Here is a story that portrays what happens when you mix country music, alcohol and Quantum Physics…
The following is a transcript of the last known public interview with country music superstar Kelly McGuire, prior to his mysterious disappearance. It took place in the KBUC studios in Dallas Texas, during their popular Morning Rodeo Roundup show.
[Station ID music plays, fade to ANNOUNCER]
ANNOUNCER: Welcome back to KBUC, Buck County’s best country music station. You’re listening to The Morning Rodeo Roundup, with Art Schroon and Campbell Coulter.
ART: Howdy, folks! This is your host, the high-ridin’ Art Schroon and my sidekick, Campbell Coulter. Say hello to the folks, Campbell.
CAMPBELL: Hello to the folks!
[CUE LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE]
ART: We have a special guest in our studios today. He’s a reigning superstar in the country music scene, with four Platinum albums. He’s here for a visit to promote his newest album, Parrot Tops in Paradise. Please welcome Kelly McGuire. Kelly thanks for coming, we’re real glad to have you!
KELLY: Thanks, Art. It’s nice to finally meet you and Campbell. I’ve been a big fan of yours for years. It’s an honor to be here. And hello to all your listeners! I hope you keep enjoying my music.
ART: That’s great to hear, Kelly. First off, I wanted to ask you how you are doing after that tragic tour bus accident a few months ago; you lost your wife and most of your band. You have all our condolences. How are you holding out?
KELLY: Thank you, Art, I appreciate the sentiments. It’s been tough; I lost almost everybody that was important in my life. I never really had much of a family here, and my wife was also my best friend. Some of the songs on my newest album celebrate our life together; I did it as a memorial to her memory.
ART: Well, I’m sure all of your fans will appreciate the music. You’re such a prolific songwriter; you’ve already got three more albums out since your big debut four years ago, all multi-million sellers. What do you think made your music so popular?
KELLY: Well, Art, my music let’s people escape from their lives. Maybe they’re bored, maybe they’re just unhappy. The music takes them away. Whether they go to Margaritatown, take a Trip Around the World, sail to Redfish Island or go visit Pete’s on Monday, they all have a good time.
ART: I guess that’s where that whole Parrot Top thing comes into play. People get all dressed up like tropical birds or killer whales and just ride the tides. I’ve seen some of the most outrages outfits at your concerts!
KELLY: My Parrot Top friends know how much I appreciate their enthusiasm. They’re a great bunch of folk and are a show in themselves. I always have a good time with them!
ANNOUNCER: Kelly, tell us a little bit about your background. You’re pretty much a mystery man; you never talk about your past.
KELLY: Well I had a pretty normal life, up to a point. I grew up in Missouri and worked a bunch of different jobs after high school. I worked a backhoe for a while, and did plumbing and excavation work.
CAMPBELL: Kelly, how about coming over to my house after the show?
KELLY: Sure, Campbell. What did you have in mind?
CAMPBELL: Well, I’m digging a new septic system and could use some experienced help!
ART: Come on Campbell, let the man talk! Go on, Kelly. Sorry for my stupid partner here.
KELLY: Well, I learned to play guitar in high school and decided to try my hand at singing and songwriting. At night I’d play in bars and family pizza joints like Shotgun Pam’s just to get some experience. I’d like to apologize to all the meals I may have ruined with my playing!
CAMPBELL: Did you close any of them down? Literally?
KELLY: No, but I learned a lot; mostly how to duck while playing! When the dust finally settled, I found a job that combined my musical talents with a real paycheck: I was writing jingles for a Dallas marketing company. But I was also still playing in bars and restaurants; I took a two-week gig at a fancy rib joint in Houston and fell in love with Galveston Bay. I settled in the Foggy Lake area and really enjoyed myself. After a bit, I went to Nashville to record some songs and everyone there loved my stuff. I released a CD that got great local play, and started me on my way.
ART: That’s the one that had your chart-topping single Come Sunday; a beautiful, heart wrenching ballad about a musician’s life on the road.
KELLY: Yep. I poured my heart out in that song; every line came from personal experience.
ART: Why don’t you tell us about the man you write your songs with? You released a song last year,Blame It on Buffett, but nobody’s ever heard of this mystery man, Jimmy Buffett. Does he play on his own? Lots of people would love to know about him. What can you tell us?
KELLY: All I can say is Jimmy Buffett was a big influence for me; his tales of island living and life out on the ocean really hit home. A lot of the ideas for the music I sing came from him.
ART: Is there any chance Jimmy will ever play publicly? I’m sure lots of people would love to see him.
KELLY: Jimmy’s not around. I’ve always give him the credit for co-writing a lot of the songs I sing, to honor my memory of him.
CAMPBELL: Wow, there’s been a lot of tragedy in your life. Do you think it makes you a better musician?
KELLY: I don’t know about the musician part, but I’m sure what I’ve been through has made me a better man.
ART: You’re certainly one of the cleanest-cut entertainers we’ve seen in a while. You don’t smoke, chew or even drink much.
KELLY: Nope. I like clean living. I enjoy a cold beer now and then, but I don’t want to take any chances. I liked my life the way it was. I’ve had a good career, a great band, loyal fans and a loving woman. No way I was gonna mess it up. But since the accident, life has been a little hollow for me.
ART: So the specter of drugs and alcoholism keep you on the straight and narrow. And we’re all glad you haven’t succumbed to any of that because of the accident. We need more clean stars like you, Kelly!
CAMPBELL: Yeah, that leaves more beer for me!
KELLY: No, it’s not that. I used to be a real heavy drinker; it cost me a wife and a job. I was just lucky to have a met someone who showed me a better way.
CAMPBELL: Who was it; a new woman?
KELLY: Nope. It was this old gent I met in a bar. I was a real heavy drinker. I had just been fired from my job because of it, and then my first wife left me. I went down to my local watering hole to drown my sorrows and saw this guy there. He was just sitting there drinking himself blind, and asked me to join him. He wanted to talk to someone. It was actually kind of early, sometime before noon. He’d been there about three hours, just drinking himself into a stupor. His table was covered in glasses and bottle, everything from Budweiser to Patron. I’m not sure why he was even conscious. We started talking and trading tales. In some ways we were alike; but for the most part, he was from another planet. We both had lost wives to the way we did things; me with my hard partying and him with his hard work. He told me he was a scientist, working on stuff called Quantum Physics.
ART: Quantum Physics? What the heck is that?
KELLY: It has to do with all sorts of tiny stuff; stuff you can’t see.
CAMPBELL: Kind of like my paycheck. Art, when am I getting a raise?
ART: Never, if you don’t shut up!
KELLY: He’d work almost around the clock for months at a time. He had married a beautiful young woman that got tired of him being gone all the time. She eventually took up with the local handyman and left him. It broke his heart and pushed him over the edge. He started drinking heavily and almost lost his job. But one night while he was stone drunk, he got an idea. He had some equations that he was working with; Planck Equations he called them. These equations would describe little holes. This old guy thought these Planck Holes could let you go other places. Other times, other worlds, maybe even worlds like the one we live in but a little different. Like maybe one where his wife didn’t leave him. So he set up some equipment in his lab, studied the equations and got down to some hard-core drinking. He laid up a big supply of beer, whiskey and especially tequila. He was partial to smooth, clear agave. He also was playing some of the old-time country music. He was especially fond of Hank Williams; he said those sad songs really set his mood.
ART: Now wait; is that what your latest song is about? Holes?
KELLY: Yep. “I’m Gonna Crawl Through The Hole That Max Found” is all about this guy.
ART: Well, we’re gonna play that song when we get to the end of the show. Go on with your story.
KELLY: Anyway, after drinking enough to kill a moose, he started to feel something. He had been studying his equations for hours and was beginning to really understand what it was all about. He took another couple of shots of tequila, and then it happened. He felt real funny, dizzy-like. He tried to stand up, but fell on the floor. He looked at the table and damned if it didn’t look like it was getting fuzzy. He started to feel like he was going down a drain, swirling around and around. After a minute of that he passed out. When he woke up, he was home in bed. His wife was standing over him wiping his face with a cool washcloth. Apparently he had caught a bad case of the flu and she was nursing him back to health. He questioned her about what was going on in their life. He made it seem like the fever was causing his memory to act funky. She told him their life was just fine. They were a loving couple and he was a respected scientist. He worked long hours, but was always home on the weekends and tried to get home before she went to bed. He had done it! He swore off drinking and didn’t get caught up too much at work.”
ART: Kelly, what the hell are you talking about? People don’t disappear in little, tiny holes. Are you nuts? Maybe success is getting to you!
CAMPBELL: Hell, if that’s true I wanna know how to do it! I can duck out on my ex-wives and alimony!
KELLY: No, it’s true. It really happened. Haven’t you ever been on a bender, Art? Gotten so stinking drunk you can’t even remember your own name?
ART: Well, let’s just say when I was a younger man I drank a little bit. Who didn’t?
KELLY: Did you ever wake up one morning from a night of hard drinking, and everything seemed just a little bit different? Maybe you remember a conversation that never happened or your wife was mad at you and you had no idea why?
CAMPBELL: That happens to me all the time; that’s why I’ve got so many ex-wives!
ART: Shut up, Campbell. Yeah, I think I know what you mean. But you’re telling me I traveled through one of there holes?
KELLY: You might have, Art. You never know!
ART: Well, even if I believed it, which I don’t, why was he in the bar? Didn’t he find what he wanted?
KELLY: Yes he did; they had 30 wonderful years together. His wife had passed away recently and he was lonely and depressed. They never had children so there was nothing to hold him there. He wanted to try to find somewhere she was still alive. I asked him if he was worried about the alcohol killing him. He told me that if that happened he’d be with her anyway. It seemed like a win-win situation for him. So we both kept drinking. Every once in a while he’d glance at card he had in front of him. When I asked him what it was, he told me it was the equations that helped him travel. I asked him what if I wanted to try it? He gave me the titles of some books to read and told me to take the card when he was gone. He told me to study hard and memorize the equations. He said you can’t take anything with you but what’s in your mind and memory. He smiled and knocked back a whiskey followed by two shots of tequila. Then he tried to get up but fell on the floor. I went to him and tried to help, but he pushed me away. Now remember, I was pretty drunk at the time myself. I looked down at him and damned if he didn’t look like he was getting fuzzy! Then he just kinda disappeared. The only thing left were his clothes, lying there on the floor.
CAMPBELL: That sounds like me on the weekends!
ART: Kelly, don’t you think this will make your fans think you’re crazy?
KELLY: I don’t think so. They’re a great bunch of people that are open to almost anything.
ART: Now, you were saying this guy got fuzzy and disappeared. What happened next? Did the Easter Bunny jump back out of this hole?
KELLY: Nope; nothing like that. I went to the bartender and told him the guy was gone. He told me not to worry; he had been paid a thousand dollars to keep bringing him drinks. The old guy had burned up about four hundred dollars worth of booze so the rest would be a nice fat tip. I kept my mouth shut and didn’t mention the empty suit of clothes on the floor. I staggered back over to the table and found the card he left. It was grimy and covered in lots of number and funny figures. I kept it with me. I went and got the books he told me about. It was hard work, but it finally started to make sense. There was a really good one, Quantum Physics for Dummies, which helped a lot. Since I was a heavy drinker to begin with, that part wasn’t hard. I studied those equations real hard every time I got drunk. One lonely winter night it happened. I was in a bar in North Dakota with four feet of snow on the ground and the wind blowing like a banshee from hell. Nobody was there but the bartender and me. I gave him a couple of hundred bucks to keep the drinks coming. I pumped the juke box full of quarters, and picked all the sad songs I could find. I studied the card from the old guy, along with some notes I made from my own studies. The music was so depressing, I needed to go somewhere. Things got real fuzzy and I felt it start to happen. I went through the same thing he did. But when I woke up, things weren’t all that much better. I was lying naked in back of a bar, getting rousted by a cop. It was sunny and warm, so that was better.
CAMPBELL: Hell anyplace is better than North Dakota in the winter!
KELLY: Turns out I was in Fort Lauderdale. The cops hauled me off to jail and found me some clothes to wear. They let me out later that same day with a promise to appear. I went back to the bar and spoke to some of the people that knew me. I had been playing at that bar and had gotten stinkin’ drunk after the final set. I went out back for a smoke, but never came back. They figured I passed out in the alley. The band I was playing with really didn’t care for me, so they just left me at the bar. I found out where I lived and went there. It was a hovel let me tell you; at least I found a couple of nice guitars in all of that mess. I cleaned up the place and started living my new life. I started to have a good time and my music got better and better. I started doing Jimmy Buffett cover songs at some of the local watering holes. I got so good I even met Jimmy Buffett. He had heard about my songs and came down to hear me. I opened for him a couple of time he was in Florida.”
ART: Opened? Where? Is this the same Jimmy Buffett that you claimed helped you write a lot of your songs? And what the hell are you talking about? Stuff like that doesn’t happen. It ain’t real. You’ve gotta be pullin’ my leg.
KELLY: No. Jimmy Buffett was a really big deal where I originally came from and almost as big in the next world.
ART: Well, let’s say I believe you. Why didn’t you stay there? You seemed to have it good. What made you leave?
KELLY: I never met the right woman, and my music was doing alright, but not good enough for me. So I figure I’d try it one more time.
CAMPBELL: And you wound up here?
KELLY: Yep. And it’s been great. That’s why I didn’t do any real drinking. I didn’t want to take the chance of losing it all.
ART: Well, that’s a hell of a tale, son. I guess you’ve got a book coming out that details all of this, right?
KELLY: No, but I do want to thank all of my fans for all of the good times we’ve had together. I really came to say good bye to everyone.
ART: What do you mean “good bye”? Where are you going? You’re not planning anything stupid, are you?
KELLY: No, I just need to move on to a better world. I’m going to try to find my wife. I’ve cancelled all the rest of my tour dates. My band will reform without me and keep going; they’ll get all the money I’ve made and do alright.
ART: What? You’re giving them all of your money? Are you crazier than I thought?
KELLY: Remember, when I go I can’t take anything with me. The money won’t travel, just my memories.
CAMPBELL: Hell, Kelly, leave some for me!
ART: I really don’t know how to take all of this, Kelly. Maybe you need some professional help.
KELLY: No, I just need to go. I’ll be fine and I’ll find my lady, no matter where she is. It might take a dozen trips or more, but as long as my liver holds up I’ll keep looking.
ART: Damn. Well, I guess there ain’t much I can do to talk you out of this, is there?
KELLY: Sorry, Art. I figure it’ll take me a couple of weeks to set my affairs in order and head out. So, thanks for having me on your show. I’ve really enjoyed meeting you and Campbell.
CAMPBELL: Are you sure you have the spelling of my name right, Kelly? I’d hate to have you make a mistake when you write me that big fat check!
ART: Just shut up and play the song!
CAMPBELL: Here it is, folks, Kelly McGuire’s latest hit. And you heard it first on KBUC.
[CUE SONG: I’M GONNA CRAWL THROUGH THE HOLE THAT MAX FOUND]
Shortly after this interview, Kelly McGuire became a recluse, unable or unwilling to continue his career. Police responded to a disturbance call at his home a month later, and found the house empty. His neighbors complained he was drunk, playing loud music, and whooping it up real bad. To this day, Kelly McGuire has not been seen. If you or anyone you know has seen any trace of Mr. McGuire, please call our national Missing Celebrity Hotline, 1-800 – FINDELVIS.
Yes, Virginia, there really IS a Kelly McGuire!!!!
Previously published in M-Brane SF #5, June 2009. All Rights Reserved.