by mojo jackson
My band auditioned guitar players & this was one of them
|After finally landing a drummer (Gary) with no singer-baggage, Hupleâs 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 â Chasâs wedding - for a few months & right before one of our high-profile (at least, to us- Neal Young was rumoured to âmaybeâ show up, he didnât) gigs, Steve (our lead guitar player) quit to, as he put it âplay music â not songsâ 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 arenât as good as they think they are & even the ones that are, have a tendency to wanna play constantly so that when itâs 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 didnât fit in (way too good, or way to shitty for our band), or just werenât 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 âhelloâ but I canât remember), there was something different (unique) about her but I couldnât put my finger on it & didnât dwell on it as I wanted to rock!!! She was however, pretty fuckinâ strong, she unloaded most of Hat Guyâs 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 couldâve 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 Iâ donât remember. This guy had stuff I didnât 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 60âs early 70âs 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 sheâd been though this routine a ton of times, I also had a weird feeling that she was secretly plotting against the âwhitesâ, âweirdâ 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 couldnât hear him!!! So we (Gary, Jeremy & I) stopped playing & Gary said âI never thought Iâd ask a guitar player to do this, but could you turn up?â so, Hat guy cranked his amp up a couple of notches (they didnât go to eleven back then) & we heard this HUGE Woodstock-like chord & we collectively thought âBITCHIN!!!â (it was, after all L.A.). But then when we all started playing again & nodded for a solo, we still couldnât hear him. He did however keep making those same, cool âIâm into thisâ 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 âwhat the fuck - do you hear anything?â Finally after two more attempts at asking him to âturn upâ we just pretended that we could hear him & after an hour or so we have him the old âok, that was a lot of fun, weâll get back to youâ 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 âgoodbyeâ small talk & they got in the car & as we watched them drive away, Gary asked âso, what do you guys think?â I said âhe had a lot of cool stuff & I think if we couldâve heard him, he might have been OK, he looked like he was playing some great licks, based on his facial expressionsâ. To which Jeremy, added âspeaking of faces, did you notice his wife? She had no chin.â Gary & I both looked at each other & at the same time saidâoh wow, thatâs what it was.â She was kind of pretty except for something & that was the âsomethingâ - 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 didnât 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 wifeâs chin instead. It was too bad (for her) because he really wasnât that great of a guitar player & it mustâve been difficult for her to eat soup. All in all a bad trade & Satan rarely gives refunds.