From Myth to Madness
John Hajjar has bought the farm for three weeks. A former purchaser for the family food brokerage in Lawrence, Hajjar had become the talk of the tight New England music-business community in March with his spending habits and promotional zeal. A $4,000 two-page spread in Billboard touted a recording session by his group, Marianus and the Invisible Light Band; similar ads were published in TV Guide and the Boston Phoenix. He rented a rock night club, the Metro, in Boston, for three nights to showcase his act, and spent tens of thousands of dollars to videotape them.
A Globe reviewer tabbed the band as the worst he had ever seen or heard. Another scenewatcher estimated that Hajjar, in one month, spent $100,000.
Hajjar doesn't care. He's on a mission from God.
Long View suits Hajjar just fine, this early spring afternoon. We are sitting in the bunkhouse, a place the curly-haired, 37-year-old Andover native is convinced he's visited in a previous incarnation. Reincarnation is just one of many topics Hajjar wants to cover; yoga, mysticism, numerology, and out-of-body experiences are others. So infatuated with the number 27 is Hajjar that he immediately agreed to pay Markle $27,000 for the band's stay, although that figure was $3,000 more than Hajjar had initially offered and $1,000 more than farm manager Kathy Holden had initially asked for. "The client is always right," Markle told me with a grin as he recounted the incident.
But the money is really immaterial to Hajjar on this pleasant day. It is the music that matters, the music that he first heard three-and-a-half years ago, when, one night, his body was zapped with divine inspiration. Hajjar lies back on the couch, reenacting the zapping. His lower back arches, and he shudders with a series of spasms. Then he sits up and stares at me, eyes wide, unblinking. "All of a sudden," he says solemnly, "I heard music unlike any ever heard on earth." This is the music he's come to record in North Brookfield. "By the end of May," he assures me, "you will have witnessed the birth of the new Beatles. No, Marianus will be bigger than the Beatles."
There may be moments when Gil Markle thrusts his hands to his head, shuts his eyes tightly, and moans that none of this is worth it, that none of this is what he had in mind seven years ago, when he set out on this mad journey, but now is not one of them. No, this is what Gil Markle has to say about a man who believes in unearthly music, and pays in cash.
"I can respect the madness of a John Hajjar," states Markle. "It's no defect that Marianus has a lunacy to it. For all I know, it could be divine madness."
Terry Kahn, Boston Magazine.