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"The Jukebox Man":  An Original Chicano Roots Screenplay

by Mark Guerrero

“The Jukebox Man” is a screenplay written by Howard Reekie.  It’s essentially a story of a young Chicano musician, frustrated with performing endlessly in the local LA scene, gets a gig in Mexico City.  There, he discovers his real cultural roots, in an aura of mystery, fantasy and love.

 The screenplay contains seven of my songs, having been first inspired by my music.  Howard would come and see me perform at a venue in Fountain Valley, California, in Orange County.  I would regularly perform a song I wrote called “Pre-Columbian Dream” - a song that Howard fell in love with.  He approached me and said that he’d like to write a screenplay based around this love song set in the pyramids of Pre-Columbian Mexico, (Pre-Columbian meaning before Columbus came to the so-called “new world.”)  Howard suggested we get together so he could interview me to get ideas for the storyline.  We wound up basing the story very loosely on elements of my life, along with major elements of fiction.

 The lead character, Mark Cusco, is a local musician, who makes his living playing cover songs in clubs and restaurants with his Anglo partner Billy.  “Cover” musicians perform current and classic rock songs, usually trying to play them like the original recordings.  They can soon become nothing more than human jukeboxes, hence the title “The Jukebox Man.”  Through a series of unexpected and mythical-like events, he finds his roots and begins writing his own songs inspired by his own culture.  The story takes place in the barrios of East Los Angeles, Orange County, Arizona, and Mexico City.  My music is interwoven into the storyline.  Some of the songs included are “Pre-Columbian Dream,” “On the Boulevard,” “Orale!, and the title song, “Jukebox Man.” 

 Howard Reekie was born in Glasgow, Scotland.  He has a Bachelor of Science degree from Northwestern University, Illinois, followed by a master’s program in Data Communications after moving to California.  He’s had a successful career as a screenwriter, “script doctor,” producer, motion picture packager (budgets, scheduling, marketing), and web designer.  He and I are very much interested in having the screenplay produced as a motion picture.  For more information on Howard Reekie and "The Jukebox Man," visit his website: howardreekie.com.     

Title Song Lyric & Sound Byte Below

Jukebox Man

He’s been out on this circuit for God knows how long
There’s no end in sight but he’s crankin’ out the songs
His brain’s like a computer, he keeps ‘em all on file
A record simulator to make the people smile

He’s a jukebox man, jukebox man
Sing those words to the letter
Make me feel better
Mr. jukebox man

He dreams of fame and fortune while he’s singin’ in a bar
He knows the odds are bad of ever bein’ a star
But music is his purpose and reason to survive
It helps maintain his sanity and keeps his hope alive

Jukebox man, jukebox man
Sing the old and the new
You know what to do
Mr. jukebox man

Jukebox man, do what you can
Make me remember all the good times I had
And carry me back to a faraway time
When I was younger and the music was fine so fine 

He belts out all the greatest hits, the chestnuts that they know
The songs we all grew up with, he puts on quite a show
At home his own creations sit silent on a shelf
A world of his own making but known to no one else

Jukebox man, jukebox man
He’ll go down singin’
The bells are ringin’
For the jukebox man

Words & Music by Mark Anthony Guerrero

mp3 Sound Byte

Jukebox Man

Mark Guerrero
 

 

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