Dark The Fever: A Novel

ISBN 13: 9780743272377

The Fever: A Novel

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9780743272377: The Fever: A Novel

A story about how Money + Celebrity = Sex.

And always will.

it's the summer of 1990. New jack swing has taken hold. Dark, an ambitious music manager who knows his way around the scene, seeks out an unknown singer to become the next R&B star. He finds moldable clay in Brian Barnes, a kid from the projects who briefly tasted fame as a teenaged member of a Jackson Five imitation quintet. After some grooming in and out of the studio, Dark makes a deal with Sony and Brian's first single shoots to the top of the charts.

Not wanting to lose momentum, Brian and Dark set off together on a promotional tour across the country, hitting the Penn Relays, Freaknik in Atlanta, and juke joints in North Carolina until they finally arrive in L.A. for the Soul Train Awards. Along the way, the two men engage in their own sexual Olympics, indulging in a parade of groupies, horny co-eds, and self-interested starlets. Brian -- the newly baptized Busy B of R&B -- has fallen victim to the Fever, that unique combination of ego, sex addiction, and fame that has claimed many other soul singers.

As Brian's behavior becomes more and more bizarre, Dark stays busy shielding his star from the scorn of the girlfriend left behind and a mother yearning for her own piece of the spotlight. Trouble mounts when Brian begins to mistrust his management -- Dark -- after the fever of fame has clouded his mind and body. Inspired by true stories about the rich and famous, this novel's insider tales of drugs, lies, prostitutes, and pay-offs is the most revealing look at life on the road yet written.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Dark is the pseudonym for a music industry insider. Learn more about him and The Fever at www.myspace.com/bbarnesfever.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter One: Maggie Was Plush

Back in April 1990 I was working in New York City for Plush Management, a company that, as the name suggests, worked with upscale pop acts whose music was not too gritty, not too nasty, and not at all urban. But in light of the megastardom of Prince, Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, etc., plus the growing popularity of rap, Plush realized they needed to get into the black music game, so they sought me out. I'd agreed to hook up with Plush because my recent divorce (and subsequent outsize alimony settlement) required a regular cash flow to keep me solvent. I was thirty-two years old and, at that point, had been in the business about fifteen busy years. I'd made money, had several jobs in corporate musical chairs, and been bounced around enough that I was no longer bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. I'd become a "road dog," aka a dude who felt most alive traveling on tour buses, checking into hotels, and being backstage at concert halls. I got real antsy sitting in my home in St. Albans, Queens (which is what ultimately destroyed by marriage).

Plush's corporate culture wasn't quite ready for rap yet. They talked the talk, but every time I brought in an MC I thought had potential folks got cold feet. Not that I loved rap music myself, but I realized black music was always evolving. In the black music world, to cling to the past was to get left behind -- be it when funk replaced R&B or when disco replaced funk. You had to roll with the musical punches or get pushed to the sidelines.

"New jack swing," driven by Teddy Riley's big beat production, was the new wave rocking the charts. It was a hip-hopped version of R&B with enough melody to satisfy older heads, and I'd convinced Plush's powers that, unlike rap, such an act would fit snuggly with Plush. The "power" running Plush was a woman named Maggie May, a peroxide blonde who'd begun her career as a personal assistant to the Rolling Stones' manager during one of their legendary mid-seventies jaunts around the U.S.

Maggie still had a rock groupie's taste for too much foundation and lots of black eyeliner. For Maggie, age wasn't nothing but a number. She had to be at least fifty, but that didn't stop her from wearing short skirts, strappy heels, and bosom-revealing blouses that made her a favorite dinner companion of high-level record executives and aging rock stars. I'd once heard an older white man at a record-listening party tell another, "Dude, she used to have the best ass in the business."

Though time had taken its toil on that ass (and other body parts), Maggie still carried herself like a fox and, because she did, the lady retained a palpable air of sexuality. So I enjoyed our little private meetings. Maggie would always sit on the edge of her desk with her thin pale legs crossing and uncrossing for my (and her) amusement. Sometimes right in the middle of a meeting I'd fantasize about screwing her on that desk, with Mick Jagger watching and applauding my fine work.

"Dark? Are you daydreaming on my time?" Maggie teased as my eyes drifted too far up her thigh.

"No," I said with a smile. "What I was thinking...with Whitney Houston as romantic lead opposite a big white male movie star, LL Cool J walking around Saturday Night Live with his shirt off, it's time to strike. We need to sign a client we can sell in the ghetto and still get his picture in every white girl's suburban high school locker. That's the way the culture's going and Plush should be right there on that edge."

"Okay," Maggie said. "Find me a guy who can sing and can make the ladies scream and I'll put the full resources of Plush behind him and, of course, behind you. As you know, this rap thing hasn't been a good fit for Plush, but a sexy young chocolate singer, that I can understand."

"I bet," I joked, and we both laughed.

"Dark," she then said, "I want him to be like you."

"And what does that mean?" I replied defensively.

"I see how you move. How you look at the secretaries here. How you stand next to the ladies in this office and at parties. You are always on the prowl. I want you to find and/or groom a singer to have those qualities. If you can get a good-looking young man to project that in his voice and his movements onstage, I believe we can sell more records than Michael Jackson."

"You're probably right," I replied.

Maggie uncrossed her legs, giving me a clear view of her black lace panties. "Find us that singer, Dark, and I'll finance a full-on black music department here."

"I see -- I mean, I hear you." We both laughed again. Then I got up, gave her a kiss on the cheek, and headed out to find America's next black sex symbol.

Copyright © 2006 by D. Dark

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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