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LATER THAT NIGHT at the Glass Packs' Orinda rehearsal studio, Karl shed the holier than thou Jazzbo hair shirt and cut loose with "Western Movies", and did the backbreak (a dance designed for the lean and the lanky, not the stout and stocky) like Roy Head. Quincy Jones' pause for the cause dance club band would have to wait. Now Karl faced a dilemma, stay in the City with the club band and play serious music or squawk that tenor with the Glass Packs and see the world. Karl chose the latter, went on the road and played "You Can't Sit Down" at the top of each show, earning the nickname "Cheesecake", but not for the reasons you might think. No, Karl always had his figure to think about. So for every eight beers the rest us would drink, Karl would have only six white wines, reasoning that the kick of the latter was the same as the former but you could actually lose weight by drinking house Chablis, then chase it all down with two orders of cheesecake right before bed. It is math like this that led him to his current career as Research Physicist at Stanford Linear Accelerator Center.

Re-tooled and ready to roll, Butch Whacks & the Glass Packs began Phase II of the saga - setting up our tent in far away cities where nobody had heard of us. The pattern repeated itself wherever we went -- Monday night you could set fire to the club and nobody would leave because nobody was there, except the newspaper critic. Inevitably, we were favorably treated by the Joel Selvins of the world and by Joel himself, (See S.F. Chronicle review of Feb 5, 1973 -- Joel is that old and still at it in 2001), and after the review was published the club would instantly fill and by the weekend, it was packed just like home. New faces laughing about a place called the Marquis de Sade Hotel.

At the same time, we played colleges and concerts with big name rock acts, such as the Tower of Power, Boz Scaggs, and dead on the vine oldies acts (although to be fair a few of them still had it, Big Joe Turner and Wilbur "Kansas City" Harrison come to mind). Through the mists of time some benchmarks stick out more than others -- like the night (besides stealing their keg) the Doobie Brothers got pantsed by the opening act at a 7000 seat sold out Selland Arena only because the superstar Doobies inspired the Glass Packs to unprecedented heights by prancing like prima donnas around the stage during sound check for so long that we didn't get to rehearse on that huge stage at all. Driven by the Furies, our thirty minute set was met with a rafter rattling roar like we had never heard before, so we raced back out for an encore. Our leader was then confronted by the concert promoter, a brief discussion about time and place ended with a quick shove that sent the shag-haired, turquoise laden, mustachioed twirp off his platform shoes and we went back out for a second encore (an unheard of breach of etiquette) anyway. From an offstage pile of suede fringe, paisley and denim came the threat "Hey man, you will never play this town again". The town was Fresno, and sadly we did play there again. (see article).

Ahh, there's no business like show business and show business requires every act, no matter how good, to leave home. You can't make a living in your home market. You have to leave for long periods of time and then return to larger crowds and repeat that pattern until you die, get your own TV show or change careers, but that decision was a few years away. Meanwhile, the first of these extended tours took us to the colleges and Universities of the Mid-West -- eight weeks in Ohio and Michigan.


  © 2005 Butch Whacks & the Glass Packs