Gail's story

Your brain seems to have deleted all information about 80's music...

What’s the Cure?

Will Gail Dance? emerged in December 2021 amidst the backdrop of a world slowly emerging from the constraints of lockdowns and a palpable silence in venues that once thrummed with live rock music. It was during this time of tentative normalcy that Greg pondered reviving his band, a venture that once brought vibrant melodies to life.

The idea, however, didn’t take the expected route of reuniting old bandmates – it seemed destiny had other plans.

In the twilight of 2021, a serendipitous moment occurred. Greg, shuffling through tunes, casually asked his wife, Gail, “Would this song get you on your feet?” This question, posed repeatedly over subsequent evenings, gradually evolved into a playlist echoing the Gen X anthems of the 80s. It was then that the seed of starting anew was planted. Gail, endorsing the thought, became the muse for what was to come.

Will Gail Dance?

In a festive spirit of giving and nostalgia, Greg took to social media on Christmas Day:

Embarking on an 80’s rock dance project, for joy and philanthropy. Seeking the essence of the era, not a carbon copy. If the beat compels you to move, we’re on the right track. It’s about the groove.

The day after, Rob, a bass player from Bear Valley who was vacationing in Las Vegas, reached out. No formal auditions were necessary; their conversation revealed a rhythmic kinship that transcended mere performance. They were in sync, musically and in spirit.

Come January, Eric, a friend of Rob, came aboard, and the trio laid down the groundwork for what was to become a renaissance of energetic live shows. They shared a collective lifetime on stage, a rich tapestry of experiences that promised a robust foundation for Will Gail Dance?

Simultaneously, Ley, a long-time acquaintance of Greg, flirted with the idea of joining the band. His initial inability to commit led to an extensive search for a lead vocalist who could encapsulate the quintessential 80’s essence. Fortune smiled when Ley’s circumstances changed, and he stepped up as the frontman. His dynamic vocals, his uncanny Christopher Walken mimicry, and his sheer charisma solidified the band’s identity.

As Will Gail Dance? honed their sound with a robust lineup, two more vibrant personalities amplified the group’s dynamic. Nikki Neon, with her electrifying stage presence, brought an infectious energy that could only be described as ‘radioactively’ charismatic. Her passion for the entirety of the 80s decade shone through, offering a perfect counterbalance to the band’s nostalgic beats.

James Ely, known affectionately as “The Keymaster,” brought a wealth of musical experience that only added to the band’s depth. His keys resonated with the echoes of a seasoned journey, from military bands to big-stage gigs. His return to the roots of rock and roll with Will Gail Dance? infused the band with a sense of history and musical richness.

With Nikki and James completing the ensemble, Will Gail Dance? was more than a band; it was a celebration of times when the music was heartfelt and the dance floor was never empty. Their collective story isn’t just about individual prowess but a shared passion for reviving the essence of an unforgettable era. Together, they invite audiences to relive the vibrancy of the 80s with every performance.

Together, they aren’t just a band but a testament to the enduring allure of the 80’s – ready to ask the world, “Will Gail Dance?”

Greg "G-Reg" DeWitt

Greg "G-Reg" DeWitt

Lead Drums

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.

INFLUENCES:

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.

Rob "NoHawk" Saranapa

Rob "NoHawk" Saranapa

Lead Bass

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.

INFLUENCES:

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 "The Side" Collom

Eric "The Side" Collom

Lead Guitars

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.

Lee Knowlium

Lee Knowlium

Lead Vocals

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!

Influences:

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

Nikki Neon

Lead Aquanet

Nikki Neon’s transformation from an everyday music aficionado to the luminescent lead singer of Will Gail Dance? is the stuff of legend. It all began at a school Science Fair/Dance Off, an event that would alter the course of her life. As fate would have it, a neon spider, irradiated by a fortuitous lab accident, chose Nikki as its muse. The spider’s bite was far from ordinary—it sparked a metamorphosis that imbued Nikki with an electric aura and a voice that seemed to echo the vibrancy of the 80s.

With a newfound radiance, Nikki took on the mantle of “Nikki Neon,” a moniker that reflected her vivid presence and her dedication to reviving the spirit of a bygone era through her performances. On stage, her neon energy isn’t just visual—it’s visceral, as she channels the essence of the decade in every note she belts out.

Her influences are a timestamped homage to the 80s, starting from the very first minute of 1980 to the final moments of 1989. Every beat, every synth-pop riff from that decade resonates with her, defining her musical ethos. As for that one iconic song that premiered at the stroke of midnight? It’s rumored that’s precisely when Nikki’s transformation occurred—a poetic parallel to the transformative power of the music she holds dear. Now, as a lead of Will Gail Dance?, Nikki Neon isn’t just performing; she’s illuminating the stage with the neon glow of an unforgettable musical age.

James "The Keymaster" Ely

James "The Keymaster" Ely

Lead Ghost Buster

Jim Ely hails from Southern California where he’s been performing professionally since the age of 14. He comes from a musical family and has been playing piano since the age of 5. By middle school, he had added saxophone to the list of instruments he was playing, and regularly participated in regional parades and field show competitions. He would arrange saxophone quartets and quintets for the sax section to perform at regional events.

After high school Jim entered the US Army Band. Stationed in Fort Ord, CA. He could be found on any given night performing in and around Cannery Row, the Monterey Jazz festival and other events with well-known artists such as Al Jardine, Donavan, Paul Schaffer, Tito Puente, Richie Cole and others.

After Jim’s enlistment in the Army, he returned to the Los Angeles area where he began getting calls for recording sessions, theatrical musicals and gigs throughout the Southern California area. This led to tours around the Pacific Rim, often travelling to Japan, Hawaii, Seattle/Portland, San Francisco, etc. Jim moved to Hawaii and quickly became the call musician for incoming acts that didn’t bring their own keyboard player with them. He performed with or opened for many notable musical acts including, Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers, Jimmy Buffet, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Brown, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Fiji, Roots Radix, and many more.

He eventually returned to the Los Angeles area and resumed work with recording sessions and performing with other bands around the area. Eventually, he came upon the Will Gail Dance Band. He has enjoyed getting back to his roots creating sounds for their extensive song list on his keyboards as he did back in high school.

Contact

Phone

(661) 304-5934