Like everyone else in show business, Scott Berendt needed some breaks along the way in order to make it to the big time.
Perhaps the biggest was when Lars Hanson, the original drummer for the nationally renowned rock band Bad Boy, dislocated his shoulder.
Bad Boy was heading out on tour and needed a replacement drummer ASAP.
Berendt happened to be getting his hair done next to Xeno (Bad Boy guitarist and Cheap Trick vocalist) before a WAMI (Wisconsin Area Music Industry) show.
When Xeno saw what Berendt could do with a pair of sticks and a drum kit, another facet of the Scott E. Berendt brand was born.
Berendt and Craig Evans joined founding member Steve Grimm and Xeno when Bad Boy re-formed in 1998.
The band was opening for Kansas and Scott had little time to learn the “Best of Bad Boy” songs for the tour.
In a way, Berendt was preparing for that moment his whole life.
The Milwaukee-area native started playing the drums at age five and he’s been keeping the beat ever since.
“All I did was practice, play and study music,” Berendt (www.reverbnation.com/scotteberendt) said in a recent interview.
Scott played in the Jazz Band at Hartland Arrowhead High School while attending there.
“I made a bunch of money playing places in Lake Country, Waukesha and Milwaukee…all over,” Berendt said
“I was only 16 or 17 at the time so my parents had to accompany me to the bars so I could play.”
Scott’s skill sets cross all genres of music including Rock, Jazz/Fusion, Blues, Latin, Big Band/Swing and Reggae among others.
But we are not only talking about playing the drums. For more on that, go to www.reverbnation.com/scotteberendtdrums.
The US Project is a collection of musicians that Scott has performed with as he toured the country playing venues like the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, The Whisky A Go-Go in Los Angeles, The House of Blues in LA, Excalibur and the Navy Pier in Chicago, Summerfest (of course) in Milwaukee and Taste of Minnesota.
Berendt gave birth to US Project which includes Mitch Cooper, Tony “Himbad” Brice, Tommy Greywolf, Jennifer Dekorah Lee, Brian Bruendl, Damian Valentine, Torbian Andersson, Tim Phillips and many more.
When getting that large of a group to agree on the littlest detail became increasingly difficult, Berendt disbanded US Project.
But Scott still books and plays gigs with them and, in addition to playing with Bad Boy, fills in with a ton of other groups when he gets the call, which is quite often (if he isn’t already booked).
The schism allows Berendt to concentrate on his solo career as a songwriter/performer.
Berendt plays acoustic guitar and does lead vocals on covers of U2, Tonic, John Mayer, Dave Matthews Band, Seal, Peter Gabriel and Rusted Root.
The Grammy (NARAS) member has three CDs (Albion Moon, Hoping for the Sun and Don’t Look Back) and is about to drop his fourth.
Final edits were being done in LA at the time of the interview.
The disc includes “Free Me”, “I Hope You Do” and “Jaded.”
Jaded has “hit” written all over it and could easily become an anthem for our times.
That last CD (“Don’t Look Back”) has a curious title, since Berendt has been doing a lot of looking back of late.
“You never appreciate what you have until you leave,” Berendt said.
“At every show I do (in this area) more and more people come out of the woodwork to say hello. I wonder where they were when I lived here.”
Scott really cares whether or not his audience is having a good time.
"I don't just want to perform or put on a show," Berendt said. "I really want people to feel like they're at an event."
Scott is laser-beam focused on what would be his ideal future.
It is quite simple when you boil it down.
“My overall goal is to get a publishing, recording, touring deal…period!” Berendt stressed.
“Put me on the road (to) play my songs and let me perform. That’s all I want ‘til the day I die!”
Anyone who has seen him perform “live” is hoping that his demise is a long way off.