In 1995, Dan hatched a plan to create a band of great musicians that would play the music that he grew up with and loved. He decided upon the name Studebaker Hawk, which was derived from a character in a Frank Zappa song, "Billy the Mountain." He began short listing a group of players that he had previously worked with including Gary Lenk, Joseph Kolkovich, and Rick Kraft and they all said yes. A search began for a vocalist and Steve Bonneau came in as frontman, remaining through the end of 1996.
Once the band had enough songs ready to go, but without any type of demo to help sell the band, Dan successfully talked his way into Jo Jo's Brewing Company (now Chuy's) in Simi Valley. Studebaker Hawk debuted on May 24th, 1996. The first gig went very well in spite of the venue attempting to stick the band with a tab for a couple that dined and dashed and the sprinklers dampening the load out.
Ric Plamondon came aboard at the beginning of 1997 and remains as Studebaker Hawk's engaging front man to this day. Here is the original rehearsal schedule, flyer for the first show, and a photo of Dan and Gary after the gig.