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Danny Dean

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Danny Dean
Birth nameDanny Dean Phillips
Also known as
  • Danny Dean
  • Danny Phillips
Bornc. 1965
Houston, Texas, United States
OriginSouth Bay, Los Angeles, California, United States
  • Punk rock
  • hardcore punk
  • post punk
  • new wave
  • rockabilly
  • neo-rockabilly
  • Musician
  • singer-songwriter
  • record label owner
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • electric bass
Years active1978–present
LabelsNew Underground
Nu Underground
Grand Theft Audio
Chameleon Music Group
Associated actsAnti
Mercury Tilt Switch
Mood of Defiance
Danny Dean and the Homewreckers

Danny Dean, also known as (Danny Dean Phillips, Danny Phillips) (born in 1965) is an American musician, singer-songwriter, recording studio owner and record label owner. Active since 1978, he is best known as the original guitarist, singer and primary songwriter for the hardcore punk band Anti, guitarist for the avant garde punk band Mood of Defiance, and co-owner of the South Bay California DIY punk label New Underground Records (Nu Underground Records).[1] He is currently the band leader of rockabilly band Danny Dean and the Homewreckers', notable for his modern 80's twist on vintage rock and roll throughout the swing revival of the 1990s.[2] Dean has played guitar for Joe Houston, Organized Crime, the Earwigs, and synth-pop new wave acts such as Paul Humphrey's OMD (Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark), Clive Farrington's When in Rome for over 6 years, and was the first original member of the U.S. lineup of Roddy Radiation (of the Specials) and the Skabilly Rebels. He was also the co-owner of the analog recording studios MoleTrax West and Danalog for 10 years, now part owner of Rockwell Recording with Jeff Moleski.[3]

Early life[edit]

Dean was born in Houston, Texas and grew up in Hawthorne, California, and relocated to Nashville, Tennessee in 2016. He is a mix of English, Irish, Scottish, German, and Spanish nationality. Dean attended Hawthorne High School and has worked as a laboer and a painter for the city of Hawthorne in his preteens to care for his family. He later worked at Recycled Records in Hermosa Beach and as a ghost writer for the South Bay Report, an article featured in Flipside Magazine, a punk zine popular in the 1980s among the South Bay punk scene.[4]



In 1979, after childhood rockabilly and surf band Skinny Memphis panned out, Dean co-founded Anti alongside Gary Kail. Dean met Gary Kail, who at the time was playing in a punk band called 415's who was working at the Pizza Show in Hawthorne, California. Gary's band the, 415's at the time was, getting airplay on KROQ's Rodney on the Rock. Both, dissatisfied with their current projects, decided to join forces and that lead to the creation of Anti, in which Dean named the band, played bass and later guitar, was the primary songwriter, and was the original singer later replacing himself with Estabon Acusta, then Burt Orlando until his voice faded. Their DIY punk ethic placed them on shows with bands such as Red Kross, Minute Men, Bad Religion, Fear, Circle Jerks, Social Distortion, Vandals, Ill Will, China White, Sin 34, and Saccharine Trust, which came in as part of a larger list of artists on their South Bay punk label New Underground Records.[5]

Mood of Defiance[edit]

Dean joined the avant-garde punk band Mood of Defiance in San Pedro, California, in 1982 on guitar and vocals, along with Gary Kail, on bass, replacing T.A. Black on guitar and Kevin Ball on bass. The Mood of Defiance formed an ache in a short-lived experimental San Pedro synth group which included Rachel Mason (Hatha Watha), who would skate the Hermosa Beach strand with the likes of Spot, right before the church bands started, before finding out he was Black Flag's producer in early 1980. Mood of Defiance also gave birth to the gothic punk movement of the middle 1980s and with Dean as the current, Curator Mood of Defiance has had both a reunion tour and a re-release in 2015 of the lost first demo recording titles in a Box.[6]


Dean became the front man, singer and songwriter for the post-punk band Easter, formed in 1984, and signed to Capital Records. Easter was known for multiple lineup changes that featured the likes of Mike Ness (early Social Distortion fame) from 1986 to 1988 who appeared in the music video for the songs "Slipping Away" and "Lights Out", and Brent Liles (early Social Distortion and later Agent Orange fame) who appears in the music video "Steady Rockers" and on tour from late 1987 rejoining the band for the reunion tours during the late 1990s. Dean achieved commercial success with a myriad of music videos featured on Video 1, MTV, and nationwide radio rotation, including Los Angel's KROQ, 10.7fm, San Francisco Live 10.5fm, San Diego 91xfm to name a few. Dean and his band Easter performed and toured in support of Guns and Roses, Social Distortion, No Doubt, Nine Inch Nails, Dramarama, TSOL, and Concrete Blonde. The band temporarily called it quits in 1991. Dean went on to front the progressive rock band Mercury Tilt Switch, performing on local morning show Good Day LA and releasing an album produced by Jay Baumgardner at NRG recording studios.[7]

Danny Dean and the Homewreckers[edit]

In 1994, Dean formed the rockabilly swing revival band Danny Dean and the Hot Rod Orchestra, inspired and set up like Adam and the Ants meets Gary Glitter, an act complete with two drummers and a horn section, later morphing into the four piece neo-rockabilly band Danny Dean and the Homewreckers. Cited for his modern 80's twist and new wave influences of 80's goes rockabilly versions of covers such as: Adam Ants "Goody Two Shoes" (Danny Dean & the Homewreckers, The Rockabilly Lover album), the Psychedelic Furs "Pretty in Pink" (Danny Dean & the Homewreckers, Growl album) and the Cures "Love Cats" (Danny Dean & the Homewreckers, The Rockabilly Lover album) Dean was able to share the stage with Bill Haley's Comets, and became the first band to perform at Tom Ingram's Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender, and tour with established acts like the Specials, English Beat, Lee Rocker of the Stray Cats, a Flock of Seagulls, Missing Persons, Berlin, the Blasters, Gilby Clarke (Guns N' Roses), Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Reverend Horton Heat and many other international acts.[8] The Homewreckers also appeared on the Christmas episode of Beverly Hills 90210 "Gift Wrapped" in 1996, and have songs featured in Hot Rods Across America.

Associated acts[edit]

Dean has played guitar for Blues legend Joe Houston, Organized Crime, the Earwigs, and synth-pop new wave acts such as Paul Humphrey's OMD (Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark), Clive Farrington's When in Rome, recorded with ska acts such as Neville Staples (The Specials' Vocalist), and the USS Radiary Lineline. He was also the front man for a Cliff Richards and the Shadows Tribute band Danny Dean and the Men of Mystery aka Danny Dean and the Black Shadows, and the steampunk Spyrock band Big Boss Fury with Johnnie Saiko on lead vocals, who was his songwriting partner for Danny Dean and the Homewreckers. Dean has also contributed by appearing live or in the studio with acts such as Artistic Decline, Claudia Brucken (Propaganda), Dead Bolt, Ignition, Zombie Slutz from Hell, Mad Max and the Wild Ones, Slick Faster, the Earwigs, Love Snake, and Someshine, who he joined with singer-songwriter Donald Pursley.[9]

Record label[edit]

In 1980, Dean co-founded the South Bay DIY punk label New Underground Records (Nu Underground Records) with Gary Kail to facilitate their recordings for their bands Anti, and Mood of Defiance, but resulted in the release of several highly collected punk vinyl compilations such as "Life is Ugly So Why Not Kill Yourself," “Life is Boring So Why Not Steal This Record," Life is Beautiful So Why Not Eat Health Foods" feature Raymond Pettibone's art work. Dean credits Mike Watts and D. Boon for their influence and guidance at the start up of New Underground Records. New Underground Records is one of the three main South Bay DIY punk labels alongside SST Records and New Alliance Records, which were originally distributed through Greenworld Distribution, which later became Enigma Records. In 1990, before his death, Gary Kail signed over his shares of New Underground Records, leaving Dean the sole owner.[10]

Recording studios[edit]

In 2005, Dean established MoleTrax West with Jeff Moleski (of MoleTrax East) in Lakewood, California. He has established MoleTrax West as a purely analog recording studio prominently known for producing punk and rockabilly featuring hard-to-find vintage recording equipment that he has had restored. Dean has also opened Danalog, a Sun Studios replication that coexists alongside MoleTrax featuring vintage radio recording equipment from the early 1950s. Dean currently has a vintage radio recording console on display at Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee through Wyatt Maxwell (of Mad Max and the Wild Ones). Dean and Jeff has production credits and has had in the studio, the South Bay punk band the Imposters, Ska legend's Roddy Radiation and Lynval Golding, Rockabilly legend Ray Campi, Brian Setzers band members John Hatton and Bernie Dressel, Deon Estus bass for Marvin Gaye and George Michael, the Stains, Orange County punk band Piss and Blood, the Hoodlumz, Chad Carrier's band the Big Mess, John Duffy and his band The Shillaly Brothers, Mad Max and the Wild Ones, Legend neo-rockabilly musician Levi Dexter, Buzz Campbell, When in Rome UK Clive Farrington, Andrew Mann and Rob Juarez. Danny Dean and Jeff Moleski closed California studio doors in 2016 to reopen in New York and Nashville, Tn. in 2021 as Rockwell Recording studios.[11]


  1. "Haley's Comets Return : Most of the Members of the Band Behind 'Rock Around the Clock' Keep the Good Old Times Flying as They Revive '50s-Era Classics". Los Angeles Times. December 30, 1997. Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  2. Woodbury, Jason P. (February 22, 2012). "Roddy Radiation of The Specials on Rocking Steady with Skabilly Rebels". Phoenix New Times. Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  3. "Frogs Proves to Be a Mecca for Old-School Punk Rockers". Los Angeles Times. July 25, 1996. Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  4. Blue Suede News. Blue Suede News. 2008. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  5. "The Art of Punk and the Punk Aesthetic". Design Observer. Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  6. Tribune, EMEA. "Danny Dean and the Homewreckers: Old-time Musician Exclusive Facts". Latest Breaking News From US, Europe & World. Retrieved January 4, 2021. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  7. "Danny Dean and The Homewreckers". Delirium Records. Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  8. "DANNY DEAN and the HOMEWRECKERS". 53deluxe. Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  9. "Danny Dean and The Homewreckers". Smiley Pete Publishing. September 27, 2017. Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  10. "Fear Loathing LB Nov '13". Issuu. Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  11. "Fear and Loathing LB November 2013". Issuu. Retrieved January 4, 2021.

External links[edit]

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