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Songs from the Novel Parallel

Shakespeare’s Cadillac

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Click on the Audio Button below to Hear “Shakespeare’s Cadillac.”

Shakespeare's Cadillac

by Shakespeare's Cadillac | Parallel

Click Here to See Lyrics

Shakespeare’s Cadillac

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Smoke

Livin’ in my car in the Hollywood Hills

Workin’ as a waiter tryin’ to pay my bills

All day long I play my guitar

Writin’ songs in the back seat of my car

If I ever get outta here I ain’t comin back

Dreamin’ the dream in Shakespeare’s Cadillac

Recorded my songs hustlin’ every day

An A and R man says, “I like the way you play”

I grabbed that life line and didn’t let go

Now I’m drivin down Sunset’…I’m on the radio

Top down, hair blowin, don’t look back

I’m ridin’ smooth…in Shakespeare’s Cadillac

Chorus

If I could go back and rewrite the script

There’s a lot of things I’d like to flip

One thing I’d never change when I look back

Is that sweet, sweet ride…In my Shake, Shake, Shake…Shakespeare’s Cadillac

 

Six months in my song hit number ten

I tried real hard to do it again

I barely cracked a hundred, I was yesterday’s news

I was playin’ rock and roll, but I was singin’ the blues

Went down a dark road, thought I’d never come back

I took a detour…in Shakespeare’s Cadillac

I dove into a bottle and I almost drowned

Jobs dried up, people stopped comin’ ‘round

I burned a lotta bridges, said a lotta things

Hard to walk among the people once you been the king

I finally drove down a cul de sac

Ran outta gas…in Shakespeare’s Cadillac

Chorus

Now I play the one-hit wonder shows

I play a couple of tunes that people sorta know

I can still get laid, I still get paid

But I’m livin’ in a different world from the one I made

Drivin town to town…tryin’ to get back on track

It’s just me and the road and…Shakespeare’s Cadillac

Chorus

Set up in the book:

After briefly losing consciousness as the result of an automobile accident, Nick Sands feels lucky to be alive. A few hours later he’s not so sure.

Before the accident he was a successful San Francisco lawyer on his way to a deposition in Los Angeles. After the accident, he’s a 40-something faded rock star scheduled to headline a 90’s nostalgia concert later that week in LA. People know him in this alternate world as Nick Sands, the rock star. And while Nick remembers his “real” life in San Francisco, he also has all the memories of the rock star’s life.

Nick desperately wants to return to his life in San Francisco because his girlfriend is about to give birth to their first child. He doesn’t know where to turn for help without sounding like a lunatic.

During his bizarre odyssey in the alternate world, Nick meets people like Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison, but they are not rock stars in the parallel world because they made different life choices. Nick is truly through the looking glass when he meets other eccentric characters, e.g., Rebecca, a UCLA parapsychologist specializing in “Parallel Reality Therapy”; and The Thin Man, a secretive tech genius and multi-billionaire who has devised a machine that projects virtual reality images created by the brain, simulating how the mind actually creates reality.

On his journey Nick receives assistance from many sources.

But nothing can prepare him for how that journey ends.

All songs were recorded by the group Shakespeare’s Cadillac, featuring Stephen Smoke.

We hope you enjoy the experience of having the choice to actually hear the music described in the novel.

Story Behind This Song:

I followed Liam outside to a garage behind his house. He lifted the garage door and watched my reaction.

I was stunned. In the garage along with a red Lexus GS and green and tan Land Rover was “Shakespeare’s Cadillac.”

“Wow,” was all I could say. “How…?”

“Remember you sold the car to Ronnie back in the day?”

“I was probably drunk.”

“You were drunk all the time back then.”

“Buzzed.”

“Trust me. I was there. You were drunk.” Liam paused and the two men looked at each other. There was no seething anger between them. They stood there now like old fighters remembering what it was like to be strong and invincible. Liam was no longer angry. He had moved on. Made peace with what happened. He hadn’t forgotten, but he was more than halfway toward forgiving.

Although the “other Nick” was responsible for all the bad behavior, I remembered everything, from the other Nick’s perspective. I didn’t feel guilty about what happened—because it wasn’t really “me” who had acted so stupidly. Recklessly. But I didn’t feel compelled to defend myself. In this universe, I had been wrong, and for all practical purposes, standing here with Liam, I had no choice but to just take it.

After a moment Liam said, “Anyhow, Ronnie kept it for a few years. When he needed money he called me and asked if I wanted to buy it. I was flush. I overpaid a little…sentimental value. You know.”

“I know you had sex with a lot women in the back seat of that car.”

“There was that. We weren’t gettin’ paid much back then. I figured if I’m not gettin’ paid, least I’m gettin’ laid.”

“That is very sentimental.”

“And, of course, you wrote all of the band’s best songs in that car.”

I smiled and nodded my head slowly, mesmerized by the sight of my lost muse. I had driven in from Ohio in that car. Lived in it for about six months, working as a waiter at night. I’d drive to various neighborhoods after work, park the car, write for a while using a small lantern I’d picked up at a local Home Depot, then I’d sleep till dawn. In the morning I’d drive to Eddie’s donut shop on Sunset near La Cienega for a glazed donut and great coffee. Over several cups of coffee I’d read the LA Weekly, work on lyrics, and check the musician want ads. I needed to put together a band. That’s how I’d found Liam.

“This is un-fuckin-believable,” I said.

“Believe it, brother. You doin’ okay financially?”

“That’s kind of personal.”

“Yeah, well, for a couple of months now I’ve been thinking about doing something with the garage and I’d like to get rid of the Caddy. Then you call out of the blue. Seems like it’s meant to be.”

“How much you asking?”

“It’s probably only worth a grand, but with all the memories I have about you and about that car…how about $250?”

I looked at him.

“I didn’t say they were good memories.”

“Deal. Does it run?”

Shakespeare's Cadillac

by Shakespeare's Cadillac | Parallel

Click Here to See Lyrics

Shakespeare’s Cadillac

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Smoke

Livin’ in my car in the Hollywood Hills

Workin’ as a waiter tryin’ to pay my bills

All day long I play my guitar

Writin’ songs in the back seat of my car

If I ever get outta here I ain’t comin back

Dreamin’ the dream in Shakespeare’s Cadillac

Recorded my songs hustlin’ every day

An A and R man says, “I like the way you play”

I grabbed that life line and wouldn’t let go

Now I’m drivin down Sunset’…I’m on the radio

Top down, hair blowin, don’t look back

I’m ridin’ smooth…in Shakespeare’s Cadillac

Chorus

If I could go back and rewrite the script

There’s a lot of things I’d like to flip

But one thing I’d never change when I look back

Is that sweet, sweet ride…In my Shake, Shake, Shake…Shakespeare’s Cadillac

 

Six months in my song hit number ten

Then I tried real hard to do it again

Barely cracked a hundred, I was yesterday’s news

I was playin’ rock and roll, but I was singin’ the blues

Went down some dark roads, thought I’d never come back

Took a detour…in Shakespeare’s Cadillac

Dove into a bottle and I almost drowned

Jobs dried up, people stopped comin’ ‘round

Burned a lotta bridges, said a lotta things

Hard to walk among the people once you been a king

Finally drove down a cul de sac

Ran outta gas…in Shakespeare’s Cadillac

Chorus

Now I play the one-hit wonder shows

I play a couple of tunes that people sorta know

I can still get laid, I still get paid

But I’m livin’ in a different world than the one I made

Drivin town to town…tryin’ to get back on track

Me and…Shakespeare’s Cadillac

Chorus