MuzicNotez: First off, it’s an honor to be doing this interview with you Dave Panico, thanks for taking the time to sit down with us.
What motivated you to start creating music? What age did you begin?
Dave Panico: My dad always had a love for music and he used to play the vinyl’s when we were growing up. I always enjoyed listening to the music and wishing I could be doing that. When I was 10 yrs of age, I had the opportunity to play a band instrument within the school. At that time my heart was set on playing trumpet but because of all my close friends were picking clarinet, I decided to play clarinet.
When I started clarinet, I took it seriously. I practiced and practiced and eventually was playing first chair in High School.
MuzicNotez: Who were your musical influences, idols, or bands growing up that have helped mold you into the musician you are today? Or helped mold the music that you create?
Dave Panico: My parents had a great collection of the 1940’s big band recordings on 78’s that I would listen to over and over again. Glen Miller, Benny Goodman, Louis Armstrong – “The Good Ole Good Ones” as Louis use to say. I also listened to recordings of Pete Fountain. I loved the jazz clarinet sound and started improvising on my own to the recordings. I still practiced the classical exercises as well.
By the time I got into High School, the band director noticed that I had such a big jazz influence that he said I should consider playing saxophone to get into the Jazz band. So that’s when I started to play saxophone. I started on baritone sax. I always used to get compliments on the baritone sax because I had that “Tower Of Power” type sound. Picking up sax from clarinet was actually quite easy. Clarinet is much harder.
I listened to lots of Spyro Gyra ,Tower Of Power , Earth Wind And Fire, Chuck Mangione, Return To Forever and others during the high school years along with the Metal and Classic rock bands. I really liked Listening to rock guitar leads because I wanted to make a sax scream that way and I loved the energy. There’s been many times I got into a duo with a guitar/sax lead.. Very Cool.
Part of my practicing was turning on the stereo and start playing along and improvising to all styles of music. I still do that today.
Today , I like listening to all styles of music but my influences are Warren Hill, Dave Koz, Kirk Whalum, Dextor Gordon, Roy Hargroove to name a few.
MuzicNotez: What’s the greatest concert you’ve ever been to or performed?
Dave Panico: This is a hard one. I used to go to concerts in the 70’s and always was amazed by how good they were. Being an instrumentalist, I always listened more to the music/composition than the words. But some great concerts I have seen are:
Tower Of Power
Blue Oyster Cult
One of the best concerts I performed was when I was with a Reggae band. We were invited, along with other bands, to perform at a large auditorium in downtown Chicago. I can’t remember the name but at the time it was a major size auditorium. It may still be there. We were about the 4th or 5th band to go on. By the time it was our turn to play, the place was packed and from the very first note we played, the dance floor was packed and people were jumping. It was exciting to experience that. After we finished performing, the dance floor stayed empty.
MuzicNotez: What’s the ultimate goal you want your music to achieve, or for you to achieve in your career as a musician? Any particular message you wish to send?
Dave Panico: Making Money!!! 🙂
I love to perform. I have ideas for shows that would entertain crowds’ more than just playing music. I’d like to add skits/comedy, theatrics. I like to move around on stage and not stand still. I’m very physically flexible and can perform/dance. It would be cool to do like maybe a monthly type of show. It takes a bunch of resources and committed people to do that. I love to do small tours. I like the travel experience when I get a chance.
On another note, I am a Christian so I would like to see my music minister to folks who need encouragement, healing, or maybe just a lift. I want the music to reach down to the core of their soul. Being an instrumentalist, I don’t communicate the spoken word like most other bands do so I want my music to communicate where the word can’t. I really enjoy ministering in Churches when I get chance.
My vision is to touch the essence of the inner heart and my mission is to open doors that lead to healing of hardships and struggles in life. I want my music not just something that is listened to but something that one can experience.
I also love performing with different bands. From spending so much time learning on how to improvise, I am able to walk into many bands and fit right in without a rehearsal and it being the first time meeting. This has happened on several occasions where even the band members were impressed.
MuzicNotez: You have a few albums out, how do they differ, and do you have a favorite?
Dave Panico: Currently I have two out and I am working on a 3rd CD. The two that are out are “Soar” and “JoyRid’N”
“Soar” is a collection of contemporary Christian songs with some hymns like “His Eye IS On The Sparrow” which is loved by many. Another great song on this CD is “I Will Celebrate” which is a party/latin feel that gets everyone dancing. “Mov’n On” is the only original song on this CD.
“JoyRid’N” is an all original “Smooth Jazz” CD but it’s more than Smooth Jazz. This one is my favorite. This CD has latin, Smooth Jazz, Calypso, Funk, Gospel, New Age. It never gets boring. It’s definitely worth listening to. I get emails all the time on how much people love “Samba”.
Each Song has a story for example “Bumba-Way”, (A Fathers Joy), was written from a silly kids song That I used to sing to my kids. “When 2 R 1” was written for when my brother got married.
“Come, All Who Are Thirsty” is a gospel song that comes from the bible when Jesus stands up at a party and says, “If anyone is thirsty, Let Him Come..” It’s really a great CD and worth having.
(You can get a free copy of Samba at www.SoaringSaxmusic.com)
I am currently working on a 3rd CD but not sure when it will be ready. 6 songs have been recorded and are in the mixing process. Four more need to be produced. I am working with a producer out of Nashville.
This CD is going to be a HOT CD when it comes out.
MuzicNotez: You’re known for your saxophone skills, any other instruments you excel at or would like to learn?
Dave Panico: I play flute (silver flute, native flute), Clarinet, Alto Sax, Soprano Sax, tenor Sax, Baritone Sax. I have picked up guitar to mess around with chords and have taken piano classes in the past to help understand chord progressions. When I was dating my wife, she played trumpet and had an old trumpet she let me borrow so for a while I was messing around with trumpet. When my kids were learning violin I had to learn a bit of violin to help them along.
One of the songs on the upcoming CD came from a lick I came up with on guitar.
MuzicNotez: Any other genres you would want to branch in to with your sax?
Dave Panico: I’m always looking at doing something different with the music. Smooth Jazz after a while can get redundant. I always like to put a twist on the music. I’m classically trained, listened/performed with rock/metal bands, played in a reggae band a many more. I like having variety and like the music to be exciting and melodic.
On the new cd, I am branching out and doing a Dance/club song.
On the “JoyRid’N” CD there’s a song called “Perseverance” that’s performed on a native flute that’s the “New Age” style. I’m also doing a song on the New Cd using the native flute.
One thing I hate doing when composing songs is to have all the songs too much the same or sound cliché’s. They still need to be however marketable. Songs that I compose need to be melodic, passionate and exciting, refreshing.
MuzicNotez: Back in 2007 you received the “Instrumental of the Year” award at the KingCatmusic awards. How did that feel to have your hard work and talent acknowledged and rewarded that way?
Dave Panico: It was a very cool feeling. I never won an award like that before so it was definitely a memorable experience. It’s a great affirmation to know that you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing.
MuzicNotez: It doesn’t matter the size of your audience you always give 200% at your shows, what motivates you when you play?
Dave Panico: For me it’s all about giving and being your best. You just never know who’s listening or who’s there. People still hear you even though they may not be right in front of you. Even though larger audiences are preferable, it doesn’t make sense to short change a few and give your best to the thousands. If nobody shows up, then I just give it all to God and play my heart out as I normally would. God gave his best, Jesus, as a sacrifice for us so we should do the same.
Smaller audiences is also a good way to get personable with folks and spend time talking with them. They get to know you and you get to know them and hopefully get a new fan.
MuzicNotez: Any new releases you’re working on for the future?
Dave Panico: I am working on a 3rd CD project. No date yet on when it will be out.
MuzicNotez: With your long career in the music industry, how do you believe the internet helps or hurts the industry or you as a musician today in comparison to the past?
Dave Panico: The internet is a great tool to get your music and media to the music resources that are out there much faster. Building an online presence is a great way for people around the world to get to know who you are. It’s a great tool in many ways.
The drawback is the flood of material one would have to go through. Your material can get lost very easily in piles of 1000’s of submissions.
MuzicNotez: Anything else you wish to say about yourself or your music? Any message for your fans?
Dave Panico: I am very passionate about my music and my performances and from what people say it shows. I do give 200%. After a performance when people come up to greet me, they always seem to have a look of amazement and tell me how incredibly gifted I am. I don’t see myself that way but the affirmations are there and the work does pay off. It is appreciated. Even today I spend many hours doing serious practicing. Part of my practicing is to sometimes find out what I can’t do and then try to do it. I prepare hard for shows whether it’s a few or a multitude.
I thank all my current fans and future fans. It’s a blessing to have them. I love to hear from folks and I am always looking for people to help promote in whatever capacity they can. If interested, please contact me. Financial Resources are always needed and welcomed as well.