About
The SoulMates

Page updated January 19, 2023
Copyright © 2023 - SoulMates, All Rights Reserved
Website by CustomFab

Johnny O
guitar & vocals

Contact The SoulMates:
Johnny O
612-805-9957

Glenn Manske
keys

Tom Donnohue
drums

Wilbur Cole
vocals & keys


As the SoulMates enter their third decade of entertaining countless fans
 in the Upper Midwest, the band has gained new momentum.
This lean, mean Blues/Rock quartet's years of miles
 have led to shows with many Chicago Blues giants including
James Cotton and the late Koko Taylor,
International Blues favorites Bernard Allison and Tab Benoit
as well as Rock and Roll icons Bo Diddley and Hootie and The Blowfish.

John Keefe's searing guitar work stirs Wilbur Cole's Soulful vocals
with the staunch support of Cole's keyboards,
drummer Tom Donnohue's drums and Bill Pelletier's bass
providing the bedrock Blues foundation.

The band is often joined by original member and harmonica stalwart,
"Boom Boom" Steve Vonderharr,
who adds his talents to many Blues bands in the region.

The SoulMates mean to capture their new momentum
 and bring the band's engaging, high-energy show to an
ever-growing, always gracious music community.

Tom Donnohue was born in Duluth, Minnesota. His Irish father worked as a concrete truck driver and his Italian mother was a library assistant. He has one younger sister.
As a 16-year-old student at Duluth Denfeld High school, Tom began playing the drums with " Thrust Band " performing throughout northern Minnesota.
In addition to being a University of Minnesota Duluth graduate with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree, he is also a skillful percussionist, playing the piano, tambourine, maracas, bells, chimes and tympani as well as drums.
Before joining the Soulmates, he performed in the Twin Cities with Amy and the Topcats, Route 66, and the "Midwest Pop Experience " .
Tom has a great enthusiasm for life. "Get involved," he says. "Have compassion toward others, be responsible for yourself and go for it. If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you have always gotten."
His drumming style fits the blues perfectly, however, he loves not only R & B and Blues, and The Beatles, but many music styles, with a special enjoyment of the haunting sounds of pedal steel guitar as found in George Harrison and Bob Dylan early 1970’s recordings.
"I'm interested in creating music with a new twist...naturally fusing different influences to make something unique."
Tom also has a deep respect for the people that support the music, "Without the people that enjoy what we're doing, it would be a lonely life.
Born in the 50’s in South Mpls, Glenn heard early rock & roll (Jerry Lee and the like) and that was it…hooked. Always a guitar around the house, thanks to dad. Luck to be a kid of the 60’s, with all the garage bands going on. Switched to bass when the music started getting “heavier”, and on to piano once he heard Elton, Leon Russell, Nicky Hopkins, etc.
Love that sound of acoustic piano in a loud rockin’ guitar band.
He’s played nationally & locally with many groups over the years, with the likes of: Bobby Vee, Zenner, Raggs, The Boogiemen, Swing Bang, Nazmo King to name a few. Currently organist For Minnesota Wild
during the hockey season.
Glenn says: “Nothing like live music, without a net.
As long as someone wants to listen, I will play”
Johnny began playing trumpet at age six, and with the urging of his grandmother, learned to play the accordion at age eight. Two years later, he was giving lessons to others. At 12, he took up playing the guitar and has been tearing it up ever since.
His wild playing techniques have made him a Twin Cities favorite with such bands as Transport, the Little Blues Dudes, and Twin Cities mainstay, the SoulMates.
Johnny says, "Touching people's souls with music is what it's all about. Making your audience feel things through music is why I play."
Wilbur Cole was born in Silver Creek, Mississippi. His father was a schoolteacher. His mother stayed home to raise Wilbur and his brother and sister.
A self-taught musician, Wilbur started playing the trumpet at the age of 8.
By age 10 he was playing keyboards. His musical background originated in church where he played spiritual and gospel music.
Other instruments include the harmonica and juice harp. Wilbur attended the Prentiss Institute in Prentiss, Mississippi, and served six years in the Army with the 82nd Airborne.
Family ties brought him to Minneapolis.
Wilbur's extensive career, which began professionally in 1960, includes backing up such performers as Diana Ross & The Supremes, Sam & Dave, Leon Hayward, Band of Thieves and Maurice & Mac, in addition to playing with some local Minneapolis-based blues groups--Maurice McKennis, The Blazers and the Excitors.
His music has been influenced by Ray Charles, Jimmy Smith and Fats Domino.
When he's not behind the keyboards, you'll likely find Wilbur behind a rod and reel on a lake, or at a table playing dominos.
"I would like for my music to expand in a way that I may be able to help my family, the elderly and handicapped," he says, "and become a good person through all my relations with my friends."

Bill Pelletier
bass

Illinois-born, Texas-raised, Bill Pelletier has now been thumping through the Upper Mississippi blues scene for over three decades.
A founding member of Mississippi Uptown,
Bill also played with The Penetrators, The Hackmasters, and others before joining the SoulMates in 1995.
Willie Dixon best sums up his belief,
“I live the life I love, I love the life I live.”
aaaaaaaaaaaaiii