VIC FIRTH ARTIST
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…
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.
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…
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
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.