The Sound of Us

By: Ashley Poston


John Birmingham

The Juice, June Issue #327

Even if you haven’t heard of Roman Holiday, you have. Multi-platinum and award-winning, the trio of young bright things—Roman Montgomery, Holly Hudson, and Boaz Alexander—have made a name for themselves with breakout hits like MTV's Video Music Award winner “My Heart War” and the Billboard-crushing “Crush On You.” At their last concert in San Antonio over a year ago, fans stood in line for three hours to snag exclusive tickets to the venue, and their Madison Square Garden gig sold out in twenty minutes flat after fans stood in line for two days in the sweltering New York City summer heat.

There seemed to be no stopping Roman Holiday.

Then, tragedy struck the former pop rock sensation when one dark June evening last summer, Holly Hudson was found dead in her LA apartment.

“[Holly's] death took us all by surprise,” says musician friend and punk heartthrob Jason Dallas at a recent show in Albuquerque. “We lost the best of us that day. There was no justice in it. It should've been Roman, and where is he now?”

Lead guitarist and back-up vocalist, Roman Montgomery had been living with Hudson in the modest West Hollywood apartment where he discovered her body, and what pursued was an avalanche of speculation that it was not suicide at all, but murder. In court, Roman Montgomery refused to state where he had been the night of her death, and without any witnesses to attest to his whereabouts, an LA judge ruled her death accidental.

Hudson had allegedly been taking prescription pain medications for a sprained ankle and a coroner reported alcohol in her system at the time of her death as well.

After Hudson's funeral in her small hometown of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, both Montgomery and Alexander disappeared without a trace. The award shows were very quiet last year without Roman Holiday, and while they were nominated for both Best Music Video and Best Pop Song of the Year, they went to Jason Dallas.

A year later, Roman Montgomery and his wingman are yet to be found. Muse Records has issued a last offer for the duo to return to their contracts before they become void in August. The fans of Roman Holiday—Holidayers—have pitched tents in front of Muse Records, pleading for an extension. They haven’t given up on this star-crossed band, but perhaps it's finally time.

The last shot for Roman Holiday was their pre-scheduled event at Madison Square Garden this July 27th. According to the band’s manager, this was Holly Hudson's dream gig. Now, Holidayers around the world hold onto the last vestiges of hope that Montgomery and Alexander might reemerge to claim their rightful place.

Will Roman Holiday reunite for one last gig in the name of America's late sweetheart?

Or will the gig—and Roman Holiday—be left for dead?

Chapter One

The only thing I hate more than Saturday night shifts at the bar are dentist appointments, and you have to be a sadist to like those. When I’m working them without the manager, my mom, it’s worse, but she’s been MIA every weekend since the wedding.

I squat down behind the speakers onstage, gathering up the plethora of beer bottles tonight’s band stashed there, and dump them into the trashcan beside the stage. The sound guy whistles Queen’s “Killer Queen” as he cheerfully flicks off the soundboard and drains the last of his strawberry mojito. I wish he’d choke on an ice cube.

“Mike three was hot again tonight, Danny,” I tell him, wiping my hands on my jeans. One of the bottles was sticky. Gross. “Rock Your Mouth ruined another Slipknot cover.”

“I can only do so much with this equipment, sweetie,” Danny retorts. “And they just sucked.”

“It’s Junie, and they would’ve sucked less if you did your job instead of texting.” I hop off the stage and begin collecting the empty bottles scattered across the bar, and tossing them into the trashcan. “I mean, they made me want to slipknot a noose and hang them from the rafters with it. And I usually never have a problem with Slipknot.”

Danny spits through the gap in his front teeth. I inwardly cringe. He says it’s a nervous habit, but I think he does it to get on my nerves. “Hey, sweetie, leave it to the professionals. Danny’s got the big-boy sound stuff under control.”

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