Enjoy this great conversation with Casey Grillo and make sure to get on my VIP list at the bottom of the page!
Casey was a pleasure to have on the show. He shared on a wide array of topics and it was pretty insightful to get his view on things!
Originally from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Casey Grillo has over the last twenty years developed into one of the most admired, respected and versatile drummers playing anywhere in the world. Casey began honing his skills when he was only eight years old and was working with national artists while he was still in his teens. As a sixteen year old prodigy Casey was recording and touring with CBS artist Debra Dejean who was nominated for a Grammy for her song “Goose Bumps.” Capitalizing on his passion and love for the drums and taking advantage of the global love of good music Casey soon found himself not only touring the US but also playing in bands from as far away as Sweden, Russia and Finland.
Casey is now most often associated with Kamelot, one of the most original and prestigious acts within the genre of Metal. Casey joined Kamelot in 1997 and has contributed to, and played on, Kamelot’s last nine albums, which have sold many hundreds of thousands of copies in Europe, The United States and in South America. Kamelot is one of metal’s most active touring bands and Casey finds himself on the road, in some distant country, for many months each year. Casey’s skills have developed through more than twenty years as a professional studio and recording musician and his playing draws respect from musicians and fans wherever he is seen. His double bass skills are astounding and his hands and overall technique reveal a studied and musical past. Recently Casey has left Kamelot and has been touring with Queensrÿche.
Casey is touring with Queensrÿche and recording music for The Bird Cage, a metal record that is being released as a video game, here is an IMDb page for it.
On gaming, Casey told us that personally he can’t see himself spending hours on something that won’t make him money or teach him anything, and he has relayed that to his kids when they were younger. He spoke about learning a program as being is like playing a game, but can amount to something.
Over the past two years, Casey has taken on a new business called Drumstatic, in which he and a partner create innovative LED and video drum heads for artists. Recently, he has produced these for many artists and events including Kiss, Korn, Eminem, Nikki Minaj, Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez and even The Grammy, Oscars and Super Bowl. Due to very bright and high end LEDs, the drum heads he made for Kiss were apparently the most expensive drum heads ever made, only to be topped by the video heads Casey currently has in development. Over the next year he wants to hire some people and scale up the operation. When he tours, he delegates his duties to his partner.
Before going on tour with Queensrÿche recently, Casey shared his approach to learning all the music from the tour setlists in just eight days. He had to practice 8-10 hours a day. He turned off his phone and went for it.
Casey and wife have been pescatarian for the past six years, leaning more vegetarian. He has done this for ethical and health reasons. He hunted and fished as a kid but doesn’t really do that anymore. He mentioned having to take an animal’s life changed his perspective on eating meat.
Casey tends to do some intermittent fasting without really thinking about it. He wakes up at around 10AM and doesn’t eat until the early afternoon. He eats twice a day and doesn’t eat too late either. On tour, due to limited options he tends to eat a bit unhealthier but still maintains his pescatarian diet. Casey does consume dairy, but not much.
Exercise used to play a big role in Casey’s life and has currently taken a back seat temporarily due to time constraints. He told us about a doctor named Nadia Azar who researched him, along with other top drummers on how many calories burned during performing. (details can be seen here) Before a show, he will often stretch even more than warming up. He tries to be fitness conscious and travels with exercise bands. For this upcoming tour, he already discussed exercising with the singer during the day. He reflected on how running can tire him out for the high amounts of double bass he has to play.
On productivity, Caseys routine is pretty linear. First thing in the morning, he handles the drum head orders for about an hour and that motivates him to continue being productive. For a while he played drums about three hours a day, but now just runs through the setlist once for maintenance. Last minute orders for drum heads from major acts motivate Casey to stay on top of everything.
Productivity itself has been a tool to keep Casey’s mind out of the gutter. On depression, he acknowledged it as an illness that some people cannot really control, but he doesn’t really get too down, and stated frankly that he is “too busy to get depressed.” He reflected that if you are around people who are negative, it is contagious. He surrounds himself with people who focus more on possibilities. When he is in a “funk,” he has people who will snap him out of it. His mother was a psychologist and helped him establish a good psychological frame for dealing with life.
On internet trolls, he said these are people who are probably struggling in their own lives lashing out and belittling others publicly to feel better about themselves. He does find some trolling pretty funny but thinks they get off from how many people they can get reacting to them. He focuses on reading the positive comments more. He basically says if he isn’t paying for people to teach him, they have no place giving him some of that heavy criticism. Just as with our discussion on video games, he thinks it would be a better idea to spend time on a computer actually learning something.
Casey has been married for twenty two years and has a couple of step kids. His wife is used to having him travel and was pretty occupied with the kids while he was on tour. Now that the kids are older and moved out, its a bit more tough, but she is independent and even painted the house while he was gone once.
Throughout his upbringing, Casey’s mother would encourage him and told him he could do whatever he wants if he truly believes in it. Casey’s siblings also played drums and he naturally picked them up as well. At just the age of sixteen, he already began to tour, and his mother supported him in doing that. Having had several step-fathers growing up who didn’t treat him so well, he has taken them as anti-influences and avoided treating like his step-children the way he was treated. He was mostly raised by his mother and respects woman more because of it.
Going forward he wants to continue to innovate and create new products with his company, and continue to play drums. Recently he has been recognized more and more as “the drum head guy.”
Casey’s message to all musicians: “Shut up and play.” He has dealt with less than optimal conditions and has had to suck it up and do his best in the circumstances.