THE JOHNNY'S DANCE BAND STORY 2013 - 2014
Ron Ward, Courtney Colletti, Arlyn Wolters, Ray Cardona, Tony Juliano. Photo © 2013 by Franco Prezio. Logo by Todd Beck & Dennis Raphael
JOHNNY’S DANCE BAND had an exciting first half of 2013. They were overwhelmed by the outpouring of support. The original band members had no idea there were still so many fans out there. From the very beginning, friends and followers packed every venue in which they appeared. JDB began selling out one show after another - in advance. The group was very, very surprised at this, to say the least.
The positive intensity of the audience response was another thing that took the band off guard. “From the beginning, it felt like we were right back on top,” says Tony, one of the group’s co-leaders. Courtney, his partner, finishes the thought, “What he means is that people in the crowd were not only applauding, they were cheering very loudly, and sometimes even screaming.” These veteran rockers were not expecting such reaction.
This recent reincarnation of JOHNNY’S DANCE BAND kicked off with an unrehearsed performance on a rainy Tuesday night. It was one of those Jams at The Legendary DOBBS on South Street in Philadelphia. This was a block from the former Grendel’s Lair, where JDB was the house band in the mid-seventies. During much of that decade, (having started in 1969) this band was the biggest local draw in the Philadelphia tri-state area. On January 15, they proved they still had it. With no advertising, they packed the house at DOBBS. Playing only 6 of their fans’ beloved favorite tunes, they totally rocked the house as well. The success of the event was so powerful that it motivated the musicians to pursue their passion one more time. JOHNNY’S DANCE BAND WAS BACK.
After that, the band was invited by dear friend Gene Shay to do a rare full hour live, on his Sunday night radio program, on WXPN 88.5 fm (Univ. of PA, Phila.). On February 10, “The Folk Show” experienced enthusiastic phone response from throughout the USA - wherever old JDB fans have transplanted themselves. A buzz was on the street.
The group's popularity stems from their "Rock 'n Roll Vaudeville" style. Tony explains, "Each song focuses on a different band member, most of whom are strong songwriters. A satirical attitude prevails. It started out as: “Songs Of Love, Food & Death”. But ultimately, nothing was spared from our humorous barbs: sex, political leaders, ethnicities, organized religion, musical styles, popular artists, the music business, and lots more." The band members act out many numbers, as characters, sometimes in costume, and often punctuated by jokes, stories and “quasi-choreography”.
Gene Shay states, “JOHNNY’S DANCE BAND has always been enormously entertaining, all the while playing some outstanding songs, in so many genres! Their music and show is as unique and original as anything you're ever likely to witness.”
LOS HERMANOS FENDEROSOS -Tony Juliano on Fender Telecaster. Courtney Colletti on Fender Stratocaster. Ron Ward on Fender Jazz Bass.
The Bash At The Flash ~ 12/20/13. Photo © 2013 John Plecenik
The new band’s first full night of entertainment was a “Gene Shay Presents” event at JAMEY’S HOUSE OF MUSIC in Philly, on April 5th. It sold out in advance to an adoring crowd. This unique mini-cabaret theater, with superior sound, provided a live recording of the show. JDB then produced an excellent Live CD (EP) from the recordings, entitled: “SOME OF US CRAZY” including 7 original JDB songs.
A week after JAMEY’S, JDB returned to their Bucks County, PA roots, with a gig at JOHN & PETER’S in New Hope, April 13. Here, they had developed, found local fame, and put the club on the map in the process. Another advance sell-out resulted in what can only be described as an inspired evening in this intimate setting.
In the words of one veteran follower who attended the show, Steve Myers, “It was unfreakinbelievable! I haven’t had such a great time since I last saw them...like 1977. Anyone who who has seen them now and then would have to say they are every bit as good as they were back in the day...” (excerpted from the band’s face book page ... https://www.facebook.com/JohnnysDanceBand ).
JOHNNY’S DANCE BAND invaded another great club in Bucks Co. on June 15 - PUCK LIVE! in Doylestown, PA. Once again, the band sold out in advance, and put on yet another outstanding performance. It’s notable that each venue the group sold out had approximately 50% more ticket sales than the one before it.
Finally, the band returned triumphantly to Philadelphia on Independence Weekend, playing WORLD CAFE LIVE on July 6. Once again, they packed the house at what has become a premier showcase for entertainers in the city.
Personnel changes then occurred. New percussionist, superb vocalist, and frequent associate, Ray Cardona took over at JDB’s next engagement. On August 10, they played STEEL CITY COFFEE HOUSE in Phoenixville, PA, temporarily without a lady singer. But, that night they tried out female vocalist, Arlyn Wolters, who wowed the crowd at the once again packed club. She was immediately added to the ensemble days later. Finally, Ron Ward joined the band in September on bass and vocals. Ron was a previous member of Tony's band, Reckless Abandon. Courtney is now back where he belongs on lead guitar.
JOHNNY’S DANCE BAND has 5 current members. “The vocal, instrumental, theatrical, comedic and total entertainment potential of our outfit has just increased exponentially,” exclaims Tony. “Arlyn, Ray and Ron bring so much to the table that our talent pool has now become tremendous,” adds Courtney. “We’re all really excited to be working together. And we can’t wait to show everyone - and ourselves - what we can do.”
The original JDB reigned supreme in Philly from the mid-to-late seventies. They had 3 albums on RCA / Windsong, and even set some local records. After WMMR listeners voted them #1 Local Band, they played the station's 9th Birthday at then dirt lots of Penn's Landing. Performing on flatbed trucks, they drew 20,000 loyal fans. They were the only unrecorded, unsigned act to ever play the 19,000 seat Spectrum ... simply due to local popularity. But, what JDB calls “Rock ‘n Roll Vaudeville” was always their strength: original music and satire, with a strong dose of good old-fashioned cabaret schtick. Original members, Tony Juliano and Courtney Colletti look forward to some great shows with their talented new line-up ! They respectfully request that you check them out.
Visit us on face book ... https://www.facebook.com/JohnnysDanceBand