Duffy Ripples Good Vibes

Mia Calusic, Staff Writer

English teacher Tom Duffy’s band, The Ripplers, took the stage for the first time 5 years ago at the Pleasant Hill restaurant Zio Fraedo. On September 25 The Ripplers played their 50th show at The Round Up Saloon in Lafayette.

Duffy said that the experience was “incredibly fun.”

“It usually takes us a while to get it together, but that night everything felt tight, fun, and confident from the start,” Duffy explained.

Duffy is an original member of the band, which was founded in August 2010. Duffy plays guitar and sings many of the band’s set list favorites. They are called The Ripplers because “we hope to send ‘ripples’ of positive energy and excitement out into the world,” said Duffy.

The 8 piece rock and roll cover band is made up of neighborhood friends. It is composed of 3 guitarists, a drummer, bass player, keyboardist, harmonica player, and conga player. Most members are friends of Duffy’s from Pleasant Hill and Danville. Campolindo parent Garrett Hinds plays the keyboards and sings.

The Ripplers try to practice together once a week and play a live gig once a month. They have played in a variety of locations, including packed dance floors, restaurants and bars, and even at Duffy’s niece’s wedding.

Duffy said his extra-curricular passion is therapeutic and unifying. He loves practicing and performing with his band.

Teachers Ken Ingersoll and Ed Willy taught Duffy how to play guitar. Later, Duffy and his friends noticed they liked the same music, so they started the band.

“Mr. Duffy is really excited to get out there and perform for the public,” said Ingersoll.

Ingersoll has served as a substitute for various members of the band during their shows. “It’s been fun hanging out with The Ripplers,” he said.

One of Duffy’s favorite moments as part of The Ripplers was when former Metallica bassist Jason Newstead practiced with the band at Ingersoll’s house.

Duffy’s love for music started when he was 5 or 6 years old, but he hadn’t thought about making music until 8 years ago, when he bought his 1st guitar. After many years of hard work, Duffy has learned about 125 songs on the guitar.

Duffy has been inspired by Ingersoll and Willy, as well as other Campolindo teachers like Don Dupont, Caron Brownlee, Roxanna Jackman, Nick Schoen, Jessica Hoffshneider and Johnny Johnson, all of whom play at least one instrument.

Duffy also gives credit to his family and friends, and more recently, a growing fan base. “My older sister, Colleen, has always been the biggest supporter of the band. At first, the support was all from family and close friends. Then we started improving, and suddenly developed some real fans. Now it’s so fun to make music with and for friends…and even strangers who find the groove with us. When it’s going well, it’s the best feeling in the world!” Duffy explained.