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WITH DAY ONE rapidly approaching, we still didn't have a name; but we did have our first gig -- a preliminary performance at a UC Berkeley Sorority, Alpha Phi -- the big time, major college girls. Oh Yeah. A week or so before the Alpha Phi prelim, while rehearsing vocals between classes, Butch's (although he'd never been called that yet) roommate, the Great White Duck, stirred from his morning nap and prophetically muttered: "YOU GUYS NEED A NAME, maybe like that old pink hair goop, that BUTCH WAX stuff that kept flat tops, duck tails and fins in place. One of you guys could be him; you know "Butch Whacks", a real guy, but spell his name differently, so you don't get sued when you're famous. Think about it, but think about it somewhere else, I'm trying to sleep".

The stone had been rolled away; harps sounded, the angels listened in. Spoke the first among the simple minds, "Great idea. I'll be Butch and you guys can be the Glass Packs; you know like "Danny and the Juniors, Smokey and the Miracles, Question Mark and the Mysterians". "Packs" rhymes with "Whacks". It is archetypal, it is perfect symmetry; it is us". Of course, it had to be explained what the hell glass packs were. " What do you mean what are "glass packs"? Glass packs are custom-made muffler mounts that amplify the sound of your exhaust system so when you let your foot off the gas, your car pops like gunfire exploding. What kind of neighborhood did you grow up in, anyway? From now on we are "Butch Whacks & the Glass Packs".

And so, the week before Day One, Butch Whacks & the Glass Packs played for the first time. The venerable Alpha Phi sorority house nestled in the ivy beside Memorial Stadium really was a nice place, the site of many a serene tea; but not this night. Although the Glass Packs had never played before, we didn't tell them that. Our name preceded us, we sounded and looked like the real deal. Thus, all of the energy that is 50's rock and roll hit the stage before we did, and anticipation begot rumor which begot expectation and soon word traveled up and down fraternity row that the Mother of All Parties was shaping up at Alpha Phi, and it was to be costume bash, with everyone dressed up like West Side Story instead of the usual Easy Rider de rigueur, and don't miss this one whatever you do. The terms of our engagement were fantastic -- $60.00 (total) and all the beer we could drink. Imagine that, we got paid money. What fools, we would have done it for free.

Sofas were cleared, expensive rugs pulled up, lamps and vases stored, a patio area was filled with sand ala Muscle Beach Party. The sorority house was packed inside and the stairs and street outside teemed with fellow travelers ready to rock and ride the time machine. With torches lit and kegs tapped, The Family arrived and cleared a path. Then the newly coined Butch Whacks & The Glass Packs featuring the Fabulous Whackettes stormed the stage for the first of almost 1000 performances yet to come. In a single breath, we charged without a smile through "Rama Lama Ding Dong", "Poison Ivy", "Jailhouse Rock", "Teenager In Love", "Soldier Boy" . . . one right after the next, all the way to "La Bamba" never coming up for air and never breaking character. The images first evoked by the static of a transistor radio hidden under a pillow while trains crashed in the night had taken human form. A constant din of fun house screaming equaled the roar coming from the stage. Apparently, people watch more than listen; and, thus, the first lesson in show business was learned -- Make Show. What we lacked in musical experience and technical stage chops, we made up with what our Latin members like to call CAJONES, giant eggs, the kind money can't buy, the cocksure blind belief that we were Butch Whacks & the Glass Packs and that was all that mattered. We'd learn the rest later. We went to sleep that night with ringing ears, sore from laughing and disgusted with the smell and texture of actual Dixie Peach Pomade stuck in our hair, a toxic substance that takes weeks to completely remove -- a sticky reminder that we got away with it.


  © 2005 Butch Whacks & the Glass Packs