Jamming out

Ferris professors do more than just teach

Putting together bands to jam at local events isn’t only a student pastime.

The Key West Permafrost Blues Band is a local band that features two of Ferris’ own professors. Currently teaching courses in American Popular Music, Music Appreciation, and Music in Film, “Hot Rod” Harry Dempsey plays bass, keyboards and is the lead vocalist for the blues band.

The fun isn’t only restricted to the music professors. Dr. Randall Groves teaches an array of classes at Ferris State, including ethics, philosophy, religion and humanities. “Rockin’” Randy Groves gets his groove on as lead guitarist. The rest of the octet is filled out with background vocals, a drummer and horn section. The Blues Band was originally started seven years ago by Dempsey and Groves after playing together in the jazz band Elbow Room.

The band has played in many local venues including The Gate, Blue Lake Tavern, Crankers, Schubergs, the Bandshell and Pocket Park.

“My favorite place to play by far is the Blue Lake Tavern,” Groves said. “That place can handle it. It has a very good band feel there.”

Known for their Blues Brothers and Jimmy Buffett feel, the band popular covers including Buffett’s “Margaritaville,” Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep,” and the soft-covered anthem “Sweet Home Chicago.”