The Bitter Side of Wynter

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Chapter 3

Perion kept up her schedule at both jobs with little difficulty. When the band returned to rehearsal, Lein was not around. Ronnie had temporarily stepped in and taken his place. No one was more grateful for that than Perion. After the band was satisfied with their rehearsal, they decided to call it quits for the day.

Before they could leave, Ronnie pulled Perion off to herself, away from the others. She knew what was he was about to say, but she wanted to play dumb. Playing dumb was better than accepting the truth.

“What’s up,” she asked innocently.

“Look, I don’t know what’s really going on between you and Lein, and it’s not my business. Whatever it is, it has messed him up enough where he can’t do this. I can step in and make sure your demo gets heard or gets to a company. But I don’t know if they’ll work with me in the same capacity when you’re signed. Some execs will only work with the actual manager, not a stand-in. I assume you haven’t fired him, yet, or I wouldn’t be here.”

She sighed. “No, we haven’t, but I think we will as soon as we get a company interested in us. We still need some kind of professional guidance. Let me say this, what happened was a one time thing, and seeing him only reminds me of it every day. Letting him go will be best for us both. I’m sorry you’re in this position. You can back off whenever you want. I’ll understand.”

He shook his head. “No way, I’ll stick around and see you through. I know a thing or three about this business,” he said jokingly, “and you’re right, you need a guide. We can’t let personal bullshit shatter everything you’ve all worked your asses off for.”

After his and Perion’s brief conversation, Ronnie unofficially became the acting manager, filling Lein’s shoes wherever he could. In the meantime, Bitter Wynter swiftly became the biggest draw at Heavy Metal Thunder since Hard Axe.

As David Cochran had done with Hard Axe, he invited several A & R people from various record companies across Los Angeles. Since Lein was not around, Cochran introduced them all to Ronnie. He was prepared, to say the least. Whenever he shook hands with a new scout, Ronnie would also stuff a copy of Bitter Wynter’s demo package into the person’s hands. They each promised to give it a listen after the show. Ronnie also made sure Hard Axe’s label received the package as well.

Right before the band performed that evening, Ronnie sat at a VIP table with Cochran. “Well, Dave, about a dozen of those record dudes has the demo,” he said, sighing.

Cochran nodded. “Yeah, I noticed you pushing. I hope at least one listens.”

“They won’t need to. All they’ll have to do is hear them live tonight,” an approaching voice said.

Ronnie and Cochran both turned to look in the direction of the voice. It was Lein. “Hey, you showed up,” Ronnie spat out, pleased.

Lein shrugged and sat down. “I couldn’t miss out on A & R night. I know these guys usually like to keep a band hanging. Shit, remember, Saturn kept us on the line a month before signing us! Maybe Bitter Wynter will get lucky tonight, maybe they’ll get snatched up.”

“Bro, how are you doing,” Ronnie stage-whispered to Lein.

Lein knew exactly what his brother was getting at. He shrugged again. “I’ll be fine.”

As the band hit the stage, transfixing Lein, Ronnie wasn’t so sure. After Bitter Wynter’s set, Lein left. Ronnie was headed backstage, and he didn’t want to be around. When Ronnie arrived backstage, the girls were swamped with fans. He stood back and smiled as they signed autographs and posed for pictures.

When the crowd died down a little, Ronnie took them into their dressing room and locked the door behind him. “I got your demo out to about twelve execs from different record companies. Standard procedure dictates they’ll keep you hanging for a month, maybe two, before they’re ready to talk deals,” Ronnie said.

“Shit,” Randi blurt. “We’ve got to sweat it out for a month?”

He sighed. “I’m afraid so. I don’t know, maybe it’s their idea of torture.”

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