QUINN QUARK IS DEAD. He didn’t even get the dignity of dying onstage—or at least not the stage I wanted him to die on, the stage he’s supposed to be on at this very moment playing to a sold out crowd. But instead, the shell of a man he left behind, now known as “Quinn Quack” to the media, is eating alone at a Ruby’s Diner, waiting for someone he’s really not looking forward to seeing.
I had actually become quite fond of playing Quinn Quark one last time. I wanted to give him the goodbye he deserved. I wanted to drown him in his silly boyhood fantasy forever so I could be free of him to finally find me, Walter Huxley. That’s the person I truly want to be. But oh well. It’s not like Quinn didn’t have a good run before dying at Red Rocks, then being shortly resurrected to die again on the pitchforks of the press. Make a boyhood rock n’ roll fantasy come true then destroy it: check. It’s time to move on and keep checking along—or at least that’s what the therapist inside my head keeps telling me, one of the many new unnamed identities emerging in my head in my search for Walter Huxley.
My therapist also suggested beginning this journal, but I’m not exactly sure why. My life isn’t fun to document right now. I had to put on shorts today. I know, fucking weird, right? I haven’t worn them in probably ten years. I feel so awkward—almost naked. Okay really, it’s just my cankles that feel naked, but still, I just don’t feel like me. However, that’s the point. I don’t want to be me right now. I mean, I do want to be me, as in Walter Huxley, but the world still recognizes me as Quinn Quark, so I have to do as much as I can to not look like him. I’m sorry if I’m confusing you—whoever you are. I’m very confused myself.
Anyway, me—whoever I am, can’t go out in public. Not just because I’m still constantly recognized, but now also constantly harassed thanks to Francis’s article. As you may be putting together, she cut and pasted the context of our conversation to her creative liking, painting me in the worst light possible—a “drug-riddled, sex-addicted, megalomaniac” were her words to be exact. But I was drunk and high the entire interview, compared myself to God, admitted to cheating on my ex-girlfriend with her mother, and grabbed my interviewer’s breast, so maybe I am. However, I never claimed to be perfect. In fact, I beat myself up every day for not being so.
But I’ve come to realize through this, how can any artist ever be perfect? Creativity isn’t born of perfection, but buffed of our flaws. Every artist is a polished turd, and so are most humans.
But according to Lola, now that I’m a “celebrity”, I’ve lost my right to be human, turd, or artist, and must suffer for showing myself as such, especially since I didn’t consult her before taking my first major interview and for lying about not finishing the album (she really wants me to suffer for that). This is why many celebrities have “teams” behind them—some the size of small economies—who preserve their pedigreed image for when it has to compete against other pedigreed images at award shows and such.
Anyway, I guess there’s a lot I shouldn’t have said and one thing I should’ve: “off the record”. Yes, that cliché detective drama phrase could have saved me from the three ring circus my life has now become. Apparently—as I’ve been repeatedly told by Lola, if that’s not stated during an interview, everything you say is on the table and it’s at the reporter’s discretion to publish it or not, and believe me, you don’t want the fate of your reputation to be in the hands of a reporter.
So you—again whoever you are, might be asking then, how is this famous polished turd able to be out so cavalierly in public, wallowing his misery into a cookies and cream milkshake at some neo-classical American diner without being bothered? Well, that’s where the shorts come in. I also buzzed my hair, grew my beard out even thicker, and traded my bellbottoms in for hipster shorts, mandals, and a bright orange fedora, which is actually my late grandfather’s hunting hat, but who knew hunting hats came in bright orange fedoras?
So far my dorky dad getup seems to be my best yet. Not once was I recognized as I took my old Huntington stroll from Tenth and Orange to the end of the pier where the diner is. I’ve actually been having a lot of fun playing dress up in public lately. Sometimes it works, other times, not. I once thought dressing up as a woman would be a good idea (not my idea, one of the new nutcases in my head). Within the first hour of going out, someone snapped a picture, and by the time I returned home, there I was looking like a street hooker with a penis on every major celebrity tabloid website, and that’s how I became “Quinn Quack” to the press.
Since then, Quinn Quack has hardly been able to leave his grandma’s house. Night and day the paparazzi stake out to get a shot of me. The celebrity gossip magazines have quite the price on my head right now, and I’m making everyone money but myself. Yep, despite being outrageously famous, I’m still broke, kinda unemployed, and living with Grandma.
So what happened? Who’s responsible for this? Who burned the show, Quinn Quark, and Perfect Crime to the ground? Oh yeah me. But of course it never would’ve been possible without Francis and an unlikely coalition of some serious fucking irony. I mean really, my life writes better stories than I can. The god in charge of me must be really getting his kicks right now and laughing his ass off.
So anyway, the article came out with everything I said in it—or at least everything that fit into the frame of “drug-riddled, sex-addicted, megalomaniac”, and of course my most outrageous quotes were the enlarged ones you so often see in magazine articles that appeal to people who don’t read. Things like:
“Yes, getting high with God would be fun. But I must insist I am not him.”
“Wanna know what my last words to Squids were when I found him shooting up in the bathroom he later died in? ‘Shoot up until you’re dead for all I care, because once this tour’s over, you’re out of the band.’”
FJ: Amber cheated on her fiancé with you, then left him for you, then you cheated on her with her mother?
WH: I had just broken up with Amber before hooking up with her mother, but basically.
And Francis’s flattering recollection of how the night summed up:
Mister Huxley got so high and drunk that he vomited on my couch, then cried like a baby until I cleaned it up. He then showed his appreciation after by grabbing my breast.
Needless to say, it didn’t take long before the article began making ripples, first with the conservative press who took my blasphemous—but obviously flippant—statement about God to paint me as a corrupting influence on today’s youth, a “Marilyn Manson without makeup”. Then the liberal media jumped in and began pigeonholing me as “a throwback to the hedonistic type of rock stars who should’ve been left in the nineteen-eighties.” But ultimately, it was a tweet by “Kimye” that made the finishing blow on Quinn Quark and the show.
Kimye, in case you haven’t heard, is the latest and greatest pedigreed power couple, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. And because my mention of Kim made it into the article, they (but probably more so the teams behind them) decided to capitalize and make me the focal point of some new reinvention/redemption campaign for them both which coincides with Kim’s new “natural-looking” line of makeup, NewNude.
#Turninganewleaf for #genderequality. Rock stars like QQ have no place in civilized society. #Cancelquinnquark, the #NewNude is here! #Kimye
After the tweet, celebrity feminists poured in with support and profits for Kimye and shame for me. Then with popular opinion on their side, the conservative ranks cranked up again and began spreading a boycott of the concert’s primary sponsor, Devil’s Juz Energy Drink, because the company’s parent company is actually owned by a Christian family. The liberals also hitched onto this for their own motives, and Devil’s Juz soon gave in, followed by the rest of the sponsors, and finally, because of the bad press and massive decline in support, the show was canceled and heralded as a rare and great triumph of bipartisanship.
Now you may be saying (again who the fuck am I talking to?), come on Walter, stand up for yourself and tell everyone the truth. Tell everyone that evil little chipmunk lured you in with flattery and mouth-fed you drugs in order to wring every intimate secret out of you. Tell them you’re not the person Francis made you out to be; tell them you’re actually someone who champions women’s equality—have they forgotten your foray in dressing as a woman?
First off, what’s the point? Once popular culture has made a verdict on you, it’s hard to change and rarely worth trying. Once you’re ousted by the cool kids—Rolling Stone being a very influential one—there’s no coming back. And although I’ve never had goals of nineteen-eighties rock star hedonism, maybe the cool kids are right in me being a relic of the past who has no place in Today’s society. I don’t like Today’s music, Today’s fashion, Today’s perversion with celebrity culture. Today just wants a face, a big fucking face to talk about and laugh at. Today says: “Fuck the music! We just want to look at you like a goddamn monkey in a cage. We don’t give a shit what your music sounds like, just keep rolling around in your own shit and picking at the other monkeys’ asses so we can laugh and point our fingers at you and live our pathetic lives vicariously through you because deep down inside we want to be just like you—a wild fucking animal!” So yeah, Fuck Today.
Also though, I am kind of getting what I wanted as Francis so lovingly reminded me in a typed letter left discreetly in my grandma’s mailbox:
I’m writing to you because I care about you. Not once have I felt the need to explain my journalistic actions, but you at least deserve that. In hindsight, I may have gone too far, but I’m really only giving you what you wanted. You said you didn’t want to be Quinn Quark anymore and I’m making that happen.
I won’t lie and say that my motivations weren’t primarily selfish. I’m trying to be a great journalist, maybe a Pulitzer winner someday, and getting the story everyone wants but nobody has is my life’s ambition. Sure, the way I got it from you was a little unscrupulous, and I did take advantage of your ignorance of media law, but in my line of work sometimes you have to weigh ethics, and unfortunately you lost.
However, if you still wanted your promising music career I maybe would’ve given a second thought to publishing a story so damaging. But since you don’t, I had to sacrifice you for the greater cause: myself. You want out and I want up. Why should I try to promote somebody in a career they don’t want if I can benefit so much from taking it away? If I as a representative of Rolling Stone lavished over you like everyone else, it would’ve only solidified you as a bona fide rock star—exactly what you don’t want, and my article wouldn’t have been nearly talked about as much as it is now. I’m sure you see my logic.
I’m sorry you’re having to go through all this. I never intended for it to go this far, but don’t worry. It will all be over before you know it. Eventually “Quinn Quack” fever will fizzle out. The public can only take prolonged doses of crazy celebrities for so long. After that, you’ll join the ranks of Lindsay Lohan, Charlie Sheen, Mel Gibson, and others in the Hollywood Hall of The Insane, and you can just fade into obscurity like you always wanted.
I know you probably hate me, and that’s something I accepted long before I published the article, but I want you to know I am rooting for you in whatever you decide to do with your life. There’s a lot of greatness in that head of yours.
You know who
While her line of reasoning—using me as a stepping stool just because I happened to be on the floor—is a little heartless, after writing all this down, I’m starting to see Francis may be right (and maybe that therapist inside my head actually knows what he’s talking about). Sure things suck right now, but it’s kind of a funny suck when I think about it, something I’ll hopefully laugh about later when Quinn Quark is long forgotten. I never would’ve imagined a year ago I’d be slandered in Rolling Stone and be enemy number one of conservatives, feminists, and Kardashians alike.
I should also mention not everyone gave into the smear campaign against me; people who can see the deeper foolishness to this all, and who actually read more than enlarged quotes and tweets. Unfortunately though, without the support of the media or a high-profile backer, their voices are lost, but they’re there.
Also, I still apparently have “Quarkians” out there. After the concert tanked, I gave Cirkus the rights to Perfect Crime’s first two EPs so they could remaster and re-release them together in lieu of an album, and by pre-orders alone, the sales should be enough to pay back what the band owes to the label. So, at least my hands are clean of that.
Shit, she’s here; the person I’m not looking forward to seeing; the person who’s probably suffered as much if not more than me because of Francis’s article. All right Walter, hold it together, just hold it together.