Decisions. Decisions. An Opportunity part 4

Monday rolled around and Ju was on the phone as soon as he thought the office was open. He was put on hold for long minutes before the receptionist returned stating that he could be seen at a studio that afternoon and gave him the address. Ju was clearly puzzled so he put in a call to Toshi for some answers. After being totally cursed out for waking him up, Toshi went on to explain that they probably wanted Ju to do some auditioning and that the agent, one Sakimoto-san would probably meet him there. He warned him to be attentive, read everything, ask a million questions if he needed too and don’t sign anything without his lawyer looking at it first then he hung up on him.

Ju just looked at the phone for a minute more, sighed and sent his wife a message of what he was about to do and that he didn’t know how long he’d be gone. He knew Aya wasn’t exactly on board with him even being semi-professional. He had to try it out though. His pride and his drive wouldn’t allow anything else. He went down in the shop and worked on a few things to keep his mind focused. Since he didn’t have to take anything but himself to the studio he had time to kill. He thought about practicing but he still had a business to run and that had first priority. After about an hour he gave up. He really couldn’t concentrate on work. He let his manager know what was up and that he’d be leaving early, gave him a list of what he needed done and went into the back room. He picked up his bass and began some warm up drills. He didn’t have to think to do that. It was a habit he’d gotten into to keep his joints limber. Worked for his knees so his fingers had to benefit right? He just played around until it was time for him to leave. Since it was nice out he took his bike, told the guys to behave and headed out.

He was met at the door by Sakimoto-san who ushered him in explaining what was expected of him. They talked about Ju’s experience, a little bit about him personally, and what he planned on doing in the future. Ju honestly wasn’t sure what he was capable of doing and Sakimoto appreciated his honesty but chided him on his time management. “Now is the time for you to strike Ichihara-san. You may be a little too old for some of the younger groups and I can’t see you decked out like a woman or a pretty boy at any rate but there are more established singers who need people to work behind the scenes for them, possibly do support work on tour. Would you be interested?”

Ju hadn’t thought about it that way. He looked awful in makeup and with his tattoos trying to pass for female or a pretty boy was out of the question. He didn’t want to be away from his family or business for long periods so session work seemed best suited for him. He told Sakimoto that. The man nodded. “You have to audition you know. Do you play anything other then electric bass?” Ju could play just about anything in the bass family from a cello to his current baby. That impressed Sakimoto. He pulled out his phone and looked over some messages. “I’ve got a client coming in about an hour who’s looking for a bassist for one of the songs on his upcoming cd. I’ll let you two talk and you can listen to what’s been laid down already to get an idea of what he might be looking for. To bad you don’t write but it’s not really required. He’ll ask you to play something that you think would go well with his current track and we’ll go from there.”

Ju nodded and asked a few questions then headed into the recording room and picked out a bass. They had some nice pieces in there and after finding one whose weight and height suited him, he set about tuning it to his exacting standards. Once he was done, he played a few riffs, nodded in satisfaction and waited. He’d been waiting about fifteen minutes when a sound tech came in and handed him a set of headphones. He showed Ju how to turn on the equipment allowing him to hear what had been laid down, contact the tech, and told Ju to have it restarted if he needed. He listened to it carefully and twice before deciding on how he’d like the bass to sound. The melody was fairly simple which to him was the problem. It was too vanilla in his opinion. He laughed a little when he realized that it was like that because there was no bass to it. He gave it one more listen to then played a bit with it until he was sure what he thought would sound best. Hitting the switch that would turn on the speaker for the tech, he told him to record his track over the melody, he started the song up again and played. When he was done, he listened to it with his bass track and nodded a little then started the process over until he got the recording that he wanted. It took him all of 30 minutes and by the time he was finished he’d pulled a small crowd into the room. Just because the room was soundproofed didn’t mean that people walking in and out the control room couldn’t hear what he was doing.

Apparently the workers weren’t the only people listening. The singer looking for a bassist was in the sound room also. He reached over the tech, hitting the button for the mike and asked Ju if he could play the same chords on a different scale. Ju complied and grinned in satisfaction when it was played back to him. It sounded hot which is apparently what was needed. Sakimoto came in a couple of minutes later grinning. “You made quite an impression. Unfortunately the singer wants to go with a more known name but he says if he can’t find anyone to play better then you just did, he’s gonna give you a call. He did say that he might want you to play support for him if you’re interested.”

Ju just sat there with his mouth open. Things were moving too fast. He didn’t have a manager, agent, whatever they were called or a contract much less a clue. He was so out of his depth. He remembered what Toshi had told him and peppered the agent with questions before telling him he needed to consult with other people before making any decisions. Sakimoto-san pulled out his phone, hit a number on speed dial and held the phone from his ear a few inches. That turned out to be a wise move considering the volume of the voice now yelling obscenities into the other end. Someone didn’t like being disturbed. After a few minutes of screaming things got quiet and Sakimoto asked if the person was done. This elicited a few more choice words apparently but at a lower volume. He went on to explain the situation, listened a few moments and then handed the phone to Ju who took it with a questioning look on his face. The person on the other end broke into a tirade that would have blistered the paint off a wall. When he finally was done he apologized for Ju having to deal with his stupid representative and introduced himself.

Ju’s eyes widened and he sat down hard, stammering into the phone like an idiot. Laughter could be heard from the other end and the manager just shook his head. Ju finally got his wits about him and the two men had a brief conversation. Ju finally thanked the man repeatedly and gave the phone back with a trembling hand. Sakimoto spoke into the phone, asked a few questions then hung up. He turned to Ju.

“Well you heard the man. We streamed the whole thing to him. If you got his attention then you are going to be a busy man…that’s if you sign on. I called him to verify to you who I was and to assure you of my integrity. This would be a temporary contract you understand. You’d primarily be doing session work from here but you might have to fly somewhere else from time to time. Pay would be the standard for the first year but you can name your price after that. The company and I would get thirty percent of what you make. No…I’d get ten and he’d get twenty not 30 percent apiece. We have a standard contract you can take and have your lawyer look over. Talk to your family about it and you have a business right? Find a manager or someone who can take over for you when you are working here. If what I heard from you and him is any indication, you my friend, are going to be a busy man.”

Ju nodded speechless and took the contract. He didn’t even bother to look at it. He didn’t think he’d be able to read it since his brain was on overload. He jumped when his phone rang. It was Toshi. Ju told him he’d meet him nearby, hung up and turned to Sakimoto-san. He thanked the man and promised to get back to him within a couple of days. When he left, the sun was beginning to set. He had no idea he’d been in there so long. Looking at his watch he figured he had time to meet Toshi then swing by the hospital and pick up Aya. He needed some sanity and he figured that she was the only place he’d find some. He climbed on his bike and headed down the street to the small cafe not far from the studio.

Toshi was there when he got there and Ju barely had time to get out of his helmet before the man was peppering him with questions. By the time Ju had gotten to the phone call Toshi was grinning like the cat that ate the canary and was rewarded for it. “He can be a foul mouthed prick when he wants to which is most of the time but the man knows talent when he hears it. You gonna sign on the dotted line?” When Ju just shrugged Toshi looked at him like he’d lost his mind. “Dude! People would kill for this opportunity! Why the devil would you even consider not…it’s Aya isn’t it? You’re worried about how this will affect her and your marriage. Guess I’d worry too. I’m sure you’re gonna talk to her but I wouldn’t wait too long. This won’t be open forever.”

Ju nodded. “I know man. I want to do this and the contract is only covering one year. I could do this for a year and see if I’m suited but I want to try and I hope I can convince Aya that things will be alright.” Toshi patted him on the back and told him to go get his little spitfire of a wife, take her somewhere quiet and talk to her. She loved him and knowing Aya she’d support him no matter what. Ju nodded and the two friends went their own separate ways. As Ju pulled out into the busy street, he hoped that Toshi was right.

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~ by jujuken on April 15, 2013.

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