Estimator During the Day, Rock Drummer at Night

Estimator During the Day, Rock Drummer at Night

One of the great things about the collision industry is that so many people working at body shops have other talents and passions that they pursue when they’re not working as body techs, painters, estimators or front office personnel. I met a paint tech who is also a well-known tattoo artist, and a parts guy who is also a professional ballroom dancer. A woman who runs the front office for a shop in northern California sings opera, and the owner of a shop in the Southwest is a renowned muralist.

Consisting of drummer/estimator Billy “The Kid’ Brady, vocalist/guitarist Gabriel Maciel, lead guitarist Bryan Aguirre and bassist David Ovlite, The Trims are a hot band on the verge of stardom.

After meeting so many amazing people with great stories about what they do when they’re not working in the collision industry, I decided to write about them. This first part of the series is about an estimator who is also a drummer for a band that is on the rise. His name is Billy Brady and he is an estimator at Anderson Behel in Santa Clara, CA. During the day he works with customers to return their cars back into pre-accident condition, but at night he hits the skins for The Trims, a hot band that is waiting for a record label deal that is looking more and more likely every day. The Trims from San Jose, CA already have a storied history in the whirlwind five years since their inception in 2010. They’ve been featured on MTV’s “The Real World,” played at the Converse flagship store in downtown San Francisco, recently played at Red Gorilla Fest in Austin, TX and also at Bottle Rock Napa in May.

The band has recorded five CDs and won several band contests and also was selected to play at a concert during the America’s Cup held in San Francisco in 2013. Consisting of vocalist/guitarist Gabriel Maciel, lead guitarist Bryan Aguirre, bassist David Ovlite and of course Billy 'The Kid’ Brady on the drums, the buzz is deafening for this post-punk, disco-laden act.

The Trims are getting rave reviews from music critics throughout the Bay Area, including this one written by Steve Palpoli from Metro Magazine:

“The first thing that jumps out with the Trims' highly unique sound is the guitars. Their music embraces the spooky swirl of Siouxsie and the Banshees, the assault of Echo and the Bunnymen, the minor-chord crawling of the Cure and the propulsive progressions of New Order. Not to mention layers of effects that would impress even the Edge himself. The Trims' sound is backed up by a stark and solid post-punk rhythm section that grounds the often space-bound atmospherics, and topped by vocals that soar one minute and slow down to an intimate, direct tone the next.”

Brady is a second-generation musician from a family that also rocked it at night while fixing cars during the day.

“My dad had a body shop and I worked there during my vacations from school, so I grew up in the industry,” he said. “My father was a drummer and my mom was also in his band, so music has been in my veins from the start.”

Brady grew up in San Jose, attended San Jose High School and is proud of it. He knows the way to San Jose and isn’t afraid to tell the world.

“We’re one of the only bands out there who say—hey we’re from San Jose and proud of it. A lot of other bands claim that they’re from San Francisco, because they want to be cool. But, we love living here and being part of this music scene, so we tell critics and club owners that we’re from San Jose.”

What are some skills that Billy uses as an estimator at a body shop that also help him in the tough world of rock ‘n roll?

“I think we’ve gotten some good gigs by just being nice. Nice goes a long way—in any environment and we’ve always taken a friendly approach and I think it has paid off for us in many ways. I know for a fact that in my day job at Anderson Behel being nice is important. Our customers are not usually happy because their cars are damaged, so leading with kindness and compassion is the best way to go. I think that’s pretty much a good way to live in general, don’t you think?”

Having a budding rock star as an integral part of his crew isn’t always convenient, but David Mello, Billy’s employer has made concessions—until now.

“Yes, when he has a gig, we have to cover Billy and do his work,” Mello said. “But, he’s an excellent employee and a real team player, so we don’t want to lose him. We have some amazing people here and many of them have their own interests, so we let them do their thing and it makes for a better place to work. If they can do their jobs here and still pursue their passions, I will support them in any way I can.”

What will Mello do when The Trims sign a major record deal and Brady’s musical career goes full-time?

"When he hits big, we'll probably lose him, but that comes with the territory when you hire musicians," Mello said with a wry smile. "He does a great job here and we love him and hopefully he'll let us back stage when he hits the big-time!”

Ed Attanasio

Ed Attanasio is an automotive journalist and Autobody News columnist based in San Francisco.

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