QUEENSRŸCHE drummer Casey Grillo celebrated his 45th birthday onstage with his bandmates this past Saturday, October 16 at Arcada Theater in St. Charles, Illinois.
Before leading the audience in singing "Happy Birthday" to his longtime friend, QUEENSRŸCHE singer Todd La Torre said about Casey: "This guy's been playing with us for almost five years now. He has dedicated every waking moment to doing just such a phenomenal job for QUEENSRŸCHE. And we love this guy. He's family. He's like a brother to all of us. We couldn't ask for a better person to do what he does with us. Thank you so much for everything you do."
This past May, Casey spoke to "Breaking Absolutes" host Peter Orullian about how he ended up getting the gig in QUEENSRŸCHE as the replacement for the band's original drummer Scott Rockenfield.
For the past four years, Grillo has been filling in for Rockenfield, who stepped away from QUEENSRŸCHE's touring activities in early 2017 to spend time with his young son.
Asked how his working relationship with QUEENSRŸCHE came about, Casey said: "I was on my wife and I's 20-year anniversary on a boat; we were on a cruise ship. And we got married at a fun time of the year, which is spring break down here in Florida. So, March 16th is our anniversary, and we were, like, 'Let's go on a cruise ship.' … All of a sudden I get this phone call. And I'm, like, 'Wow, my phone's actually working,' 'cause we were kind of alongside Florida, so it wasn't too far off shore. And it's Todd La Torre, the singer from QUEENSRŸCHE. And he's, like, 'Hey, I've gotta talk to you.' I go, 'Man, I'm at sea right now. This is probably, like, eight dollars a minute.' He's, like, 'Go download Viber and call me back.' I didn't even get the Internet package. I was, like, 'I'm on vacation. I'm not gonna look at any business stuff. Nothing.' He goes, 'I'll pay for the Internet package. Just go get it.' I'm, like, 'Okay.' So I went and got Viber. I called him back, and I'm sitting there talking to him.
"My wife and I, we actually fell in love together listening to QUEENSRŸCHE," he continued. "QUEENSRŸCHE was kind of our music underneath the beginning of our relationship, when we started dating and stuff. So it was like our theme music behind us. The first show we ever went together to see was [QUEENSRŸCHE on the] 'Promised Land' [tour]. So we're huge fans. And I was a huge fan when I was a kid.
"So Todd's, like, 'There's a show that Scott can't do. His girlfriend's having a baby. Would you wanna do it?' I go, 'Yeah.' I go, 'When's the show?' And literally it was, like, eight days after I got off the cruise ship. [And I go], 'Dude I don't have any time to prepare for it.' And he's, like, 'Man, you can do this.' … He's, like, 'Download all these songs.' And there's stuff that I knew — the legacy stuff — but then there was all this stuff that I didn't know. So I'm, like, 'Wow, I'm gonna be working on this.' I told him on the phone, 'I don't think I can do this.' And the whole time my wife is kicking me under the table [laughs]: 'You're doing this.' So I listened to my wife, which I'm glad — she kicked me hard enough. And that's pretty much how it happened. And I went home. And eight days before I had to fly out, I was working eight, ten hours a day, and my wife was shoving food underneath the door of the studio: 'You stay out there until it's right.' And my first gig was on April Fool's Day 2017 in El Cajon, California."
Almost a year after playing his first show with QUEENSRŸCHE, Casey announced his exit from his previous band KAMELOT in order to pursue "other musical endeavors" as well as tend to his "rapidly growing" drumhead company DrumStatic.
As previously reported, Rockenfield filed a lawsuit against the band's fellow original members Michael Wilton (guitar) and Eddie Jackson (bass) last week, alleging, among other things, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and wrongful discharge.
In the complaint, which has been obtained by BLABBERMOUTH.NET, Rockenfield claims that he took paternal leave of absence from QUEENSRŸCHE in February 2017 after his fiancée experienced complications during the birth of their son and had to have an emergency Cesarean delivery. According to the drummer, his leave of absence was approved by the members of QUEENSRŸCHE and he was to retain an equal one-third interest in all QUEENSRŸCHE companies (QR Companies), including Tri-Ryche Corporation, Melodisc LTD., Queensryche Merchandising, Inc., EMS Music, LLC and Queensryche Holdings, LLC.
Scott alleges that or about October 11, 2018, Wilton and Jackson purportedly "voted to dismiss Rockenfield from the QR Companies due in whole or in part to his taking of approved family leave. Rockenfield was informed of his purported dismissal from the QR Companies in a letter dated November 3, 2018."
Rockfenfield also claims that Wilton and Jackson did not include him in the recording QUEENSRŸCHE's latest album, "The Verdict", "despite his availability and willingness to participate."
The drum tracks on "The Verdict" were laid down by La Torre.