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“The first guy was, like, this 14-year-old kid from Irvine,” says Chris Greenslate about auditions for his punk band, the Cause. “He said all he listened to was Marilyn Manson. He sent us tapes [of his guitar playing], and they were amazing, so we had him come down. His parents had to drive him down here. When he shows up, he’s in, like, white face paint with fake blood drippin’ out of his mouth…torn shirt; it was insane.…the kid was just waiting for MTV.… He had a machine built into his guitar that if he wanted, he had the option of doing Gwar [a metal band] stuff and having fake blood pump out the bottom of his guitar. It was hard to keep a straight face…’cause we didn’t want to hurt his feelings.”

“You didn’t hire him?”

“He coulda done the job…if he’d been a little older and not so messed up.”

Greenslate, a singer who formerly booked acts into SOMA under Len Paul, says that the Cause lost both of their guitarists due to conflicting school schedules. In order to support their latest CD by touring, Greenslate was forced to advertise in local newspapers for fresh talent.

“We had this guy audition who was, like, 35 years old…we were kinda worried about his age, but we brought him in, and I don’t know if he listened to our CD, but he started playin’ our songs, and he told us he had a new way of playing them. He could play all our songs acoustically — like, fingerpick them on an acoustic guitar, and he was talking to us about playing coffee shops.”

“Is there a shortage of good guitar players?”

“Most of the calls we get are from, like, Guitar Trader burnouts,” Greenslate says. “They tried to make it when they were young, but they couldn’t do it, and they’ve stockpiled just amazing amounts of really nice equipment, and they’re really talented, but they just have no brain. They have no real skills for communication. They’ve been hangin’ out at guitar stores too long…like, total machine heads.”

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