About The Band
The core group consists of Susan Miller at vocals; Blaise Arsenault, guitar and vocals; Michael Hellend, bass guitar; Cliff DeManty, keys and vocals; Orin Gunderson, trumpet and vocals; and Michael "Mikey G" Gillan, drums and vocals.
Blaise Arsenault (guitar/vocals), having spent his early life in upstate New York, has spent the past 22 years living and performing music between Bozeman, Mt. and Brattleboro, Vt. He has been a member of local groups Jawbone Railroad, Power Wagon, Sleeveless Lizards, Banjo V, and is a founding member of Doctor Gravy, as well as appearances with local singer/songwriter Joe Knapp and the group Moth. Blaise is very excited and honored to be on the Swamp Dawg soul, blues, funk, and groove train!
Cliff DeManty (keys/vocals) Cliff was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area but moved to Southern California to pursue a career in music and to attend college at UCLA. After leaving school, he toured with several Los Angeles bands then a twenty-five year stint in sales management at Casio, Inc and Yamaha Corporation. Upon retirement in 2015, he and his family moved to Bozeman where he was been heavily involved with the local music scene playing keyboards for The Ty Stevenson Band, Kate and the Alley-Kats, EDIS, and Sharon Iltis. He considers being chosen to be a part of Swamp Dawg as a golden opportunity, and is honored to have the chance to play with such an amazing group of musicians and performers.
Michael Gillan (drums/vocals) cut his musical teeth in the richly diverse music mecca of the San Francisco Bay Area. After his relocation to Montana in 1976, "Mikey G" has gone on to be a founding member, and often times the main instigation, for such local groups as Big Caboose and the Soul Penetrators, Montana Rose, Backburner Jazz Quartet, Poco Loco, The Dave Walker Band, and Bad Betty Organ Combo. Michael has also been called upon to provide percussive backing for National and Inter-National artists Tracy Nelson, slide guitarist Roy Rogers, Huey Lewis, The Drifters, The Platters, and several others. Swamp Dawg is Mikey G's brainchild, having delved heavily into the New Orleans Second Line style of drumming over the past several years.
Michael Hellend (Bass Guitar) left his heart in San Francisco. but brought his bass to Swamp Dawg. In San Fran, he's played with groups like the Delta Wires, Tumblin Dice, Niles AllStars, Shaky Ground, Groovalicious, Busta-Groove, and A Fine Line.
Susan Miller (lead vocals) originally hails from Illinois, but is happy to call Montana her home. Susan's first career was an actor - mostly musicals - in Chicago. Not long after she moved to Bozeman, she approached Mike G. and Backburner at a jazz brunch to see if they might be looking for a singer. They weren't but his other band, Poco Loco was. She started singing with Poco Loco in 2009, and Mike hasn't been able to get rid of her since.
Orin Gunderson (Trumpet/vocals)
Swamp Dawg will continue to grow and morph, with new members being added, and special guest artists being invited to add their special talents to the gumbo that IS Southern Soul and Funk.