When Hell Freezes Over: Deleted Scenes

Novels are no different from movies, or any other art form: there are false starts, compromises and and plenty of rethinking along the way to a finished product. One of the nice things about DVDs is that they often give you some of those moments as additional extras. This is something that can work equally well with books. Lord knows, we're not the first website to do this, but we believe that it's something that fans of Rick's writing might really enjoy -- especially those who've taken the time to check out his site and enquire about the gook. So this page is dedicated to you nice people. It's the inside scoop, the real deal, the straight gen.

Each entry includes commentary/insight from Rick as to what he was thinking when he wrote the various passages, and why they ultimately "didn't make the cut".


From Chapter 4

Even as a lad, I felt the lack of a goal in life. From an early stage, all my friends seemed to have something they wanted to be "when they grew up". Most of these jobs were pie in the sky sorts of things like astronauts, prime ministers, movie actors and the like, but at least they had a goal. Nothing really caught my interest other than hanging around with my friends and watching footie on the telly. It wasn’t until my Aunt Martha offered to teach me piano that I began to feel that life might have a genuine purpose. With the peculiar clarity that the young sometimes possess, I soon realized my aunt was only an adequate player, and to be honest, she had a very impatient nature – often smacking my hands with a ruler – but she did get me started in the right direction as far as keyboard technique went. We musically parted ways when I grew old enough to stand up to her bullying ways, but the end would have come soon enough: I’d discovered pop music, something she couldn’t abide.

A music shop on Spring Hill Road had a sign in their window, offering "lessons on any instrument in any style", so I figured it was worth a try. The keyboard teacher, Geoff Grimslade, turned out to be an older man than I expected, but he really did have a good grasp of what was going on in contemporary music. He also possessed a fantastic ear and could transcribe anything I brought to him.

I guess he saw something in me, because he drove me hard. Surprising to myself (after old Auntie Martha's ruler), I responded, probably because I respected him so very much. In the years between my sixteenth and twentieth birthday, I learned most of what I needed to know to be a musician. Every week, we worked on whatever song I was interested in, also something from the classical composers (because it was good for my technique), theory, ear training, improvisation. Over the years, my lessons stretched from half an hour in the basement of the old shop on Spring Hill Road, to one hour, two hours, before we moved into Sunday afternoons at Geoff's flat, taken up with playing, listening and talking – always about music, and how, regardless of the style, it all worked together. The more you knew, the better you would be able to play.

The second biggest blow of those early years (after the death of my dad in a construction accident) was the Sunday I found Geoff dead in his sitting room. At the age of fifty-seven, he'd died listening to a beloved Bruckner symphony, struck down by a dicky heart I knew nothing about. Perhaps the hardest thing to swallow was that I'd proudly brought over a copy of a demo Neurotica had made the week before, our very first recording, and I knew that much of what was on it was due to him. It was to be a very special present, the very first version of what was to become "Don't Push Me".

That was the final day of my musical education.

From Chapter 12

“After you said what you did this morning I called Rolly and told him I was not only on board for this reunion gig he wanted to do, but I wanted to work on some new tunes I’ve written. I also want to change the set list he sent me, and revisit some of our old songs so we can freshen them up.”

Shannon’s eyes widened. “All that because of me? Keep this up, Quinn, and if word of it ever leaks out, I’m going to be the permanent poster girl of the Neurotica fan club. Wow! New songs? When did you write them?”

“Oh, now and then over the years. Whenever I got bored and musically frustrated.” I got off the bed and put my hand on her chin, forcing her to look up. “You know, Shannon O’Brien, I didn’t stop being a musician when I left Neurotica. I just stopped doing it for other people.”

“I...didn’t know. I, well...I thought that you just stopped.”

“You should have asked,” I said, bending the rest of the way down and lightly kissing her lips.

She jerked her head away. “What was that for?”

“Just a way of saying thank you,” I answered as I crossed the room to retrieve my coat from the closet.

Part of the original Chapter 18

“Boss? It’s Hamed.”

“What’s wrong now?” I don’t usually snap at people for no reason and immediately felt bad. “Sorry. I had a very late night.”

“Hey, I don’t blame you for being upset. Kevin told me all about the warehouse. I think we’d all like to get our hands on those bastards!”

“Thanks for your sympathy, Hamed. Now, what can I do for you?”

He didn’t answer for a moment. “It’s about this film shoot. All hell has broken out down here. Last night your chum, Drew—”

“He’s not my chum!”

“Okay, okay! I didn’t mean it that way. Sorry.”

“What’s that idiot done now?”

“He got into a real shouting match with the director over the way they were going to shoot the big concert scene. The end result is that he’s been canned.”

I could easily imagine what was coming next. “And they want me to take over.”

“I’m afraid so. They’re really in a bind. The film is behind schedule and the producer is squawking. I told them you really didn’t want to get involved, but, ah, they’re willing to make it worth your while.”

“I’m listening.”

“Bradley, the director is here, and he’ll fill you in.”

Knowing that I wasn’t keen on taking the job, especially under the circumstances, Bradley offered me a ridiculous amount of money for what would be one or two day’s work at the most. It was just beyond good sense to say no. They’d even send a limo to pick me up.

“It’s not necessary.”

“How soon can you get to the set?”

“I only need to shower and shave. Say one hour.”

“Great! I’ll have someone watching out for you.”

So my entire day’s plans were rearranged. On my way out the door, I called the shop to tell them what I needed to be done about the keyboards and where to take them, hoped they’d find the place without any trouble and shut the door to the room wondering just what I was getting myself into.

I certainly got the royal treatment as I pulled into the parking lot next to the hockey arena where the movie was being shot. Before I knew it, someone was parking my car while I was whisked into the building.

Down on the floor of the arena, pandemonium reigned supreme. I quickly found out that staging a live rock concert and shooting a Hollywood movie at the same time was a lot like moving 200,000 people into battle. As a matter of fact, they were about to move 5000 extras into the seats.

I was quickly shown to a room where the director was holding a last minute meeting with several assistants. He leaped to his feet when he saw me.

“Guys, this is Michael Quicksilver. He’s taking over for Baines from here on in.”

“Thank God!” I heard someone mumble.

“What precisely do you want me to do?” I asked.

Bradley put his arm around me. “Simple. If you see or hear anything that doesn’t seem authentic to you, I want you to let me know. You’ll be sitting near me – and don’t be afraid to speak up!”

Even though they’d wanted me down there immediately, it still took a good three hours before they had the extras coached and were ready to begin shooting. I made use of the time to earn a little of my exorbitant salary.

Hamed introduced me to two blokes who were coaching the actor/drummer and actor/bassist. Turned out they didn’t like Drew Baines any better than I did.

“He was impossible to work with. You’d think he’d been one of the Beatles to hear him talk,” one of them said.

“So how does this band sound?” I asked. “Is Bradley going to be able to get what he wants?”


“Just between you and me, yes.”

“Not a hope in hell.”

“Why not?”

The other one jumped in. “Because these guys are so freaked out and careful about what they’re doing, the music has no jism. I mean this is supposed to be the great comeback gig. They’re going to rock the world again. At the final rehearsal yesterday, quite frankly, they sucked cow dung.”

“Oh dear,” I said. “Maybe having a crowd to play to will pump them up.”

“Wanna bet?” the drum coach shot back, pulling a CD player out of his shoulder bag. “Here. Listen to this. It’s off the board from their last run through yesterday evening.”

We were down in back of the stage and I had to hold the headphones tight to my ears to hear anything over the din from the crowd. My two comrades were right. It sounded like what it was: an over-rehearsed, under experienced tense group of musicians. The keyboard parts were especially humdrum. I recognized the style.

“The singer doesn’t sound too bad,” I offered.

“He’s also the guitar player,” Steve, the bass coach answered, “Problem is when he’s singing, the guitar parts suffer.”

“So I noticed. Look, I have an idea. Hamed, where can I find Bradley?”

“I’ll take you to him, boss. He’s back where the mixing console is.”

It didn’t take me long to explain what I thought should be done.

Bradley wasn’t sure. “It might intimidate them more.”

“From what I heard, I don’t think it could get any worse. They just need to let go and get into it. There’s a lot of energy to be had from a crowd this size – even if they are being paid to cheer!”

Bradley frowned. “That’s what I was arguing with Drew Effing Baines about. He thought they sounded just fine!”

I bit my tongue, knowing that anything I might say might also get back to Baines. I didn’t want to have any more trouble with him.

“What do you guys think?” Bradley asked the two coaches.

The drum coach, Paul, shrugged. “It just might work.”

“Okay, Quicksilver, we’ll try it your way. I just hope to God you can pull this off. We’ve only got our audience for 8 hours.”

As the four of us walked back down the centre aisle of seats on the floor of the arena, the crowd all around us, getting a pep talk from one of the assistant directors, a rather young woman with an annoyingly squeaky voice, but with a surplus of enthusiasm – and nice legs.

The “band” was in one of the dressing rooms getting their make-up attended to. No matter how much you washed the walls and floor and disguised it with nice furniture, the room couldn’t hide what it was: a locker room imbued with the stench of sweat and body odour. I’d been in plenty of these before concerts, some less noisome than others.

They looked as nervous as they sounded on the recording I heard. The keyboard player, whom I’d met at my warehouse gave me a wave of recognition as I walked in. Two of the others exchanged glances, making it clear they knew who I was.

“Gentlemen...” I began, “how are you feeling this evening?”

These five actors who could do something I could never do (appear relaxed and confident delivering their lines on camera), looked like a bunch of scared teenagers. They didn’t need to answer my question. It was in their eyes.

“What are we going to do?” the keyboard player asked me. “We aren’t ready to do this gig!”

“I heard the recording from last night’s rehearsal,” I said nodding. “You’re too wound up and tight. A concert like this, you just have to let go. These people here tonight are here to cheer no matter what you do, but that’s not good enough. Not for a live recording. Am I right?”

They all nodded.

I grabbed a chair and swung it around backwards. “I have a solution. Paul, Steve and I, along with Hamed” – his eyes got big but he nodded his understanding of what I was offering him – “are going to go out and warm up the crowd. Then you’re going to come out one at a time and join us. We’re going to get you loose and relaxed before you have to do the ‘money shot’. You can play the material you rehearsed, you just don’t have the necessary swagger. Let’s see what we can do about that.”

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"I still feel in some regards that I skimped a bit on Michael's background in the published version of When Hell Freezes Over. The passage to the left was part of the earliest concept of the story, but it slowed things down more than I thought was wise at the beginning of a mystery/thriller, and I couldn't find any place farther on in the book where it would logically fit.

It also breaks one of the cardinal rules of good writing: show, don't tell. Although I thought about it a lot, I couldn't come up with any way for Michael to "show" this information directly. For about a day, I had a couple of comments by Rolly and Michael as they drove to the Loch Fyne Oyster Restaurant. but that didn't work, either. After all, Rolly wouldn't give a fig for Michael's musical training, nor would there be any reason for them to mention it. It would have pissed Michael off, something Rolly certainly wouldn't have wanted to do!

In looking at it now (after almost a year and a half), the passage also seems a tad mellodramatic. I don't know where the line about Michael finding this most influential of his teachers dead in his sitting room came from. And Bruckner? I don't really even like Bruckner!

But the passage explains how Michael learned so much about music. Many, many rock musicians are self-taught. It should be obvious after reading the book that Michael is not your average musician. He doesn't have a formal education in music, but I wanted to point out that this isn't really necessary if you are lucky enough to come across a good teacher with whom you resonate.

Should it be in the story in one form or another? Perhaps."

"This short bit came out because the section it refers to (in which Shannon took far too much of a liberty and yelled at Michael far too early -- and loudly -- in their relationship. When that passage went, this really didn't have much to hang on.

It also occurred to me that I'd already indicated (in the earlier section where Michael slips into improvising something on the piano) that I'd already "shown" that he still works at new material -- even if he doesn't want to.

The final kicker was his kissing Shannon. No, no, no! That definitely had to wait until later on."

"Chapter 18 proved to be a very problematic one. While writing the first draft, I had decided to include a small subplot where Michael gets hired to advise the director of the movie shoot to whom Quinn Musical had rented all those instruments. It did seem like a logical thing to do. Then Michael's replacement in Neurotica (Drew) somehow got inserted along with a sequence where Shannon pops the idiot one on the nose. I continued on to the end of the story anyway, figuring that by letting the whole thing sit and percolate in the back of my mind, I'd eventually figure out whether the thing worked or not.

Coming back to it, problems with the section began to jump out. First and foremost, having Michael involved with the movie shoot unnecessarily complcated an already complicated plot. When faced with something like this, I always ask myself, "Would the story be seriously diminished without this side story?" The answer was now clearly no.

I was initially hoping to illuminate some of Michael's character and motivations through this side story, and also give his relationship with Shannon a little more of a chance to grow before they were really thrown together in Glasgow.

My wife pointed out that Shannon's prowess as a fighter had already been revealed in the scene where Michael is accosted by the thugs outside his business. We didn't need to see that again. Also, always having Shannon jump in for him began to make our hero seem like a bit of a wimp.

From comments made at various times to Rolly, we would certainly know what Michael thought of his replacement in Neurotica.

Taking out this side story took several evenings of painstaking work. Before the part you're reading here, there were several references to what was coming and they all had to be removed.

Also with this section taken out, Chapter 18 was pretty well gutted (another indication that the scene was not needed). I took the material I was keeping before and after the scene and moved them to the end of Chapter 17 and the beginning of what had been Chapter 19, something which required more adjusting of copy.

But there was more to this story. Obviously, the scene didn't end here. Michael and the other "consultants" had to do the warm-up act thing. Unfortunately, I don't seem to have kept that portion in my usual "dump" file, and I've only been able to find it in a really rough original draft I wrote in my journal. If I can find the best version of it, I'll have it posted here so you can read the entire sequence at some future date. It did contain a pretty decent passage where Michael finally realizes the power of playing on a real mellotron through a large sound system in front of a live audience, something that came directly from my experience with my old band, Devotion, when we played "Watcher of the Skies" at the Ontario Place forum in the summer of 1974."

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