Dave Kennedy (vocals, guitar) originally cut his musical teeth with the 66th Street Band out of Kenosha, a band that excelled in volume, long hair, and occasionally-accurate harmonies. He joined The 17th Avenue Band in the late 70s while at Marquette University, teaming up with Mark Wanezek and Paul Novotny. Kennedy took several detours after that, diving deep into the jazz standards world, fronting several quartets during the 90s, while learning the great American songbook. Following an impassioned effort to play singer-songwriter and develop a book of original tunes, he initiated a connection with band mates Wanezek & Leahy and through fits and starts a group was born. Dave is happy to be mining the gold of the late 60s and 70s and promoting live music. Kennedy also plays with Tallymoore and always figures out a way to interpret and arrange tunes into his own.
Mark Wanezek (vocals, keyboards, guitar) hails from the Sheboygan area, where he grew up in a thriving musical environment, first developing his serious vocal chops in the choir at North Sheboygan High School. He is a triple threat, playing both piano and acoustic guitar (his beloved blonde Ibanez). You are what you eat, and Mark immersed himself in the classic singer-songwriter material from that era. Wanezek was one of the founders of the fabled 17th Avenue Band, formed in the mid-70s at Marquette University. He has a substantial collection of original tunes, performing them throughout his career, with such notables as “Lorena’s Song” requested across generations. Mark is the vocal linchpin to the sound of The Differentials, possessing an uncanny prowess at harmonization - truly the zen master harmony singer with a gifted ear second to only a few.
Brian Leahy (vocals, guitars, mandolin) is no stranger to the Milwaukee music scene including early years with The Milwaukee Opera Company. Having promised not to engage in away from home theatrical endeavors while raising 4 children, he groomed them into performers themselves starting the sensational family Irish band “Leahys Luck” in 1991. In the last 30 plus years they perform to this day in theatrical and festival venues throughout the Midwest. The band earned a WAMI and critical acclaim for their 5 recordings. He is co-founder of a local concert series Tosa Tonight. Leahy was so inspired by the sound of Wanezek & Kennedy he built the fabled GarageMahal studio. He is pivotal in branding, managing, and keeping organization within The Diffs, the herder of cats. His theatrical roots are evident in his signature sound from his vocal interpretations of everything from Danny Boy to Roy Orbison’s Crying.
Ron Beckman (bass) grew up in southern Minnesota, where he played in several symphonies (yes, the real deal) and rock n’ roll bands before taking the fork in the road departing a career in music for the business world. But anyone familiar with Ron knows his heart never let go of his love for music and the fire continued to burn. A few decades later (but who’s counting?) he retired from his accounting profession and returned to his roots …. his love of making music, whether it be classical, blues or good old rock n’ roll. Ron’s enthusiasm, versatility, and quick adaptation makes him a valued asset and contributor to The Differentials’ foundation. As an avid and classically trained musician, he embodies the elusive vibe the band strives to obtain. He always manages to bring along a delightful bottom end, musically speaking. He has the personality (and mojo) The Diffs were looking for. He’s really kind of a big deal!
Tom Spolar (drums) is life long resident of Wauwatosa. From the age of three his parents claimed they knew he was destined to be a drummer, when they noticed him tapping his foot to the beat...in his sleep. Across many genres, he was fortunate to play with some of the finest musicians in the area. While Tom knew this was what he would “like" to do for a living, but reality took control and family and career took their rightful place. “Music is a passion not a job.” Tom seeks to dispel the myth that drummers aren’t really musicians, finding great satisfaction in making music with others. One of his favorite movie quotes says it all; “Well when you’ve got the music, you’ve got friends for life, that’s why I’m never lonely. Remember that.” Tom’s contributions to supply the beat for his friends, The Diffs are long overdue. Check them out, and he’ll tell you what movie the quote is from. No ego, no drama, an ultimate timekeeper and percussive technician.
Tyler Famularo (guitars, vocals) began playing guitar at age 11, by the time he was 14 he had his first real guitar and amp. It was a ‘65 Telecaster and ‘65 Deluxe Reverb. His oldest brother, in the Air Force at the time, sent the money home for it. Thanks Tom! He really got serious practicing with a drummer. The drummer’s father came home from work and said “pack up the gear” and took them to his favorite bar, they played about two hours and made about $40 in tips. He was hooked! His first band was the Tykes which morphed into The Larry Lynne Group, The Balloons, Sky Harbor, The Bandits and Brandon James Band. His son Brandon had recorded some of the songs Tyler had written. RCA Nashville heard them, became interested and flew them both down to Nashville. Tyler performs regularly with daughter Rebecca of Rebecca and the Grey Notes playing their brand of Americana, some remakes of 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s tunes, and originals from a 200 song catalogue. We dare you to not be impressed with his virtuosity!
Special Guests of The Diffs
Rebecca FamularoThe Diffs are very proud to work with Rebecca and her incredible vocal ability. Daughter of guitarist Tyler, she has her own band, Rebecca and the Grey Notesand is featured with an assortment of Ronstadt renditions with remarkable accuracy and interpretation. Here is a sample of an original tune. Yep, she’s the real deal!
Tom (Foot) HustingThe Diffs haven’t a clue why his nickname is Foot, and he doesn’t reveal. He’s performed music for over 5 decades, starting in 1963 within Minniapolis and then Nashville areas. He plays (and builds) guitar but known mostly for his pedal steel contributions with The Diffs. Go to Husting Brothers Electrical Instruments to see his work. Bassist RB, known for his deep stable of bass guitars is now an exclusive HBEI man!