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Dean grew up on the frigid plains of Northwest Minnesota. He started drumming for the elementary school band in fourth grade, and began his drum set studies in junior high with Jim Henkenmeyer. Dean holds a degree in music from Moorhead State University, where he was the drummer for the MSU jazz band, jazz combos, and several orchestral ensembles.

By the age of 17 Dean was already playing professionally in the clubs. Since then, he has accrued over 20 years of experience playing in several bands ranging in a wide variety of styles. He has also played professionally for musical theatre productions across the country. Dean currently resides in Manhattan, KS.