The thirty-plus year journey of Dane Anthony’s career in music could easily be made into a movie or perhaps a television series. It has all the elements of great storytelling along with the right place, right time twists and turns that make the story that much more interesting. Of Dane’s thirty years in the industry he has led the Dane Anthony Band for 25 years.
For those who have heard the Dane Anthony Band live, it may surprise you to learn that Dane came to be a band leader and lead singer for that matter in his own words “somewhat late in the game.” Back when Dane was bartending in Philly, he worked in front of George Sinkler, a piano player who would invite people he knew could sing to accompany him during portions of his gig at the bar. He had heard that Dane could sing and one night handed Dane the mic.
Not only was Dane’s debut singing behind the bar a hit, but his tips rose exponentially each and every time the piano player handed him the mic. The “bartender vocalist” fame got Dane entered into a singing bartender contest. He decided to cover the Irene Cara song “Fame” and not only won the contest but returned a year later to win it again. At that point, Dane felt it was a sign to take a shot and form a band.
During that period, Atlantic City gaming properties were booking bands to entertain the millions of visitors that were spending their days and nights at the Jersey Shore. The indoor amusement park carnival-themed Tropworld (now Tropicana Atlantic City) was looking to book a '50s-style band to play to the crowds. Dane enlisted sax player Steve Ciotta, Chris Reynolds to play guitar, drummer Bob Kimmel and Bob Coulon on keyboard and left-handed bass. For the '50s fashion the band procured vintage-look bowling shirts from Dane’s dad, who worked in the bowling supply industry. The crowd loved the bowling-shirt-clad band’s look and sound.
The gig led to the band being booked as the house band for a show called "Shaboom," a musical revue depicting the memorable days of the '50s. This casino show holds the distinction of the only show to play three separate casinos over its run by playing Trump Plaza, The Claridge and Harrah’s.
Over the next several years the band's popularity and demand grew. The band continued to diversify its set lists. Along with this growth, a few of the band members experienced some life changes and/or chose to take industry jobs the band morphed as well. Over the years Rick Trahan played guitar as did Don Shough. Both guitarists still rotate in when available to play or sit in. Chris Tuminia also sits in on sax. The current line-up of the Dane Anthony Band is Dane on lead vocals and trumpet, Bob Coulon on keys, left-hand bass and vocals, Danny Eyer on guitar and vocals, Howard Isaacson playing tenor and alto sax, flute, and vocals, and Frank Maione keeping the beat strong on drums and vocals.
The band’s offerings include everything from early '50s rock 'n' roll up to some of today’s current hits. They play '60s hits including Motown, power rock and disco from the '70s and songs from the past four decades. The musical diversity of the band gives them the ability to deliver the blues and hip hop.
When asked about the journey and his response to an audience that has embraced and supported the band for over 25 years, Dane said, “Playing music for people is the best high that there is. You can’t find a better way to get high. It is the smiles, feet tapping and finger-snapping feeds the soul of the Dane Anthony Band.”
The band strives to create a mood-changing experience for the audience. Dane’s leadership and drive to keep the band fresh and relevant can be credited to the band members' commitment to their craft and Dane’s encouragement for the band to “spread out musically” while onstage.
I had the privilege of getting to know Dane and learning more about the Dane Anthony Band over 15 years ago, however I was actually enjoying its soulful sounds as a TropWorld employee back in the day! So Listen Up to the Dane Anthony Band. You can catch the band in Atlantic City at Golden Nugget’s Rush Lounge 8 p.m. every Thursday, at various regular gigs at Hard Rock’s Lobby Bar, as well as places like Congress Hall’s Boiler Room in Cape May. If you can get to Somers Point this Friday, Jan. 31, the band will be making its Adare Ballroom debut at Josie Kelly’s Public House at 9 p.m. I look forward to catching you at an upcoming Dane Anthony Band gig!