Dark Horse Flyer
A riveting story of the enduring power of friendship and second chances
By Dale King and Julia Hebert
For a record album that never even made it to vinyl, the 1970s-era collection, “Last Mango in Paradise,” is heavy with history. Eleven South Florida rock musicians
performed on it. The cover art was complete and the disc was ready for final mixing. But then, tragedy struck. The recording studio owner was killed in a motorcycle accident. The original tapes containing all the songs disappeared, as did the studio. The band known then as ‘Breeze,’ disbanded. Members dispersed, but their friendship endured, along with a strong sense of untapped potential. Their story is a testament to second chances and the courage to put dreams into action — no matter what.
Dark Horse Flyer Launches
Many of the musicians featured on the 1970s album trickled into the work world, but nearly all continued to make music. Scott Lane channeled his drive and became CEO and owner of a petroleum distribution company. Don Mularz sold scuba diving equipment and accessories, though he kept his voice and guitar-playing fingers in the music game. John Tilman remained a dedicated musician in the South Florida scene.
When Scott was about to sell his interest in his petroleum firm and retire, he looked back to the musical group that he and Don created nearly four decades earlier. What fun it would be, Scott mused, with Don’s full agreement, to rally the former band members for a whoop-ass get-together on Scott’s massive parcel of property in Parkland, Florida.
“My original idea was to have a reunion party,” said Scott. But it burgeoned into the creation of the group called Dark Horse Flyer, reuniting the original charter members along with bass player Richard Taylor, drummer/percussionist Raul Hernandez (who says he came to the U.S. from Cuba by raft) and keyboard player Bob Taylor. Beth Cohen has been added on background vocals.
Hernandez and Bob Taylor are seasoned musicians, having shared the stage with well-known vocalists and groups such as Buster Poindexter, Etta James, the Temptations, Kansas and Chuck Berry. Richard Taylor alternates bass playing with teaching “big data super-computing – I love nerdy stuff,” he said, laughing.
Why the name “Dark Horse Flyer”? “We liked it for the ‘come from behind, against all odds’ sense of the name,” said Don. “We also needed a name we could trademark. Our logo reminded me of aircraft ‘nose art’ and I checked to see if Dark Horse was associated with any historic aircraft.” Don found a story about a B-17 bomber in World War II named Dark Horse that flew seven missions and was shot down over Germany. “We all consider the name Dark Horse Flyer to be a tribute to the crew and all American veterans.”
The ‘tropic-rock’ legacy musicians of Dark Horse Flyer recorded a nine-song CD called “Breakaway”– with its heart-thumping, guitar riff-heavy “Evil Woman” issued as a single and a music video. The group released the disc with celebratory honors at the Jazziz Jazz Club in Boca Raton this past October, where the group performed live before
a packed house.
A Look Back to the ’70s
Ironically, back in the heyday of the ’70s, when the band was known as ‘Breeze’, an up-and-coming performer named Jimmy Buffett was recording in another nearby Fort Lauderdale studio – and was melding his own not-far-from Key West style. He would end up recording songs called “Cheeseburger in Paradise” and “Last Mango in Paris” – similar in title to the Breeze tunes – before parlaying his “Margaritaville” sound into a billion dollar industry.
Also, one of the musicians who performed on two of the “Last Mango” tracks, Gilbert Montagne, a blind keyboardist from France who came to Fort Lauderdale to perk up his career, returned to his native land and became one of country’s top performers. “He’s the Ray Charles of France,” said Scott.
The rhythm of the Dark Horse Flyer’s South Florida-based sextet has earned them a reputation as ‘songwriters with chops’ from music critics.
You can check out their “Evil Woman” video at SouthFloridaOpulence.com and search up the band’s gig schedule at darkhorseflyer.com.