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 fervent, exploding fan base empowered 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 notoriety. His infectious sound garnered so much attention that Insomnia Radio added his single "One More Time" amidst a hard hitting compilation of the SoCal sound’s brightest groups including DI and Slightly Stoopid. In very short order, Mike Pinto transitioned from a kid from Philly playing acoustic in coffee houses and tiny bars to a prominent fixture on the SoCal music scene.
It was precisely the sardonic, Philly-bred mentality, which distinguished Mike Pinto amongst his musical peers in sun-drenched Southern California indie music scene. Philadelphia is notorious for the fierce attitude and aggressive behavior of its sports fans. It is a tough city and churns out tough-minded, skeptical people. One can hear this influence in Pinto’s lyrics. They can be often be dark tales populated with characters who have sold their souls (“Tricky Nicky”), or been left flailing and stripped by the terrible toll exacted by addiction (“Bad Luck”). Pinto doesn’t just write about the bliss of new love or tired clichés found littered throughout the songs of many of his musical peers. Though he writes and performs mainly reggae and ska, the words “Babylon” and “Rastafari” are not invoked on a routine basis, nor does Mike employ an adopted Jamaican accent or sing in patois. Mike Pinto writes music that is true to his experience, there is no room on his tracks for pretense or posturing.
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, which left countless, frenzied new fans sprouted by the thousands in his wake.
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 accomplished album to that point. 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 it, which was released in 2008.
Year-in-and year-out, Mike’s flexibility as a musician draws sold out shows all over the United States. His committed and passionate fan base also showed up in droves to pack tours of both Canada and Mexico. While at a Mike Pinto concert, his ability to play anything from classic covers delivered with near perfection (“Shame and Scandal” is a common crowd favorite), to horn-infused ska, punk-tinged rock, or his own unique brand of reggae, is what draws music fans who favor diverse genres of music.
In 2011, Mike released The West is Still Wild, a six track EP that served to satiate his now-global following until Mike felt a full-length effort was feasible. Mike toured in support of The West is Still Wild, and was received noticeably larger crowds as those on previous tours. Word finally got out via word-of-mouth and social networking as well, who Mike Pinto is and why his music is worth the effort spent discovering it.
There is a new album entitled Truthful Lies set for release in late June. The album will feature special guests: Junior Marvin, on lead guitar; George Laks on keyboards; and Chuck Treece on Bass & Drums. Upon release, Mike will be touring nationally in support of Truthful Lies. There is very little doubt that this tour will see even larger crowds this time out. Fans of Mike Pinto tend to be uncompromising fans of genuine music in general. In this age of proactive music consumers, an musician like Mike Pinto has the ability to reach fans directly based solely on the merit of his music.
For years Mike has been known to be an artist who refuses to negotiate the content of his music or allow financial and/or commercial considerations to influence its content. If you’ve never experienced Mike Pinto perform live, definitely go out and see him live this summer during the national tour.
On the occasions I had a chance to attend a Mike Pinto concert it was obvious to this writer, that once the stage lights cut out he was completely spent emotionally and physically. What more can someone ask of a musician?