UNreal gods is the fulfillment of a promise made long ago in a place far different from the eccentric hipster haven that Portland has become today. It is a novel based on the life of Portland musician Billy Rancher.
In the early 1980s the Portland music scene was quixotically vibrant. Countless talented bands vied for headline status among the many thriving clubs operating all over the city. While the punks confined themselves to the downtown sector and the hairband contingent remained at the fringes in the suburbs, listener-friendly pop bands of all stylistic persuasions played pretty much everywhere around town.
At the top of that glittering heap stood Billy and his exciting young band the Unreal Gods. Still in his early twenties, Billy was already notorious, having won a David Bowie lookalike contest before he even became a musician. Subsequent infamy was soon generated by his short-lived first band—the boisterous Malchicks—formed with his younger brother. The pair was renowned for engaging in drunken brawls onstage, while spraying pitchers of beer upon their equally drunken audiences in stupid bacchanal.
From the ashes of a flamed-out Malchicks sprung the far more refined Unreal Gods, wherein Billy was able to exert his formidable, Elvisian charisma for the appreciative mobs. Tall, athletic, androgynously gorgeous, he was Portland’s rock Adonis.
Within a few short years Billy and the Unreal Gods had signed a major-label recording contract, and were ready to embark upon a career of excess and debauchery, the trajectory of which seemed to have no limits. But at that moment Fate stepped in to alter Billy’s fortunes and those of all around him. It is in that poignant turn where Billy’s real story lies, elevating it from the mundane to the epic in scale.
Nearly thirty years ago SP Clarke promised Billy that he would tell his tale to the world. The resulting book did not turn out quite the way either of them might have anticipated: not the true story entirely, but certainly the real story.
For more information and links to purchasing UNreal gods please see the website: unrealgods.com
What follows are unpublished chapters from UNreal Gods, expurgated from the final version