Remo
Ben Sesar
Brad Paisley
Country of Residence:
United States

As a young child, I was always fascinated by music. At the age of four, my parents could bribe me to eat my vegetables in return for a spin of Bill Haley's classic 'Rock Around the Clock. Needless to say, it was the beginning of an intense obsession with music, which plays out like this…

Before Drums

My childhood was a constant soundtrack of diverse music…I always looked forward to the rare invitation into the room of my oldest brother. There, I remember he would have me lie on the floor and place my head between two huge Hi Fi speakers while blasting music by Led Zeppelin, Kiss, Ted Nugent, and ZZ Top. As if this wasn't enough inspiration, he played lead guitar in several rock bands, and once in while I got to sit in and watch the rehearsals. In my eyes, he was a rock star and that was the path I wanted to follow…

Wanting to follow in the footsteps of my older brother, I originally chose to play guitar. I was limited, however, to the offerings of the public school system. In my fourth grade year, I specifically recall the teacher starting to read a list of instruments one could choose to learn; none of which was a guitar and none of which were played by any member of KISS. But at the very bottom of the list she read: “Drums, and Percussion.” The ‘Aha!’ moment ensued and I thought: "I could be in KISS with some drums.” So I defaulted, drums it was…

Rudimentary drum classes followed, but the whole process was disenchanting. First of all, I envisioned private training, not a classroom full of other little wannabe hell raisers; They ALSO wanted to be in ‘KISS’. Not to mention there was no drum set! We played goofy, little rubber ‘pads.’ I was quickly losing interest in this setting, and I knew if I were to see my dreams of rocking out to fruition, it was time to ask the folks for a drum set. Looking back, we were probably a mid to low-middle class family. As a child, I wasn’t aware of financial status, but I fully understood when my folks said “No” to my request for drums citing financial strain. A few months later I asked again: “No”. -Perhaps they were waiting to see if I would stick with my rudimentary practices so that their investment would not be in vain.

Drums

A year or so later and now completely frustrated with the classroom setting, I was beginning to lose hope of ever playing a real drum set. It was an August day in 1980 and my stepfather had surprised me with a mint 1964 Ludwig silver sparkle drum kit. I was floored beyond belief. For me, it was literally like winning the lottery. –I have not had a better day since and I believe that this ‘miracle’ was the inspiration for ALL my future practice and drive toward a successful career…

I continued to be inspired, practicing and performing as much as I could throughout Junior High and High School. I took advantage of every opportunity to play offered by the school, as well as creating my own opportunities by forming bands with friends. By the end of High School, I knew I needed to get out of the comfort of my small New Jersey town if I were to have a chance at seriously pursuing my childhood dreams…

Since the age of twelve I knew I wanted to go to Berklee College of Music. –They had sent some pamphlets to the house that were meant for my oldest brother. I got a hold of them and, even at such a young age, I knew Berklee was the place I needed to be…

Rude Awakening

Upon arrival at Berklee, I was feeling pretty confident about my skills, thinking I would ‘hold my own’ pretty well. –WRONG! My first day of school brought with it the biggest and most humbling wake up call I’ve ever had. At that moment, I saw kids my age doing things I couldn’t even comprehend and I was scared. I had been playing drums for nine years, but it felt like I’d only been playing for a week. Within months, fear turned into inspiration. By changing some habits, listening to different music and seeking as much knowledge as possible, I felt I was heading in a good direction…

The remainder of my time at Berklee was difficult, but I got through it. I tried to make the best of the rich environment Berklee had to offer, which included networking; it was there that I made friends with the people who would eventually bring me to Nashville…

On the Road Again

Again, like the kid who had to leave the comfort of his small town to pursue a higher education, I knew it was time for another move. Packing all of our things into the trunk of a car, a close friend and band mate and I moved to Nashville in October 1993. For five years we played around town trying to ‘make it.’ We did the usual: Gigged around town, tried for the record deal, etc.

A young woman, who was a regular at our local performances, ended up as a receptionist at a local record label in town. She recommended me to Jimmy Gilmer, who was a local talent manager at the time. He granted me an audition with one of his female acts on a small record label. A small cluster of tour dates was booked, but her career came to an abrupt end. For the next year, I did some fill-in touring with Country Music Legend, Tanya Tucker. Upon closing of the Fall leg of her tour, I got a phone call from my old friend, Jimmy Gilmer. He recommended I audition for a new artist he was currently managing named, Brad Paisley. I was still ‘green’ and getting my feet wet with the Country Music genre, but Jimmy believed in me, and Brad hired me the day of the audition. The rest is, -you know…History.

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