WHO ARE THESE GUYS?
photo by Rick Maloof, 1995
Tim Whittemore's pursuit of a college degree has become a hobby by default.
The last decade of university life has helped Tim develop his musical self
and creativity. Results include performance of an opera he wrote and the
recording of the meditational didjiridu album "Ancestral Rain". Tim plays
didjiridu and tuba, composes, builds bizarre musical instruments, and eats
lots of garlic hummus. He has been teaching didjiridu for the past year,
and is currently writing a booklet (eventually a video) on Didjiridu. Tim
graduated from Salisbury State University in May, 1996. Tim is now handling
all business inquiries for Big Blow and the Bushwackers. He can be reached
at via phone at 1-800-380-1128, E-mail at email@example.com, or write to:
Big Blow and the Bushwackers
302 New York Ave.
Salisbury, MD 21801
Ted Porter is chronically infected with the "music bug". After a brief
bout with upright bass, Ted took to the mandolin. He is a third generation
Orangeman-American and devotee of unpopular musics of all kinds. Ted has
written and collected tons of tunes from his travels in Great Britain,
Italy and France. There, he busked the subway stops and markets, and joined
and learned from the street bands and free jazz scare of the '70's. Bushwacking
is Ted's preferred therapy for owning a small business and raising two
children with his wife, Mary Reed, and his dog, Albert.
Don Plehn, screamer/songwriter. Like most artists of ill repute, Don tumbles
through ordinary exploits for inspiration and enlightenment. Watch Don
work out new lyrics on hot pizza boxes or hear Don try a verse or two out
on unsuspecting Real Estate prospects. Hire him today to sell your dirty
old duplex! He's go-o-o-o-o-d!
Mick Haensler started playing drums at age four on a trashcan and stool
with a set of chopsticks. After many unsatisfying years in school and pop-rock
bands, Mick gravitated to DJ'ing dances and hosting open mike nights, where
he met the Bushwackers. Mick the drummer transformed into Mick the player
of unusual instruments like Bodhran, Dumbek, Rub-Board and Percussion Airway.
You might see him driving off Deal Island with blown out windows on his
pickup truck, and his two dogs terrorizing passersby. Don't worry; They're
just on their way to a show with the Bushwackers!
Ted Watkin, Renaissance man, teaches in-line skating, downhill skiing and
music lessons. Ted is self-taught, playing by ear only. (He also plays
electric bass, guitar, piano and drums.) Primarily a blues musician, Ted
Watkin has been with the Cambridge Harmonica Orchestra since '83, and has
been part of several bands including ALL POINTS BULLETIN BAND and as an
original member of THE RED HOT SWINGING JOHNSONS.
Ted and the band mutually parted ways in spring 1998. You can check on
him at his web
HOW DID THIS BAND HAPPEN?
by Muriel C. Begonia
editor, BBATB performance booklet
In the days of Big Blow's conception, they played wind instruments. When
Ted Porter and Don Plehn took a breath on flutes and trombone, Tim Whittemore
kept the music constant by the circular breathing on his PVC pipe didjiridu.
The name Big Blow was inevitable. The sound was a little stinky, so the
trio's original full name was Big Blow and the Armpits.
Now with a core group of 5 musicians (who all bathe on a somewhat
regular basis), Big Blow and the Bushwackers perform on far more than just
wind instruments. With the addition of Mick Haensler on percussion instruments
of all types, and Ted Watkin on anything he can get his hands on or his
air through, Big Blow and the Bushwackers has developed an eclectic yet
distinctive sound infused with energy.
The five members of Big Blow and the Bushwackers each come from
different musical backgrounds. Ted Watkin brings a history of blues styles,
and Tim Whittemore has over a decade of classical training. Don Plehn has
a music education degree and a songwriting itch; Mick Haensler emerges
from the various beats of popular dance; and Ted Porter brings a wealth
of music passed on through the oral tradition. These combined influences
create the sounds of Big Blow and the Bushwackers, whether it's an original
piece or a traditional tune that's been "bushwacked."
The band's sound currently has a jolly Celtic influence and an
inherent sense of humor. You can hear it in the group's recordings, and
experience it in their live shows. "Recording is secondary; Performing
live is what we're really about." explains Don Plehn, Mick Haensler adds,
"The main thing is having a great time...and infecting the audience with
fun!" Tim Whittemore smiles in agreement and adds "Yeah, my favorite thing
is that little kids love our show right next to their parents and grandparents.
That's such a great thing"
Having fun is obvious in the band's performance style and in the
instruments they make themselves. Almost half their instruments are handmade,
self-invented or found things. NPR's Jackie Lydon describes their arsenal
as looking "like a set from Star Wars". Didjiridus made from trash, massed
PVC pipes played with flip-flops, conch shell trumpets, the one-stringed
Juicy-Juice can...how 'bout a Slinky, cap guns, rhythmic juggling...
Audience involvenent was inevitable. Soda can shakers, bamboo
clackers, and even didjiridus got handed out. This grew into actual workshops
in some settings which now include didj instruction, weird instrument design,
and a musical tour of the world.
Lots of people are coming out to witness for themselves this weird
amalgamation of tribal rhythm and traditional music the band calls "aggressive,
involving folk music."
All the above information comes from the Big Blow and the Bushwackers
performance program. It's very cool and it's FREE, so if you can get your
hands on one; Grab it! There's even a band related crossword puzzle in
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modified: Sat March 27 1999