Mike Pinto
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Mike Pinto

Encinitas, California, United States | INDIE

Encinitas, California, United States | INDIE
Band Rock Reggae


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"West Beach Music Festival Review"

A fired up crowd was ready for the next main stage act, San Diego-based Mike Pinto. Originally from Philadelphia, this roots rocker is far more at home playing beachy surf music. He already has a big following in many Pacific islands like Guam and Hawaii. - Jambase.com

"CD Review"

Album: Mike Pinto (2007)

Artist: Mike Pinto

Label: self-released

Songs: 1) Full Speed 2) Surf Tune 3) Addictions 4) Backburner 5) Get Me Down 6) Temptation 7) Bad Luck 8) Knocked Up 9) Never Hold Me Down 10) Bringin’ It 11) Darlin’ 12) Terrible October

Band: Mike Pinto (guitar, vocals), Chuck Treece (drums, bass), Jay Davidson (sax, organ), Henri McMillian (trumpet)

Website: myspace.com/littledistrict

After a sliver of success from his 2005 release Little District, Mike Pinto embraced the island sound and Southern California life, moving to Ocean Beach from Philadelphia.

For his November 2007 self-titled album, Mike found drummer/guitarist Chuck Treece, a session player who has toured with Bad Brains and Urge Overkill. The accomplished musician’s addition to this record can be felt in the high-quality snappiness of the sound.

Granted, Mike plays beach-jam music — the same as dozens of other bands in the area — but his emotion-laden voice (best heard on “Backburner”) and classic-rock inspired guitar riffs (featured prominently on “Get Me Down” and “Full Speed”) set him apart from the usual Wednesday-night-at-Winstons reggae-inspired surf rock.

Thankfully, Mike avoids affecting a fake Jamaican accent, and instead of the standard weary lyrics of marijuana usage and dancehalls, he employs catchy writing to deliver stories, not unlike hip-hop. His best lyrics come on track eight (“You could cut the tension with a dull machete”) and track three (“My sound’s hotter than your upstairs attic”). - San Diego Reader

"Mike Pinto Interview"

I remember the first time I heard Mike Pinto was through Sublime Archive. Really enjoyed that site. Do you know whatever happened to it?

I loved that site! It really exposed my music to the perfect crowd, those folks who grew up with Sublime in the Cd players all year round. From what I remember, Sublime still owed their record label (MCA, I think) more albums though Brad had passed away. MCA took some songs from all those incredible bootlegs the archive had to create that four-disc “Everything Under The Sun” album. Therefore, I’m sure MCA didn’t want the fans to download them for free. Yanking Sublime off the Sublime Archive ultimately killed the site. It was a great run there though, many thanks to Chris, Bryant, and the crew who put that together!

How did the start of your musical career begin? What were the beginning steps?

If I had to pinpoint where my career began, I’d have to say that my last two years of college, right after I turned 21 and could play the bars every night, is when I really started hustling. I was in college at The University of Delaware, and I realized that I didn’t want to pursue business anymore…though that’s what I went to school for. So I thought, well what the hell am I going to do then? So I started driving to Philly during the week, playing open mics and small gigs as much as I could. I jammed with my friends from back home near Philly, but I was mostly acoustic when I played shows. My folks were very cool about pursuing a music career, as long as I finished college. Once I found that out, I took as many summer and winter classes as I could, and graduated a semester early haha. I went to Australia as part of a Study Abroad trip for 7 weeks. I played a few shows there too, and was surprised how positive the feedback was. That trip was the turning point for me. That’s when I knew I was going to put all my energy into music.

You mentioned to me that you will be working on a new album very soon. Any exclusives you can present to us here. Maybe album title, release date, or special guests?
We are in the process now of finishing a single called “The Cool and The Deadly” with Lewis Richards at 17th St. in Costa Mesa. We plan on releasing the single, then an EP. I think the EP may be called “The West Is Still Wild”. Not positive though, it will be the name of one of the tracks at least. I hope to release the full album, 12 tracks at least, by middle of spring. I’m planning on having De La from Slightly Stoopid on some horn tracks on the album, he gigs with us now and then, and is a good friend of mine. Also, Kat did some backup vocals for our single, and it’d be great to have her on at least one more track. That girl’s got some serious talent.

Your most recent album “Everything I Got” was mainly a collection of hits from your first two records. Why the decision to do that and not an all new recording?
In all honestly, there were two reasons for the Acoustic album. First, fans who knew me from my solo days wanted to hear the songs I released acoustic. The second reason is because I didn’t have enough material at the time for a whole new album. At the time, we needed some funds for a van to get our band on the road. The acoustic album helped with that goal.

Which song would you say best describes Mike Pinto and why?
That’s a tough one. There’s a little bit of me in all my tracks. Two years ago, I would’ve said “Full Speed” was my anthem. I was pissed off because my career wasn’t progressing like I wanted it to. That’s who I was at that moment, just like “One More Time” was how I felt in high school and college. Now I think my mindset is closer to “Everything I Got”. I’m trying to enjoy what I actually have in my life now, rather than bitching about the things that I wish I had. Things are better than ever for me, I must admit.

How does the writing process for a Mike Pinto album begin? Do you write daily before the initial recording or once you decide to start a new album?
When I write songs, I don’t really think about an album. That is, until I get about 8 or 9 song under my belt, then you think “3 more songs til a new album!”. That’s exciting, but I try not to force songs. I’d rather get that feeling from a life experience, the feeling only a musician knows. At that point, the song is more likely to write itself. You just have to find something to write it down with. You feel like you NEED to write that song. Your whole day’s schedule revolves around that damn song haha. That’s my high as a writer, those days where lyrics just spill out of your head, and you end up jotting rhymes down on the back of your ATM slips and shit.


You have been doing this for eight plus years now. Does the daily grind of being a musician ever takes its toll on you?
Absolutely. If this game doesn’t wear you out, then you’re not working hard enough.

It seems like there isn’t much money in recording albums anymore. It’s more in touring. Is that they key to success nowadays. Tour your ass off?
Well, not exactly. I think it’s the combination of a well-produced record along with touring that is essential in becoming a successful artist. . I think it’s a QUALITY record, a QUALITY live show, and QUALITY merch that makes for success. It’s tough for me to seriously enjoy some of these cds I hear that are made by inexperienced producers, or by the artist’s themselves. Not to say it can’t be done, but it’s very difficult to become a great producer, a great songwriter, and a great live performer. Hell, I can’t do all three, I just try to focus on writing and performing. Also, you have to be able to replicate the quality of your record during a live show, or your audience is going to be let down.

When I think of success on the road, I’ve learned that quality merchandise (shirts, cds, etc.) is key to a band’s survival. Fans may not realize it, but a lot of times you make more money in merch than you are paid by the venue. That’s how important fans are to bands. That’s what keeps bands on the road. In turn, you build a stronger fan base in each city, and start playing better rooms. Also, the more money you make in a city in things like merch, the greater the odds are that you’ll be playing there multiple times per year. I cringe sometimes to admit it, but this is a business, and financially, you’re goal is to keep your head above water. So don’t just tour your ass off, tour smart.

There have been a few artists like yourself who made the decision to move westward to continue your musical endeavors. Of course California is the spot to be for this genre, but do you see any other state making a move to take over?
Honestly, I’m not sure about what states have the most popular scenes. I enjoy bands from all over the country just as much as I enjoy bands from California. The reason I came to California is because when I was a kid, many bands from SoCal (Sublime, Pennywise, Bad Religion, Lagwagon, NOFX) were bands that me and my friends listened to. Hell, maybe that’s why I’m here now. Philly was tough for reggae too at the time I started out. I played with more punk bands and singer-songwriters than reggae bands in Philly. Now, Philly is one of our best crowds we play in front of on tour. So what the hell do I know?

Any final mentions or plugs?
Yeah, my fans are the shit…I get a lot of emails and messages from people who keep me going. Thanks for letting me know that you’re still jamming my music and enjoying it with your friends and families. It means a lot.

Also, for fans of reggae or any other music, the more songs you buy from the artists you like, the more likely that artist will come to your town. It’s all just gas money for the van.

A big whatup to my family and friends, and to all you other bands hustling in this fucked up game. See you on the road I hope!

Website and tour dates at: www.mikepintomusic.com Sign our email list!

The new single “The Cool and the Deadly” should be on Itunes in the next month or so, stay tuned! - Music Bailout


"Little District" - 2005
"Self Titled" - 2008
"Everything I Got (Acoustic)" - 2009



Mike Pinto has crafted an exceptional style of songwriting, with a truly unique take on Roots, Vintage Rock, Reggae, Ska and Classic Surf, but it’s his distinct voice and seamless storytelling that has brought him success both in the States and overseas. With the release of his debut album (Little District, 2005), Pinto began his attack on the Philadelphia music scene as a solo artist. By 2006, underground success and a rabid growing fanbase allowed him to expand westward with two nationwide solo acoustic tours. After the second tour, Pinto decided to relocate to San Diego where he immersed himself in the thriving Southern California music scene and quickly gained a name.

Pinto’s music quickly traveled out of the continental States and can be found on Japanese compilations, on Hawaii's top radio stations by huge supporter and top radio personality Shaggy Jenkins as well as topping charts in Guam. As in Pinto fashion, the hype was followed up with tours where he sold out shows in Guam, Big Island, Maui and Oahu, creating even more buzz in the wakes.

In late 2007 Pinto teamed up with professional skateboarder and legendary Drummer/Producer Chuck Treece (Pearl Jam, G Love, Bad Brains, McRad) and released his most complete work to date. With Treece lending his knack for producing and playing a number of the instruments on the album, Pinto's self-titled album has sold tens of thousands of copies worldwide. The album gained so much attention that Pinto was urged to follow it up with an entirely acoustic version of which was released in 2008.

With a focus on creating community and delivering a live show reminiscent of Vintage Rock and Roll, there is no denying the impact Mike Pinto will have in 2010.