I have often wondered what will become of a great deal of the rock that is produced today. As a case study, I decided to look into a bit of music from the past that fit the times but never took off. Today we learn of a handful of studio musicians, the albums they made, and their history that vanished… until now.
Denny Belline & The Dwellers played for RCA Victor in the mid-60s and was made up of Richard Supa, Denny Belline, Gilbert Slavin, Antony Krasinski, and Richie Cardenas, five studio musicians with talent, no doubt, but very little lasting footprint on the rock world.
The Dwellers released at least two 45s for RCA records between 1965 and 1967, It Happens That Way and Little Lonely Girl. However, the albums received little fanfare and the name was quietly changed to Denny Belline & The Rich Kids. With the new name came a new look to match Atlantic/Columbia’s very successful band, The (Young) Rascals.
The Rich Kids put together an eponymous, all covers album recorded live at the Shore Club in Sayville, NY in 1968 that seemed to aim specifically at the Brit-pop movement. One good thing that came from this album, two Beatles covers in 10 tracks. Not long after, in 1969, Denny Belline & The Rich Kids rebranded itself Man.
Now, you may have heard of Man, but you most likely know the Man from South Wales, those men released some 400 albums in 24 countries. No, the Man we are talking about only released one record, a mediocre visionary album that sounds pretty close to every other visionary album of the time.
Post break-up, the musicians continued to play but each took a separate and interesting path.
Richard Supa was always the leader despite Denny Belline’s name being emblazoned across the early albums. Supa continued to write music and, after releasing a handful of solo albums throughout the ’70s, played briefly with Aerosmith. Songs you may know of his include Mika’s My Interpretation, Pink’s Misery, and (as co-writer) Aerosmith’s Amazing.
Denny Belline perhaps came closest to personal fame when in 1970 he joined the short lived band, El Primo. The Primos played a few Long Island bars but never released an album. It is notable, however, that El Primo was preceded by two distinct musical manifestations, The Hassles and Attila, and both of these bands did release albums. The Hassles freshman album is known for being the first professional recording of Billy Joel. Attila, a screaming amp-rock band consisting only of Billy Joel and The Hassles’ drummer Jon Small, is famous for releasing a musical disaster described thusly:
“Attila, undoubtedly, is the worst album released in the history of rock & roll – hell, the history of recorded music itself. There have been many bad ideas in rock, but none match the colossal stupidity of Attila.” -Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Luckily, Attila broke up when Joel stole Small’s wife, and then, for a brief, seldom footnoted moment in history, one could have witnessed Denny Belline playing rhythm guitar along side a young Billy Joel in a small NY club.
Gilbert Slavin went on to participate in Bobby Shad and The Bad Men “65-Piece Rock Workshop”, a maddening “free-funk”, wall-of-sound musical experiment that managed maximum track-listing exploitation with a minimum of planning or effort.
Antony Krasinski may or may not go by Tony “The Machine” Krasinski. There have been several mentions of a Tony Machine being a member of Man.. but nothing is certain. Tony ‘Machine’ Krasinski has participated in a handful of movies. I know nothing else.
Richie Cardenas seems to have completely vanished.
This should not be construed as a hit piece on any of the musicians mentioned herein, only the long and curious history of a group that is generally mixed into “knockoff compilations” by music aficionados who remember the chaff and see value in recreating the wheat. With Dwellers/Rich Kids/Man, we find musicians who floated along in the frothing musical tides before slowly sinking from sight.
Take a moment and relive their sound, as even this blog post will soon be buried below those that are yet to come.