29 January 2016

The Conclusion of Oedipus Ram


OEDIPUS RAM ENDPIECE

OEDIPUS RAM
A Toon Tragedy
inspired by Sophocles' Oedipus Rex
Directed, Staged and Written by
DC Hampton Jacobs
Original Characters and Archie Fan Art Images
Created and Drawn by
Stuffed Animal

THE PLAYERS:
Donna Dante, the wife
Saddam Sharma, the father
Haslam Bey, the manager
Hillary Joon, the mistress
Jeff June, the youngest son
Xerxes Ng, the remix engineer
Hilo Herbie, the college buddy
Puddy Tat Tambo, the other college buddy
Roxanne Venegas, the daughter
Vijay Sharma, the eldest son
Gynger Ming, the keyboard player
and the legend
Ramsay Khalid Sharma

SYNOPSIS:
It is the year 2082. Ramsay Khalid Sharma, a top Asian Pop star of the 2060s, has died. A highly gifted singer, actor, dancer, arranger, composer and multi-instrumentalist, he first knew fame as a member of The New Archies.  After the group disbanded, he found success as a Bollywood soundtrack producer. He transitioned into a stellar solo singing career; later, he won critical acclaim as an indie film leading man. Ram Sharma was a unique recording artist in that his Retro Pop songs were often sung from an explicitly female viewpoint; women responded most strongly to this innovation. From 2065-72, he scored a string of top-selling albums and dance club downloads. Ram also became a major sex symbol during this period; his nude images proliferated on screen, in print and online. Drug abuse halted his ascent in the 2070s, but dude roared back up the charts @ decade's end with a new club hit. A highly-praised TV role and a smash comeback album followed in quick succession. His cocaine-related death came on the eve of a sold-out comeback tour. Ram committed suicide, but that fact is kept from the public by his grieving widow, singer and actress Donna Dante.

CONCLUSION:
JOY

BIRTH OF A LEGEND

Vox 82-393847
Every Ounce Of Strength (Cropper, Hayes, Porter) 
w/Chutney Rose
Dody (Crewe, Gaudio)*
Gonna Get Along Without You Now! (Milton Kellem)*
Different Drum (Michael Nesmith) w/Chutney Rose
On The Beach (Marvin, Richard, Welch) w/Clitoris Club*
Love Is A Hurtin’ Thing (Linden, Raleigh)
Baby, You’re My Kind Of Woman (Foxx, Williams) w/Puppy Posse
Baby, Be Mine (Barry, Greenwich, Venet) w/The Cabana Boys**
Stoney End (Laura Nyro) w/The Carmines
The House Where Love Died (Baker, Felder, Harris)***
Last Chance To Turn Around (Bruno, Kahan, Millrose)
w/Chutney Rose
Alternate Version: Gimme Some Lovin’ (Davis, Winwood)****
I Won’t Tell (Crewe, Gaudio)*
Shining Star (Bailey, Dunn, White) w/Prism Bytch****
The Lights Of Night (Crewe, Weiss)*
All The Hits!!!
Ram
A QZ Production
Produced by Ramsay Khalid Sharma
*Produced by Chaiwat
**Produced by The Cabaña Boys
***Produced by Hillary Joon
****Produced by Quincy Zen
*****Produced by Dancing Squirrel
Sound Produced by Xerxes
Project Coordinator:
Coco Hoyas
released in Asia
2082

The scandal surrounding Ram’s death won’t die down for months. It will fuel sales of a hits compilation released, amazingly, on the same day he dies! Vox Sound + Image executives will be accused of exploiting his demise, but they are in fact blameless; the release date is pure coincidence.

However, that won’t stop them profiting big-time from monster sales!  By now, Vox has purchased Ram's back catalog; the price is hefty, but the company will recoup its investment several times over.  All The Hits!!! tops the Pan-Asian Pop Album chart for twelve weeks, stays lodged in the Top Ten for eleven months, and won’t drop off the Catalog album list until the year 2110! It will be the most successful Asian album release of the 21st century.  Most of its 14 selections go into heavy rotation on Retro satellite radio, and they’ll remain on the oldies playlist for decades.

The day before Sikh funeral rites are held, Donna Dante receives an unexpected telephone call: It’s from Saddam Sharma, her husband’s estranged father! At first, she is chilly to him; after all, he shunned his son and daughter-in-law for decades.  However, upon finding Saddam genuinely grief-stricken and contrite, her attitude softens.

“I pushed my son away,” he confesses. “I saw him and everyone else through a fundamentalist haze. It took many years for me to see clearly, and to confront my own failings as a husband and father. My wife left me, and my son fell prey to drug addiction. Now both of them are gone . . . it’s too late to make amends!”

Saddam Sharma will have settled in Spain.  In 2078, he renounces radical Islam and joins a progressive mosque.  With help from his new Muslim community, Saddam finds a living wage job and lifts himself up out of homelessness.  After several more years of struggle, he learns to manage his alcoholism and HIV status. By the year 2081, dude will be a changed man!

During Ramadan, he meets a half-Jewish Muslim @ an iftar dinner: Haslam Bey!  His son’s ex-manager is now living in Barcelona. Saddam is shocked to the core: "How does a Jew become a Muslim?" Haslam smiles @ the well-worn question and replies: "I never wasn't a Muslim. I was born to mixed-faith parents and grew up learning both faith traditions." 

"That must have been . . . interesting," the former radical jihadist muses. "I couldn't begin to tell you!" Haslam laughs. "But when I was old enough for Bar Mitzvah, my parents let me choose which path to go forward on. I knew Islam was the right one," he sighs, "but acceptance from my Muslim brethren has never come easy."

Haslam is curious about Saddam's surname; inevitably, they learn that they have Ramsay Khalid Sharma in common.  The two men agree: "We must have been destined to meet!" They become friends and much to the elder Sharma's surprise, they begin dating. A year later, they’re living together!

With Haslam’s encouragement, Saddam finds courage to finally come out of the closet. “Here I am in my eighties,” he marvels. “A former fundamentalist imam, now a progressive Gay Muslim in love with a younger man of Jewish heritage.  Me, the ex-terrorist!  And would you believe I’ve never been happier?”

SADDAM SHARMA HAPPY @ LAST

After learning of his son's drug problem from Haslam, Saddam will want to reach out to him; but like everyone else who seeks Ram in the late '70s, he'll have no success. Dody invites the elder Sharma to join her and the children @ Antam Sanskaar, the Sikh burial service. With a huge lump in his throat, Saddam assists in setting the funeral pyre alight. Sikhs don't mourn death: They celebrate the end of life, but he can’t hold back the tears as flames reduce his son’s body to ashes!

The man Dody begins calling Dada (Punjabi for "grandfather") ends up staying in Mumbai for a month; he and his daughter-in-law become close, making up for lost time. Gradually, Saddam Sharma also bonds with his grandchildren, Vijay and Roxanne. When he and Haslam Bey marry up a year after Ram’s death, the extended family he once disowned attends the wedding.  Thirteen-year-old Roxanne will give her Dada away!

Like most stars who succumb to drug addiction, Ramsay Khalid Sharma will leave behind substantial debt. What creditors don’t claim is divided between his wife and his (known) children. Hillary Joon gets something, too, but she’ll be far from happy with the amount!

During Ram’s disappearance, Donna Dante will have quietly made child support payments to his mistress. From the time he returns home until four years after he dies, Dody will maintain cordial relations with Hillary; but in 2086, the baby mama markets a tell-all book about her five-year affair with the Rad Asian Manchild.

HILLARY BRINGS THE SIZZLE

I Got Rammed! will paint a highly unflattering portrait of the star; confirm his love of BDSM sex; publicly disclose his HIV status for the first time; and aim several vicious barbs @ his wife. "Dody was an evil c*nt!" Hillary writes. "Ram never loved her; how could he? She's half-Nigerian, not beautiful like Asian women are.  He told me he regretted marrying a Black girl.  The two of them were like oil and water, but we were a perfect match! I certainly never tried to control him like she did." The star-f*cker will make a mint off her book, but the price she pays is complete ostracism from the Sharma family!

Happily, such will not be the case with Geoffrey Joon, Hillary's son with Ram. Geoff bonds with his stepmother, and in a strange parallel to her relationship with his father, music is the tie that binds them.  Vijay and Roxanne Sharma both sing, but Geoff inherits the lion’s share of musical talent: His baritone voice is almost identical to Ram’s! 

On the 10th anniversary of his death, satellite channel Wavelens India will air a dramatization of the star’s life.  The vocals heard on the soundtrack belong to his youngest son. Donna Dante will produce that soundtrack, which launches Jeff June (Geoffrey’s professional name) on a long career as a session musician.

IN HIS FATHER'S FOOTSTEPS

Ramsay Khalid Sharma will reclaim stardom at the end of his life. After his demise, the process of becoming a legend begins. Suddenly, his name and image are everywhere: On T-shirts, baseball caps, posters, computer wallpaper. Cars begin sporting “Asian Pride” and “It’s Healthy 2 B Sikh” bumper stickers with Ram’s picture. In major Asian cities, graffiti artists scrawl the phrase RAM LIVES far and wide! The first of many Ramsay Khalid Sharma biographies is issued and sells faster than hot griddlecakes.

Vox Sound + Image licenses out several Ram ringtones for download. The most popular parade balloon @ Mumbai’s Gay Pride 2083 displays Ram's image: The huge latex figure wears nothing but a turban, jock briefs and cowboy boots as he did in his most popular Scopie video.  Beneath the effigy is a parade float carrying three tiers of drag kings; all sporting Ram's familar goatee as well as colorful Hawaiian garb, the butch Lesbians wiggle and sway to his 2070 hit "Baby, Be Mine."

 That same year, Bollywood honors its one-time soundtrack king with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Accepting on his behalf, Donna Dante steps to the podium of Sivaswamy Auditorium to warm applause. When she identifies herself as “Mrs. Ramsay Khalid Sharma”, the capacity crowd roars its approval and gives her a thunderous five-minute standing ovation!

Inevitably, there’s new Ram vinyl to buy. In 2084, Donna Dante approves the release of an album titled Sharmante.  "Aside from a couple of duets we cut for his albums," she notes, "this is the only document of my husband and I as a performing duo."  The new album's contents are the long-forgotten demos they cut in 2058-9. 

Performing on stage, the pair would come across as a novelty act, evoking the likes of Sonny + Cher or Ike +Tina Turner.  As a live act, Sharmante won't have an identity of its own; but that identity finally emerges on the LP.  Ram and Dody together are a unique synthesis of Punk, Folk and Adult Pop influences. Their edgy renditions of 1970’s and ‘80s classics like “Because The Night,” “Instant Karma” and “Keep It Confidential” draw rapturous reviews!

THE SHARMANTE ALBUM

Vox 84-20843
Timothy (Rupert Holmes)
Red Wine + Whisky (Kimberly Rew) - Donna Dante
Because The Night (Smith, Springsteen)
The Last Time (Jagger, Richards)
The Hardest Part (Harry, Stein) - Donna Dante
Goodbye, Charlie (Burton, Sawyer) - Donna Dante
In The Winter (Janis Ian) - Ram
Never-Ending Song of Love (Delaney Bramlett)
And I Betcha (Barnes, Clinton, Lindsey)
In The Dark (Billy Squier) - Donna Dante
Dressed In Black (Gormann, Michaels, Morton) - Ram
Instant Karma (John Lennon) - Ram
Keep It Confidential (Foley, Greenwich, Kent)
Daniel (John, Taupin) - Ram
The Sharmante Album
Sharmante
A QZ Production
Music Supervision:
Donna Dante
Music Directed by
Ramsay Khalid Sharma
Sound Produced by Xerxes
Recorded @ DALEKtable Sound Studios, Bangkok
Remixed @ Zen Studios, Casablanca
Executive Producers:
Coco + Quincy Zen
worldwide release
2084

There are solo performances among the demos as well. Donna Dante bears down on Katrina + The Waves' “Red Wine + Whisky,” scorches a path through Blondie’s “The Hardest Part” and kicks mucho ass on Billy Squier’s “In The Dark.” Even though @ this early stage Ram hasn’t yet claimed his own voice, his imitations of David Lee Roth, Bruce Springsteen and Barry White are amazing! Critics also marvel @ his masterful way with ballads five years before distinguishing himself as a balladeer. Ram's heart-rending version of Janis Ian's "In The Winter" is posthumously nominated for a Best Male Vocalist Pan-Asian Pop Award.

His chilling remake of The Shangri-Las’ “Dressed In Black” gets as much attention: It will be prominently featured in a Turkish revival of “Dark Shadows”, the famous gothic American soap opera. "In The Winter", "Dressed In Black" and the other demos are remixed to a glossy sheen by Zen Studios' audio wizard, Xerxes Ng. Sharmante lodges firmly on critics' Top Ten release lists for the year 2084; it becomes a best-seller in Europe, and also proves to be Ram's breakthrough album in the USA.

Early in 2085, Vox releases two previously-unheard Asiacore remixes by Ram and Avis Poindexter. They feature on a new remix collection called Archie: Re*Loaded! Six of Ram's Hits Of The Sixties productions are included as well. 

Of ten Get It On Today album tracks he'll plan on remixing in 2082, he only finishes "Hey, Boy (The Girl's In Love With You") and the title track. After his comeback album takes Asia by storm, the project is put on indefinite hold; but three years later, those forgotten mixes surface alongside newer ones by cutting-edge deejays Jed Blues, Heather French and Nyna Sixa Kloxx. Archie Re*Loaded! tops catalog album charts around the world, threatening to unleash a second wave of Archiemania more manic than the first!

ARCHIE: RE*LOADED!

A batch of Ramsay Khalid Sharma soundtracks drops in time for the 2085 holiday shopping season. These maiden reissues are for films he appeared in; his Bollywood scores will resurface later in the ‘80s. Bonedaddy Beach, Love Is A Hurtin’ Thing and the legendary flop Bitter Tea of General Yen come tumbling onto the market one after the other. Much to everyone’s surprise, Bitter Tea scores the most downloads; but all three generate healthy sales!

SOUNDTRACK POTPOURRI

Vox 85-111978
Love Is A Hurtin’ Thing (Linden, Raleigh) - theme
Sweet Ride (Lee Hazlewood) - theme, w/Chutney Rose
Barbarella (Crewe, Fox) - theme*
Ride The Wild Surf (Berry, Christian, Wilson) 
- theme, w/The Cabaña Boys**
Lila (Jeff Barry) - from Kitten With A Whip, w/Lexxideath***
Hurt So Bad (Hart, Randazzo, Weinstein) 
- from Love Is A Hurtin’ Thing
Baby, Be Mine (Barry, Greenwich, Venet) 
- from Bonedaddy Beach, w/The Cabaña Boys**
On The Beach (Marvin, Richard, Welch) 
- from Wonderful Life, w/Clitoris Club*
The Look Of Love (Bacharach, David) 
- from Casino Royale, w/Chutney Rose
Baby, The Rain Must Fall (Bernstein, Sheldon) 
- theme, w/Chutney Rose
The House Where Love Died (Baker, Felder, Harris) 
- from Chez Mort d'Amour, English version****
Bitter Tea (Dawn, Dusk, Sharma) 
- theme, duet w/Donna Dante****
Wasn’t It You? (Goffin, King) 
- from Kitten With A Whip, w/Lexxideath***
The Corrupt Ones (Garvarentz, Kaye) 
- from The Peking Medallion, w/Chutney Rose
(Theme from) Hawaii 5-0
(Hilton, Stevens, Tambo) 
Hawaiian vocal w/The Cabaña Boys**
Greatest Movie Songs
Ram
A QZ Production
Produced by Ramsay Khalid Sharma
*Produced by Chaiwat
**Produced by The Cabaña Boys
***Produced by Lexxideath + Andy Yoshida
****Produced by Hillary Joon
Album Compiled by
The Cabaña Boys
Sound Produced by Xerxes
Remastered @ Zen Studios, Casablanca
Executive Producers:
Coco + Quincy Zen
released in Asia
2085

Vox Sound + Image augments these releases with a compilation of movie hits: Not only selections from Ram’s movies, but also songs he cut for albums and singles that originated in movies, like “The Look Of Love” and “Barbarella.” Two of four unreleased sides The Cabaña Boys cut with him in 2072 feature in the track lineup; so does “Baby, Be Mine”, their earlier production from Bonedaddy Beach. Hilo Herbie and Puddy Tat Tambo will compile the Greatest Movie Songs collection, and its liner notes overflow with warm memories of their late friend.

RAD ASIAN MANCHILD COVER

Vox 02-934889-4
Everything Under The Sun (Crewe, Knight, Sharma) 
- Thai version, w/Donna Dante
Gonna Get Along Without You Now! (Milton Kellem)*
Love Is A Rose (Neil Young) w/The Carmines
Every Ounce Of Strength (Cropper, Hayes, Porter) w/Chutney Rose
Stoney End (Laura Nyro) w/The Carmines
Lila (Jeff Barry) - from Kitten With A Whip, w/Lexxideath**

Angel Of The Morning (Bon Soir, Gorgoni, Taylor) 
- Vietnamese version, w/The Carmines
Up And Over (Crewe, Knight)*
Sweet Ride (Lee Hazlewood) w/Chutney Rose
And When I Die (Laura Nyro) w/The Carmines
Beach Girl (Johnston, Melcher) w/Clitoris Club*
María Elena (Tony Hazzard) 
- extended version, w/The Utah Symphony

02-9348890-4
Different Drum (Michael Nesmith) w/Chutney Rose
Baby, You’re My Kind Of Woman (Foxx, Williams) w/Puppy Posse
I Can’t Let Go! (Gorgoni, Taylor) w/Chutney Rose
I Found Someone (Bolton, Joon, Marlette) 
- Korean version
Dody (Crewe, Gaudio)*
Keep On Tryin' (Van McCoy) w/The New Archies***

Love Is A Hurtin’ Thing (Linden, Raleigh, Yoshida) 
- theme, Japanese version
If I Never Get To Love You (Bacharach, David) 
w/The Utah Symphony
Solitaire (Clemenceau, Warren)
Try A Little Kindness (Austin, Sapaugh) w/The Carmines
Teardrop By Teardrop (Bob Halley) w/Chutney Rose
Help Me, Rhonda (Brian Wilson) 
- vocal version, w/The Cabaña Boys****

RAD ASIAN MANCHILD INSERTS

02-9348891-4
I Wish I’d Never Loved You (Hawker, Raymonde) 
w/Chutney Rose
Last Chance To Turn Around (Bruno, Kahan, Millrose, Sharma) 
- Punjabi version, w/The Utah Symphony
I Won’t Tell (Crewe, Gaudio)*
Shining Star (Bailey, Dunn, White) 
- unreleased studio version w/Prism Bytch*****
He’s Got Something (Lynch, Samwell) w/Chutney Rose
Baby, Be Mine (Barry, Greenwich, Venet) 
- unreleased club mix, w/The Cabaña Boys****

Barbarella (Crewe, Fox) - extended version*
Ghost In My House (Dozier, Holland, Taylor) - live in Tokyo
Baby, The Rain Must Fall (Bernstein, Naluai, Sheldon) 
- Tahitian version, w/Chutney Rose
Gloria (Bigazzi, Tozzi, Veitch)
Gimme Some Lovin’ (Davis, Winwood) - w/Scramble******
Wasn’t It You? (Goffin, King) - from Kitten With A Whip, w/Lexxideath**
Goin’ Back (Goffin, King) w/Chutney Rose

02-9348892-4
The Flim Flam Man (Laura Nyro) w/The Carmines
Don’t Worry, Baby (Christian, Wilson) w/Clitoris Club*
On The Beach (Marvin, Richard, Welch) w/Clitoris Club*
Spanish Eddie (Cochran, Palmer, Swansea) - Filipino version
Angélique (Mann, Weil)
The Lights Of Night (Crewe, Weiss)*

Secret Asian Man 
(Barri, Bunyasam, Sharma, Sloan) w/Prism Bytch*****
A Long, Long Time (Chan, Huong, White) 
- Chinese version, w/The Carmines
Hurt So Bad (Hart, Randazzo, Wilding) 
- extended version, from Love Is A Hurtin’ Thing
There’s No Livin’ Without Your Lovin’ (Harris, Kaufman) 
w/The Utah Symphony
Baby, Don’t You Know? (Kaye, Verdi) w/Chutney Rose
Watch Where You Walk (Crewe, Gaudio)*
Dance The Night Away! (Van Halen) - w/The Cabaña Boys****
Rad Asian Manchild
A Musical Celebration
Ram
A QZ Production
Produced by Ramsay Khalid Sharma
*Produced by Chaiwat
**Produced by Lexxideath + Andy Yoshida
***Produced by Lana Suzuki
****Produced by The Cabaña Boys
*****Produced by Avis Poindexter
******Produced by Quincy Zen
Album Compiled by
Vijay Sharma + Roxanne Venegas
Sound Produced by Xerxes
Remastered @ Zen Studios, Casablanca
Project Coordinator:
Mohandas Flynn
Executive Producer:
Coco Zen
released in Asia
2102

Other posthumous releases of note include the all-instrumental Love Shine Down, an aborted follow-up to Ram’s 2065 Dusty Springfield tribute; Live In Liverpool, a disappointingly mediocre document of his Punk Rock years; and Ramsongs, which will be hailed as his first vocal album with all-original material. Unfortunately, it’s a collection of weak 2074-5 song demos co-written by Bitter Tea lyricist Vanessa Dusk. Vandanna the Witch’s long-ago prediction will be proven wrong on just one count: Pop songwriting is a creative endeavor @ which Ramsay Khalid Sharma will never excel.

ASIAN SEX SYMBOL

All of Ram’s studio albums are reissued, and there’ll be any number of compilations over the years. However, the most significant releases won’t appear until after the year 2100. That’s when Asian fans will be treated to Rad Asian Manchild, a four-record box set of Santi Music club mixes, album tracks and rarities; while North America sees the first legitimate release of Hot Stuff, documenting Ram’s acclaimed 2074 Burning Man concert. Avis Poindexter does the remixing. Ram’s grown children by Donna Dante, Vijay Sharma and Roxanne Venegas, will help produce both of these gems!

LIVE @ BURNING MAN

Gone Music GSC-2135
Hot Stuff (Bellotte, Faltermeyer, Forsey)
No Time! (Bachman, Cummings)
Long Cool Woman (Clarke, Cook, Greenaway)
You May Be Right (Billy Joel)
Shining Star (Bailey, Dunn, White)
Rock The Casbah (The Clash)
Magic Carpet Ride (Kay, Moreve)
Runnin’ On Empty (Jackson Browne)
Rhythm Nation (Harris, Jackson, Lewis)
Last Chance To Turn Around (Bruno, Kahan, Millrose)
The Lights Of Night (Crewe, Weiss)
Hot Stuff!
Live @ Burning Man
Ram with Prism Bytch
A Burning Man Production
Music Direction:
Ramsay Khalid Sharma
Sound Produced by Dancing Squirrel
Additional Production + Remix:
Avis Poindexter
Album Project Consultant:
Roxanne Venegas
Recorded @ 2074 Burning Man Festival, Black Rock City
Remixed @ Archie Sound Studios (ASS), Mamaroneck
released in North America
2102

By then, Dody will have joined her husband in the great beyond.  In the year 2094, she’ll suffer a serious fall in her home and never recover from it. Preceding her in death will be other New Archies alumni: Lana Suzuki in 2087 and Mal Hypster in 2091.  Long-departed members Garcy Briseño and Frankie Fujiyama will both bow out in 2093. Rikki Ninja will survive them all, living to the ripe old age of 106!  However, Donna Dante will live long enough to see Ram win the honor she most wanted for him: Election to the Pan-Asian Pop Hall of Fame!

It happens in 2089 @ a gala ceremony held in Bangkok, the city of his birth. Some of the world’s greatest musicians and performers of Asian heritage attend the event. No small number of those stars cite Ramsay Khalid Sharma as either an inspiration, an influence, or both. The youngest of them rock newly-renovated Thailand Cultural Centre to the beat of his big hits: “Different Drum”. “Dody”. “Last Chance To Turn Around”.  “Gimme Some Lovin’”. “Gonna Get Along Without You Now!”  Yet it’s aging diva Gynger Ming (Ram’s one-time keyboard player) who tears the roof off with her superb rendition of “I Wish I’d Never Loved You”!

PAN-ASIAN POP HALL OF FAME INDUCTION

Just before Ram is officially inducted, three musically-gifted members of his family take center stage.  They perform a medley of hits: Dody takes the first lead vocal on “Tonight, You’re Gonna Fall In Love With Me.”  The crowd goes wild!  Vijay Sharma then does the honors on “Baby, You’re My Kind Of Woman”.  Despite a singing voice very different from his dad's, he delivers a Rock-solid version of this club favorite.  The finale is sung by none other than Saddam Sharma! 

"I love every song my son recorded," Saddam tells the crowd, "but this one touches my heart more than any other.  I know I can never do it justice, but with your permission, I'll try.  May I sing for you?"  The strains of “The Lights Of Night” fill the massive hall, and there are gasps of awe as Saddam’s sonorous bass voice begins to resonate:

Turn on the lights of night! Every star above,
Lead me from wrong to right.
From darkness to your love,
Turn on the lights of night.*

The source of the Rad Asian Manchild’s stellar singing talent is finally known to the world.

RAM LIVES!

RAM LIVES UNCENSORED


The artwork of OEDIPUS RAM was inspired by:

Roy Crane, creator of "Captain Easy"
Chester Gould, creator of "Dick Tracy"
Clarence Matthew "Matt" Baker, 
the first known Gay comic artist, graphic novel pioneer, 
and cheesecake artist extraordinaire
Jiraiya and Seizou Ebisubashi,
erotic manga artists extraordinaire
Michael William Kaluta, 
the best artist ever to draw "The Shadow"
Nick Cardy, the best artist ever to draw "Teen Titans"
Harry Lucey, Archie Comics artist extraordinaire
Bob Montana, co-creator of "Archie"
Reed Crandall, Lou Fine and Mort Meskin
master craftsmen from the Eisner/Iger Studio
Technicolor Processes 2 + 3 (1922-30)
vintage pulp magazine cover art
and cartoons produced under the supervision of
Max + Dave Fleischer

This serialized cartoon tragedy is dedicated to the memory of the great Stanley Robert "Bob" Crewe: Songwriter, producer, music business entrepreneur, LGBT icon and visual artist. Dude was so much more than just producer for Frankie Valli + The Four Seasons! Ramsay Khalid Sharma topped the charts with a fanciful album full of his classic Rock songs, and it's easy to imagine a recording artist doing that in real life.  The photo below appears courtesy of George Showerer, Crewe's longtime sound engineer.

Bob Crewe Red

The working conditions under which OEDIPUS RAM was conceived are as tragic as its storyline: The writer/artist is a homeless man (not by choice) with few work spaces and no storage space available to him.  Most of the original artwork for this graphic novel no longer exists; it was either lost or destroyed.  All of the drawings you see were done either in Boston homeless shelters or @ public libraries in Boston, Chelsea and Cambridge, Massachusetts.

OEDIPUS RAM wouldn't have been possible without moral and sometimes financial support from five generous people: Phil X. Milstein, Dr. Lester E. Blue, Jr, Nancy C. Coleman, Shirley Fickett and Michael V. Skeen.  DC Hampton Jacobs would also like to thank Chuck Tackett, Roderick Mack and Dr. Jerry Maneker for moral support.

SANTI BOX SET PHOTO BOOKLET

*Excerpt from “The Lights Of Night”, words by Bob Crewe, music by Larry Weiss.
Ⓒ Copyright 1969 EMI Longitude Music (BMI).

28 January 2016

A Tribute to The Fabulous Shirelles: Oedipus Ram, Act Nine


OEDIPUS RAM MIDPIECE 4

OEDIPUS RAM
A Toon Tragedy
inspired by Sophocles' Oedipus Rex
Directed, Staged and Written by
DC Hampton Jacobs
Original Characters and Fan Art Images
Created and Drawn by
Stuffed Animal

THE PLAYERS:
Donna Dante, the wife
Chaiwat Bunyasam, the sound engineer
Quincy Zen, the record producer
Coco Hoyas, the associate producer
Radni Luck, the TV director
Avis Poindexter, the fan
Rikki Ninja, the arranger
Sonny Yin-Bao, the compilation producer
Hilo Herbie, the college buddy
Puddy Tat Tambo, the other college buddy
The White Lady
and the star
Ramsay Khalid Sharma

ACT NINE:
SHAME

SYNOPSIS:
Ramsay Khalid Sharma, an Asian Pop superstar of the 2060s, has fallen far from the heights of fame: Addicted to drugs, the actor/singer has made himself a pariah, both on movie sets and in the recording studio. Having alienated his friends and become estranged from his wife, Ram fills the void with cocaine and designer drugs. Dude contracts HIV while whoring for crack and unwittingly infects his mistress; yet he recklessly continues to sell his body. One terrible night, he steals money from a drunk john he picks up in Paris. Rifling the man's wallet, he's horrified to discover that he's just had sex with his own father! Ram and Saddam Sharma had not communicated for decades; with both of their minds muddled by addiction, father and son tragically failed to recognize each other. Subsequently, Ram enters a prolonged dark period he may never emerge from.

Ramsay Khalid Sharma won't remember much of what he does from the years 2077 to 2079. His friends won't know anything about him, either; he seems to drop off the face of the earth! When his child support payments stop coming, Hillary Joon can’t find him. He doesn't answer phone calls, and his social media connections go silent. Not even his wife knows where he is. During this period, the Rad Asian Manchild is feared dead; for that reason and others, his name is on many lips in the late 2070s.

GIMME SOME LOVIN'

Santi Music SMX-4589
Gimme Some Lovin’ (Davis, Winwood) w/Ram
There But For The Grace Of God (Darnell, Nance)
The Jam Was Movin' (Edwards, Rodgers)
My Jamaican Guy (Grace Jones)
Gimme Some Lovin’
Scramble
A QZ Production
Produced by Quincy Zen
Remixed by Xerxes
released worldwide

In 2078, three years after it was recorded, Santi Music releases “Gimme Some Lovin’.” It becomes the biggest international dance hit of the summer! Then in late summer, a daring new reality show debuts: “BDSM Playhouse” combines the familiar dating game format with bondage and discipline scenarios. Wildly popular, it uses Ram’s version of “Hurt So Bad” as its theme song. That autumn, three major Bollywood movies, Raga Rock Star, Rice Paper Confessions and My Yogi Is A Zombie feature his club mixes on their soundtracks.

For the holiday season, Netflix India releases his first two films, Love Is A Hurtin’ Thing and The Sins Of Sanjay Singh; they become Top Ten movie downloads. In the spring of 2079, Bangalore rapper Kid Shiva creates a hit rhyme about Ram called “Me So Sharma!” As it climbs the charts, Japanese Rolling Stone publishes a feature article: Ramuzei Wa Dokudesu Ka (Where Is Ram)?

The Rad Asian Manchild finally resurfaces mid-year.  It takes Archiemania to draw him out of his self-imposed exile! Tributes to The Archies are held around the world all during the 2070s; one of the biggest events on the Asian continent is held in Singapore. Former New Archies member Donna Dante is among the stars invited to perform. 

She won’t have sung in public for a good many years, but her hard-rocking rendition of “Hold On, Baby” shows that she’s lost none of her fire! As wild applause fills Shine Auditorium, the master of ceremonies runs out on stage. “We have a surprise special guest,” he announces breathlessly. “Ramsay Khalid Sharma!”

When her estranged husband makes his entrance, Dody is shocked @ his appearance: So thin and feeble, he’s all but unrecognizable! "Can that really be him?” she gasps. "He's like a shadow of himself!" Ram isn’t the same kind of performer he used to be, either: Dude barely makes it through a near-incoherent rendition of “Glitter And Gold”. But the crowd seems not to notice; they raise the rafters with ear-splitting clamor for their reclusive Asian icon!

RAM SALUTES THE ARCHIES

Much to Dody's annoyance, the MC requests a husband-and-wife duet for the finale. She ends up doing most of the singing as they struggle through “Who’s Your Baby?” By the end of the song, she’s all but physically holding Ram upright. He doesn’t seem to recognize her; but once backstage, familiarity dawns in his haggard eyes. Dude musters a weak smile. “Dody,” he stammers, then collapses in exhaustion. With his skeletal body sprawled across her lap, Donna Dante starts screaming: “Bang bang wo! Help me, somebody! Call an ambulance!”

Two days later, Ram is back in Mumbai, laying near death @ Prince Aly Khan Hospital. Failing to adhere to his medication regime means his immune system will have all but shut down; self-medicating with cocaine, his drug of choice, naturally leads to disaster! The former Bollywood Balladeer is suffering from full-blown AIDS now. His beloved Dody sits @ his bedside.

RAM-YELLOW NIGGER FAGGOT

@ her gentle but insistent prodding, Ram tells all he can remember about his life since they last saw each other. Tears spill from Dody’s eyes when he describes whoring for crack! "I tricked with more men than women," he admits.  "Time and again, I'd be on my knees in a dark alley, pressed up against a crack den wall, or face-down on some filthy mattress.  I did anything and everything to feed that g*ddamn habit!" Although he omits that tragic night in Paris with his father, she can sense a deeper tragedy. “Don’t touch me,” he warns her. “I’m dirty, Dody!  So filthy with shame and sin and disease that I’ll never be clean again.”

In response, she recites her wedding vows: I, Donna, take you, Ramsay, to be my lawfully-wedded husband; to have and to hold, from this day forward; for better, for worse; for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health; until death us do part. Babe wraps her arms around him, and he silently begins to sob. She rocks Ram like a baby until he finally falls asleep . . .

'TIL DEATH US DO PART

The director of Donna Dante Actor's Academy decides to retire.  Dody needs free time to nurse her man back to health!  Under his wife's constant care, Ram crawls back from the brink of death.  With support from his extended family (including Hillary Joon and little Geoff, who visit frequently with Dody’s approval), he gets stronger.

Ram starts taking his antiviral medications as prescribed, and even seems to kick his cocaine habit. He also recommits himself to the Sikh faith, attending gurdwara regularly. “AIDS kicked my ass, but now I’m kicking back!” he laughs. Dude even talks about recording again.

Donna Dante informs producer Chaiwat Bunyasam, who floats the idea of a new Ram club mix. “Santi Music wants me to compile a whole album of them,” the elderly Thai reveals. “Some new tracks would make it an even more enticing package!” Ram is game, so they book a session @ Rajah Studios; but both Dody and Chaiwat are dismayed by his song choices.

Dude insists on covering Girl Group oldies, which isn’t a total surprise; after all, singing "girl songs" made him a star. However, the selections are all wrong for him: Neither The Chordettes’ “Lollipop”, The Poni-Tails’ “Born Too Late”, Rosie + The Originals’ “Angel Baby” nor The McGuire Sisters’ “Sugartime” fit his singing voice. That battered instrument now sounds like a laryngitis-stricken cross between Neil Diamond and Tom Waits!

RAM LOVES THE WHITE LADY

Chaiwat is horrified by Ram’s croaking attempt @ recording “Sugartime”, so much so that he erases the tape (by mistake, he’ll later claim). “The Ram I remember would never cut these kinds of songs,” he thinks. “Something is affecting his judgment!” He suspects that “something” may be cocaine, and he’s right.  Proof that his old friend is still romancing The White Lady comes one day when the singer makes him a shocking offer. "Do you have any blow?" he rasps. "I'll trade you a blowjob for a hit!" It's a wretched memory that Chaiwat will take to his grave.

Stuck for a fourth EP track, and needing something commercial, the producer combs Santi Music's sound archives. He sifts through outtakes from the 2069 Goin’ Places!!! album and settles on one: “Gonna Get Along Without You Now!” Recorded @ the same session as “Dody”, it will have also been a candidate single release. Donna Dante affirms his choice: “That sh*t is straight dope!” 

The song dates back to the early 1950s, with Teresa Brewer cutting the original version.  Dody directs Chaiwat to mix the track very close to the sound of a 1964 remake by Tracey Dey. "I love that Bob Crewe production," she says. "In fact, I nearly cut my own version. I remember rehearsing it @ the studio date where Ram and I first met."

Sentimental value aside, Ram does not love “Gonna Get Along Without You Now!”  His old volatility rears its head: "That track is dog sh*t!  Why the f*ck do you think I left it on the shelf?" Royally p*ssed @ the omission of “Sugartime”, he tries to block the outtake’s release.  Santi Music executives are having none of it: They know a hit record when they hear one!  The foot-stomper of a dance track breaks for a solid smash, topping charts in Japan, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia and Burma! The other three Girlpop remakes don’t even rate half a turntable spin.

LOLLYPOP

Santi Music SMX-5000
Lollypop (Dixon, Ross)
Angel Baby (David Ponci)
Born Too Late (Strouse, Tobias)
Gonna Get Along Without You Now! (Milton Kellem)
Lollypop
Ram Salutes the Girlpop Sound
Ram
Club Mix XIV
Produced by Chaiwat
released in Asia

The Rad Asian Manchild films a Scopie video for “Lollipop”, the song he thinks has the most hit potential.  When he’s proven wrong, dude petulantly refuses to do the same for “Gonna Get Along Without You Now!” Santi Music removes “Lollipop” from the Scopie soundtrack and synchs up the video with the hit song. Although the edit is clumsy, few notice the incongruity of images with music; in fact, the footage of Ram suggestively tonguing a candy stick makes it highly popular with his Gay fans!

All the same, dude is furious. The video is a f*cking mess; he hates the new record; he's still seething over the delayed release of "Gimme Some Lovin'; and he's nursing a major grudge over the cold shoulder Santi executives gave him back in 2072. When their successors offer him a new album deal, Ram turns it down in no uncertain terms: "Go f*ck yourselves with a chainsaw!"

RAM JAMZ

Santi Music SM-1-79839
I Can’t Let Go! (Gorgoni, Taylor) w/Chutney Rose
Swearin’ To God (Crewe, Randell)*
Touch (Marlette, Shifrin)
Don’t Mean To Be A Preacher (Kaye, Trimachi)
w/The Utah Symphony
Barbarella (Crewe, Fox)*
Last Chance To Turn Around (Bruno, Kahan, Millrose) 
w/Chutney Rose
I Found Someone (Bolton, Mangold)
Everything Under The Sun (Crewe, Knight) w/Donna Dante
You’re Gonna Hurt Yourself (Crewe, Calello)*
That’ll Be The Day (Allison, Holly, Petty) w/The Carmines
I Won’t Tell (Crewe, Gaudio)*
California Shoeshine Boys (Laura Nyro) w/The Carmines

SM-2-79839
In The Middle Of Nowhere (Kaye, Verdi)
w/Chutney Rose
Try A Little Kindness (Austin, Sapaugh) w/The Carmines
Gloria (Bigazzi, Tozzi, Veitch)
Baby, The Rain Must Fall (Bernstein, Sheldon) w/Chutney Rose
Dody (Crewe, Gaudio)*
Gonna Get Along Without You Now! (Manny Kellem)*
Stoney End (Laura Nyro) w/The Carmines
Goin’ Places (Crewe, Linzer, Randell)*
María Elena (Tony Hazzard) w/The Utah Symphony
Different Drum (Michael Nesmith) w/Chutney Rose
Spanish Eddie (Cochran, Palmer)
Baby, You’re My Kind Of Woman (Foxx, Williams) w/Puppy Posse
Any Way That You Want Me (Chip Taylor) w/Chutney Rose
Ram Jamz
Dance Traxx
Ram
Arranged + Produced by
Ramsay Khalid Sharma
*Arranged by Ramsay Khalid Sharma
Produced by Chaiwat
Album Compiled by Chaiwat
Sound Produced by Faruk Muhammad
Remastered @ Rajah Studios, Mumbai
released in Asia
2079

Ram’s first hits compilation, 2069’s A Golden Shower, was only in print for a couple of years. By contrast, Ram Jamz will remain in his active catalog for decades; it will even be reissued by Vox Sound + Image (which buys up Santi Music in 2080). Save for a posthumous retrospective, it will be his all-time best-selling hits package.

Aside from the smash “Gonna Get Along Without You Now!”, collectors covet this double vinyl download for the inclusion of “California Shoeshine Boys”, a previously-unreleased Laura Nyro song from 2067, and such long-out-of-print club mixes as “Touch”, “Try A Little Kindness”, “Baby, The Rain Must Fall”, “Any Way That You Want Me” and “Stoney End”.  Scramble's Funk Truong Dow hates Ram and threatens legal action if "Gimme Some Lovin'" is included on the album!  The track is omitted; but after both men are deceased, new vinyl downloads will be edited to include their collaboration.

Sadly, Ram Jamz ends up being a last hurrah for Chaiwat:  The respected producer dies of a massive heart attack just a few days after its release.  The portly Thai won't ever touch hard drugs, but he’ll have a serious addiction to sex with rent boys: Trying to service five in a bed @ the ripe old age of 84 is what finally does him in!  Ram sends a heartfelt video tribute to his funeral; dude is too grief-stricken to attend.

CHAIWAT RIP

Chaiwat's death doesn't change Ram's opinion of "Gonna Get Along Without You Now!" He loathes and adamantly refuses to perform it.  Privately, he also worries that fans won’t like the radically-altered sound of his live singing voice. In late 2079, the Bollywood Balladeer appears on several Indian talk shows; when asked to sing, he feigns laryngitis. Beyond that, he avoids any discussion of his health; rumors about his AIDS diagnosis will have begun surfacing in tabloid media.

During one of these talk show appearances, Ram's latent homophobia rears its ugly head again. Discussing his most popular film role, he angrily calls the director of Bonedaddy Beach "a fugly butch d*ke nobody got along with!" Gasps from the audience alert Ram to his thoughtless faux pas, and he quickly backtracks.

"My apologies to Brittany Howe," he tells the host. "Over the years I've developed a potty mouth, and I'm trying to break the habit! Britt deserves all the credit for Bonedaddy becoming a hit.  She gets the best out of actors, including me!  Sometimes I wasn't easy to work with, either; a man can be a b*tch, too, you know."  The crowd erupts with laughter @ this candid admission; once more, Ram's formidable charm gets him out of trouble!

The Rad Asian Manchild still lacks a record deal. However, “Gonna Get Along Without You Now!” makes him a hot property; several labels are knocking @ his door. Also knocking is "Gimme Some Lovin'" producer Quincy Zen, keen to helm a comeback album for the first major star he worked with.

In August of 2080, QZ and his production assistant Coco Hoyas meet with The Sharmas to discuss possible album themes. They find Ram still focused on Girl Group covers. The four of them settle on a tribute to The Shirelles, the most popular femme act of the early 1960s. Ram only wants to sing their big hits, but Dody pushes him to delve deeper into their catalog.

“In the late ‘60s, The Shirelles started moving in a Northern Soul direction,” she notes. “That material fits you like a hand-in-glove.” Babe convinces him to cut floor-shakers like “Doomsday”, “Tonight, You’re Gonna Fall In Love With Me”, “Are You Still My Baby?” and “Look What You’ve Done To My Heart”. Dody is back in her old role as music supervisor, but this time she declines to take credit: Ram is still sensitive to accusations of being his wife’s puppet!

DEDICATED GATEFOLD

Quincy Zen calls on a younger generation of Asian rockers to accompany Ram on his new album. However, he’s careful to avoid the kind of studio brawls he had to endure during sessions for “Gimme Some Lovin’”! Jordi Hinojosa, Klutch and Bosslady never actually meet the singer; they’re all hundreds of miles away when they record their parts.  The exception is Nantze Boyzz, a highly-respected studio group known to work well with temperamental artists. Ram loves their Old School Doo-Wop vocals, and the Boyzz end up contributing heavily to his musical arrangements.

Donna Dante lends a hand with arrangements, too, and duets with her husband on “Last-Minute Miracle”.  @ his request, she invites their ex-bandmate Rikki Ninja to participate. Happily, the New-Archie-turned-Italian Pop star is available. "F*ck Skype!" Ninja declares. "I want us all in the studio together. I'll book a flight from Naples and be there day after tomorrow." 

The three old friends have a joyful reunion but waste no time getting down to business; Ninja can only stay for a couple of hours. His superior arranging skills, keyboard playing and tight vocal harmonies with Dody do wonders for the version of “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?” that they put on tape.

All of Ram’s vocals are tracked in Casablanca, Morocco; Quincy Zen will have built his own state-of-the-art audio-visual recording complex there. More often than not, Coco Hoyas runs the tracking sessions. They stretch from the winter of 2080 into the spring of 2081. Why such a lengthy booking? It's because dude cuts each of the fifteen songs one syllable at a time.  It’s the only way he can approximate his erstwhile pitch-perfect baritone without resorting to AutoTune technology. “I’ve got to sound exactly like I did in 2066” becomes his mantra. “I can't disappoint my fans!”

Ram has master tapes of his previous vocal albums downloaded to Zen's control board, and he references them constantly. The singer once known for vocal imitations now finds himself mimicking his own voice! He insists that Coco do take after take until he’s satisfied. Then, when the tracks are done, dude is so particular about the mixes that weeks of post-production turn into months. Asian social media is rife with speculation about the release date. Will the comeback album ever drop?

WHITE ZOMBIE

Meanwhile, The Rad Asian Manchild appears in his first dramatic role since Kitten With A Whip. Dude plays an evil voodoo priest in "White Zombie", a satellite TV miniseries; it’s the Indian adaptation of a 1932 cult favorite starring Bela Lugosi.  Director Radni Luck, who will have shot most of Ram's Scopie videos, earmarks the actor/singer for the role of Papa Murder.  

"He's the only Indian actor who can do that part justice," Radni insists.  The producers of the miniseries resist casting him, but the maverick director lobbies hard and eventually gets his way.  Upon viewing the dailies, they're obliged to eat crow: Ram is so convincingly sinister in the role, Lugosi’s acting pales in comparison.  Critics will pronounce his portrayal of Papa Murder the definitive one!

"White Zombie" pulls strong ratings and scores several Indian Telly Award nominations, including Best Supporting Actor. Bollywood's former soundtrack king is in demand again, this time among casting directors! For the first time in his acting career, Ram is turning down scripts. However, he’s now more interested in making music than movies.

Underscoring that mindset, he contracts with the Vox label to remix two classic Archies albums. Avis Poindexter, now an A & R executive @ Vox, conceives and oversees the project. After their 2074 Burning Man gig together, Ram will have given Avis some of his old mix tapes. The leader of Prism Bytch treasures them, and plays one for his bosses five years later. "I always thought Ram's mixes were ahead of their time," he admits, "but now the club world is catching up to the style he invented." That style is called Asiacore, dance music's most cutting-edge trend!

ARCHIES GO ASIACORE

Avis re-connects with his old friend and pitches his remix idea. The Rad Asian Manchild is elated: "F*ck, yeah!  Let's give The Archies a yellow-face makeover." Hunched over the Rajah Studios control board with original master tapes, Avis and Ram re-invent The Archies as a Lat-Asian Pop band on venerable oldies like "Hip Shaker", "Looking @ Tomorrow", "Nobody But You" and "Glitter And Gold." 

Some older Archies fans are outraged @ the new sound: "It's like a radio playing broadcast signals from two or three different countries @ the same time," one critic grumbles. However, club kids can't get enough of it!  Vox's Hits Of The Sixties Remixed, Volumes One + Two become best-selling catalog albums in Asia and Europe.

Avis and Ram go back in the studio to remix Get It On Today, the adult Archies' fourth studio album. Donna Dante is delighted:  Her late father, lounge legend Ron Dante, wrote all the songs!  However, she reminds her husband that he should be about finishing his own record: "How about some new hits of your own?  Daddy's music can wait; your fans have waited long enough!"

DEDICATED

Verve VQ/829283940-3
I Met Him On A Sunday (The Shirelles)
Tonight, You’re Gonna Fall In Love With Me (Kornfeld, Wine)
Look Away (Armstead, Ashford, Simpson) w/Klutch
Boys (Dixon, Farrell) w/Bosslady
Are You Still My Baby? (Charlie Rich)
Last-Minute Miracle (Harris, Kerr) w/Donna Dante
Baby, It’s You (Bacharach, David, Dixon)
Abra-Ka-Dabra (Van McCoy)
Doomsday (Covay, Dixon)
Too Much Of A Good Thing (Davie, Vance) w/Bosslady
Soldier Boy (Dixon, Greenberg)
Sha-La-La (Moseley, Taylor) w/Klutch
Look What You’ve Done To My Heart (Ellie Greenwich) w/Jordii Hinojosa
Dedicated To The One I Love (Bass, Pauling)
Will You Love Me Tomorrow? (Goffin, King) w/Rikki Ninja
Dedicated
Ram Sings The Shirelles
Ram
with Nantze Boyzz
A QZ Production
Produced by Quincy Zen
Chief Engineer: 
Xerxes
Recorded @ Zen Studios, Casablanca,
East-West Studios, Hong Kong
+ Gold Key Studios,
Dublin + Manchester
Album Coordinator:
Coco Hoyas
released in Asia
2082

The new LP hits the streets in late May of 2082, nearly two years after its conception. Released by the Indian branch of Verve Records, Dedicated: Ram Sings The Shirelles is an across-the-board triumph! “Ram is back, b*tches!” trumpets Popsicle, Asia’s main Rock ‘n’ Roll magazine. “Soulful Pop is reborn along with the stalled career of India’s most talented all-around musician,” opines Hong Kong Variety.

“It’s commonplace now for male rockers to sing pronoun-intact covers of songs written for women,” notes Melody Maker. “Ramsay Khalid Sharma helped popularize this practice. His delivery of numbers like “I Met Him On A Sunday” and “Soldier Boy” show nary a trace of camp; dude is still a master of the genderf*ck Rock ballad!” Accolades flow from international music blogs; Ram is the main beneficiary, but Quincy Zen’s production and the guest artists all get their share of kudos.

QUINCY ZEN'S MASTERPIECE

Verve VCM-2093
Tonight, You’re Gonna Fall In Love With Me (Kornfeld, Wine)
Are You Still My Baby? (Charlie Rich)
Last-Minute Miracle (Harris, Kent) w/Donna Dante
Look What You've Done To My Heart (Ellie Greenwich) w/Jordii Hinojosa
Tonight, You’re Gonna Fall 
In Love With Me
Ram
with Nantze Boyzz
Produced by Quincy Zen
Remixed by Xerxes
released in Asia

Released in June, “Tonight You’re Gonna Fall In Love With Me” (featuring “Last-Minute Miracle”) will be one of the year’s most downloaded club mixes. Ram is deluged with personal appearance requests, but he can't comply:  Dude suffers a serious health setback.  For weeks, he struggles to shake off a debilitating viral infection.  Verve executives press him for a promotional tour, something Donna Dante strongly advises against!  However, Ram longs to hear the roar of adoring crowds again; he promises to go out on tour as soon as he feels better. 

 While convalescing, he writes liner notes for an Archies ballad collection. Compiled by Witch Queen Studios' Sonny Yin-Bao with the singer's input, Plain And Simple is released on Philles Records; Vox now owns the famous Phil Spector imprint.  This compilation won't be a popular download, but Ram's involvement will heighten its market value later on.


PLAIN + SIMPLE

A 25-city Dedicated tour is scheduled to kick off on 13 August 2082; launching from Hawaii, it will cover most of the Asian continent and end with dates in Australia. Advance tickets are sold out within a week! Rehearsals begin in mid-July.

Having been warned about Ram’s temper, all the musicians and dancers are on guard; but they find him surprisingly low-key. In fact, he seems listless most of the time. When the Rad Asian Manchild announces that he won’t be dancing in concert, nobody is surprised. 

Nantze Boyzz sign on as his touring background singers; after the first rehearsal, it’s clear that he’ll need lots of support from them!  By the last verse of a song, the Bollywood Balladeer can barely catch his breath.  Ram is often heard fretting over how people will respond to his live vocals. “I don’t sound anything like I do on the album,” he admits to Puddy Tat Tambo; @ Donna Dante's request, his old college buddy hires on as voice coach on tour. 

Dude is a bundle of nerves at the final dress rehearsal in Honolulu; he misses several cues and even forgets to say goodnight to the crew. Puddy expresses concern, but Ram assures him: “Don’t worry, it's just my usual pre-show jitters! I’ll be fine after a good night’s sleep.”  Planting a kiss on his friend's bronzed forehead, he climbs into a taxi and heads back to the Royal Hawaiian Hotel.

Early on the morning of the first show, Donna Dante is awakened by her videophone. Both Puddy and his husband, Hilo Herbie, are on the line. "Why do you look so somber?" she wants to know. "What's wrong?" Haltingly, The Cabaña Boys break the bad news to her: "We're so sorry to have to tell you: Ram died last night!” Herbie has to repeat himself several times before it finally sinks in. By then, Dody is hysterical!

KIC Image 0001

The details are almost too horrible: Her husband will have choked to death in his hotel room. He'll be found hanging nude from a door jamb, with a jerry-rigged leather contraption wrapped around his throat in a stranglehold. There’s also a needle in his arm, and a suicide note written in French. Acting quickly, Dody and The Cabaña Boys are able to suppress the note. Unfortunately, they can’t stop the sensational headlines:

ASIAN POP STAR DEAD FROM
AUTO-EROTIC ASPHYXIATION
AND COCAINE OVERDOSE!

RAM LIVE IN LIVERPOOL PROMO