Drummer and producer Jeremy Driesen grew up in Chevy Chase, Md., in a musical household. His mother sang and danced at Arena Stage in Washington, his brother played the trumpet, and his sister played the flute. When Jeremy was ten years old, a kid in the next cabin at summer camp had a pair of drumsticks and a practice pad that he thought were cool. He asked his parents to buy them, but he had studied and dropped both trumpet and piano, so his father made him earn half the money first.
In seventh grade, Jeremy Driesen got his first band job, playing at an eighth-grade party. The lead singer got into a fight with the guitar player and walked out, so it was an inauspicious start, but while still in junior high Jeremy went on to play at high school dances during the regular band’s breaks.
Jeremy Driesen attended four colleges, including the Berklee College of Music, but never got a degree. His career kept getting in the way. In the last 40 years, Jeremy Driesen has played drums in every state, for artists like Billy Idol, Darlene Love and the Spencer Davis Group. He was also musical director for Lou Christie, rehearsing local musicians, when he was his drummer.
Jeremy Driesen's appeared at New York clubs including CBGB and the Bitter End. In the late 1980s, he played Carnegie Hall with Lesley Gore, backed by Skitch Henderson and the New York Pops.
Jeremy Driesen's mostly been a sideman for hire, as opposed to a band member traveling with an artist. This brought challenges, like playing in front of thousands of people without the benefit of any rehearsal, sound check or sheet music. They had to be ready for anything. Occasionally, Jeremy didn’t even meet the performer until he went onstage and started the first song.
Once, some friends and Jeremy Driesen were sitting in the first row of a Hexagon variety show in Washington. Hexagon stages fund-raisers and donates to various charities. The show was about to start when they heard the conductor say that the drummer was sick and they’d have to do the show without him. Jeremy leaned over and asked if he needed a drummer. He said yes, so Jeremy climbed over the railing, sat down at the drums and played the show. When Jeremy Driesen went backstage at intermission, the dancers from the chorus line gave him a standing ovation.
Playing at the Royal Albert Hall in London with Lou Christie in 1993 was an honor, but the next night Jeremy Driesen played at a resort in England where you had to insert coins in the thermostat to get heat in the dressing room.
In 1992, Jeremy Driesen took a job with a music and entertainment company, contracting bands for concerts, and three years later he joined Ray Bloch Productions, an event and media production company, as an account executive. Ray Bloch, the orchestra leader on The Ed Sullivan Show for almost 25 years, had been the original owner. He died in 1982.
Jeremy Driesen sold more than $1 million in bookings his first year. In 2000, he partnered with the next owner, and he bought him out two years later. Richard Bell has been Jeremy's partner since 2007.
Jeremy Driesen still plays occasionally, but says he has a broader vista as a producer: "That really hit home when we produced Time magazine’s 75th anniversary celebration at Radio City Music Hall, where I’d performed as a drummer. Our client base has broadened over time; we work for clients that range from charities to investment banks."