Home Music - CDs and Lyrics About - Band Bios Schedule - Upcoming shows Booking - Press

The “Band of Wandering Idiots”

Just some tunes.

The origins of the group come simply from two co-workers (Rich and Tony) who, being new to Irish music, only intended to get to get together to learn some tunes. Rich had just picked up the PennyWhistle and Bodhran, while Tony was re-aiming his guitar skills to align with Irish tunes.

It really wasn’t supposed to stick.

In the early days of learning some tunes, they were asked to play at a local wedding, and realized they didn’t have a name. They had to act fast so they picked “BOWI”, a term they had learned from a friend that they thought was amusing. They figured they would change it after the gig once they could think of something more appropriate. Thirteen years later, they are still trying to think of something more appropriate.


Influenced heavily by the likes of bands like Solas, the Old Blind Dogs, and the Pogues, the group was drawn to the idea of taking traditional music, and adding a slightly contemporary edge to it. Aside from being just fun to do, the intention was to also bring the old to the new and introduce traditional content to a new generation.

The Perfect Fit

Thirteen years. After time, the band learned that while many people can play the music, the right blend of many other elements are necessary for longevity. Over the years it became very clear after several personnel changes that finding that perfect blend of personality and talent was extremely challenging. It was of course a wonderful experience of working all sorts of unique and interesting people, all of whom contributed to the growth and ultimately the sound of the band.

Tony Schuler

Guitar, Vocals

Born and raised in Seattle, Tony always had a love for music. In his early days, he could often be found with headphones on, listening to his parents records or sneaking a few notes in on a neighbor's piano. He got his first guitar at age 14 and could rarely be found without it throughout his teenage years. During this time, he played in several rock bands before discovering a love for playing classical guitar and composition. He always felt this was the path he would follow, but soon found a musical surprise around the corner

In the late '90s, a good friend introduced him to Celtic music. He very quickly fell in love with it and suddenly could rarely be found listening to anything else. In a true act of serendipity, he found that Rich, who occupied the cube next to him at work, had been learning to play the pennywhistle on his daily ferry rides. This led to some parking garage jam sessions that quickly turned into the first incarnation of BOWI.

Tony's influences include the John Doyle, Donogh Hennesy, Mícheál Ó Domhnaill, and Jim Malcolm.

Rich Teachout

Tenor Banjo, Octave Mandolin, Whistle, Vocals

Rich, one of the founding members of BOWI, learned to love music at the knees of his parents who were both professional musicians. He started with piano and trumpet, and moved to percussion and guitar in Jr. High School. He joined his first rock band in the 90’s playing bass guitar.

He crossed into the Celtic genre in 1999 when he moved from his hometown of Detroit to Washington State. He attributes his love of this music to the soundtrack of Titanic (please hold all laughter); he heard the "fluty-thing" and when he learned it was a penny whistle - he bought one and taught himself to play while commuting back and forth to work on the ferry.

Some of Rich's influences include Gaelic Storm, Solas, Jonnie Madden, Sean Ryan - a whistle player he met in Ireland, Seamus Egan (both of them) and The Pogues.

Leah Cupps

Bodhran, Vocals

Leah joined the BOWI lineup in 2008. Leah has been a vocalist since she was able to talk, performing in a series of school music groups throughout her youth. in 2002, she helped form the Thryce Wycked Wenches with two other local ladies. This acapela ensemble performed naughty and bawdy drinking songs at local bars and renaissance faires, which is where Leah met the boys from BOWI

In 2007, the TWW ended and Leah decided to take Bodhran lessons from her friend Rich Teachout. The band asked Leah to join up and lend her vocals to the BOWI sound.

A short list of Leah's musical influences include Karen Casey, Loreena McKennitt, Etta James, Clannad, Leahy, Natalie MacMaster and Solas.