Sunday, November 06, 2005

The Case of the Great CD Cover Mystery

By Kenny Love

Copyright © 2005 Kenny Love All Rights Reserved

Storyline: A detective is hired to crack the great mystery on why a band's CD is not selling.

Characters: Detective John Clark, Lead Singer Deb Turbulent, Bassist Chris Jones, Guitarist Jeff Zane, Keyboardist Jay Davis, Drummer Bill Webb

It was a sunny but cool Monday morning, about 10:30 a.m. I had made it in late because, well, that isn't your business. Anyway, I listened to Sherry, my receptionist, rag me about being late after telling me that I had a couple of calls from a dame that seemed quite upset that I was not here yet. After this weekend, a dame was the last thing I needed to hear from. But again, that isn't your affair either, is it?

Anyway, I had my feet propped up on the corner of my desk, catching the sport scores from The Daily Grind in one hand while alternating my other hand between a cigarette and a nice cup of java that Sherry had poured me.

A couple of minutes later, I suddenly realized that this Monday was not going to be like any other, because she walked in. But, then again, so did they...immediately behind her.

She was one hell of a knockout...about five feet, eight inches tall, with a page-boy haircut, a perfect height-to-weight proportion, and a beauty complexion that made me want to bask in island sun while sipping on coconut juice.

Deb Turbulent: Detective Clark, if you get in this late every day, your weekly paycheck can't be all that great.

Detective Clark: And, who says I get a weekly paycheck, Ms...

Deb: I'm Deb Turbulent, but don't let the last name fool'll find I'm really a kitten at heart.

Clark: Yeah, I'll bet. And, who are these fine looking upstanding gentlemen with you?

Deb: These fellas are the members of my band. Say Hi, boys...

Half of them nodded while the other half grunted, although I couldn't tell which half did which. I took this moment of brevity to remove my feet from my desk and sit up straight so that I could look like a Donald Trump employee as best I could. I also had the distinct desire to check my Beretta .380 to make sure it was loaded with silver bullets, as these guys looked like all they needed was a full moon to start a deadly party.

Clark: So, Ms. Turbulent...fellas, feel free to have a seat...just don't take it with you when you leave, please.

Chris Jones: Why, you think we thieves?

Jeff Zane: Yeah, you think we'd be in this dump if we thieves?

Clark: Fellas, I didn't mean to imply that...

Bill Webb: Yeah, yeah, yeah...let's get outa here, Deb.

Clark: Hey, hang on...let's start over, will ya?

I hadn't paid the car payment yet, and the electric bill was also closing in fast. I couldn't really afford to lose these guys if they turned out to be viable paying clients. They calmed down a bit.

Clark: Okay, now what can I help you with?

Deb: Well, we're like, one of the hottest bands in town, but we can't seem to sell many CDs anywhere.

Clark: Where have you been trying to sell them?

Jay Davis: Only about a million places.

Clark: Well, for now, just give me a few on your massive list.

Deb: On our website and at gigs, mainly. Oh, and we also have a few copies in a couple of stores around town, but that means nothing either.

Hmm...I pondered the situation for a girl, and from the attitudes, probably a kick-ass band too. Hmm...why wasn't the music selling?

Clark: Got a copy of your CD with you?

Jay: Sure...we never leave home without it.

Clark: I believe that saying is trademarked already by American Express?

Chris: So? We'll take it anyway!

I let that slide, with no response, as he did seem to be a 'take all' kind of guy, if you know what I mean. Jay got up and walked over to my desk while reaching in his pocket to withdraw a copy of their CD. Well, I was seriously hoping that it was a CD.

And then, there it was...

I couldn't be for absolutely sure, because I hadn't, yet, heard the music, but if the music was anything remotely like the CD cover, these guys were in a lot of trouble. There they were...with a hot CD titled, "Shock Syndrome," but they were just sitting on a couch altogether, looking like they were watching a repeat of Ted Koppel on Nightline. No emotion...not even an attempt to play on what was, obviously, a great CD title just begging to be acted out visually. Obvious to everyone...except them.

Clark: Well now, ahem, tell you what-

Jay: Hey! Can you help us, man, or not?

Clark: I'll certainly give it my best shot.

Chris: Ah, this is a load of crap...he don't know nothin' 'bout nothin'! Why we wastin' our time here?

He stood up and headed toward the door.

Deb: Obviously, you don't know Detective Clark's reputation, Chris.

She got up, moved toward my desk, perched half a gluteus maximums on its corner, then gave me a 45-degree stare that would have Dracula checking his pulse.

Deb: Detective Clark is known for his great...results...aren't you Detective Clark?

The words oozed from her pouty red lips with such sultriness, I almost didn't hear the gulp in my throat. But, they did, and laughed. Deb pulled $500 from her side pocket so quickly, it would have made Batman jealous.

Deb: Here ya go, Detective...that ought to hold you for a couple of days, won't it?

Clark: Sure, but how do I get in touch with you?

She was already heading toward the door, but paused to give me a wry smile.

Deb: Don't worry...we'll be in touch with you. Let's go, boys.

Although I already felt I knew the reason for the CD's failure, to earn the gracious bucks she had so easily bestowed upon me, over the next couple of days, I contacted several music locals to get their professional opinions.

I started with Bernie, owner of The Golden Eagle, which was the current hottest live music spot in town. Next, I tarried on down the way to Music Keys, the largest music retailer in our area. And, just for good measure, I threw in a visit to KTUF,
the hottest area radio station and the leading music and arts paper, The Entertainment Times.

Bernie said that, although Deb was the hottest thing since Watermelon Kool-Aid, the rest of the guys didn't quite fare so well in the looks department, particularly, sitting on that dull gray couch on the CD cover.

Ted, owner of Music Keys, said pretty much the same, adding that some customers couldn't tell if they were trying to appear Gothic, or just plain trying to appear.

Cindy, Music Director for KTUF, and who I thought might be a tad bit jealous of Deb said that, although her listeners couldn't see the CD, and the single was doing fairly well on her station, she thought that Deb might be throwing off the visual vibe. I never did get that one.

Finally, April, Music Editor with Entertainment Times, said pretty much what I had felt at the beginning...that the sales were probably due to a conflicting title and image. She added that, with a title such as "Shock Syndrome," there should have been an obvious display of lightening or electricity all around the group, or lightening or electricity appearing to strike the band members as they stood in an open field on a dark night. I told April that I, personally, thought that an appearance, whereby, their hair stood on ends was a good idea, but April waved that off as old-time. Oh, can't win 'em all.

So, here I sit, a couple of days later, after just having spoken with Deb, who is on her way in to get the verdict on the CD cover. Hopefully, she won't take the news as grim, because the cover is fixable (I think). Oh, I also graciously asked her
to leave the boys at home in the interest of our creating a serious plan of execution. :-)

Detective John Clark, At Your Service, Anytime...

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