Experimental noise musician and composer Randy Chiurazzi recently auditioned for NBC’s America’s Got Talent in which performers competed for a $1 million prize and a chance to perform in Las Vegas.
“They basically hated it,” says Chiurazzi, not without a sense of humor. “I got through most of it, though. You’re supposed to get 90 seconds. I got through about a minute.”
Chiurazzi performed at the Houston studio for an audience of 1500 in his homemade Sound Suit, which debuted at the second annual Experimental Guitar Show at the Soda Bar in January. The suit is a full-body apparatus made of a ceramic tile, a chain, wire, a plastic bottle, sanding discs, pipes, and machine metal, which Chiurazzi uses to evoke sounds from his electric guitar.
“They called me back a week after putting my video on the web and said they really liked it,” Chiurazzi tells me over the phone. “Then they get back to me and say they want me to come down to Houston. So I was 30 percent, like, they found it interesting and 70 percent, like, I’m going to end up on a gag reel.”
His performance was titled “Sound Suit AGT” and employed techno beats to acknowledge the television program’s pop sensibilities. The performance started with Chiurazzi saying, “Sound suit, activate!” and swinging his guitar down to do a glissando when the beat dropped while singing, “do you have what it takes to wear the sound suit?”
According to Chiurazzi, the judges’ responses included:
“Do people come see this?”
“Sound effects are not entertaining, so sorry.”
“That, I believe, is the worst performance of the day.”
The sentiments were endorsed with criticisms and ample accusatory fingers from the audience.
“It’s a real cult-of-personality type of audience,” Chiurazzi says. “They want to vicariously be a part of the judging. It’s like a den of wolves in there. I went into this whole thing thinking, I love the exposure, so come hell or high water, I’m going to enjoy it. Get up there, test my mettle, test my nerves. And I handled it. The more I handled it, the happier I got.”
Upon his exit, Chiurazzi “held up my guitar in rock star mode, said, ‘Thank you, Houston!’ and marched off triumphantly.”
He calls the episode “a great, great success.”