Half Tempted is a bona fide rock and roll juggernaut.
The Altoona-based band has plied its musical trade on stages from Altoona to Everett to Claysburg for more than 20 years, bringing an unbridled passion for performance and a hard rocking intensity to every show, Jim Price, disc jockey for area music station Rocky 104.9 (FM) and writer for Pennsylvania Musician magazine, said. And they're showing no signs of letting up.
"They've been stalwarts of the area stage for many years," Price, 48, said. "You get your AC/DC, your Led Zeppelin - all the staples of classic rock are always there. It's pile-driving, hard-driving rock and roll, and it's the kind of music that keeps people getting their fists in the air and having a good time. It's just good, rowdy Saturday night music."
Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski
Half Tempted singer/guitarist Ron Dalansky (foreground) performs with bassist Joe George. The Altoona band has been together for more than 20 years.
And when it comes to covering AC/DC, nobody in town does it better than Ronny Dalansky, the band's founder and guitarist-vocalist, Price said, noting Dalansky's uncanny ability to mimic the vocal stylings of AC/DC's late singer, Bon Scott.
"He's always loved to do the AC/DC," Price said. He's probably done songs like 'T.N.T.,' 'Whole Lotta Rosie' and 'Dirty Deeds (Done Dirt Cheap)' hundreds upon hundreds of times. And he brings the same amount of energy to these songs every time he does them. That type of enthusiasm is infectious - not just with the crowd, but with the band. The guy's always got a smile on his face when he plays - he loves what he's doing."
Dalansky coined the name Half Tempted in 1987 and liked it so much he got it tattooed to his right forearm, thereby ensuring its place as the band's moniker from that point on.
For more about Half Tempted and a list of where they'll be next, check them out online at:
Rockpage - http://www.rockpage.net/bands/bands.php?band=halftempted
MySpace - http://www.myspace.com/163144562
The official Web site - http://www.halftempted.net/
"I was just trying to think of something that sounded like a name that people would recognize - something that would sound familiar right away," he said. "The 'Tempted' gave it that devilish, evil, almost AC/DC-like connotation - the rock connotation. You know, it wasn't something good ... it was something a little bit bad or a little bit heavy or menacing."
Though the band's gone through multiple lineup changes since forming in the late '80s, Dalansky, 44, of Altoona has been the driving force behind the group's staying power.
"Much like Felix (Kos) has done with the Hurricanes, Ron's kept this thing fueled and going strong." Price said.
The band's current lineup also includes Joe George, 50, of Hollidaysburg on bass; Clint Carothers, 52, of Duncansville on drums; and Steve Oswalt, 46, of Roaring Spring, who joins the band for three out of every five gigs as a self-described "guest vocalist." All are seasoned veterans of the local rock music scene.
"There's been a lot of people in Half Tempted over the years. There's probably been 30 people," Dalansky said, adding the present incarnation has been together for a year and a half.
The group has played an average of 50 to 100 gigs a year over the past 24 years. They perform at least once a week at places such as Shaw's Bar and Aldo's Place, both in Altoona; the Duncansville Memorial Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8724; Bloody Run Social Club in Everett; and Glenn's Place in Claysburg; as well as private parties, Dalansky, a sales representative for Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc. in Altoona, said. Their repertoire ranges from the vintage metal of Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, UFO, Metallica and Scorpions through the punk rock of The Clash, Violent Femmes and Ramones to the classic rock of Tom Petty, Deep Purple, Kiss, Aerosmith, Lynyrd Skynyrd, George Thorogood and The Doors.
The group opened for Foreigner in 2008 and Eddie Money and .38 Special this year, all part of the Railroaders Memorial Museum's Alive@Five summer concert series.
Dalansky said the group intends to add original music to their set list in the near future.
"We started out as a part originals, part covers band," he said. "For the originals, I wanted to do guitar-driven music - have a two-guitar band with a lead in every song, catchy melodies and hooks - hard rock, but accessible. With the covers, I just wanted to play the songs that I loved and that I grew up listening to."
Carothers, a physical therapy technician at Drayer Physical Therapy Institute in Altoona, brings 32 years of percussive experience to the band. A self-styled "steady time-keeper," he combines his passion for music with a fierce professional work ethic.
"We're not on a national level, but in my mind, I always try to imagine that we are," he said of the band's performances. "We're not just doing this for self-gratification. We take what we do very seriously, and we want people to experience quality musicianship - and have fun at the same time."
George, general manager at Value City Furniture in Altoona, relishes the musical bond the group members share.
"I've been in a lot of bands over the years, and it's been a lot of fun. But these guys are so darn good, it just makes it easy," he said. "This isn't work for us. Once we get on that sound stage, it's playtime. We're just out there playing rock and roll and having fun with it. We play the songs people want to hear and dance to, and people react to the fun we have on stage. We're an everyman band."
"The product of Half Tempted is a product of the dedication and selflessness that Ron Dalansky has put into it over the years," Oswalt, a 10th-grade English teacher at Altoona Area High School, said. "Plus, we're playing with one of the greatest drummers ever. A night with Half Tempted is a night of fun. The audience knows what to expect, and we deliver."
Mirror Staff Writer Jimmy Mincin is at 946-7460.