Dan grew up in the small town of Byfield on the North Shore of Massachusetts. As a child he would bang on the old upright piano that his parents kept in the back of their house. "It was horribly out of tune," he recalls, "but pounding hard enough on the low keys could make the house rumble -I liked that." Also in the house was an old guitar that he would take out and strum once in a while. Neither of his parents played, yet they had gathered these two instruments together in hopes of encouraging their children's creativity.
Dan took guitar lessons for a few years in high school, but it wasn't until college that he decided to begin practicing again. Between 2000 and 2002 Dan wrote and recorded songs with producer Eric Clemenzi. These sessions turned into the demo CD Mass Communication. With that accomplished, Dan enlisted help from long time friend Neil Haletky and they began to play out. Once the nucleus of the band was formed the other pieces quickly came spinning into place.
And the rest is history.
What drove you to pursue a career in music?
It was cheaper than therapy.
Why just acoustic?
Honestly when I started that's all I had. But I've always loved the unplugged albums by Nirvana and Alice in Chains. If a song can be stripped down to just an acoustic guitar and still sound amazing then you know its a great song. I'm attracted to the simplicity of it. The acoustic guitar has a raw and beautiful sound. It's real, not processed and hidden under layers of effects.
How would you describe your vocal style?
If you can't find 'em grind 'em.
What are some of your biggest influences?
Ha! OK: Alice in Chains, Sevendust, and Chris Cornell. I love Zakk Wylde's album Book of Shadows -love that album man. Nine Inch Nails. It might seem weird because we're doing the acoustic thing but really think Trent Reznor is a musical genius. I already talked about the unplugged albums, those are pretty huge. Eric Clemenzi is a big influence too; I mean the guy taught me how to play guitar, you know? Can't forget that. And, um, The Shaggs.
What musician do you admire most?
Have you been in other bands before starting Downfall Road?
I sang some White Zombie and Fear Factory tunes with a band back in '98. After I met Neil we would jam at Umass Amherst. We called ourselves Club 20 after my dorm room number, 20. I don't know if that was really a band though.
What advice would you give to kids just starting to play?
Don't try to write songs that "sound cool." Play from your heart not your head. You can't be afraid, you gotta be honest with yourself. Stop thinking.
Dan currently resides in Providence, RI.
You can contact Dan at: Dan@DownfallRoad.com
For more info on Dan check out: Dan on MySpace