A drive down Siskiyou Boulevard several summers ago provided Ashland musician Doug Fergus inspiration for not only a song, but eventually the name of his band as well.
"We have the song called 'Naked In Public' which I wrote after seeing a guy about three or four summers ago walking in town with just a backpack and shoes," said Fergus. "I saw him walking in front of Safeway and I just honked and waved, like, 'I can't believe that!' "
Naked In Public is a metaphor for exposing your inner self to the world with no sense of shame or remorse, Fergus said. The playful concept fits perfectly the band's catchy hooks, attention-grabbing lyrics and Fergus' unorthodox vocal style.
Fergus is joined by Mark Arinsberg on cajon and high-hat, and Joe Diehl on guitar.
Naked In Public will perform at 9 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 26, at Paddy Brannan's Irish Pub, 23 S. Second St, Ashland.
"We played one gig and we had five people in the band and it was like too loud and too much going on," said Fergus. "So we stripped it down, and I think Mark said, 'Well, it's so super obvious what the name of the band should be.' He's the one that connected the not being afraid to expose your vision and yourself in public, not literally private parts in public."
The trio was born out of a demo tape that Fergus recorded when he first arrived in Ashland about 10 years ago. Fergus had written quite a few songs and wanted to document them. During the recording process, the engineer called in another new arrival to Ashland to play guitar on the tracks.
"Doug and I met and kind of hashed out some of this material and recorded it," said Diehl.
"Then Joe went on his musical professional way, and I kind of withdrew into my heating and air-conditioning world and got caught up in doing that," said Fergus.
"Well it was warm," Diehl said.
"Especially in the winter," said Arinsberg.
What really solidified the band came about through a synchronistic meeting at Bonsai Teriyaki in Ashland. As Fergus and Arinsberg were eating lunch and talking about recording more songs for a demo, a woman eating in the booth behind them approached the two men as she got up to leave.
"She put her business card on the table and said if we ever wanted to do any recording to give her a call," said Fergus.
"She said she'd never heard anyone in Ashland talk about music the way we were talking about music," said Arinsberg, "like really talking about the production of music. Even though I'm sure it's a conversation happening every five seconds in town."
"She looked just like someone's mom and the card said Radiostar Studios, and I thought 'what a dumb name,' I bet that's in someone's bedroom or converted garage," said Fergus.
The woman turned out to be Sylvia Massey, who has recorded more than 20 gold and platinum records in her recording studio in Weed, Calif. Fergus, Arinsberg and Diehl were delighted to find out that Massey had recorded Aerosmith, Tool, Tom Petty, Prince, System of a Down and Powerman 5000, just to name a few.
"To record there is very expensive because of who she is, her reputation and the facility," said Fergus. "Because I have my own heating and air-conditioning business, she said she had tons of work for us to do and we just traded labor. I only have one big job left to do for her."
"It's one of the nicest studios on the West Coast, bar none," said Diehl.
"We finished it in July, it's out now, and it's on CDbaby.com, itunes.com and amazon.com. Now we're just trying to get people to find it," said Fergus.
Arinsberg shot two music videos for the group that appear on his website, www.markarinsberg.com, and the group also has a YouTube channel for its music.
For the Tidings Café, the trio performed "Does She Have a Sister" in Fergus' living room for a small audience. The song highlights Fergus' hilarious and true-to-life lyrics and the fun energy of the band.
"We're playing locally, just for fun, and we're focusing the marketing on the net," said Fergus. "I'm just taking it one day at a time and using the Internet to promote it. The songs on the CD are from 30 years old to one year old."
Copies of the CD will be available at the performance at Paddy Brannan's Irish Pub or at www.nakedinpublicnow.com.
Reach reporter Mandy Valencia at 541-776-4486 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.