Only Golden Fingers Could Play So Heavy

Act I - Childhood

Scene One
A solitary figure, a 75 year old man, sits in a rocking chair, holding a bass guitar
Old man(with his dying breath) Rocky....
The scene opens to a hospital delivery room, 1953
Prelude to I's Birth
Music and Lyrics by Roger Linder - 3/25/1974

Honey, how do you feel?
I feel that something is about to happen
Honey is that how you feel?
Yes, I feel that something is about to happen
Overture: Celebration of Life
Music and Lyrics by Roger Linder
I's Birth
You have a son, he is the one who will rule the world
You have a son, he is the one who will rule the world

Scene Two
Waiting room at the hospital. Father is pacing, doctor walks in
DoctorCongratulations! You have a bouncing baby boy.
FatherThank you, Doctor. I couldn't have done it by myself.
DoctorThat's true. Without your wife you probably wouldn't have had much luck
FatherHow is she?
DoctorJust fine. She's sleeping right now. Would you like to see the baby?
FatherSure! Could you tell me how old he was when he was born?
DoctorIt's hard to say. We'd have to take X-rays and study his dental charts first. A lot of trouble.
FatherWell, it really doesn't matter. Let's see him.
DoctorAll right. He probably won't recognize you at first. In fact, he may even be frightened. It's something like a kid first seeing Santa Claus.
FatherYou don't think he'll reject his father, do you?
DoctorNo, with luck he'll be asleep. Maybe your wife is awake now. I'll bring the baby to the room
Doctor exits. Father goes to wife's room. She has just awaken.
FatherHello, dear. How are you feeling?
Mother(Puzzled) Just a minute... give me time... I'll get it yet... That's right. Hi, honey. I thought I'd seen you somewhere before.
FatherThe good doctor is going to bring the baby in here.
MotherBaby? Oh, that's right.
Doctor enters
DoctorYou may find your wife a little incomprehensible. She was given a pill to help her sleep.
FatherI haven't noticed any difference. She just woke up.
MotherI had a dream while I was sleeping.
FatherThat's usually when they happen.
DoctorWhat was it about?
MotherThere was me and the baby. But he wasn't a baby, he was a man! And he was singing!
FatherSinging! He can't even talk yet.
MotherDon't be too sure.
DoctorWhat was he singing?
MotherI don't know, but there were a lot of people there. They all seemed happy. And a strange smell in the air.
FatherHow can you smell in a dream?
MotherWell, it looked like it smelled funny.
The Dream

I dreamed I saw my baby and he stood as a man
He stood there, he was singing, in front of a long-haired band
A voice as shrill as birds in flight, as low as a croaking toad
He said, "please come here mother, and take this heavy load."

Many people were around
To hear the filling sound
As the music filled the air.
He was where he had to be
Smoke so thick I couldn't see.
The atmosphere of a fair.

I dreamed I saw my baby in the middle of the stage
He sat there all alone, the crowd left in a rage.
His sobs I heard as music now but the shouts would no longer grow.
He said, "Please come here mother, and take this heavy load."

No more people were around
To hear the filling sound;
No more music rocked the air.
He was where he was meant to be,
Tears ran down so he couldn't see,
Now singing should be rare.
DoctorThat was some dream!
FatherBy the way, where's the baby?
DoctorBaby? Oh, that's right. Let's see now. Where is he?
Doctor exits, mumbling to himself.
FatherI guess the hardest part is over. We'll be going home in two or three days.
MotherIt was worth it. What should we name him?
FatherI want to name him "I."
MotherWhere did you come across a name like that?
FatherIt's in the dictionary. Ninth letter of the alphabet.
MotherBut why would we choose it as a name?
FatherI like the sound of it. A nice ring to it, don't you think?
MotherHmm, it's also the Roman Numeral I. Fitting, for our first and only child
MotherYou don't expect me to go through that again, do you?
FatherWell, I'm sure it wasn't that bad.
MotherYou really have no idea. Well, I certainly hope the doctor finds the baby.

Scene Three
Hospital room as before.

DoctorThat was incredible, Mrs. Mall! For this to be on the six o'clock news... it's just incredible! It's a shame your husband wasn't here.
MotherHe mumbled something and took off just before the TV crew arrived. Probably went to the coffee shop downstairs.
DoctorI'm really delighted that I was here to witness it. You must be very proud of your new son.
MotherIndeed I am. His father will be sorry he missed it. Where's the baby?
DoctorI took him back to the nursery after all the excitement. He's doing fine. Last I saw him he was laughing. Must be telling jokes to the others.(chuckles)
MotherWhen can I see him again?
DoctorI'll bring him back, if you'd like.(exits)
Father enters
MotherWhere have you been? You missed the big moment!
FatherBig moment? I was there through it all!
MotherNot that big moment! I.B.C.!
FatherI.B.C.? Something wrong?
MotherIt's almost six o'clock. Let's turn on the news.
FatherWhere's the boy? I still haven't seen him yet.
MotherThe doctor is bringing him in now.
Doctor enters with baby
FatherHi there, Tiger!
DoctorPlease... only my wife calls me that.
FatherI wasn't talking to you.
DoctorOh, sorry.
MotherWe've just turned on the news.
DoctorMind if I watch?
FatherNo, please. What's going to be on?
MotherWatch and see.
On a screen we see the image from the television. The network anchorman, Hardy Rochester, has just appeared. We hear a voice.
VoiceGood evening, ladies and gentlemen, this is the six o'clock edition of the I.B.C. news with Hardy Rochester, brought to you each evening by Fender Guitars. "With a Fender you'll never bend your ears."
I.B.C. News

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the news
There's nothing but bad news, all the good's been used
That is the story, that's what I've heard you say
It's not the same today, there's good news on the way.
We have tonight a story of a special baby's birth
So cease with all your worry, bring in merriment and mirth.
On the screen behind me the story will unfold.
This is the special baby, the one of whom you're told.
Our correspondent on the scene has captured the event.
We switch you now to California, where our film crew went:
Miracle wonder boy, born today
They say he talks, has a lot to say.
His name is I says UPI and rightly so.
All that exists, there's nothing missed, is his ego.

Born today to lowly chicken farmers
Is not a boy, but a man.
We'll try to get a few words if we can.
Here we hear some sounds resembling that of a baby and some mumblings that vaguely sound like "Rock and Roll."
Those were words! I could have sworn!
(regaining composure)
Uh, Judith Abrey, California.
Thank you correspondent, now you've seen and heard
The baby's own first words.....
(Spoken, in time with music)
And that's December 3rd. Goodnight!

Scene Four
Hospital room as before a few minutes later.
FatherNo! I won't believe it! A three-hour old baby just doesn't talk.
MotherWell, this one does. Both the doctor and myself distinctly heard something.(looking at baby tenderly) He surely must be something special. If you hadn't been out of the room you would have heard it, too.
FatherI couldn't help that I had to go to the men's room. "When nature calls, don't ignore it." I always say.
MotherYou always say a lot of things. Why don't you try thinking once in a while?
Fatherignoring her comment Maybe the kid is special, but that doesn't mean he can talk. What's your opinion, doctor?
DoctorSounds like what I've read in my studies. Just baby talk.
MotherThis was not baby talk! I think he was trying to tell us something. A mother's intuition tells me he's already chosen his direction in life.
FatherHold it! Hold it! You mean to tell me you got all that out of three words?
MotherNot just three words, the manner in which they were spoken suggested...
FatherInterrupting We haven't even agreed that he can talk and he's already given a speech. Next you'll be telling me he's running for president!
MotherDon't be silly, I wouldn't go that far. I'm just saying that he seemed to know what he was talking about.
FatherPuzzled But "Rock and Roll" doesn't have much meaning as I see it.
MotherThat's just it. It's definitely a new concept. If you could imagine all the notions churning around in this child's head, why.... it must have meaning to him.
FatherDoctor, I think she's going delirious. Maybe a sedative.
DoctorNo, I don't think so. I've read of cases like this in medical journals. A woman, having been one with the child for some nine months, can sense the thoughts of the infant, and when he is born, she acts as spokesman. Naturally, the three words spoken, whether or not by accident, must have some deep psychological meaning.
FatherThat's all fine and good, but what does he mean by "Rock and Roll"?
DoctorI have a feeling it's got something to do with gem tumbling. I've read in lapidary magazines...
Motherinterrupting You've both got rocks in your heads. That's a new term for the kind of music they've started to play lately. You know, the songs with the bouncy beat.
Now, faintly, we can hear drums off to the side of the stage.
FatherSpeaking of beats, I hear drums outside. Is there a parade today? goes to window
DoctorI don't know what on earth for. Thanksgiving was almost a week ago, and Christmas is still three weeks away. I read in the newspaper that there's a parade due on the twenty-second.
FatherIf it is a parade, it's only a small one. Just three men. They're coming this way.
MotherAnyone we know, dear?
FatherLet me take a closer look peers out window By George, it's the President!
MotherOf the Chicken Breeder's Association?
FatherOf the United States! They're coming up the steps.
MotherWho's with him?
DoctorLooks like Albert Einstein, the famous genius.
FatherI didn't recognize him. I'm not much on brains.
MotherYou can say that again.
DoctorAnd that other one's Charles Ives, the composer.
Mother & FatherCharles who?
Three Kings of the East

From the East we are kings and we follow the sound
Of the music that plays in our heads.
Where it leads, gifts we'll bring over water and ground
To the place where the music has led.
A young boy we are seeking
Who'll change the course of the land.
This young lad with his music
Will form the best Rock and Roll band
I am Ike, what I like is the sound of the drums
And the horns keep me marching along.
I bring praise, holidays, people cheer as I come
And the music keeps me going strong.
A young boy we are seeking
Who'll change the course of the land.
This young lad with his music
Will form the best Rock and Roll band
I am Bert, I'm not hurt by the ultimate power
That is housed in this small baby's brain.
He's so smart from the start, that within the past hour
He's invented plutonium rain.
A young boy we are seeking
Who'll change the course of the land.
This young lad with his music
Will form the best Rock and Roll band
Chuck's my name, I have reigned for the last fifty years
But it looks like I'll have to step down
Music's changed, rearranged, but I'm shedding no tears.
A new king has been born in this town.
A young boy we are seeking
Who'll change the course of the land.
This young lad with his music
Will form the best Rock and Roll band
The trio now hums a couple of verses and gradually fades out. Mr. Mall goes over and greets each of them enthusiastically.
FatherWelcome, welcome! What brings you to our small town?
IkeWe came in answer to the call of the child.
FatherHe's not talking now. Could be a loss for words.
IkeThere were no words, just that strange music in my head.
ChuckYes, unlike anything I've ever written.
Ike & BertYes, unlike anything Ives' ever written.
ChuckI've been called ahead of my time, but so is this boy.
DoctorThat's not so. Mrs. Mall carried him for a full nine months.
Chuckcoldly That's not what I meant. Let's see now.... Oh, yes, the music. The intertwining melodies and the strong bass line give it a character all its own.
BertWhat intrigues me is the mathematical complexity of the rhythm. And the harmonic frequencies function on the mind in a most unusual way.
FatherCould you put that in words that I could understand?
BertI liked it. That's why I came.
MotherBut what has all this got to do with our little baby?
IkeWe feel that this drawing power of his brought us here for a special purpose.
ChuckThat's right. We have great hopes for this young lad. Perhaps a diplomat, or a humanitarian. He is special indeed.
IkeOne of these days, we will all be gone, but your son will be here to see that the world stays in shape.
FatherWhat are you going to do with him? You're not going to take him away from us, are you?
BertNo, no, that's not what we had in mind. We came now to offer gifts of goodwill. (proudly) I have been called the smartest living man, but that was as of yesterday. Today we have a new genius in our midst: this boy. Therefore, I bring as my gift an honorary doctorate from the local university. Since I didn't receive my Ph.D. until I was a young man, this should surely be an honor.
ChuckAs my gift, I've brought a selection from my music library which has never been published or performed. Perhaps in the quest for a perfect musical form, he can find direction in my work. But be careful, let him do nothing with it for at least ten years. (to baby) One day you'll hear the bells from the steeples, and rock will shout from the mountains!
IkeI bring to you this day two gifts, although I appear to have none. This morning I sent to the United States Printing Office the plans for a new commemorative stamp to be issued next month in honor of today.
At this point, I is exuberant, apparently understanding all that has gone on, and lets out a little laugh.
ChuckIsn't that cute. I likes Ike!
IkeAnd as my second gift, a song!
ChuckA song! I'm the musician!
Ike Not merely a song, a Proclamation!
Presidential Proclamation

Today is a special day
For the U.S.A. A Holiday.
December third, as free as a bird,
I appeared.
I-Day we'll call it. Let's not stall it.
Get it to the Congress, let them do their best.
I-Day we'll call it. Let's not stall it.
Get it to the Congress, let them do their best.
We've needed a day like today for a long time.
And now time has come, in fact it's a strong time.
There's no one who'll tell me that this is the wrong time
To celebrate... celebrate

Today is a special day
For the U.S.A. A Holiday.
December third, as free as a bird,
I appeared.
MotherWell, well. What a surprise! I thanks you, Mr. President.
Father(to Bert and Chuck) And you, too, you two!
DoctorWhy don't you gentlemen follow me to the lounge for some coffee? I think the family would like to be alone.
Doctor, Ike, Bert and Chuck all exit off the stage.
MotherWhat do you think of your son now?
FatherI'm not too proud to say that he's definitely a chip off the old blockhead. Yessiree, looks just like his dear old dad.

Scene Five
A school playground - ten years later
IAlright, you guys, line up! You're in the army now!
SpikeArmy?! Just a minute! This is recess. We're supposed to be playin' basketball or somethin'.
OsgoodWhy don't we play hopscotch or jumprope?
IShut up, sissy, and get in line! We're gonna march now.
IsaacI don't want to march. My stomach hurts.
IYou'll march or your head's gonna hurt.
Spike(To Isaac and Osgood)I don't like the idea of this at all. He's always giving orders. Man, I think we really are in the army.
IsaacHey, look at that girl over there!
SpikeMan, is she stacked! Must be one of those sixth graders.
OsgoodYou guys are always looking at those girls. I don't see anything good about them.
IYou guys quit chattering back there!
OsgoodBoy, what a bully.
IWhat did you say?!
Osgood(embarrassed) uh, I said lunch made me full.
IYou shouldn't eat so much. That's probably why your stomach hurts.
OsgoodBut it doesn't hurt, Isaac's does.
IYou do everything else he does, so you must have a sore stomach, too.
SpikeLet's go play basketball.
IsaacI'd rather go smoke behind the backstop. I took a pack of cigarettes from my dad.
IThere's no smoking during march practice. Now get going! Hup, two, three, four. Hup, two, three, four.
They march around the stage
IsaacOw! I stubbed my toe!
II'm going to cut off your leg if you don't shut up!
SpikeWhady'a say we take a break?
II say when we stop. O.K., let's take a break.
SpikeI'm going over to play basketball.
IsaacMe, too.
OsgoodMe, three.
Are You Gonna Stay?

You shut up and you sit down.
I'm the only one who can walk around.
I give the orders, I make demands.
If you want to do something, then raise your hands.

If you want to walk.
If you want to talk.
If you want to breathe.
If you want to leave.
We've all made up our minds fast.
You're the only one here who's not gonna last.
we're gonna fight, we might kill.
If you're gonna stay, it has to be our will.
Spike, Isaac & Osgood
If you want to walk.
If you want to talk.
If you want to breathe.
If you want to live.

Are you gonna stay?
Are you gonna stay?
Are you gonna stay?
Are you gonna stay?
The three start to leave
IHey, where are you going! Get back here!
SpikeAw, g'wan, get lost! You ain't in this group no more.
IWhady'a mean? You can't leave. Only I can say when you leave!
SpikeOnly you can stuff it! Let's go, guys.
They start to leave again
IO.K., we'll play basketball. But I'm captain.
IsaacForget you! You're not playing at all.
OsgoodThat's right, you bully. You ain't playing.
They leave the stage. I is alone, stunned

Scene Six
Can't Take It With You

Mother & Father
It's your birthday, you're getting older.
As each year passes, a little bolder.
A long life lies yet before you,
So fill it well and they'll be more

You can't take it with you when you die
Take advantage of it now and you'll get by.

Another day, another dollar.
You'll lead a pack, and they will follow.
They'll understand the game you'll play
And soon you'll hear the words they say

You can't take it with you when you die
Take advantage of it now and you'll get by.

Happy birthday little one, our little son, you're number one.
Felicitations to our kin, a crashing din will bring you in.

The years that follow will be fullfilling
So live them well, always be willing
To change your ways to please the people.
Your name will shout from hills and steeples.

You can't take it with you when you die
Take advantage of it now and you'll get by.
FatherWell, son, you're ten years old today.
MotherDaddy and I got you a gift.
IOh, boy, what is it?
FatherOpen it and see.
I opens gift
INeato, it's a radio.
(he turns it on)
FatherLet's hear the ball game.
MotherLet him listen to what he wants.
I tunes the radio to a rock music station. He snaps his fingers.
FatherHey! Not so loud.
MotherHoney, it's his birthday. Would you like to see your cake?
IYeah! What kind?
Mother gets cake
MotherYour favorite, chocolate.
ICan we eat it now?
FatherNot now. Wait till after dinner.
II'm going to show my radio to my friends.
I runs outside and sees Spike, Osgood and Isaac
IHey, Spike, Osgood, Isaac! Look what I got. A radio!
SpikeSo what! Get outta here. We're playing.
ICan I play?
IsaacNo, we already started. Go away.
OsgoodYeah, go away.
They run off playing; I turns off his radio.
Music Will Be My Life

I've discovered a way to get me through the day
It's my music.
I'd go stark-raving mad if I never had my music.
Sounding sweet on the street I can hear at my ear
My radio blasting out loud
The beat can't stop, and I long for the top
With people always coming 'round.

You can have your equations and the power of the nations
'cause music is my life.
It can lead me away, from it I'll never stray.
Yes, music will be my life.

With those other guys gone I know I can go on.
I'll be famous.
On my heavy guitar, I could be a great star.
No longer nameless.

And in time, at my prime, like a rage on the stage
I'd be blasting out to the crowd.
With all my records sold, I'd just lie back and grow old,
But my music will know no bounds.

You can have your equations and the power of the nations
'cause music is my life.
It can lead me away, from it I'll never stray.
Yes, music will be my life.
IThat's what I'm gonna do. I'm going to be a musician.(Yells) You guys won't have I to push around anymore! Yeah, that's what I'm gonna do. But I don't know anything about music. Hmmm, couldn't be that hard. Besides, nothing's hard for me.

Scene Seven
MotherAre you practicing in there?
IYes, mom. (plays a few notes on the clarinet)
(to himself)
I don't know why I have to practice. I'm so good now, I can't see any use. (Yells) Mom, how long do I have to practice?
Mother (still from other room) Just a few minutes more. Remember, you have a challenger tomorrow.
I(again to himself) Gee, I'd rather be playing ball with the guys but they never let me do anything. I wonder why they don't like me? (plays a few notes) I got nothin' but this darn clarinet. At least I'm good at it.
Clarinet Player

I'm a clarinet player
In a high school band.
No other can reach me;
I'm high on the stand.
I'm the best; ahead of all the rest
I'm unbeatable!

One time I was challenged
By a fellow chair.
Knew he couldn't beat me;
Watched him as he stared.
I could play to the very highest "A"

I learned my music and I learned it well.
Amazing the teacher, you can never tell.

(clarinet solo)

I'm a clarinet player;
Talent's on my side.
When called on for a solo
I stand and play with pride.
Let them scorn when I blow upon my horn.
IMom, I'm finished practicing!
MotherAlright, do some homework now.
IDarn, this place is like a jail. I'm going to relax first. (turns on the radio) Man, I'd junk this clarinet any day for one of those guitars.
Enter father
FatherShouldn't you be doing your homework, son?
II was taking a break
FatherDon't take too many breaks or you'll fall apart, heh, heh. Do you have to have that radio up so loud? (he turns it down)
II wanted to hear the guitar.
FatherYou practically had the geetar sticking out of the speaker. How's the practicing coming along?
II'm finished for today. It's starting to bore me. I want to learn to play the guitar.
FatherGeetar, huh? I used to have a geetar when I was a teenager. I could play any Country-Western song you could name.
II can't name one. Besides, I don't want a Country-Western geetar. I want an electric guitar.
FatherThose things are pretty dangerous. You can get a bad shock from 'em.
II'll take my chances. Can I have one?
FatherMaybe we'll take a ride to the music store tomorrow.
FatherNow finish your homework!
End of Act I