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".
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.
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
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.