Music, Pop Culture

I Still Look Up When You Walk in the Room

Holy crap! I wrote a really long story for the hell of it. 
Let’s just say that I’ve been listening to waaaaay too much Fleetwood Mac lately.

The absolutely best part of the story is when the song he wrote about me came on the radio while we were physically fighting.

That was the hysterical part. What are the odds that that song would play while he was holding my throat against a windshield? I mean, so what it reached #1 back in 2002? Even in my slightly incapacitated state, I found the irony perfect.

I guess this would be the worst part of the story. He held his hand against my throat long enough to make me start to black out but our drummer, Seth, flew out of what seemed like the second story balcony of the hotel and body slammed Ryan to the ground. It seriously was like Spiderman shit. I saw Seth coming in and my eyes must have widened to the size of saucers. Ryan really had no idea what was about to hit him.

They wrestled around on the floor for awhile and the parking lot attendant kept asking me if I was ok, but all I wanted to do was scream. Nothing would come out. Not a note, not a squeak, not a sigh. Nothing. “Great. You killed my voice!” I kept shouting to Ryan over and over in my head. The concierge insisted that he call an ambulance, but I gathered my purse, which had spilled everywhere, and ran back up to the room. I knew what was going to happen. The police were going to be called and Ryan would be thrown in jail and we would have to perform the show without him.

He wrote that song during our first break-up. We would get back together one more time after that, but for only six months. That break-up really signified the beginning of the end. With the success of the band growing, Ryans’ subsequent imbalance of isolation and partying, and me coming into my own as an artist, it was apparent to everyone but us that the ship was sinking fast.

We held on way too long. What were the reasons? I don’t know. Maybe we liked the drama. What we were able to take from it creatively. Maybe we didn’t know how to live without each other. Shit, I met him when I was seventeen for crying out loud. I hadn’t dated anyone else. Living for that man was all I knew. Putting food on the table while he sat for hours and hours writing songs on his guitar. He was our meal ticket out of that 100 square foot apartment with no hot water. His talent was going to take us to the next level- and that’s precisely what it did.

Maybe that’s why I stayed with him. Because I felt like I owed it to him. All the money and the fans and the adulation- that was because of him. And don’t think for a second that I enjoyed becoming the “star” of the band. That is not something I asked for. It just happened and Ryan never got over it.

Either way, when the fighting just became too much and we couldn’t even record together without serving insults back and forth like a game of table tennis, I knew something had to change. At this point we were sharing a house in the Hills and I told him that I was tired. Tired of walking on eggshells. Tired of the second guessing. I was done and would be moving in with our bandmate Katie.

The look on Ryan’s face was priceless. In fact, I wrote a song about it. It’s called, “Your Face“. For the first time in the ten years that I knew him, I saw all the smugness sucked from his belly. It was as if my words came in the form of a Hoover Vac that ate up every ounce of his misplaced confidence and impregnated them into my psyche. I walked away from that house thinking, “I’ll never see that prick again!”

Of course, I’d be seeing him in the recording studio the next day.

Ryan walked into the studio on Sunset Boulevard the next morning looking like the incarnation of death. He had stayed up all night writing angry songs about me which he proudly played for the band. One song in particular called “Whore” was particularly upsetting. Of course this is the song that went on to become our biggest hit and played during our confrontation. The line, “My little whore, that’s what you are. Just riding on my coattails, watching from afar” particularly got me worked up during concerts and on more than one occasion I made my anger apparent by picking up Seth’s beer bottle and chucking it towards Ryan’s head.

Every song on that album was about our relationship. Even Katie, the third songwriter of our band, ended up writing these very dismal and depressing songs about life and heartbreak because of how much our crap permeated the room. Twelve tracks of longing and bitching and crying and shit-flinging. Of course it went on to being triple platinum and we were forced to spend more time together due to award nominations, touring, and interviews.

After being on the road for three months of the eleven we were committing to a world tour, complete disgust turned into horniness and Ryan and I got back together. Just for six months. Let me tell you, after you perform a concert in front of 20,000 plus people for two hours, singing about anger and love and heartbreak, you walk off stage thinking, “Oh man, I think I really need to fuck something right now. If I don’t release this adrenalin rush, I might have a heart attack.” So when you’re walking off stage next to the person you despise the most on this planet, there seems like no greater option.

But like I said, that only lasted six months. During that tour, Ryan’s recreational drug use manifested into a hobby of how far detached he could bring himself from humanity. His resentment towards me always bordered on hatred and about one month after we broke-up for the second time, he just snapped. We were in the middle of practicing my song “Our House in the Hills”- a song I wrote about the imaginary domestic facade we were trying to hold onto so many years ago- and he stood up, started screaming about how much he hated the band and that we were holding him back and he was done with the tour and done with all of us. He threw his guitar as hard as he could on the stage and took a taxi straight to the airport. Luckily, there were only three more shows left in the tour and even though I was beside myself with anger that Ryan could do this to the band, I felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders.

Ryan went on to start his solo career, as did I. That was eight years ago and we hadn’t really seen each other since. Except for the occasional business call between the band or the very rare occurrence we bumped into each other at a party.

But when an up-and-coming singer that covered “Whore” was nominated for a Grammy, we were asked to reunite and sing onstage with him.

And that brings us to the story that happened earlier today.

So why did Ryan strangle me? Because I told him that I never loved him.

“I’m sorry” he said over and over from the doorway as I got ready for the show.
Ryan lucked out. Due to his celebrity, reps from the recording label quickly broke up the fight and whisked Ryan off in a limo and left Seth at the hotel to tend to me. The head of security at the hotel asked if I wanted to press charges, but what was the point?

“I’m under a lot of stress and I didn’t slept well last night and- I mean, it’s no excuse. No excuse at all. What I did was unforgivable. I’m sorry, Maddy. Maddy? Maddy, will you look at me?”

I hadn’t ackonwledged Ryan the entire time he was in my room.

He walked up and knelt down on the ground. He reached up and grabbed my hand and I noted the irony of the dual roles his hand played that day.

I turned to him.

“Why do you hate me so much, Ryan? What did I do to you to instill such wrath?”

“I guess I never stopped loving you, Maddy.”

It was the first time I ever heard him admit defeat. After  so many years of angry songs about how I failed him and the band, how he moved on and found someone better, about what a no-good lousy bitch I am, he finally said the words I never thought would leave his mouth.

Later that evening, while playing our most famous song onstage, I saw a completely defeated man.

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  • Reply JennyJenJen February 16, 2011 at 6:15 pm


    fleetwood mac meets RiRi & Chris Beat-her-down.

  • Reply MG February 16, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    I like when you write long stories. Totally helps me leave my desk for a bit…in my head, of course.

  • Reply Big Mark 243 February 16, 2011 at 8:49 pm


    I knew that it was going to be an ending worth of a Kathleen Hanna song!!

    But I enjoyed it. It is amazing how people can be so close to one another and loathe someone that they love so dearly. My ex-wife was like that…

    You have potential… DO NOT KID YOURSELF…


  • Reply Benny February 16, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    Oh man… I expected this to just feel like Fleetwood Mac fan fic… which it was a bit, but I like how it starts with that scenario and then goes off into a different story. Man. I think I want to read more about this imaginary band and character.

  • Reply Hipstercrite February 16, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    @Jen- Rihanna and Rihannon. Hmmm…

    @MG- Yay! I'm glad you do. I don't have much confidence in myself as a short story writer so I'm glad someone likes them! 😀

    @Big Mark 243- I only know a little of Kathleen Hanna. Just Le Tigre. Guess I should check out more? And thank you. 🙂

    @Benny- Ha. I couldn't cheese it up and do straight Fleetwood Mac fan fic, though Lindsey supposedly did strangle Stevie once when he left the band in the late 80's.

  • Reply Randall February 16, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    Oh, oh. This is good. This is just… so… yeah. Very good.

    Unrelated, I'll second the Kathleen Hanna rec. Julie Ruin's back…

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