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Rated: E · Non-fiction · Biographical · #1941821
My band auditioned guitar players & this was one of them
After finally landing a drummer (Gary) with no singer-baggage, Huple’s Cat was sailing along having regular (mostly productive), practices. Having recently settling into my parents living room there was pretty much just band practice no drinking or (obvious) dope smoking, so, we actually were getting pretty good We also had been playing some real gigs – Chas’s wedding - for a few months & right before one of our high-profile (at least, to us- Neal Young was rumoured to “maybe” show up, he didn’t) gigs, Steve (our lead guitar player) quit to, as he put it “play music – not songs” so, we started the wonderful task of auditioning lead guitarists. To the uninitiated this might not sound like a big deal, but trust me - it is. Most lead guitar players aren’t as good as they think they are & even the ones that are, have a tendency to wanna play constantly so that when it’s time for their big solo it just sounds like the vocals dropped out. Or, of course they want to STRETCH OUT!!!!! After auditioning 2 or 3 guys that were OK but either didn’t fit in (way too good, or way to shitty for our band), or just weren’t into the original scene or, perhaps just thought that either our music or we sucked, this mysterious guy appeared out of the mist (not really, but) showed up wearing (not a cape but) a long black coat (in Sept, in L.A!!) & a big black cowboy hat ala Jimi Hendrix. This guy looked like the coolest guy ever, he was dressing for the correct decade & HE PLAYED GUITAR! He was accompanied by his wife who while semi-attractive (in a mid-western sort of way) seemed very shy (she might have nodded “hello” but I can’t remember), there was something different (unique) about her but I couldn’t put my finger on it & didn’t dwell on it as I wanted to rock!!!  She was however, pretty fuckin’ strong, she unloaded most of Hat Guy’s gear, while he set it up, along with his vast array of pedals (which was all he actually carried), after he had everything set it up, we were (I know I was) certainly impressed, he had a beautiful black (matched his hat & coat) Gibson Les Paul - of course being that it was 1970; practically everyone who auditioned with us had some sort of Les Paul. For an amp he used a giant Ampeg & separate head, which Mrs Hat had somehow managed to single-handedly (I suppose one of us could’ve helped her) unload & carry into the house, but what was really cool was the fact that he had a whole bunch of pedals!!!! He had a Fuzz face, a Cry-Baby, a Phaser of some sort as well as an Echoplex & maybe some other stuff that I’ don’t remember. This guy had stuff I didn’t even know had been invented yet. Mrs Hat timidly sat down in the corner on the floor (even though I said she could sit on the couch or a chair, which she had declined). She sat cross-legged in the standard late 60’s early 70’s pose & began reading SOUL ON ICE (huh?), yes , that Soul On Ice by Eldridge Cleaver & only looking up occasionally to see what was going on. I had a (kind of sad) feeling she’d been though this routine a ton of times, I also had a weird feeling that she was secretly plotting against the “whites”, “weird” because she & Hat guy were white (actually, we were all white for craps sake). Meanwhile as she was settling into her book we started jamming (yes, jamming) & when we nodded for him (Hat guy) to take a solo, he started making these odd facial expressions like Eric Clapton (sorry Eric) so we figured he was knocking out some powerful riffs, the thing is - we couldn’t hear him!!! So we (Gary, Jeremy & I) stopped playing & Gary said “I never thought I’d ask a guitar player to do this, but could you turn up?” so, Hat guy cranked his amp up a couple of notches (they didn’t go to eleven back then) & we heard this HUGE Woodstock-like chord & we collectively thought “BITCHIN!!!” (it was, after all L.A.). But then when we all started playing again & nodded for a solo, we still couldn’t hear him. He did however keep making those same, cool ‘I’m into this’ lead-guitarist-facial expressions & tapped-danced on just about every pedal & stomp box he had of course we heard no difference since we heard NOTHING!!!! So, the other 3 of us are looking at each other as if to say “what the fuck - do you hear anything?”  Finally after two more attempts at asking him to “turn up” we just pretended that we could hear him & after an hour or so we have him the old “ok, that was a lot of fun, we’ll get back to you” line & they packed up his shit (& in order to get rid of him, we helped carry it out to their car). Then we made some “goodbye” small talk & they got in the car & as we watched them drive away, Gary asked “so, what do you guys think?” I said “he had a lot of cool stuff & I think if we could’ve heard him, he might have been OK, he looked like he was playing some great licks, based on his facial expressions”. To which Jeremy, added “speaking of faces, did you notice his wife? She had no chin.” Gary & I both looked at each other & at the same time said”oh wow, that’s what it was.”  She was kind of pretty except for something & that was the “something” - no chin. After much discussion about her (we had already given up on him) we tried to figure out what had happened to her chin. She didn’t look like she had ever been in an accident when suddenly it hit us; rather than selling his soul to the Devil ala Robert Johnson, the selfish son-of-a-bitch had sold his wife’s chin instead. It was too bad (for her) because he really wasn’t that great of a guitar player & it must’ve been difficult for her to eat soup. All in all a bad trade & Satan rarely gives refunds.

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