Rocking Special Education with a New Lineup

If I was to title the last year of my work in music, I would probably have to call it something to the effect of “new beginnings.” In keeping with this theme, I played my first high school dance this weekend with my new band, Wiley Humbug and the Spiderbeats. Once a year students from Moscow High School’s Buddy Club put on a semi-formal dance in honor of students with special needs. The club decorates the venue and provides rides for students who need help with transportation. They also set up classrooms as dressing rooms with hair accessories and make up. The dance is free and all high schoolers are welcome to come. This year, I was honored to be asked to play.

Also in the theme of new beginnings, I’ve been playing with a new group. I met Tim and Ron a few years ago during the release of my second solo album, From Mercury to Cupid. At that time they were both playing with a group called The BB Gun Incident, and we had both recorded our albums with songwriter and sound engineer Bart Budwig. During a recording session, Bart played some of my material for BB Gun, they liked what they heard, and because the timing was right we decided that it would be a good idea to have a joint album-release party. After the CD release party, we kept in touch on and off, mostly via Facebook. Ron and I would exchange messages here and there about books and songwriting.

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The principal walked past as we were posing in front of the lockers. I tried to get him in the photo with us, but no luck. I think we looked too scandalous. Left to right: Tim Gregory, Jeremiah “Wiley Humbug” Akin, and Ron Rasco

Eventually, fate kind of brought us back together. A few months after the album release, I got a job with Moscow School District as a paraprofessional. Our classroom was a little shorthanded and Ron’s wife was looking for a job, so I recommended her to my boss and soon after she was hired. The next year, Tim was hired to teach drawing in the classroom across the hall.

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Pre-show soundcheck and rehearsal

As far as the first jam session, I don’t totally remember how that happened. I just remember that I ended up at Tim’s one Saturday afternoon, we chatted a bit, played some music, and he invited me to jam with his band Genius in Remission. I showed up for the second session before the singer arrived, so the group (including Ron on bass) asked to play some of my songs and covers. A few days later, I got a message from Tim saying that his wife liked our sound and wanted us to play her birthday party.

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Posing in the floodlights

After a few practices, we realized we had a pretty cool thing going and started booking a shows. Right now we’re booked through April with a gig pending in May, and so far we’ve gotten to play with a few really great bands. I’m not sure what will happen in the summer and the fall, but we had a wonderful time on Saturday, and the students of Moscow High School made up one of the best crowds I’ve ever seen. Thanks so much for all of the love and the dancing! For a little clip of what you missed, check out the video on YouTube.

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My girlfriend captured a beautiful shot of my other favorite girl, Jasmine, my customized Fender strat

 

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Showtime! Floodlights in my eyes!

 

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Great show! Had an excellent time. Glad you invited us, but can we go home now?

Photos by Olga Kozhar

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