In the fall of 1987 Jeff Dyer sought to create an all-original band enlisting the help of former Thorndier band vocalist Billy Johnson, drummer Kenny Martinez, bassist JD and guitarist Doc Lovett (best known for his work with former Roxx Gang vocalist - Kevin Steele's The Mojo Gurus). It was on the heels of Guns-n-Roses “Appetite for Destruction” that brought about the idea of forming an original act that would lend itself heavily in blues and groove with an attitude. Dyer, an established local solo artist had tapped into backyard celebrity status with his recently released “One Night Stand" music video- receiving daily airplay on Tampa Bay’s 24-hour music television channel V-32. With no inclination to carry the lead vocal duties, Jeff's intention for this new project was to be the lead guitarist.

Billy Johnson was responsible for bringing the Uncle Sally band name to the table. The name was a knock-off of Aerosmith's “Uncle Salty”, however it also appears to have had some roots in German television and a play titled "Meet Uncle Sally” written by Jay Tobias in 1930. The name had no other significance or meaning other than it sounded cool and fit the creative vision of Dyer's cigar smoking wolf mascot band logo idea. Airbrush artist Hal Loo originally drew the patented logo commissioned by Dyer in the early part of 1988.

The new merger of players casually agreed that “what comes to the band, stays with the band” regardless of who might stay or go in the band. As Dyer began to introduce new song material, Johnson was summoned to write lyrics for the music. After several weeks with little progress, Billy and the band decided to part ways. He was soon replaced by lead vocalist Tony Wise, who possessed a vocal range that could shatter glass from 20 feet away. Dyer had previously worked with Tony in a heavy metal cover band (Hustler) a few years earlier. With Johnson's departure, the remaining Thorndier members also began to bow out one by one until only Dyer and Wise were left standing. The band name however would remain in place moving forward. A nod of recognition goes out to Johnson and Tobias wherever they are.

Several players came and went as Jeff and Tony navigated an endless sea of band dude wannabes until guitarist Dave Dennis, bass player Dan Whitman and drummer Marty Kilbel were added. The Dyer/Wise duo wrote 12 songs produced between 1988-1989. Four were professionally recorded and engineered by Allman Brothers Band engineer Bud Snyder at Telstar Studios in Sarasota Florida; becoming the debut Uncle Sally EP titled "Loud as Balls." https://music.apple.com/us/album/loud-as-balls/1396788953 .  Based on the strength of these recordings, Uncle Sally was chosen by the National Yamaha Sound Check competition to be considered for a major record contract. Not long after the recordings were completed, Tony chose to leave the band. After the Yamaha opportunity failed to deliver, Wise became restless with what he felt was a lack of progress. He was simultaneously being courted by local rival band Tyger Tyger to be their new front man. Tony gave in to temptation and took the other band offer - permanently ending his tenure with Uncle Sally. Incoming drummer Jeff Stahl would also soon replace Marty Kilbel. To complete the new lineup, Jeff Dyer ultimately stepped forward as lead vocalist and lead guitarist. Dyer and Stahl had big shoes to fill, as Wise and Kilbel were well-respected powerhouses.

Loud as Balls by Uncle Sally

Album・2018・12 Songs


Without missing a beat, the boys pushed forward with guitarist Dave Dennis bringing in a handful of song ideas that would soon become the start of Uncle Sally's second EP titled "Tending the Flock." Songs like “One-Size-Fits-All” and “That's Not All" helped shape the sound and new direction of Uncle Sally. The EP was recorded and engineered by Tom Morris at Morrisound Recording Studio in Tampa Florida and released on cassette tape in the summer of 1990. Notable accolades were given for the band's sophomore release, garnering new attention from local radio and club owners. This was the beginning of a new day as the band forged ahead playing live wherever there was an audience. Clubs like The Rockit Club and ML Chasers, among many others, were all the rage in 1990. The new and improved Uncle Sally would capitalize on every opportunity pushing their agenda forward.

During this era, Tampa Bay had established itself as a very original band-friendly region to play in. Rock radio stations 98ROCK and 95YNF were eager to promote local unsigned artists. Uncle Sally soon became media darlings as the band found themselves in with the “In Crowd.” Local radio DJ legend Austin Keys would soon take Uncle Sally under his wing, giving them ample radio airplay and free promotion propelling the band forward to be included in many high-profile concert events with well-established national bands - including Dokken, Soundgarden, Saigon Kick and many others. The local scene did not discriminate against bands based on whether or not they were signed to a major label. This mindset was unheard of in the industry and it single-handedly launched the Tampa Bay music scene to new heights taking with it bands like Heartless, The Bleeding Hearts, Powersurge, Stranger, St. Warren, Tyger Tyger, UROK and Secret Service.

Riding on the newfound momentum, Uncle Sally returned to the studio in 1991 to work on their third independent EP loosely referred to as “The Black Album”. Obviously the title reference was familiar to those who followed Metallica, but this was merely a working title due to its black cassette cover. The so-called “Black” EP produced ground-breaking songs “Take Me Away from This Evil" and "Sail On". Both becoming signature songs played often on 98ROCK and 95YNF. Additional tracks, “Borrowed Time” and “Times Are Rough” were recorded at Powersound Studio in Clearwater Florida with Frank LaRosa and Bill Lorentsen engineering. The remainder were recorded at Morrisound. In 2016 Dave Dennis and Jeff Stahl remixed “Times Are Rough”. (It can be heard in it's new glory on the "Made In America" 28 song double CD discography along with all of "Tending The Flock". A multitude of recording sessions were held over this time period bringing to life previously un-released “Living Dangerously” and biker cult anthem “Come On and Ride”, the latter engineered by Doug Johnston at American Music Works in Pinellas Park Florida.

Made in America by Uncle Sally

Album・2017・28 Songs


Between 1991-1992 record label contacts were solicited, but still garnered no appreciable outcome for the band. Trying to keep the attention of the A&R guys in New York and LA was like being a pebble of sand in the Florida desert, woefully out of reach from those who had the power to take the band to its next level. A manager was needed and the band turned to Fred Golpa, owner of the A-circuit Rockit Club. Fred would sign the band to a one-year management deal and would assist in landing high profile gigs and help facilitate new record label connections. Sadly, the outcome was not what Uncle Sally had hoped for as they were mostly put on the back burner by Golpa who was concentrating the majority of his efforts on the band Heartless that he also managed. This circumstance never altered the band's commitment to push forward and they began to work on a full-length album that would soon set them apart from their peers. Recording began at Morrisound in the summer of 1992 with a release date set for early 1993. “World of Hurt” was officially released in February of that year to rave reviews. Local media praised “World of Hurt”( https://music.apple.com/us/album/world-of-hurt/1397191851 )

World of Hurt by Uncle Sally

Album・2018・12 Songs


for its bold production and songwriting quality. It was the shot in the arm the band needed. You can hear the band's evolution as the lyrical content and rich vocal textures begin to take on more serious subject matter with a broader dynamic in production. It was obvious to anyone paying attention that Uncle Sally was no flash in the pan. The release of “World of Hurt” did set the band apart from the other bands, but success on a big level still remained out of reach.

With increasing record label interest, the group developed fresh material to offer as a follow-up to “World of Hurt”. In the summer of 1993 the band hastily returned to Morrisound yet again to record three additional new songs - “Rain”, ”Escalator” and “Made In America”. Remixed in 2017 by Jeff Dyer, these songs were originally nothing more than demo’s and never officially released to the public until now on the "Made In America" Discography CD available at CDbaby. The new demo’s were self-financed and produced solely as follow-up material for the handful of labels expressing interest in the band. One such label was Los Angeles-based Rotten Records, an indie label run by Ron Peterson. In 1994 the band entered an arrangement with Rotten to facilitate the distribution of Uncle Sally's previously recorded material. It was a fresh start, finally out from underneath the Golpa management deal. Adding Uncle Sally to the Rotten Records roster would make for strange bedfellows, as the majority of artists signed to Rotten were punk bands such as D.R.I. and Acid Bath. Rotten Records paid for the filming of Uncle Sally's "My Friend Pain" music video to promote the band nationally. But soon again, Uncle Sally found themselves in stagnation with the arrangement and ultimately the Rotten partnership withered on the vine before it ever went to harvest; the deal disintegrated almost as fast as it was initiated.

It is important though to put the times in historical context. By the mid 1990’s the music scene had changed fast and furiously. Seattle grunge bands and urban hip-hop acts had pushed the aging rock groups to the sidelines. Uncle Sally could never be accused of being a pretty boy glam band like most of its rock counterparts were, yet they found themselves trapped at a time where it was not in vogue to be associated with anything 1980's, or even early 1990's. The music landscape had shifted. Rock clubs were closing by the hundreds across the country and radio stations began to alter their formats to other styles of music. The hair band era had collapsed like a house of cards, and despite their undeniable talents, Uncle Sally would fall victim to “guilt by association” on the bloody sword in the bar-band battlefield.

As the wave crashed, the founder of the band was finding it increasingly difficult to continue forward, signaling the end was near for Uncle Sally. In the fall of 1995, Jeff Dyer left the band he had helped create. Time and circumstance had taken their toll and Jeff was ready for new beginnings. It was time for the band’s voice to find solace in a more conventional lifestyle. The tide had turned and it was apparent to Dyer that it was the end of the line. The Uncle Sally curtain had closed. Jeff would however go on to amass nearly 100 studio recordings post Uncle Sally and continues to write and record as a YouTube solo artist to present day. His diverse, extensive body of recorded material can be found at http://www.jeffdyer.com/jd/Home.html .

Still hungry, the remaining band members dusted themselves off and re-grouped as a three-piece unit with Dave Dennis taking on the lead vocal duties. The band was renamed Orbit Orange and a self-titled CD would follow in 1997. ( https://music.apple.com/us/artist/orbit-orange/190783009 ). The trio enjoyed the success of their debut album with radio friendly favorites “Born Again” and “Pills”, (look for the videos on YouTube), along with appearing on some high-profile stages over the remainder of the 1990’s. As the dust settled over the years the core four remained in contact with one another. In 2009 Dyer reunited Uncle Sally for a benefit concert to raise money for then ailing Tony Wise. Concurrently, Jeff was enlisted to assist his former band mates in recording two new songs "Cripple Me" ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EsIX4EC5jiI ) and Beatle-inspired “Come Together” ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OT_HD19l_F8)  available on YouTube). Tony Wise passed away from health complications on September 28th 2012.

ORBIT ORANGE on Apple Music

Album・1997・11 Songs


To date, Uncle Sally has generated a 50+ original song roster with over 30 studio recordings. Look for all four of their official releases available for sale and preview at CDBaby, iTunes, Pandora, Youtube, Ebay and Spotify. They have one one officially released live album ( https://music.apple.com/us/album/live/1420245860  ), countless professionally-filmed music videos (available on YouTube), accumulated numerous print articles and reviews, had a song featured in the 2016 “Hair I Go Again” music documentary soundtrack (https://hairigoagain.com/), and have appeared on numerous radio, television and concert stages. To this day Uncle Sally continues to maintain a solid footing in the foundation of America’s Rock-n-Roll historical ledger.

Live by Uncle Sally

Album・2018・8 Songs


Uncle Sally is:

Jeff Dyer:
Lead vocals / Lead guitars

Dave Dennis:
Guitars / Slide guitar / backup vocals.

Dan Whitman:
Bass guitar / backup vocals.

Jeff Stahl:

Extra special thanks to our dedicated Road Crew for their hard work and commitment to the cause over the years. We could not have done it without you.

Andrew Gaylord -
Stage manager / lighting

Gerald Mullen -
Road crew manager

Nathan Keefer -
Drum Tech

Randy Hall -
Guitars / Stage tech

Frances Beck Hamlett, Gina Crawford and Molly Friar-
Merchandise and promotion

Additional thanks to:

Billy Johnson

Austin Keyes

Mike Norcia

Kim Martino

Mike Calta

Bobby Lane

And ALL the fans!

Music produced by Uncle Sally
Correspondence: unclesally@jeffdyer.com

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