Ed Stauff & Mary Ellen Wessels
Balticon 1998

Ed Stauff was born of a poor well-digger's family in the uncharted wastes of the Northeast. At an early age he learned firsthand the meaning of the phrase "cold as a well-digger's ass". Having heard the call of the Muse at an even earlier age, he set out to seek his fortune as a bard, seeking to study with the Elves and thereby become the greatest Harpist the world has ever seen. Unfortunately, the Dwarves found him before he found the Elves. Given the Dwarves' love of things complicated and mechanical, the harp gave way to the pipe organ. Never satisfied and always seeking something bigger, more powerful, and more complicated, Ed turned from the pipe organ to the synthesizer. His inevitable seduction to the Dark Side of the Forte was wrought by the dread Monster In Da Instrument (MIDI). His hope of salvation came many years later in the form of a classical guitar given him by his heartbroken parents. His ears open once more to the Muse that had called him since childhood, Ed embarked on a terrible quest: instead of turning his back on the evils of electronic instruments, he sought to turn them to the service of Good. His soul torn between Wood and Silicon, the battle goes on.

Mary Ellen Wessels is far to dignified to write something as silly as the above biography of her husband and musical partner, Ed Stauff. After all, we owe it to the con-going public to display utmost veracity at all times. Keeping this in mind:

Mary Ellen Wessels (AKA: mew) was not born in a little log cabin. She was born in the wilds of Detroit Michigan to poor (OK, middle class) teacher/parents. There is an unsubstantiated rumor circulating that she came out of the womb singing "I Did It My Way." She did run about the house enthusiastically singing at a very early age (driving her mother crazy). With a desperate sense of self preservation her sister taught her to sing harmonies when mew was quite young. She grew up singing disgustingly wholesome and uplifting songs by Pete Seeger, Peter Paul and Mary, Joan Baez and that ilk. Continuing in this wholesome trend she went all the way through Girl Scouts and even became a counselor. One day her brother introduced her to the evils of rock and roll (the Beatles, Frank Zappa, Pink Floyd, and Jethro Tull) she was lured in. Soon after she discovered Science Fiction Fandom, and consequently Science Fiction. Deciding she liked both, she started going to every con she could get to by car. She joined a filk/rock/folk band with two PhDs (Barry and Sally Childs-Helton) an artist (Gwen Zak) and a professional SF author (Mike Kube-McDowell) and learned to sing "a little more like Janis Joplin". Oh the excitement! Oh the thrills! After extensively touring, (several cons anyway) the band broke up when she had to move to New Hampshire in order to find truly wonderful rocks and a quite adequate musical partner. She decided to marry. (The musician, not the rocks). In September of 1997 she married Ed Stauff and became the proud owner of health insurance! She misses her former musical co-conspirators but fortunately the Black Book Band will reunite for a triumphant comeback tour at OVFF in 1998! Her first professional CD "Current Obsessions" manages to get airplay totally in spite of a lack of self promotion and a disdain for the term "product". Now she lives in New Hampshire, adapting to being an evil step mom tm, performing at local coffeehouses and folk festivals, teaching voice lessons, reading, and continuing her quest for a way to actually make money doing music.

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