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Dan Pinto’s involvement in music started with his drumming days at age 11 which in fact sparked a very eventful and diversified career in music that officially began in 1974. From there he gradually expanded into different forms of percussion and keyboards developing himself into a multi-talented musician far beyond even his own initial aspirations.

     ROOTS: When Dan Pinto was 7 years of age, his older brother joined a local rock band as a keyboard player which lasted several years. Dan’s earliest recollection of wanting to play the drums came from seeing that band’s drummer at a rehearsal in 1968. There was an “immediate attraction” as he recalls. Living in an apartment with his parents at that young age would not allow Dan to satisfy his wish of owning a drum set. But once his family moved to a private residence, his dream would come true. After ruining a good deal of his mother’s cookware, it was time to allow him to expand his interest. She figured that he would grow out of it like his older brother did with the keyboards, but that was not to be. Dan Pinto worked hard to save his money and at age 11 purchased his very first drum kit in 1971 from a little obscure music store in Newark, New Jersey for $150. He practiced every day for hours at a time until the blisters on his four-fingers were so bad that they bled. And so his career began…

     STYLE: Starting with interest in music from the late 1960s and early 1970s, Dan Pinto would listen to Rock bands like the Doors, the Beatles, Alice Cooper and Jethro Tull. His approach to playing the drums was very simple at first. But as time went on, he began to develop a taste for more elaborate music from bands such as Focus, Pink Floyd, Santana, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, and The Moody Blues, the latter two of which became partially responsible for his growing interest in working with an orchestral sound as a composer later on. And once he expanded into learning how to play keyboards, Dan Pinto’s musical palate began to change quite dramatically. For example, he was first introduced into drum soloing by Rock drummer Ron Bushy with the most famous solo from Iron Butterfly’s “In-a-godda-da-vida.” However, it was Dan’s view of music as a keyboardist that would draw him into studying the likes of Carl Palmer, drummer for Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Asia, considered to be one of the more colorful and arguably best technically talented drummers of his era. This further led to an interest in bands that opened the doors for Dan’s approach to drumming to follow a more “Progressive Rock” style. Moving more in the direction of instrumental music, double drum solos also became very intriguing. So then it was only natural that the music of Genesis would find Dan studying the drum duets performed by Bill Bruford and Chester Thompson from their days of the “Seconds Out” release performances. It was performing as a keyboard player that directly inspired Dan’s interest in working with other drummers to this extent and beyond. But as Dan Pinto’s composing style changed, so too did his drumming style in order to accommodate his writing. In fact, it still evolves to meet whatever needs he has as a composer to this day.

     STAGE & STUDIO PERFORMANCE:  Dan Pinto’s very first live performance
as a drummer, a paying gig, was at age 14 at a High School in Sterling, New Jersey. While his true success came much later more due to his involvement as a keyboardist and composer, Dan never gave up playing the drums. Gigging quite frequently in the late 1970s, he continued playing as both a keyboardist and a drummer often playing both instruments in the same band. And in 1981 for the first time, all his talents would be combined as a composer/keyboardist and drummer/percussionist for the band “Juice” when they opened for Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, a show that was broadcast live for WDHA in Dover, New Jersey. A double drum solo was a highlight for the show that ended to a standing ovation. As a composer, two of Dan Pinto’s instrumental pieces, “Labyrinth” & “Pandora’s Box” would see early success for the first time being played live with this band but were never officially released onto an album until Dan’s 2008 "Anomalies" CD to rave reviews some 27 years later! Supporting two complete drum kits, full percussion ensemble, two keyboard rigs (Dan’s and the lead guitarists’) and bass, electric and acoustic guitars, this band would go on playing for only two years before disbanding. “Juice” gave Dan Pinto a taste of being able to showcase all of his talent including playing both drums and percussion and so he continued on this path for most of the 1980s with other bands even highlighting a drum duet with a female drummer in 1986. But not able to recreate the magic that he had with the band “Juice”, it was obvious to Dan Pinto before long that if he was going to make the kind of impact in music that he wanted, then it needed to be through gaining more control over exposing his identity as a writer and not just a drummer/keyboardist. And that meant dedicating serious time to playing the keyboards, improving himself in the studio as a composer.

     Fading out of favor from doing live performances, Dan Pinto quietly returned to the continued building of his recording studio from the late 1980s, upgrading from analog to digital in the early 1990s. His translucent talent of becoming a producer and studio recording engineer grew considerably during this time. Joining BMI in 1991 and going on to publish his own recordings, he released all his music with the independent record label, "Eclectic Sound". He went on improving his compositional skills and continued to record his music with the aid of his drumming and percussion experience. He had a great deal of success with all this as he landed many of his tracks on industrial video, local cable and independent film. Writing music for video and film made sense since he always had an interest in movies to the extent of even attempting his own productions via his father's 8mm camera long before he ever became involved in writing music. His continued success as a composer escalated when he was given the opportunity to write music for many episodes of Robin Leach’s “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous” and “Runaway with the Rich & Famous” television shows, both of which ended up in syndication in the US and abroad. He composed many works for television that were used throughout the early to mid 1990s and released 3 albums of material during this time, all considered to be quite rare and all that were supported by his drumming and percussion skills.

     In 1994, Dan Pinto wrote the screenplay for an independent "movie" for the sole purpose of composing its film score and soundtrack. Also having directed, produced and edited the film, his studio as a result was now completely upgraded with 3/4" analog video recording and analog & digital video editing equipment. It took 4 years for Dan to finish the movie before he was able to begin composing the score and soundtrack. But once it was complete, he had yet another feather in his cap, this time for arranging orchestral percussion and special percussive effects for an independent feature film.

     A year later, Dan Pinto was back in the studio recording yet another solo CD titled “Visions”, again performing all the drums and percussion on all tracks. In 2001 Dan had the opportunity to record drums with bassist Dave LaRue for the band 3 Point Play resulting in the release of a CD titled “Double OT” which also yielded some great performances by other very well known Jazz artists. And with Dan Pinto’s more recent recordings toward the end of the 2000s such as his "Anomalies" CD release, you can easily hear the maturity in his playing technique from just a few years prior in how he alternates between his earlier recordings and adding a more modern progressive Jazz element to his approach at drumming. This was further proof that his drumming days were far from over.

     EQUIPMENT: The earliest days of Dan Pinto’s use of equipment found him playing
anything that made a unique sound. In the mid 1970’s Dan was recording his sounds by way of audio reel to reel and his opinion was that “...if you can’t see the instrument being played, who cares what it looks like so long as it sounds good.” A perfect example of this was a small tin solder can that made such a rich sounding cowbell effect, that it sounded better than quality cowbells costing thirty bucks! Dan would find little inexpensive brass bells in New York’s "Chinatown" district that had such beautiful sounding tones and he would use them on his musical recordings. And when trying to recreate an orchestral sound that needed Timpani, he would take a bass drum turning the front side up after removing the bottom skin. Then with a loosely tuned top skin, he would record the sound at a faster speed to get the effect he wanted at normal playback.

     A popular type of drum in the early 1970s called “Melodic Tom-toms” soon grabbed Dan Pinto’s interest and so too did bands using these types of drums. So he would begin studying the drum kits of drummers such as Carl Palmer, Bill Bruford, Chester Thompson and others. It wasn’t long before his drum kit would take on similar form. Traditional percussion was only natural for him to add to his equipment ensemble. But when something new arrived on the drum scene, Dan was there investigating it. He added Remo’s "Rototoms" to his drum kit in the 1970s which are tunable drums with skins mounted over skeletal frames. Dan’s experience as a keyboardist is the reason for his expansion into certain types of mallet played keyboard percussion too such as tuned orchestra bells. And as a versatile composer he always had the need for many types of African and Latin hand percussion instruments to add to the music’s rhythmic qualities.

     Dan Pinto’s involvement with Moog synthesizers introduced him into using electronic drums. Long before MIDI became standard in 1983 and several years before Simmons introduced their electronic kits in 1980, Dan was using Moog drums to trigger synthesizer sounds as a means to expand his drumming expression. This especially became interesting for audiences of Dan’s live performances because of the sometimes unexpected nature of such results during drum solos. With the new age of electronics to come about in the early 1980s, and again largely due to his now established electronic keyboard background, Dan Pinto got involved with Simmons electronic drum equipment later on during this decade but never purchased a Simmons set. Instead, he stuck with acoustic drums in the studio and later added a Simmons TMI or “Trigger to Midi Interface” unit. This enabled him to access studio equipment such as an Alesis "HD-16" electronic drum unit as well as his keyboard sound modules which produced an even greater and much more elaborate array of drum and percussion sounds. Aside from the Moog units, his earliest use of drum triggers to access electronic sounds were again through his own custom innovations. Dan built electronic drums using standard Remo practice pads mounting inexpensive Radio Shack "piezo" triggers to do the job. Though this worked to generally trigger the sounds, the pads were not sensitive enough for more subtle drumming techniques and so Dan eventually equipped himself with a varying array of quality pads such as "TomCATs" made by Dauz.

Shown below is Dan Pinto's studio kit layout excluding many external percussion instruments.

 
  


     Today, Dan Pinto utilizes a mix of both old and new technology in his approach to recording his drumming sounds. And while he will never abandon the use of his sticks, keyboard sound modules are now extremely powerful and allow him to program very rich and true to life sounds for not just a basic drum kit but for an entire evolution of percussion. The days of needing to alter the sound of a bass drum to get a timpani effect are long gone. He mixes the newer technology with real sounds still utilizing actual technique on both acoustic and electronic drums via his complex studio kit. This gives him the tools to create an endless array of results. Electronically, he uses
Kurzweil sound modules which provide an extremely diverse library of drum and percussion effects. Beyond the stock patches used, he also layers the sounds in ways that create a human element for touch and feel. His acoustic drum kit includes mostly Pearl
drums and an enormous assortment of Zildjian, Paiste and Sabian cymbals. He calls on everything in real percussion from Rain sticks, LP "Vibra-slap" and Armen wind chimes to Musser orchestra bells, Slingerland timbales, Lugwig temple blocks and even a Paiste twenty-four inch symphony gong. To read about Dan Pinto's use of equipment for keyboards, visit the Keyboardist Page.

     THE FUTURE: As the Internet began to take hold in the 2000s, the face of the independent musician changed forever. Dan Pinto like many artists saw this as an opportunity like none before. Connecting directly with an audience that he can gain interest from in what he enjoys doing most means that it's never been a better time to be in the driver's seat. In this decade he has since gone on to release some of the most diverse music under the Eclectic Sound label ever and has solidified his place amoung composers and keyboardists. But equally important is the foundation that was initially set in stone from the early days of his drumming which never wavered, not for a minute. For every track that he releases, whether it’s for TV, independent film or as a solo artist, you can be sure that Dan Pinto's drum and percussion performances and innovations are fully involved.

For more on Dan Pinto and his music, visit the "Home Page".



  


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