Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Endless Plain of Fortune

He was chided for leaving New York City where he was the toast of the underground. He was leaving for Hollywood, a place deemed not so cool. His most gayest fans thought it was just fabulous! You know, but the junkie snob cognoscenti thought, well, it was a sell-out. After all, Paul Krane was the legendary violinist from Noisebox, the hottest garage junkie band from Manhattan. His solo on the track, “Scratchy” was the stuff of legend. “My electric violin solo on “Scratchy” is still being talked about”, Krane claimed proudly. But the endless plain of fortune beckoned, and he followed. The hypodermic needle skyscrapers of Manhattan were foregone for the cocaine topped palm trees of Beverly Hills.

A friend of a friend of a friend in the record industry had got him a position in the Artists & Repertoire Department at Plum Thumb Records. Plum Thumb was the hippest label in town, signing only the most cutting edge artists with music fans following every release with the same zeal they would show for bands. “Plum Thumb…It’s a tasty sound”, was their motto. So instead of making ear-splitting scratchy noises on his fiddle he was producing Plum Thumb’s finest.

GONE HOLLYWOOD: Off came his gloomiest black clothes he draped himself with when performing with Noisebox. He togged himself in the whitest tennis outfits money could buy.
“Los Angeles is wonderful”, he told Rolling Stone Magazine. “I can play tennis all day”. He took lessons, but was never very good at it. All the drugs that he did in the past in groovy Soho gave him shortness of breath. One afternoon he tried to jump over the tennis net and his lungs collapsed. He lay down, panting as the Plum Thumb executives he played with called an ambulance.

ALL TOMORROW’S PARTIES: Jean Shrimpton ran into Krane at Julie Christie’s house up in Bel Air. She saw him in a bedroom doing lines with Arthur Lee from Love and did a double take.
“I remember him from the Soho days dressed in black, but there he was wearing a purple pirate’s coat, looking like Long John Silver’s parrot. I almost didn’t recognize him with that silly outfit on”, she said. “I opened the door a crack and said, “Paul, is that you? It’s me, Jean”, and he said ‘We haven’t got enough to share, Jean’ and slammed the door in my face! That’s the last I ever want to see of Paul Krane!”

He worshipped Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys and tried to learn how to surf. After two awkward lessons he gave up. He didn’t have time for surfing, anyway. Krane had promised his dealers that he would pay them off in recording sessions paid for by Plum Thumb, so there he was pushing sliders and turning knobs as this week’s coke dealer sang his finest new compositions.
“We’d get bills for sessions with artists that weren’t even on our label”, grumbled Bill Folderol, Vice President of A&R for Plum Thumb. “They weren’t even contracted to demo for us. When we looked at the studio log Paul Krane’s name would always show up. We’d try to cut him some slack, you know, maybe the tapes from these guys were good, you never know, but shit, you never heard so much crap in your life! We had to let him go, what the fuck would you do?”
Before leaving the label Krane released an album of his own, looking resplendent in a three-piece white suit. The album only had eight tracks and lasted twenty-five minutes, fifteen minutes short of a regular album.
“I’m calling this album White Palm Trees”, Krane told Crawdaddy Magazine. “You know, it’s very waggish, like Cocteau, my clothes and the shortness of the LP is quite like a quick cocaine rush”.

SOHO RETURN: Punk rock is now the rage, and with his Hollywood reputation in a shambles Krane returned to Soho as the triumphant artist, back in black.
“I believe it’s time to pull out the violin and return to performing ‘Scratchy’, only this time I’ll do a thirty minute version. It’s my way of reconciling with my pop art constituency”, Paul Krane quipped, quite waggishly.
Goodbye Plum Thumb Records, hello Mudd Club.

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