Tully was born just north of Queen City, or more commonly known as Allentown Pennsylvania to everyone else. A small working class cityscape in the state’s coal region about halfway between Philadelphia and New York, its two big claims to fame were a Billy Joel song from the early 80s and it had been the hiding place for the Liberty Bell during the Revolutionary War. “Because no one in their right mind would ever want to come here” AJ used to say to his teachers when they would try and exalt that historic tidbit to their classes. He wasn’t exactly wrong… but his snarky, rebellious attitude against the norm often got him in trouble in school.

He was diagnosed as a child having ADHD as well as Dyslexia, which often made learning in the more traditional sense a real struggle. Tully even flunked a year in High School. He was depressed and his self-esteem was extremely low at the time. His parents getting a divorced and shipping him off to live with his grandparents on his mother’s side didn’t help either. His father had completely fallen out of the picture in Tully’s early teens, but he hadn’t been around much before that anyway. His mother was often working to make ends meet as well.

But he had a couple of uncles to help raise him coming from a big Irish-Polish family, they and his grandparents were a huge influence on his upbringing, and supporters of his ideas and dreams. They were even the ones to give him his nickname as a child because no one wanted to be called Albert, or Junior. He had a hard enough time growing up without that burden added to it. Especially when he would sometimes get a buzzing in his head too, AJ didn’t want to bother his family with one more of his little defects so he learned to just ignore it when it would pop up. God, knowing his bad luck it was probably a tumor or something.

It was a bit of a surprise when AJ showed a real talent for music, especially the guitar. He was a regular idiot savant, just picked up one of his uncles’ instruments and taught himself to play songs by ear. He played in a garage band in his spare time when he wasn’t helping his grandfather fix a car in one. The old man was the only person with the patience to teach him a skill…Hands on without a textbook, answering all of AJ’s incessant questions. It’s what gave the young man the courage to go to a tech school after finally graduating.

Things seemed to be looking up and Tully felt he had some direction in his life when the rug got pulled out from under his feet. People started getting ill and dying. It was all over the news when his truck driving uncle was the first to get it, then his grandparents, younger uncle and finally his mother.

AJ was devastated and fell into a depressive almost suicidal funk,… and then he had a dream.