Kamelot are in the middle of recording their next album and we at Kamelot Germany are very greatful, that despite the busy times we got the chance to do an interview with Kamelot’s drummer Casey Grillo. Enjoy!
Kamelot Germany/Yvonne: Hi Casey, thank you for taking some time to answer our questions! We hope you enjoy your time off from touring the world.
Casey Grillo: Not a problem. Time off is always great!!
KG: Let’s start with the first question: Kamelot toured a lot since 2012 for the Silverthorn album. What are your most cherished memories from being on the road?
CG: Wow, there are so many. We had some really nice off days in South America. It’s always great to go out and have fun with the gang on days off. We are like a big family during a tour. Japan is also one of these amazing places. I think one of the coolest things I got to do was seeing Berlin. Tommy Noack (my drum tech) took Sean and me on a very quick tour through the city. It was really crazy and so much fun at the same time.
KG: How did your drumming style change or evolve during your time with Kamelot?
CG: Well, “Siege” was like a new beginning for me, I had to learn how to play double bass. That was a big thing for my playing style. It’s a lot easier now.
KG: You play a diverse variety of music – metal, rock, jazz. What are the biggest differences while playing?
CG: The most important thing besides style is volume. The volume on a jazz gig is so much lower than on a metal gig. I have to really become part of the show I am playing… it’s a mind set.
KG: When will you go back to the studio to record for the next Kamelot album?
CG: I just got out about 2 weeks ago! I recorded drums with a good friend of mine and great engineer Jim Morris at a private studio in Tampa called LaLa Mansion. We had such a great time!
KG: Drummers usually go in first to record their tracks. What are the difficulties to record, without the other instruments already in place? Do you work with demos or notes?
CG: We have scratch tracks most of the time, so there is a layout of the song to go along. In the past I have been close to the last person to do my tracks. In some ways that’s actually harder because you have to match the other tracks exactly. There is no room to make up extra beats for example. There is a lot more freedom when you go in first.
Photo by Frank Alf
KG: The drum heads you do for Drumstatic are really beautiful. When and how did you get the idea to start this company?
CG: Thank you. I started it around 6 years ago. In the beginning I was making drum heads for drum clinics at Seminole Music and Sound, which is a music store close to where I live. John Spinelli is the manager and a buddy of mine, through him I got the chance to design drum heads for a lot of great drummers. At one point I did a clinic head for Ray Luzier from KORn and he asked me to do them also for the KORn tour. Crazy how many heads I have done since then.
KG: I think the one for Kiss with the lights is my favorite!
CG: Yeah, it’s hard to top that head! John Spinelli and Gary Wachowiak from wac’d drums were on that build and inventing team. A lot of of work and inventive spirit were necessary.
KG: Your own drum kits always look so amazing, will you get something new for the tours next year?
CG: You never know. On the last US a tour my drum-kit lit up in different colors. With the lights off the drum kit looked like a normal kit, just decorated with some Silverthorn artwork. It’s always fascinating trying to get stuff like this to work and to keep it working on the road.
KG: You do drum clinics in the US from time to time. What kind of people come to those clinics? What are the things you do there?
CG: Yes, I love doing drum clinic’s! All kinds of people come out to see me play at a clinic. From drummers to Kamelot fans. I play songs and answer questions. Mostly it’s goofing off and having fun.
KG: You should do such drum clinics in Europe too!
CG: I did some clinics a few years ago in Europe. I would like to do more over there, but sometimes it’s hard to schedule clinics while on the road touring.
KG: All the guys in Kamelot have such great stage chemistry and you all seem to get along off stage so well too. Can you give us a little insight?
CG: They are like my family. They are all great people and I love hanging out with them. You have to be a family when you’re on the road so close to each other for a long period of time.
Photo by Tim Tronckoe Photography
KG: You sometimes post about your lovely family on Facebook. What does family mean to you?
CG: Family means everything to me. They are my rock. My wife is always there for me when I’m home or when I’m gone. It’s hard to leave sometimes, but it’s always exciting when I get back.
KG: What are the things you enjoy most about home?
CG: I love spending time with my family and my animals. Just hanging out at the house and doing some work here and there.
KG: And what do you enjoy most about being on tour?
CG: Meeting new people and seeing different places. And of course hanging out with my brothers from the band!
KG: You have quite a few pets – dogs, cats – there are a lot of discussions about taking in pets from shelters instead of breeders. What is your take on it?
CG: All of my pets except for one were rescued. You can really tell when a dog or a cat – or any kind of animal – has been in a shelter or on the street. They really respect you and are very happy to be living in a house.
KG: I loved the acoustic set you guys played in Haarlem last August! How different was this experience for you?
CG: Oh, it was a lot of fun! It was a bit strange for me to be upfront and see all the faces up close and not having a drum kit around me. But I loved every minute of it!
Photo by Slobodan Lazevski
KG: What do you do to keep in shape for all the hard hitting behind the drums when being on tour?
CG: I play a lot when I’m home. Sometimes I do local gigs and studio sessions. I also like running and working out in the gym as well.
KG: You were speaking the intro for the latest Edguy tour. How did this came to happen?
CG: Tobias (Sammet) and Kamelot’s producer Sascha Paeth asked me if I wanted to do it. I guess they thought my voice would work for what they had in mind.. it was fun for sure!
KG: You guys often get presents from your fans. What was the weirdest or coolest you ever got?
CG: Two years ago the band got Russian Matryoshka Dolls from a fan. These kind of dolls that fit inside each other. Our faces and bodies were hand painted on the nesting dolls. Amazing!
KG: Kamelot make music since over 20 years and you are with the band since over 15 years. The band built their own rightfully earned place and keeps growing. What are our thoughts on the history of Kamelot?
CG: Kamelot has been through a lot from the time I started in the band until now. We have seen the record industry change so much. From how people buy music to how bands promote themselves. The Internet is a powerful tool for today’s bands. I am very proud of where the band is today – with its sound and people I work with. I don’t focus much on the history or past past but I can tell you the future looks great!
KG: That was already my last question. Thank you for your time, Casey! See ya on tour!
CG: Thank you again, Yvonne! I can’t wait to start the touring. See you soon!
Interview by Yvonne Alf
Complete list of Kamelot’s Tourdates: www.kamelot.com/site/tour