Media Five Entertainment looks back 45 years today to Billy Joel's debut in the Lehigh Valley when he performed two WSAN Allentown radio station concerts at the Roxy Theatre in Northampton. It was a pivotal show for Billy Joel not only because in 1973 he rarely headlined, especially in a theatre, but because of airplay support from the Allentown station's free style format the Lehigh Valley, unlike most areas in America, were familiar with his debut album, "Cold Spring Harbor."
45 years ago today at the sold out concerts at the Roxy Theatre on November 28, 1973 were a sneak preview of eight songs from his then forthcoming album, "Piano Man" that included the songs Piano Man and Captain Jack. His performances galvanized the audience and built a strong bond with his early Lehigh Valley fans. Off the incredible buzz of the sold out Roxy Theatre shows Media Five Entertainment founder David Sestak negotiated four subsequent concerts and promoted by their concert subsidiary Extension of Man Concerts. The follow up concert he headlined the 1300 capacity Northampton Area Community College on February 10, 1974 that sold out on the heels of his popular, "Piano Man" album. Then that Fall with his third release, "Streetlife Serenade" another sold out show for the first time in Allentown at Agricultural Hall at the Fairgrounds on November 13, 1974. Danny Fogelberg opened and Joel's encores grew and he had to play his instrumental song Root Beer Rag twice to satisfy the audience. His cult following continued to grow in the Lehigh Valley through his recordings, new albums, and his reputation from his live shows. Media Five Entertainment had to find a larger venue and negotiated to present Joel at Allentown's 4300 capacity Muhlenberg College on March 6, 1975 scoring another sell out and great reviews. Joel loving the Lehigh Valley audiences then returned a second time in 1975 and played one of his final dates of the, "Turnstiles" album tour on December 11 which marked his last show ever in Allentown. Great things were on the horizon and his breakthrough album, "The Stranger" drove Billy Joel to be a bonafide arena headliner, platinum certified recording artist, and had outgrown existing Lehigh Valley venues because of their capacity.
It was at the last Muhlenberg College show in 1975 during his sound check where he would normally play around with Elton John and maybe Sam & Dave songs where on piano only he broke into a refrain singing "and we're living here in Allentown and they are closing all the factories down." Although it resonated with the few workers in the venue no one thought too much about it. It was not until almost seven years later in 1982 that the refrain was finished in the form of the worldwide hit song Allentown, the first single off his, "The Nylon Curtain" album. The heavy radio and video play resulted in another smash single for Joel that sparked incredible interest and in some cases controversy over the lyrics and the portrayal of the city of Allentown. A campaign and petition to urge Billy Joel to return to Allentown was launched by Sestak in conjunction with Allentown's album rock station WZZO FM and elevated his press profile even internationally around the song, lyrics, and the city. Syndicated journalists worldwide covered the story about Joel's Allentown.
After a rehearsal for The Nylon Curtain tour, one night Billy Joel was reading press clippings his publicist sent to him about the song Allentown that prompted him to make a late night call to WZZO asking to be put on air immediately. He wanted to clear the record and controversy over interpretations of the song's lyrics and his intent. Joel on the air quickly put to rest any thoughts that he was slamming Allentown and pointed out the lines from the song, "Well I'm living here in Allentown - And it's hard to keep a good man down - But I won't be giving up today - And we're living here in Allentown."
He went on to say that the Allentown shows were some of this highlights of his early career that earned him some of his most ardent fans and were his "bread and butter" in the early years of touring. Initially he considered using his hometown of Levittown, NY in the lyrics. After talking to a fan at a Muhlenberg show who said "You're gonna get big and you're never gonna come back here" he decided to use Allentown instead.
In response to the campaign to have Billy Joel consider a concert in Allentown and in recognition to his very loyal Lehigh Valley fans, at his concert in Philadelphia at the Spectrum Joel confirmed with Sestak backstage that he was adding an additional date to his Fall tour and would be playing the Lehigh Valley on December 27, 1982 at the area's largest arena Stabler in Bethlehem. That night Joe Daddona, the mayor of Allentown, presented him with a key to the city backstage. The sold out crowd of 6,700 people welcomed Billy Joel back and together everyone in the venue celebrated his well deserved success singing along to his anthem Allentown in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
For decades interest has continued through today from Joel's longtime fans in the Lehigh Valley with hopes that one day he will return to the city of Allentown and for the first time perform the complete version of the song Allentown that he toyed with 43 years ago at sound check at Muhlenberg College.
Billboard Magazine just announced 30 Years of Alternative Greatest hits. Fuel earned No. 13 out of 300 All-Time Top Alternative Songs for their smash hit,"Hemorrhage (In My Hands)", which achieved No. 1 on the Alternative chart on November 4, 2000 and remained at the No. 1 position for twelve weeks. "Hemorrhage (In My Hands)" was from the certified double platinum US album, Something Like Human. Fuel's drummer Kevin Miller is an Allentown native. Members Carl Bell, Brett Scallions and Jeff Abercrombie all lived in Harrisburg, PA during that time.
LIVE is ranked No. 17 out of 300 All-Time Top Alternative Songs with their smash hit, "Lightning Crashes", which achieved No. 1 on the Alternative radio chart on February 25, 1995. It was No. 1 for nine weeks. "Lightning Crashes" is the biggest single from LIVE's album, Throwing Copper, earning 8x certified platinum status in the US and a No. 1 album on Billboard's Top 200. Members Chad Gracey, Patrick Dahlheimer, Chad Taylor and Edward Kowalczyk are all York, PA natives.
LIVE also ranked #22 of All Time Alternative Rock Bands and Fuel made the list at #70.
LIVE and Fuel are both currently touring in America and worldwide. Live is touring in support of their EP "Local 717."
Both bands were discovered by Media Five Entertainment, Bethlehem, the management team at that time. Media Five Entertainment's David Sestak discovered LIVE when they were known as Public Affection in 1989 and oversaw their independent release, Death Of A Dictionary, that debuted their senior year at William Penn Senior High School in York, PA. Sestak managed the band for 13 years and brought on board as co-manager the late Peter Freedman of Lancaster, PA. LIVE went on to sell over 20 million records worldwide.
Fuel was discovered by Media Five's David Sestak and Greg Epler who began by working their debut independent release, Porcelain, with the first version of the #1 radio single, "Shimmer". Both managed the band for 8 years with Fuel selling over 5 million records worldwide.
This team of musicians and managers working together put Pennsylvania on the map as a hotbed of emerging from the heartland to become worldwide superstars.
David and Greg along with everyone at Media Five congratulates each member of both LIVE and Fuel, LIVE's producer Jerry Harrison for "Lightning Crashes" and LIVE's A/R, Phil Schuster and Fuel's producer Ben Gross for "Hemorrhage (In My Hands)" and Fuel's A/R, Ben Goldman. Both bands continue to tour worldwide.
Will play two shows on Friday July 6 at Bethlehem's Levitt Pavilion and Sunday August 5 at the Musikfest Cafe
June 25, 2018
Well Known Drummer Passes
RIP 1976 - 2018
Tommy Wynder of Exeter, PA, an exceptional and celebrated drummer best known for performing in the bands M80, Nowhere Slow, The Five Percent and 123GO! among others, passed away unexpectedly on June 22nd. He was well known, liked, and respected as a passionate and accomplished percussionist. In 2016 Bob Lemoncelli, Tommy's former band director, was quoted saying, "Tom is probably one of the best drummers in the country." He brought joy to music fans on the Eastern Seaboard and drew musicians and students alike to hear and study his performance and to receive graciously given drum tips.
Tommy first began his love of drumming in public schools with ensembles playing different styles of music and later in regionally renowned drum lines of drum and bugle corps. He became a professional drummer in 1997, three years after he graduated from Pittston Area High School. Tommy's work as a freelance drummer earned him fill-in spots for the likes of the Aretha Franklin, the Gin Blossoms, Rob Thomas, Jewel and had a high profile with regional touring bands. Tommy was a very friendly and giving person who was always open to share laughs and advice with up-and-coming drummers as well as professional drummers who appreciated his distinctive style.
He is survived by his two daughters, Kelce and Avery Wynder and their mother, Kelly, Duryea; his brother, Nathan and his wife, Kellie, Pittston; his sister, Christa Winter, Duryea; his aunt, Donna Walsh, Exeter; and many nieces and nephews.
The Media Five family is saddened by this tremendous loss and offers their condolences to Tommy's family and friends. His memory will live on as a warm caring human being and a very talented, giving professional musician.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Children of Thomas Wynder Educational Fund.
Friends may call for visitation from 5 to 7PM Thursday at Kiesinger Funeral Services Inc., 255 McAlpine St., Duryea.
Memorial services will be held at 10:30AM Friday in First United Presbyterian Church of Wyoming, Institute Street and Wyoming Avenue, Wyoming.
June 12, 2018
May 1, 2018
JOHNNY DEE LONGTIME MEDIA FIVE FRIEND & ASSOCIATE PASSES
John DiFrancesca, a well known and loved Lehigh Valley personality passed away April 30th in Allentown, Pennsylvania. John was known for his engaging warm and upbeat personality and loved taking chances and building things. He was a self made entrepreneur starting with his creative side as a vocalist/musician, then as a band leader and musical director, band manager, booking agent, music magazine manager, and later as a real estate developer and property manager.
Best known as a passionate entertainer with his soulful voice and a well known unique dynamic style of playing the Hammond B3 Organ. For nearly 30 years he was a very well respected key figure in the East Coast Music Scene.
Starting with forming the band Johnny & The High Keys in the early 60s where the band recorded the 45 "The Christmas Game" B/W "Do You Believe" for Virtue Records in Philadelphia. The A-side of the single became a seasonal national Christmas rock hit.
In the early 70s he changed their name to The High Keys as they expand touring to the East Coast opening for national acts such as Sly & the Family Stone, Fleetwood Mac, and Little Feat to name a few along with performing at high profile festivals, night clubs and resorts.
The High Keys on stage performances were extremely popular with the public drawing thousands of people and also were perhaps the most respected musical band on the scene. Johnny was the young band's musical mentor.
Their original recorded music caught the ears of some of the most prominent and respected Music Industry executives. Well known producer and A&R person Jimmy Ienner was an advocate and championed The High Keys. On the heels of that period Johnny vacated the stage and segued into management changing the name of the band to The Keys. At the same time he started his own booking agency in association with Tony Cee Associates where he established a very well respected roster of rock bands that he booked on the East Coast. He subsequently then joined forces with Media Five Entertainment growing his management roster to include highly successful bands Gandalf, Steph, and others. Missing being on the stage he founded the band Magic and for several years took a sabbatical from the music business side to return to his passion of performing live. For a period time John was also the general manager of Crawdaddy magazine based in New York City which at the time was a competitor to Rolling Stone.
John's later career was as a very successful real estate entrepreneur and segued into acquiring and redeveloping rental and commercial properties, consulting, and managing properties. He was always successful because he put his heart and soul, just like he did on stage, into every new venture that he pursued. Whether he was on stage, working behind the scenes in the Music Industry, or developing real estate, John was always respected for his integrity in business dealings and his engaging warm personality. Johnny had a lifetime of friends because of his style and class that kept growing through the years. He was always there to offer help a friend and roll up his sleeves when the situation called for it.
Born in Sicily he was proud of his Sicilian ancestry. He was a faithful member of Saint Anthony's choir which allowed him demonstrate his faith. He was thrilled to introduce his home country several times to friends who traveled with him to tour Sicily and experience the culture. Easton, PA though was his hometown for close to five decades. He contributed many ways to its culture, was an ambassador and enjoyed assisting with the music programming of Easton Heritage Days.
With his passing comes indelible memories of Johnny. As an entertainer/vocalist he has touched the hearts of audiences everywhere. Johnny always had a knack of making people laugh, feel good and important. His love for family and friends lives on.
John is survived by his wife of 48 years, Kay Lowrie DiFrancesca; a daughter, Lori Jo Paff and her husband, Jeffrey; and grandchildren, Brandi Paff and her fiancÚ Daniel Ramm and Sebastian Paff, all of Easton; brother Joe DiFrancesca and his wife Pam and sisters, Santa DiPasquale and Rosaria Sadie Roscioli; sister-in-law, Evelyn DiFrancesca; and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by a brother, Antonino DiFrancesca.
A celebration of his life will be held from 6PM to 9PM on Monday, May 7 at Rupell Funeral Home at 465 Memorial Parkway; Phillipsburg, NJ 08865. In Lieu of Flowers, memorial's may be made in John's name to Alzheimer's New Jersey; 425 Eagle Rock Ave; Suite 203; Roseland, NJ 07068.
April 23, 2018
April 11, 2018
JERRY HLUDZIK LONG TIME FRIEND BENEFIT CONCERT APRIL 26, 2018
On April 26th 2018, a fundraising concert for the benefit of Jerry Hludzik will take place. He was the co-founder of recording artists Dakota and The Buoys. He also produced the Hot Night's EP for the band Magnum.
Jerry has unfortunately been struggling with early onset dementia and other health issues for a little while now. His condition is not improving and he has been accumulating medical debt while trying to battle his condition.
Jerry's musical friends will be performing at a benefit concert and includes Danny Seraphine originally from the band Chicago, and Bill Kelly from Dakota and The Buoys. This will be a one time only bill to help Jerry. Ticket sales and proceeds will benefit Jerry's bills. The campaign's goal is to reach $10,000 and all contributions are greatly appreciated.
March 19, 2018 Greg Epler Rejoins Media Five Entertainment and is Named Vice President
Veteran booking agent, manager and longtime Media Five executive Gregory Epler has rejoined the company as Vice President. His position will focus on booking and scouting talent, artist management and special projects. As a booking agent Greg will represent both established marquee artists, emerging new talent and will expand and diversify the agency's roster with new signings.
Greg is best known for co-managing and developing the band Fuel to be a multiplatinum headline artist whose single "Hemorrhage (In My Hands)" was named No. 6 out of 100 All-Time Top Alternative Songs by Billboard Magazine. He is credited with working with the estate of Nina Simone and representing her daughter Lisa Simone and co-managing the multiplatinum band Tantric. Greg continues to manage singer/songwriter/guitarist Carl Bell.
With over 30 years experience in the worldwide Music Industry Greg is known for his ability to spot raw talent and to develop and guide artists to become very successful stars.
Gloria Davis: Renowned Vocal Coach, Director, Conductor & Friend of Media Five Passes Away
It is with much sadness that the Media Five family of bands, agents and managers have learned of the passing of Gloria Davis of Allentown, Pennsylvania on November 11. For almost four decades starting in the 1970s Gloria played a special role in instructing, coaching and mentoring vocalists and bands throughout the Tri-State Area and in particular vocalists in our bands. Gloria had a full and celebrated career coaching young vocalists on live performances and recordings.
A graduate of Juilliard School of Music where she was an opera major followed by a year studying Musical Theater in New York City for musical direction and orchestra conducting. Gloria was a trooper in the real sense of the word. Her early career took her globetrotting the world entertaining US Troops for the USO in the South Pacific, Europe and the Pacific Rim. She cut her teeth on the rigors of touring, being on the road and the discipline of performing consistently with vigor and passion and proper technique. She loved performing for audiences but also was extremely talented at directing and conducting musical theater which she did for over 30 Broadway Musicals in regional community theaters.
Magnum, Gandalf, Goldilocks, Fury, Bam Bamm, Bullet and Idle Threats were just a few of our early bands she took under her wing to help their vocalists grow artistically with good singing technique and stage presence. Perhaps her best known student is Robert Mason (Currently living and working in Los Angeles) former frontman of Magnum who then went on to sing lead for the Lynch Mob and later Warrant touring the world. The impact of Gloria's vocal instructions to regional band's vocalists was carried with them as they performed in some cases throughout America. It was her vocal instruction that yielded bands that were singled out for their exceptional vocal performances.
Gloria was a great storyteller and her antidotal stories about being on the stage and performing she shared during her lessons with the moral of the uplifting and informative stories still are felt to this day by her students. This all was done with grace, class, and her great sense of humor with a warm smile. Gloria was a compassionate woman and a true star, mentor and friend to everyone who entered her studio for lessons or passed the audition and performed in her Broadway productions.
Services: A visitation will be held on Friday night, November 17 from 6-8pm at the Reichel Funeral Home, 326 East 21st Street, Northampton, PA 18067.
The funeral services will start at Reichel's Funeral Home on Saturday, November 18 at 10am, concluding at Gethsemane Cemetery, William Penn Highway in Easton, PA.
In lieu of flowers, donations to GO FUND ME (Gloria Davis Scholarship Fund) would be greatly appreciated and will allow scholarship assistance for acting, dancing and singing to young Thespians. Go the the GO FUND ME Here.
Playlists spanning five decades and hundreds of artists from the Media Five Entertainment Archive are now available for streaming!
Our Spotify playlists span the many chapters of Media Five's history, featuring bands from our booking agency, management team, and concert promotion division. Featuring rare versions of popular songs, the playlists are sorted by decade from the 50's & 60's up through the 2010s and beyond.
Whether a listener wants to relive the Extensions of Man concerts of the 1970s, hear hard rock hits from the 90s, or check out our most recent artists of the 2010s, one of Media Five's ten unique playlists will be sure to pique their interest.
Lehigh Valley native Kevin Miller, best known for his recording and live performances with the multi-platinum band Fuel, debuts his new supergroup Kevin Miller's Smashed Saturday July 29th at the Molten Lounge at the Sands Casino.
Admission to the event is free. The band will be performing two 75 minute shows at 9:45 and 11:45. Kevin will be paying tribute to Fuel, along with bandmate Erik Leonhardt's group Tantric, in their salute to the greatest Rock & Roll bands ever.
Carl Bell, best known for penning Billboard's No. 5 Rock song of the 2000's "Hemorrhage (In My Hands)," and other MODERN ROCK and TOP 40 hits "Shimmer," "Innocent," and "Falls on Me," has gone back to his roots in Tennessee and has devoted his time since Fuel to writing MODERN COUNTRY songs, paying homage to his childhood, family, and southern upbringing.
A writer, performer, and producer of every part of Tennessee Fuel Except the drums, Bell describes his new album as deeply personal and autobiographical. In his own words, "the country life is certainly one I'm intimately familiar with, and [recording the album] has been a lot of fun... it all feels like a very natural progression."
May 22, 2017 REUNITED LIVE TO PERFORM LEHIGH VALLEY SHOW AUGUST 7th!
The original lineup of +LIVE+ - Ed Kowalczyk, Chad Taylor, Patrick Dahlheimer and Chad Gracey - will electrify Musikfest when they perform at the festival's Sand Steel Stage Aug. 7th!
Known as one of the most potent alternative rock acts and concert attractions, +LIVE+ got its start in nearby York, Pa. The group has sold more than 22 million albums worldwide and earned two No. 1 albums - Throwing Copper and Secret Samadhi - with its catalog filled with hits like "Lightning Crashes," "I Alone," "All Over You" and "Lakini's Juice." Throwing Copper, released in 1994, produced the band's biggest single, "Lightning Crashes," which was No. 1 at Modern Rock Radio for 10 consecutive weeks. The album reached No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 and eventually surpassed sales of 10 million albums sold, with Rolling Stone honoring the recording with placement on its "1994: The 40 Best Records From Mainstream Alternative's Greatest Year."
In 1997, the group's Secret Samadhi immediately shot to No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 and eventually went double platinum. The release of the platinum-selling The Distance to Here in 1999 turned +LIVE+ into an international powerhouse and moved the band from arenas into stadiums. The original lineupperformed its last show in July 2009 before going off in different directions. Rediscovering their friendship, however, has healed differences, setting the stage for the members to come together to make music again. In addition to Musikfest, this year's concert tour also includes stops at BottleRock Napa Valley, Common Ground Music Festival, Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits Festival and more.
Ed Waldick, Lighting Designer, Road & Stage Manager Passes December 5 - Ocala, Florida
Ed Waldick a longtime associate of Media Five, originally from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania where he first started working in the Music Industry with Dan Hartman's first band The Legends, passed on December 5 in Ocala, Florida where he had lived and worked over the last 20 years. His long association with Media Five began in the early 70s coming off working with one of the most popular recording artists of the time, The Edgar Winter Group and his friend lead vocalist, keyboardist, song writer and producer Dan Hartman in different capacities touring the world.
After managing the Listening Booth Record Store in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Ed went back to the live music business and brought all his expertise to the top regional bands playing the Eastern Seaboard. Beginning with Magnum as the lighting designer and road manager, then Witness as monitor engineer and followed by Fury as the lighting designer, operator and road manager.
In the early 80s Ed moved to South Florida where Media Five called upon him to set up their Florida booking operation where he was was a liaison with premier Florida venues. It was in Fort Lauderdale at Summers on the Beach during multiple residencies with the band Fury that Ed garnered attention, both with regional and national acts, for his unique visual stage production of creative lighting and stage sets.
Relocating to Ocala, Florida in the mid 90s, Ed connected with regional musicians and national touring acts as he worked for Christie Lites and later Eve to Adam to name a few. He was currently working on The Music of Pink Floyd Laser Light Show to launch his own tribute. WCJB TV 20 this week did a three minute tribute titled, "Music Scene Loses a Legend" to Ed saluting the work he did to support the local music scene from young musicians to national stars in the Gainesville area.
A consonant professional that was always "on" with energy and heart like very few, Ed was very giving and it was always with his trademark smile.
This past September he lost his wife Jan and is survived by his daughter Lindsey and his son Ian, a lawyer, who was recently married. A memorial show for Ed Waldick is set for January 28th at O'Malley's Alley in Ocala, Florida hosted by the band Under the Covers.
Thursday, June 9, 2016
JAY THOMAS Long Time Sound Engineer Associated with Media Five Bands Passes
Jay Thomas of South Whitehall Township passed away Thursday June 2. Jay, an expert sound engineer, had a long history of working with Media Five bands. He is best known for working with the band MAGNUM and most recently with the MAY BABIES. Jay was a well liked, hard working professional that bands could always count on for a great live mix and a good laugh.
Mike DeFrank from Magnum posted the following statement on Jay's untimely passing on the band's Facebook: "From all of us, thank you for every musical moment of greatness you provided, every laugh that we shared, and every bit of professionalism you displayed. From now on, you will always be with us in our hearts on every stage. Rest in peace."
There are no public funeral arrangements. Unofficially we have learned that there may be a memorial concert event in tribute to Jay . When details become available they will be posted on Media Five News and Magnum's Facebook page.
Remembering an Exceptional Vocalist & Friend to All
Benefit Concert for Alisa Anderson Scholarship Set for November 1st
Alisa Anderson, a standout vocalist and entertainer on the regional music scene since the 1970s, passed on October 8. Alisa was a friend to all, with legions of fans and the respect of musicians throughout the region. Her soulful soaring voice was the focal point of the bands she performed with in the 1970s until recently. First starting out in Arthurs Museum then moving on to Simon Apple and finally Philadelphia Funk Authority, Alisa's voice covered all genres, whether it be R&B, Hard Rock, Pop, or Dance. Alisa was an accomplished vocalist and performed at many high profile events including Vice President Biden's Home States Ball and President Barack Obama's 2009 inauguration. Alisa will be missed by everyone and Media Five and all of our agents offer their condolences to all of Alisa's family and friends.
A special benefit concert will be held Sunday November 1st from 4-8PM at the Crowne Plaza in Reading, PA. Tickets for this event are $25 and will include food, drinks and performances by members of bands that Alisa was a part of. The proceeds from this concert will be used for The Reading Musical Foundation to start a scholarship in Alisa's name. Follow the link below to purchase advance tickets and find out more information.
For the past four years, Aaron Bonner has worked with us at Media Five in several different capacities. He was recently offered and accepted an incredible position with iHeartMedia at the iHeartRadio national headquarters in Manhattan. He will be the Executive Assistant to three Vice Presidents of National Programming, Integration and Artist Relations. All of us at Media Five wish Aaron the best of luck with his exciting new position. His last day in the office will be next Wednesday, May 6.
Aaron's position has been filled by Eddie Mackavage, a Drexel University graduate of the College of Media Arts & Design's Music Industry Program with a B.S. in Business Administration. No stranger to the Media Five office, Eddie interned with us during the summer and winter of 2011 and was one of our most talented interns. Eddie has been at our office working in tandem with Aaron over the last two weeks.
Eddie can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
We all wish Aaron the best and welcome Eddie to the Media Five family.