• West Coast Music

    As the name indicates West Coast Music has its origin on the American West Coast. The music emphasizes melody, harmonies and arrangements, and the vocal and instrumental performances are always with great skill and of high quality. The music is often performed by pop/rock artists from the American West Coast, but is in no way limited to any geografical area.

dakota

Hludzik & Kelly project …..

The strange saga of Dakota begins WAY back in the early 70’s in Northeast Pa., with a band called The Buoys and a million-selling single called “Timothy”, written by Rupert Holmes (“The Pina Colada Song”) supposedly about the local Sheppton mine disaster, during which cannabalism had supposedly occured.  Years later, a European hit, “Give Up Your Guns” made it’s mark and is still played on Euro-radio to this day.

The band was spearheaded by lead singer/guitarist Bill Kelly, and also featured Jerry Hludzik on guitar and vocals. The two eventually broke off from the group to form The Jerry-Kelly Band, using members from popular local bands.  Thanks to the efforts of long-time friend Michael “Dad” Stahl, (who was working for Claire Brothers Audio, doing house mix for the band Chicago) drummer Danny Seraphine and Rufus keyboardist Hawk Wolinski got ahold of a demo tape from the guys, and signed them to Columbia Records to record “Somebody Else’s Dream”, the first and only Jerry-Kelly album.

When it was time for the next Columbia release, the label felt it was time for a name change (I believe one comment was that the name ‘Jerry-Kelly’ sounded too much like the Irish Rovers).  Drummer Gary Driscoll had left the band (and sadly, a few years later was murdered in an apparent case of mistaken identity) and producers Seraphine and Wolinksi had chosen John Robinson (also of Rufus, and quickly becoming one of the top studio session drummers in the world) to play drums for the now-drummerless band.  Rumor has it that John actually was the one who suggested the name Dakota, which Columbia thought was a great name.  So it stuck…

… and Dakota was born.  The first release yielded a regional hit across the country called “If It Takes All Night” (regional hit means that some radio stations played it, and most didn’t).  Michael Stahl was now working with a band called Queen, who were touring to support their album The Game. Michael worked his ’schmooze magic’ once again, and Dakota wound up getting the nod to be the opening act, and a 35-date tour ensued.

The band now consisted of Jerry Hludzik and Bill Kelly on guitars, Bill McHale on bass, Jeff Mitchell on keyboards, Lou Cossa on keys and guitar and new drummer Tony Romano.  All sang but Tony, and the overall vocal sound was quite superb. (Jerry and Brian May became fast friends.)  At the time of the Queen tour, Columbia was feuding with Chicago, and the asociation with Danny Seraphine led to Dakota basically getting NO tour support.  When it was over, it was “back to the bars” to start over.

The crew at the time was Tom Cush /road manager/drum tech, Mike Keating /house mix and Dave “Waddy” Skaff /monitor mix/guitar & keyboard tech. Tom is now a big-time stock broker, Dave is out on tour with various name artists (U2, Steve Miller, etc.) and Mike (who does the main mix for Sting) is now, according to Performance Magazine, “Live Soundman of the Year” for 1996. Bravo Mikey!

Around the same time, in nearby Reading, Pa., Rick Manwiller was in a progressive rock band with guitarist Eric Rudy and drummer Spyro Sbilis, called Steph.  Steph broke up in late 1981, and Rick heard through the grapevine that Northeast Pa. recording band Dakota was auditioning. He joined in early 1982. Less than a year later, he was off to Hollywood with Dakota to record Runaway (MCA-5502), on the MCA/Full Moon label, engineered by Humberto Gatica, and produced by ‘Hummy’ and Danny Seraphine.  Band drummer Tony Romano had left the group prior to the sessions, and Danny gladly pitched in and played drums on the album  (also appearing on the album as players were guitarists Richie Zito and Paul Jackson, bassist Neal Steubenhouse, Rolling Stones sax-man Ernie Watts, Chicago singer Bill Champlin and Toto keyboardist Steve Porcaro).

The bar scene had become quite taxing to the band members, and everyone decided to get away for a while: Jerry and Bill were doing their acoustic duo around NE Pa.; and Rick Manwiller and Bill McHale had skipped town to Bermuda to do their duo routine.  Around the same time, another local band, Synch, was starting to write original music.  Band leader Jimmy Harnen had, along with a friend, written a pop balled called “Where Are You Now?”.  Jimmy was a big fan of Dakota, and wanted Bill and Jerry to get involved with the recording of a Synch EP.  When Bill McHale officially left Dakota, Jerry convinced Jimmy to also hire Rick to help out with the Synch project.  Rick actually wound-up co-producing and arranging “Where Are You Now?”, recorded at The Warehouse in Philadelphia. The song entered the Billboard Hot 100 Chart at 77, but never climbed significantly high enough to make a lot of noise… yet.

When Runaway was set for release in July, 1984, Jerry, Bill and Rick started assembling a band to tour with.  Syracuse drummer Robbie Spagnoletti was chosen, along with Tom Navagh on bass. Tom was later replaced with Robbie’s friend, bassist Jim Fricano.  This was the official 1984-5 lineup, but through the usual bad luck/bad politics syndrome that followed (it has since been re-dubbed “The Dakota Curse”), the Runaway album never got the proper promotion, and it ‘whithered on the vine’.  As did the live tour…

Jerry, Bill and Rick decided they could only afford to maintain the nucleus of the band as a trio, and Rick’s drum machine (affectionately dubbed “Dexter”) was incorporated into the pseudo-4-piece band.  (Dexter went on to become the most used drummer in NE Pa, playing on literally hundreds of studio sessions, by dozens of artists.  He is currently in retirement at Rick’s house, where he is used to “stud” small rhythm boxes).  During this time, Jerry and Rick built closet studios in Rick’s house, a small but high-quality 16-track facility, actually inside a walk-in closet.  They also began to establish themselves as quality songwriting partners, as Bill became involved in non-musical things on his own.

1986 brought about the inevitable, as Dakota played what we thought was it’s final performance at Scranton’s Montage Amphitheatre, in front of roughly 17,000 loyal fans.  Despite 3 acts on the bill, it’s safe to say that most of those people were there to see Dakota- a fact Tommy Conwell unfortunately found out too late (but he WAS a good sport about it).  As a final tribute, the 3 remaining members created a local release, “The Lost Tracks”, several tracks from which got large amounts of airplay on local radio, particularly the pop ballad “All Through the Night”, which spent 7 solid weeks on the top 5 request list.  Almost the entire album was done at (or perhaps in) closet studios.

In 1984, Jimmy Harnen’s song “Where Are You Now?” experienced a major resurgence, and wound up rocketing up the Billboard charts, landing at #10 on the Top 100, and #3 on the Adult Contemporary Chart  (now Jerry, Bill and Rick were the producers of a Top 10 U.S. single.)  Jerry, Rick and Eric from Secret City joined guitarist Jon Lorance (from Synch II) and drummer Joe Bennish to form Jimmy’s backup band, doing a small tour that played Sarasota, Fla. and Springfield, Mass., amongst other venues.

Bill Kelly eventually moved to Nashville, and is currently playing as guitar player/singer with Canadian artist Charlie Major.  Jerry and Rick decided to try something new, and Rick’s old friend, guitarist Eric Rudy (from Steph) was brought in to play and sing, forming the new band, Secret City.   Meanwhile, Jerry and Rick also experimented with writing country music, and once again Michael Stahl was instrumental with connections, and they wound up getting the Oak Ridge Boys to record two of the songs.  This led to them eventually landing a deal as staff writers at MCA Nashville.

The need for a “real” drummer soon became evident, and Robbie Spagnoletti was once again added to the line-up. Eric Rudy eventually left, and was replaced by Jon Lorance, or “JL” (from Synch & Jimmy Harnen).  Within a few months, Robbie had decided to get out of bands for a while, and Dexter manned the drum seat again.  Secret City lasted till around 1992, when Rick Manwiller decided to “go solo”, and headed to ST. Thomas, USVI for the summer, then a 4-month European tour over the winter (sounds backwards, doesn’t it?  Well, it was…  Rick also recorded a solo album, “another fine Mesozoic.” which got several rave reviews in print.)  Jerry and JL put together a country band called Pony Express (with ex-Dakota member Lou Cossa), as well as an acoustic duo.  Later, a rock band was formed called Little Big, with rock singer Josette Miles (Josette is recording a new album for release on Escape Music, LTD, later this year, produced by Jerry and engineered by Rick.)

In March of 1994, Jerry started to get feedback from across Europe that Dakota, despite spotty support in the states over the years, was a well-known and well-respected band there, and he eventually singed a deal with Escape Music to re-release “The Lost Tracks” album (slightly modified) as “Mr.Lucky”(ESM-005). The resulting success of the new release led to Jerry contacting Rick Manwiller to start writing together again, and put together today’s version of the band.  Jerry sings and plays bass, Rick handles keys, Jon Lorance plays guitar, and Jerry’s son Eli plays drums.  The Mr.Lucky album paved the way for The Last Standing Man (a reference to Jerry, the only remaining original member of Dakota), and the CD was released across Europe in September ’97 and in Japan in February ’98.

Jerry, Rick, Jon and Eli have now added the latest CD, Little Victories, to the Dakota legacy, and are currently at Closet Studios’ new digital facility, working on songs for the next eagerly-anticipated release, tentatively scheduled for release sometime later in 2002. No working title yet, stay tuned.

Discography

Long Road Home

Dakota 2015

Tracks: Long Road Home, Push, Secrets, Remember When, Heaven Or Hell, You Threw It All Away, All Through The Night, These Eyes, 1-2-3 Baby Baby, Jenny At Midnight, One From The Heart, Live It Up, Fall Like A Tear & When The Party Is Over.

Musicians on the Long Road Home album: Jerry G. Hludzik, Bill Kelly, Eli Hludizk & Jon Lorance.

Looking Back

AOR Heaven 2011

Tracks: Disc 1: Runaway, Crazy for your love, Brothers in Arms, Last standing man, Mr. Lucky, Prelude to Victories, Little Victories, Holdin your own, Brother to Brother, Hot Nights, When the Rebel comes home, You can’t live without it, Over in a minute, What were you thinking, The Deep & Don’t count me out. Disc 2: If it takes all night, Mama teach, Angry Men, Next in line, Right this minute, Only game in town, Not so much in love, Back to me, Into the night, Heroes, Run with the wind, Hearts on fire, Somebody’s hero, Wish & Go easy on my heart.

Musicians on the Looking Back album: Jerry G. Hludzik, Bill Kelly, Rick Manwiller, Eli M. Hludzik, Danny Seraphine, John Robinson, David Hawk Wolinski, Steve Porcaro, Erin Watts, Paul Jackson Jr, Ritchie Zito, Bill McHale, Jeff Mitchell, Lou Cossa, Neil Stubenhaus, Chris Pinnick, Michael Bodicker, Bill Champlin and others.

Mr Lucky

Its About Music 2008

Tracks: Remember Me, Mr Lucky, One For The Heart, Heaven Or Hell, Forever To Never, Don´t Stop Believin´, These Eyes, Good Old Time, The Next Time, All Thru´The Night & Mr Lucky (Rocky Version).

Musicians on the Mr. Lucky album: Jerry Hludzik, Bill Kelly, Rick Manwiller, Jon Lorance, Eric Rudy, Nat Gardner, Bill McHale, Tony Romano, Jeff Mitchell, Lou Cossa, Tom Navagh, Robbie Spagnoletti, Jim Fricano, Phil Roland, John Marshell, Joe Andes, Gary Driscoll & Eli M. Hludzik.

25th Reunion Concert

Jeddabo Records 2006

Tracks: Settle Down, Magic, Dear Love, Crazy for Your Love, Possession, You Can Be, Somebody Else’s Dream, Lady, Brothers in Arms, Runaway, When the Rebel Comes Home, Don’t Stop Believin’, If it Takes All Night & Timothy

Musicians on the 25th Reunion Concert album: Dakota and others.

Unplugged Live

It´s About Music 2005

Tracks: Brothers In Arms, Dear Love, Magic, Give Up Your Guns, Carrie Ann, You Can Be, Runaway, House@Pooh Corners, Believin, All Thru The Night, Timothy, It It Takes All Night & Higher And Higher.

Musicians on the Unplugged album: Jerry Hludzik, Bill Kelly and others.

Lost Tracks/The Last Standing Man

DAK Records 2003

Tracks: CD1: Mr. Lucky, Heaven Or Hell, Believin´, Remember Me, All Thru The Night, These Eyes, Forever To Never, Good Old Time, One For The Heart, The Next Time, My turn Now, Hot Summer Nights & Cross That Line. CD2: Somebody´s Hero, Run With The Wind, Hot Nights, , Water (Instrumental), Mama Tech, Struggles With The Heart, The Last Standing Man, Over In A Minute, This Voice, Finding Your Tonight, Only Game In Town, Little Heartbreaker, Methods Of Modern Man, Mission Of Love & Like Me.

Musicians on the Lost Tracks/Last Standing Man album: Jerry Hludzik, Bill Kelly, Rick Manwiller, Jon Lorance, Eli M. Hludzik and others.

Deep 6

DAK Records 2003

Tracks: Brothers In Arms, Holdin´Your Own, Back To Me, Not So Much In Love, What Were You Thinkin?, That Awful Day, Eye Of The Storm, Not Just The Night, Right This Minute, Shut Up And Drive, Luck Time & Mind & Deep 6.

Musicians on the Deep 6 album: Jerry Hludzik, Rick Manwiller, Jon Lorance, Eli M. Hludzik, Bill Kelly & Bill Champlin.

Runaway

DAK Records 2002

Tracks: Runaway, Tonight Could Last Forever, Heroes, When The Rebel Comes Home, Love Won´t Lasst, Into The Night, Angry Men, If Only I´d Known It, Over And Over, Believin´, More Love & National Runaway Hotline Spot.

Musicians on the Runaway album: Jerry Hludzik, Bill Kelly, Rick Manwiller, Danny Seraphine, Neil Stubenhaus, Bill McHale, Chris Pinnick, Richie Zito, Paul Jackson Jr., Michael Boddicker, Steve Porcaro, David Wolinski, Ernie Watts, Jeff Mitchell, Tony Romano & Bill Champlin.

Dakota

DAK Records 2002

Tracks: If It Takes All Night, Crazy For Your Love, Possession, You Can´t Live Without It, One Step, Lady, Restless, Crazy Love, It Gets Easier, The Higher You Rise, Give Love Another Try.

Musicians on the Dakota album: Jerry Hludzik, Bill Kelly, Louie Cossa, Jeff Mitchell, Bill McHale, John Robinson, Tony Romano, Rick Manwiller, Jon Lorance, Chaz Evanski & Eric Rudy and others.

The Live Times Ago

DAK Records 2000

Tracks: Settle Down, Magic, Crazy For Your Love, Possession, You Can´t Live Without It, When The Rebel Comes Home, Lady, Workin´Hot, Changes, One Step, It Gets Easier, Restless, If It Takes All Night, Silly Boy, Dear Love, You Can Be & Bad Dreams.

Musicians on the Three Live Times Ago album: Jerry Hludzik, Bill Kelly, Louie Cossa, Tony Romano, Jeff Mitchell, Bill McHale, Phil Roland, John Marchel, Jackie Petrilla & Art Tombasco.

Little Victories

DAK Records 2000

Tracks: Don´t Count Me Out, Hearts On Fire, Brother To Brother, I.O.U., The Deep, Praalude (To Victory), Little Victories, Let Go, Go Easy (On My Heart), Rescue Me, Wish, Next In Line, Friday On My Mind & Workin´Hot.

Musicians on the Little Victories album: Jerry Hludzik, Rick Manwiller, Jon Lorance, Eli M. Hludzik & Bill Champlin.

The Last Standing Man

Escape Music 1997

Tracks: Hot Nights, Somebody´s Hero, Water (Instrumental), Mama Tech, Only Game In Town, Run With The Wind, Struggles With The Heart, The Last Standing Man, Little Heartbreaker, Finding Your Tonight, Over In A Minute, This Voice & Methods Of Modern Man.

Musicians on the Last Standing Man album: Jerry Hludzik, Rick Manwiller, Jon Lorance & Eli M. Hludzik.

Mr Lucky

Escape Music 1996

Tracks: Remember Me, Mr Lucky, One For The Heart, Heaven Or Hell, Forever To Never, Don´t Stop Believin´, These Eyes, Good Old Time, The Next Time, All Thru´The Night & Mr Lucky (Rocky Version).

Musicians on the Mr. Lucky album: Jerry Hludzik, Bill Kelly, Rick Manwiller, Jon Lorance, Eric Rudy, Nat Gardner, Bill McHale, Tony Romano, Jeff Mitchell, Lou Cossa, Tom Navagh, Robbie Spagnoletti, Jim Fricano, Phil Roland, John Marshell, Joe Andes, Gary Driscoll, Eli M. Hludzik.

Lost Tracks

MCA Records 1987

Tracks: Heaven Or Hell, All Thru The Night, Good Old Time, Remember Me, The Next Time, Mr. Lucky, One For The Heart, All Of Your Dreams (Hatchy Milatchy) Forever To Never & Believin´

Musicians on the Lost Tracks album: Jerry Hludzik, Bill Kelly and others.

Runaway

MCA Records 1984

Tracks: Runaway, Tonight Could Last Forever, Heroes, When The Rebel Comes Home, Love Won´t Lasst, Into The Night, Angry Men, If Only I´d Known It & Over And Over.

Musicians on the Runaway album: Jerry Hludzik, Bill Kelly, Rick Manwiller, Danny Seraphine, Neil Stubenhaus, Bill McHale, Chris Pinnick, Richie Zito, Paul Jackson Jr., Michael Boddicker, Steve Porcaro, David Wolinski, Ernie Watts & Bill Champlin.

Dakota

Columbia Records 1980

Tracks are: If It Takes All Night, Crazy For Your Love, Possession, You Can´t Live Without It, One Step, Lady, Restless, Crazy Love & It Gets Easier.

Musicians on the Dakota album: Jerry Hludzik, Bill Kelly, Louie Cossa, Jeff Mitchell, Bill McHale & John Robinson.

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