The origins of Broadside Electric are shrouded in mystery. Some say the idea came to Jim in a dream, and he awoke to find the name of the band scrawled on his forehead in green Magic Marker. Others claim that the band was created by spontaneous generation when a pile of disused instruments in a storage room at Haverford reached critical mass; and a few assert that the band was never formed, but has existed since the Big Bang.
Actually, the truth is that Tom and Jim had played together, mostly for fun, while both were juniors at Haverford majoring in music. Tom was playing on campus as a solo folksinger at the time, and Jim was learning to play bass guitar. Tom became involved in a pickup blues band ("Howling Frog and the Hydraulic Victrola," featuring Jacob Ossar on harmonica) and recruited Jim to be its bass player. Subsequently, they played as a duo on a few occasions.
The following year, Tom and Jim recorded a series of oddball demos on a 4-track borrowed from Alan Rose. The material included a few traditional tunes, notably an early version of "New York Girls." In the process, Tom acquired a taste for Jethro Tull from Jim and Jim picked up a taste for Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span from Tom. At some point, a decision was made to try to form a band the following academic year; Tom invited Rachel to join, while Jim put up posters advertising for "violin, viola, flute or something similar" and a drummer. Helene answered the ad, auditioned and was asked to join. (A drummer was auditioned, but eventually it was decided that the band would be limited to a quartet.)
| First Lineup: 1990-1991
| Second Lineup: 1991-1994
| Third Lineup: 1994-1997
| Fourth Lineup: 1997-Present
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