I’ve got some bad news and some good news, guys. The bad news is your recent album bombed in the U.S. Sales were so low that a group of Buddhist monks has decided to replace the tree with the band in the classic Zen koan: If Triple Threat releases a record that no one listens to, does it make a sound? Kind of hard to wrap your head around, but, in the end, the answer is unambiguously no.
On the plus side, you’re tearing up the charts in Andorra.
No, not the Billboard charts. In the capital, Andorra la Vella, a local leather-goods, fresh-produce, and CD-remainder-bin merchant named Guifré Cuadrat scrawls his shop’s most popular albums every week on a nearby handball wall, and you’ve held the top position six weeks and counting. And, no, it’s not just because it’s hard for him to reach! Even though he’s 5 foot 2 and the country currently has a ladder crisis.
Trust me, your single is all the rage in the ALV club scene. Sorry, I mean in the ALV club. Which is called the Andorra Nightclub, or, as the locals have dubbed it, “Nightclub.” And guess where we’ll be tomorrow night?
Actually, not there, since I couldn’t get a direct flight. We’ll be on the red-eye from Newark to Heathrow, then a quick 8-hour layover and airport transfer to Luton, followed by a connection to Madrid, and a jaunty 10-hour Eurolines bus ride through Saragossa, Lleida, La Seu d’Urgell, before arrival in Andorra Wednesday morning, 5 o’clock sharp. Road trip!
I know what you’re thinking: Why would we go to some landlocked 181-square-mile Catalan-speaking country that was twice annexed to Aragon, once in 1396 and again in 1512, before becoming part of the Napoleonic Empire’s district of Puigcerdà in 1812–13? Uh, ever heard of something known as “highest life expectancy on earth,” clocking in at 83.52 years? Think of the future octogenarian sales if you can establish band loyalty with the young Andorrans. Some of which would be posthumous sales, of course, since you’re only expected to live 77.8 years. But, man, are your grandchildren gonna live large!
Also, Andorra is a tax-free haven. Given my pending federal case, however, I think it best if we don’t exploit that and simply give, say, 45 percent of our earnings to the IRS and another 45 percent to our host country. As your manager, I typically take 10 percent, but since that would leave you with nothing I’ll only take 9 percent. That leaves you with a cool 1 percent. It may sound unfair, but remember: creativity is 1 percent inspiration—that’s your contribution—and 99 percent perspiration—that’s me, plus the American government and the Andorran co-princes, namely France’s president and Spain’s bishop of Urgell. All that hard work is building up my appetite. I can’t wait till I get my hands on some yummy conill amb allioli (rabbit and garlic mayonnaise) and peus de porc (pigs’ trotters)!
Although we’ve got a bona-fide hit with your single about Pete’s anguished breakup, I can’t shake the feeling that it’s partially because its title, “This Is the End, Dora,” may have confused the Andorrans into thinking someone had finally written a song about their country. So I’d like you to take the band in a new direction to assure continued success with the Eastern Pyrenees 18–35 demographic. For a few years you’ve been playing a sort of post-punk/indie-pop/smooth-jazz blend, and it’s definitely “your thing,” but what about integrating the 16th-century Andorran “village square of sound” associated with the traditional folk dances the contrapàs and the marratxa? Johnny, I know Black Sabbath–influenced power chords are your meat-and-potatoes, but how are your chops on the old tabor pipe? I want to cement our reputation in the press as “the only band that matters in Andorra.”
Check that—"the only band in Andorra."
Finally, I’m entering Pete in Andorran Idol. Unfortunately, you need to be an Andorran citizen to qualify. Fortunately, you can attain citizenship after just 25 years of residence. Assuming Pete’s still alive for Andorran Idol 2032 thanks to enhanced life expectancy, I think we can swing the vote in his favor if we each call in two or three times, so long as the land-line infrastructure can handle the strain.
Hold on, that’s our new Andorran record label calling. Hola, Guifré?