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I was traveling for a fiber optic company in Europe and the States," says singer Doug Benson about his beginnings with the Johnny Cash tribute band Cash'd Out, which performs tomorrow night at the Tower Bar on University Avenue in City Heights, no cover.

"Nights were lonely on the road, and I'd go to a bar and sometimes do karaoke.... People each time would say I ought to be in Vegas. I picked up a guitbox and taught myself some chords. I placed an ad in the Reader for a guitarist that sounded like Luther Perkins [Cash's guy in the early days]. Kevin Manuel answered the ad and became my guitarist. The first thing he said is, 'You know you're playing everything in the wrong key, right?' " They changed the songs back to their original keys.

Benson tells me, "There's no spandex [in the act]. Just a black suit and a pompadour."

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