Johnny’s Dance Band “movin’ on up the Road”
November 20, 1975
By Anita M. Wine, New Hope Gazette
Johnny’s Dance Band (JDB), is about to make it big. Since the band relocated from Scotch Plains, New Jersey to Bucks County last November, they have been building a reputation as an entertaining, innovative rock group, appearing frequently at John & Peter’s Place in New Hope.
Over the past few months their fame has spread to the Philadelphia area with first-act appearances for big-name acts (including Martin Mull at the Bucks County Playhouse in July) a live radio concert on WMMR-FM and wide, highly favorable press coverage. This has attracted the interest and attentions of several major recording companies, such as ABC, Columbia and Epic. Most observers feel that very shortly an agreement will be reached with one of them which will result in an album and national promotion.
The seven members of the band are originally from the Philadelphia area and Northern New Jersey, with the exception of their drummer David Mohn, formerly of Randy Burns and the Sky Dog Band, who is a native of Stockton, New Jersey and now resides in Lambertville, New Jersey.
The band chose the Bucks County area as a new home for the convenience of its location and its beautiful countryside. They lived together on the “JDB Ranch” near Doylestown when this summer lead vocalist, guitarist and songwriter Tony Juliano grew organic vegetables for local restaurants. Since then several of the band members have found other residences in the area. Lead guitarist Bobby Lenti now lives in nearby Fountainville. Chris Darway on keyboard, synthesizer and vocals, designs jewelry sold locally and in New York in a wooded retreat in Mt. Airy, New Jersey.
Band members still living at the farm are bassist and vocalist John Jackson who is currently breeding Labrador-Ridgebacks and veteran of television and radio commercials. Nanette Mancini who, as the only woman in is lead vocalist. Courtney Coletti, known from his sideline gigs as the Bar Mitzvah King, still lives in Scotch Plains. New Jersey.
Johnny’s Dance Band’s music and lyrics are almost entirely original except for one or two classic rock and roll tunes. The music spans a variety of styles including ragtime, blues, a little country, calypso, “quasi-reggae” and, of course, rock and roll. The lyrics deal, most often humorously, with off-beat, down-to-earth topics as widely diverse as food, teen love, dead dogs and religion.
Many people feel, though that JDB must be seen to be fully appreciated. Combining mimicry, mime, choreography, props and whatever else is handy, as much talent and energy is expended on the dramatic performance of each song as is on the performance of the music. All this makes for a highly entertaining, “highly dance-able” show.
Johnny’s Dance Band will be appearing two Sunday evenings in November (the 23rd and 30th) at John & Peter’s Place. 96 S. Main, in New Hope.