Monday, June 8, 2009

Dave Pittenger: Jack of All Trades

Few people in this world understand the lost art of a mix tape, and Dave Pittenger is one of them.  A classically trained saxophonist since fourth grade, Dave made his first multi-track recordings just one year later using a simple formula: "I would record the open strings on a guitar on one cassette, playing it over a boom box while recording on another cassette deck with the saxophone, and maybe some singing."  The initiative Dave took at a young age would eventually steer him down a path paved for success; this well-rounded jack of all music trades is not only proficient in saxophone, piano, and guitar, but also in the art of music production and songwriting.

Recently re-emerging into the performing scene about two years ago after a brief hiatus, the Dave Pittenger Band can be seen at venues throughout New York and New Jersey.  The instrumentally delightful band consists of lead singer Pittenger, who also plays guitar and piano, bassist Jon Price or Brian Killeen, and drummer/percussionist Ryan Vaughn.  Offering a sundry of styles and sounds, a set encompasses everything from jazz/rock/pop to an alternative country, "rootsy" vibe.  Songs from the 2007 release "Simple Things" range from dramatic, powerful storytelling to soft, sweet ballads, fulfilling all the listening needs of the captivated audience.  Currently plugging away at his latest material, Pittenger reveals, "My album goes a lot of different places.  I take it on a song by song basis."  

A musician who has kept his career as varied as his music, Dave is also no stranger to the road.  For a period of time Pittenger was booking three-month loops- a month on the road, a month off, and then another month back out again, and did not play New York City.  While touring can be daunting for any emerging artist, due to the unpredictability of the venues and the difficult task of booking and coordinating, Dave stepped up to the challenge.  Typically, a six-week tour is a huge undertaking, between booking, promoting, driving, playing shows, and finding a place to sleep.  However, the aggressive optimist lays out a well-thought plan to make the most of these travels, including avoiding hotel and restaurant costs, and touring with band mates or fellow solo artists.

Now trading road life for a place in the New York scene, Dave is expanding further into music production.  Working as the producer behind colleagues album's such as Dan Torres and Martin Rivas, Dave is in the process of developing an in-house music production company named "Mint."  

"In college I started recording demos.  When it came time to make a record, to save some money I decided to track it myself.  I didn't really have a budget so I also mixed it myself.  It grew from there." Pittenger explains.  "I feel comfortable on the other side of the glass."

If working as a singer, songwriter, musician, and producer wasn't enough, a seemingly minor networking change opened up yet another lucrative opportunity for Dave's extremely balanced career.  After moving from Philadelphia to Belmar a few years ago, Dave revisited an old account on the Garageband site and changed the location to New York City.  The very next day Pittenger received an e-mail from a man looking for New York bands.  "He was putting together a project for Prentice Hall," Dave explained. "They wanted to place rock and pop songs with the 6-10 grade literature books that go along with the lessons." This assignment led to even more favorable situations, from writing Optimum Online and Ambien commercials to a strong working relationship with the Creative Director for Alias Arts. "It's all about getting the opportunity.  It's tough to do everything on your own," Dave explains, "But once you get in a situation you have to produce."

Speaking with Dave Pittenger is a breath of fresh air, filling you with motivation and expanding your mind to look far beyond the horizon.  Never placing limitations, Dave has no pre-conceived notion of where he should end up.  For this humble yet contagiously friendly musician the world is filled with endless possibilities; a strong attitude and a commitment to challenging his own talents will only ensure that success is at every corner.  "I don't have all my eggs in one basket," Pittenger says with a warm smile, "If I didn't do the music thing I would have gone to law school.  Maybe run for public office."

Well Dave Pittenger, you have my vote.

To hear Dave's music, contact him about production, and check out tour dates visit or

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