Mt. Pleasant-area band Henwae goes digital
In the early 1980s, local rock band Henwae became what Alan Emanuele called “a tri-state phenomenon.”
From Morgantown, W.Va., to Jamestown, N.Y., as well as in Greensburg, Johnstown and Altoona, Emanuele — a drummer, vocalist and songwriter — and his band mates would arrive at venues packed with members of a rabid fan base.
“Henwae had a large and loyal following that rivaled any fan's passion for a national act at the time,” said Emanuele, 55, of Mt. Pleasant Township.
In fact, the band regularly served as the local opening act for big-timers such as Henry Paul, Edgar Winter, Charlie Daniels, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Rare Earth, Rick Derringer, Molly Hatchet, The Guess Who and Papa John Creech, Emanuele said.
“It was a given that any show we traveled to would be sold out with standing room only,” he said.
The band earned its reputation solely on the strength of its live performances, as it received neither the support of a major record label nor the benefits of radio air play, Emanuele said.
“The most difficult thing back in those days involved distribution of our recorded music. We were pretty limited, at that time, to how we could sell our recordings,” he said. “If we had the technology of iTunes back then, we could have sold tens of thousands of CDs.”
With that in mind, Henwae officially stepped into the age of digital music with the recent release of “Turn Around (Live Version),” on iTunes, along with other online music stores such as Rhapsody, Amazon and cdbaby.com.
An original track off of the Henwae's 2005 album “Right Wing,” the recently released song was recorded in May of that year on the WDVE-FM Morning Show Coffee House segment as part of the band's Reunion Road Show.
“(That recording) has a whole new life as opposed to the album cut,” Emanuele said.
Going forward, Emanuele said he and the band's two other original members — Pete Smolcic of Greensburg and Rich Howard of Ligonier — along with Tim Scott of The Vogues, John Prucnal and Ron Grkman are currently working on new Henwae material to be released in similar format in the future.
“We recently layed some tracks down for another original single; we have about 20 songs in our archive,” said Scott, 56, of Norvelt, a vocalist who also plays guitar and harp.
The band plans to issue additional singles digitally online, Emanuele said.
“Then, once have a lot out more (singles) out there we'll think about putting them together on another CD,” he said.
Smolcic, a guitarist, vocalist and keyboardist, espoused the financial savings of going digital when compared with the band's former modes of musical production.
“It was just always a struggle, paying for studio time, pressing records ... it cost a lot,” said Smolcic, 62. “Nowadays, digitally there's no tape involved, no 24-track machines ... you can do it at home so you don't need a studio. If I could translate 1980s dollars into today's dollars, it's a tenth of the cost, I'd say.”
Howard — who sings and plays guitar, dobro, lap steel, pedal steel, mandolin and fiddle for the band — said the group's resurgence via the Internet makes it “a very exciting season for Henwae.”
“We're releasing some songs we recorded, we're developing new songs, keeping them in the mainstream and radio-friendly, but keeping the energy level where it was in the past,” said Howard, 55.
A.J. Panian is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-547-5722 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Ireland makes its mark on Mt. Pleasant Area graduate
- Company honors Mt. Pleasant-area ornament collectors club