I began studying trumpet in 5th grade, and continued to perform throughout high school. In high school I began playing the guitar and became interested in composition. Though mostly self taught, I did begin with some lessons from a neighbor and continued to explore technique through published books. While in graduate school at West Virginia University I formed Rasta Rafiki with several other musicians. Sharing guitar duties with John Schmitt, I contributed significantly to many of the songs that encompassed our 3 releases. Rasta Rafiki combined island styles and Americana for an original mix. In 1991 this endeavor became a steady job for each of us with 3 full length releases and 175 touring dates a year we performed from Massachusetts to Florida and west to Colorado. This intensive schedule gained me valuable experience and insights, performing on bills with virtually every reggae band that was touring America in the 90's. Rafiki went their separate ways in January of 1997, at which point I became a member of The Recipe.
In November 1999, I parted ways with The Recipe, and joined forces with some of Morgantown's most accomplished musicians to form The Tom Batchelor Band. The band consists of myself on guitar and vocals, Glenn Perlroth on keyboards, Jon Vehse on bass, Chris Ramey on guitar and vocals, Glenn Rowsey on steel drums, and Steve Markle on drums. Each member brings many years of experience on their instrument, and extensive knowledge of wide ranging musical styles to the band. The core of what we do consists of reggae and rock covers, as well as originals from these and other genres. We regularly perform songs from diverse performers such as Bob Marley, The Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, Max Romeo, Bad Brains, The Rolling Stones, and Toots and the Maytals. My original compositions range from straight forward rock and funk, to reggae and island romps. Live we enjoy exploring all the realms of improvisational possibilities within the song structures, delving into genres as diverse as jazz, ska, and country. I have begun recording tracks for a solo release, with the help of Kim Monday at Frozen Sound Studios in Morgantown WV. One of these compositions "Steady as a Rock" dates from the final days of Rafiki, and others such as "The Road Behind" and "The Dalai Lama's Last Dream" have been composed in the interim. We hope to get back into the studio soon and record the rest of the tracks for a 2002 release. We've been gigging mostly in West Virginia and the surrounding areas, and aspire to spread the vibe to the entire world. I hope you will come out and check us out live.