Tonight on E’s True Hollywood Story: Raised from Perdition, a Dean and Cas Story
They were young. They were talented. They were hot. They were tearing up the L.A. music scene and their single was burning up the charts. They were nineteen years old and on top of the world. Until tragedy struck. This is their story.
Sam Winchester, Dean’s brother: “I wouldn’t be here without my brother. He did everything for me. Even at the height of … even at the height of everything, he still took care of me. I was young, he was… we were both so young, ya know? Children, really.”
Bobby Singer, Dean’s uncle: “He was always a good kid, Dean. Always looked out for Sammy, especially after John and Mary… Always had a mouth on him, though. Could’ve avoided a hellofa lotta trouble if the idjit just kept his mouth shut. But that wasn’t Dean’s style, as you know. Thought that pretty face was gonna git him outta trouble every time. Don’t get me wrong, it got him outta plenty a trouble. But it also got him into trouble plenty a times too.” (Bobby, quietly laughing)
Jo Harvelle, Dean’s lifelong friend: “When Dean and I were in high school, we’d sit in the back of The Road House with our friends until it closed. We were only 17 but my mom owned it and she let us stick around and have a couple of beers after closing. Dean never drank, though. Not then. The rest of us wouldn’t be half a beer in before Dean broke out the guitar, getting us all on our feet dancing every time. That boy could sing like a drunk angel in a cowboy hat. A little bit of angel and devil both, that was Dean… Guess maybe I shoulda seen it coming, huh?”
Gabriel Novak, Cas’ older brother: “Growing up, Cassie and I used to pretend to be rock stars. I was the band manager and Cassie was, well, everything else. He picked the songs, he chose the costumes, he choreographed the dance moves, and sometimes I’d also play paparazzi and interview him after a ‘show.’ He’d grab our sister Anna’s Barbie glasses and pink boa and wrap it around his neck before he’d let me interview him. And he always used this ridiculously snooty accent every time (laughs) … God, our mother hated it when we played that game. She and my father told me I shouldn’t encourage his ‘grand delusions.’ But I just knew something was there because man, did that kid love to perform. And he was great at it, too, even if our parents were too stupid to see it. For so many years, I was his biggest and only fan. Until he met Dean.”
Sam Winchester: “When Dean met Cas, it was like he started to naturally divide the history of his life into two: Before Cas and After Cas. From the moment they met, they became inseparable – physically, mentally, emotionally, musically. Everything about them was connected. The day they met they wrote their first song together.”
Michael Angel, Perdition’s Band Manager: “Dean and Castiel had this chemistry, this … amazing dynamic you rarely see between two performers. From the moment I saw them perform, I knew they were going to be hugely responsible for making me rich.”
Benny Lafitte, drummer for Perdition: “Dean was like a brother to me. Good heart. Loyal. He and I met sophomore year, we’d jam together at the Road House after hours and in my garage on weekends. I was there the day he and Cas met… (pause) I ain’t never seen Dean like that before. I ain’t never seen anybody fall that hard, that fast before. Not even in the movies. And you know it was the same for Cas. He fell just as hard, erryone could see that. There were no questions, no arguments. Two became one. So, that was that and he started jamming with us the next day.”
Sam Winchester: “Do I miss him? I mean, what kind of question is that? Of course I miss him, he’s my brother. And my answer to your next question before you ask is NO, I don’t blame Cas. Dean was an adult. He wasn’t perfect… Cas didn’t make him do anything. He chose his own path, like he always did. Free will was kind of his thing.”
Charlie Bradbury, bass player for Perdition: “It was Dean’s idea to name the EP Free Will. He was just so in love with the idea of anti-destiny, anti-fate, ya know? Like his parents dying when he and Sammy were still practically babies – that’s destiny? Bullshit, sorry but no. My favorite thing about Dean, besides his love of Star Wars, was that he always said that WE were in charge. Life is not some pre-determined, made-up, bullshit trap that none of us could escape. I mean, if that was the case, why would any of us bother to do anything? That’s why I joined the band, actually. I agreed with him, ya know? An openly queer girl playing bass in a rock and roll band in the 80s? I had to agree with him.”
Gabriel Novak: “Cas was writing songs as soon as he could hold a pencil. He would write each of us a custom birthday song every year on our birthdays and perform it right before the cake. He didn’t have the easiest time growing up. He didn’t play sports, he wasn’t an academic, and there are very few 8-year-old boys who want to sit down and write songs. So, yeah, it was rough for him, and my parents were no help. They kept trying to convince him to play basketball, as if that would solve everything, he’d fit in if he just played a sport. But that’s why I paid so much attention, ya know? He was my little bro and I just wanted him to know that he wasn’t, I dunno, weird.”
Michael Angel, Perdition’s Band Manager: “I think everyone quickly embraced Castiel as ‘the weird’ one of the duo. Dean was more ‘boy-next-door’ and Cas was more ‘lock up your daughters’, or in this case, lock up your sons. He wore make-up. He always looked like he was on something. He stared at the audience like he wanted to either kill them or f**k them. But that was part of his appeal. I thought as long as I could keep it reined in, keep him reined in, under control, everything would be perfect.”
Jeff Tamarkin, Journalist Circus Magazine, 1985: “They had a great sound and a unique take on rock music. They were just starting to hit big and I had just finished interviewing them for an upcoming issue of Circus. Cas did most of the talking, but we did get a few responses from Dean. They talked about writing songs together and the future they both wanted. They weren’t really interested in doing a photo shoot so instead they had me and my photographer come take pictures at one of their local gigs.”
Jeff Mayer, Photographer Circus Magazine, 1985: “The show was nuts. Screaming fans, girls crying, throwing their underwear on stage, every rock cliché you can think of, it was. It was a small club but it felt like a stadium. Dean was the lady killer, the guy who caressed his guitar like a lover in bed, with a voice so soft, and eyes so green, in direct contrast to his bad-boy side-kick. Cas was the performer, the headliner, the spectacle. He looked the part. He wore a leather jacket with no shirt underneath. Jeans with more rips and holes than fabric. His jet-black hair was always wild, his black eyeliner always thick. And the way he would just f**king stare at the crowd, man. I got some great pictures that night.”
Sam Winchester: “Dean never drank in his life until he met Cas. And I know I just said I don’t blame Cas – and I don’t, it was Dean’s decision to drink – but I can still remember the Dean who, growing up, constantly lectured me about drinking. Because our father killed our mother drunk driving and Dean blamed alcohol for destroying our family. It was a ‘thing’, a promise, between us, ya know?”
Charlie: “I’m pretty sure Dean and Cas were drunk when I met them.” (laughs)
Benny: “When Dean started drinking, I was totally on board at first. I mean, we weren’t alcoholics, but he was the only one of us who never had a beer while we jammed and I thought it was good, ya know, him having a beer or two. Bandmate bonding or some sh!t. And it was great – fun, even - for a while. Until it wasn’t. Until he and Cas started fighting.”
Charlie: “The fighting got bad. We’d be practicing, Cas, Benny and I getting everything set for an upcoming gig, and Dean would walk in totally late and totally smashed. Some days he could barely sing, other days he could barely hold his guitar. Cas would just get furious and all up in Dean’s face. No personal space at all. And that would either set Dean off or make him laugh hysterically, depending on how much he’d had to drink, which would then set Cas off and round and round they’d go. More often than not, they’d storm out together and we’d not see them for hours.”
Benny: “They always came back, though. We never knew when, but we always knew they’d come back eventually. When they did come back, Dean was always a little more sober and Cas was always a little more drunk.”
Charlie: “Sometimes they’d come back with their clothes on inside out or they ‘d come back wearing each other’s clothes without even realizing it. (laughs) I mean, yeah, their fights were epic, but their make-ups? Even more epic.” (grins)
Michael Angel: “The drinking got out of hand very quickly. For both of them. And I know fans like to argue about who was the worse influence on who, but really they just fed off each other, in every possible way. The thing that made them so great, their chemistry, their connection, is also the thing that ultimately destroyed them.”
Sam Winchester: “Dean loved Cas. And Cas loved Dean. They were everything to each other. They belonged to each other. Dean said Cas helped him breathe, made him feel alive. Cas said Dean made him feel – period. They were a fairytale. A completely messed up fairytale, but a fairytale nonetheless.”
Jo Harvelle: “They were completely into each other and nobody else and I think that became part of the appeal of their stage show. They’d follow each other around, sing to only each other, sometimes Dean would wink at someone in the audience and Cas would stomp over, microphone in hand as he commanded Dean’s attention… it was all part of the show.”
Gabriel Novak: “True story, when Michael Angel first discovered them at The Roxy in West Hollywood, they were opening for a little known band called Guns and Roses.”
Benny: “Holy sh!t the Guns and Roses gig! Yeah, man. That was the night. That was the night everything changed.”
Charlie: “Like I could forget that night? Of course, nobody knew GNR yet, but that was also the night we met Michael and everything changed.”
Gabriel Novak: “So that night, after Perdition finished their set, Michael showed up backstage with his business card. Explained who he was, said he saw something he liked, and to call him to talk if they wanted to record an EP. That EP, of course, turned out to be Free Will, and the song In Love With Humanity started climbing the charts. I mean, it was 1985 and rock and roll love ballads were dominating MTV – the song just started to take off and Perdition was getting ready to start filming their very first video.”
Val Garay, Producer, Record One Recording Studio, Sherman Oaks, CA: “When Perdition came into the studio to record their EP, I knew they were going to be huge. The song In Love With Humanity was their first single and the power ballad to end all power ballads. Cas said he and Dean wrote it the first day they met. Man, that must have been one helluva meeting to produce a song like that. But yeah, their chemistry was off the charts. I noticed it as soon as we were introduced and the whole session just, clicked. It was almost effortless, how well they worked together.”
Jo Harvelle: “I tried to go to every show. I was there the night they opened for GNR and were noticed by Michael Angel. It was so surreal, ya know? I mean, I know these guys, I’ve known Dean my whole damn life and now here he is, with Cas and Charlie and Benny and they are, like, totally destroying the L.A. music scene. It was really an exciting time for them, for all of us, really. I was basically their #1 groupie.”
Val Garay: “It was their first time in a recording studio so they were nervous when they first came in. Cas took the lead, asking all the questions, while Dean, Benny, and Charlie just listened. But even though Cas took the lead, he never made a single decision without Dean’s explicit approval. They were a true partnership, for sure. Cas wrote most of the lyrics and Dean wrote most of the music but they both were listed as equal co-writers for every song on the EP. And it worked.”
Michael Angel: “The ladies loved Dean, of course. Never mind the fact that he was very obviously involved with Castiel… the female fans didn’t seem to care. Being gay or bisexual in 1985 was something most people tried to hide or ignore. Even though it was obvious to anyone who had eyes that Dean only had eyes for Cas, there was always a line of ladies just waiting for their chance with Dean. And the more popular they got, the more ladies lined up.”
Charlie: “That’s what started the fighting, actually. Everyone who knew them knew Cas was everything to Dean but Cas still got jealous of all the attention Dean was receiving from the ladies. A lot of people think that ‘staring at the crowd’ thing he did was for dramatic affect but it was actually a warning glare to all the fans to stay the f**k away from Dean. Lucky for me, I got to pick up the pieces and mend the broken hearts of many of those ladies.” (grins)
Jo Harvelle: “Cas got real jealous, real possessive. I never understood it because Cas was it for Dean. I watched that boy grow up and believe me when I say that Cas? Was Dean’s whole world. He would have walked away, given up everything for Cas if Cas asked him to. So the two of them fighting all the time just never made any sense. Stupid, really. But hey, you know what they say about young love.”
Bobby: “He looked at that boy like he hung the damn moon. Never seen ‘im look at Lisa that way, Cassie neither. They were always near each other, always touchin in some way. And I don’t even think they realized they were doin it, they just, ya know did it.”
Sam: “I mean, I was only 15 but I remember thinking Cas was different, that Dean was different with Cas. They brought out the best and worst in each other, I think.”
Charlie: “Overwhelmed. They overwhelmed each other.”
Benny: “Everything between ‘em was just so intense, ya know? We went to a Van Halen concert in ‘84 and Cas disappeared for about half an hour and Dean lost it. He was frantic, practically violent. When we finally found him, Dean hugged him like he never thought he was gonna see him again.”
Gabriel: “Castiel worshipped Dean. He thought he was the most beautiful boy he’d ever seen. He was sweet on him right away in a way that couldn’t be hidden, not this time. And that was the last straw for our parents. They were done with Cassie once he met Dean. Wrote him off.”
Michael Angel: “As I said before, they had this chemistry with each other that translated to the stage. They were always in each other’s space, sharing a microphone, faces so close their foreheads were touching, sometimes it looked like they were about to make-out right in the middle of a song. And I swear they forgot there was a crowd of people there watching them. But that’s one of the things that drew the audience in.”
Slash, lead guitarist, Guns and Roses: “Yeah, man, I remember them. Only met them the one time we did a gig together. I was watching their set and they were wild, practically grinding on stage. And that wasn’t something guys did in front of people in the 80s but the crowd seemed to love it.”
Tracii Guns, musician, artist, founder L.A. Guns: “I met them at the Troubadour. We hung out after the gig, drank too much. (laughs) They were really on their way, ya know? They had a sound people loved, the girls went nuts over ‘em. And there was nobody else out there like ‘em. Damn shame, what happened, however it happened.”
Slash: “And they were going places, I could tell. They were opening for us but the place was wall to wall people for their show…. What happened to them was a terrible thing. It affected a lot of people, not just their fans, but the rest of us, too, that were part of the L.A. rock scene.”
Jo Harvelle: “It was real hard for all of us - friends, family, and fans alike. Not just losing them but the way we lost them. They put so much of themselves into their music and onto the stage that people felt like they really knew ‘em, ya know? It was special.”
Sam Winchester: “When I got the call from Michael, I screamed. (pause) I was fifteen years old and he told me my brother was dead. I didn’t want to believe it. And I just, screamed.”
Bobby Singer: “I ain’t never heard nobody scream a scream like that before. And I hope I never do again. That boy’s heart shattered all over my kitchen floor.”
Sam Winchester: “Car accident, he said. He said… he said Dean drove off a bridge.”
Bobby Singer: “I took the phone and Michael told me Dean drove off a bridge. That Cas was with ‘im. They found the Impala but they were still looking for the … bodies. (pause) They found ‘em a week later, five miles away from where they went over.”
Michael Angel: “After their deaths, their EP went platinum. Their popularity soared. The next ‘it’ band, just on the cusp of everything, devastatingly ripped away because of the Tragic Love Affair of Dean Winchester and Castiel Novak. The fans ate it up.”
Benny: “Our EP started to sell, like really sell. People, reporters, wanted to talk to me and Charlie all the time, ask us questions about Dean and Cas, about the accident. That’s when the rumors started. People started talking like it wasn’t an accident. That it was a murder / suicide pact or some sh!t but No. No, that ain’t… No.”
Charlie: “I’ve heard the rumors, sure. They’re bullsh!t, of course. Dean and Cas were beautiful and talented and dramatic and they fought all the damn time but they wouldn’t ever... neither one of them. They loved each other too much. So that’s a hard No.”
Gabriel: “The rumors used to really get to me. But I don’t let them bother me anymore. I know the truth. I know that my brother – my adorable, quirky little brother – found love deeper than any of us have and got to live his life’s dream. Too young, yes. But I don’t know if I’d use the word tragic to describe Cas’ life.”
Benny: “F**ing tragic, man. That’s what it is. We were all so young, ready to just take it all on, man. Just, anything and everything life was throwing at us. We were ready. We were there. We coulda been big.”
Charlie: “Yeah, I mean, of course it’s tragic. Four, young, fresh artists about to take over the world and then, boom. It’s over. Just like that.”
Benny: “I lost my two best friends that day. I blame myself. Me and Charlie both do. We knew they were drunk. Thought they’d just go f**k in the car and come back.”
Charlie: “Benny and I were the last two people to see them. We were meeting to talk about the MTV video shoot we were filming in a few days. Dean and Cas both showed up drunk, but they weren’t fighting. They were just sorta annoyingly stupid in love and all over each other. Benny and I were getting a lot more done before they showed up so we told them to take a time-out or whatever.”
Benny: “And that was it. They left. And they never came back.”
Charlie: “And that was it. They left and never came back.”
Text from Poughkeepsie to Sam: A fairy tale?
Sam: Dude. Gimme a break.
Poughkeepsie: Never, Sammy.
So, we just finished watching it.
Sam: Yeah, me too.
Came out better than I expected.
What did you think?
Poughkeepsie: It didn’t suck.
Sam: There’s a glowing review.
Poughkeepsie: It was good.
You were good. I liked the things you said.
About me. And Cas.
Sam: Did he also think it “didn’t suck”?
Poughkeepsie: He cried. Talk about chick flick moment.
Sam: It’s good to know some things never change.
Poughkeepsie: Will we see you next week?
Sam: Of course. Friday, 6:00.
Poughkeepsie: See ya then.
And thanks again, Sammy.
Sam: Of course, jerk. What are brothers for?
“Is that Sam?” Cas asks as Dean hits send on his phone.
“Yeah. Told him we just finished watching it. Thanked him for being a good brother. Told him you cried like a baby.”
“Dean,” Cas starts gruffly, clearly still too emotional from watching E’s True Hollywood Story: Raised From Perdition.
“I’m just teasing you,” Dean says sweetly as he pulls Cas onto his lap, wrapping his arms around his waist. Dean tries for a kiss but Cas is still pouting. “Come on, baby, you know I love you and our messed-up fairytale and I wouldn’t change a thing.”
“And?” Cas looks at him expectantly.
“AND?” he repeats, still not giving in.
“Fine. And I love chick flicks and chick flick moments and I wouldn’t have any feelings ever if you never came into my life and rescued me from myself.”
“That’s right, Dean Winchester, and don’t you ever forget that for one single minute,” Cas responds, taking Dean’s tanned and freckled face in his large, work-worn hands, pulling him close until their mouths meet in a filthy kiss.
“You can still make me dizzy with just a kiss. Even now, when we’re old fucks,” Dean says, shaking his head as they pull apart.
“We are not old fucks, Dean,” Cas responds with a smile, all trace of his previous pout gone.
They sit in comfortable silence for a while, just like that. Cas on Dean’s lap, Dean’s arms around his waist, Cas resting his head against the back of the couch, eyes closed, his hands covering Dean’s.
“Dean?” Cas says, eventually breaking the silence.
“Yeah, Cas?” Dean responds.
“Do you ever regret it? What we did. Quitting. Leaving. Walking away and leaving everyone and everything else behind? What our lives could have been?”
Dean is silent for a few minutes. Cas is worried for a few minutes while he waits for Dean to finally respond. Before he responds, Dean shifts Cas on his lap so they are facing each other before he speaks.
“Castiel Winchester,” Dean begins, taking Cas’ hands in his own, inhaling a deep breath and not breaking eye contact. “I do not regret a single moment of the last 34 years. I don’t regret leaving a life on the road. I don’t regret a life without noisy clubs and groping strangers. I don’t regret 32 years of sobriety. I never needed to be adored by the world. I only ever needed to be adored by you. So, no, I don’t regret what our lives ‘could have been’ because there’s no other place I’d rather be than right here, right now.”
Dean can see Cas is holding back tears and that’s a relief, because that means Cas believes him. They’ve had this exact conversation several times over the years and each time Dean has left the conversation feeling like Cas wasn’t convinced. But he can see it now, in his eyes. He believes him.
“Dean Winchester,” Cas says with a tremble in his voice as he pulls their foreheads together, “you are ridiculous. You are the most ridiculous, most beautiful, most passionate and giving person I’ve ever met. Even now when we’re old fucks. Thank you for loving me.”
Dean grins when Cas calls them old fucks.
“Did you just quote a Bon Jovi song to tell me you love me?” Dean asks as he pokes Cas all over, making him squirm and kick and laugh until they both fall off the couch and onto the floor.
“What’s wrong with Bon Jovi? Someone once told me they rock on occasion.” Cas deadpans, as Dean groans from the impact of Cas falling on top of him.
“Yeah, they do,” Dean responds, and pulls Cas into another kiss.