We always kind of knew in the back of our minds that Dr. Joey Caustic was playing bass with us because he liked us, not necessarily because he wanted to be the bassist in a band. We considered ourselves incredibly lucky to have him during our first year as a baby band and never took a day with him for granted. Joey’s energy on stage was infectious, the caliber of his musicianship was impressive, and the ideas he would bring to the table always made our band sound better and work harder. He’s also one of the nicest guys you could ever hope to meet. So when the Doctor told us that he was going to be focusing on producing and stepping off the stage, the idea of replacing our beloved bassist was both an emotional blow and a daunting task.
We didn’t really know HOW to find a new bass player, so we turned to Social Networking. This did generate some interviews and auditions, but searching for a new band member is a lot like online dating. You need to initially like their looks, then make sure that you’re compatible musically, politically, logistically, and interpersonally. The autonomy of the internet makes it easy to be flaky and many of our prospective players just ghosted us.
We had one applicant though, who stood out to Danny Rampage. “I just have a really good feeling about him” was what he said. Danny showed me a photo of this potential player and I was immediately turned off by what struck me as narcissism. Here was a tall, dark, and handsome guy wearing sunglasses and a cowboy hat, smirking as if to say, “My shit don’t stink.” There was no denying he had a great image, but I feared that he knew it and that he would be completely full of himself (a trait shared by many musicians). But I agreed that we should at least audition this guy.
He showed up early with a 6-string bass and a sexy accent. I wanted to hate him, but he played as impressively as he looked. He had most of our catalog memorized already and he seemed to have just the right amount of professionalism and sass. We talked with him a bit and I had to admit, Danny Rampage was right - there WAS something special about this guy. In my excitement (and without consulting my band-mates) I enthusiastically declared during his audition, “Mauricio, you’re the one! I want you to be our bass player!” Now, we still had auditions with other applicants on the calendar, which put everyone involved in a rather awkward position. Listen! I didn’t want this talented fellow to take a bass playing gig with anyone else, so I felt like I needed to act quickly! I felt it was the right thing to do. Danny Rampage, of course, cleaned up my mess.
Our first gig with Mau- a.k.a. Lieutenant Lenny Renegade was at the Mystic Showroom. The stage was monstrous. I was shaking in my shoes with nerves, but Lenny came waltzing out, calm & collected and slayed his maiden performance with us. And he continues to. Plus there’s an added bonus! His wife, Mary Mayhem has stepped up to the plate and can be found slinging our merch, negotiating deals on our behalf and occasionally being my handler (when the need arises). The Hot Pink Hangover family is growing. We still do all of our recordings with Dr. Caustic in his studio but now we also have our bass player. I have to remember that sometimes change is necessary and it is good.