Often times, with these “Backstage” features, the subject at hand is poised to take leaps professionally.
For drummer Steve Padin though, he just did it, and right out of the gate too.
The KenTon area native has found himself performing all around the world, for several acts, and for his own groups. At 34, he now finds himself back in Buffalo, and excited about the musical direction of his hometown.
This year, Steve hooked up with longtime Buffalo favorites “The Strictly Hip.” But just as that union was about to fly, the entertainment industry, along with virtually every aspect of our economy and society, came to a grinding halt. So we had to wait to see some Buffalo greatness make music together.
From the start, Steve was born into a loving musical environment. His dad performed in church, and Steve was there every step of the way, enjoying every beat, voice, and the boundless energy coming from the band.
“My mom told me that at an early age I would pick up pencils, or any other object, and swing my arms around as if I was playing,” he says, as he was clearly trying to imitate his dad. This passion for performing was running through his veins. Therefore, his parents started him on piano at an early age.
“I started on classical piano, which I did not appreciate at the time,” he says.
It was these early lessons that solidified his musical foundations – his passion for playing, which continues to pay dividends today.
“It gave me a melodic standpoint to approaching the drums,” he continued. “I am grateful as a drummer that my parents got me more involved with the piano.”
Steve enjoyed playing with people, and was obsessed with bands. “I was more interested in playing with other people; things like drum solos were not my comfort zone,” Steve recalled.
This determination set the stage for his next step. Steve’s 5th grade teacher, Stephen Ferraro, gave him the opportunity to play the drums for the chapel at their parochial school, and that is when it started taking off for the musician. It turns out that he was a natural performer.
Around 2001, Steve formed the group “This Day and Age,” with other high school peers. Their first show was at Kenmore West High School. The group would eventually be signed to One Eleven Records. After starting college, that same band would go on tour.
The band would eventually become The Reign of Kindo, another Buffalo-based group which would have international success, and further open musical opportunities for Steve – a move to New York City, tours with Jessie James Decker, Gin Wigmore, and others. These line-ups would take him to stages all around the world, including Brazil, Japan, New Zealand, along with network television appearances on Jay Leno, and Ellen.
Eventually, Steve decided to move back home, not just to be closer to family – he loved the “music energy” Buffalo was fostering.
As he was settling in back home, the world’s economies shut down. Along with everyone else, he was forced to rethink his approach.
“Everyone has been scrambling, adapting, doing livestream stuff, although I’ve admittedly been steering away from social media for some time,” Steve says.
We spoke about the impact the Covid shutdown had on real people, real musicians.
He says, “I think it opened up a lot of people’s minds. Having the perspective to do the things they’ve been putting off. As years go by, you realize you haven’t written anything. With the extra time you have more of an opportunity to write and create. There are silver linings to it.”
During this transitional time, Steve was performing with a wedding band, and performing in local clubs. At the shutdown point, he chose to put together a quarantine EP. “It was more passion than business,” he says, adding that he performed all of the instruments himself.
As for now, he just completed a sold out 2-night stand with The Strictly Hip at The Tralf, honoring the life of the great Gordon Downie. As a fan of the Tragically Hip, this was something special. “Their music means a lot to people,” he says. “It’s authentic, and that is how they want to play it.”
Steve is also doing work with the Rec Room on Chippewa, which means that he is now tied into the downtown live music scene.
From what I have seen, this guy is a true professional, driven by passion. It is this passion, combined with a lifetime of experiences, that makes our own music scene that much better.
As we find our city slowly opening to the sounds of live music once again, Steve Padin is a musician to put on your radar. Or if you feel safer watching and listening from afar, you can tune into Spotify, Bandcamp, and other streaming services. Once you get to know him, and his music, you will better understand what I’m talking about.
Lead image: In Buffalo – Photo by Debbie Mercurio