The Song “Cracks” is available on bandcamp.
BILLY YEAGER OFFICIAL WEBSITE
Some people ask me a lot of questions about the music production and lyrics and how the song came to be; below there are more details about the song’s production.
First off, I want to say some things up front to the men and women in prison. Although I have made it through life with a clean record and no arrests, I only thank God for that; people should be thankful and blessed to have a chance to be brought into this world by some semblance of normality and balance; I say this because I know many are not fortune enough to have loving parents, or a balanced stable life as a child, but I need for you to know….
Raped in Prison at 14 years old.
I did not come from a loving home, and had a very tough life. I ran away at 14 years old and ended up being raped in an adult prison. Adult because of a fake ID that I was given. For over 3 months, every single night, I became “Kennedy’s Woman,” a term that, as a young boy, I didn’t even understand what it meant; it took me several days to learn that.
I have included the details of this rape below, my perfect memory and description of this event, what good this event has done in my life, and to be a testimony for others.
I do not write any of this because I need your pity or sympathy, I do not feel sorry for myself. I have matter of factually and openly told this story throughout my life; I have no shame and it has never affected the good in me.
I have never in my life cried about this event, not until I met Pastor Lowe who plays the innocent prisoner in the music video. He is the first African American person with whom I have ever shared this story with, we filmed this moment together, you are free to watch it if you like (Please Request), I hate to be seen crying, but it’s something that may help others, so why should I be embarrassed about that?
For over 2 years now, Anais and I have been praying specifically for innocent prisoners.
Prior to this, for many years we had been, and still do pray for MIA’s and POW’s, but my wife and myself found ourselves reading many long version stories about these cases of injustice.
Then in December one night after reading more stories and learning more details about the who, whys, whens and hows regarding this great injustice, Anais said to me at about 11:00 pm right before bed, “I think we are meant to do something to help these people.”
It was strange to myself that she said this, because earlier in the day I had written something on the piano that I really thought was special; I usually get up every morning with my coffee and play piano, but for many months I had not found anything that I thought was very special.
But when she said this, I immediately answered her without a second thought and said, “yes, and THAT is the song right there,” pointing to the piano and referring to the song I had just written earlier in the day.
I went to bed and prayed, and woke up the next morning, and all of the lyrics for the song came to me in a millisecond of time, instantly the song “Cracks” was born.
Within the next 2 weeks I began a very complex production, layering over 12 instruments and recording over 48 tracks and 60 voices from a church choir for the chorus of the song.
I do not only believe in the “power of music” I know for a fact that it works.
In 2012, Anais and I made a film calles Sebastian Beach One Fine Day; it Premiered the NYC Surf Film Festival; below is a scene from the movie.
Raped in prison at 14 years old.
Kennedy was a black man in for murder; he was big and strong with muscles; I thought he was protecting me from the other prisoners, I thought he was my friend, but at night (he slept on the bed above me) he would look down and say “you gonna be my woman,” and I told him for the first few nights, “I am not a woman, I don’t understand,” and he would say, “so you’re not gonna be my woman?” And this went on for a while until one night he said, “if you’re not going to be my woman I will let you out and tik them on you.”
I still didn’t understand until another young white boy was brought in that day; he went to L. J.’s cell, as he was known; later on I heard him screaming his lungs out getting raped by L. J. who was 4 cells down, and Kennedy said, “I will give you to L.J. tomorrow.”
I said, “what do you want me to do?” He said pull your pants down, and I did, and he got on top of me and it lasted for about 10 minutes; he would ejaculate and then politely go over and get some tissue paper and I would wipe my butt off and then cry.
One night while he was on top of me I began to cry; he said, “what, you gonna cry?”
But something Kennedy said stuck with me my whole life. Another night I cried again and he said, “why you crying?” And I told him I was crying because I let him make me into a woman, and he said, “You ain’t no woman, and one day you will be a man, and this ain’t gonna matter.”
As sick as this may sound to you, Kennedy was my friend, and I thank God for him in my life; I was never angry at him, and I never held any ill feelings about him in my entire life, the reason why is he saved my life from being killed by L. J.
L. J. was doing triple murder, and I would have been dead.
When I was first put in jail, I was in the cell on the first floor, but days later I was transferred to another jail and I was taken to the 4th floor (where Kenedy and L.J.) were, and when I came in I did the worst thing you could ever do, I looked L. J. in the eyes.
The doors closed behind. He came to me very fast, he was scary; to this day I have never in my life seen a man with actual red eyes, not blood shot, but red, like red blood in his eyes. He grabbed me by the hair, dragged me down to the last cell, pushed my face into a wall of dried stained blood and pulled his sleeve up to show me his fresh dried white cast that covered his entire right arm up to the elbow.
“You see that blood? That’s white blood, this cast is from crushing another white boy’s skull on that wall, if you ever look at me in the eyes again, I will crush your skull.”
(Several paragraphs below, it gets even worse; the prison guards…)
I trembled, put my head down, never looked up, nobody said a word. There were 6-7 all black other men in the cell; there was “Country,” “Kennedy,” “L. J,” an older man, a young skinny tall man about 18 or 19, a stocky older quiet man and myself.
Kennedy’s cell was the second one; he was sitting in a chair, he grabbed one for me and said to sit down; he put me next to him, looked down at L. J. and whispered, “He can’t bother you if you stick with me, I am bigger than him, and he ain’t gonna mess with me.”
It must have been a fact, L. J. didn’t. He would sometimes walk over to me, with my head down, he would bend his head down to see if I was looking, but I would close my eyes, and he would just move on.
I hope God softened L. J.’s heart, I hope he forgave himself, I did, and I know God does, the grace and mercy of God is good; I know if L. J. were here, he would tell me he was sorry. I would tell him, I accept and overcame.
No, I am not a gangsta and never grew up in the projects, but…
I was 14, my life was hell, people in my neighborhood were whipped with ropes; one father used a garden hose on his boy, so I felt lucky with a belt. We were all about 10-12, my dad would take me to the middle of the street, with the whole neighborhood looking, would pull down my pants naked, and beat me with small branches that made me scream.
I am no momma’s boy, oh no sir, in our neighborhood we all knew the girl down the block was being raped by her father, nobody cared, it never made the news, like the day I was walking home and saw a kid from the 9th grade punch a kid and kill him. The police showed up the next day asking everyone questions, no one said a word.
Half of my friends are dead, Hollywood, Florida, drugs, drug runners, one of my best friends Billy Halpern was tied to a tree with his neck slit open, another was fed to alligators in the Everglades; it was common from 1970s- 1980s LINK
I never did drugs. I was only a bad kid at 14; that’s all. At 15/16 I took up weight-lifting and surfing and it changed my life.
But home was misery, my dad was a cop and very strict, so one night late, I packed up a few things and left. I ended up in North Carolina, where my best friend, “Chris” (first name only for privacy), and I left with his sister and her husband, who was AWAL from the army.
I had nowhere to go, so when he asked me to go, I said sure. I had no shoes on, none of us wore them in 1971, it was the “in thing,” Woodstock era, so when I arrived in North Caroline in December, I was freezing to death.
Mark and Chris’ sister were drug addicts, and they forced me to steal gas one night when we ran out. I didn’t have a choice, so when I was syphoning gasoline, the cops showed up; we were all arrested, but they were all bonded out; I didn’t even know what a bond meant, all I knew is that Mark got Chris got out and I was left in.
I had a fake ID, I will never ever forget for my entire life, I was Christopher Plummer, 20 years old, from East Galion, Ohio.
It was a paper ID, red and orange colored, nothing more, but just enough to throw a 14 year old 120 pound kid in jail.
The prison guards.
I couldn’t take it anymore, so one day when a guard came close to the bars, I went to him; I told him bad things were happening to me, and I looked over and everyone was looking at me, wondering what I was telling the guard, so I got very scared. Two other guards were right behind them, and he called them over; he opened the door to take me out, I walked out, I couldn’t believe it, I was finally going to tell my story.
But when I began telling them I was being raped, they stopped the elevator midway between a floor. I stopped talking. Silence fell. Each guard began looking at each other, the one took out his billy club and began slapping it in the palm of his other hand, and he said, “You shut your mouth, do you understand, you go right back up there and if you ever say a word, I will take this billy club and knock your teeth out.”
I went back and never said a word.
Then things became a blur, long days, my legs yearned to walk and run. One day after 3 months, someone finally came; a man asked me if I had a public defender; I said “a what?” He said, “public defender,” I asked, “what is that?” He said, “have you seen ANYONE?” I said, “I don’t remember, I don’t think so.”
Later in the day, I found myself being led into a courtroom, there was a proceeding going on; somehow I remember all of a sudden this proceeding being interrupted and the judge got mad when he saw me come in, and said to everyone wait a minute. He was looking at me and angrily asked, “why are you in my court without any shoes?”
I said, “that is the way I was arrested.” I told him I was from Florida, we walk around barefoot, but yes I was freezing; next he began asking why I had been arrested. He seemed very disturbed by the fact that I had no trial, no public defender; he asked me about my family, I told them they were in Florida, but my God, looking back, I mean, not ONE PERSON ASKED ME MY AGE?
Once a person asked me, why didn’t you just tell someone you were underage when they took you to jail? The answer is I hated my dad so much, I would rather be raped every night than to put up with him mistreating me and telling me what to do.
The judge asked me if I had a job; I told him I did, washing cars at a used car lot; he gave me some small fines, asked if I promised to pay them and go back to work and stay out of trouble; I told him yes, and I was free.
I went outside squinting my eyes, I could barely see the sun blinding me, my legs could barely walk, I felt like I was walking on the moon. I hitched a ride back home to Florida, called my dad, the phone rung, he said, “hello?” I said, “Dad, it’s me.” He said, “What do you want?” I stuttered and said, “I just thought I would call to tell you I am ok,” and he said, “You made your bed, now you sleep in it,” and hung up the phone.
I did. I made a bed in a horse stall, where I was hired to clean stalls, train thoroughbred horses. I worked 7 days a week and 15 hours a day until I bought my first car.
At 15 years old I moved out, bought a 1966 Convertible Red Buick, had no driver’s license, but found one to stick, and I lived and slept in my car. I became a steel worker building pools. My other friends were home with family and security, but I had freedom and have no regrets and never looked back.
My dad died of cancer in 2005. The man I hated, ended up being my best friend.
For many years due to some tragedies because of his PTSD from being a police officer all his life, we cried and hugged each other many times.
He told me many times, “Bill, you’re the greatest son a father could ever have.” We hugged each other before my last goodbye; he had decided not to take the medicine that made the pain go away to be aware of my visit.
I drove home, I didn’t cry. Why should I? My dad and I had been close for over 25 years, best of friends; when there is no regrets, there is no tears.