himself up off the floor. He began to rub himself vigorously, dust himself off. I let him. What did it really matter now?
I was tempted to ask him what my role was in this whole mess. I’d thought that maybe he just needed a fall guy to go around Spiking people to strike fear into the hearts of illegal file sharers. But, as Miles picked the last bits of his dignity off the floor, I’d stopped caring. I’d taken his dirty money, knowing full well what I was doing. I was now, officially, a weasel. More reason to get him out of my life – looking at him was like looking in a mirror.
I got up, and opened the drawer in my desk where I’d been keeping the rest of Miles’ money – what little remained of it after my computer spending and most recent drinking binge. I threw it on the desk with the rest of the junk. I looked down at it, and didn’t look up as I gave Miles my final command.
“Get out of my office,” I said
Miles looked at me like I was the moron he thought I was.
“Did you hear what I just said?” I yelled. “I said get out.”
Needless to say, Miles quickly left my world without much argument other than whimpering a few choice words under his breath. He dragged his sorry behind back from whatever wormhole it’d come from, and never saw him again. Thank God. He got the hint, at least.
I then quickly cleared off one edge of my desk and took what remained of Miles’ money. I tore it up into four or five easy pieces. I burned it in the coffee pot ashtray with some spare matches I had lying around from my smoking days. I watched the money burn until there was nothing left but black ashes, and then poured water over it. I grabbed my coat and staggered out of the office early for the day – making sure I didn’t slip on an ice cube as I left.
I needed some air and a coffee to sober up. I needed to get control of my life back. I figured I could do that by getting some cheap guitar lessons. For the first time, I had a song in my head that needed to get out. I knew it might not be a hit, but I had something better than Veteran of the Cola Wars.
Call it The Ballad of My Life. Whatever. It didn’t matter, so long as it was good and I remained steadfast in being independent. As far as I was concerned, Jimmy Keyes’ One Man Acoustical Band would not be a novelty act.
Even if the front man had a funny hole in the back of his head.
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