Back to Home Page
meet the band ticket information jukebox multimedia visitortome mailing list

AT ABOUT SHOW NO. 300, the new material and pace of the show required changes. The first was medically induced, because primary keyboard player Jeff Carino came down with lockjaw (honest!). To the rescue came not just any piano player but a Kissin' Cousin to the Killer himself, Larry Strawther -- the world's greatest and only upside down, on his back, even sound asleep piano player.

Larry had been watching the Glass Packs from afar as a sports reporter for the Redwood City Tribune, and, truth be told, was a fan. A fan of the music first and foremost. If there was anyone other than The Big Fella and Butch, who knew exactly Who put the Bomp, when, on what label and exactly where they were standing when the song first charted (You tell us -- which is the better song? "Image of a Girl" by the Safaris or "Once in A While" by the Chimes? The argument rages today, no less passionately, and Butch always wins - its the Safaris in a walk,) it was Larry Strawther. Larry was cut out for this work in every way from his lean frame (yes, he was lean at one time) to his full mane of Jerry Lee Lewis hair and he still sets the night on fire with "Whole Lotta Shakin" today like he did in 1974.

Small problem. There's always a small problem. Larry was spoken for. By the U.S. Army. What Larry didn't tell us exactly was that he was actually still in the Army, not just a veteran, when he joined the Glass Packs. That's right Larry "commuted" . . . to Glass Pack gigs for at least six months from Fort Ord. Yeah, that Fort Ord -- near Monterrey. Larry drove all night for months to keep the beat alive. Needless to say, the Army newspaper suffered for our benefit, and our country, apparently, was so much the worse for it. Conflict surely awaited.

Now, remember we already had a 2nd keyboard player - the Jazzman, saxman Karl Cheesecake Young, -- someone whose silhouette you would never confuse in a line up for Larry's, and whose piano sylings . . . well, differed from Larry's pizza parlor shuffle in the most fundamental of ways. Nonetheless, one night when Larry was on leave from Glass Pack duty, the Military Police from Fort Ord showed up fully armed at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium where we had just finished performing on the same bill with Eric Burdon, and with an over-amped former Monkee, Mickey Dolenz, paying a strange visit in our dressing room. The M.P.'s were looking for Larry who had apparently missed a deadline or two with the Fort Ord newspaper, and were under orders to bring back alive the piano player from Butch Whacks and the Glass Packs to get out that morning edition. (Turns out Larry was already back at Fort Ord -- just a little later than the Army expected him to be.)

It was, thus, that the two befuddled M.P.'s grabbed Karl who had played piano instead of sax during that set and were about to drag him back to the Brig by the Sea. A violation of human rights? Surely. Was Karl pissed? You bet. But not because the government had tread on him. No, only because the rest of the Glass Pack crew roared laughing at the M. P.'s for confusing Karl's playing for Larry's; only someone with a tin ear and a rifle could confuse Karl's Erroll Garner for Larry's Huey Piano Smith or mistake a five foot eight brunette jazzman for the fugitive six foot two blonde boogie woogie master. "Can you imagine that? Those morons thought that was Larry playing", shrugged Cheesecake. The whole ball of yarn got unwound to everyone's satisfaction, except Karl's, as the U.S. Army soon freed Larry with honors for Glass Pack duty forever.

Larry added a visual dimension matched a few months later by the vocal addition of new drummer Mike Moore (incidentally, a former Pop Warner football teammate of Larry's on the powerhouse Menlo Park Lions), who could sing the high Beach Boys first tenor harmony parts in full voice (not falsetto). Mike was a veteran of many L.A. psychedelic bands, and also formed a band with Peter Tork (The Monkees) while attending the college of Marin. A cool breeze right off the Sunset Strip; a studio drummer with recording experience. He had shoulder length hair and a girlfriend with a daughter named Oracle. So why was he auditioning for the Sings-like-a-bird-fills-the-breaks-like-Hal Blaine cornerstone we were searching for? What did he have in common with Butch Whacks & the Glass Packs? Nothing. We were a gig.


  © 2005 Butch Whacks & the Glass Packs