About The Pax Rats

 
 

Although none of the ‘Rats’ are natives to Southern Maryland, they have planted roots here and lived in the area for many years.  Jay and Tom started playing together in a band comprised of folks that worked at the Manned Flight Simulator at NAS Patuxent River in 1988.  This band played mainly rock and blues and performed almost exclusively at the office Christmas Party with Jay on bass and Tom on drums and keyboards. 


In 1995, Tom founded the Southern Maryland Swing Band, a big band playing the jazz and swing tunes of the 1920s, 30s, and 40s.  Tom asked Jay to join the Swing Band to lead the trombone section shortly after.


In about 2005, in a never-ending search for vocalists for the Swing Band, Tom found Chip who provided a strong male vocal presence for the band.  Then in 2008, after leading, rehearsing and managing the Swing Band for 13 years, Tom left - he was burned out.  The stress and strain of coordinating an all-volunteer big band had taken the fun out of performing.


In late 2008, Chip called Tom to see if he would be interested in forming a combo to perform jazz standards, mainly Sinatra charts - very low key, no pressure.  Once Chip mentioned that he would handle the management of the group, Tom was in.  They rehearsed in January 2009 and quickly realized that a two-man group wouldn’t create the sound they were hoping for.  Tom asked Jay to bring his jazz and blues bass and arranging expertise to the group and Chip contacted a friend of his, Bob (whom Tom knew professionally from his early days at Pax River), to play drums.  The Pax Rats were born.  They premiered at Corbels Restaurant in Leonardtown, Maryland, on April 8, 2009, and performed there five more times during 2009.


As 2010 rolled in, the Rats felt that the band’s sound needed to be rounded-out and thickened a little.   Tom contacted Troy, who he knew professionally, and the rest, as they say, is history...


Well until 2017 when Bob retired, built a home in North Carolina, realized the commute would be too much, and retired from The Pax Rats.


Finding a drummer to replace Bob was no easy task, but Tom asked a friend that he had played orchestral percussion with in the COSMIC Orchestra and struck gold!  Kevin Stevens sat in on a rehearsal and before the end of the first tune, Tom, Chip, Troy and Jay knew they had found the newest Rat!  They rehearsed through the late Spring and early Summer of 2017 and premiered the new look in August 2017 at Taphouse 1637.

Vocals:  Chip Guffey

Piano:  Tom Anderson

Guitar:  Troy Abbott

Bass:  Jay Nichols

Drums:  Kevin Stevens

A little history...