A band called Twiddle

Editor’s note: This is a two-part series on the birth of CSC-based jam band, Twiddle. Part II will run in the Nov. 14 edition.
For the members, Twiddle isn’t a band, but rather a way of life.

From late night shows and out-of-state tours, being abandoned in Brooklyn, surviving bats and wasps, and getting to ride around in a professional tour bus, it appears scheduling life around Twiddle is the main priority, and certainly seems to have been worth the ride.

As music adds color to the listener’s life, the story of Twiddle adds color to Castleton’s history. Someday, Castleton students may recant to their grandchildren stories of the two boys initially known for the duck that followed them around campus.

From the first notes to their current projects, the story of Twiddle invites laughter, respect and pride, and adds flavor to our community.

Where classical and contemporary music meets, stands Twiddle, the musical creation of two incoming Castleton freshman who met on orientation day. Surprisingly it was Ryan Dempsey, a novice of contemporary style, who was a bit cynical. Dempsey, the keyboardist, didn’t take Mihali Savoulidis as a serious musician at first sight.

“A lot of people say they play guitar, but really mean they can play a song or two,” Dempsey said as Savoulidis reminisced about the questions hurled at him during this first conversation.

“Do you like know chords man?” he recalled asking Savoulidis as the two looked at each other with teasing expressions.

Twiddle first began it’s evolution at the apartment of buddy Tom Denison. Denison’s apartment (which he shared with a few friends) was known as “The Bungalow.”

According to Pat Metro, who at that time called The Bungalow’s couch his bedroom, “Meebs [Savoulidis] and Dempsey were just chillin’ and asked, can we set up a drum kit? I was like, just move the TV man.”

Denison allowed them to use The Bungalow for practice, and even to hold try-outs for bass and guitar players.

“He nurtured us from the womb” Savoulidis said of Denison in his first serious tone of the night. “Like a brother and a father.”

Twiddle did not come across their original line-up during those try-outs at the Bungalow however, but Savoulidis did come across a talented bass player named Billy Comstock during Castleton’s production of Hairspray. Comstock, a senior at Rutland High School, seemed to fit in immediately, and gave them the name of a fellow senior and accomplished drummer, Brook Jordon.

Together they formed the family of Twiddle. When describing these early days Pat “the man on the couch” Metro shared much insight into this newly formed family.

“They used to play on Tuesday nights, just jam out on Tuesday nights, get 100+ people in there.The best [twiddle] shows I have been to have been at their parties. For a while they were our “house band” then they got their own house,” he said.

The current Twiddle house in Hubbardton is a place that naturally lends itself to artistic inspiration. The walls are decorated in a way that tells the story of the band, from the tie-dye Jimi Hendrix hanging above the couch, to the LUVADUCK sign over the door, a tribute to the late Gatsby, who followed Dempsey and Savoulidis around campus and became the band’s first mascot.

The house also has a drum kit set up, so if the mood strikes, they band can “jam out” together at anytime.

Since 2005, Twiddle has continued with their musical growth by going on a several show tour in Maine in a professional tour bus, and playing all over New England with such famous acts as Apollo Sunshine, Addison Grove Project and the Gin Blossoms.

Their Long Island show was a particularly memorable one. After their set they agreed to play designated driver for an intoxicated friend, despite their fatigue. Dempsey was particularly tired and fell soundly asleep during the drive. As the band began to bully Dempsey in his sleep, he awoke and set forth the first rule of Twiddle:

“No one is officially allowed to f**k with me in my sleep for the rest of the history of the band,” he told his mates. The buddy they were to drop off, had some initial problems remembering his address so they accidentally parked three blocks away from his apartment. Being good Samaritans, the band, minus the sleeping Dempsey whom they locked in the truck, walked their friend the three blocks home, to make sure he made it ok. Coming inside for just a moment, the band members managed to all accidentally fall asleep.

Dempsey too slept soundly, until something stirred him awake. Curious as to his friends’ whereabouts he opened the door to get out of the truck, and somehow set off the car alarm.

Standing in stocking feet, in an unpleasant part of Brooklyn, he took the wrath of angry neighbors who didn’t want to hear a car alarm at 6 a.m. some of whom undoubtedly thought he was in fact trying to break into the van.

Check out the Nov. 14 edition for the conclusion of this story detailing the band’s change in membership, increased popularity and life in the Twiddle house.

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