“ Much like the Fugs and Holy Modal Rounders before them, their shows are veritable litmus tests for a crowd's sense of humor. If you've ever answered yes to Frank Zappa's question "Does humor belong in music?" then The Shortbus is for you. They're straight-up nuts when they pick and sing, and if you can get past the lovely freakishness of their stage act, you'll find some real talent backing up the zaniness." - Haymaker Productions (www.haymaker.com)
"Slightly disturbing dada-esque Va.-based string band that’s one part Beefheart freakout and two parts trad jug-band.” - Connect Savannah, Savannah, GA
The Story thus far:
Special Ed and the Shortbus is a bubbling fountain of virtuosic insanity. Seeing them play is like watching a high-speed train about to jump the tracks. Unstoppable energy matched with technical mastery, outlandish humor and fully engaging entertainment, the Shortbus is a sight to behold.
Jug band, Bluegrass, Old-Timey, String Band, Vaudevillian, call it what you will, it's just American music (except when it's Eastern European). The primary objective is to play the music that they would like to hear, using two banjos, two guitars, a mandolin, a fiddle, a trap set, a doghouse bass, many kazoos, and a whole host of other toys.
Special Ed and the Shortbus have been playing music since the Spring of 2002. Based in Richmond, VA, they have traveled far and wide through the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, New England and Midwest. As they've been playing, the music has moved in many directions as our individual characters have come together and morphed each other's playing. They have gained a reputation both near and far for high energy and sometimes bizarre live acts, stream of consciousness stage banter and a tight looseness that only comes from years of performing and practice.
While striving to push traditional music into new and unusual positions, Special Ed and the Shortbus has also gained notoriety as solid executioners of various traditional styles – winning individual instrument competitions at a variety of fiddler’s conventions and performing for folklife festivals and workshops. Whether they’re playing bluegrass, old-time, ragtime, or some bizarre hybrid excavated from the depths of their brains, the ultimate goals of Special Ed & the Shortbus are entertainment and creation.