Willis Reese of Drums Examiner recently conducted an interview with drummer Casey Grillo of Florida-based metallers KAMELOT. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Drums Examiner: How do you switch gears from hitting at the big concerts like that out on the road and then you come back home and today we saw you playing with the JEREMY THOMAS BAND and with a relatively small crowd. Do you like the difference or does it seem weird to you once you have played in a big arena.
Casey Grillo: At first it did, and this was a few years ago when KAMELOT started to do really well. I have always played with guys in town because if I don’t go out and play with local bands, then I don’t play. I will sit at home and play Nintendo or whatever thing is going on. I won’t go practice and that’s kinda my problem. I never practice. If I’m gigging, then I’m practicing. So I have always tried to make it to where I always have some kind of gig going on. With Jeremy‘s band, for me it’s like, “Wow.” These guys are really great. They are my favorite local rock band I have ever played with. Jeremy is one of the greatest vocalists I have ever worked with. I’m not going to say that lightly either. That’s going to be heavy. I think he is the best vocalist I have worked with, my favorite voice. These guys are like my brothers. We just spent a week in Ohio on an island with nothing but partying. We gigged for three days and it was one of the most amazing times I have ever had. We were in a small band house, sleeping in bunk beds. Playing golf during the day.
Drums Examiner: What was it like the first time you stepped out on a stage and looked out at 80,000 people?
Casey Grillo: At first you don’t really think [about it]. Well, it wasn’t 80,000 the first time I played in front of a really big crowd. The first really big crowd was at Sweden Rock [Festival]and there was like 25 or 30 thousand people there. It looked really big. I remember sitting back stage and doing jumping jacks because you peek out and you see all these people. I was warming up and moving my feet and all this stuff because the first song we were doing is really fast. Then I got out there and the first song felt really, really slow. My heart rate was going so fast. And I play to a click all night. Because if you don’t with this type of music, then you can really mess yourself up because that’s the thing, it gets really fast. But it was all really slow, that’s what I remember. But you know what, it’s a gig and for me, tonight there’s no difference for me playing in front of what we had here or from that to playing in front of 80,000 people. I play as hard as I can and as good as I can in front of five people.
Drums Examiner: So what is the next thing for Casey Grillo?
Casey Grillo: Well, I want to try to do a solo record. I just did a video with a [Norwegian singer] by the name of Atle Pettersen [ABOVE SYMMETRY]. We did that in Miami. He got second in [reality-TV singing competition] “X-Factor” over in Norway so he is quite big over there now. There are talks about doing something with him, maybe on a solo record. I want to do a solo record, like a musical kinda thing but more guitar-oriented. I have always been way big into Yngwie Malmsteen. I have a couple of guys I want to record with. I also want to do this Jeremy Thomas thing. I really think that Jeremy is an amazing vocalist. And, obviously, KAMELOT is going through some changes now that our lead singer is gone.
Drums Examiner: Are you still teaching?
Casey Grillo: Yeah, at Seminole Music.
Drums Examiner: What’s the biggest thing that you help kids with when you are teaching them?
Casey Grillo: Just to learn how to love playing drums. There is nothing better than seeing a kid that really wants to play drums and then teaching them how to do that. Most kids don’t want to learn how to read music but I sneak it in there. They’re like, “I didn’t know it was going to be this hard.” Most teachers just want them to get a pad and practice for an hour and a half. I get bored doing that, so I know a 10-year-old is not going to like it. But I don’t do so much of that anymore. I used to teach out of the music store, and it was all ages, but now I get a lot of people that know who KAMELOT is and they want to learn from me. I even have had people that fly in for the week and take like a week thing.
Read the entire interview from Drums Examiner.