Tracy Thornton, Steel Pandemic Records founder and CEO and LoveCat Music recording artist, has been performing as a professional steelpannist since the mid-‘90s. Thornton is also a full-time composer, arranger, producer, guest artist/clinician and performer — averaging more than 150 performances annually. And, as a popular national and international guest artist/clinician for many universities, colleges, public schools and community steel bands, Thornton brings with him his innovative and exciting steel pan style, his popular charts and wealth of knowledge as a musician, and his insights and experiences on the realities of the music industry.
Thornton has performed all over the continental U.S., as well as Hawaii, Mexico, Japan, Europe, Canada and throughout the Caribbean. He has also performed in several annual Carnival celebrations in Trinidad and Tobago, including Panorama — the world’s largest steel band competition with Phase II, Potential Symphony, Solo Pan Knights, Petite Valley Harps and Tobago’s Hope Pan Groove.
Crucial to bringing the steelpan into the American pop culture realm, Thornton has been
featured in Spin magazine, Modern Drummer, Global Rhythm, Billboard Online and MTV.com. His internationally acclaimed “Pan For Punks, A Steelpan Tribute to The Ramones” CD was voted as one of the top 10 CDs of 2006 by Global Rhythm magazine. And, Thornton’s video for ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’ is the first of its kind for the steelpan genre. In fact, the members of The Ramones loved the tribute so much that they personally invited Thornton to open the 2006 Joey Ramone Birthday Bash at Irving Plaza in New York City.
Through a licensing and publishing agreement with LoveCat Music, a record label in New York City, Thornton’s music has also been featured in television shows including CBS’ drama “NCIS LA”, Comedy Central’s hit “Workaholics”, “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” and a Trini Tunes cartoon short “De Wild Meat Famalee”.
As a performing artist, Thornton has performed with Harry Belafonte and has opened for national acts including Jimmy Buffet, Kenny Chesney, Santana, Dave Matthews Band and as mentioned above, The Ramones. Thanks to Thornton’s work with “The Tsunami Wave Riders,” the group’s hit song ‘Island Dreamin’ won “Single of the Year” at the 2008 Hawaiian Music Awards.
Thornton is also well known as the founder and director of the nationally-renowned steel band “Sons of Steel,” which quickly gain a reputation as the Nation’s Most Exciting Steel Drum Band during its four-year run. Sons of Steel toured with the original Wailer’s Band and performed at Walt Disney World’s Epcot Center, as well as with Trinidad and Tobago’s Machel Montano and Xtatik, Iwer George and Shadow, to name a few. Sons of Steel also performed on Univision’s Variety show “SabadoGigante,” which has more than 100 million viewers worldwide.
Thornton’s extensive recording and production experience and skill set are always in high demand. He has recorded two “Sons of Steel” CDs, one of which he co-produced with world-renowned pannist Andy Narell. Thornton also produced his critically-acclaimed group “Been Caught Steelin”, the Pink Flamingos, the Bahama Mamas and numerous others. And, with 11 solo CDs under his belt, many of Thornton’s fresh and exciting compositions are becoming performance favorites for steel bands throughout the U.S. and around the world. Thornton’s exciting, unique and innovative sound, married with his engaging and dynamic personality have resulted in a winning combination that is inspiring a new generation of pan players.
Steel Pandemic Records is an independent record label dedicated to elevating the capabilities of the intoxicating steelpan instrument by creating sweet, rhythmic sounds across music genres. Releases of steelpan tributes to artist include The Police, Jane’s Addiction, The Ramones and Jack Johnson with many more to come.
Tracy is also the brain child of “Pan Rocks”. He is the first to combine his first love (rock music) with steel drums. He has recorded and released “Pan Rocks” and “Pan Rocks II…Pan Bangerz Ball” where you’ll hear your favorite rock and heavy metal classic all done in a thunderous steelpan style! He also puts on “Pan Rocks” concerts that combine steelbands and musicians nationally and internationally to form 30 to 100 piece steel orchestras strictly to perform and rock out the music from his “Pan Rocks” CDs!