Founder, Moody Blues / Recording Artist / Composer
Artist Bio / Description
Michael Thomas Pinder
Michael Thomas ‘Mike’ Pinder (born 27 December 1941 to Bert and Gladys Pinder in Kingstanding, Birmingham, England) established himself as an important rock musician in his work with the Moody Blues during the height of their success. Besides his contributions to music, his second greatest contribution may have been technological- the introduction of the Mellotron to rock music.
As a young adult, Pinder put together a band called The Rockin’ Tuxedo’s which achieved some regional success. Later, Pinder and Thomas played together in a band called the Krew Cats. The band wound up in Germany playing at some of the cellars where The Beatles had polished their musicianship; however, the Krew Cats’ fortunes were not so bright. By then, Pinder and Ray Thomas were completely broke, and they wound up walking across northern Europe to get back home to England.
Around this time, Pinder became employed by Streetly Electronics, a firm that manufactured the Mellotron. The Mellotron was a keyboard instrument that produced sound when each key pressed a magnetic tape head onto a short strip of magnetic tape. The tapes could be recorded with any desired sound, so a Mellotron could be configured to sound like a symphony orchestra, a full choir, or any other instrument or ensemble. In essence, the Mellotron was the first “sample-playback” synthesizer. The instrument was limited in many ways: the length of the tape meant that no note could be sustained for more than eight seconds, after which the tape had to rewind; the tapes had a characteristic attack (which, while not a natural sound, could be used to give the instrument a unique character); the complex mechanism made the instrument prone to mechanical failure.
Mike’s experience with the Mellotron and Streetly Electronics led him to his music history changing innovation to add this sound to the arrangements of the Moody Blues and change Rock music forever.
The Moody Blues
Pinder, Thomas, and members of other successful Birmingham bands formed The Moody Blues. After their chart hit “Go Now” in 1965, Pinder obtained a used Mellotron from the Dunlop Tire Company’s Recreation Club and used it on numerous Moody Blues recordings, beginning with the single Love and Beauty . He introduced the Mellotron to The Beatles, and subsequently they used the instrument on Strawberry Fields Forever. Pinder says,”I was so happy that I had influenced the guys to use the ‘Tron.'”
Pinder was the first notable musician to use the Mellotron in live performance, relying on the mechanical skills garnered from his time with Streetly to keep the unreliable instrument in working order. An example of such which became an historic rock trivia moment happened during the Moodies’ first American tour and performance. When the band struck its first harmony, the back of the Mellotron fell open and all of the tape strips cascaded out. Pinder grabbed his tool box and got the instrument back into working order in 20 minutes, while the light crew entertained the audience by projecting Bugs Bunny cartoons.
The Moody Blues took a break from recording in 1974 and Pinder relocated to California, releasing a solo album The Promise in 1976 through the Moodies’ Threshold label. In 1977 the band returned to recording and performing. Pinder declined participation, although he collaborated on the 1978 release Octave. In 1979 he made his final departure from the band that brought him fame.
Pinder became a consultant to the Atari computer corporation (primarily working on music synthesis), and started a family in Grass Valley, California. He remained out of the public eye until the mid-1990s, when he began to grant interviews and to work on new recording projects. 1994 saw the release of his second solo album, Among the Stars, on his own One Step label. Two other Mike Pinder CD’s, A Planet With One Mind and A People With One Heart, capitalized on Pinder’s experience as chief reciter of Graeme Edge’s poetry on the seminal Moody Blues albums– in this recording, Pinder reads seven children’s stories from different world cultures, accompanied by appropriate world music. As his first spoken word albums, they were well received among its contemporaries in the genre winning awards like the Parent’s Choice Award, Library Awards and the Benjamin Franklin Award for Excellence in Audio as an outstanding children’s recording.
Pinder since has continued to work in the studio writing, producing, and engineering on his own and others’ projects. Mike has a passion for helping developing new artists and nurturing the creative process. He makes himself available to his fans through interviews and web sites such as www.mikepinder.com.
Artists Website: http://www.mikepinder.com/
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