The beats, the rhythms behind great songs like “Grease,” “December 1963,” and “Sherry” from the legendary Frankie Valli in live concert today are all thanks to the one and only Craig Pilo. We met up with Craig recently to find out more about this talented drummer….and we definitely learned more. We have to place a warning on this interview…read below:
*Warning* the content here on forward may cause, laughter, may lead to rotfl type, so be sure that the floor is clean and maybe even carpeted.
Let’s get to know the energetic drummer keeping the rhythms in tune for Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. When was the first time you had a drumstick in your hands?
When I was 6, first grade.
Do you come from a musical family?
My dad was a drummer. My mom always told me to stop. She’d be like ‘stop that!’ I would be banging on everything. The drums used to be in the basement so I’d go down there and I’d sound terrible *imitates himself going wild on the drums* My mom would come down and flick the lights as my cue and I’d ignore it. She’d get mad at me.
Where are you from originally?
Connecticut, right where you are.
How would your friends describe your personality?
Hmm I’m not sure.
Us: How about class clown?
Craig: Yeah!! Class clown.
When did you start working with Frankie?
I started with Frankie in October of 2005.
How did you find out?
The drummer before me was getting married a year earlier and I subbed for him when he got married. Then later that year he left and they called me.
So they knew you were the one!
I was the best drummer in that price range. hahaha
Who else did you play with?
AC / DC, Led Zepplin, I played along with them on my Ipod. *Laughs* See so I played with them.
Were there any live bands that you played with?
Live bands opposed to dead ones! haha Yeah there have been a few people I have played with.
Which is your favorite song to drum out to with Frankie?
Soundcheck! haha That sound guy that you just met, he’ll tell me ‘Hit the snare drum’, ‘hit that first tom tom’ and I go wild!
I know one of the biggest numbers is “Oh What a Night.” Do you like that one?
Yeah!! Yes I do. See she’s (referring to us) baiting me saying… “December 63, that’s a good song..like drumming to that one??” Love December 63!
Oh man “Grease” is great.
You wish you were one of the singers in front.
That’s the last thing I wish. I don’t have that kind of voice. I prefer to be heard and not seen. I’m perfect hiding behind the drums. I’m very comfortable.
Ok tell me about some solo projects you have going on.
I do have a solo project. I have my own CD. It sold 4 copies. It’s really selling well. There are 5,000 copies left and I got 5,000 copies made so there are actually 4,996 copies so it’s a good time to buy it.
Us: So it’s selling out fast!
Craig: It’s selling quickly.
Us: Where will you find it?
Craig: Mostly in my closet. You’ll find them in my closet.
Us: So we have to send the buyers to your house.
Craig: Yeah just send money and I’ll mail you a CD. No it’s on CDBaby and it’s on ITunes. It’s called “Just Play.”
Us: What type of music?
Craig: It’s jazz fusion, the 70’s jazz fusion. It’s been out for 2 years so I sold 2 copies in 2007 , 2 copies in 2008 and I haven’t sold any this year but it’s only September. *Laughs* Usually they sell at Christmastime.
Us: What about for Back to School?
Craig: No it’s not really a back to school CD. That 70’s jazz fusion just doesn’t get the ‘back to school’ crowd.
What type of music did you listen to growing up?
I listened to everything. Big band mostly and of course Frankie Valli. No, I didn’t really know his songs growing up, only about 2. When I heard the music they gave me I thought “Oh that’s Frankie Valli” and “that’s Frankie Valli, wow.” Then I ended up knowing 20 songs.
Which drummers out there do you like?
Well I think I’m the greatest really…that’s a lie. A lot of guys I went to school with were really great drummers actually. I went to the University of North Texas.
With music on the internet, youtube, and the like, what do you think of this new form of musical expression?
I like it. I think it’s great. I think there are some really interesting things on youtube. I mean I’m not a junkie but I like to watch the videos on there, mostly jazz drummers.
Do you watch the videos of yourself?
There are only a couple of videos of myself on there. I’m on a site called starsteachmusic.com though because I’m a big star.
Do you watch the videos of the live concert on there?
Sometimes but I like reading the comments. They’re really funny.
Did you guys tape Oprah?
No. Frankie decided not to do it. I’m not sure if his schedule got busy or what but it’s not happening. It was supposed to be taped two days ago. I’m actually composing music for TV, drama shows. When I’m not with Frankie, I play a lot of tv shows, but I’m just the drummer. Now I’m starting to write the music myself.
What about those four CD’s that you sold?
Well yeah I sold them each for $15…no $14 but it cost me $4 to mail them out. *Laughs* So I’ve made $40 selling CD’s so it’s really going well. That’s $20 a year from CD sales. I’m hoping the music for TV will go really well.
How about American Idol, what do you think?
I don’t think I’d be a very good contestant because I can’t really sing that well. I know I look good and all.
What about the beginning auditions?
The people that don’t make it? Yeah! I can do that.
What about Dancing with the Stars?
I’m a pretty crazy dancer I’d have to say.
I think a lot of people might be jealous of your dancing.
Oh I know a lot of people would be. I can understand where I’d be intimidating.
You must get mobbed at the airport.
Oh the airport…yes. I can usually be found in line for pizza. Ask anybody, that’s what they’ll tell you. That’s my spot.
What topping do you get on your pizza?
This is important. Whatever’s on sale. The cheapest slice they have. If it’s $3, that’s the slice I’m getting.
What if it’s $4?
What is your favorite place to play?
I like playing here at the Mohegan Sun. I’ll have some friends from high school come out and they make me feel very unaccomplished. There’s a girl my age (and I won’t tell you what age that is) There’s a girl my age who has a 17 year old daughter. I’m happy that I actually have a girlfriend now. So I’m thrilled that I’ve been dating the same girl for 6 months.
Craig in Video!
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