Homecoming Q&A: Darrin Pfeiffer

Buffalo Homecoming staff report

Darrin Pfeiffer has been a veteran in the music industry for over 25 years. (Image courtesy of Darrin Pfeiffer)
Darrin Pfeiffer has been a veteran in the music industry for over 25 years. (Image courtesy of Darrin Pfeiffer)

Musician Darrin Pfeiffer, an Akron native, found success in the 1990s as his band Goldfinger rose in popularity.

After playing in Buffalo heavy metal bands in the late 1980s and early 1990s, he moved to Los Angeles and became a founding member and drummer with Goldfinger. The band blended elements of punk rock and ska to create its own distinct sound that fit right in with contemporaries such as the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, No Doubt, Sublime and others.

Pfeiffer even famously donned a Buffalo Sabres jersey in the music video for one of the band’s biggest hits, “Here in Your Bedroom.”

He remained in the band for more than 20 years. Since his departure, he was worked as a manager and producer in the Los Angeles music scene. He is also the drummer of the band Punk Rock Karaoke, which performs cover songs in shows around the world with guest lead singers. To keep momentum going during the Covid-19 pandemic, the band created a series of web videos with guest singers with each person performing in their own home.

Additionally, Pfeiffer hosts a podcast called “The Dangerous Darrin Show.” He interviews celebrity guests and discusses music, pop culture and politics. In a recent episode, he caught up with a fellow Western New York expat, drummer Patrick Wilson of Weezer.

How did you get your start in music?

It all started with a snare drum a friend of the family brought over when we were growing up. My brothers and my sister quickly lost interest but I didn’t. The snare morphed into a full set and the rest is history.

How did you find your way to Los Angeles? As Goldfinger became more widely known, what was the experience of touring the world like, as well as meeting people in various facets of the music industry?

I moved to Los Angeles around 1991 or 1992. New York City was calling my name at that time as well. I had a lot of friends there and loved traveling there for concerts. Los Angeles, however, seemed more appealing with the palm trees and beaches. The choice was obvious!

Goldfinger started in 1994. At that time, the music industry was looking to find the next Green Day, so it was the right time and place for a lot of bands. John Feldmann, our singer, wrote great songs and we found success quickly. We signed a record deal and off we went for one world tour after another.

As for the music industry folks, that’s another kettle of fish – some you could see right through, others I’m still friends with today.

Did you keep tabs on the music scene in Western New York or on other musicians who made it out of the region? What's it going to take for venues, not just in Buffalo but around the country, to survive the pandemic and move forward?

I did actually. I was aware of other bands I knew from my time living in Buffalo proper from 1988 to 1991 and their successes. Bands like Cannibal Corpse, Snapcase and Goo Goo Dolls were all still recording and touring throughout the 1990s and beyond. At times, we’d all bump into each other at a music festival somewhere and catch up.

As far as how venues in Buffalo and around the world can survive the pandemic, that’s a very good question and I really wish I had a good answer. Sad times at the moment.

How about all that's changed in Buffalo? Have you been able to keep up from afar and in your visits home with how the region has started to rebuild itself and attract new business?

Yes, definitely. When I get home, I like to connect with old friends for pint on Elmwood or go to a Sabres game then Anchor Bar after (or before). It’s great to see the city grow year after year with new restaurants, bars, venues, etc. I love the new motto “Keep Buffalo a Secret,” as well. It’s brilliant.

What do you enjoy about your current band, as well as the podcast? With the podcast, has it been neat to talk to different people and build an audience?

My new band has been a blast, mainly because we have no singer (anyone that’s been in a band will get the joke). As for the Dangerous Darrin Show, it’s been pure joy building it from the ground up. We’re getting better and better guests, adding new exciting sponsors and now I’m hoping to expand it possibly to Sirius XM.

When the pandemic finally comes to a close, can we expect to see another Punk Rock Karaoke show in Buffalo?

Absolutely! Our past show there was great and I can’t wait to bring the band back. Buffalo shows hold a special place in my heart.