Mr. Hayes has an MFA in drama and a BA in literature. His plays have been staged at community and university theaters in Arizona, California, Missouri, and Australia. This is his first novel.
by John Hayes
by John Hayes
Published Dec 07, 2015
Genre: FICTION / General
Enter the World of the Psychedelic Sixties'
Bright Midnight is the story of rock star Jim Harrison, front man for the edgy, lyrical Los Angeles psychedelic rock band, The Changelings. Jim narrates the groups’ phenomenal rise to success during the Sixties. Although he becomes famous, Jim is torn by his ambition to become a poet rather than a rock vocalist idolized as a sex star. As his girlfriend becomes addicted to hard drugs, he develops other intimacies and wrestles with his own tendencies towards self-destruction through drinking. The sturm und drang of stardom, maintaining a love life, and ambitions to be a fine artist drive him to new heights of creativity, paranoia and frustration, pushing him ever closer to making a choice between life and death.
One night, as I was doing a sound check, the most stunning red head walked in and sat down and ordered a drink. She was charming and sexy. When I struck up a conversation with her, she played it real cool, as if she were disinterested in rock, like she was passing her time until something more interesting came along. After finishing her drink, she got up and left.
The next night she came back and stayed for the whole set. Don talked to her, but she kept looking around for me. I asked him who she was, and he replied, "That's the chick Neil Young wrote 'Cinnamon Girl' for."
"She doesn't seem like a groupie," I said.
"I'm told she has class, Jim," he said, intimating that she was beyond my reach.
I asked the owner of the Whiskey-A-Go-Go to introduce us, which he did. Between sets, I sat down in a booth with her, and we looked into each other's eyes, and that was it. A connection had been made. We were on our way.
"So, Petulia, how'd you like to come back to my place after the last set?"
"My place is better," she said.
And it was. Hers was a real apartment with cozy curtains and stuffed reading chairs and shag carpet and a posted bed. I was still living in a motel room, and it felt like I'd moved up in the world just by being with this haute couture little vixen. I'd been having a few flings with some of the go-go dancers at the Whisky--mostly one night stands--but what developed between me and Petulia was magical. We clicked; we jibbed; we fit together like pieces of an old Victorian puzzle. We made love on the bed and ended up on the floor that first night. I soon wrote a more dynamic song than "Cinnamon Girl" in her honor. For me, she was "A Twenty-something Fox"; for her, I was the guy she longed to be near, who knew the words she longed to hear. I soon moved into her place and gave up my austere motel nights of drunken loneliness and fast food.