In the beginning, the earth was a formless wasteland, and darkness covered the abyss, while a mighty wind swept over the waters. Then God said, Let there be Caswell King. He saw that it was good.
Well, more or less, thats how the story goes. In the fall of 99, Jesse Griffith (guitar/vocals), Dave Merks (bass), and Olivier Jarda (drums) decided to get together and explore their collective musical imagination. Under a variety of names (Kudzo, Funkehfair, Caswell King, etc.), the boys played a handful of MHS coffee houses, as well as an unforgettable concert at Shediac Cape Elementary School. Over the summer of 2000, they were joined by piano man Peter Gorman. A few weeks into the school year, however, Caswell King became troubled with personal and creative differences.
Still intent on honing the sound they were beginning to create, Jesse and Pete decided to recruit drummer Mark McArdle, and form Jesse and the Rippers (yes, named after the band from Full House). They played a few coffeehouses and an assembly over the course of the year. However, with Mark having graduated and moving on to UNB, Jesse and Pete soon got Olivier- who was excelling at the electric bass after having picked it up again for the first time since middle school- back in business.
Nonetheless, they were still short a drummer. During the summer of 2001, while attending Acadia Jazz Camp, Pete and Jesse came across someone they knew immediately could fill that vacancy- Shane Bannister. They immediately got to jamming and found in each other a mutual musical understanding they had never known before. Soon after, they were christened Ted Neeley Beard. The name stuck and their mutual vow of musical fealty was sealed. With their tight jams and even tighter facial hair, they've been impressing people every since. But who are they, really?...
Shane Bannister, a Grade 12 student at Moncton High School, bangs those skins harder than just about anyone. Some say he has gotten his acute technique and quick reflexes from his years as a minor hockey goaltender. Shanedogg draws from a variety of styles and influences, from Tower of Power to the Flecktones, Denis Chambers to Billy Martin.
moving on from Moncton High to King's next year, is known as TNB's Chairman of the Boards. Gorman has played the piano since the age of 5 and is plenty comfortable behind his keys (and is known to pull out some ill rhymes every now and then). Pete is a huge Beatles fan, but stylistically, takes after Thelonious Monk, Page McConnell, John Medeski, and even Debussy. He also has the most consistent beard in the group.
now an MHS grad continuing on in Music at St. F.X., hails from the remote village of Grande Digue. And it is in this isolation that Jessmo has honed his guitar skills for many years. He also takes on the roles of singer and chief songwriter for TNB. Jesse is known to play in one style, and be able to turn things around completely in a matter of seconds. Whether riding smooth jazz scales, funkin' things up with his wah pedal, or crankin' up the reverb for a rock out, he takes after John Scofield, Trey Anastasio, Chris Colepaugh, and Miles Davis.
Olivier Jarda , a graduate of Moncton High School soon attending St. Mary's, has become a chameleon in terms of his instrument of choice- from sax, to drums, to guitar, to ukulele, Oli's finally settled on bass (despite the bluegrass jam he started on harmonica at the Sinkin Dory Festival). His ever-slapping style, taken from Vic Wooten and Mike MacDougall (and maybe even Dave Merks), is what drives the Beard's funk train.