It is something very few remember, now. A topic that is purposefully avoided by those who were present and attached to it, the wonder project, the holy grail, the most masterful piece of musical opus ever recorded.
This was in the mid-seventies, while the meaning of flower-power still held some sway and before Disco truly came into its own. It was a time where some of the optimism of that hippie movement still rang true, for many.
The Logus was a band that had only existed for two years, a very short time indeed, but what they had done in that time had blown the minds off of any and every single person – whether from within or without the music industry – that heard it. Their music was nothing short of heavenly, divine.
Thomas recalled the time he spent as the band’s assistant of sorts, part roadie, part confidant, part mediator. He had heard them play at a small saloon in a small desert town in Arizona, late one night after having been kicked out by his then girlfriend, and he was simply converted to whatever god or religion was that flowed through the immaculate arrangements of the instrumental trio. This was before the gained recognition and developed a cult following that was threatening to become a global sensation.
He struck up conversation with them as they were picking their equipment up and packing it after the show; they were accessible and friendly and took a liking to him right away. Since he was for all practical effects homeless, he simply stuck with them and accompanied them on the little tour of the desert.
They had just started the tour three nights prior, traveling in a shabby van they practically had lived out of since just about the consolidation of the three-man line-up. They had had a three month retreat with some Native American tribe or another at a reservation – Thomas really couldn’t remember the details, they hadn’t discussed it much after that initial meeting – and had been on some sort of spiritual journey from which sprung the compositions which made it onto the eponymous record, now lost to the ages and the fading memories of those who had listened, like him.
The light of the world had seemed different then. Now, Thomas owned a record store, a big change after many years being a tour manager for small and mid-tier acts, something he’d had a knack for after The Logus broke up and the studio incident. Sometimes, late at night after a little too much bourbon, he would reminisce and wonder about what kept him in the business after the trio disappeared; he reasoned that he had been trying to recapture the magic of that first night in Arizona. And like any pair of lovers whose affair has overstayed its welcome, discord planted somewhere in the relationship’s core, all efforts at rekindling that flame yielded nothing but disappointment and heartbreak. There really had been no other band quite like them before and, with a sadness which depth did not seem entirely logical to him, reeking of paradise lost, there likely would never be again.
Thomas knew he was getting on in years and all those spent on the road had taken a heavy toll on him. He surmised that, perhaps, he wouldn’t be long for this world. No, not much longer to stink up the place with his musical musings. He wondered, nevertheless, if there might be something else he ought to do before he bit the dust and went off into the big sleep.
It was useless, though. He had searched for years, trying futilely to locate a copy of the recordings of The Logus’ sessions. A scrap of live music, something, anything… But for all intents and purposes it was as if the band had never existed0 save in his mind. He sometimes wondered if he had dreamt it. Were it not for the photographs, now age-stained, and a few ticket stubs and similar memorabilia, he would’ve given no credit to his own memories.
It was a tragedy, in truth. For years there had been rumors spun, a legend of sorts, about how someday a musical record would be cut and it would be the record, the panacea to the world’s problems, the eye-opener, the mind-expander, the voice of the gods. Perhaps it was a symptom of the times, a product of too many hippies taking too many acid trips, but even for Thomas, who had never done more than take a few hits of reefer, the very concept – once considered – made all the sense in the universe. Of course there had to be such a record at some point in the history of humanity. It was inevitable, he thought, not without naivety. If you had heard The Logus play their songs, just as Thomas did that one night in Arizona, you would have believed in it, too.
It was a goddamned tragedy, that what they recorded was lost, destroyed in a fit of self-loathing by the man who had started the trio in the first place.
Fuck the man in the mirror, thought Max, bitter rage building as his teeth gnashed, scowling at the sweaty, sickly face that glared back at him. Two-day stubble, teeth yellowing, dark circles under his eyes, he hadn’t slept for days and the amount of cocaine in his system had done one hell of a number on his senses.
He was shaking, his pulse accelerating and threatening to take him over the edge, again. It was like that one night, an entire lifetime ago, as he looked at himself in the mirror, the self-doubt and self-loathing bursting out of him. He had always been a sham, a fraud. Where had he gotten the idea that he could change anything, much less the world, make it a better place? Spirit journeys were all in one’s head, he kept telling himself. Even decades after he’d lost his spirit animal, he kept denying it had ever existed, and that all he had lived and shared with his former band-mates had been nothing but the hallucinations of drug addled idiots. It was all that he could do to try and assuage the abyssal pain of loss. Like knowing grace and having lost it.
He began to cry, head bowed, hands firmly on the sink as he hunched over it. The grime on the once-white porcelain was a fitting analogy for the state of his life. Soiled, unkempt, discarded and only good for the passing of liquid, where so many others simply washed themselves of their filth Max had no choice but to live in it. He belonged to it.
How did he end up here? How had he lost his way? Perhaps he hadn’t been ready for the attention of all the hangers-on that seemed to come with the territory for musicians on the cusp of success, about to break out and become the biggest thing since the Beatles. At least, that’s what their A & R guy had kept telling them, feeding their egos, poisoning them… and he had been the weakest of them all. He had fallen for the trap, after all, and nothing could have saved him after he had taken the first white line.
It had all been so much fun, at the time, hadn’t it? The loose women, adoring, they worshiped him like a god. And the drugs and approval of everyone around, like he could do no wrong. But that was the irony, that he was doing far more wrong than anyone else. He was downright evil in his disregard for himself and those around him.
But now… now he had found it. He had found it. One of the master tapes from that record that was thought destroyed, that he himself had seen disposed of. It was redemption, somehow. He wondered about what to do with it.
In a sudden, irrational fit of fear, common to one whose consciousness has been tuning in and out from a two-day parade of excess, he checked the pockets of his cargo pants for the case wherein salvation lied. It wasn’t there. It wasn’t there!
He checked himself just as he was about to punch the mirror in anger and frustration, and remembered; he had taped it to his left thigh. He was still so drunk and numb that he couldn’t feel it, but felt his soul – wretched, gnarled thing – return to his body as he felt the reassuring outline of the box.
He should sober up, proper-like, cold water, black coffee. He had to get out of that place, as if the devil himself was on his heels, and figure out what to do with the case. Someone would be after him, he was sure. He had broken into the twisted little fuck’s house, after all. Harvey Weinman, the very man who dealt him his first line, who pushed him until he gave in, who had convinced him that he was better than his two brothers in music, who had strung him along for years, promising a solo contract, until Max had abandoned hope and accepted his fate as nobody, a has been – no, even worse, a never-was.
Now his brothers were dead, both gone within a week from each other, and so The Logus could never be again. He hadn’t seen them since that night when he broke down, his meltdown. Then three weeks ago he got word of their passing and something in him broke. He had decided Weinman was responsible, so he had hitchhiked his way down to L.A. intent on killing the vicious little fink. It was luck – or perhaps providence? – that the little devil hadn’t arrived home yet – and Max’s drunk-n-coked-up state didn’t exactly allow for much planning on his part, ensuring that he would not wait to scout the place and get a feel for Weinman’s schedule before acting.
Once inside, having screamed his lungs out calling the record executive out, defeated and deflated, he had stumbled into Weinman’s home office and ransacked the place. He eventually found a small strong box with the band’s name on it, and then he knew. He just knew. He felt it in his bones. This was what had been missing from his life, his – no – their baby.
A few hours of effort eventually yielded an open box and the tape now duct-taped to his thigh. They would look for him; he would be tried like a petty criminal… which he was, in all honesty… or perhaps something even worse. He had to go.
Thomas had to do a double-take when he read the newspaper.
Psychodelic Rock Musician Max Parker found dead in motel room.
On **** ***, ****, the rock virtuoso and once-prodigy of the 70’s rock scene darling ”The Logus” was found dead in a motel room in ***, California. The cause of death has been determined to be heroin overdose…
He could read no longer. It was like his heart was broken again like it was when the band had split. He felt like the world had just become a little darker, poorer for the death of Max. He had been such a kind soul, too good for what the music business had done to him. Well, maybe now he was in a better place. And with his death all the members of the once Messiah-like band had come to pass from this world; he had received word about their deaths, both ignominious like Max’s.
Strange and cruel that the music business, which had so willingly taken them up when they were on the rise, its prodigal children, had gone to such great lengths to make it impossible for anyone to listen to any of their work. They were but a footnote in the annals of music history. It was, again, almost as if they had never existed. The industry had forgotten them, and with it so did the world.
He couldn’t stand being in the store any longer, not today, so he decided to close up. It was a slow day in any case. He needed to walk.
Right as he was about to close up a courier stopped and announced that he had a delivery for him. Strange, he wasn’t expecting anything from anyone. He hadn’t placed any orders that would arrive via courier, certainly.
The package signed-for, the courier gone, Thomas opened the package. The case read, in black marker, The Logus.
In disbelief, he hastily opened the case and found an audio reel and a handwritten note inside. It said:
Thomas, you know what to do with this, I think… I hope… please.