Not to sound like a product placement, but this is a case where having an identical name for a product and an artist makes sense. Remington stainless steel razors and Herb Remington and his flawless pedal steel artistry are a combination that deserves to be housed in the same building. If so, the shed out back would be stockpiled with Remington pedal steel guitars which are engineered, designed, and manufactured by Herb Remington, of course. The steel, as in steel guitar, first came into Remington's life while he was in high school. It wasn't his first instrument. He had been playing piano since the age of five, and those who feel mastery of the keyboard would not expand the abilities of a pedal steel player should provide some other explanation of why no one has ever sounded like this man on that instrument.
Following the second World War, he went to California and wound up in the Bob Wills' Band, which to a pedal steel player is the same as arriving at St. Peter's gate. Ironically, his trip West had been to audition not for Bob Wills, but for Luke Wills, his brother. The better-known bandleading brother snatching him away is one of the few examples of sibling rivalry involving pedal steel players in music history. Thus Remington became one of the fabulously swinging and inventive players associated with Western swing, assuring him a place of reverence similar to that granted to the greatest baseball teams. As long as these pickers can still get on-stage, they will never go out of style. Merle Haggard provided employment from the '70s onward with Wills tributes, and two decades later Remington was gathering up the usual suspects for gigs and recording as the Playboys II. Another Western swing project is the River Road Boys, with whom Remington has recorded regularly since 1972. These are all fairly large bands, requiring a musician to be a team player. Remington has always been something of a leader as well. He was cutting his own instrumental singles for Decca early on, and wrote great material for the Wills' band, including the tune "Remington Ride," which has become a standard for steel players.
His involvement with country & western music also includes something of an invisible legacy, as he was one of a large group of musicians who, in different combinations, made up the house band for the Starday label. Scholars of vintage country music will argue into eternity about who actually played steel on the George Jones sides for this label, but sometimes it is Remington. When it is someone else, it might have been because Remington had gone aloha. He is also an accomplished Hawaiian steel player and works regularly in this genre, guaranteeing him weeks at a time of sunny working vacations touring the Hawaiian islands. He lives in Houston, TX, where he manufactures his instruments and teaches. One wouldn't have to travel all the way there to study his techniques: he has issued several volumes of pedal steel instruction on video. His innovations in instrument design include the invention of an adjustable truss rod.