With over 30 years of working with Springsteen even before his E Street Band, Danny Federici was able to be that kind of musician that could call his own shots. "When I first came out to the West Coast, I was trying to get some work in film, television and background music," said Federici. "I realized that some of the stuff I was creating was probably better than some of the stuff I was hearing on the radio." That dissatisfaction was one of the incentives that encouraged him to record his latest CD.
A few of his friends encouraged him to put out his first release. He spent a lot of time on his computer and home studio to produce the CD and was doing it for himself. "Basically, I just started doing some of the same stuff I've been doing for years," said Federici. He was not thinking about releasing the project, but one of his friends told him he should try to get a record deal. He shopped his first release called "Flemington" around to various companies and "Universal was kind enough to put the record on their Hipo Label," he said.
"My release shows a few influences that I get from other areas," said Federici. A big fan of keyboardist Brian Culbertson, Federici uses his skill as a classical accordionist to put a different twist on Smooth Jazz. He has played the accordion since he was seven years old and has always considered it his main instrument. "I am also interested in releasing a CD featuring the accordion," he said. "When I joined a rock and roll band when I was 13, the girls weren't going for the squeeze box. I had to come up with something. It was a lot easier to move around, stand up and play the keyboards."
Danny Federici is of the opinion that one of the most important things that Smooth Jazz artists should do is find ways to present their music to a larger audience. "When I go on the road, I bring up the intensity of my performance because it seems to help them accept the music," he said. Federici has two children who he says need to be introduced to this form of music. "The venues to be able to go outside and play in these parks in the summertime is just such a wonderful thing to take your family and friends to. That's what I love to do," he said.
Federici is still considered a very important part of the E Street Band. He believes that that band is much stronger now than it was in the 70's and 80's. "No more egos in the way or no more of people's personal stuff," Federici says. "The last tour was so fantastic because we got to take our families. There's no pressure now and you can't be fired." Federici says when the E Street Band plays some of the older Springsteen songs, they "bring different feelings into the older music." He feels that drummer Max Weinberg, who leads the Max Weinberg 7 on "Late Night with Conan O'Brian" is playing better than ever.
With his follow up release to "Flemington." Danny Federici is returning to his roots as a classically trained performer who brings out the best in the Smooth Jazz arena. With his new self-titled release, Federici will never be known as "Phantom" to the smooth jazz audience.