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IN THE SUMMER OF '74, three Glass Packs sacked their bats and called it a career. (We're sure it's no coincidence that they were married and most of us weren't.) Hag, the lead guitar maestro, Saxmeister King Karl, and Julio, one of the two original Glass Packs . We had to replace Hag, but there was no replacing Julio. Julio has returned (see Video of Jose and Rene), but Hag and Karl are again AWOL, but always welcome to return. To replace Hag, we posted "Wanted: Lead Guitarist" flyers all over town, and we got unbelievable responses because every guy who owns a guitar, fancies himself a lead guitarist, the next Pete Townsend, irrespective of the job description. No, we weren't looking for the next Pete Townsend. Our needs were simple and were stated on the ad -- "Must play solos of 'Rock Around the Clock', 'Fun Fun Fun' and 'Hello Mary Lou', note for note, just like the record. And we mean note for note".

Seriously, it is hard to find musicians who can play this music authentically. The band was set up inside DE's (see Chapter 3, page 1) - Mike behind his drum kit, Larry at the Big Fella's piano, and Bruce with his bass rig. Meanwhile, casually drawing his own conclusions of the attitude and gait of the prospective Glass Packs entering the rehearsal room stood Butch with baseball bat in hand hitting against Hag pitching a tennis ball from the middle of 30th Avenue against DE's garage door. Each prospective replacement came and went with Hag and Butch shaking their heads in dismay.

Near the end of the day, an early 50's Plymouth, not even a hip Plymouth, just an old Plymouth, pulled up across the street. A kid with a full head of shiny black waterfall hair stuck his head out and sassed "You guys Butch Whacks & the Glass Packs?" This kid is actually talking to us. "Yeah, who are you?" "Hey Man, I'm Rob and I'm here for the audition." Whereupon, Rob got out of the huge Plymouth and slowly opened the trunk, pulled out a Fender case, and confidently strode across the street toward us. He offered his hand (No one else had done that), and walked past us into DE's for his audition.

Without hearing a note Rob played, Hag said: "That's the guy. I don't need to hear him. I'm free". Hag was right. Our drummer, Mike, came out and said "You better come in here and listen to this guy." What we heard was "Rock Around the Clock" like that hillbilly cat in Bill Haley's band, "Fun Fun Fun", like Glen Campbell played it for Carl Wilson, and "Hello Mary Lou" just like James Burton. We lucked into a guitar monster, a 19 year old kid who heard this stuff for the first time that week after he saw our flyer, dug up his older sisters' records, practiced the material and showed up for the audition. We had just met Rob Birsinger, an unbelievably gifted guitar player just out of high school who looked better than he played.

Rob too was part of the Washington High Mafia and has played every Glass Pack show from that day to this. Check out Rob on his first night (pictured on left) where he took the solo on "Whole Lotta Shakin" by sliding on his knees to center stage while Larry did his ho hum usual handstand on the piano. We opened for the Pointer Sisters that night, and left the stage in flames. Once Rob was fully acclimated, and Butch got the O.K. from Rob's mom, Charlatte, (before her baby could leave home for the first time) we hit the road for our second tour of Vancouver.


  © 2005 Butch Whacks & the Glass Packs