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Authors: Jesse Andrews

The Haters

BOOK: The Haters
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PUBLISHER'S NOTE: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Andrews, Jesse.
The Haters / by Jesse Andrews.
pages cm
Summary: A road trip adventure about a trio of jazz-camp escapees who, against every realistic expectation, become a band.
ISBN 978-1-4197-2078-9 (hardcover) — ISBN 978-1-61312-948-7 (ebook)
[1. Bands (music)—Fiction. 2. Musicians—Fiction. 3. Friendship—Fiction. 4. Humorous stories.] I. Title.
PZ7.A56726 Hat 2016
[Fic]—dc23
2015030408

Text copyright © 2016 Jesse Andrews
Jacket and interior illustrations copyright © 2016 Will Staehle
Book design by Chad W. Beckerman

Published in 2016 by Amulet Books, an imprint of ABRAMS. All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, mechanical, electronic, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the publisher.

Amulet Books and Amulet Paperbacks are registered trademarks of Harry N. Abrams, Inc.

Amulet Books are available at special discounts when purchased in quantity for premiums and promotions as well as fundraising or educational use. Special editions can also be created to specification. For details, contact [email protected] or the address below.

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To Cory, Matt, and Victor; Sam, Ryin, Lenng, George, Yang, and Victor again; Sam and Dylan; Jared; Scam, Jake, Alec, Eric, Danny, Ari, Large, Alex, Brett, Ben, Malaika, and Spencer; Ben again and Matt; Alec again and Brett again; Alan, Matt again, and Pete; Tom, Jilly, and Gigi; Joel, Jack, and Jon; Matt again, Mike, and Dave; Matt again, Micah, Rob, Joe, Geoff, Heather, and Sedgie; Micah again, Dave, Nina, and Josh; Micah again and Dave again; and every other bandmate I've ever had.

1.
WE DIDN'T KNOW JAZZ CAMP WOULD BE THIS MANY DUDES

Jazz camp was mostly dudes. It was just a scene of way too many dudes.

Corey and I were in Shippensburg University Memorial Auditorium for orientation, and it was dudes as far as the eye could see. Dudes were trying with all their might to be mellow and cool. Everywhere you looked, a dude was making a way too exaggerated face of agreement or friendliness. And every ten seconds it was clear that some dude had made a joke in some region of the auditorium, because all the other dudes in that region were laughing at that joke in loud, emphatic ways.

They were trying to laugh lightheartedly but it was unmistakably the crazed, anxious barking of competitive maniacs.

Corey and I found some seating way off to the side, and our hope was that we would not absorb or be absorbed by other dudes. Inevitably, however, a dude approached us. He was white. Jazz camp was mostly white dudes. This dude was clutching a gold-embossed tenor sax case, and on his head was a fedora with two different eagle feathers in it.

Corey was drumming on some practice pads and had spaced out completely, so I was the one addressed by this dude.

“You cats mind if I make it a trio?” he asked me, and it was not a huge surprise that a dude of his appearance was speaking in Jazz Voice.

This dude was attempting a big relaxed smile, but his eyes were needy and desperate and I knew we had to accept him at least for a little while.

“Sure thing, man,” I said. “I'm Wes.”

“Adam,” said this dude named Adam, trying to lead me through the stages of a way too long handshake. “Sorry—could you lay your name on me again?”

It was even less of a huge surprise that this dude was not prepared for my name to be Wes, based on his careful appraisal of my face and skin.

“Wes,” I said. “Wes, like uh, Wes Montgomery.”

“Wess,”
he repeated, pronouncing it sort of Mexican. “Very cool, very cool. And where in the wide world are you from, Wes?”

“Me and Corey are both from Pittsburgh,” I said, hoping Corey would help out.

Corey stared at the dude but did not stop drumming. Corey basically has no sense of social cues, and you would think that would make his life harder, but it's the opposite.

“Pittsburgh,” repeated Adam finally. “Great little jazz town. Well, I'm a reedman from Jersey. My axe of choice is the tenor horn.”

“Cool,” I said. “I play bass. And Corey here is obviously world-class at jazz bassoon.”

For a couple of seconds,
we
were an auditorium laugh bomb. Adam threw his head back and went, “OH HA HA HA HA
HA. ‘JAZZ BASSOON'?! OH MAN. WESS, YOU ARE ONE FUNNY CAT.” A number of dudes looked over at us. I attempted to come up with a decent I Guess I Just Made a Good Joke Face that wouldn't make anyone want to punch it, but it turns out that's an unmakeable face.

“For real, though, we should all jam sometime,” said Adam, but fortunately at that moment Bill Garabedian walked onstage with his band, and everyone started cheering and trying to freak out the most.

Bill Garabedian was the famous jazz guitarist whose jazz camp it was. He was an emaciated white dude with a shaved head and a complicated soul patch/goatee arrangement, and it was kind of clear that he had not written his Opening Address out in advance. He spoke a mellow adult variant of Jazz Voice, and his points were these:

—I'm Bill

—Thank you, thank you

—Ha ha

—Okay, settle down, for real

—Thank you, all right

—Welcome to my fifth annual jazz camp

—Ha ha, yeah! I think fifth, anyway

—What do I even say? Someone else want to get up here and talk?

—I'm serious

—Ha ha, though, all right

—You know, I'm getting too old for this, man

—Every year you kids just keep getting younger and younger

—Ha ha, though, but for real

—I'm up here looking out at all these young
faces

—You know, I remember when I was your age and all I wanted to know was, where's jazz headed?

—What's the future of jazz, you dig? The
future . . .
of
jazz

—Then when I was seventeen I got my first Grammy nomination

—And that's when I realized: the future of jazz is now

—Because before you know it, the future is the
present

—Think about that. Future sneaks up on you

—And before you know it, you're old

—Old and wrinkly and the girls don't like you as much! Ha ha

—Okay, you don't have to laugh so much, Don

—They don't like you that much, either

—Anyway, what was I saying

—For real, though

—Russ, you remember what I was gonna say? No?

—We weren't just talking about it?

—Maybe that wasn't you

—Well, uh, look

—Oh, I remember now. Okay. Dig this. These next two weeks are about exploring your
musical personalities

—We really want you guys to form combos, you know, mess around on the side and really stretch out, all right

—And here's what we did to make that possible

—This year we admitted
double the rhythm section players

—Double the drummers, double the bassists, double the pianists, double the guitarists

—So you horn players got
double the opportunities to jam

—Ha ha, don't mention it

—You're welcome, horn players

—And rhythm section players, don't you worry, you'll get plenty of opportunities to play, all right

—We're gonna have tryouts in a minute, divide you up by skill level

—But first, the other teachers and I need to stretch out a little bit

—Let's see Miley Smiley do
this

And with that, Bill and the teachers launched into this super angular, up-tempo, hard-bop thing.

The goal was to demonstrate that they were all jazz geniuses with insane chops, and they completely achieved this goal. The entire song was sort of a way of making sequences of musical notes that refused to form melodies of any kind. That's incredibly hard to do, and accomplishing it is one of the final stages of becoming a hard-core jazz dude.

BOOK: The Haters
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