Gail's storyYour brain seems to have deleted all information about 80's music...
What’s the Cure?
Will Gail Dance? was conceived in December 2021 on the heels of two years of lockdowns, working from home, nightclub and restaurant closures, and rock musicians having nowhere to play. Greg asked his wife Gail if it would be okay to fire-up his band again now that things were returning to normal. He reached out to his old bandmates and, for whatever reason, the reunion wasn’t meant to happen.
One evening between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Greg was scrolling through random songs on his phone and asked, “Hey Gail! Would you dance to this?” Something similar happened the next evening and the evening after that. Before long, a new playlist was forming featuring mostly Gen X standards from the 80’s. Greg thought, “What if I were to start a new band altogether?” He bounced it off Gail, and she liked the idea.
On December 25th, 2021, Greg posted the following to a local musician Facebook page:
I’m putting together an 80’s rock dance project for fun and charity. Not a hair band… Think cover band playing the song 30 years later, but modernized—not trying to sound exact, but paying homage to the artists and having fun… I just want to play in a band that makes you want to dance. It’s time.
The next afternoon, Rob sent a response by messenger, “Interested, I play bass!” He was in Las Vegas at the time, but within a couple days Rob called Greg asking about the project and when he could audition. The two were already chatting like old pals 10 minutes into the call. There would be no auditions–this project was about getting the heart right, and Rob and Greg were rhythmically aligned from the get-go.
By late January, Rob’s friend Eric joined the band and the three started rehearsing in preparation for a first gig a couple months out. There was no doubt these three, each with their own lifetime of experience in various bands and projects, would lay a solid foundation for the forthcoming shows of Will Gail Dance?
Old buddies, Ley and Greg had been talking about starting a band for several years. Ley started singing with Will Gail Dance? in January but was not able to fully commit. So, the search began in earnest to find a lead singer with a wide vocal range and the perfect 80’s vibe. As luck would have it, Ley became available a few months later, and Will Gail Dance? got back to work. Ley delivers an energetic lead vocal to a wide array of songs, an impeccable Christopher Walken impersonation, and, quite frankly, he’s just a totally awesome dude!
GP Drums (a.k.a. G-Reg)
Drummer Greg DeWitt is a well-rounded, musically minded, and reliably solid drummer focused on precision execution and rhythmic song delivery. His goal is always to bring people to motion (dance) in response to his skillful and artistic drumming. Greg has played drums in front of hundreds of thousands of people on stages small to large. He has backed up 4 Grammy Award and Dove Award winning artists on drums, served as a megachurch house drummer, recorded and released two studio albums with original projects, appeared on multi-artist compilations, and has played drums with and for hundreds of excellent musicians over the course of 40 years in pop, punk, rock, adult contemporary, metal, Christian, indie, and alternative genres.
There are three drummers who shaped Greg’s approach to drumming. The first is Johnny “Vatos” Hernandez of Oingo Boingo. Starting from 7th grade when Greg first heard “Only a Lad,” he became obsessed with Boingo and would practice every album (on cassette) every day until he had it mastered. The second drummer near and dear to Greg is legendary song-smith drummer, Larry Mullen Jr., of U2. The third major drumming influence is pop, punk, and ska drum artist and master, Stewart Copeland of The Police.
From the early 80’s in Bakersfield, CA to Washington State in the 90’s (which included his 6-year stent in the U.S. Navy) then back the Bay Area of California and back to Bakersfield, Greg has recorded, played live shows and concerts, or backed-up a few songs with: The Examples, Head Above The Clouds, Robbie Virus, The Giraffe Had A Voice, The Robby Combs Band, Zak Graham, Stan Blake, Tim Drisdelle, Sarah Kelly, Chuck Dennie (By The Tree), Alien Nation/Revolution, Rick Hall, Kenny Sparks, Tom Horan, John Schlitt (Petra and Head East), and John Elefante (former lead singer of Kansas), countless talented musicians serving on worship teams around the west coast, and various “local” musicians and artists.
Bassist Rob Saranpa has played bass for over 38 years. His style is unique as he was completely self-taught and does not read music. To say that Rob is an aggressive player is putting it mildly. Rob has also played in over 20 countries around the world including Panama, Honduras, Iceland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Macedonia, Croatia, Canada, Mexico, Korea, Japan, Okinawa, Guam, Kwajalein Island, Roi Island, Indonesia and, of course, all over the USA. Some venues include Hard Rock Café Hollywood, Rabobank Arena Bakersfield, House of Blues Sunset and San Diego and Cabo Wabo in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
Rob has three older sisters and they played lots of Classic Rock like; Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, ZZ Top, etc. His eldest sister Kathy taught him the intro to Stairway to Heaven…he was hooked right there. When he was 16 in the Bay Area, his sister Kelley sent him $200 to buy a drum set. Rob moved with his dad, stepmother, and half-brother to the sticks in NW Florida where Rob had nothing to do but hone his drumming skills in a metal shed on 10 acres in the boonies. In 1984 Rob moved back to the San Fernando Valley but his drums were repossessed and left in the trunk of a car in the hot humidity of Florida. In the SFV, he noticed in The Recycler (ad magazine) that most bands were looking for bass players. So, instead of buying drums, his brother, Jack, loaned him money to buy his first bass rig. Pulling out all his classic rock albums, Rob learned them. Side A and B…about 80 albums worth. (He has a secret way of hearing the bass notes). Since then, Rob has played in MANY bands…some note worthy original projects; Moxey, Lions Named Leo and with the iconic LA Area band Angeles.
His musical talents include playing the bass guitar, rhythm guitar, drums and percussion, harmonica as well as vocals. In the late 1980’s he spent time in the “Hollywood” scene at the Troubadour, The Roxy, and Wolf and Rismiller’s Country Club. Rob toured overseas for the Department of Defense Armed Forces Professional Entertainment Organization from 1990 to 1994, visiting Croatia, Macedonia, Korea, Japan, Honduras, Panama, Marshall Islands, Guam, Okinawa, Hawaii, Iceland, Amsterdam and Germany. In 1998 he was awarded the “Golden State Country Music Association Bass Player of the Year” in Bakersfield and went on to win the California State title. Rob took 1st Place in January of 2005 in Christian Lyrics, Nashville Song Service for his song “Oh How I Love Sundays”. In 2004 Rob composed “The Night Jesus Met Santa Claus”, a children’s book with a music CD sung by Randy Travis’ brother Ricky Traywick. In 2006 Rob was signed by Lamon Records and recoded the debut solo CD, “Am I Worthy?”, which was released January 9, 2007. He also opened Gracefest 2010 Antelope Valley with his original Christian rock band, Bold Witness.
Eric J. Collom has enjoyed many years of musical endeavors. Playing guitar since age 14, and bass since age 17, Eric was always into creating sonic soundscapes with the use of guitars and layered effects similar to bands such as U2 and Simple minds. Starting with early influences such as The Who, Queen and Rush, Eric jumped into the 80’s as a teenager getting into both Hair Metal and the New Wave/Punk music.
Growing up in Bakersfield CA, Eric spent time in the local music scene with a short break as he attended college in Santa Barbara. Returning to Bakersfield he dove back into the music scene like he had never left.
As a veteran of many originals and cover bands, he has played and recorded with the bands Mojo, 97 Tears, The Examples, The Undecided, Dream Junkies, Subterraneans, No Limit, and Power Play. Eric has traversed many styles of music including blues, country, rockabilly, alternative, hard rock and metal. Eric has played in venues throughout California and has had original songs on various college radio stations.
As part of the Christian music scene, he has also played in live concert bands for recording artists such as Bryan Duncan, Jeni Varnadeau (aka Alexa James), and Grant Norseworthy (Sonic Flood). Eric has also played in bands opening for such acts as The English Beat and Missing Persons.
In 2013 Eric recorded an EP with JT Simpson titled “24 Days” by A Stones Throw garnering some label interest after a band showcase in Los Angeles. Working in the electronics field, Eric has a side business repairing musical instruments (guitars, amplifiers) and works as a Pro Sound tech with his company ToneGuy Sound & Electronics.
Currently, along with Will Gail Dance, Eric also plays lead guitar and is a founding member of the local band Lipstick Revolver.
Singer Ley Vaughn was a television news photojournalist for 23 years. He has worked for all the alphabet networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, & FOX) mainly in the west coast. He is a 4-time Emmy award winner as well as a few Murrow awards. Through the years Ley had helped shoot music videos and concerts in which he had met stars like Ozzy Osborn, LL Cool J, Big E, Bobby Brown, Fleetwood Mac, the Scorpions, Cheap Trick and others. He loved how music and video combined were such a beautiful art form. After retiring from news Ley owned and operated a wine bar on the coast of California for 6 years. He made sure though that music would be a permanent fixture in the bar. He would join bands with a few songs as well as play a feverish cowbell. Hosting open mic night, Ley pushed himself into learning how to sing. Each Thursday he would open the night with 3 songs A cappella. At that point he knew that music needed to be a part of his life!
Where to start? As a kid Ley would listen to his parent’s reel to reel tapes. John Denver, Mack Davis, James Taylor, and Kenny Rogers to name a few. Then the black licorice took over with records like the Kingsmen, Herb Alpert, ABBA, ELVIS, and of course the Beatles. As a kid he would sing at the top of his lungs to all the songs he heard. The sounds of Queen, Led Zeppelin, ELO, the Doors, Rolling Stones, and the Eagles all helped him appreciate the variety of music that was played. The 80’s and 90’s were his favorite genres of music. Journey, the cars, Bowie, Van Halen, Quiet Riot, INXS, Blue Oyster Cult, the Fixx, the Police, Social Distortion, the Clash, the Ramones, STP, and Green Day all have had major influences expanding the types of music Ley likes to sing. Basically Ley just loves music and how it makes people feel!
Nikki Neon was an ordinary young woman until she was bitten by a radioactive neon spider during a lab accident at her school Science Fair/Dance Off. The bite triggered a remarkable transformation, infusing her DNA with neon energy. With her striking neon appearance and unique abilities, she takes on the identity of “Nikki Neon,” using her powers for music and dance.
Nikki loves everything from 1/1/1980 at 12:01 a.m. through 12/31/1989 at 11:59 p.m. So that one song that dropped at midnigth? Yeah, guess when she got bit!