Volume 7 / Chapter 229
Sponsored: Sudarsan L. & James W.
When Jun Hyuk, Tara, and President Stern arrived in Honolulu, the biggest city in Hawaii, they were not on Oahu Island. Kailua-Kona is a big island with a beach and has relatively less tourists.
After going through a front entrance with security guards and driving for a while, they could see a large mansion. The front of the mansion is decorated like a park and the beach spreads out in the back. Jun Hyuk’s jaw dropped at the incredible scale of the place. “Isaac, is this your villa too? It’s insane.”
President Stern’s eyes widened as he waved his hand.
“Oh no, you think I would have such a luxurious villa? You saw the small house in Switzerland, didn’t you? That’s more my type. This is borrowed.”
“Kirk Hammett? You’re not talking about Kirk Hammett, the guitarist for Metallica, are you?”
“Yeah. This place has a complete studio. You can work on music and it’ll be nice and quiet since it’s far from the downtown area.”
The pictures hanging on the walls inside told them whose villa this is. Metallica and Kirk Hammett’s pictures are hanging everywhere.
“Alvin Lee wanted a quiet place too. Oh right. Two maids will be here, so it’ll be comfortable.”
They followed President Stern into the basement and saw a studio that could hold at minimum, a 24-person band. The studio is so complete that they could record an entire album with the equipment filling the room.
“Then rest until the other people get here. Tara and I will be at a hotel in the city, so call if you need anything.”
“The house is big. Why don’t you just stay here?”
“When we came all the way to Hawaii? No thanks. I’m going to relax while watching beautiful women in bikinis under the hot sun, so the musicians can spend their time preparing for the concert.”
The first member arrived not long after Tara and President Stern left. Colin’s reaction was not very different from that of Jun Hyuk’s.
“Kirk? Kirk, the Kirk from Metallica?”
“Yeah. There are even a few guitars he uses in the basement, though we can’t touch them.”
“Wow. I can’t believe I’m in Kirk’s villa right now.”
Colin examined all corners of the house and basked in the presence of Kirk Hammett. “Alvin Lee isn’t here yet?”
“No. I’m sure he’ll arrive soon.”
“Isn’t it incredible? Alvin Lee is going to be singing your song.”
“Colin, don’t make too much of a fuss when Alvin Lee gets here.”
“Of course I won’t. I’m a member of the band, not a fan from now on. And Jun, that’s your band.”
When Alvin Lee entered with his manager however, Colin and Jun Hyuk immediately became fans.
Colin, who is also a bassist, is meeting his idol and seemed to have no thoughts of letting go of Alvin Lee’s hand.
“Jun, my maestro! Since I started music again, this is the first time I’ve been so excited.
Let’s have fun together.”
The 3 people drank refreshing beers and talked about each other’s movies until the sun set.
Kyung Min Ho was the last to arrive and was escorted by an employee of Stern
Corporation from the airport, and wandered around the house until he found Jun Hyuk.
“Jun Hyuk! Geez. How long has it been?”
“Min Ho. It’s nice to see you again. I didn’t think we’d meet again like this.”
Kyung Min Ho was more surprised now than when he was when he was first contacted about joining in the concert. He is surprised that Jun Hyuk remembers his name and is speaking to him in such a friendly manner.
A few years ago when he had told Jun Hyuk to speak to him informally, Jun Hyuk had been a tough teenager who refused to do so, but he was now doing it so naturally. His thorny side was gone and he seemed to be much more relaxed.
“Hey… I’m touched. You remember my name.”
“Ha ha. Honestly, I didn’t remember it. I found out your name after you were confirmed to join the concert.”
“Of course you did. He he. Anyway, you’re really something. You’ve got the stance of a great now.”
“It’s because I’ve gotten older. Oh right. Say hi. This is Colin, who will be on the bass. He’s a friend from school. And I’m sure you know this person without my having to tell you? He’ll be singing for the concert.”
Kyung Min Ho did not even realize that Alvin Lee was holding his hand out to him. He was just frozen, staring at him.
One of the heroes who took over his childhood is standing in front of him, smiling. He did not hear Alvin Lee’s blues album, but the 2 he recorded before were masterpieces that shook Kyung Min Ho’s soul as it did for countless other youths at the time.
“What are you doing? You have to take the hand first. This kind of opportunity is rare.”
Kyung Min Ho quickly took Alvin Lee’s hand and shook it as he stuttered,
“Mr. Alvin Lee. I – I – Nice to…..”
“Jun, this friend can’t speak English, right? Tell him not to worry about it. I can tell what he’s trying to say just by looking at his face. Ha ha.”
Kyung Min Ho never thought that the day would come when he regrets not learning English. He had not studied English because he could not even guarantee success in Korea. At this moment however, he was extremely jealous of Jun Hyuk speaking English fluently.
While the three spoke in English and laughed, Kyung Min Ho could only drink his beer.
“Jun Hyuk. I’m okay. It’s enough for me that I’m drinking beer with Alvin Lee like this.”
“It’ll be okay when we start playing for the concert tomorrow. Music doesn’t need words.”
Kyung Min Ho was more concerned about Jun Hyuk who kept taking care of him. He is happy just watching these people right now.
“Min Ho, how have you been?”
“I’m living off of doing drum sessions.”
Jun Hyuk started to completely talk to Kyung Min Ho. He is also more curious about the situation in Korea.
“What about the band? You’re incredible.”
“The places that want me aren’t to my liking and the better bands already have great teamwork, so I can’t fit myself in.”
“Did you ever think about making your own band?”
“How could I? Band leaders need to know how to create music like you. I only play. If I just have people float together, the band will be no good.” Kyung Min Ho let out a forced laugh.
“Are sessions doable?”
“I actually make a lot more money than when I was in the band. There are so many recordings to do. There are a lot of dramas and a lot of movies. And you know there are a ton of girl and boy bands. The music is simple too, so it’s quick work. Anyway, that’s what it’s like.” Kyung Min Ho took a gulp of his beer and his face hardened again.
“But do you think I’ll be able to do well? I got really scared once I saw Alvin Lee’s face. I don’t have the confidence either.”
“I heard you play. It’s plenty. I’m sure Alvin will be surprised too.” He felt a little better at Jun Hyuk’s encouragement not to worry.
“But do you know what you’re like in Korea right now? It’s no joke.”
“There are a lot of Koreans who got on the world field in sports. But in music, especially in classical, this is the first time anyone’s gotten as famous as you have…..”
Korean TV is currently full of news about Jun Hyuk in real-time. There was even news on the Monterey Jazz Festival not too long ago.
“Even people who have never seen classical concerts know that you challenged Beethoven and succeeded. The Korean press releases articles just say that you’ve gained recognition as the 21st century Beethoven.”
There were times when Kyung Min Ho saw these kinds of articles and found it hard to believe that he had participated on Jun Hyuk’s album.
“You don’t know how much your album has sold, right? It was sold once this concert was announced and promotions started. I’m telling you there’s no stock.”
Jun Hyuk hesitated slightly and asked cautiously,
“Did the tickets sell at all?”
“What? You didn’t know? It sold out in a day.”
“Huh? How many seats are there that it got sold out?”
“Sangam soccer stadium alone has over 60,000 seats. It’ll be over 80,000 including the field standing seats. Oh right. Your agency is really great. They used the single ticket policy.”
“Single ticket? The seats aren’t assigned?”
“Yup. The price is $100. It’s first come, first served. There’s no distinction between A, B, S, and VIP or anything like that. You just have to enter the venue first. People saw that in an even better light.”
One of the requests that President Stern drove at the company doing promotions in Korea, was the ticket policy. He insisted that the performance with Alvin Lee is the main event, not the orchestra and piano concerto.
He thought that the way to fill good seats in a pop music concert is through passion, not money. It was the result of Stern’s insistence that there would be plenty reward for waiting for a long time on line.
Kyung Min Ho forgot his exhaustion from the long flight and his jet lag, and stayed up until the morning, enjoying this time that feels like a dream.