Bringing on the leather

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The band blames its infrequent gigs on everything from a problem with Jimmy's lymph nodes to an air-drumming injury suffered by Duncan, but the word on the street had co-founder and tuning ear Spyche "from France" quitting the band. When press releases announced that the band Mess had reformed as Darlington, with Spyche on bass, the end of Glasspack seemed definite.

Jimmy shakes his head, and lets out a laugh. "The media always gets things so wrong. Spyche 'from France' has a half-sister named Spunky 'from D.C.' and she played for a while in an all fat-girl band named Darling Ton. They tried to steal our fans. But there's only one Spyche 'from France,' and she's exclusively Glasspack."

Before Spyche "from France" can respond, Casey interjects, "We're all exclusively Glasspack."

In the face of what may be band discontent, Jimmy says that the reason for the long delay is simple: "When you play a show, you have to give it your all, let it all out. Then, after the show, you have to put it back in, and that can take some time."

Casey chimes in, "And we have to learn the songs again."
"People need to understand," Jimmy explains. "Unlike other bands, we've never asked for a show. We've always been invited to play. So, we've never thought about booking a show. When the public is ready for us, they call us."

"Like that Oriental guy who's been talking to us," says Duncan. "What's his name? Hy-din?"

"Yeah, yeah, Hayden from Won Ton Records," Jimmy adds. "He's setting up our next show."

Ignoring that it's, in actuality, Aden Holt who's responsible for Glasspack's return show July 30, a more obvious question begs to be answered, especially as the band is, in its own words, "one of rocks most forgetable [sic] bands...a farce of the '90s [that] still attempts to relive the glory day(s) of a hot summer in 1978." Can a band that plays late-'70s arena rock really be anything but a parody? And, more importantly, isn't a parody of late-'70s arena rock simply redundant?

The band erupts in a series of ill-tempered whistles--except, that is, for Spyche "from France," who is ill-temperedly restrained.

"Don't take that kind of shit from him," Duncan barks. "Those are fighting words."

Jimmy puts on a calm, cool, and collected face, rarely seen from lead singers of this decade or any other. "Listen, we're a serious band, straight up. We're incredibly serious about what we do. I mean, Texxas Jam '78. That's what rock and roll is all about, isn't it?"

But even if stadium rock is the pinnacle of the rock-and-roll experience, is Dallas in risk of overdosing on bands that have soldered their flesh to classic rock?

"Who else does it like us?" Jimmy asks out loud. "ASKA doesn't compare, because they have that '80s twang. And Dooms..."

"Aw, 'Dooms sucks' says it all," Duncan interrupts.
"Now, now," Jimmy says, making the peace sign. "I'll admit I'm a little jealous of Dooms. They do have Tommy Shaw [Jon 'Corn Mo' Cunningham] playing for them, and, one day I'd love to do a collaboration with him. I'm a big Tommy Shaw fan.

"But who else does what we do?" he repeats. "Sure, the high-powered rock moves we do, you might see other bands doing them, but they all came from Texxas Jam '78! And, you know, we're totally against owning tuners. We have a few of those pitchfork things and strobes for the guitars, but when you've been playing as long as we have, you just kind of know when things are right. I've watched a lot of bands in Dallas, and they seem to be catching on, 'cause they don't use tuners, either. It's the new way, and everybody's doing it because of us. But nobody does it like Glasspack."

If nothing else, he's right about that. Nothing is really like a Glasspack show. The band swears this one will be no different--literally--than in the past.

"We thought about getting new songs once," says Duncan, "but then we realized: Who wants to hear new stuff?"

Indeed. When the lights go out this time, just as that first unexpected time, Glasspack will hit with all the force of an Andy Kaufman piledriver. On stage, the band seems to tower over its Marshall stacks, and the guitar solos make your teeth hurt. Longtime fans and newcomers alike will pogo to hard-hitting anthems such as "Pack of Smokes," a song that, well, smokes, and "4X4," with its irresistible break down: "1, 2...1, 2, 3, 4." But the jewel of the night is, of course, "Speechless." Written and sung by Spyche "from France," the song is like a tree falling in the woods with no one around.

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Scott Kelton Jones