Chapter 7 1991 - Unbelievable

“Unbelievable!” I complained. “Simply unbelievable!”

I was thumbing through the latest Rolling Stone magazine when he happened upon the following news blurb.

“Isaac Daly, former lead guitarist of the mega-famous Golden Fingers, has announced a series of special concert dates. While the original musicians are not reuniting, Daly will bring together a set of musicians that will create what he calls ‘The Golden Fingers Experience.’ Dates are set for this spring and early summer across various locations through the United States. Tickets are expected to be budget-priced, and will sell out quickly, he predicted.

“Unbelievable!” I stated, yet once again, reddening.

“What’s the problem?” Angela inquired. “I haven’t seen you so upset in a long time.”

“It’s that Isaac. He’s planning on going out on the road again using the Golden Fingers name, and presumably using my songs to boot. It’s bad enough that I have to read about it as a fait accompli, no less.”

“Can he do that?” Angela asked.

“Not really without my permission,” I considered. “Or at least I don’t think so. But, then again, if he worked a deal with the record label, then I might have lost control altogether. Those guys don’t have anybody’s interests at heart but themselves. Technically, they own the rights. I get my royalties, and they are generous, but they negotiated away some of the ownership of my songs in the process. We were young; we didn’t think it 100% through.”

“Let’s get Spike on the phone, and see what he has to say about it,” Angela offered. “And we might as well touch bases with Ozzie as well. All of you should have a say in this endeavor.”

Angela dialed up Spike and Emily answered. “Hi, Emily. I need to talk to my brother. Is he home?”

Emily’s answer caused a frown to appear on Angela’s face. “What?!” was her surprised reply. “Could you say that again?”

I’s curiosity was aroused, and he picked up the extension to listen in.

“… going over to see Isaac about doing a few dates this spring. Something about an ‘experience’” Emily’s voice did not betray any sense of guile or revelation.

“I read about Isaac’s plans in Rolling Stone, and he’s a bit upset about it,” Angela stated. “He’s not sure that what Isaac is doing is even legal, under the contact they had with the record company. Do you know any more about it than we do?”

“Spike didn’t give a lot of details, but he didn’t seem to think it was a big deal. I heard him say things like ‘Sounds like fun!’ and ‘Let’s do it!’ It really appeared he was looking forward to whatever Isaac had in mind.”

I was getting even more visibly upset. “Et tu, Brute?” he subvocalized, considering his own brother-in-law’s betrayal. Finally, he spoke up, remaining calm, but with an edge to his voice.

“Don’t you think Spike could have checked with me before committing to such a project,” he aids.

Emily, a bit surprised to hear I’s voice, stammered a bit before responding, recognizing I’s tone.

“I, I, I... don’t think he really had any thought about it affecting you in any way. All he indicated was that it might be fun.”

Angela shot I a quick glance and mouthed the words, “Be nice, it’s not her fault” to I, but not being a lip reader, he couldn’t understand what she meant.

“What?” he nearly shouted into the phone.

Emily, surprised at this new outburst began to cry, and Angela firmly told I to get off the phone. She covered the receiver and said, “Hang up now. Look what you’ve caused!”

I slammed down the phone and left the room, causing Emily to cry even harder. Angela tried to calm her down. “Emily, please, it’s all a misunderstanding. I was on edge, and didn’t mean to take it out on you. If anything, he’s mad at my brother.”

Angela paused a moment as Emily responded. “Yes, he’s out of the room now. He’s convinced now that Spike and Isaac are plotting this tour of Golden Fingers material behind his back.”

Angela paused again as Emily responded. “Well, that makes a bit of sense. Not sure if I will believe it given his current state of mind. Maybe we’ll sit down when he calms down a bit and work through the details. I think a call to Isaac is in order.”

“I’m sorry that we upset you, Emily, it certainly wasn’t what I thought this call would turn into. Anyway, please forgive us and I’ll talk to you later, OK? Bye!”

Angela hung up. I, still fuming, reentered the room. Angela spoke out, “I, sit down. You’ve gone off the deep end for no good reason. I spoke to Emily a bit more, and got a better explanation of what the situation is. It’d be best if you just kept quiet while I explained.”

I took a seat and Angela resumed. “In the first place, Isaac is not going to be touring Golden Fingers material. He’s getting ready to release his first solo album, and a tour is being set up. He asked Spike to drum for him. He’s not trying to capitalize on the Golden Fingers name, or pretend that the band is Golden Fingers. In fact, the Rolling Stone article contains a misquote about the new show. What he actually told them was ‘It’s going to be like a Golden Fingers experience, but new all the same.’ You can see how they may have twisted his words. His plan is to brings some of the spectacle of a Golden Fingers show from the ‘70s into a ‘90s context. New music, new musicians. He’s hoping for some of the old fans. They are still following the band, even after all these years of inactivity.”

I had to admit that the misinterpretation was an easily, perhaps innocently, perhaps maliciously, misconstrued alteration of the facts., “The music press has always done that, reporting on rumors and innuendo, rather than finding out the true story behind the story,” I complained. “If they would only check their sources, today’s events would not have played out the way they did.”

A few days later, I touched bases with both Isaac and Spike and got to the bottom of the real story.

Isaac, having been clean and sober for fifteen years, was celebrating the fact with a new set of songs, co-written with his wife, Dawn. With the both of them sober for fifteen years, they decided on their first official collaboration. Dawn had a brief career as a folk singer and even had a minor regional hit “When the Wind Winds about the Breeze” back in 1973. Her career was shuttled by drug abuse and a failed marriage, leaving her a shell of a woman. She spent three years in rehab, coming out clean, and left behind her budding career to seek out a child she had given up for adoption in 1969, at the age of 14. Her pursuit brought her to California, nearly penniless, but eager to find gainful employment. Taking a job as a waitress, she encountered Isaac as he came to dine one evening. Hitting it off, he returned often, and in the course of their conversations, their sordid past lives were revealed. In support of each other, they decided to join a twelve-step group together, and romance continued to blossom.

Isaac joined with her in the quest to reunite with her abandoned child, and ten years into their relationship, they found success and rediscovered Hannah Jolene Erikson, the daughter she had given up, seventeen years earlier. The initial meeting of mother and child was not the story book ending she had hoped for. Hannah, despite being adopted by a fine family, was rebellious, and could not focus. She often ran away, took up with the wrong crowds, and herself had become pregnant. She was currently mulling over the possibility of an abortion when Dawn contacted her.

Dawn was able to convince her otherwise, and in a few months, gave birth to a son, Roland Harold Erikson. Born a bit premature, and saddled with the stain of his mother’s addictions, he only weighed four pounds at birth. Despite heroic efforts, Roland survived only four months. Hannah, Dawn and especially Isaac, who had taken to young Roland as would a grandfather, were hard hit, and simultaneously reached a new low. Hannah, without the strength of experience, could not contain her addictions, and fell once again into the low society pits from which she had crawled. In two months, she also was dead. Dawn having only a brief reunification with her daughter, was beside herself, yet on the strength of support from the twelve-step group, and the love of Isaac, was able to avoid falling back into the same pit herself. In mid-1987 their long-term romance finally blossomed into a wedding. The chose to remain childless.

During the next four years, they composed nearly one hundred songs of hope and healing together, some recounting the despair they had experienced, but always pointing to a greater light ahead. Isaac’s and Dawn’s wish was to bring the best of these out as Isaac’s solo album, and tour the country, passing on some of that light to all who attended their concerts. Isaac had recruited some of the cream of the current crop of country, rock, folk and R&B musicians to come together as a sort of supergroup. All of them had agreed to donate their time, and fifty dates were scheduled. The beneficiary of the proceeds? I AM FEW Hunger.

“Unbelievable!” was I’s stunned reaction to Isaac’s gift to humanity. Without a second thought, I pulled out his checkbook and made the first donation, $1,000,000. And on the second thought, gave his blessing to the entire venture, including providing permission to perform any and all of Golden Fingers many hits, without restriction. Unbelievable.