Dan Dinsmore’s father passed away. In 1980, Dinsmore became
a drummer. “I was just a little tyke. I should say I was 3,”
he says, to lighten the mood. “But when my father died, I
needed an outlet. . . . And my future brother-in-law played
drums. I was mesmerized by it. I took out all my aggression
on the drums. I needed an outlet, and that’s where I went
to. It really helped me, and I practiced probably six to eight
hours a day. It was almost like getting outside your body.
It kind of fueled everything I wanted to do, period.”
15, Dinsmore founded East Wall with bassist Chris Wyse. The
band, although successful for an Albany hard-rock group, broke
up in the early ’90s. Wyse went on to join the Cult, and in
1995 Dinsmore began what has turned out to be a 12-year stint
in local industrial act the Clay People. Since then, Dinsmore
has played in multiple projects and has gained the reputation
of always being down to play.
during the ’90s, he formed his media company, Overit. Needless
to say, Dinsmore is a busy man.
doesn’t sleep much. As a father of two, a drummer for four
bands, the president of a media-design company and record
label (also under the Overit umbrella), Dinsmore is generally
forced to find sleep in the wee hours of most weekday mornings,
only to then be at work at 8 AM the next day.
creatively fueled by his hatred of all immigrants,” jokes
the Clay People and College for Criminals bassist Eric Schwanke,
referencing a Will Farrell skit. “I told him I might say that,”
explains Schwanke. “He was like, ‘OK, cool!’ ” Dinsmore is
affable, down-to-earth, self-effacing, but always on the move,
and always tossing out ideas.
continues, “He’s reliable, and I’ve dealt with drummers in
the past. . . . You know how drummers are . . . kind of uneven.
He’s steady, easy to work with, doesn’t have huge mood swings,
and doesn’t take drugs—all that stuff you run into with any
band. So he doesn’t have any of that, he is level-headed,
has his own business and is doing really well.”
head of a successful media-design company that has worked
with such names as Steve Case, the Chicago Bulls and RPI,
you might think that Dinsmore wouldn’t really have to do much
more to make himself an official success. But Dinsmore simply
loves to drum. So, as a drummer for the Clay People, Idols
Never Die, Dead Rabbits and College for Criminals, Dinsmore
could probably feel satisfied with his involvement in the
local music scene. Except that he can’t help but try to bring
what he feels is deserved attention to the Albany scene through
Overit Records. “The label is for passion,” says Dinsmore.
“I’m not in this to make money. If I make money, that’s great,
but it is an outlet for what we think is good music and for
great thing about Overit is it is not going to dissolve. [The
record label is] not my main source of income. I’m not sinking
my entire world into Overit Records, so it’s going to be here.
I believe longevity is key—consistency and longevity. So if
we keep making good music, keep putting out good records,
it will be fine. And as long as we can break even we are happy.”
efforts have increasingly been rewarded with airplay success
for bands like Idols Never Die, who broke into modern-rock
radio in 2005, and for Dead Rabbits, who topped metal-radio-play
charts last year. “Dead Rabbits entered the metal charts in
the top five in the country and stayed for 10 weeks in the
top 50 for metal radio, and it was cool to see on the charts.
There was Century Media and then Overit Records. People don’t
know anything about that, but when it comes to the industry
and they see Overit Records, they start asking, ‘Who is that?’”
release Dinsmore plans to focus on is the new album from the
Clay People, a release that has been spoken of in hushed tones
now since 2005. But according to Dinsmore, a bit of serendipity
may ensure that the next Clay People album achieves a whole
other level of success for both the band and the record label.
says the buzz around Overit has paid off in a major way, as
Warner Bros. Records will begin distributing Overit Records’
releases this year. “It’s a huge jump, so if the Clay People
record came out three months ago, we wouldn’t have had that.
We will be a partner with Warner Bros.” Along with that collaboration,
Dinsmore is looking to sign a larger national name to Overit,
and although he has been in talks with specific acts, at this
point he is not ready to name them.
also insists that he wants to promote local bands as heavily
as possible, and says that no matter the genre, Overit is
simply looking for bands who can write good songs.
plans to keep up his frenetic pace for as long as he can.
Eventually, he says, if one band begins to take off and garner
more success, he may have to put other projects on the back
burner, but he says no matter what, he will stay involved,
in some way, in all of his projects.
all his years of experience as a band member, promoter and
industry type, what is it that Dinsmore would suggest you
look for while putting together a band?
player is huge for me,” says Dinsmore. “It is not just a background
instrument. There are a lot of guys I was so lucky to play
with. I’ve worked with some of the best players, period. Brendan
Slater—the guy is a monster bass player. It’s not just how
technically efficient they are. Brendan Slater had his own
style. Shwanke: technically the guy is a genius. Jeff Smith
is a very innovative type of dude and Chris Wyse is probably
the best bass player I’ve played with. So how hard is it to
find a good bass player? It hasn’t been real hard, to be honest
with you. But I’ve been really lucky.”
singers seem to be a more sensitive subject for Dinsmore.
“Honestly, um, the more . . .” Dinsmore takes a long, thoughtful
pause. “I don’t want to use the word fucked-up, but, it seems
to me the greater the singer they are, whether it be that
their voice is great or they are great performers . . . the
more they are screwed up, the better the singer they are,”
he laughs. “Go out on Lark Street. Walk around, look for the
most screwed-up individual you can find, ask him to sing in
your band and he will probably be great. They don’t carry
gear, they don’t usually drive very much, they need rides,
and pretty much the more screwed-up they are, the better they
are. But I’ve felt pretty lucky with the singers that I’ve
got to deal with. They are all very unique, but who isn’t?”
Dinsmore pauses for a moment, perhaps feeling a little silly.
“But you’ve got your different shades, and they are all pretty
much true. There are guitar-player stories ’bout that; they
say bass players are slackers, drummers are stupid, and you
know, I’m obviously breaking that tradition,” he chuckles.