OPEN INTEREST: featuring Josh Wiig and Matt Pendergraff

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By Tess Nelson

 Formed over an old, dismantled gui­tar with a unique sound, Josh Wiig and Matt Pendergraff have been mu­sically entertaining people all across southwest Iowa the past couple years as the group, Open Interest.

“We met over a guitar I put back together and brought back to life. This guitar was in pieces and through a period of time, I restored it. I don’t remem­ber why I showed it to Matt,” Wiig recalled.

“You brought it over and said you were thinking about selling it and that I needed to hear the way it sounds. I strummed it once and it had the best tone; it was fantastic. My wife was in the other room and didn’t say anything until you left,” continued Pendergraff. “She said, ‘If you don’t buy that guitar, I’m just going to go to the bank, get the money, and buy it.’”

Not too long after that, Wiig had been asked to perform at the Red Oak Elks Lodge and spoke to Pendergraff about joining him on stage. That first gig, not only did Pendergraff join Wiig, but so did Phil Lamb on bass.

“We had a month to prepare,” said Wiig. “It was pretty hit and miss but it was a good stepping stone.”

Open Interest mostly plays 90s alternative rock but throws in some coun­try and even some origi­nal music. Since the first performance, Wiig said the music and their perfor­mance has gotten better.

“We started out with a lot of slower songs where now we play a lot more faster paced music,” Wiig said. “After each show I think, ‘It can’t get any bet­ter than this,’ but we do.’”

While this is the first band Wiig has played with, Pendergraff has been in a few other bands, starting back before he could le­gally drive. At the age of 13, his grandparents got him an electric guitar and amplifier for Christmas. He remembered the guitar was cool to look at but that lessons didn’t stir up a pas­sion for music. However, when he and some friends started a junior high band, he really started to enjoy playing the guitar and singing.

From there, Pendergraff was in several other bands, including The Risk with Duane Griffey and Adam Clark when he was 18.

“After high school, I moved to Wyoming and was framing houses in the Cheyenne area and formed a band with a house paint­er I met. I then came back here,” Pendergraff said.

Wiig was also 13 when he first picked up a guitar for the first time.

“My dad got a guitar from his brother and nev­er played it. My art teacher at school gave guitar les­sons and taught me three chords. Everything after that I learned from playing other people’s music,” Wiig said.

Wiig participated in choir in school, while Pen­dergraff took voice lessons for a short period of time. However, they both agree conditioning one’s voice and practicing are keys for on-point vocals and the guitar. Musical perfor­mances for Open Interest last generally three hours. The duo most recently played at the Elks Lodge in Red Oak May 3, with Greg Brower on keyboard and Lamb on bass.

From first learning to play, there were periods of time where life was too heavy or hectic for Wiig or Pendergraff to play but eventually they always find a way back to music. Hav­ing gotten into a groove playing together, Open Interest is wrapping up its first self-titled EP (Extend­ed Play) with the help of native Kirk Webb. The re­cord includes music both men have written separate­ly and jointly, with genres ranging from old-time country to classic rock.

For the next few months, Open Interest can be found performing at sev­eral area hot spots, in­cluding The Hop Yard in Plattsmouth May 17, The Hangout in Malvern May 18, River Market 190 May 24, Sugar Clay Winery during Winestock May 26, the Page-Fremont County Relay For Life June 9 in Es­sex and Red Oak Junction Days June 29 in Red Oak. They also have a You Tube channel, Open Interest Band, it hasn’t been updat­ed in quite some time, and a more up-to-date Face­book page.