If truth be told (and it must be!) I arranged my entire Southern teaching trip around the opening week of Stephen King’s goth-rock musical, Ghost Brothers of Darkland County at the Alliance Theater in Atlanta. Yes, I am a massive King fan, having read all of his many, many (mind-bogglingly prolific fellow) eerie, thought-provoking, oh-so-human, chilling, eye-opening, perfectly-written tomes. But I had a more pressing reason to sit in that particular audience. My dear friend (and one of my fave singer-songwriters) Jake La Botz, was playing a lead role, none other than the Fallen Angel-Beelzebub-Satan-the big bad debbil hisself! (My date was Jake’s doll, the striking and sweet Zosia.)
Despite Jake being a sober, serene, meditating monk-nik, I knew he was perfectly cast, because even with all those enlightened attributes, one can still be edgy, dark, disarming and incredibly sexy! And sure enough he stole that entire moody, murderous show, all lit up in red from below, tattooed muscles gleaming, strumming his guitar wickedly and sending the fear of godlessness into the shuddering oglers, glued to their seats. T-Bone Burnett worked with that grizzled Midwesterner, John (Cougar) Mellencamp on the music, along with Mr. M’s perfect rocker side-dude who led the band, (Andy York). The play got a huge standing O, and Jake seemed dead chuffed at all the well-deserved attention he was getting. In fact, at the glam after-bash, everybody was eating him up along with the spicy shrimp ceviche and tender catfish bites! There I was in the room with one of my literary heroes and just as I decided I could sashay over and say “Howdy,” Stephen King literally vanished! Years earlier, I had met the horror-meister with his band, The Rock Bottom Remainders, (ha!) but he seemed very afraid of me, even making sure his wife Tabitha met me also. “Tabitha, come here meet PAM Des Barres!” Oops.