2019 INDUCTEES >> AKASHA
Members: Martin Fauchier, Bill Watts, Billy Davis, Gary Darling, Don Timmons, Tim Burkhart, Bruce Croy, David "Wags" Wagner
Based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Akasha was a regional touring band in the early 1980s. The core members had been together in the late ‘70s in another group called Madness. With a couple of personnel changes, a refreshed music focus, a full-time road commitment, and crew, Akasha launched in 1980 and toured consistently until the end of 1983.
The group consisted of Martin Fauchier (keyboards and vocals), Bill Watts (guitar and vocals), Billy Davis (sax and vocals), Gary Darling (bass and vocals), and Don Timmons (drums). Akasha traveled in a motor home with a 24-foot box truck in tow. Their crew consisted of Tim Burkhart (sound engineer), Bruce Croy (lighting tech), and David “Wags” Wagner (lightning tech).
Akasha was a party band, and their fans came to dance! The group was known for its unique covers and a spattering of original music. The band played virtually every college campus in the Midwest and experienced many of the most amazing ballrooms in five states before many were torn down in the late ‘80s. Their top nightclub performance venues include: MF Otooles and Dillon’s in Cedar Rapids; Maxwell’s and Crow’s Nest in Iowa City; Stage West in Davenport; So’s Your Mother and Easy Street in Des Moines; The Cabooze, Grandmas Bs, and Boyd’s On the River in Minneapolis; and Granddaddy’s in Ames. Akasha also toured Florida several times, playing clubs in Sarasota, Jacksonville, Fort Lauderdale, Stuart, and Melbourne.
The band won notable accolades such as “The Battle of the Bands” in 1981 sponsored by KQCR at the Five Seasons Center (now the US Cell Center) in Cedar Rapids. Thirty-nine local bands entered, and Akasha won the event with over 4,000 people in attendance. Later that year, the group opened for Chicago as part of the prize package. During their career, Akasha opened for many other headliners including The Alarm, Albert Collins, Average White Band, Black Oak Arkansas, The Dirt Band, Edgar Winter, and Johnny Winter.
In 1982 Akasha would go on to record an album, Thin Wire Balance, under the supervision of producer Jim McCarthy.
In 1984, band members Martin Fauchier, Bill Watts and Gary Darling formed The Verandas which would tour more extensively and focus more on original music until the Verandas disbanded in 1988.