Classic Ted & Tom

February 10, 2000

By KATE COLEMAN / staff writer

photos: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer

Ted & Tom - that's Ted Raschka and Tom King - have been providing classic rock music on the Tri-State live music scene for several years.

Much of their repertoire covers familiar, popular tunes. Their audiences like that.

But the music is live, the performance is live, and their audiences like that, too.

cont. from lifestyle

Rhonda and Dave Snader of Waynesboro, Pa., are "faithful followers" of the duo, catching them almost every week. They've listened for more than five years because they like the sound.

"Anywhere they're at, we pretty much follow," Rhonda Snader says. Sometimes her mother and sister join them and will dance to Ted & Tom's tunes. "I just listen," Rhonda Snader says.


Dave Snader does a bit more, often sitting in with his guitar to play with Raschka and King.

It's the duo's versatility that draws him. He describes them as "solid," and adds that a two-man band has to be solid.

He praises King's guitar playing: "He's very present, but he's not overdone."

Raschka and King crossed paths in the local band Northern Lights in 1981. Raschka was leaving as King came in. They first played together as a duo in 1990. Raschka had a solo gig Monday nights at Herbie's, a little place on East Washington Street in Hagerstown. King was working at the television station. One night he wandered across the street and played. "I didn't even bring a guitar," he says. He used Raschka's. Raschka played keyboard.

King, 48, grew up in Ridley Park, Pa., near Philadelphia. He came to the Tri-State area more than 20 years ago to work for Fairchild, moved to Florida for a while but came back and now lives in Greencastle, Pa. He works part time at Carpenter's World of Music.

Raschka, 36, came to Hagerstown with his parents when he was 3 years old. He began studying classical piano when he was 11 and performed in church and student recitals. He bought his first guitar when he was 16. He was going to Ocean City a lot, and it was kind of a drag bringing a piano, he jokes. He was performing for a living by age 18 and hasn't had a day job in 19 years. He has to pay his own health insurance and sometimes misses the security of employer benefits, but when he sits down at his computer and crunches the numbers, it always comes out OK.

"Every year, it just evens out," he says.

"I'm doing what I like to do. It's almost like what I should do or have to do," Raschka adds.

Raschka recorded an album of original songs, "Running From the Storm" in 1990. King provided acoustic and electric guitar support on two of the songs.

"Seven Hundred Miles," Raschka's new collection, will be celebrated tonight at 8 at Barracuda Surf Bar. He wrote all but one of the songs.

The album's title song is telling. Raschka wrote of driving on a cold Tennessee night: "And all my thoughts are of home with the ones that I've known."

Raschka tried Nashville, Tenn., briefly in 1993. "It's so amazing to go to a writer's night," he said. "It's inspiring," he adds.

But it's also really hard, really competitive. King compares trying to make it in "Music City" with going to Washington, D.C., to become president of the United States.

Although they've played in other regions, the duo finds more than enough opportunity for their musical fulfillment right here. Ted & Tom have a regular Friday night gig at Crazyhorse Steakhouse and Saloon and the Sunday evening spot at Barracuda Surf Bar. They also play with The Push, the band that is Ted & Tom plus Ed Kight on bass and Mike Holtzman on drums. They play some of the same songs, but the band is a little more rock-oriented, Raschka says.

Ted & Tom also play at private parties, and yes, the duo plays weddings. Although they admit to doing the chicken song at one wedding, despite occasional requests, they never have played the "Macarena" or "Electric Slide."

"I don't know how we've come out unscathed," King chuckles.

Audiences seem to like the familiar classic rock covers the duo plays, but they don't mind hearing an original tune now and then. It keeps it interesting, Raschka says.

Mary Sellek of Chambersburg, Pa., agrees. She and her husband, Mark, discovered Raschka as a solo act and have been catching the duo for about 2 1/2 years.

"Most Fridays we're sitting down there listening to them," she says.

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