Showbiz

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

A short story inspired by the Muse track 'Showbiz' from the album 'Hullabaloo'.

Cover image: pixabay.com.

Showbiz

“No, it’s not supposed to sound like that.”

“What?” I asked, at least partly taken aback.

“That... that shit is never gonna sell. Change it. Slow it down, increase the melody, slow down the beat, and for god’s sake rewrite the lyrics!”

I could feel my anger beginning to build. Frank might be the manager, but I had written the song, the music. I knew how it was meant to sound, and to be honest, I didn’t much care whether it sold or not.

“No,” I said eventually. “This is it, how it’s meant to sound.”

Frank was not one to lose an argument. I knew that when I made the refusal. He shrugged, picked up the sheets of paper that were our contract and leafed through them until he came to the passage he wanted. Placing his finger on it, he slid it across the table towards me.

“Read!” It was an order, not a request.

I didn’t need to read it. Those words were firmly implanted on my brain; the ones where the three of us had agreed to let Frank have the final say on what was released, what was performed. And I knew that there were three years and two months left on that contract.

What had possessed us to sign that thing? Honestly, none of us was in it for the money, the fame, only Frank and the entire management team. We had made them some money, and it seemed like with each dollar they grasped more and more control.

“I can’t change it...” I said and he leaped on the weakness. I should have said ‘won’t’.

“Oh, I think you can. And unless you want me to file a lawsuit against you – one that you definitely can’t afford – you’ll do it.”

I knew I was beaten. We headed back into the studio and began to change things to be the way Frank wanted. I silently seethed as I sang, swapped notes and changed the beat. It went on for hours and I got madder and madder until finally we had produced something that Frank decided would sell.

He’d won that round, but I had copies of the original composition. We had a gig coming up and a plan. Let him reduce my composition to nothing more than commercial garbage, we knew what the fans wanted. What we wanted!

I guess on that journey home from the studio we came to an unspoken agreement. The radio could play one thing, but that would not be what we played live. We’d go with the original, and pour in all of our bottled up hatred into it. If that meant the end of our musical careers, so be it.

We would not be ruled by showbiz.

 


Submitted: May 17, 2020

© Copyright 2021 hullabaloo22. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Mike S.

The guy with the money gets his way, unless he doesn't--excellent, Hull!

Sun, May 17th, 2020 5:05pm

Author
Reply

Thanks, Mike. Yeah, sometimes you just got to go with what you believe is right, and to hell with the consequences.

Sun, May 17th, 2020 10:55am

Vance Currie

You have a lot of songs I've never heard of, Hully, but in this case, the story is clear without me knowing the song. It hasn't happened in my experience but I imagine there is often 'artistic differences' as to how a song should be performed.

Sun, May 17th, 2020 9:24pm

Author
Reply

Yep, the conflict of artistic integrity against the commercial exploitation to make profit. All these songs have been off the same double album. I've got seven left to write before the end of May.
Thanks so much for reading, Joe.

Mon, May 18th, 2020 12:17pm

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