Dan Donovan has been living, breathing, and playing drums since he was 6 years old when his father first opened his eyes to both Buddy Rich and The Bayonne Bridgemen drum and bugle corps. Instantly obsessed with the instrument, he started out on his own on his brother’s drum set and when he was old enough, started taking lessons in school. A standout in the Cranford school system’s music program, Dan excelled in every ensemble he could find time to be in. In high school he held down the drum stool for the then legendary CHS Jazz Band, the CHS Dixieland Band, and was section leader of the CHS Marching Band’s award winning drumline.
After graduation Dan began working with The Cranford High School Marching Band where he taught percussion, marching, visuals, and also assisted in show design and arranging. In his 17 years instructing at CHS they won High Drums at multiple USSBA/USBands competitions and consistently placed at the USBands NJ State Championships. In 2013, Dan moved on to work with The Haddon Heights High School Marching Band and helped lead them to achieve the rare trifecta of winning The TOB South Jersey Championship, The USBands NJ State Championship, and The USBands National Championship.
Dan has also been in many bands over the years including "Doubting Thomas", "Honey Pot", "Peanut Butter Ghost", and his own "Chooch The Mighty Train". Dan was a member of "Human Wheels ~ Playing the Hits of John Mellencamp" for 8 years from 2011 -2019. Dan has filled in for many bands including "The Booglerizers", "Atmosferics", "Pickpockets and Loose Women", "The Proof", "Los Gringos", "Rainbow Full Of Sound", "Lovelight", "Crazy In The Sunlight", "Dead Reckoning", "The Billy The Kid Band", "Uke and Drum", and "The Sandy Mack Jamily All-Stars". Currently Dan guests with several bands which include "Juggling Suns", "Slick Aguilar & Friends" and "Enjoy!" He has also played percussion many times alongside his brother Lou in the band "Enjoy!" and worked with "Enjoy!" members Chris Soltis and Brendan Brophy on both of their solo albums. Chris Soltis' "Manifest Destination" was produced in early 2014 after a few years in the making, and Brendan Brophy's "Local Honey" was released in the summer of 2014. Dan is also part of the "Brendan Brophy Band", who released their debut album in April of 2017. Dan's latest project is "Diomede & Donovan", where Dan and local jam band legend Mark Diomede team up with a who's who of local and national musicians to interpret the music of Grateful Dead and more.
Dan's main project and heart and soul is "Cosmic Jerry Band", an incredibly talented group that began as a tribute to the musical legacy of Jerry Garcia, Grateful Dead, and beyond but has now evolved to incorporating the music of many different artists. They combine decades of experience with their love of music and a "no rules, no limits" approach to their playing that has created a major buzz since their inception in 2016. Cosmic Jerry Band as "Cosmic" released their debut cd, Bloom, in December 2020.
Between all of his different bands, Dan has performed thousands of times and at many iconic venues including B.B. King Blues Club in Times Square NYC, Penn’s Peak, Havana New Hope, Wonder Bar, The Strand Theater, Bar Anticipation, Freedom Fest State Fair, Tropicana Casino & Resort, The Saint, Ocean Casino & Resort, Bally's Atlantic City, Asbury Lanes, Harrah's Casino & Resort, The Stone Pony, Garcia's at The Capitol Theatre, and PNC Bank Arts Center. Dan has shared the stage with members of Jerry Garcia Band, Phil Lesh & Friends, Dark Star Orchestra, RatDog, New Riders Of The Purple Sage, Hot Tuna, Jefferson Starship, David Crosby Band, Solar Circus, Juggling Suns, David Nelson Band, The Vince Welnick Band, Communion, Parliament Funkadelic, KC & The Sunshine Band, Splintered Sunlight, Dramarama, Wig Jam, Stella Blues Band, Live Dead, and The John Kadlecik Band, among many others.
Dan's influences include Buddy Rich, Animal (from The Muppets), Tommy Lee, John Bonham, Phil Collins, Neil Peart, Max Weinberg, Bill Bruford, Artimus Pyle, Nicko McBrain, Dave Abbruzzese, Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzman, Jon Fishman, and Carter Beauford, plus countless drumlines from many drum and bugle corps including The Bayonne Bridgemen and The Cadets. Dan credits his sense of feel, dynamics, and timing to his jazz training and early instruction by Mr. Thomas Siccola and Mr. Gerson Horowitz. His discipline he credits to his many years of mentoring under those teachers as well as his work alongside his brother Rich with the CHS Marching Band. Dan’s musical tastes are as diverse as can be, ranging from disco to metal, but if he had his choice he’d rather be at a Grateful Dead show with his beautiful wife than anywhere else in the world.
Dan’s Gear: Tama drums, Zildjian and Sabian cymbals, LP percussion, Vater drumsticks, Yamaha stool.