Volume 7 / Chapter 237
What I remember is that I did not drink even a drop of water.
All that went into my mouth was cheap whiskey and I took the rest in through my nose.
When the white cocaine powder on my mustache fell, I realized that the woman with the smooth skin lying next to me was not my wife. My wife’s skin is not tight and black, but crisp and white.
My wife held back her vomit as she washed me, washing away not only the vapors of my body but also her love through her fingers.
She started to enjoy washing the smooth body of a friend who loved her more than she liked washing my dirty body.
Alvin Lee sang slow and calm to Jun Hyuk’s acoustic guitar fingering. When the song ended after 3 minutes, Alvin Lee’s manager was clenching both fists.
Of Alvin Lee’s songs up to now, none were so alluring. The lyrics did get to him a little, but he is sure that Alvin Lee’s voice and the melody dominating the music will be able to cover that drawback.
The following 11 songs were over, but no one could speak for a while. President Stern was the one to break the aftertaste of the music.
“Jun. You didn’t make all of the songs with just an acoustic guitar accompaniment, did you?”
“No. This is the acoustic version. Of course there’s a band version.”
Alvin Lee could guess why he created 2 versions.
“Isaac, don’t be too surprised. I think Jun created the acoustic version for me. Is that right?”
“Yes. I heard you like small shows, so I wrote it to fit that so you can perform it in the future. What do you think? Did you like it?”
Alvin Lee hugged Jun Hyuk instead of responding. He has not heard the band version yet, but his story has been captured with just one guitar.
A feast of verses; where a hook should have followed the intro. There were times when the songs ended at the climax (bridge) and those that went into the outro. They are songs that are difficult to get used to, but not music that will flash popularity and then fade away.
When the aftertaste of Alvin Lee’s voice disappeared, the people who quickly came back to reality were those at the record label.
“Alvin. Do you have any intentions to edit the lyrics a little?”
Everyone had been lost in the music and remembered something they had all been forgetting. The references to drugs, swearing, and sex pose great disadvantages when receiving TV ratings for the music video.
Getting a rating of TV-MA (programs that are inappropriate for children under 17) poses a big minus to marketing.
“Of course I don’t. Jun wrote the music without touching a single word, so we can’t change it for a music video.”
The record label officials seemed not to have much expectation when they asked. They shrugged and smiled bitterly without asking any further.
“Fine. With a song like this, the music video can’t act as an excuse for low sales. Jun, when can you be done with recording?”
President Stern spoke fervently. He has certainty from experience.
“We can be done by November.”
“Then let’s release it in December for the Christmas season.”
People are reluctant to release albums in December in America. The Grammy awards, which open every February, announce the candidate list in November. Albums released after the nominations are announced can be considered for the next year’s awards, but they are normally buried because attention has withered over time.
“Wouldn’t sometime around March be better? It’s hard for anything other than carol albums to get popular in December…”
“Trust me. I’ll make it so we’ll be preparing for a world tour starting in March.”
No one spoke further because of President Stern’s confident voice.
When Colin and Kyung Min Ho were exhausted from Jun Hyuk’s constant criticism and directing, a whopping 3 albums came out to the world.
The jazz album with Lee Carlton and Stanley Clarke ‘The Second,’ , came out as a double album, and the Seoul concert was released as “JUN & Alvin in Seoul” with a live video.
The English version of Jun Hyuk’s 1st album came out with just his name ‘JUN’ on the album jacket.
One part of why President Stern planned to release in December was because of the effect that having Jun Hyuk’s albums come out in succession could have, but also because it is a big event.
“Maestro! It’s been a while.”
“Jun. I heard you’ve been busy these days working on your album. Are you home now?”
The welcome voice heard on the phone is New York Philharmonic’s standing conductor, Dimitri Carras.
“Yes. I’ll be going to the studio soon. Do you have anything in particular that you need? Should I go to Lincoln Center?”
“No. I would have gone to your apartment if something was up. I called to let you know of something in advance. Don’t be surprised when you leave your house today. Ha ha.”
“Excuse me? What are you talking about?”
“You’ll know when you go out. Then let’s both wrap up our busy schedules and meet up soon.”
Jun Hyuk left the house with Dimitri Carras’ laughter and talk about their busy schedules running through his mind. He greeted the few fans waiting outside the apartment and got in the car waiting for him.
As the car went through New York City, he could see placards stuck all over the city. The placards and posters are what Carras had been talking about.
“Alright… Hang on! Stop the car for a second.”
Carras’ warning not to be too surprised was of no use. Jun Hyuk stopped the car and examined a placard hanging on a street lamp.
<New York Philharmonic Annual Concert. The world’s first performance of JUN’s Inferno in its entirety>
The date of the concert is December 23rd, and it clearly says that it will be performed in the work’s entirety. There was even a fine print at the bottom of the placard that said ‘Orchestra members will not be utilizing expedients such as headphones or earphones.’
Jun Hyuk got back into the car and laughed, and the driver spoke as he looked at Jun Hyuk through the back mirror.
“They started popping up on the streets starting last night. The New York Philharmonic’s concert will be a performance of your song, right Maestro?”
“Yes. It’s a performance that I failed as well.”
“Is it really as the rumors say? There’s nonsense that the music causes pain… Oh. Sorry, Maestro.”
The driver cleared his throat and hastily took a look at Jun Hyuk, but Jun Hyuk shook his head and laughed.
“No no, it’s okay. I’m starting to hear nonsense as well. It could just be noise for all we know. Ha ha.”
Jun Hyuk thought of a good holiday gift to give the driver in his 40s.
“If I give you tickets, will you go with your wife to see if it’s true or nonsense?”
“Oh, is that for real? Thank you, Maestro. Actually, I also bought the CD and listened to it out of curiosity… but it was just full of weird sounds. I was wondering what the difference would be in the actual performance.”
Jun Hyuk saw him smiling brightly from the surprise gift, and took out his phone.
“Isaac. Did you know about the New York Philharmonic’s Inferno performance?”
“Of course. What do you think? Isn’t it impressive?”
Over the phone, Isaac’s voice was delighted as though there was nothing better. Following the the New York Philharmonic’s official announcement this morning, the press’ calls went to Stern Corporation instead of the New York Philharmonic.
Even though it had been announced that the conductor will be Dimitri Carras, they asked about whether Jun Hyuk would be conducting and for comments. There were even reporters who asked about the backstory of Jun Hyuk’s role as the original composer.
Each time, they were able to promote Jun Hyuk’s album, saying that he would be focusing solely on that album for release on the 23rd. It seemed that the New York Philharmonic’s concert and Jun Hyuk’s new album would fill the news.
“Isaac, did you see rehearsals? Did they really complete the whole song?”
“I wasn’t allowed to enter either. No one is watching rehearsals. But there’s no way the New York Philharmonic would be releasing false advertising.”
“Maestro Carras is really impressive.”
“I don’t know. I’m skeptical. I heard that the interpretation is unconventional. It’ll likely be very different from your Inferno album.”
Jun Hyuk liked it more that the New York Philharmonic’s music may not come out the way he intended for it to be. The attention of a great maestro is an honor in itself.
“I’m looking forward to it, however they perform it.”
“Anyway, the New York Philharmonic’s concert is providing amazing promotion for our album. Watch the news tonight. I’m pretty sure there will be more talk on the new album. Ha ha.”