Argus Leader RibFest on the parking lot of the Sioux Falls Arena. I remember it well. Crash from Bee 102.7 had told me these guys are great. You’ll love them JD. You’ll love their energy and you’ll love the way they play the rockin’ blues that they are well known for throughout the Midwest.
Zach and Kenny Kasik. They cut their teeth on Aerosmith and something else cool and rocky and bluesy and they are now off chasing the dream of playing a big stage in front of a big audience.
Know what? That don’t matter squat. They’re playing. I saw a facebook post from Zach the other night somewhere out in Los Angeles and today I see a post from Kenny who’s crankin’ it up somewhere in Nashville tonight.
Folks, this ain’t some beer commercial ‘slug line,’ but this is what it’s all about. Living the dream. Chasin’ the high of a crowd, a microphone and the love of the feel of a guitar in your hand. These guys are out there living the dream.
If they were minor league baseball players you could relate. But their in mini vans running up credit card bills trying to ‘find that big deal in the sky.’
We talk about these people every day. Rehme Sutton,Dustin Evans,Hailey Steele, Ken and Zach Kasik. People hustling, scraping and scratching the itch because God’s told them it’s the thing to do. It’s the thing to do now.
All these possible ‘future stars’ are going to be back in town this summer. Find them. Seek them out. Pat them on the back. Support them and support those who are supporting them. Buy a beer at the place they’re playing and listen to their music.
Will the all make it in the industry? Maybe not, but you have to give them a truck load of credit.
While the rest of us are working, farming or whatever the heck we’re doing, their plugging it in and hoping it hits the mother load.
Here’s to those who have dreams big enough to follow them! To them we say, ‘go get those dreams. Make us proud!’
Q. I’m a bouncer and our motto is “big is beautiful”, so I will admit that as I’m asking you these questions I’m going to be eating some of mom's famous chicken and dumplings! Gotta love moms home cooking… You seem to be a very family oriented person yourself, I’m sure you’re enjoying some time off from touring with Shooter and the band?
A. Yes and no! Yes, I am loving spending time with my son, and that time is priceless! I also love seeing my girlfriend more than I get to on tour... although she does get to come out with us quite a bit, which makes touring with Shooter that much better and fun! This time off is also letting me get to play in many different situations...I actually just spent the last two days recording myself on video playing to 5 songs that Cirque du Soleil just sent me for an audition. That was quite challenging, to say the least... but so much fun! It's always great to play in different time signatures and read charts again! It's been awhile since I've had a drumchart thrown at me, written drum for drum in 9/8, 5/8 and 7/8! I LOVE that kind of stuff! It would be amazing to play music like that everyday... very symphonic and powerful... gave me chills playing it! The "no" part of my answer was because, I actually love playing in Hierophant and I could do it 7 days a week... all year long! So I'd be lying if I said I don't miss touring. That band is a blast to play in... too bad we can't be doing it alot more than we do, as far as I'm concerned!
Q. You have been touring with Shooter for several years now… what are some of your favorite memories? Any freak accidents, favorite artists you’ve played with?
A. Whew!!! Where to start... yes, I've been with Shooter for the better part of 8 years at this point! It's definitely had it's share of experiences! (I'll keep it clean though for the purposes of this interview!) As far as freak accidents go there is one that pretty much takes the cake. We were playing a show in Texas back in 2005 ( I think) might have been the Electric Rodeo tour or Put the O Back in Country Tour...but it was sold out, maybe capacity was 750 or something. Anyway, we had a substitute road manager starting that night for about a week. Everything seemed to be going just fine, the show was rocking...all was good. Until about half way through the guitar solo on Daddy's Farm at the end of the show, I see Ted walk up to Leroy (our guitarist at the time) and say something and then walk back to stage left... right next to me. The next thing I know, I'm playing and this super heavy object basically comes out of NOwhere and hits my head and winds up between me and my snare drum! Apparently whatever Ted said did NOT sit right with Leroy, who decided to take off his SG and proceed to throw it over my drumset at Ted!! It would have made it to Ted too, had he not forgotten to unplug it first! So the cord basically stopped the guitar in mid air right above me and subsequently came slamming down onto my forehead and down into my lap! Needless to say, I was stunned...all of this happened in the space of about 5 seconds. I actually kept playing for about 3 bars before I noticed I was the only one left playing, and everyone was staring at me in absolute silence. That's when I stopped and felt my face becoming warm. I touched my face and looked at my hand and blood was just pouring down my face!!! Before I could think twice Christian (our manager that night) put a towel on my head and escorted me offstage!! This all occurred within the space of about 30 seconds!!! It was NOT very fun!! It concluded with me being taken to the emergency room and receiving 7 metal staples in my head! Ted and Leroy talked their disagreement out over the course of the bus drive to Dallas that night and through the next day. We played a fantastic show the next night in Dallas at The Granada Theater so it was all good! Got the staples taken out a week later and you can't even see the scar unless you really look in my hair! I actually couldn't even stay mad at Leroy for doing that because in hind sight it was just so ridiculous and "rock and roll" ya know? Just very funny at the end of the day! As far as favorite artists we've played with... I'd say Alice in Chains... they were fantastic! All of those guys were nothing but totally cool to us, as well as their entire crew. I just love how those guys roll... they are completely professional and really play their asses off every night...just like us!! Ha! It was also really fortunate that they got Shooter to sing Down in a Hole with them in NC! Hearing Shooter's voice in that setting was intense...really made me proud to be in a band with him. Shooter is just such cool person and a talented as hell musician. And we totally "get" each other musically, always have!! LOVE that guy!
Q. You have also been playing with The Lugnuts… great work with them brother. Is that going to continue or are you heading in any new directions with your talent?
A. I met Zach and Kenny along time ago...2004 or 05 I think. Leroy introduced us. But it wasn't until last year or so that they got in touch with me to do some gigs at the House of Blues with them that we got to really hang out. Those gigs went really well and after hanging out with them it turned out that we all got, and get, along really well! Those guys have such a great attitude! They aren't jaded (yet) which is great for me...they just love playing for the sake of playing, which is what I like. Since they are brothers and have been playing together their whole lives they have this energy when they play that is so fun to tap into...it feels like playing with a country Van Halen or something! We actually recorded a song not long ago to see how we sound and it came out slamming! It's called Demolition Woman and it just rocks from top to bottom! We also got to open a show for ZZ Top in South Dakota this last year which was a blast! I think they ended up selling 100 CD's right after we were done! Crazy! 2 days before that show I had just opened for Bob Dylan in Oklahoma with Shooter...that was a fun week! Zach is now playing bass for this band Squealer that John Schreffler and I just formed....it's a Bon Scott era AC/DC cover band! (We'll be at The Viper every WED in March and The Cat Club Feb 2nd.) I'll also be playing with The Lugnuts during SXSW the 18th and 19th. I mean, if I'm available, and they call up and ask me to do a gig...I'm there!
Q. When do we get to hear some Squealer recordings/videos? How did Squealer come about?
A. You know, we DO need to record something!! I didn't realize it was gonna take off so quick, to be honest... we've played just 2 shows and the 2nd show packed out the Viper Room last week! Now we just got offered a residency of sorts there for all of March! The whole idea came from being at sound checks last year on the road with Shooter. Typically, I set my kit up at 2pm and then come back to be the first one to soundcheck before everyone else gets there. As it would turn out, John would come in and play guitar with me while I was checking and then he'd check his guitar rig... and when he did he'd start playing any one of a number of AC/DC riffs and we'd just launch into it!! I love AC/DC... I mean, I play drums today based on seeing them for my first concert ever! AC/DC on the Highway to Hell Tour when Bon Scott was still alive, opening for Aerosmith on the Rocks Tour...that was July 4th, 1978 in Lubbock, TX! Thanks to my brother, Brad, for getting those tickets! In any case, once we got off tour with Shooter, he came over for dinner one night and we were just kinda like, "Why don't we just start an AC/DC Bon Scott era only, cover band?" It pretty much seemed like a no brainer and it would be alot of fun to do! He said he knew the perfect singer, Jodie Shell of The Shakers, and she said she was into it. So I booked a gig for two weeks later at The Viper... John sent everyone the tunes we had chosen to learn, we rehearsed twice and played the show!!! Voila!!
Q. You know I have to talk musical influences with you because I know you’re just as much a fan for the artistic side of music as I am, meaning that I would imagine you listen to and play various genres, are there any inspirations you would like to credit or any newcomers you would like to prop up?
A. Growing up, I started listening to everything my mom and brother listened to...which encompassed everything from The Carpenters to Elvis, Foghat, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Thin Lizzy, Judas Priest, etc. Then around 5th grade I started playing drums and was pretty much engrossed with everything about them from then on! By the time I hit 7th grade I was in the top Wind ensemble on percussion and in the jazz band in mid school. I started memorizing Permanent Waves and Moving Pictures from Rush after school, and playing to lots of Zeppelin. I went to mid school and half of 9th grade in Albuquerque, NM living with my dad. Unfortunately my dad got cancer and passed away in the middle of 9th grade, at which time I moved to live with my mom in Dallas, TX. It was when I got to Dallas that I got my musical landscape broadened significantly. I got into Frank Zappa, Gino Vanelli, Missing Persons, The Brecker Brothers (especially the album Heavy Metal Be-Bop with Terry Bozzio on drums), Tower of Power, Stanley Clark, Jeff Beck, Chick Corea, Allan Holdworth, etc. I pretty much became obsessed with anything Vinnie Colaiuta, Terry Bozzio and Chad Wackerman (all drummers for Zappa) played on. That led me all over the spectrum of music. In any case, I began transcribing the drum charts from albums like Joe's Garage I, II and III as well as Allan Holdsworth and Tower of Power. I was fascinated with odd time signatures and polyrhythms as well. By the time I was in 10th grade I already knew I wanted to go to Berklee College of Music up in Boston and went ahead and left my main highschool in 11th grade to audition for the Arts Magnet school in downtown Dallas. I got in and gradated highschool from there and ended up getting a scholarship to Berklee. To make a long story short, I went to Boston for a year, moved to Austin, Tx. and played and recorded with about ten million bands before I finally moved to L.A. in 2002. Since that move, I've recorded with Pink, Dionne Warwick, Macy Gray, Lucy Woodard, Jessie Colter, Damon Elliot and of course all of Shooter's records! I was even in a movie once...ha! As far as new bands that I really enjoy that are inspirational to me...I'd say the drummer for A Day To Remember is insane! I love his approach to pop and metal and his ability to fuse the two seamlessly... amazing double kick player... really refreshing! I also love Gavin Harisson form Porcupine Tree! He brings such class to the table. Every decision he makes is beautiful, and his groove is deep! Nicholas Barker on the Dimmu Borgir album Death Cult Armageddon is absolutely amazing. I think they used the Prague Symphony Orchestra on that CD...combined with their take on metal makes for a very powerful musical fist! I mean... I love Led Zeppelin, Ryan Adams, Pat Methany Group, Miles Davis, Betty Davis, Motlley Crue, John McLaughlin, George Jones, Waylon (of course), etc. I just like really good music... period. Anyone who plays music and is can contribute back to the artform...that's what I am interested in listening to.
Well I’m going to cut it here so I don’t take up too much of your time… hopefully we can do this again when you get back on the road.
Thanks so much Cody! This has been an absolute pleasure...lots of fun!