They tore the fucking building down. No one would believe it. After 75 years in the recording business, Bill Mills III couldn’t make rent for his grandfather’s recording studio. So, they shut it down to make room for another condo complex. As the bulldozers crashed down the marquee, a crowd of on-lookers collectively experienced the destruction of a rock and roll institution.
But amidst the rubble, a rusty metal box was uncovered. A lost recording.
When we uncovered it, most of the tape had disintegrated into a pile of dust. One canister survived.
When we fired up the reel-to-reel, we had no idea what to expect. Our hopes were high. At this point, our spirits had been crushed and whatever was on this tape was going to somehow represent the legacy of Old Billy Mills himself. But nothing could have prepared us for what we heard come through the speakers.
“Is that a drum machine?”
“No, of course not.” I blew the dust off of the canister and wiped the grimy film from the canister label. “It says right here, 1957.”
“Holy shit he wasn’t crazy!” Bill stood up suddenly, and cried out. “He wasn’t crazy!”
I looked at him square in the eyes. He then preceded to tell us about a story his grandfather made him swear he would never tell anyone unless these recordings ever came up. He said there was a traveller. He said the traveller came from a different time, and brought with him special sound machines that could reproduce the sounds of an entire band with the push of a button. He mentioned NCB.
My jaw dropped. No. I thought. It’s a hoax. But somehow, I was mesmerized by the hypnotic sound of the drum beat. At that moment, I believed him.