Bryn Neon fidgeted in his studio chair, shuffling a pack of pornographic playing cards as he was wont to do in moments of deep thought.
Damn these cards.
They had cost him a fortune many times over, not least with the Spießer brothers, that Unlikely woman and the incident with the Caelocanth. He loved and hated that damn fish. Best years of his career and some stupid gamble and then; gone. A stupid and foolish bet, but was there any other type of bet?
Neon looked up at the studio clock. Things were not going so well. Perhaps it was time to break open the “Oh, Bleak Strategy!” cards. Always a risky move. The last time he had broken them out, Frigid Ludo nearly split up.
The card had said: “Pretend the drummer is invisible”. They carried this instruction on for a week until the poor man broke down and set light to his residential studio chalet. The album sold well though, although the drummer was since arrested trying to smash the singer's car windows with the bassist's face.
Neon flicked a switch on his studio console to speak to today's useful idiot in the vocal booth: Fat Billy Roberts.
“O.K. Billy, let's try this now.”
Billy Roberts was bored, stoned, drunk, and an unhappy man.
Billy had it all and didn't want it anymore. A career in a boy band, a mansion, expensive cars and a drug habit. Billy was the Golden Goose who could only lay golden eggs.
Today's session was for Billy's fifth album. The previous four had gone multiple platinum and almost the entire music industry waited with bated breath for this album. He could do no wrong.
Except Billy very much wanted to do wrong. He wanted out. He wanted sabotage, failure, anonymity; and mostly he just wanted to stay indoors with his model trains and take drugs.
This is why Bryn Neon, the most expensive and unlikely
.. No, don't think of her..
That's not going to help.
The most unlikely producer, for a mainstream pop star that is..
Bryn Neon was hired by Billy to make a record that would get him fired from this Faustian record contract.
“Ok Billy. Ready?”
Billy took a huge gulp of his soft drink whilst he was chewing on a mouthful of soft mints.
Billy belched; richly and sonorously into the expensive studio microphone. Bryn Neon, having picked an “Oh, Bleak Strategy!” card from the deck that morning did as they instructed:
All of your effects units: At once.
Nearly ten minutes of looped belch. Stretched, chorused, flanged, echoed, reverbed, bit crushed warped, distorted.... He had to admit, this was interesting stuff.
Billy Roberts by now was already unconscious in the vocal booth, drool dripping from the side of his open mouth and the floor strewn with countless sweet wrappers.
To Bryn Neon, it was just another job, one admittedly that kept him in pornographic playing cards for life.
To Billy Roberts it was a catastrophe.
The record was released to initially confused reviews.
Slowly but surely; it was hailed as an avant-garde masterpiece: The damn record sold more copies than all of his previous boy-band records and his solo career put together. He was the toast of the music industry again and was hailed as a tortured genius. Everyone wanted a piece of Billy Roberts and that extraordinary sounding record. He was more depressed than ever and rich beyond his wildest comprehension.
Everywhere he went, people asked him how he achieved that sound.