April 22, 2002
You expect that the interests of languages and literature professors would include Byzantine studies, Greek prose of the Hellenistic Period or Arthurian poems.
But Creedence Clearwater Revival? The incongruity of it explains, in part, the name chosen by the group: The Oxymorons.
Bearing the descriptive tagline, "The Impecunious Garage Band," the group consists of Dr. Tim Winters (drums), Dr. Mickey Wadia (keyboard, guitar, vocals), Dr. Bill Carrasco ( rhythm guitar) and Prof. Barry Kitterman (lead and backup vocals) and Chuck Emery (bass and guitar), husband of languages and literature's Dr. Taylor Emery. Debbie Denton, marketing and public relations, provides backup vocals. Lynn Yarbrough, student life, is a guest artist.
Austin Peay faculty and staff can sample the group's play list at a free concert this Thursday night. The Oxymorons will officially debut at Java City in the Morgan University Center on April 25. The group will take the stage at 8 p.m. and jam till 10, or "as long as the audience is having fun," says Wadia.
It was Wadia who set the Oxymoronic ball in motion. "It happened at a departmental party at Tim Winters house last September," he says. "The party was breaking up, and I saw the Winters' piano. The poor lonely piano. I asked if I could jive. Tim said, 'You play?' I sat down and started playing 'Crocodile Rock.'
"Winters' drum set was sitting in the corner, so he joined in. Chuck Emery borrowed a guitar. We played for the five or six people still there. They seemed to like it."
Carrasco, who teaches French in the department, heard about the musical end to the party, said, "Hey, I play guitar!" and voila! A band was born.
Carrasco, 33, was born a bit too late to experience the "British pop invasion" of the Beatles firsthand. Nevertheless, he says the Fab Four did play a role in launching his interest in the guitar at the age of 14. "My mother was a Beatle maniac."
Beatle member John Lennon was one of his musical idols, as was Bob Marley. "They were great songwriters, poets, musicians and freedom fighters," he says.
Wadia has played guitar since the eighth grade. By the time he reached college, he was taking part in competitions.
Winters says he was "11 or 12" when he started playing drums. "Two of my friends and I formed a band-"the things"-and played at a few dances. I grew up playing the music we still play. Well, some would say I still haven't grown up," he says, meandering.
What precipitated his musical interest? "It was so long ago, I can't remember," he says. "I think it was listening to the thump, thump, thump of dinosaurs' feet through the desert."
He has a perfect recollection of how he got his first drum set though. "To convince my parents I was serious about drums, I went to the library and wrote a research paper about drums and drumming. It worked. They bought me my first set: wooden shells, black, Gretsch, calfskin heads."
Kitterman says he's been singing "forever." His gigs ran the gamut. "A lot of revivals. A lot of bars. Once at a 1971 International Kiwanis convention," he says. Nowadays he has to read the lyrics though. "I lost of lot of brain cells when these songs first came out."
Wadia says the allure musicians have to the opposite sex may have played a role is his taking up the guitar. "Everybody needs a girlfriend," he says with a smile, though he won't divulge if wiggling around on stage with a Fender strapped to his back played a role in the capture of his wife, Kay Wadia, an office supervisor in Admissions.
The profs say students find their upcoming Java City debut "amusing," "cool" and "weird." Kitterman says his students have "given up caffeine" in anticipation.
Boomers should love the lineup though. With tunes by The Rolling Stones, Paul Simon, The Beatles, Elton John, The Doors and other 60's and 70's hit makers, the nostalgia-like the coffee-should be free flowing and hot.