I never quite know how to sum up who I am in one short bio page – but I’ll try:
My “real” name is Sean Kemmerer. I’m the oldest of 3 children, with a younger brother and sister. My sister is married with two beautiful children, and my brother is engaged to be married as well. I grew up in Penn Hills, PA and moved to Bel Air, Maryland as a teenager. I went to middle and high school at Bel Air High where my social awkwardness, bad hair, acne, and love for Dungeons and Dragons made me one of the most popular boys in school.
My father was a steel worker in Pittsburgh before the industry essentially collapsed in the early 1980’s. Afterwards, he spent the better part of the last 30 years in various contracting work: Construction, roofing, and general home improvement. It was working with my dad on the roof of a house in the South Carolina sun that prompted me to value the importance of furthering my education. I went to college in Maryland, getting a bit of money for baseball and volleyball before realizing that they actually expected students to go to class. My parents also divorced right around my 18th birthday – which gave me a great excuse to forge out on my own at that point.
I moved back to Pittsburgh and lived with my grandmother for a while as I tried to find a new direction. I transferred to CCAC and obtained an Associates in Liberal Arts in 2000. After a couple of jobs in the “real world” I decided to continue my education – enrolling at Duquesne University in 2002. Being independent financially forced me to work my way through school, taking breaks, figuring out a way to keep pushing forward. With the help of Father Hogan, some amazing sorority girls (Thank you, Lambs!) and some great friends, I eventually graduated with honors in 2006 with a BA in Communication Studies and a BA in Psychology. I am a proud member of the Delta Chi Fraternity, sang in the campus ministry, and won several awards and distinctions in my time at DU.
I was fortunate to parlay a strong sales background (in retail and food service, mostly) into a job with Ameriquest Mortgage originating sub-prime loans in 2004. It was the heart of the “mortgage boom” and business was great. After learning a bit about the industry, I moved on to Tuscany Financial, becoming their top broker for several years. As the financial collapse kicked in around 2007, I decided to forge out on my own.
I’ve told myself that from that point on in my life, I will NEVER work for another person as long as I live. The concept of having a “real” job no longer appeals to me, and I took a decade of sales, marketing, and management experience and weaved that into a profession that I love.
Walk of Shame started in April 2008 largely as a way for me to stay social after college, meet some people, and get free beer. I met the original lineup primarily through Craigslist – proving that the site is useful for things other than anonymous sex and trying to find a couch for $10. The original guitar (Andy Oddo) and bass player (Cory Schuster) went to school together at Penn State, and lived together in Shadyside. The original drummer (Dan Aluise) was referred to us by a friend, and we were off and running. Playing mostly 90’s alternative (because it is what we all liked and grew up on) opened the doors to add some more popular music, and the band quickly grew from playing in dive bars for little more than experience to one of the busiest and fastest rising bands in Western PA.
Jeff Bucci replaced Dan on drums in the Summer of 2009, and aside from a very short hiatus remains the backbone of the band. Cory was replaced in 2010 by Ben Bond when Cory’s plans for his post-graduate law career seemed to be taking him away from Pittsburgh. Andy remained the longest original WoS member until May of 2011, when he was replaced briefly by Darren Miller, and more recently by Kenny Porter.
Ben left the band at the end of 2011 to join former Povertyneck Hillbilly Chris Higbee on his tour. Marc Sterling stepped in as the new bass player and musical director at the beginning of 2012. The current lineup is:
Sean Styles – Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
Kenny Porter – Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
Marc Sterling – Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals
Jeff Bucci – Drums
Walk of Shame was signed by Jager Music to be a sponsored “Jager Band” early in 2010. It is one of the most sought after endorsement deals in the industry, giving the band national credibility and exposure, and again separating the act from local bands struggling for steady work. The band played over 100 shows in 2011, and will increase bookings in 2012.
I also take acoustic bookings.
The business success of Walk of Shame prompted me to start SSS Promotions late in 2011. What I found was that a lot of venues were looking for quality entertainment, and a lot of bands and DJ’s are looking for good, consistent, well-paying gigs. Since I have developed great relationships with bar owners across the region, it seemed a natural progression to expand into helping OTHER bands achieve the level of success that my own band has experienced.