Richard first started working with the band when Viggo decided he wanted to flood a Peruvian village for the first video from their second album. Filming was supposed to involve three weeks of miniatures, but they shot it in fifteen days, largely because the band was more than willing to come to the workshop in New Zealand for the shoot.
To Richard, Viggo seemed crazy but kind, a man on a path. Not a path that anyone else could see, mind, but definitely a path of some sort. He also collected people along his way, which meant that every while or so he called and asked Richard if he'd like to come out and conceptualize a video or design a tour.
Richard doesn't really care for the music, but he's never said so. He rather thinks of the band as his friends, even if they're a little odd.When Viggo called to say they needed some sets for the new tour, Richard was about to start pre-production on a zombie flick in Perth. Instead, he decided to drop everything for a couple weeks, and when Viggo greets him at the rehearsal space wearing a metal colander for a hat, he's really glad he made the time.
They're taking a break when Orlando realizes his jumper is vibrating. He was trying to have a bit of a lie-down with his jumper balled up under his head for a pillow, but it won't stop vibrating. Upon investigation he discovers that his mobile is in the pocket and he has sixteen new messages. They're all from Dana, his agent, and one is from last Tuesday, so he thinks he should probably call her back. Astin's got Dom and Billy singing old Beatles songs for the camera, so he probably wouldn't be able to fall asleep anyway.
When Dana answers her phone, he says, "Hi, it's me."
"Bloom, is that you?"
"Yeah, hi Dana, how are you?"
"Fucking Christ," she says, and he imagines her spitting the words as she does, "I thought we were going to have to send out a search party."
Orlando shifts the phone from one shoulder to other. "We're, like, rehearsing, you know? Things have been really busy." In the corner, Lij and Vig are each listening to an ear on some of Lij's massive headphones. Vig is tapping his foot and Lij is frowning.
"Uh, right," Dana says. "Listen, do you have a fax there? I have some treatments I want to send you. There's the new Mike Nichols, they're asking for you by name."
Billy taps him on the shoulder, and Orlando looks up. "We're getting burritos," he whispers. "You want one?"
He nods to Billy, knowing that he'll know what to order for him. He says to Dana, "I'm just, you know, I'm really busy with rehearsal right now, and--"
"Honey, you're the triangle player, right? Can't they limp by without you for a couple days? You're hot right now, you don't want to pass anything up."
Orlando frowns. He wishes he'd taken a nap instead of calling Dana, because he's still sleepy, and now his head hurts. "I have to go," he says. "I'll call you later. Just, like, put everything on hold for now, okay?"
When he flips off his phone, he looks up and sees Billy digging through his knapsack. "No sour cream, right?" Billy says.
"Right," Orlando says, and depresses the end button on his mobile until it turns off.
Sala is taking stock. It's part of his job. It shouldn't surprise him that absolutely nothing has changed since the last time. Viggo would still chew off his own hand rather than throw out a single piece of wrecked equipment, and no one can be bothered to stop tossing their gear in and out of trucks and vans and balcony windows like sacks of potatoes.
Sala clears his throat and Viggo crouches down beside him.
"See this?" Sala says. "Here. And here." Viggo nods. "And along here as well. You see how the edging's been scraped clean off?"
Viggo nods again, scratching his chin. Sala runs a gentle hand over the battered amp and tries to calm down a bit.
"You can't just drag them up and down the stairs," he says, pretty patiently, considering.
"Hm, yeah," says Viggo, slowly. "I think that was down the fire escape, actually." He grins and slaps Sala's shoulder, pushing up to stand.
No one has forgotten the incident in which Viggo tried to stuff two guitars, a fiddle and a trumpet into a ski bag as checked luggage. Three lay-overs later, Sala was the one who opened the bag and he didn’t speak to Viggo for two days. He might have lasted longer, but Liv baked a cake and wrote "really sorry Sala" in icing on it.
No one has forgotten, including Viggo, who’s chuckling as he ambles away.
Bernard comes over to inspect. He Hmm's and Ahh's a bit before being called off by Dom and Karl to consult on tonight's pub of choice. He wanders back a bit later and sits down beside Sala again.
"Sorry, sorry," Bernard says, not sounding it at all. "Matters of great importance – it’s Doyle’s tonight after we wrap up here, so spread the word. What’s all this then?"
Sala knows it’s no secret that for a manager, Bernard has never been particularly interested in the logistics of moving a sprawling tribe of musicians, girlfriends, boyfriends, hangers-on, and the odd stray child or dog from Wellington or L.A. or New York or Manchester. He does have the good grace to look attentive, however, as Sala launches into a detailed accounting of every nick, dent, shredded strap, snapped string, squeaky pedal and cracked case.
"Once the fret's been snapped off, there's not much I can do," Sala declares finally.
"Oh, now, I dunno," says Bernard, entirely too cheerful again. "You've tried duct tape?"
Sala frowns. Bernard always suggests duct tape. Sala remembers holding the torch steady in a rainstorm while Bernard administered emergency surgery to a blown gasket in the van with some duct tape and Bean stood to the side on the wet shoulder, laughing into his hand. Bean always found that kind of thing funny.
Sala looks back across the room at Viggo, who still looks suspiciously amused, the bastard. There’s still no one else that Sala would rather work for.
Dom wraps a gauze strip around his right index finger and winces a little as the red stains through. It's not as though he stopped playing guitar when Peter and Fran ended, but he apparently stopped playing in quite the same way, or at least quite as often, because the strings are hell on his fingers with all this rehearsing. He uses the scissors on a Swiss Army knife borrowed from Sean to cut the end-- carefully because he's not so great with his left hand and the last thing he needs is another injury-- tucks it into the top and leans back against the brick wall. He pulls out a fag, lights it and takes a quick drag, all still with his left hand.
Exhaling, Dom tips his head back and stares up. It's well after midnight and he can't see anything but black above him. When they were on the circuit, sometimes they'd camp out and Dom remembers what the stars looked like over the sleeping bags he and Billy zipped together in Montana. They didn't sell anything at that fair, but it was fun anyway.
"Can you ever see stars in LA?" Daisy asks, appearing in Dom's line of vision a moment later.
"Nah, too much smog." Dom blows out a mouthful of smoke, doesn't care if that's a lie or not. It's metaphorically true and that's enough for any member of this band. "Taking a break?"
Daisy nods and looks around at the parking lot. When he looks back, he's frowning a little. "Orli and Elijah are much better now. With the music." He nods his head sharply as if worried Dom will disagree. "And I think even Sean is."
Dom tips his head to the side, considers. "He is. His timing's better and that bit he wrote into the casaba melon song was really good." It really is true, because Dom likes Sean well enough, but he doesn't really spend time thinking positive things about him or anything. "Viggo, too."
Daisy chuckles, rubs his palm over the scruff that's forming on his chin. "That's a given, Dominic." He sighs and watches as Dom forces out the last of the smoke and crushes the filter into the pavement. "I'm not."
Dom stands and pockets the spent fag, smiling up at Daisy. "Me neither, mate." He holds up his bloodied hand as proof. "It doesn't matter though." Daisy cocks an eyebrow, waiting and Dom feels a bit foolish. It's true, though, so he shrugs and when Daisy does the same, Dom leads the way back inside.
Daisy feels vaguely hung over. Tequila always leaves him feeling vaguely ill in the morning, even if he only has a drop.
On the drive over to the studio, Karl brought him one of those mini containers of fresh orange juice with lots of pulp, and a small bottle of ibuprofen. He's a loveable bastard.
Then again, Karl's the reason why Daisy's currently dealing with both a headache and a black eye, so maybe Karl isn't good, so much as guilt ridden, but these aren't the kind of things you can hold against family. Even when they drag you out for a night on the town when you're still crippled by jet lag and impaired by an empty stomach.
In the bathroom at the studio, Daisy washes his hands and slaps some water on his face. This feels very odd, because having hair on his face feels very odd. As does not being contractually obligated to shave and wax and depilate on a regular basis.
There are moments when Daisy rather wishes he could add not singing covers of Dusty Springfield songs to the list of things it's odd not to be doing, but Viggo gave him a rather death-like glare when Daisy suggested that he wasn't really that keen on recording her material for anything Peter and Fran related.
So again, for family, he does things like sing Joni Mitchell out of drag and like a bloke might perform it. Mainly though, he does it because he knows Viggo wouldn't ask him if he didn’t think it would be good.
Liv and Karl work up a frantic, mildly African backing medley with Liv performing a sort of yodel and Karl picking out a tune on one of Viggo's banjos. They practice it about twenty times a day because the notes are so complicated, and sometimes Daisy wonders if they're still drunken when they write these things. Or if Viggo just leaks some sort of telepathic, psychedelic, vision-quest substance that pulls this stuff out of them. Because there's no one else on the planet that could get notes like these out of Daisy when he's singing. And because he's never been at all inclined to claim anyone as family. At least, not until these moments when he looks up in the studio and feels completely surrounded by it.
Elijah pulls the right side of his headphones off and looks around the rehearsal space. Sean is videotaping Orlando in one corner, while Billy and Dom lounge around, occasionally throwing things at Sean. Karl and Daisy are scoping the craft services table and laughing, possibly about the black eye that Daisy didn't have when Elijah left the bar last night. Elijah makes a note to himself to find out what that's all about later. Right now, though, he's looking for Viggo, who is nowhere to be found.
Elijah sighs, turns a few dials and takes off his headphones completely. He wanders across the room and slumps against the wall a few feet away from Billy and Dom's position on the floor.
"How's the beat, 'Lij?" Billy asks, smiling and pulling at a stray spike of Dom's hair.
Elijah frowns. "There's something wrong with the tables, it wasn't doing this last week. I'm getting a weird static." He presses his weight down onto the balls of his feet and bounces a little. Behind him, Orli's laughing and telling a story about Liv's baby. "I think something got fucked up in the shipping."
Dom rolls his eyes and pushes away from Billy, standing up and stretching his arms over his head. "Don't tell Sala, he'll take it as proof from the universe that we all need to sign exclusive contracts." Dom twists his hips and grins. "Who the hell ever heard of exclusive deals for roadies?"
Elijah laughs. He isn't planning to tell Sala anyway, because he already lied and said he'd brought the equipment from New York himself. "Well, maybe Vig'll like the static, anyway."
Billy laughs and kicks at Elijah's shoes. "Course he will, Lij. Never met a bit of unpleasant noise he didn't like, that one. No worries."
Elijah starts to answer, but Dom pulls at Billy's arm and drags him away. Elijah stays where he is and listens to Sean ask Orlando to explain the difference between recording and filmmaking for a few minutes before standing and heading back to the static.