I’d like to introduce Dan Sindel.  Whilst Dan’s music is not rock/metal, Angel Of Metal likes to keep an open mind to highlight and surprise you to other aspects of music once in a while.

Quoting from Dan’s myspace, “What if the Classical Masters had access to Electric Guitars, Amps, Fuzz Boxes, Wah Wah pedals, Digital Delays, Flangers, Multitrack Hard Disk Recording Devices, Computers and other various Digital Sound Processing toys?”

More than likely, they would be hanging out with Dan Sindel multi-tracking! Dan’s music certainly brings a smile to your face, and that can’t be bad!

Hi Dan, where are you from?

Hi Angel, Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to be interviewed by your online magazine and share some insight to what I am doing musically with your readership, I appreciate it very much!

Yes indeed, I am native to Southern California, lived here in the LA area all my life (for better or worse). Even though people drive like complete maniacs out here it’s still a cool place to live.
Tell me a little about your musical background, as a child onwards.

Sure, it all started when I was around 9 years old (4th grade), back when musical education was very much part of the LA school system and one day they were passing out musical instruments and I ended up with the trumpet which I thought was really cool because it was the loudest and most obnoxious of all the instruments being handed out! (LOL, you know how little kids are, anything to disturb the peace!)

So I stuck with the trumpet for quite a few years and upon entering Jr. High I branched out and also took up the French Horn and Trombone while playing in the Concert band and Orchestras which was a fantastic experience as I learned how to sight read not only the treble clef but the bass clef and learn how to negotiate within a group setting with other players.

Later on when I went to High school (even though I had already been playing guitar for a year or so) I kept at it with the brass instruments and played in all the bands, even the marching band for a few semesters until I just deemed it not cool anymore and went full time with the guitar and started taking some lessons and began hooking up with other guys to form garage bands and I played at 100’s and 100’s of backyard parties during those years.

Back in the 80’s the music scene out here in the LA area was really healthy! In my estimation it is pretty dead these days but back then in High School there was an abundance of extra-curricular activities. There was so much competition; each High School seemed to have at least 5-10 really excellent bands and any given Friday or Saturday night by networking with friends from other schools you could easily end up with a list of 20-30 different backyard parties which were all raging with a live band, kegs of beer and tons of kids hanging out. But by the mid/late 80’s the police dampened that and then the rap/hip-hop thing sort of took over and changed the kids behavior and I doubt we will ever see that spirit of live music and competition once again around here!

I think I missed Van Halen (I think called “Mammoth” back then) by a year or 2 when they were still playing all the parties because when I hit 10th grade they just broke with their debut album but I saw Randy Rhoads/Quiet Riot and lots of other bands in the process. Those were AMAZING times to say the least!
Who would you say have been your major influences in your musical style?

Honestly, that could go on for days!!! I am sure you get that same answer from most musicians you talk to but its true there are so many various musicians in all genres and cultures that have shaped my musical path and to narrow it down to just a few is a tough one but if you head over to my web site http://www.dansindel.us/ and look on the home page up near the top there is an “Influences” link which gives a partial list of people who inspired me to reach for new heights.

But of course I owe it all to Jimmy Page as when I was still in Jr. High playing in the concert band I became aware of Led Zep and “say no more”, it did not take long before I traded out the good ol’ brass instruments for my first real electric guitar and amp!

I guess you could say “the rest is history” and I am quite thankful that music has been an integral part of my life, it is my passion and could not see how life could exist without it.
Please tell me a little about your cd “Marching In – A Tribute To The March King”.

I think in this instance one could say “You can take the boy out of the band, but you can’t take the band out of the boy”... LOL

Honestly, this project came about after a few good years of teaching myself how to multi-track with my pro tools rig and get comfortable with all the technology available to me. I started out by recording simple 3 & 4 part Baroque pieces and then began to look for more challenging compositions to try and recreate with just my guitars, soon enough I was transposing pieces written for the piano and then I found some very amazing websites (http://www.mutopiaproject.org  and http://www.free-scores.com) that offered full conductor scores to some of the greatest works of the classical composers and from there I had a field day and started tracking pieces by Vivaldi, Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, Grieg etc…

Then one day it hit me, I just sat there and laughed and thought “Wow, how weird and unusual would it be to actually recreate every single part of a marching band with just guitars?” So just to satisfy my curiosity I ordered the full conductor score to John Philip Sousa’s “The Stars and Stripes Forever” and went to town. Funny, as a kid I always loved putting models and jigsaw puzzles together and in a way this was very similar as the approach to building up the foundation (or outside corners if you will) was very reminiscent of the process you go through.

After I had finished recording “The Stars and Stripes” I got busy and ended up shifting gears and recorded "Excerpts From Handel's Messiah" (the 3 song 14:38 musical epic that started it all..!). I worked that demo to death and passed 1000’s of CD’s out at winter NAMM which opened up the door to meet quite a lot of industry insiders and I received many positive reviews which encouraged me to press on.

I never really had an intent to create a commercial product as I was still looking at this whole thing as a hobby and a bit of game to see how far I could go and one thing led to another and I just decided that I had so much fun recording the first song by John Philip Sousa that I would give it a shot and do a few more, so I went back online and hunted down about 8 more full conductor scores and as good fortune would have it, my engineer friend John Prpich who owns RADD Sound Studios (where I mixed "Excerpts From Handel's Messiah") happened to be very good friends with pro drummer Rick Shlosser http://www.rickshlosser.com (Alice Cooper, Rod Stewart, Van Morrison, Cher, Diana Ross) and John hooked me up with Rick who was very interested in laying down the “drum core” on these Sousa marches and he did such an AMAZING job, just flawless, watching Rick record in the studio only solidified why he has played on 100’s of gold and platinum records over the past few decades.

As an interesting side note, a few of the scores I worked with came from the good people at the Sousa archives http://www.library.uiuc.edu/sousa/ which is part of the University of Illinois Library and the largest collection of Sousa’s legacy and a very exclusive photo on the booklet of the actual CD came from "The President's Own" United States Marine Band’s archives. http://www.marineband.usmc.mil/

To me it was just amazing how many levels this project has gone, imagine there I am in my room talking with military personnel residing within the “Pentagon” about the legacy of John Philip Sousa and how I am doing my best to stay reverent to his compositions with “only guitars” and they give me their blessing and give me rights to use some very rare photos in a commercial setting, how crazy is that? LOL

How did you come to choosing John Philip Sousa above any other composer to cover?

Not entirely sure to be honest. Like I was saying earlier I had so much fun recording the first song by John Philip Sousa that I would give it a shot and do a few more. Who would have known it would grow into what it has so far, I am amazed at every turn.

But what is just fascinating is, after tearing these compositions apart and turning them inside out and upside down I have come to realize the pure and utter genius that John Philip Sousa possessed, what a brilliant man..! His sense of syncopation, counterpoint, harmony, contrary motion, polyphony and melody is absolutely mind bending. True most people don’t over analyze his music and typically equate his work with parades, football games, the Merry Go Round and Fourth of July Spectaculars and so forth… but in the process I had discovered he truly is one of a very small, select crowd that I would call a master composer. A true musical legend.
What sort of reaction have you been getting from the media?

So far so good, I have received many positive reviews and what makes me laugh is that this project or to be more precise my Symphonic Guitars concept is just so “unique and different” to what is considered mainstream or what is considered accepted that it does take many by surprise!

True, some folks do not get it or other guitarist’s “get all in a bunch” but I am not out to please everybody, you just can’t. These days my philosophy is that I am just happy to be able to have the time to attend to my craft and if anyone happens to enjoy what I am doing all the better and welcome aboard. 


You’ve recently been featured in Electronic Musician and Guitar Player Magazines. Do you read them and did you ever expect to be featured in them?

Wow, did I ever expect to be featured in Guitar Player or EM…? No, not really! I mean, who hasn’t grown up dreaming of being in a national publication as big as these mags are! That is where all your heroes and favorite bands live. Personally, I never saw it coming. The brief MySpace mention in the April 2008 Guitar Player opened up the door for a full page “Pro-File” in the July 2008 Electronic Musician and where it goes from here is anyone’s guess. What an honor!!!

Regarding the Electronic Musician Pro-File, the real catalyst that opened the door was that two-time Grammy nominee producer/engineer Carmen Rizzo (Seal, Coldplay, Alanis Morissette, Paul Oakenfold, Pete Townshend) agreed to mix a few of my tracks. Carmen had been featured on the cover of EM in August of 2007 and after I read his interview I was intrigued by his work ethic and I actually sent Carmen an email asking if he would be interested in investigating my musical efforts and much to my amazement Carmen came back the next day and said he would be happy to analyze my recording sessions and the rest is history, he mixed a pair of tracks for me on “Marching In” (“Semper Fi” and “The Thunderer”) and the sound is brilliant, just breathtaking! 

So I sent an email along to the editors of EM telling them that in fact due to their inclusion of Carmen on the cover and my working with him as a result of their article, they were very interested in hearing the final product. Of course I followed up with them when the time was correct and sent an email with a link to download the EP and they were excited about what I had created and wanted to know more about it and have me share the story with their audience. Quite humbling actually..!

I have read GP ever since I started playing guitar back in 1976- 1977 (yes kiddies I am that old… guess my age and win a prize… LOL) and I started reading EM about 3-4 years ago when I got serious about home recording and wanted to learn as much as possible about what I was doing in order to better my recording skills.
Any endorsements?

Yes, after passing out 1000’s of CD’s of "Excerpts From Handel's Messiah" at the past few winter NAMM shows I ended up with quite a lot of contacts and after my due diligence and lots of follow up calls I am very proud to say I have ended up with many endorsements from major manufactures.

I was a bit hesitant at first to approach these companies after all, I was not in a touring band and certainly had no hit record to speak of but my approach was quite honest and I truly think that is what many of the reps appreciated as I humbly asked if they would be interested in working with me on a “grassroots” level as an independent artist as I am building my portfolio.

As of this writing I have earned endorsements from:

  • GHS/Rocktron

  • Seymour Duncan

  • Washburn Guitars

  • Godin Guitars

  • Peterson Tuners

  • Ducks Deluxe

  • Willy’s Custom Guitars

  • Visual Sound

  • The Guitar Wheel

  • FXpansion

And I just picked up a new one from N-TUNE Onboard guitar tuners.

All in all this is very exciting for me and there is much irony to the story… for years and years I tried so hard to make things happen living “the band life” and it always seemed like such an uphill battle, like a salmon swimming upstream, the harder you try the more resistance you get!

During the mid 80’s, “The Metal Years” of Los Angeles, I was in one of the "premiere" bands on the local circuit and shared the stage with many national acts such as: Wendy O. Williams, King Diamond, Armored Saint, Grim Reaper, Racer X, Flotsam & Jetsam, Metal Church etc…” Sure I paid my dues but now that I am not staking my life on the situation and not having an insatiable urge to conquer the world, so many doors are opening and to me that is very ironic.

For the techies out there, please tell me about your computer set up and preferred software packages.

Now we’re talking I love talking tech talk. I am certified as a Microsoft Systems Engineer and love toying with computers. Yes,  the core of my home studio (as humble as it is) is a Digi002 control surface and I run ProTools LE on a Windows XP-equipped AMD Athlon 6000+ dual-core CPU with 4GB’s of RAM and mix with a pair of Yamaha HS50M’s.

I have a few cool soft synth/Hi quality sample packages like EastWest Colossus and I am actually quite happy with most of the plug-ins you get right out of the box from Digi and that really is good enough for me at the moment. Since I currently have my sights set on creating commercial product I take my sessions as far as they can go over here on my side with the tracking and editing and consolidate all the tracks and rely on my engineers to have the best plug-ins and technical know-how and experience to make music out of a mountain of raw guitar tracks.

I was running my studio on my old MacG4 but she just could not keep up with the demands once I started using BFD Drums (that plug-in is one RAM hungry beast... LOL) I have many guitars in my collection and a great selection of amps to choose from as I have been collecting gear forever and actually vowed years ago “no matter how tough times may get, never sell any gear just for the sake of paying bills”, so I maybe piling up the debt but still holding on to all my babies..!

Some of my favorite amps are my old ’78 Marshall 100W Super Lead stack and the Line6 Flextone III and my newest faves are the Visual Sound Workhorse Pony amp and Rocktron’s Prophesy II.

Actually I just picked up the new Line 6 Micro Spider and I am so in love with that little amp, it makes practicing so much fun as it is battery operated and you can go just about anywhere and tear it up. (Which reminds me, here is a little video treat if you like? http://www.dansindel.us/Line6_MicroSpider.asp I took the Micro Spider out to the backyard and let the camera roll for a few minutes on a nice sunny day and had some fun playing guitar.)

With the Sousa marches I had almost 50 unique voices to deal with which led to tons of experimentation and my imagination definitely ran wild as far as getting the “sound in” to my DAW. Many times I would go ahead and use the Visual Sound pedals (Jekyll & Hyde, Route 66) and go straight into the board or for fun use my little Rocktron VG05’s and mike them up, it’s all fair game as long as the end result is that I have a tone that is sonically different than the other tracks already recorded, then they all have a fighting chance to have a place to live in the mix.

I found that in my recordings I had pushed the envelope in multi-tracking techniques, using the classical arrangements as a foundation. This was validated one day when upon referral I was introduced to multi Grammy Award winning engineer Khaliq Glover (Herbie Hancock, Prince, Michael Jackson, Marcus Miller) http://www.khaliq-o-vision.com who I called up to see if I could get some private tutoring with my ProTools rig in order to better my skills, so Khaliq came over and I cracked open one of my ProTools sessions and I really thought he was just going to tell me to click here and click there a few times, point my speakers in a different direction and split but 45 minutes later he was telling me I had something very special, unique and completely interesting going on and I almost fell out of my chair, seriously here is a cat that has worked with some of the biggest names in the industry sitting right there in my little room telling me this, I had to sort of rub my eyes and make sure this was real… LOL

Long story short, Khaliq has been so instrumental in my (pre)production process and has taught me so much on how to get a better sound and deal with certain aspects of recording and performance aesthetics. And he is constantly helping me to achieve my “A” Game!

I also became certified as a ProTools HD operator over at AudioGraph International in Santa Monica, California which is run by Chilitos (who is very well known and respected in the ProTools/MIDI world) that was another landmark achievement for me.  Chilitos is so intelligent and his ProTools course was like “drinking water from a fire hydrant” the way so much information was being presented in such a small amount of time.

So yes, in summary I am always looking to better and improve myself and as they say “it is not the kill but the thrill of the chase”!

Do you intend to stay with this genre of music or do something completely different (to quote Monty Python lol)

Classic, I loved that show; Monty Python is another example of pure genius. But let it be known and I will go on record and say that is not why I chose to record “The Liberty Bell”. Sure, Monty Python used it as their theme song and it cracks me up every time I listen back to “The Liberty Bell” because I picture that “big cartoon foot” coming down and squishing the lady (ROFL) almost every single time. Rather I chose that song because it is a timeless Sousa arrangement but to get back to your question there are so many facets to my musical interests that I will more than likely explore as much as possible.

I really want to start exploring MIDI guitar as my Godin Multiac-ACS Nylon stringed guitar has the 13pin MIDI capabilities and that is terrain I have not yet explored. Artists like John Mclaughlin and Alan Holdsworth have been all over that for years and it seems like a way to open up many new possibilities. 

I (as of this writing) as an unsigned independent artist not chained to a major contract have the freedom to be as creative as I want without being forced to comply to formulas, statistics, demographics and all the other fads one must adhere to in order to sell mass quantities of “product” (notice I did not say “music”... LOL big difference). But on the other hand there has to be some degree of compromise in one’s art if one wants to be accepted on a broader scale rather than living in obscurity or thought of as a novelty act so in reality “who knows”? True I bring many influences with me into the "Symphonic Guitar" orchestrations but I have many other musical personalities that need some attention once in awhile as well.

What’s next for you Dan?

Dovetailing on the last question, I am a rock/metal guitarist at heart and have played in rock/metal/hard core/thrash bands for a very long time so perhaps I will try and find a great drummer, bassist and singer and form a band???

But in the meantime I am focusing on putting the final touches on the full release of “Marching In” which should be completed and out by September 2008. I would love to go out with the "Symphonic Guitar" approach and be backed by complete orchestras or even round up a dozen competent guitarists and tour the major cities and perform at the Concert Halls and Civic Centers... That is a dream worth living for!

I usually end on a silly question, so yours is…who would you like to get stuck on a desert island with and why?

Okay, well… a silly question usually gets a silly answer!

Btw, does this come with my own set of stipulations? LOL

Being that I am looking for an amazing drummer/percussionist I suppose getting stuck with Neil Peart (providing his drum kit is with him and I had at least an acoustic guitar) would be pretty cool, we could write some serious material… I hope that was a silly enough answer to a silly question!

And to wrap things up, Angel thank you once again for the interview and I hope all you fine people that have made it this far to the end of our little story had a good time reading about the life and times of yours truly and yes come on over to my newly founded myspace page and say hello..! 

Bye for now. 


To check out more about Dan, visit


I would like to thank Dan for answering these questions.

They were fun to read and a lot can be learned by your story.

Stay true to yourself and keep the dream!

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