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The Slice: Air guitars gently wept upon band’s demise

Fri., Jan. 31, 2014, midnight

Almost 50 years ago, I had to fire one of the Beatles.

It wasn’t the real Fab Four, of course. We were just some dumb grade-school boys lip-syncing to “Meet the Beatles” and playing air guitar (and drums) in Bruce Larson’s suburban basement.

We sounded great. Imaginary crowds went wild. And we engaged in lively on-stage banter with possibly the most ludicrous British accents in the history of mankind.

Despite my actual name, I was John.

There was just one problem.

You see, there were five of us. That led to creative tensions in the band.

There were rumblings and a whisper campaign. Several of the lads reached the conclusion that one basement Beatle had to go.

I cannot recall how it was decided that Jeff Spencer would be invited to pursue exciting new opportunities elsewhere. But I was selected to break the news to him. And here’s where it gets really embarrassing.

Though the Spencers lived right next door there on Adams Street, I opted to fire Jeff over the phone.

I know. What a coward.

I called and informed him that the band had decided to go in a different direction.

I’m sure I emphasized that the problem was the fact we were not pretending to be the Dave Clark 5. So one of us had to go.

As I recall, Jeff did not take it well. The oldest boy in our group, he quickly expressed biting disdain for the whole enterprise.

I do not remember his exact words. But he made clear that he would be glad to be rid of us and our silly fantasy.

There was no severance package.

The remaining four of us continued rockin’ in Bruce’s basement for a little while longer. But at some point, we made the mistake of inviting a classmate to come downstairs and watch us perform.

His gut-busting, mocking laughter took the wind out of our sails. Shortly after that, the band broke up.

Relieved of the cutthroat pressures of the music business, Jeff and I patched things up and went back to being friends.

Today’s Slice question: In your household, how varied are the opinions about what constitutes a clean bathroom?

Write The Slice at P. O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email Don’t forget that there usually are some interesting TV counter-programming options on Super Bowl Sunday.

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