Friday, August 5, 2016

SPOTLIGHT - Kevin Doyle and his wonderful book One Helluva Gig

“One Helluva Gig” chronicles several years of the life of newspaper reporter Frank Peters who comes to prominence through a series of associations with the major recording star, Rob Jeffers, who Peters first interviewed when Jeffers was still paying the college circuit. 

When Jeffers dies midway through his stratospheric career, Peters own career takes a downward spiral that ends with him working for a tabloid newspaper chasing years of supposed sightings of Jeffers, still alive. As Peters is sent once more to the middle of nowhere to investigate a Jeffers sighting, he discovers something unexpected - not only about the dead singer, but also about himself.

 Teaser from "One Helluva Gig"....
When my story came out a few days later, it filled about an eight-inch hole on page nine. Hardly noticed then, it’s a collector’s item today, and, even before Rob’s death, about once a year, the journalism department at the school would get a request from some music mag or underground press to reprint it. That coincidental meeting made me, in later years, the “expert” on Rob Jeffers, an expertise a lot more imagined than real.
Unlike the popular myth, Rob wasn’t an “overnight success.” When I first met him that night at the university, he was, at twenty-five, far and away the oldest member of the band.
And it’d be nice to say, as I stood back of the stage and listened to the unending succession of covers from acts nearly ten years out of date, that I had an inkling that the lead vocalist I’d met a few minutes ago would become the next big star.
Unfortunately, I can’t say any such thing. The first time I heard Jeffers perform, he was, to say the least, unimpressive. At the time, I had no idea that I was listening to someone whose name would eventually rank up there with the biggest.
Even more, it wasn’t exactly my kind of music. A little too soul-screeching for me, especially back in the days when heavy metal was all the big thing. I didn’t mind a little hard thumping now and then, but my tastes most definitely ran more to the likes of Boston, Styx, and The Who. While Jeffers and his band didn’t quite match up to early Ozzy standards, ninety percent of the time, they performed pretty much out of my comfort range.
Still, judging by the reaction of the young, mainly female audience, I must have been the only one not having a great time. Between the hair whipping back and forth, the beer chugging and slurping, and the faintly acrid stench of a certain controlled substance rising toward the ceiling, almost everyone there had a great time. Any minute, I expected to see co-eds whipping off their bras and throwing them toward the stage.
Eventually, after what seemed like forever, the band came out for an encore, and, with the time edging up on midnight, I eased myself out from the main body of the crowd and off to the side of the room. As the song, almost completely drowned out by drunken, stoned applause, wound down, and the group began edging off stage, I caught the eye of the oldish guy up there who I’d helped get in the building. He nodded, and I continued my journey toward the back of the hall, already outlining my piece in my head as my instructors had taught me.
Looking back, of course, the story was no great shakes, especially considering the eight column inches I’d been assigned that got cut down to six. I did manage, even in that small space, to squeeze in the names of Phil Herbert, guitarist; Lonny Jenkins, drums; and Brian Smith, keyboards. And, naturally, Rob Jeffers, who, as lead singer, had done the lion’s share of the screeching and caterwauling up on stage, I featured in a paragraph all his own.
So, no. The story itself, on its merits, wasn’t any different from several thousand other hole-fillers that appear in college papers around the country every year. Even at the time, I knew full well that nothing really distinguished it from anything else that anybody would print that month, or that year, or even that decade.
Of course now, as we all know, there was something very special about the piece, something that, although it would take some time to come to fruition, would establish me in what would become my chosen profession.
That something, of course, was the two or three quotes I managed to twist out of a confused, hyperactive lead singer. Even though his performance that night had given me absolutely no indication of the star he would become.

            A high school teacher and fiction writer in central Missouri, Kevin Doyle’s short stories, mainly in the horror and suspense fields, have appeared in over twenty-five small press magazines. In 2012, Vagabondage Press released his first e-book, a rock fiction novelette title One Helluva Gig. In 2014 Barbarian Books released his first full-length mystery novel, The Group, currently slated to be re-released next year by MuseItUp Publishing. And in February of 2015, Night to Dawn Magazine and Books released his horror novel, The Litter. A lifelong lover of both dogs and the Gulf Coast, he’s counting down the years till retirement, when he can move south and enjoy both. 
            More information can be found at or at

1 comment:

  1. This looks like a terrific read, Kevin! Thanks for sharing it on my blog!