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Danny Matousek is a west sider singer-songwriter-guitarist.
While still attending Sioux City Central High School and working part-time as a sign-painter, Matousek formed an early rock and roll band called The Screamers in May 1958. The band subsequently used the name The Flairs (not to be confused with the doo-wop group The Flairs based in Los Angeles) before settling on the name The Velaires. In 1961, with Matousek on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Bob Dawdy on lead guitar, Jerry DeMers on electric bass and Don Bourret on drums, The Flairs recorded their cover of "Roll Over Beethoven" firstly released on the Palms record label. With this recording, next in the same year re-released on the Jamie record label under the name The Velaires, the group scored a top ten hit nationally (the song posted at #1 in the Los Angeles area, according to Billboard Magazine.) Appearances on American Bandstand and national tours with Dick Clark's Caravan of Stars followed, as well as many subsequent releases on eight different labels.
In 1963, Matousek renamed the group Danny and the Velaires and continued to tour for the next several years. Following a regular stint performing at Danny Malloy's Patio Lounge, an uptown Sioux City club from 1968 through 1974, backed by some of Sioux City's best rock musicians, Matousek and his talented singer-wife Carolyn began to work some country material into their shows and then moved to Nashville. While there, the duo played some of the best venues in the city, including Tootsie's Orchid Lounge.
By the early 1980s, Matousek had returned to Sioux City and retired from public performing. For several years he only played publicly as a member of his westside church congregation. In 1997, Danny Matousek, Jerry DeMers, Bob Dawdy and Don Bourret—the original Velaires—were honored as Charter Inductees into the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Not only has their 1961 recording of "Roll Over Beethoven" stood the test of time as the most popular cover ever made of the Chuck Berry-witten tune, but The Velaires were the only Iowa band ever to appear on American Bandstand.
Sadly, Mr. Matousek, who suffered from a chronic heart ailment his entire life, finally succumbed to heart disease on May 13, 1998 at the age of 59. He is fondly remembered by Sioux Cityans not only as a consummate musician and entertainer but as a great, self-effacing human being who was a friend to all.