EXT. TATTERDEMALION ROCK CLUB - NIGHT
A sweeping view of the last remaining heavy metal club on the East Coast. At once forlorn, deteriorating, and majestic, the venue looms over an anonymous city.
A team of BOUNCERS (40s) at the club’s entrance slowly processes a stream of METAL FANS, patting them down and taking their money before allowing them to enter.
A SKINNY METAL KID (early 20s) gets to the front of the line. A BURLY BOUNCER (40s) runs a metal detector over his torso.
SKINNY METAL KID
Time’s the show start, man?
Burly Bouncer answers by extending his middle finger and using it to point to the huge marquee above, which reads:
“ANNUAL BATTLE OF THE BANDS - SHOW STARTS AT NINE”
Try looking up asshole.
The Skinny Metal Kid looks down from the marquee, humiliated.
SKINNY METAL KID
We sweep through the line, down the block and around the corner. All forms of metal are represented by these fans - Thrash, Glam, Industrial, Christian, Prog, Doom, and more.
The line dissipates toward the rear of Tatterdemalion. Around the back of the building, bands load their gear out of shitty buses, old cars, and road-worn vans.
The bands are as diverse as their fans. Good-natured barbs fly back and forth as musicians and roadies haul loads of equipment into the club.
One voice rises above the rest - and it’s a manic voice.
...then when the fuckin’ solo starts, I’ll jack my leg up on the drum riser. Richie, right when you see that, you go into that crazy tom fill. Got it?
At the far end of the loading area on a rusted-out van’s bumper sits ARDEN (35), looking the part of a metal vocalist.
He holds court with his Thrash Metal band VEHEMENT VOLITION.
The other members - RICHIE (drums), F.F. (guitar), and TURK (bass) - are all a good ten years younger than Arden - and they all look bored by his explicit instructions.
Richie air drums the tom roll with zero enthusiasm.
(singing his drum part)
Dugga-dugga-dooga-duh-dooga doo. Got it.
Okay so then we got sixteen bars of solo. I’m gonna have the pyro guy set off the flashpots once F.F. hits the pre-chorus riff.
(singing his guitar part)
Arden stands. He’s even more pumped now.
Yes! Then we go into the chorus and do that choreography I showed you guys. You still remember those moves, Turk?
Turk does a super weak left-right-left-left swaying motion.
No man, you gotta start at stage left, not your fuckin’ left or you’ll throw the rest of us off. Didn’t you review the storyboards?
Just watch me.
Arden stands up and starts doing robotically perfect choreography. He’s precise but very stiff.
Like this... see? And then the final pyro effect goes off. And that’s what’s gonna put us over the fuckin’ top!
How the hell are we gonna pay for all these effects?
I’ve got it covered.
Does any of this stuff even matter?
Arden stops cold. His enthusiasm fades instantly as he turns to Richie.
“Does it matter?” You guys... you don’t think putting on a kickass show matters, Richie?
Arden, this is heavy fucking metal. We’re supposed to play from our balls, not perform some over-rehearsed routine, man.
Arden looks from one guy to the next in disbelief.
Yeah, seriously. I can’t give the tune a solid feel if I’m locked in like a fucking Rockette!
Arden shakes his head. Slowly and silently, he walks to the open rear of the van. The band’s equipment fills the vehicle.
Rockettes, huh... over-rehearsed, huh? Okay...
He whips a crinkled poster from under the gear, unfolds it, and holds it up - standing on the van’s bumper like a campaigning politician.
Let me just hit you all with a recap, since what passes for Vehement Volition seems like a pathetic fuckin’ tribute band...
He pokes each word on the poster as he reads.
“Tatterdemalion Rock Club. Annual Battle of the Bands. Twenty four acts. One night. GRAND PRIZE...”
He points to the first part of the prize description and pauses, looking expectantly at the band.
Awkward looks all around as Richie, F.F., and Turk start to speak, unsure if Arden wants them to.
Oh, did you want us to--
Yeah man. Read the shit!
Richie lets out a child-like smile as he reads.
Oh. “Grand Prize: twenty thousand dollars worth of music gear...”
Arden nods and turns to F.F. as he points to the second part of the prize.
Uh... “a new luxury touring van...”
Right... and the big one, Turk...
He turns to Turk.
“And an album release on Rotting Corpuscle Records.”
Arden grins like a madman. He’s practically drooling.
Yes... YES... The gear is good. The van is great! But our own album release on a respected metal label?! Do you motherfuckers understand what that would mean?
We get to put out our own music?
Arden spins to Richie, delighted.
We can put out whatever we want! We’ll have the power to bring back the glory days of metal! Put on our own festivals, start an all-metal channel, sign other bands - sky’s the fuckin’ limit!
The guys look more interested now. They slowly stand.
Arden lifts himself onto the van’s roof. Crappy as the vehicle is, the street lights behind it illuminate the VV logo on the side panel and make Arden look pretty badass.
That’s why I push you guys so fuckin’ hard! If we win this thing, Vehement Volition will be the king of the fuckin’ metal mountain!
The others nod. They’ve bought in now.
So let’s bring our shit in, do our sound check, and win this Battle of the fuckin’ Bands!
The others give a little cheer and whip themselves into motion, each grabbing a piece of gear from the van and carrying it toward the club’s load-in door.