The Envy of everyone

A CN&R reporter’s 22 minutes with Chico’s “best local band”

Photo Illustration by Tom Angel and Carey Wilson

When I saw the posting (via e-mail and a couple of Internet message boards) announcing local nü metal bro-rockers Red With Envy were searching for a new bassist, it read more like a Wal Mart employee handbook than the requirements to join a rock band.

“Must be willing to sign a termed band agreement"? “Must possess creativity, personality, style, charisma and a certain individual uniqueness"? Were they replacing the bassist from Red With Envy or Cliff Burton?

The list goes on from there, with no fewer than 16 requirements for landing the coveted spot as RWE bassist. I was confused, and intrigued. So I decided to see what it takes to become a member of Chico’s “best local band” (RWE beat out stellar acts like Loose Booty and the Greg Scott Band in the CN&R’s “Best of” issue. And if that doesn’t prove they’re the best, then I don’t know what does).

I sent an e-mail as required, making sure to answer their questions and include key words and phrases like “Sevendust” and “melodic” and “slay audiences” and “fuckin’ rock!”

Here’s the e-mail:

Austin, Chavez and Nick,

My name is Mark Lore and I want to slay audiences as the new bassist for Red With Envy.

Why should I be the new bassist for RWE? Simple. I believe in the music. It’s one thing to have the chops, it’s another to play with balls and conviction. Don’t get me wrong, I can play the shit out of the bass. But metal has been part of my life since I was a kid. It started with KISS and from there I got into heavier bands like Pantera and Sevendust. That said, I believe metal can be melodic and have groove. It doesn’t always have to be full speed ahead.

What can I bring to the band? That’s simple, too: a love of music, solid work ethic and a willingness to give my all to the band and the fans. Red With Envy already has a fan base unparalleled in Chico. They expect certain things from RWE—precision, energy and heart. The fans are what make it all happen. Put me on that stage and I’ll go ape shit.

I’ve got equipment. And since I play guitar and drums, too, I have an understanding of the roles of each band member. I write my own songs and I’ve played numerous styles of music including metal, funk and punk. I currently play in a band called Lott Lyzzyrd, but I’m looking for new musical avenues that better suit me. I want to play with a band that has drive and is willing to put the work in.

I’ve lived in Chico for years and I am familiar with the scene. I’m 32 years old and I am fit. I want to meet you guys and fuckin’ rock!

It worked. That night, I received a phone call from drummer Nick Harris, who said he liked what he saw.

He told me to learn a couple of songs, which I didn’t do. How hard could they be? Drop the E string down to D and go from there. Besides, I didn’t actually want to make the band.

I arrived at 6:30 p.m. on the nose and rolled my gear in. There they were—sporting wife-beaters or wearing no shirts at all—muscles bulging. And there I was—skinny and dorky—muscles hiding.

We shook hands and exchanged pleasantries. “Nice guys,” I thought. Guitarist Austin Comnick asked if I had learned any songs.

“Umm, no,” I replied, explaining that I was having difficulty listening to songs from their MySpace page. They looked understandably puzzled.

“Have you heard any of our music?”

I told him I listened to their song “The Weather” once or twice. We decided to give the song a go.

Comnick then informed me that the band tunes, not to D, but all the way down to A.

For the next 15 minutes or so, I attempted to tune my bass down to an A until the string was flopping in the wind. When that didn’t hold, I began cranking the tuning peg up until my E string was tuned up to A.

With my guitar barely in tune, we started jamming. I played off of memory and hit about every third note. When we finished, the drummer Nick Harris suggested that I learn the songs and call them back.

I thanked them for their time and they thanked me for coming out. By 6:52 p.m., I was pulling out of the driveway of their practice space. I never called them back, which was best for all parties. I’ll continue with my band and my day job, and Red With Envy will find someone who loves playing homogenized rock.