The power of two

The Fierce Invalids appreciate music scene

Andy Pauquette, standing, and Kevin Jackson. photography by Theresa Thompson

Andy Pauquette, standing, and Kevin Jackson. photography by Theresa Thompson

Guitarist Andy Pauquette is fond of saying there are more bands in Fort Wayne than there are musicians. His reasoning is sound: Most area musicians are in two, three or even more bands at any given time. When musicians meet, something new and different could happen.

For Pauquette and Kevin Jackson, their meeting at the now departed Hot Spot did prove to be fortuitous. Becoming a blues duo, The Fierce Invalids, wasn’t exactly on their radar at that time. In fact, playing the blues wasn’t necessarily the game plan either.

“I was always a utility musician, playing whatever needed to be played at the time,” Pauquette said. “I reached a point after a while that I was burned out and packed away the guitar and barely ever took it out of its case.”

Jackson was playing mostly country and rockabilly when he found himself with a group of other musicians who were gathering at Pauquette’s home. Around this time, Pauquette was also starting to learn about the blues and had decided to take a different approach to that education.

“I started by listening to the Delta blues, the acoustic stuff that was around before it migrated north to Chicago. Things like Charlie Patton and Robert Johnson, and I became fascinated by that style of music. A lot of people start with modern blues and move backwards. I decided to start back at the beginning and move forward.”

Pauquette and Jackson decided to form a blues duo, an outlet for their growing interest in the form. Pauquette handles vocals and guitar while Jackson provides harmonica and some other instruments outside the box. One of his instruments is, well, a box.

“I think Andy must have originally had the idea for the cardboard box because by the time he gave it to me, it already had a wooden board stapled to it. Playing that box and the harmonica at the same time has really taught me a new level of coordination.”

As The Fierce Invalids, both Pauquette and Jackson are appreciative of the local music community and the audiences supporting it.

“We’re in a music scene surrounded by people much younger than we are, but they’ve been very open to our music,” Jackson said. “Theses audiences are mostly my nephew’s age, and they really enjoy something raw. We’ve been musicians for years so it surprised me what a warm reception we’ve gotten from audiences that age.”

“I came here from Michigan,” Pauquette said. “And up there if you put a band together, you have to be prepared to play a lot of Bob Seger and Ted Nugent. But the Fort Wayne music scene gives us a lot of opportunities and has a lot of open minds.”

The Fierce Invalids released their first CD in 2016, an effort they said was relatively easy. Given their unique musical chemistry and mutual respect, they found the process a comfortable one which provides hope for fans who look forward to another release.

“You can now record without a management company or a record label, which gives you more control over what you do. Pauquette said. “Kevin and I are both in other bands and other bands together, but the great thing about just the two of us is that we each have our space, and we give each other complete control over that space.”

First appeared in the March 2017 issue of Fort Wayne Magazine.

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