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Ache to play in a band can’t be denied

SHARE Ache to play in a band can’t be denied

Last Thursday, I spent the afternoon at the Guitar Center in Taylorsville, watching young up-and-coming guitarists play their hearts out for a chance to play with Limp Bizkit.

This is a band that isn't known for doing things by the book. It even went on a tour in support of and supported by the now-defunct Napster, the music-swapping Web site that was closed down due to accusations of copyright infringements.

And now Limp Bizkit has decided to take its search for a guitarist further than the music unions and audition halls of New York and California.

It was the dream of a lifetime for the more than 150 hopefuls who lined up outside the Taylorsville store. I could feel the energy in the air as kids and adults from across the region unpacked their guitars, tuned them up and waited in line.

It took me back to my years as a drummer in local bands when I lived in Kansas. I remembered going through a couple of auditions.

Granted, those tryouts weren't even close to the caliber of the one that took place last week, but I had always dreamed of playing in a band. And it didn't matter if I got stuck in dark smoky clubs and wild parties throughout the Wichita area. All that mattered was that I was playing music.

One band I joined was a '60s cover group called the Dead End. I was a junior in high school. The band was originally called the End, but then it broke up, and a couple of remaining members regrouped and renamed it.

Dead End was famous for playing such tunes as the Yardbirds' "Shape of Things," the Who's "Long Live Rock," anything by the Kinks and Jimi Hendrix, and the Kingsmen's "Louie Louie" (I still don't know the words to that mumbled party anthem).

We played around the party circuit and sometimes practiced until 1 or 2 a.m.

When you added that schedule to my late-night theater rehearsals and performances, the result was the same — failing grades. So, as a shock to the band and my very supportive mother, I quit.

But the hunger of playing in a band ate at my soul throughout the rest of my high school days. I did occasionally play with a few guys I knew, but it wasn't anything serious. And since we all had big egos, there were quite a few debates. After one too many brawls, we decided it was too dangerous to practice.

Then the dream of a lifetime happened for me. I was working as a crew chief at Chick-Fil-A when a band called Metal Smith came calling. It was a local, professional speed-metal band into early Metallica, Fortknox, Venom and Slayer-type music, with the occasional slow, dirge-like tunes of the Ozzy-fronted Black Sabbath.

Since I had been practicing to records of those bands in my spare time, I felt I was ready, and I hauled my drums over to the rehearsal space and played my heart out.

I got the job and found myself playing smoky clubs and wild parties.

I also remember the discouragement of trying to book our own gigs and driving a beat-up Subaru wagon to the venues and sleeping on the floor of fans' homes during our stops.

But I was playing music, no matter what the adults around me were calling it.

Anyway, those memories all came back to me as I was watching the Limp Bizkit auditions.

I miss playing in bands . . . but I love writing about them more.

E-mail: scott@desnews.com