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VIP, March 1997


Not only has he been a happening rock 'n' roll player for three decades, a local music scene fixture for 20 years playing in bands such as the Readymades and the Dinos, he is also referred to by some as a guardian angel. A guardian angel with one goal in mind; to teach children how to play rock guitar without ruining their hearing. Eric Lenchner (you can call him "Sludge") is his name, rockin' is his game and H.E.A.R. is thrilled to honor him as the V.I.P. for the month of March.

Eric Lenchner's, early introduction to music started with piano lessons at age 5, trumpet lessons at 7, and guitar lessons at age 10. What he gained through all of the lessons and long hours of practice was a perfect disposition for teaching guitar. Unfortunately what he didn't bargain for after years of playing in many rock bands -was a combination of two hearing conditions. Eric suffers from Hyperacusis- an overdeveloped sense of hearing that causes pain when a person is exposed to loud noise to the point where one must where earplugs on a full time basis, and Tinnitus which causes ringing in the ears.

Not one to let his hearing loss sideline his love of playing loud music, he began teaching lessons. Professor "Sludge" prefers to teach on electric guitar because the amp off it is actually quieter than acoustic, which has a built-in sound box. He now teaches approximately 50 students in private lessons and holds an annual student concert where students play in front of an audience and show off what they learn throughout the year. Sludge admits that the concert also gives him a chance to "be a ham on stage". He is an example to all of his students of what can happen to rockers who neglect their hearing, and he delivers his sermon to everyone he instructs. As Sludge puts it, "The rap is, don't end up like your professor". Amen.


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