Ever since he was a child, Derek Sivers wanted to be a rock star. He listened to Aerosmith, Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, Motorhead and Ozzy Osbourne and the likes. He wanted to be just like them.
As an only child his parents tended to spoil him somewhat. By the age of 15 he had a drum kit, electric guitar, bass guitar, amplifier and keyboards. He was proficient enough at that age to slot into any band on any of these instruments. He could even sing and wrote his own songs which he recorded on a small home recording unit.
On leaving school he got a job working in a mens clothing store. It bored him senseless but gave him enough money to buy the latest album of his favourite bands. He stuck at it until he was 18 when one Saturday he saw an advertisement in the newspaper. A local band was looking for a guitarist. He had heard of the band and knew that they had quite a following.
Derek turned up for the audition and deliberately hung back to hear what he was up against. The competition wasn’t up to much and Derek was asked to join the band. He was ecstatic. His parents were furious when he told them that he was quitting his job to go with the band called The Weird Things.
At the bands first rehearsal they ran through old rock standards with ease. One of the band members asked Derek if he knew any other material. He produced a CD of his own work. The band were blown away and immediately began rehearsing only Dereks’ material.
The Weird Things were now getting gigs further afield and secured a spot supporting a major act for an entire tour. This was exactly what Derek wanted. To be as far removed from the collar and tie world of his home town and old job. Post-gig parties were commonplace and Derek began to drink quite heavily but never to excess.
The Weird Things got their big break when they were invited to perform a song on the television. After the appearance Derek and the rest of the band were mobbed in the town where they lived. Derek loved it.
The band were then offered a statewide tour as the headline act. The Weird Things were now big news.
With this new found fame came easy and free access to drugs, alcohol and women….in that order. All of these things took Derek further away from his drab previous life. He overdid everything, particularly the drugs and alcohol.
He began to miss occasional gigs and by the time that The Weird Things were offered their first record contract, Derek would either not turn up to sessions or be so out of it that he was incapable of contributing anything. The band even knocked back an offer to have a documentary made about the making of the album as Derek was in such bad shape. His drug and alcohol addled mind was telling him the other band members that his music was too old or that he knew what was needed and that there was no need to embellish it..
One day a large Derek collected a large yellow envelope from his letter box. Because the drugs had made him so paranoid he was too afraid to open it. It took two days and three bottles of brandy before he opened the envelope. Inside it was a series of photographs of Derek in the studio out of his mind on drugs, extremely drunk or passed out. Attached to the photographs was a piece of paper which read, ‘This is what you have become.’
Derek knew that this was a direct message from The Weird Things. ‘Shape up or ship out’ is how Derek read it. This was exactly what the photographs and message meant. Had they come from the press the photographs would have been splashed all over the newspapers.
It took Derek one more bender before he rang the lead singer of the band and told him that he was going into rehab. Two weeks later Derek was in rehab, realising what he had become. He had become so obsessed by avoiding his past and obsessed with his image that he actually believed the portrait painted of him by the press, even though the opposite was in fact the case.
After completing rehab Derek had no interest in the band any more. He told them that he was leaving. The truth was that whilst in rehab they were meant to be recording an album but were dropped by their record label as they couldn’t function without Derek.
After living off the modest royalties from their album for a year, Derek decided to go to university. He felt that he head something to offer budding musicians in the field of contemporary music. He cut his long hair and wore a suit and tie again to go to lectures.
Today Derek is a university lecturer in Contemporary Music Studies. The Weird Things album is now a collectors item and is extremely difficult to get your hands on. Every song from the album still gets radio airplay and their music is worth a small fortune to Derek.