Jam band the Big Wu formed on the campus of St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN in 1992 around the nucleus of singer/guitarist Chris Castino, guitarist Jason Fladager and drummer Terry VanDeWalker. Channeling a wide range of influences including bluegrass, rock, jazz, psychedelia and R&B, the group built a strong local following thanks to a rigorous live schedule, adding bassist Andy Miller in 1995 and keyboardist Al Oikari a year later. In early 1996 the Big Wu also landed their first weekly gig at Minneapolis' Terminal Bar, solidifying their fanbase and scoring a spot on the following year's H.O.R.D.E. Festival. Their debut album Tracking Buffalo Through the Bathtub appeared that autumn, and was reissued by the Big Wu's new label Phoenix Rising in 1999. Folktales followed a year later.
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