As a young lad in Springfield, Ohio, Dean learned to square dance and can recall listening to the WLS Barn Dance on radio and, after moving to Wisconsin, Johnny Cash on LP's. Growing up during the rise of rock 'n roll he came to love most all kinds of music as he matured. In 1988 Dean joined Green Apple Folk Music Society because of his interest in the music of The Kingston Trio, Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Peter, Paul, & Mary and others. He never fancied himself as a musician until asked to join a band called "Wolverine Willy & the Blues Toads".
There he took up the washtub bass, the nose flute & percussion. After retiring from teaching (30 years), Dean decided to take up the electric/acoustic bass, “mainly because it has 4 strings & I have 4 fingers to play it with”, he quips. In the late 1990's he joined "Men From Earth", a band that was fashioned after the Ozark Mountain Daredevils, & played many of their songs. He joined "50% FOLK" after seeing them perform on the Green Apple stage & suggested they needed a bass player. Dean also plays with "Prairie Moon", a band led by his wife, Mary Swifka, who is lead vocalist. Dean’s musical idols are Bill Staines & Paul McCartney.
He enjoys perpetuating the "great folk scare" of the sixties and constantly honing his skill as a bass player. “It is very gratifying to perform on stage for a live audience and watching their responses to our music. "50% FOLK" has allowed me to become a vocalist, sometimes singing lead and often harmonies”. He also likes the wide variety of venues they now play and continues to look for new/old songs to add to "50% FOLK's" repertoire.