He stands there tonight with his clasped hands covering his face. In many years to come there will be more moments like this: out-of-control, frenzied screams from adoring fans, standing on a much bigger stage looking down at the sea of faces in front of him, standing behind a mic stand, his hands wrapped around it; and his mouth, barely a few inches away from the microphone, whispering or snarling or growling, singing tortured notes or inspirational melodies with his guitar strapped around him. He lives for the lights and the smoke and that euphoric high after a performance, as if nothing could ever hurt him or break him down, and in those wildly palpitating moments he is dizzy with happiness. He is the king of the world.
In many years to come he will have perfected the rock star swagger and no one will call him smug/arrogant/pompous again. He will have his face splashed all over gossip tabloids and on the covers of magazines, pictures of him taking out the trash, walking out of the supermarket, modeling the latest hot shot designer. At least he still takes out the trash, and when he spies an unwanted camera trained on him, he merely sighs in irritation and walks away. He will have fans showing up at his house, on his dinner dates, standing guard outside the male toilet waiting for him; fans ambushing him virtually every waking hour, sticking notepads and pens and cameras in his face; fans writing him love letters and marriage proposals, even from the other side of the world. He will read every letter at first, but there will come a time when the ten millionth "I love you!" from a stranger becomes predictable and disingenuous. He will stop reading fan letters after a while.
After a while, he will start to wear sunglasses when he goes out and a baseball cap pulled over his eyes. He will dress down to look inconspicuous, trading fancy shirts for a plain, ratty t-shirt and worn, faded jeans, and he will avoid taking the same routes or going to the same places as far as humanly possible. He will see the lens of an invasive camera trained on him, hear the inappropriate question from a reporter about things other than his music, see a group of fans outside his front door, beseeching him with the cameras and blown-up pictures of him in their hands to save them from their mundane reality, even if it's just for two fleeting minutes; and he will feel the weight of the world on his shoulders, the sky falling in on him, his skin torn from his flesh, his heart cut open and ripped apart. He will no longer wear his analog heart on his sleeve, just a plate of armour to protect what is left of it, and he will have days when he goes home to an empty apartment littered with press clippings and love letters from adoring fans and sits on the edge of his bed, bent over with his face buried in his hands, shivering in his utter nakedness, and wondering why he once decided to sell himself to the world.
He will then remember the past, the reason it all started. Not for fame or money or the fickle attention of adoring fans, but for the need to accelerate at 10 m/s2 with his guitar strapped around him, his mouth barely a few inches away from the microphone, letting his analog heart sing itself hoarse. He will remember high school and afternoon jamming sessions in his garage, he will remember the two years spent spilling his blood over his solo CD, and he will remember passing up a regular job to mix drinks for people, just to chase his elusive dream because it is also his passion. He will also remember the first time he ever stood on a big stage and sang to thousands of people with the lights, the smoke, and the rock star taking centre stage. That feeling of euphoria, of invincibility, riding the highest of high without looking back - all the pieces came together to complete the jigsaw puzzle of his dream.
His dream, conceived by a young boy with a plastic guitar, plays out in slow motion before his eyes. He stands there on that stage with his clasped hands covering his face, his dream playing out in slow motion. The crowd is deafening in its cheers of approval and they are drowned out by the insane thumping of his heart. The stars have kept their appointment; he is amongst them now, and when he removes his hands from his face to look out into the crowd, the tears in his eyes can no longer hold themselves back. In the sea of faces, one stands out in the blur of anonymity - and it is the only one that matters.
There will be more moments like this, but nothing else quite like it. He will remember this as he strums his white Les Paul guitar on days when he is gripped by an overwhelming sense of loss and loneliness, shivering in his utter nakedness - when all else fails, there will always be AC.
I ended up mailing this to David 'cause I couldn't help myself, but in the one I sent to him I took out the sentence about the boy with the plastic guitar. I personally like it, but the fact is, he didn't dream of becoming a musician until he was about 12 or 13. But there was just no way of working that into the piece that would fit with its overall tone, so I decided to take it out completely. Assuming it gets to him and he reads it, it'd be quite funny if he read the plastic guitar thing and went, "What? I never had a plastic guitar."
As for AC, well, if one doesn't know by now, that's quite okay. I originally intended it to be both a reference to AC the person and the AC on his guitar, and therefore the guitar, though I could've just called it Les Paul. But it wouldn't have the impact and the emotional impact would definitely be lost. And Les Paul does not, in any way, shape or form, equate with AC the person.
I really hope it wasn't too invasive or presumptuous though. I read it over repeatedly just to see if it could potentially be seen as such, but even with my loss of objectivity when it comes to my own work, I think it was really just me writing down what I saw on TV. But who knows.
And if it IS invasive and presumptuous, then I hope it never gets to him.
If I'm not wrong, "Remember This" was one of the two titles (the other being Optimistic to a Fault) under consideration for his second album.