Dan’s musical career started off like many other musicians – by being forced by his parents at the age of 9 to learn to play an instrument. He picked piano only because there was a piano in the house and he didn’t really know what else to do. After three years of fighting every night about having to practice said instrument, he was allowed to quit piano as long as he picked up another instrument.
To pay his parents back for three years of hell, he selected the drums. Before long, a cheap set of Gretsch drums were set up in his room, directly on top of his parent’s bedroom. Retribution was his. For the rest of junior and senior high school, Dan played drums for rock bands such as The Pistol Crayon, The Darts and Catgut. Yes, it was the 60’s and at least one of these band names came from the Ouija Board.
Carrying drums around was a bit much in college, so Dan started to learn to play guitar. He picked it up quickly and was soon playing at the college coffee house and then opening for national acts at the college as part of the infamous Joey Banana and the Bunch. Then reality set in. It was time to plan for the future. Should he choose to be a full-time musician or get a real job and play music on the side? He chose music as his profession. But he needed to figure out what he would do when his band was not on the road. Becoming a substitute teacher seemed like a good idea, as he would not have to make any commitments and could still get paid when he was not on the road.
So, he decided to get a teaching degree in Social Studies Education in order to become a great substitute teacher who principals would call first when they needed somebody. This forced Dan to go student teaching and on his second week, the principal called him one morning and said that his cooperating teacher was sick and asked whether he was capable of teaching all the classes that day. Once he offered to pay Dan for this, the gig was on!
Dan managed to survive the day and was cleaning up the classroom and closing the windows when he happened to look back at the classroom and had the only epiphany he had ever had in his life – he realized that he was born to be a teacher and that this was what he should be doing with his life.
Good call! Forty-two years later, Dan is still teaching and loving it more each year. For the past 22 years, Dan has been a professor at Springfield College in the Education Department, helping his students to become extraordinary teachers themselves. And, he has played in bands ever since college. Today, Dan plays with Johnny and the Flashbacks, a Motown/Classic Rock dance band and plays solo gigs doing cover songs and live acoustic karaoke (just like regular karaoke but Dan plays guitar and backs up people who want to sing instead of having the machine do it).
For most of his musical career, Dan has particularly enjoyed finding female singers who could knock it out of the park and backing them up on guitar and voice. However, in 2016, he decided that he wanted to create a professionally done cd of his original songs, something he had never done before. He hired one of his favorite guitar players to produce the cd (Jim Henry, who also owns Rubytone Studios) and got help from several of his favorite musicians in the Pioneer Valley to play on the cd.
On Nov. 2, 2017, Dan had his cd release party at Signature Sounds Parlor Room in Northampton, MA. It was a sold out show and by all accounts a wonderful evening. The cd has received extraordinary reviews and is truly an excellent collection of well written, sung, played and produced songs.
Dan’s goal is to create music that moves the listener and hopes to make a difference in their lives in some way. His songs are highly personal and address the ups and downs of life – from the glories of love to the tragedies of depression and suicide.
While this was just something Dan wanted to accomplish as a bucket list project, it also awakened something in him that had been on the side burner for much of his life – the idea of playing his own original songs and going out as a singer/songwriter. The time has come. He and the Mostly Happy Band are here and ready to conquer music venues large and small. They guarantee a great night out of fun and entertainment.
Listen to the cd, watch the videos and come join them sometime!
In the title song, Dan Zukergood sings that one way to be a Most(ly) Happy Man is to “lower your expectations.” But having heard Dan make music for over 50 years (truth –we met in 7th grade and he was playing guitar and writing songs back then) I had the highest of expectations for this CD; and he still managed to surpass them in every way. The songs are joyful, serious, articulate (he must have been paying attention in Miss Bunten’s English class; who knew?), and life affirming. It is no accident that Dan really is the Most(ly) Positive, Upbeat Human I have ever met. This is an extraordinary collection of songs and I promise you will be happier after you listen, then you are right now. Rich Michelson – poet, writer, Northampton Poet Laureate, owner of R Michelson Galleries, Northampton, MA
Great vibe! Upbeat and enlightened. The story of one man’s journey to (mostly) happiness! Well done, Dan! Willie Nile – musician
After attending the CD Release Party for the Mostly Happy Man cd, I contracted with Dan to perform in the Red Barn at Fountain Park in Wilbraham. This fund/friend raiser was a sold out event. The audience was taken on Dan’s musical emotional roller coaster. They loved the range of songs from the heart wrenching to the lively songs which included audience participation. The band received a well-deserved standing ovation and many in attendance are seeking other opportunities to hear this band. Eileen Cyr – concert promoter
Your music speaks to me. Your songs hold together as a unit of bright stars for the listener’s (at least mine’s) belief system. As a guy your age, I can relate to the stories your songs tell, while the melodies feel timeless…it’s like I’ve been there bro. The musicians who played on your record, such as Jim Henry and JJ O’Connell conveyed the music beautifully. Your words and melodies are simple yet complex, and clever in a good way. I’ll try to end with a proverb…Your music is wise like a tack, pointed in humanity’s right direction. Keep up the good work. Ken Gagne – artist
I love Dan’s new cd. My coffee table used to wobble and now it doesn’t! JM