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Dan Pinto's
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     This page is dedicated to the people I feel have had a positive influence in my career over the years. A sort of perpetual thank you note if you will. The information spans all the years that I have been involved in the music industry from the very start. Regardless of the history of my relationships, then, now or in the future, the fact is that whatever the outcome of the personal connection, the affect that these individuals have had on my musical career has been helpful in some way. I felt it fitting to give credit were credit was due in a forum that allows all to read. Therefore it is with this in mind that the mention & credit goes without prejudice towards the past, current or future status of the relationship between those individuals & myself.

        While I have always had the urge to play the drums, the same cannot be said for the keyboard. That was an occurrence that happened by chance and is largely attributed to my own brother Tony Pinto.(See photo below left from 1969) He was involved in music as a keyboardist with a band from the 1960s and while for the most part, I was too young to be allowed to place a finger on the electronic keyboard that he owned, it was only a matter of time before the frustration of being just a drummer would push me to new boundaries. So against higher authority, I would sneak in a session here and there with his Acetone board and Vox amp, both of which I still have to this day. I used to write the notes in pencil on the white keys so I could remember which notes went with which by seeing the matching letters up and down the keyboard. Then one day, after cleaning the keyboard, I realized that I didn't need to write them on the keys anymore. I could still see them. What's more was that I could see them on ANY keyboard that I ever played.   


     But I'll always remember where it all started. Tony's keyboard and amp were my first rack and learning tools toward what would be the launching pad into an ever expanding World of equipment to follow. To have a keyboard there to use at that time for me was the perfect time to be learning that instrument, just before the explosion of the synthesizer took hold in the rock & roll scene in the early 1970s. Back then you had to learn how to play the instrument without the all the influences of the electronics to do the work. Even with all the technology available to me in the studio, I still to this day have the mentality of wanting to be able to actually play the parts rather then have an electronic sequencer do it eventhough it would be easier for me to do. But it is always nice to know that I had learned and have the ability to do both. And While my other brother Joe continuously bombarded my ears in the early morning hours before going to school everyday with the Beatles, Alice Cooper, T Rex. or one of the other countless musical influences that I had when I was growing up, it was my brother Tony that passed along to me the first pieces of equipment that I had which opened the doors to the instrument that became my primary tool for writing. Otherwise, I might still be a frustrated drummer. :)


       It has been said that you never forget your first. First Love. First car. First Job. You get the idea. In this case, the credit goes to Mike & Tim Marone. Brothers with they're dad leading the way as manager, they took me to my first stage in front of my first audience. My first live drum solo performance and my first professional gigs. The band's name was "Motion", and with the second guitar player, Fred Atlas, they had already an established following for several years before word got out that they were in search of a new drummer for they're band. Ignoring the bad rap that they were hearing from some of my would be competitors in the area at the time, they took a chance on an unproven and little known 14 year old kid that had only been playing his instrument for 2 years.  The acceptance into something that was as complete as they're band made me feel like I was improving as a player. That I was thought of as someone who actually did have some talent and that other players wanted to play with me. It was an important step to the beginning of my young career and one that deserves recognition to the fact. Those were the days indeed. Carefree, fun and loving everything you did with no thought for why you were doing it or how much you were being paid. After I joined that band, we went on to play many paying gigs, win several "Battle of the bands" contests and generally had a great time all around for a few years. And while I don't see or hear from Mike or Tim anymore, there will always be a special place in my past for that time that we shared and the rehearsals that we had in the basement hall in Lyndhurst, New Jersey.  


       Whether it be an artist, a carpenter, a pilot, a race car driver or a musician, there is always one thing that they all have in common when it comes to they're careers. Early career influences. It's the thing that makes you want to be the best you can at what you do. I have many influences from my early listening days of music that which included the Beatles, Iron Butterfly, The Doors and the Rolling Stones. But one influence that certainly had more of an impact then any other would have to have been Emerson, Lake & Palmer. More specifically Keith Emerson.

     In general, Emerson, Lake & Palmer encapsulated all of what I felt at the time was most important to my development as a musician. As a drummer, Carl Palmer's influences were many because he had the ability to be more complete than an average drummer. Tuned percussion and the advent of drum synthesizers were a big part of his package. While some would argue that he was a bit of a robot in his delivery on the kit, the fact is that he was precise. Arguably one of the best drummers of his era. Anyone who disagrees does not know either his instrument or Carl's abilities. Either that or they're just plain jealous. :)
     Greg Lake was what I felt to be the most complete guitarist. As the backbone of ELP, his bass playing got the job done, and while I must admit that his guitar playing was average to good by comparison to his peers, his lead vocal took up the slack. Adding in his abilities as a producer and all around businessman for the band, he was equal to the task.

       My greatest musical keyboard influence and what I have to say that I owe much of the development of my left hand on the piano to would be non other than Keith Emerson.(See photo to the right) The influence that Keith had was several fold. First as a performer, then as a writer, but I think the two most important influences were in his arrangements and his playing abilities. Oh yes, and the inspiration to improvise. I cannot stress enough how important it is to be able to do that as a musician. I have seen far too many musicians drive themselves absolutely to the nut house trying to be virtuoso players to the point of letter perfect notation. That in my opinion, is not what music is about. Music is art. There are no rules even though there is a language. The airwaves are like a canvas waiting for a rainbow to be played and to put a constraint on that would be criminal. I'm not saying that some formal basic teachings are not important. Im just saying that one should understand where to draw the lines when it comes to the instrument of choice. It should flow naturally and the result should make you happy and exhilarated.     

     What Keith Emerson did with traditional classical music was without question a milestone that would exhilarate many and that few others had done previously. His arrangements brought not only classical, but jazz, blues and even ragtime into the spotlight for all keyboardists like no one else had ever done by mixing it with Rock and Roll. In my case, he was a great influence in many ways turning me down musical roads that I would have otherwise not traveled upon. All this at a young age giving me more time in my life to develop my ability to play. Even though Keith's playing at times was a bit sloppy, especially live, it was probably because he always seemed to strive for something more muscially. That's one of the things that I admired about him. If you wanted perfection, then Rick Wakeman was the man for you back then. But with that said, the fact remains that during the younger days of my learning curve, It was Keith Emerson's influence perhaps being the single most important musical development contributer in my early stages as a pianist. And for this reason, I give thanks. As luck would have it, I was able to personally do just that as I have had several opportunities that allowed me to meet one on one with Keith.

     (To read a transcript of interviews that took place for the New Jersey based Aquarian newspaper with Dan Pinto interviewing either Keith Emerson or Carl Palmer or to view related photographs, click HERE.)


     After having been in music for about 15 years or so, I came across meeting one of the persons responsible for motivating me more into the direction of professional multitrack audio recording. Although as early as 1976 at the age of 16 I had already been on the path with unorthodox methods of multitrack recording using 8-track cartridge(remember those things?), and a 2 track sound on sound reel to reel, it wasn't until the time that I met a very talented Guitarist/Keyboardist by the name of Brian McManus(See photo to the left), that I would begin to take that to a whole new level. Brian's home recording studio that which was located in Bergenfield, New Jersey was a very compact and effective way to get the job done on his own. What I learned from Brian in a short period of time allowed me to see very quickly that this was the direction I needed to be going in for my own endeavors which would in turn ultimately develop my studio into what it has become today. And while this is probably the only site on the web that even bothers to mention his name, it's sad to think how many pages may have been flooded with credits to praise Brian's unlimited musical abilities had tragically his life not been cut so short in 1986. He was one of the most talented of all players that I had the opportunity to share the stage with. And I have shared the stage with many.


       Some things in life are very hard to find. Good friends are one of these things. And the older you get, it seems you find that what friends you thought you had wind up becoming more and more elusive. They just seem to fade away over time becoming nothing more than a rare commodity. What's even more rare is to find a friend that stays in touch even after months go by at a time. Combine that with someone that truly believes in you for who you are and is willing to take it to a level to go out of their way to help you in your cause and you've got a guy like Todd Album.(See photo to the right)
     Todd & I have always had mutual common denominators that seem to keep our friendship alive. And while there are different levels to a friendship like there is with any relationship, it's rare to find someone that will continually try to help in the way that he has on some of the major projects that I have undertaken in my musical career. Regardless of what were to happen from this point on, there is nothing that can take away from what has been. It is for this reason that I would like to extend my appreciation. Thanks Todd. :)


      I, like most, owe great gratitude to my parents. One reason is for putting up with my insistence and finally at age 11 giving me the OK to buy my first instrument, that being a blue sparkled set of U.S. Mercury drums. It's not easy raising a musician in the family as any parent of one will tell you. But add to that a kid that goes completely overboard and develops on several instruments as well as skills in the field of studio recording, and you've got a unique kind of love. They're support has allowed me to develop my skills as not only a musician, but as a human being. And I couldn't possibly give enough thanks to them for that.

      Eclectic Sound management and I would also like to acknowledge the technical help recieved from Martin at SpidersWebHelp@aol.com. Based out of the UK, this is a man that knows how to get the job done and if he's not sure how, then he goes at it until he is. He has been directly responsible for some of the technical aspects of this very website and continues to be a great help whenever we have questions. A great guy and always willing to help never asking for anything in return. That sort of thing just doesn't exist nowadays.

      Special thanks should also go to the following people even though some of them may have only had limited contribution. The fact is that at some point in time, what they did was helpful to me in building my resume over the years. Thank you to Manny Kalaminos, Bernie Yucker, Peter Pluchino, Doug Wain and Lydia DeFretos. And oh yes, one more important person that goes way back. A special thanks to Mr. Vince Paterno, my High School Vice Principal. It was he, against his better judgement for legal reasons, that allowed me to practice everyday during lunch & study periods on the auditorium's baby grand. Having full access to that Steinway everyday was a blessing that enabled me to hone my improvisational skills on a full 88 key acoustic that I would not have been able to gain the access to otherwise. Between that and the borrowing of others, it helped in affording me some quality time early on in my playing that was needed before finally being able to afford my own. That was where my love for the piano first began. A love that will never end.




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