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Dean Madonia: Press



Bret, Jay make singing tour of Music Row bars
Poison lead singer Bret Michaels continues to hang out in Nashville and make country friends.

Bret and Jay DeMarcus from Rascal Flatts cruised up and down the new Music Row bars area Friday and Saturday nights. Bret and Jay crashed new piano bar Chitown and sang a few with pianists Dean Madonia and Jimmy Maddox.

Yes, Bret did Every Rose Has Its Thorn, and the ladies went wild. There was a crush of cell phone photography. Bret and Jay also did some covers of Doobie Brothers and Elton John songs.

Then, the dynamic duo headed to Tin Roof and did it all over again.

Bret is on the verge of a deal with new country indie label Lofton Creek Records, so I imagine he's trying to meet and collaborate with as many Nashville music makers as possible.
Sound Check
By Brian Hyman
Published on May 14, 1998
What you see is what you get when singer-songwriter Dean Madonia takes the stage. In faded jeans, a comfortable T-shirt, and old Nikes, Madonia and his pop-rock songs are as easygoing and fan-friendly as those of his major influences, Paul Simon and James Taylor. Like them, Madonia weaves personal experiences into songs about loss, rites of passage, and -- of course -- love. Sound old-fashioned? Maybe, but that doesn't bother Madonia.
"Everybody's so damn mad all the time," he says about today's popular bands. "I'm happy." So what's his advice to those perturbed young souls? "Life has a certain amount of suckage, so get used to it and stop bitching!"

Madonia's debut CD, Deep Sky, which will be released May 25, steers clear of the angry-young-man thing, mainly because Madonia isn't in that frame of mind. "I don't feel comfortable writing about what I don't feel comfortable about," he says. "I have to write about what I know."

Noteworthy tracks on Deep Sky include a moving, Elton John-esque, piano-and-strings song called "Without a Net," which is about a woman Madonia knew, loved, and tragically lost. "The Big Crunch (Stephen Says)," is a trippy ode to scientist and writer Stephen Hawking and the opinions expressed in his book A Brief History of Time.

The hard-working Madonia has many weekly solo gigs: Shenanigan's Sports Pub in Hollywood Wednesday and Thursday; Mulvaney's Irish Pub in West Palm Beach Friday; and Tuna's Waterfront Grill in Miami Saturday. But he also performs with the newly formed Dean Madonia Band, which includes Cory Mauro on bass, Scott Tryon on drums, Jimmy Ruccolo on guitar, and Michael Waxman on keyboards.

The group will compete in a Battle of the Bands contest at Chili Pepper this Sunday and perform at Madonia's CD-release party at the Poor House May 24. Both clubs are located in Fort Lauderdale.

For more information on Madonia, including where you can get his CD, Deep Sky, visit his Website at ~madonia/deep.htm. And when you see him at a local gig, ask him why fans and friends call him Underdog, or at least get ready to make a request; Madonia's list of covers contains 179 songs.
Playing songs in dark hole-in-the-wall bars for smatterings of drunks who'd just as soon listen to the second hand on their watches ticking.... Spending your days laboring over writing songs only to have bar proprietors tell you that you can't play originals.... Watching bar patrons search for the table furthest from the stage and speakers.... Glumly strumming Jimmy Buffett songs for tourists Music
Ear Infection
By Brendan Kelley

Published: Thursday, April 15, 1999

bent on getting their Floridian culture fix.... As romantic as the starving artist notion is, the reality of being a professional musician locally is a grim one, and making a living off of music is a trick that few musicians can (or want to) pull off.

Fort Lauderdale songwriter-performer Dean Madonia knows this dichotomy well. He spends five nights a week in Broward County bars, playing cover songs from his library of nearly 200 tracks, sneaking in the occasional original whenever possible. In the daytime Madonia works at home, composing and arranging the tracks that he records and plays with his band, the Dean Madonia Band. As an original artist, Madonia performs folky, narrative-style, adult-contemporary tunes that appeal to the middle-aged James Taylor/Sting crowd. But when he punches the clock, Madonia becomes Underdog, the alter ego who plays everything from Dave Matthews and Tonic covers to Simon and Garfunkel and Cat Stevens songs. Madonia smartly makes no pretensions about the artistic validity of the latter performances. "I don't consider the cover gigs a part of the music business -- that's the bar business," he says. "You're there to move booze."

Unfortunately in South Florida artists as a rule can't make a living by playing originals. Playing other bands' songs is a necessary evil if one is serious about quitting his or her day job. "I try to pay the bills that way," Madonia says with a grin, drinking iced tea at a downtown Fort Lauderdale bar on a recent Saturday afternoon. "It's really frustrating because a lot of people can't tell the difference between karaoke and a real band." Despite the dismal realities, Madonia retains his commitment to succeeding as an original artist, and spends up to ten hours a day working on his own songs. Last year brought a small but satisfying milestone to Madonia: the release of the first Dean Madonia CD, Deep Sky, on his self-started Soft Monkey Music label.

Madonia is currently working on an ambitious project -- a show this Friday at Miami's Bayside Hard Rock Cafe, with beer-equipped coach buses chartered to take fans from Shenanigans Sports Pub in Hollywood to the show in Miami. The event is somewhat of a Catch-22: Madonia is losing "a ton of money" on the project, but it will offer his fans, the majority of whom live in Broward County, a chance to see a first-rate showcase of the songs from the Deep Sky CD, complete with string section and previews of songs from the album Madonia is preparing to record. The Dean Madonia Band has played only one show with the viola and cello players who appear on Deep Sky, so the added texture and dimension will be a well-appreciated treat for fans.

Madonia's placid, introspective music doesn't exactly conjure images of beer-swilling, bus-partying revelers, a notion he acknowledges with a smile. "I know the record-buying public is, what, 13- to 20-year-olds? I don't really appeal to them," he says. "We're not for the 'everybody-get-fucked-up' crowd either. I think we appeal to a well-read, intelligent crowd that can recognize quality music and understand the occasional literary reference."

The bus gimmick is simply an attempt to get his audience to the show. Because Madonia's audience is based in Broward, they're not likely to drive a long distance for a show they could catch near home. "If you don't invite people, they won't come," Madonia says. "You can't make it difficult for them."

Madonia's learned those lessons through experience, having played in several bands spanning several musical genres over the last decade. He tells a horror story of being invited to play a charity event at a Bloomingdales in West Palm Beach. The organizers told Madonia and his band that the event attracted an audience of 10,000 the previous year, but Madonia and crew took the stage to a sparse and unappreciative crowd of shoppers and Bloomingdales employees. "It was all old people," he laughs. "It was like Dawn of the Dead. All these old folks and employees were complaining about the volume, and we were playing really quietly and laughing about it while we played. There were absolutely no fans there."

So Madonia takes the bull by the horns these days, inviting fans to his gigs via the band's mailing list and Website, which is He and the band are preparing to hit the studio again in the coming months, and Madonia continues filling his hours working on demos for the new record, when he's not playing cover gigs, that is. As Underdog (his solo cover act) and with the Underdog Show (backed by his cover band) Madonia will continue to fill his evenings playing to slumped-over drunks and culture-seeking tourists. Just don't ask to hear Jimmy Buffett -- unless you meet the requirements.

"I have a policy about Buffett songs," Madonia says. "You've gotta have $20 and an out-of-state driver's license. Then I'll do one song."

The Dean Madonia Band plays April 16, at the Hard Rock Cafe, 401 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. Admission is free. Showtime is 11 p.m. Call 954-467-2524 for more information.

Last week Ear Infection mistakenly printed that the Swarm shows at Elwood's in Delray Beach occur every other Tuesday. The Swarm series actually takes place every other Wednesday, and the the next show features Whirlaway and dot Fash Wednesday, April 28th, at 9 p.m. Elwood's is located at 301 E. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach. For information, call 561-276-6635.

-- Brendan Kelley

Send music news, gossip, love letters, and witty commentary to Ear Infection at P.O. Box 14128, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33302. Or by e-mail:
Dean Madonia
members: Dean Madonia (vocals, guitar, keyboards).
comments: After saturating the market with original live music for a few years, Madonia is taking a brief hiatus from performing and preparing the followup to his debut CD, the progressive Deep Sky. Madonia says the new CD will “still have a progressive influence but will be more commercial, more radio-friendly in terms of the production.” Deep Sky sold about 1,500 copies and attracted curious attention overseas, where DJs in Russia made it a favorite. Deep Sky also found a fan base in Ireland, Germany, Latvia and on, where Madonia is seeing about 100 downloads per month. His Web site is
contact: 954/467-2524 or
Hard Sell At Hard Rock For Dean Madonia

It's not the fault of a few hard-working local musicians that they picked this weekend, of all weekends, to put on important shows. The news that hip-hop superstar Wyclef Jean would be staging his third annual Carnival benefit concert this Saturday in Miami only surfaced a couple of weeks ago. Local com-mitments already had been made when this competing diversion landed on our calendar with an anvil-weight thud.

And it's easier nowadays for big-ticket organizers to spring a one-off festival on a particular market -- with zip for notice -- than it is for local artists to back out of conflicting dates. So if you're not going to Carnival '99 on Saturday or to any pre-Carnival events, there are some home-grown alternatives.

Start with the Dean Madonia Band -- please. This weekend could be life or death, avocationally speaking, for bandleader Dean Madonia. His group throws a free concert tonight at the Hard Rock Cafe in Miami, and with enough pricey fanfare to underwrite a disaster movie.

Subsidizing attendance is just one of several gestures in support of what Madonia calls "the biggest show we've ever done."

He is bringing along a three-man video crew to document the concert and a 32-track digital sound console to record every note. Because that many cameras and microphones need something else to point at, Madonia is chartering a pair of buses to shuttle fans to the Hard Rock. Passengers are promised free beer and prizes en route.

The concert itself will feature three string players from a local philharmonic orchestra, sitting in with the band. Madonia's new percussion player, a recent arrival from Brazil, makes his debut that night. The buzz-baiting doesn't stop there: Madonia and his entertainment lawyer are inviting journalists and assorted music-industry heavies to check out the performance.

In other words, it's going to be a really huge night whether anybody shows up or not.

This is what it takes, apparently, for an unsigned local band to make a dent. Madonia does have some commercial sponsors lined up to help defray costs. But it's clear that he, like most musicians, doesn't have the resources to be leasing Friday-night floor space at the Hard Rock on a regular basis.

So lend a hand, live music fans. Get on the bus! Help make this high-wire stunt a success, so Madonia can have a whack at stardom, and maybe start charging his audiences down the road.

The bus fleet sails this evening from Shenanigans nightclub, 3303 Sheridan St., Hollywood, site of the band's pre-party. Call 954-981-9702 for details. The Hard Rock Cafe is at 401 N. Biscayne Blvd., Miami, 305-377-3110.

Also this weekend, South Florida groove zealots the Baboons are throwing a CD release party on Saturday night at Tobacco Road, 626 S. Miami Ave., Miami, 305-374-1198. The album, Evolution, is the band's first. The concert is most certainly not. Doors open to the public at 10 p.m. For more information, drop the band an e-mail at

Sean Piccoli can be reached at or 954-356-4832.
Sing us a song, piano man
Nashville pianist plays The Penguin

Dueling piano player Dean Madonia lost part of his ring finger in a lawnmower accident in 2004, but his missing digit hasn’t kept him from tickling the ivories. Madonia spends his weekends trekking across the country to perform well-loved classics and original tunes.

MARCH 19, 2009 | 12:00 A.M. CST
Sooner or later, every musician has to decide whether or not he or she has made it. So far, Dean Madonia hasn’t.
As he explains: “I always thought the fat guy with the scar was going to come up and go, ‘Hey, kid, you’re great, Sign this, and you’re going to be famous.’” Although it’s clear where the anecdote is headed, disappointment is noticeably absent from his voice. “But that didn’t happen. It’s kind of weird playing the dueling pianos when you thought you were going to be the next Elvis or The Beatles.”
Madonia’s life, one spent as a dueling piano player in cities on and between both coasts, is the perfect opportunity for a rocky road metaphor, but he won’t let you use it. As he plays the Yamaha grand over the phone in his Nashville home, Madonia doesn’t waste his memories. Instead, he recycles them, building on each one to complete an engaging version of his life story so far.
“My parents got divorced when I was 9, so my piano lessons came to a pretty complete halt,” Madonia says. His father moved to California and left his piano to Madonia in Michigan. “I guess that was kind of like my tie to my father, so I just kept playing.”
Although the lessons stopped, Madonia did not, and the results of the 38 years that have passed are best expressed in numbers: four solo albums, around 40 bands, one record label and a 3-year-old son. Along the way, Madonia has also gained a second home.
“I’ve played there so many times, I feel like I know Columbia better than Nashville,” Madonia says. “I’ve already turned over a whole graduating class, at least. ... Whenever I see people there, they’ll say, ‘Hey, I haven’t seen you in a long time,’ and I have to be like, ‘Dude, I don’t live here.’”
Madonia’s voice is as deliberate as his story is romantic. It never falters but is tested as he describes his lastest setback.
Almost five years ago, while struggling with heat stroke and an unyielding lawnmower in his front yard, an accident cost Madonia part of his right ring finger and the tip of his pinky.
“Sometimes I look down at it, and I’m like, ‘God, that was really, really dumb,’” Madonia says, and it’s easy to imagine he’s doing so as he speaks — until he laughs. For a while, he thought his career was over. “I don’t believe that the universe is trying to tell me something or anything,” he says. “But I think that when things happen, you have to draw the lessons you can from them. ... I probably play almost as well as I ever played.” He pauses. “Maybe better.”
If Madonia had a least important finger, it was the one he lost. “I have to focus on the positive aspect because if you focus on the negative side in something like this, that’s what sends you down the big spiral,” he says.
Fellow dueling pianist Brad Heron, who calls “nine-fingered Dean” one of the top duelers around, says he’s “about the best there is on Meatloaf’s ‘Paradise by the Dashboard Lights.’” Heron admires Madonia’s humility. “If I only had nine fingers and I played as good as he did, I’d be telling everyone I know,” he says.
Today, Madonia has learned to play smarter, and he focuses on his son, Wolfgang, and his original music on the four days a week he sets aside from trips. Eventually, he’d like to play his own music. Madonia’s original composition “Honor Is Ours” will be featured in the animated movie Foodfight!, starring Charlie Sheen and the Duff sisters, this summer.
“When I first met Dean, I realized he was more of a professional musician than just a dueling piano player,” says Keith Daly, general manager of The Penguin Piano Bar where Madonia has played countless times. Daly says Madonia isn’t a showman and doesn’t rely on gimmicks. “Early in the night or on Thursday nights when we’re not busy, he’ll play some of his original music for the staff and me, and it’s really good.”
At 47, Madonia is still firmly focused on a songwriting career and constantly has a smattering of projects in the works. No, he hasn’t made it — but he’d like to add “yet” to the end of that sentence.
“It’s not the story everybody wants to hear about the dueling pianos,” Madonia says, “but it’s my story.”

Event Info
Who: Dean Madonia
When: March 19, 20, 21
Where: The Penguin Piano Bar
Cost: 3/19 – Free; 3/20 – Free for women, $5 for men; 3/21 – $5 
Call: 449-8005
Friday, 10 September 2010 00:00
A Great Night of Music at NSAI’s Radio Show!!
Written by David W Edwards
James Breedwell of the Nashville Music Group hosted the NSAI Radio Show at Hotel Indigo on Sunday, August 29th, 2010. It was a great night of music with a variety of talented songwriters on hand. There was especially a buzz in the air with hit songwriter Monty Powell on the scene to perform with his daughter Rebeka Powell. Monty has written many hit songs for Keith Urban, Diamond Rio, Chris Cagle, and many other artists over the years. He is Keith Urban’s right hand man when it comes to writing hits. Check out his website!! You will be amazed at the sheer amount of cuts and hits he has had.

The whole evening was not only about great music but a celebration of what NSAI (Nashville Songwriters Association International) does to help songwriters. Through workshops, Pitch a Song to a Publisher Nights, song critiquing, and many other events throughout the year, NSAI is a great place for a new songwriter to start when entering the world of songwriting. They have helped so many songwriters over the years realize their dreams of becoming professional songwriters. Check out their website at You can listen to the broadcast of this monthly program on

As usual James Breedwell did a wonderful job hosting the evening with songwriter Dean Madonia helping to introduce the acts. Pat of the Nashville Music Group was on hand to keep everything going smoothly and organized as always.

The night started out with a performance by Rebeka Powell, the daughter of jazz singer Anna Wilson and hit song maker Monty Powell. She was accompanied by Monty on acoustic guitar and performed an amazing set. This girl has it all with her beautiful voice and a natural ability to write songs which she obviously inherited from her father and mother. After her performance, I had a chance to talk to Monty and of course he was very proud of his daughter. “She is the complete package with her voice and songwriting skills” said Monty. He commented that he wished he would have been at her level of songwriting when he was 20 years old and jokingly said that he could have already been retired. Of course, we will continue to see Monty at the top of the charts and it won’t be long before Rebeka is riding high on the charts herself. Check Rebeka out at

David G. Smith was next up and did a great job with several clever songs including “Her Body Won’t Lie” and a song called “Ageless”. David co-writes with several different songwriters around town. Check out David G. Smith at

The night continued with Bruce Miller performing next! He sang a great song called “Miracles”. It was about a young man who died just after turning 18 years old. The day after he died a white lily popped up in the back yard at his Mom and Dad’s house. This type of flower never grew in the area because of the soil and climate. They took it as a sign that it was their son sending them a message. The next day 5 more white lilies appeared surrounding the first white lily. That same day they got a call telling them that by their son donating his organs he had saved 5 individuals life’s. Wow, what a story and what a song! James interviewed Bruce afterwards and asked him what his favorite song was that he had ever written. A true songwriter, Bruce replied “the last one he wrote”. He said he loved new songs because they are kind of like a new girlfriend “new and exciting”. He then joked that it didn’t really apply to him though, he was married. He also gave advise to the audience to not let anyone try to change who you are or what your style of music is, just be yourself. Check out Bruce Miller at

Next up was Dean Madonia who doubled as co-host of the evening’s festivities. Dean is an awesome musician and a very talented songwriter. Dean entertained the crowd with an amazing set. He has been playing the piano since he was 8 years old and has been playing the guitar since the age of 13. He has played with several Nashville acts. Be sure to catch him live if you get the chance, it is worth the effort to go see him. Check out Dean at

The night continued with a trio of talented ladies that included Sherri Gough, Roxy Randle, and Anne DeChant. Sherri Gough had a great set with songs including Jesus and a fun song called Hot Coal. She gave some great advise that Jeffrey Steele had given her. “You can’t hear what you can’t see. You have to be out there playing and letting people hear you”. Check out Sherri had

Next up was the very entertaining Roxy Randle. Not only a great entertainer but her quirky personality got her set off to a bang when she moved the recorder used for the radio program during her introduction. She is a fun performer, great songwriter, and has a wonderful voice to match. Check her out at The last of the super trio was Anne DeChant. This veteran songwriter and performer has performed at the Lilith Fair, the White House, and has opened for Nora Jones, Train, Vonda Shepard, and Stevie Nicks to name just a few artists. Her high energy set was rare for a songwriter’s night. She stood throughout the set and occasionally would kick her leg up in rock and roll fashion. She sang an excellent song called Running Red Lights. She was a little under the weather and still did an amazing job!! Check her out at and

Now for me one of the highlights of the night was catching Canadian singer/songwriter Declan McGarry. He started out the set with a awesome song called Summer Heat. It had catchy lyrics such as “I could have kissed you but I was smiling too much”. Declan can flat out jam and he has a great stage presence also. He sang a song called Headlights Glow which was one of the best songs of the night. It had a bit of a Steve Earle feel to it and was just an awesome song. Expect to hear big things in the future from Declan McGarry. Check him out at ,, and

The night concluded with James Breedwell playing a few tunes. As always James’ tender voice and amazing lyrics were right on to end the evening on a high note. The night was a major success and a great tribute to what NSAI does for songwriters everywhere. Keep up the great job James and NSAI. Be sure to check James Breedwell and the Nashville Music Group out at
Keep up the great job James and Pat!! For membership information for the NSAI go to

Before I moved my family to Nashville in 2002, I read about and immediately joined NSAI and started to attend song camps and workshops. Flying out of town every Thursday through Sunday left me little time for my family and zero time for networking, so instead I focused on writing the best songs I could - while staying in touch with and writing with many of my fellow campers.

What has kept me going all this time is the belief that a good song will find it's way to the right people. There is NO DOUBT IN MY MIND that NSAI staff members, evaluators, one-on-one mentoring, seminars, workshops and song camps gave me the tools I needed to refine my craft and write my catalog of songs. Not many have heard these songs outside my immediate circle and the staff at NSAI, I hope "(I Called Her) Tennessee," is going to change all of that!

I met engineer/producer Kelly Schoenfeld of through a mutual friend, (it's always someone you know). Kelly knew that I had been writing with the band "Heartland) and asked me if I wanted to write with an artist from Alabama that he was producing. I always say yes, which is both a blessing and a curse to me (time management issues).

Kelly showed up at my studio with Tim and his dad and left us alone for a few hours, we talked for awhile and really hit it off. Tim has been playing in bars with his band since he was 14 and was still performing somewhere every week, (reminded me of myself at that age), I was impressed with his talent, dedication and maturity.

Tim wanted to write a song about spring break. I had lived and performed in Fort Lauderdale, FL for 20 years, so I know everything about spring break. We just started writing a song about this high school boy who meets a girl sitting on a UT blanket. We didn't have a hook... Tim threw out the line with "... a thing or three." My mom always uses that expression, but We're from MI, so I wasn't sure... He told me that his dad says that all the time, so that was good enough for me. Then all of a sudden it hit me - "I never knew her name, so I called her Tennessee." We knew the song was solid, but that gave it the extra something - Tim looked at me and grinned - we both knew we had something.

Tim cut that song and released it on his indy CD "Getting There." When Curb singed him four years later, they took the song and the tracks that Kelly produced, and now it's Tim's new single! I have been writing with and for Kelly and his partner Johnny Dwinell and their artists for 4 years now, and I hope that this single charts, and Daredevil really takes off!
Dean Madonia - NSAI (Oct 1, 2012)

Wyscan (Third Wish)

WYSCAN Third Wish 9 song CD
Recorded at Heavy Air Studio (Miami)

One of the attributes of a real musician is the ability to know when to hold back on an obvious musical set-up--knowing when to apply the subtle, quick riff or laidback, textured background fill while other inexperienced musicians pummel their listeners with lunkheaded solos or freeze-dried melodies. Formerly called "Third Wish," the band was forced to change their name for legal reasons to Wyscan. This quintet is an accomplished progressive metal act that ascends a few steps beyond the heavy posturing ofbetter-known groups like "Dream Theatre" by witholding their technical virtuosity until the right moment. While guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg and keyboardist John Roggie both have plentiful chops, "Third Wish" is filled with little bursts of energetic playing and exciting accents rather than the bombastic overload favored by most groups in the genre.

As a by-product, "Third Wish" should appeal to hard rock listeners searching for new directions - those curious folks initially put off by all of the complex chord changes and quick change-up rhythyms that only music students seem to fathom. Even though Wyscan can conjure some mellow moments (especially on the ballad "The Wanting," with vocalist Dean Madonia sounding like a ringer for Billy Ocean), the emphasis here is on inventive construction (the songs often sound like a cross between Be Bop Deluxe and King Crimson) with some underlying fusion moves. While there are a lot of thoughtful passages, it never sounds too brainy, nor does it sound stuffed with a lot of arty pretense.

Contact: Batboy music, 3150 jackson Aveenue, Miami FL 33133 (305) 441-7020

Richard Pomplesch - Jam Magazine May 10, 1996 (May 10, 1997)
Sept 21-27 1994
Will They Get Their Third Wish?

A Miami Band that's an alternative to alternative by Bill meredith

Contrary to what MTV would have you believe, to see a band is not necessarily to hear a band. Look at Miami band Third Wish and you'd be tempted to think hard rock: Vocalist Dean Madonia looks like a heavy-metal screamer; guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg has the devilish grin of guitar hero Steve Vai. But while their long-haired appearance might invite catagorization, their sound defies it.
Third Wish harkensback to the lesser-publicized "progressive" movement that took place throughout the '70's - artists like Yes, Santanna and Jeff beck, whose complexities took them out of the standard rock mold. Third Wish blends these ideals, with a dash of fusion and some more modern elements, to create a '90's alternative to todays already oversaturated alternative scene.
Their sound contains a healthy dose of British fusion-guitar luminary Allan Holdsworth, traces of classical composer Claude Debussy, world and latin music, and elements of UK, the rock/fusion band that included Holdsworth and members of such hard-to-catagorize acts as Yes, King Crimson and Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention. The Third Wish bio sheet likens their sound to rock, art rock, jazz, classical and alternative music.
"We're trying to capture that feeling of spontinaeity, with a psycadelic influence," says Kreisberg, echoing the jazz/fusion-meets-art rock side of the band. "We want to reach an artistically inclined audience."
When you look at the band's othe rmembers' resumes, it becomes obvious why Third Wish is hard to peg. Previous experience includes jazz (Kreisberg toured with the University of Miami Concert Jazz Band), fusion (Kreisberg and keyboardist John Roggie played with violist Debbie Spring; bassist Javier Carrion with Sha-Shaty) blues (drummer Vincent Verderame worked with Roach Thompson) and funk (Conehead Bop, Madonia's
Parliment/Funkidelic-style original act).
Third Wish, intact since late '92, has a self-titles 3 song debut cassette available at Y&T music in Miami, and
Peaches and Uncle Sam's in Miami and Fort Lauderdale. The band is currently completing a full-length CD, which will be available in early '95, at Carrion's home studio.
Their material, particularly in live performances, offers a barrage of shifting time signatures (including 3/4, 5/4, 7/4, and 9/8), Verderame's Terry Bozzio-ish drumming, Yes-like harmonies and an uncommon wall-of-sound
This is due largely to the work of Roggie, whose textural keyboard playing lays the foundation for the band's
sound, and Kreisberg, whose tone so often resembles violin or keyboards that you wouldn't belive that he uses no guitar synthesizer equipment (he doesn't).
While the material on the Third Wish cassette is a good introduction to the band, a live show truly presents them
in their element, with newer material that hints at an even more diverse array of directions. The instrumental, "Song For Tracy" is a waltz-time number featuring a blazing solo by Kreisberg; "Trance" ("the one corporate America would like to keep you in," said Madonia in the song's introduction) is a Dixie Dregs-like funk groove which offers a high-octane bass solo by Carrion.
Modonia's vocals help keep Third Wish from being lumped into the pure-fusion category. Most high-energy
bands are fronted by upper-register shreikers, but Madonia's influences are more akin to Elton John and Billy Joel. His range is considerable, his delivery relaxed, and his love of fusion solidified him with the already-intact instrumental unit. "I've been trying all of my life to find players who even knew who UK was," he say.
With a cassette under their belt, a CD on the way, and some excellent previous experience, Third Wish realizes the next step is to create some publicity and move northward through Florida and beyond. While their superb musicianship could be a double-edged sword (Kreisberg say radio formats have turned the public away from musicallity and bred "lazy listeners"). they do have one major point in their favor; Despite the band's talent, the members' average age hovers around a lofty 25.
"I' like to do a southern tour and start moving up the coast," says Kreisberg, who adds, "I'd like to someday do
a live disc with this band"
"Even if we don't ever make it, if we just complete the CD..." says Madonia, his voice trailing off. Clearly this is a band that wants to accomplish more, but is happy with what they've alreadt created. Conquering the fickle public would be gravy.
And what deep dark secrets lie within the band's name? "It's about the99th one we came accoss," says
Kreisberg, laughing, But the third wish is the one you really think about."
Bill Meredith - XS Magazine Sept 21 - 27 1994 (Sep 21, 1997)
Third Wish, "Third Wish

Seasoned musicians with a variety of influences are the key to the flow of Third Wish's sound. Flashes of jazz

and classical composition make up what the band calls rock-art-fusion."
This three song demo release is a preview of a CD to be released in the fall. The songs complimented by Dean

Madonia's strong vocals, have a sonic passion. Unusual percussion and electronic drums fill out the back beat,

especially on the track, "Back In the Womb."
Third Wish has landed some choice opening slots for Steve Vai and Yngwie Malmsteen, and has played a

Yamaha-sponsered showcase in Orlando.

- Sandra Carol Schulman (May 20, 1994)
Sandra Carol Schulman - Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel (May 20, 1997)
Third Wish Live
by Brian Eckert

Recently I had the chance to catch a live show by THIRD WISH, an original band from Miami. If you have not heard Third Wish yet it's probablyt because they're relatively new on the scene. They have only been together

since the fall of 1992 when the five of them joined together to develope a new and innovative approach to Rock music. Despite the fact that they have not been around very long, THIRD WISH still managed to be selected (from 200 Florida bands) as one of the five semi-finalists to perform in the Orlando showcase for the "Yamaha Sound Check" competition.
When you first get to hear THIRD WISH rip into one of their originals, you quickly learn thatthis is no average garage band. The band flawlessly shifts gears throough a variety of musical grooves and musical styles. THIRD WISH describe their music as "combining the energy of rock, the improvisational 'chance taking' of jazz and the orchestral soundscaping of classical music, complimented by lyrics which both confront and celebrate many aspects of our society." It is definately difficult to categorize the music of THIRD WISH since it obviously draws from such a variety of styles.
THIRD WISH is comprised of five gifted musicians who have all played in well-known groups in the South Florida area. The band is fronted by vocalist DEAN MADONIA who you may have seen in such groups as FX, the CITY LIMITS SECOND SHIFT BAND, or CONEHEAD BOP. Guitarist JONATHAN KREISBERG has performed with the DEBBIE SPRING GROUP and the University Of Miami Concert Jazz Band (who he recently
toured with in Brazil). Janathan has been featured in Guitar Player and Downbeat magazines. On keyboard is JOHN ROGGIE who also played with the DEBBIE SPRING GROUP as well as HUMANE SOCIETY, Rapper Raw B. Jae, and a number of other South Florida Groups. Laying down the low end of the group is bassist JAVIER
CARRION who was formerly with SHA-SHATY. Rounding out the band is drummer VINCE VERDERAME who has performed with Roach Thompson, Nil Lara, Lynne Nobel, and has also toured South America with Jose Lois Rodrigues, "El Puma."
Aside from great songwriting, THIRD WISH's strength lies in it's members who are all accomplished
musicians. All THIRD WISH's instrumentalists have studied at the University of Miami's nationally acclaimed
School of Music. (Two members, Jonathan and Javier are currently studying there... while John and Vince are UM gradusates).
These guys lay down a solid foundation on which DEAN MADONIA, trained as a visual artist, can create his passionate and colorful vocals.
THIRD WISH has yet to release a CD, butthey plan to get into the studio to record sometime in October. So your only chance to check them out is at one of their upcoming live dates: ROSEBUDS, Sept 24 (Live broadcast on WFTL; STEPHEN TALKHOUSE, Sept 26, PLUS FIVE, Oct 16.
If you would like to have your tape or CD reviewed in this column, have a gig schedule you'd like to mail in, have any comments or suggestions, or have anything else you'd like to see in this column send 'em my way
care of this magazine.

Brian Eckert is an electric bass player and vocalsit with a studio music and jazz degree from the University of Miami. Brian has performed and recorded with numerous local original bands and is currently performing in KRYPTON, the 8 piece house band at the DAILY PLANET in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

Sept 11 1992
Brian Eckert - Verge Magazine (Miami) (Sep 11, 1997)
Third of Paradise
This rock and roll Wish rings true
By Greg Baker

Published: Tuesday, August 16, 1994

Third Wish consists of serious musicians, veterans of the University of Miami's music school, true virtuosos capable of technical precision in a variety of genres. Even so, they're a damn good rock band.

If that seems unlikely -- that players who can run through a perfect Beethoven sonata are also able to rock da house -- the actual coalescence of Third Wish was an even longer shot, for no other reason than simple geography. Singer Dean Madonia lives in Fort Lauderdale. Guitarist and songwriter Jonathan Kreisberg calls South Miami home. Keyboardist John Roggie gets his mail on South Beach. Bass player Javier Carrion resides in West Kendall. And drummer Vince Verderame is a Coconut Grovite. "It does make it easy for us to flyer," quips Kreisberg.

Kreisberg and Roggie were working with cellist-violist Debbie Spring about two years ago when, Kreisberg says, they decided they wanted to try something "with more of an edge." Roggie, trained as a classical pianist, and Kreisberg, who toured Brazil as a member of the UM Concert Jazz Band, hooked up a few months later with Verderame, who was studying classical percussion at UM. Carrion, who's still completing the jazz program, came onboard next, and Third Wish was officially a band. All they needed was a vocalist.

"Javier was playing in Sha-Shaty," Dean Madonia recalls, "and we met at a session. He told me he was in another band that was looking for a singer. I'm thinking, Yeah, you've got this band! There's no way I'm driving to Miami for this." Then Carrion played some four-track demos for Madonia. "They sounded great," the singer says. "I played keyboards in Conehead Bop, and I play some guitar, but I wouldn't play with these guys. They're just too good."

Instead, Madonia lends his expansive vocals to the sometimes intricate, sometimes ballsy configurations of the other four to fashion a sound that reflects elements of the kind of Seventies "progressive art rock" purveyed by Yes, early Rush, and early Genesis. But the Wish pulls this off without ever falling into the cheese barrel.

Even at their most languorous, as in "The Game," Third Wish slip in enough worthwhile lyrics and solo excursions to keep things interesting. None of their songs is riot-inducing, and the members of the band don't expect audiences to jump up and form a conga line. "This isn't supposed to be light-hearted party music," Kreisberg notes. Madonia adds, "Plus we don't put on this big attitude. We're not preaching."

The approach presents an obvious problem for the quintet. There are fans for this out there," Kreisberg says. "But they aren't the types who hang out in the clubs. They're more the closet music-heads." Tweeded pipe-suckers might give Third Wish straight A's, but the band wants to reach the rockers, and the music itself should be able to.

Except, of course, for the fact that most rock fans are not generally known as deep musical thinkers. There's the marvel factor -- watching Kreisberg whip out six-string runs as if he had 40 fingers, seeing exactly how Roggie fills all voids with multiple keyboards, and so on -- but to crawl deep into the Third Wish groove you have to have an interest in true and real musical ability of the recital kind.

Mostly. In "Back in the Womb," one of three songs on the group's debut cassette, ethereal keys mix with Madonia's semivocals ("push") to create something resembling human birth (a popular topic among good rock bands, including One and Nil Lara). And that's just the intro. After the little whorl, Carrion slams home some heavy, thumbed-bass detonations, and the band snaps their attention to some tough, old-style-rock progressions. "We take the edge of rock and roll and the complex harmonies of jazz," Verderame said on a recent television interview. "Unlike the fusion you hear on the radio, which takes the edge out of rock, takes the simpler harmonies of rock, and puts it in a jazz context."

Though theirs certainly is a fusion -- of jazz, rock, even classical -- Third Wish does not play fusion, as in the pap you hear on Love-94. Which is not to say their jazz-oriented tunes, such as "Paths," don't do justice to improv: Kreisberg plays this one extremely subtly, lightly stroking the strings, barely touching one to produce a "ding" hook, as Verderame gently taps a cymbal and Madonia's sprawling voice floats above it all like a kite on a lilting breeze.

"Paths," which isn't on the cassette but will appear on Third Wish's debut CD, due this fall, is one of several songs that allows Kreisberg to get off a guitar solo. During one live performance, you see drummer Verderame reach up and adjust a cymbal clamp in the middle of the song. He knows he has time, he knows what's coming: Kreisberg twisting out impossible stings from his strings, cross-handed fingering way up on the frets, for sonic effect not flash, squeezing sparks that are more tasteful, clean, and controlled than, say, those of Steve Vai or Yngwie Malmsteen (both for whom Third Wish has opened).

All the Wishers take solos, and each is a blessed event for the musically inclined (emphasis on music), but the fireworks are equally bright in collaboration. "Stars" lights up with Roggie's keys, then Kreisberg's guitar, then Carrion's bass A all of it building to a splashing drum burst by Verderame that signals Madonia's vocal insert, with Carrion both strumming and finger-plucking oversize bass lines. Then those vocals hush and rush right up to the bridge, at which point Madonia's voice flies out the window as another dazzling guitar break smashes in the front door. The song has arrived.

And rockers say, "Huh?" Band members explain they try to shape a setlist from their tons of originals that caters to rockers when they play for such audiences. But they don't argue that it wouldn't hurt headbangers to open their minds to something a little more complicated and intricate than "we will we will rock you." Not that "Trance," for example, doesn't rock you, with its massive drum patterns and roiling energy.

Even so, and perhaps because of those blistering guitar solos, Third Wish is more welcome at metal venues than jazz clubs or straightup rock joints. "We're trying to break out of the heavy-metal places," Kreisberg says. "We want to play more places that support funk, world-music type stuff. We improvise a lot, but it's more to let it blow. Cut loose. But it's still expressing a feeling."

That's really it: This is music you can feel, even if you don't know an F-sharp from an open-tuning. For all its intricacy and virtuosity, Third Wish's sound is atmospheric, absorbing. And, yes, it still rocks.

Third Wish performs tonight (Thursday) at Nocturnal Cafe (525-9656), tomorrow (Friday) at Rosebuds in Ft Lauderdale (566-6331), and Sunday at the Plus Two in West Palm Beach (407-965-4072). Call for times and prices.
WYSCAN Third Wish 9 song CD
Recorded at Heavy Air Studio (Miami)

One of the attributes of a real musician is the ability to know when to hold back on an obvious musical set-up--knowing when to apply the subtle, quick riff or laid back, textured background fill while other inexperienced musicians pummel their listeners with lunkheaded solos or freeze-dried melodies. Formerly called "Third Wish," the band was forced to change their name for legal reasons to Wyscan. This quintet is an accomplished progressive metal act that ascends a few steps beyond the heavy posturing of better-known groups like "Dream Theatre" by withholding their technical virtuosity until the right moment. While guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg and keyboardist Jon Roggie both have plentiful chops, "Third Wish" is filled with little bursts of energetic playing and exciting accents rather than the bombastic overload favored by most groups in the genre.

As a by-product, "Third Wish" should appeal to hard rock listeners searching for new directions - those curious folks initially put off by all of the complex chord changes and quick change-up rythyms that only music students seem to fathom. Even though Wyscan can conjure some mellow moments (especially on the ballad "The Wanting," with vocalist Dean Madonia sounding like a ringer for Billy Ocean), the emphasis here is on inventive construction (the songs often sound like a cross between Be Bop Deluxe and King Crimson) with some underlying fusion moves. While there are a lot of thoughtful passages, it never sounds too brainy, nor does it sound stuffed with a lot of arty pretense.

Contact: Batboy music, 3150 jackson Avenue, Miami FL 33133 (305) 441-7020

Bill Meredith - Sun Sentinel - Fort Lauderdale, FL (Monday, May 19)

Deep Sky Reviews

Midwestern Skies (Swedish e-zine at, Review of Deep Sky DEAN MADONIA - "Deep Sky" (Soft Monkey Music, 1998) Well guys it's time to listen up again. Dean Madonia have done this years so far best indiependent release. This little pearl of plastic is filled with great modern singer songwriter material all produced in a great way! First out for example is the bloody great "The War Came Home To Me" and the piano and viola - based "Without A Net" contains some great lyrics and gets me to think of guys like Kevin Gilbert, david Sylvian and Bryan Ferry. Bloody good album and I just can recommend you all to take a closer look at this hidden treasure at Do yourself a favor and surf to his place and buy a CD. Par Winberg
MTV local, June 9, 1998 Review of Deep Sky

" A Star For Our Generation"

Singer/songwriter DEAN MADONIA performed sans band on a recent Saturday at Tuna's, a waterfront bar and grill in North Miami Beach. Despite a rocky start, his solo performance went on without a hitch. His voice is a cross between the late SHANNON HOON of BLIND MELON and PEARL JAM'S EDDIE VEDDER. He performed "I'll Fall In Love Again" and "On The Way Home" from his CD Deep Sky on his own label, Soft Monkey Music Inc. At one point he actually left the stage to personally sing "Happy Birthday" to one lucky lady in the audience! Madonia also performed various cover tunes at the request of the audience. But don't call him Dean when he's performing someone else's material. His moniker is "Underdog" to his loyal fans and friends when he's covering other artists. He plays everything from HOOTIE AND THE BLOWFISH, WALLFLOWERS, TOAD THE WET SPROCKET and NIRVANA to INXS and THE CARS. Dean is very comfortable on stage; this is mostly due to his early beginnings in music. Both he and his father began to take piano lessons when Dean was only eight years old. Once his father worked regular gigs, he'd play during his dad's breaks. His musical repertoire also includes keyboards and guitar. As the writer of his own music and lyrics, Madonia's sound is directly related to his musical influences and personal taste. He says his lyrical influences were artists such as PAUL SIMON, BILLY JOEL, JONI MITCHELL and TORI AMOS. In his music, though, you can really hear undertones of JAMES TAYLOR, TONIC, and COLLECTIVE SOUL. His live performances are great and his album is even better, but if you can't catch him at one of his shows, you can hear him on Sundays during 94.9's "Zeta Goes Local" show, college radio station WVUM, "The Beast and Baker Show" on 790 AM as well as a few underground stations who shall remain nameless. The hardest working guy in the local scene, Dean plays several gigs weekly, performs with his band at local clubs, and recently competed in the "Baywatch Official Battle Of The Bands" as well as touring all over Florida in support of the new album. This talented guy won't be gigging for long. "I would like to get out of the bar business and get into the music business," he told me during one of his breaks. To find out more about DEAN MADONIA and his band, where they'll be performing and where to get the Deep Sky album, visit his website at -- Maxine Hinds MTV College Stringer (June 9, 1998)
Maxine Hinds - MTV local
Jam Magazine, South Florida Edition Musician Directory Issue # 251, June 19 - July 2 1998 Review of "Deep Sky" Florida Independent Reviews Dean Madonia Deep Sky Soft Monkey Music, Inc. **** (four stars)

Dean Madonia takes us on an emotional journey with Deep Sky. As composer, arranger, vocalist, guitarist, and keyboard- ist, Madonia is one very talented fellow! The opening tune, "The War Came Home To Me," is a good overall mix of what is to come on the following tracks that range from rocking rhythyms to easy listening ballads. If a hit is a good song that stirs your emo- tions, Madonia has some sure- fire, heartfelt, winners on his hands! "Without A Net' and "Ill Fall in Love Again" are two examples of Madonia's passion. These are truly beautiful ballads that take us on an emotional journey without being "sappy." That's partly due to the order of the tracks. Rocking tunes like "The Falling Of Our Love," "Walking the Solitude," and "Wishbone" fall strategically between the easy listening tunes and ballads. Deep Sky, produced by Madonia and Mark Loren, car- ries your interest the whole way through and is definately a great musical work, with good hooks, instrumentation, vocal displays, and messages. Deep Sky is well worth keeping in your CD library to listen to over and over again. -Deborah Toby
Deborah Toby - Jam Magazine
Dean Madonia Deep Sky Soft Monkey 1007 SW 18th St Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33315

There are always going to be people who find themselves at odds with thier times. Dean Madonia is a singer/songwriter who may have prospered alongside James Taylor, Gordon Lightfoot, Joni Mitchell and pre-Glam Elton John. Madonia's songs are personal, heartfelt confessions wrapped in lush melodies and understated arrangements. Don't let me give you the impression that Deep Sky is a retro 70's disc. The production and arrangements show the influence of contemporary singers like Tori Amow, who work in similar emotional territory. I can safely say that Dean Madonia is following his own muse rather than chasing trends. I hope he finds his audience - Bob Pomeroy FOCUS 17
Bob Pomeroy - FOCUS 17
Reviewer: fran snyder
It's very frustrating to know someone like Dean Madonia. Truly an "artist's artist", Madonia has amazing conceptual skills behind a variety of devices. Dean is equally at home behind guitars, microphones, keyboards, and even computers. This endless array of jobs usually confounds the rest of us independent artists. Oh, and the bastard paints, too. On Deep Sky, Madonia pulls it all together with spirit and imagination. It is rare to find someone so meticulous and yet so soulful. The album is reminescent of Todd Rundgren's best solo work - complex, lush, and heartfelt. Stand out tracks like "The Falling of Our Love" and "Deep Sky" are both memorable and meaningful. The closer, "The Big Crunch" is a twisted, and funny exercise in songwriting genius. P.S. do not miss the hidden track, it's BEFORE track one. Brilliant. -- Fran Snyder
Dean Madonia

Deep Sky

Soft Monkey

The post-it on this says "Toad the Wet Sprocket meets Elton John meets Tonic meets Sting," and I've had to say it's pretty accurate, in a happy way. Those whose hides were riled by those references should steer WAY CLEAR of this, but it's otherwise an excellent collection of lyrics and music that will certainly appeal to fans of... you know. Madonia has a powerful voice that seems somewhat out of place with the thoughtful and well-orchestrated backgrounds (has he tried his hand at metal?), but his creative ideas seem stifled by those traditional arrangements. Something to watch... Soft Monkey Music, 1007 SW 18th Street, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33315

--Kurt Channing


The Light Of Reason

Highlands 100.7FM
MALDON, Victoria Australia Date: 2006-06-18 08:39:55

"A well performed and produced album, which gives a good insight into Dean's talent. It is good to come across an Adult Alternative album that lives up to its musical genre."
Dean Madonia CD "The Light of Reason" Available @ CD Baby

Well, I can say that this CD is unlike the CD's I normally review. It has a unique vibe about the CD. In this case though, unique is good. The reason this cd is so unique is because it offers a little bit of everything. Whether you want to relax to the music of Dean Madonia or rock out to it, this CD offers it all. Not a whole lot of CDs in Nashville offer everything music wise like this CD does. I was so impressed by this cd, especially since I had never heard of Dean Madonia until now. I must say that he is one of the hidden talents here in Nashville, and I look forward to hearing more from him soon.

If you would like to check out Dean Madonia you may do so now at You can purchase the "The Light of Reason" CD at CD Baby (info at website).
Dean Madonia
"The Light of Reason"
"Madness and Desire, One Night in America"

Born and raised in Kalamazoo, pop-rock pianist Dean Madonia is still an occasional face on the West Michigan music scene; sometimes he plays at Mojo’s in Grand Rapids. But Madonia is spending a lot of time in his new home of Nashville, trying to make the move from bar gigs to the big time. Interesting back story: Madonia lost his right ring finger and the tip of his pinky in a lawn mowing accident three years ago. And yet, the man plays on – and plays well. Madonia – with his band — has recently released two CDs: The Light of Reason and Madness and Desire, One Night in America. Two of the best songs on "Reason" are “American Love Song” (with its Beatles White Album feel at the beginning and end) and “No Tomorrow,” a hard-driving song that could easily be a radio hit. While Madonia wrote most (all) of the songs on Reason himself, Madonia friend and songwriter Scott Avery penned the tracks on Madness and Desire. This is a darker and more mellow CD than Reason. The final song, “Mile Marker Zero,” is perhaps the best; it’s about
starting over and not being judged by the past.
By the REVUE Editorial Staff - Revue Magazine (Aug 1, 2006)
Krash Coarse
Jun 18, '08, 7:00 PM
Dean Madonia 1- No Tomorrow 2- American Love Song Very Prog-Rock feel to those two. Dean Madonia has led an interesting life, playing piano and guitar from a young age. His father was a musician, and I guess Dean had it in his blood, working in studios and playing wherever whenever he could. The saga of his album "Light Of Reason" getting lost in a studio move is an fascinating read on his website. To get links to his site and where to buy his CDs, please come to While you're there, drop me a comment, or leave me a few words on my comment line 763-390-5051. I'll try to talk to you again soon. A more Billy Joel / Elton John inspired tune; enjoy! 3- Cannot Turn Away - 911 Song :: best place to get Dean - related news
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Review of "The Light Of Reason" (two and a half stars )

I just reviewed Dean's other album from 2006 where he sing the songs of Scott Avery and which I was dissapointed at. Here on his other album from 2006 it is his own material that stands on the menu, and it gets more interesting. The style of music we're speaking about is
somewhere between progressive rock and singer songwriter rock and it is a cool hybrid.
It's a shame that he produces the stuff on his own cause that is the big minus with this album.
The songs and Dean's voice is far better than the production and I could just imagine if a guy like Rupert Hine would have produced it.

Phew. It's a pity cause there are lof of talent hidden in this man and I'm sure we'll hear much more from Dean in the future.

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