A Mantus is a kind of bug - almost like a Beetle...
Mantus - Beatles
Get it ???
The story of Mantus actually begins around 1972 when two friends, Billy Amendola and Frank
DeCrescenzo, started a group called Gypsy. In 1974 another friend, John Kaz joined the
band followed by Jimmi Braffet. Two years later, Jimmy Maer joined as well. The band was mainly
a rock band, influenced by other bands like Queen, Led Zeppelin, Uriah Heep
and The Beatles. They also wrote some own material.
The five friends - Billy "Bdrum" Amendola (drums, percussion, vocals), Frank "Deac"
DeCrescenzo (lead vocals, percussion, harmonica), John Kaz (bass guitar, vocals),
Jimi Braffet (guitar, vocals) and Jimmy Maer (guitar, keyboards, vocals) -
changed their name from Gypsy to Mantus just to show that this was a new start for the band.
They were now entering the waters of Disco, although, they still played Rock for awhile 'till
It wasn't actually until 1977 things really started for the band. That year the guys' rough
demo found its way to Will Crittendon, who was the owner of an independent record label
and was looking for new young talent to record. Since the band members also could write their
own material, Mantus was just what Will Crittendon was looking for. Will also managed to bring
out some R&B and Motown influences from the group members and together with their rock
influences the bands original sound was created... And the guys got their record deal!
Now the band started touring all over North America. They wrote and played dance originals
as well as the top 40 hits of the day, which was now mainly Disco. They toured for a year
and then, finally, they went into the studio. Their first single, "Turn Around Boogie Down"
was recorded and released in Canada in July of 1978 and later that same year, another
12" single, "(Dance It) Freestyle Rhythm", was recorded and released in the United States.
This 12" single was remixed by a new young talented DJ who was called...
"Jellybean". This was actually the first 12" single
remix he did. He also mixed the album that followed the singles.
In 1979, a new disco radio station started in New York city - WKTU. The WKTU played the
hottest dance tracks and had personal charismatic DJ's like "Brooklyn's own" Joe Causi,
Paco and... yes... John "Jellybean" Benitez.
Later that same year Mantus recorded their first album to follow up the successes of the singles,
the album Midnight Energy was released. It was well received and soon another 12" single
was released - "Rock It To The Top". The song went on to become a favorite with radio
stations, clubs, and DJ's. It hit the top 10 in Billboard, Cash Box, and Record World's dance
charts. It was time again to play some gigs and let the audience meet the band live.
On these gigs there was this background vocalist, who also sang on the album, a girl called
Mantus continued touring and in 1980 they released their second album, called just - Mantus.
In this second album and on the tour that followed it, Mantus had got themselves a new background
vocalist. A girl called Dollette McDonald, she later went on to join The Police,
Sting, Duran Duran, Talking Heads & many more...
The changing from a rock band to a dance band had really paid off. But the early 80's also brought a change in music. Disco became a bad word and New Wave was the new fad. The band went back to playing one night stands, and back to its rock roots. As the times changed, so did Mantus. Then in 1982, after playing together for 6 years, the band split up and they all went their separate ways.
Billy played on numerous recordings for demo and album projects, along with TV and radio
commercials for companies like McDonalds & Wendy's, among others. He also was doing studio work
for many different artists. He played in Jocelyn Brown's "Somebody else's guy",
Alisha's 12" remix of "All night passion", "It's Time To Kiss" by
Fred Schneider (B52's) & Patti LaBelle and Debbie Gibson, just to mention a few.
He has played on many 12" remixes and has been working for all the famous DJ's over the years.
Billy has for example worked with DJ's like Shep Pettibone, M&M = John Morales
& the late Sergio Munizabai, Ted Currier, the late Jonathan Ferring and
John Luongo just to name a few.
John and Billy were in an English sounding band called True Blue during 1986-1990. John also played in a few bands besides True Blue. He and Billy were also helping each other when they were doing session work, if Billy needed a bass player or if John needed a drummer for some sessions or live gigs (who-ever was out gigging to promote something, they would play live), they would recommend each other. They also recorded some tunes together with different vocalists.
Frank became a graphic artist, which came in very handy, as he designed all the graphics
for Mantus & the Slappers. He has done 3D animation for a few CD ROMs. He also did some cool
commercials. Some commercials are: Andre Talks Hair (that's Oprah's hairstylist),
Chocolate For A Woman's Soul (best selling novel) and Mary Higgins Clark
Pretend You Don't See Her (another best selling book).
Jimmy went back to his first love art. Along with writing songs for a publishing company, he also designed & restored many beautiful landmarks in Florida and New York City. Jimmy has done the Swan & Dolphin Hotel in Disneyland, Florida and in NYC he has done the Pierre Hotel. His specialty is Decorative Murals.
Jimi was a complete professional, but unfortunately the other members lost contact
with him when the band split up. So - I can't really tell what he has been up to...
Download the FREE basic RealPlayer...|
CLICK to hear some
Boogie to the bop
(Dance it) Freestyle rhythm
Love is a natural thing
Rock it to the top
the Beat is back
Singer, dancer, lover
CLICK to hear some related songs...
All night passion
Somebody else's guy
Dance all night (till you get it right)
Click to buy from
Boogie to the Bop [Remix]
Slidin' to the Music
Can't You Feel It
All Nite That's Right
Love Is a Natrual Thing
(Dance It ) Freestyle Rhythm [Remix]
Midnight Energy [Remix]
Rock It to the Top [Remix]
I'm So in Love With You [Remix]
Turn Around Boogie Down [Remix]
Through the years, Billy, Jimmy, Kaz, and Deac have remained friends. They would see each other
on occasion, but never had the opportunity to play music together. All of that changed in 1995,
right before the holidays. The four members met and agreed to work together again. While
listening back to their work tape, one thing became quite clear... It sounded like
It looks like Mantus is going to help getting people back into the clubs and out on the dance
floor again after all. Lately they have been playing popular gigs in NJ with The Trammps,
Alisha, The Ritchie Family and The Cover Girls.
Listen out for Mantus, 'cause...
"The Beat Is Back"
To join the Mantus mailing list, write:
P.O. Box 190040
Brooklyn, NY 11219
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to Billy & Frank for participating and making this page possible !!!
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