I was born Jonathon Aaron Steel, to the parents of William and Elizabeth
steel. I am a Leo, born under the sign of the lion and I was raised in a lower
middle class family with only one brother Michael whom I love dearly. He was
five years my senior. My father's nickname was Red which I could never
understand why because his hair was sandy blond. Nevertheless, the name stuck.
So when my brother was born my father became Big Red and my brother Little Red.
I should have known from the first time when I realised their special
connection, that I just didn't fit in to my father's plans. And as I grew
older the constant comparison between my brother and myself left little doubt
who was the image of perfection in my father's eye. To him, my brother could
do no wrong and I became The Invisible Boy, the proverbial 'black sheep' and
I soon figured out that red and black don't mix. The beatings I received
became more and more frequent to the point where I would ask my father 'Am I
the orphaned son you would never need'? But oddly enough I worshipped the
ground my father walked upon.
My brother and I were a strange mixture, as different as daylight and dark.
Looking back, it's hard to imagine we came from the same parents. I sometimes
wondered if we had the same father, but I always dismissed that idea as my
mother was far too religious, my father as well, to ever even think of such
a thing. But my brother who had always sensed my parent's instilled
insecurities tried his best to encourage me. For I was born different and he
knew it. He often told me when I was born an angel flew over my bed and
christened me with a magic wand and said 'You shall be the one.' And I had
no idea what 'The one' was, but as I grew older I began to understand. Most
boys put their mother on a pedestal and worship them like the Virgin Mary but
with her too my relationship was different and not for the good. She was
opinionated, uneducated, sometimes prejudiced, overbearing, believed
to say the least. A mind boggling combination but she was pretty, very pretty
and I would often wonder, bordering on complete confusion, how a person of
this description could rationalise life.
This was a series of characteristics that many times in my life I would look
back on in bewilderment and the women I sought after when I was older would
be nothing like her. In the pain of youth, the misery of my neglect, would
manifest itself in many ways; depression - my enemy, fear - my friend, hatred
- my lover, and anger - fuel for my fire. These four characteristics of my
personality would become the guiding force of my life and would control
everything I did or was to become. I shall explain later in the story about
them which I call my Four Doors of Doom.
The mirror, the great plaything for man's vanity. The mirror was to become, at
times, my altar of refuge and other, my alter ego and its magnificent
obsession with a relentless pursuit of attention. It served as a chilling
reflection of my own wretchedness and my greatness. It was the one place I
could go to see inside myself, to find love, in an otherwise loveless household
where I could be great, where I could be anything or anyone I wanted to be -
one hundred percent pure escapism until I discovered its precious secret. The
mirror lives, it breathes, it talks, it lies, it has a personality all its
own. It is a genie that grants all the wishes you could ever dream, at least
in my case - all except two.
It was my 14th birthday, the day that changed my life forever. My brother
Michael, the one person who was my guiding light, my friend, my hero, was
killed by a drunk driver in a head-on collision. He died instantly. I couldn't
even bring myself to go to his funeral. My agony was so great I just couldn't
come face to face with him that one last time. My failure to attend intensified
my parents' resentment for me even more. But from that moment on, nothing
seemed to matter, especially that living hell called 'home'. For one year
after his death I roa
anyone. I discovered alcohol, and girls, drugs and in general a life I had
never known which was exciting, frightening and wonderfully dangerous. And it
was then as I staggered through a down town city street in one of my drunken
rages I stumbled across a small music shop and in the window stood the
instrument, the fiery tool that would become the object of my new found desire.
The instrument of my passion, my obsession, the blood-red six string. It was
like I'd known the thing all my life.
I soon found it was the only way I could truly express myself. It was a way to
vent all my frustrations and all my pain - completely opened all my Four Doors
Of Doom and I found myself going to the mirror for counsel less and less.
Because of this my songs seemed to write themselves and I knew my destiny was
in my music but I was going to have to get out of this backwards town I was in
if I was ever going to succeed. I was 16 going nowhere and the only thing my
parents knew was 'live, work, die.' And if I stayed there that was exactly
what was going to happen to me - I was gonna die. So I ran away to the big
city with the lights, excitement and danger and a chance for me to finally
live and do my music without the persecution I had known for so long.
I hitchhiked all the way with a suitcase in one hand and my guitar in the
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other and as I stood at the edge of the city the magic of the place was
incredibly intense. It was to be my new home the place I would call the 'Arena
Of Pleasure'. I lived and struggled in the arena for two years trying to get
a break in music and make a record and that's when I ran across a delightful
business man named Charlie. He had been a lawyer for 25 years before he
discovered he could fuck over more people in the recording industry then he
ever could in a court of law and he was the president of one of the biggest
record companies in the world. The music business to Charlie was nothing more
than a sacrificial lamb to be led to slaughter and the weapon of choice was
his record company t
would lovingly refer to as 'The Chainsaw'. The morgue, Charlie said, was the
music business where everyone sells out. Where all the artists will eventually
whore themselves to commercialism, the place where the music comes to die. And
through him I learned everything I needed to know about the music business and
even things I didn't want to know. He said he could make me a star, one of the
biggest things the world had ever seen. The big time was calling and I was on
my way. He introduced me to an aspiring young manager named Alex Rodman and
together we took on the whole fucking world and kicked it square in the ass.
Just before the release of my first album I was sitting on the steps in front
of my apartment when a gypsy woman passed by. She stopped and asked me if I
would like my fortune read and I had never had it done so I was more than
happy to say yes. She revealed a deck of Tarot cards and began to tell me of
my past in which she went into great detail about the pain of my youth, my
brother and my parents. She saw my present with my great struggle to succeed
and fulfillment of my dreams and new found happiness but after about ten
minutes she stopped and I wanted to know of my future and pleaded for her to
go on and finally she spoke. She showed me a very disturbing vision of where
I was going. I told her that I wanted a phenomenal wealth and fame and in the
cards she saw a fallen hero and looked at me and said 'Be careful what you
wish for - it might come true, for the face of death wears the mask of the
King of Mercy.' I asked her if she was sure of what she had seen and with a
blank stare she turned and walked away leaving me with the cards and a
haunting that would follow me the rest of my life.
Success agreed with me with amazing ease. The more records I sold the more
excess I had of everything - friends, money, women, cars, houses. It was at
one of my nightly hedonisms where a flash individual entered the room. He
introduced himself as the Doctor. I asked him what kind of doctor and he
wall, my alter ego, was now talking to me from the table and the next three
years were a blur. Drugs became the new candy and alcohol became the new
Coca Cola and Doctor Rockter was my new best friend and I never heard the
mirror speak again until tonight.
I was at the peak of my career and the world saw me as I had always wanted it,
The Idol, the Great Crimson Idol. Now I had everything it seemed, everything
but the one thing that would have meant more to me than anything. The pain
that manifested itself into my obsession, the acceptance of me by my father
and mother, who I had not spoken to since I had left home.
One morning my manager Alex came in and broke up one of our nightly Easy
Rider Parties. An Easy Rider Party was when everybody would come over to my
house, the band, the doctor, hot and cold running women etc. And we'd watch
the movie and do everything going on the film only a lot more. And he
threatened to leave me if I didn't clean up. It was not that he cared about
me as a person he was only interested in my talent and what I could do to
further his own career as a true showbiz mogul. But it was then I realised
just how far things had gone. So I sat there alone in my palace of pain and
I was just numb from the alcohol and the drugs but equally as intoxicated by
my own fame and I had just enough courage to pick up the phone and dial the
number. My mind went into a whirlwind thinking of what would happen and the
fear overcame me and I started to put down the phone but before I could a
voice at the other end rang out and it sent a chill through me that I had
never known. It was my mother. It was hard for me to speak, my heart pounding
out of my chest but when I did I did the best I could. She was very cold. But
I knew the shock of suddenly hearing from me after all these years was
overwhelming and I was hoping that all the time that had passed would heal
the deep wounds between my parents and me but...I desperately wanted them to
approve of me, to accept me - it was all I ever wanted. I hoped my
would finally prove my worthiness and they would welcome the prodigal son
home. All I wanted was for them to be proud of me but less than 50 words
were spoken. The last four were 'We have no son.'
Some wounds never heal and mine had scarred me for life. A great star fell from
the sky that night and with its descent left a scorched path in its way - a
great path of self-destruction before burning out. And on this night the great
finale is finally here. 'Be careful what you wish for - it may come true.'
Long live, long live the King of Mercy.