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Sheboygan, Wisconsin


Hailing from Sheboygan, Wisconsin, USA, a hardy Midwest town sitting on the western shore of Lake Michigan, Bernard Klemme is definitely not your text book pop phenomenon. Blending captivating guitar riffs with catchy lyrics and unforgettable melodies, the band is fronted by best friends Benson Klemme and Scott Schmidt, two former car salesmen who met when working at the same dealership. “We actually didn’t like each other when we first met” reminisces Scott, but soon discovered their mutual passion for music and when, one evening at Ben’s home, Scott mentioned he had a melody running through his head that he could not forget, Ben picked up his guitar, and together they penned their first song “Roses and Kings”. “It took us less than an hour and half from start to finish” remembers Ben, “and as we were working together I remember thinking-we’ve really got something here!”

That was toward the end of 2007, and prompted enthusiastic reaction from friends and family making the guys realise that this could be more than a hobby, and when a friend of theirs posted “Roses & Kings” on myspace, they received offers of gigs within a week, but turned them all down because they had only one song ….. but quickly realised that they should write more.

Says Scott Schmidt [lyricist and lead vocals] “We individually, almost gave up music – almost let go of the dream. Now we use our music to remind others to never give up – never let go” Ben Klemme [instrumentation, lead guitars, and vocals] says We’ve both seen some pretty low spots and for both of us, music has always been a way to never lose touch with our own souls”

Encouraged by the response they were already getting from just one song, Ben and Scott began writing over the Winter of 2007 and by March 2008 their new material had attracted the interest of radio stations including their first radio airplay in the UK.

They were also getting requests from fans for live performance, so despite only having a handful of songs, they agreed to play an acoustic show at Harbor Lights in Sheboygan. Realising they needed a band name, Scott asked Ben if they could use Ben’s own name “because it was cool and more marketable than Scott Schmidt!”

When the night of the show arrived Ben and Scott were knocked out to find not only was the venue packed out (to almost twice it’s capacity!!) but also people were standing outside in the cold watching through the windows!

The audience were immediately enraptured by the duo’s energy, tight harmonies and unforgettable refrains. So began a love affair between the band Benson Klemme and the people of Wisconsin which was consummated in July 2008 when the band entered a newspaper competition, featuring 17 bands, from all over the state. This contest required a video from each band, so rather than a predictable live performance video, Ben and Scott came up with the cute idea of a fun storyline for Benson Klemme’s first music video for “Blue Skies” (below), which was posted on youtube, and resulted in them attracting over 18,000 votes and winning the coveted title of Sheboygan County’s Best Band

Throughout the summer they played various acoustic gigs and in September 2008 they were contacted by Gorilla Productions from Ohio who were looking for outstanding bands to play a national Battle of the Bands competition. Only one problem – the first audition was on October 3rd, and they had only played as an acoustic duo so they had a month to get a band together and rehearse! Passing the audition the first elimination performance was on November 2nd at Miramar Theatre in Milwaukee, giving them less than a month to rehearse the band further. Their talent and hard work paid off because that night they beat the other 5 bands, and were through to the next round.

Their success generated a buzz around the local media and the “Top 40” radio station asked them in for an interview and “Blue Skies” got its first US radio airplay on November 25th 2008, and over that winter became the number one requested song on 104.5 WXER fm radio

On December 20th 2008 they played the second heat of the competition at “The Rave” in Milwaukee and were named Wisconsin’s best band by the competition organisers. They were then up for the nationwide online vote and out of about 1000 bands from across the whole of the USA, Benson Klemme proudly claimed 9th place.

Subsequently demand for the band to perform came flooding in, but sadly the other band members did not have the same dedication as Ben and Scott, and discovered that being in a band can involve hard work! In Spring 2009 they lost their bass player, drummer and keyboardist, but a set-back like this was not going to deter Ben and Scott! They went on 104.5 WXER fm to advertise auditions and quickly got back on their feet, and on July 3rd 2009 the radio station invited them to play a gig as their “house band”, and this was followed by the main stage of “Brat Days” in their home town of Sheboygan, opening for popular 90’s hit band Eve 6.

Most recently two of their songs, the bouncy “Blue Skies” and the beautiful “Right Behind You” debuted on www.aiiradio.net, worldwide online radio, on May 14th 2010, and subsequently “Blue Skies” was nominated by a fan for the chart. It was chosen as one of the 5 favourite songs out of 15 nominations by the listeners and is now in the voting for a Top 40 Chart position, which is decided by votes emailed in by listeners.

Benson Klemme are currently writing and recording and have over 20 songs recorded at demo or pre-production stage and are looking for the right label to release their first album.

With songs like the heart pounding, fast paced “Uninvited” (the story of a guy attending the wedding of his only love, but he’s not the groom), the fresh new rock of “Oceans Apart” (a young rocker from across the ocean uses his music to find his way to his soul mate), and the gritty candid ballad “Butterfly” (encourages young women to put aside their fears and insecurities) to the emotional “Right Behind You” (a poignant and topical song which anyone who is separated from a loved one will relate to, especially those serving in the armed forces, expressing how the miles cannot separate emotions) it’s easy to see why Benson Klemme has such an all around appeal.

Catchy melodies, evocative lyrics, passionate vocals, exceptional musicianship, no wonder Benson Klemme fans describe the band’s style as “old school rock and roll with a 21st century edge”! Their songs cross genres and cannot be pigeon-holed, but will all have you tapping your feet, humming a melody or maybe even shedding a tear
“We write about real people and real emotion, and put everything we’ve got into every song” Yes…they do. Listen and see for yourself.


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