Imagine Garrett Whitlock sat behind his drums, beast mode engaged and lost in the moment….
I. myself, have seen that image many a time and I´ve always been curious to find out more about Garrett when beast mode is set to the off position.
I caught up with him in Barcelona while Tremonti were in town and delved in to his world to find out about where this adventure started for him and also how he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I knew that I wanted to play the drums around the time I was 14 to 16 years old and that´s when I started playing at the school that I went to, they had a drum set in the music department for the students to play on and also our household was always very musical growing up, my mom and dad were always playing music and all of that stuff.”
Garrett added. “So around 15/16 years old, I had a couple of buddies who were already playing drums and I just kind of took to it and there was instant gratification and I loved it. Then around my 16th birthday, my dad was like “what do you want?” and I was like “A drum set”, So my old man got me a drum set and it has been about drumming ever since.”
While on the subject, I asked Garrett what else he would do if drumming hadn’t been an option and Stars Wars got a mention but only if he lived in a galaxy far far away.
“As far as what else I would do? The only thing I can really remember from growing up is that I wanted to fly a fighter jet, but that´s from when I was 8 years old and it´s not like a video game, It´s just a really technical thing that I probably couldn’t do hahaha”
Garrett added. “If I could be any character from Star Wars? I would be Darth Vader hands down. I´ve always had the allure to the character. That tortured soul almost has a Frankenstein thing to him and I’ve always been attracted to that. The originals are my favorite but, you watch the newer ones and you get to see how he got to be, who he is. He loved his girl and it somehow got really messed up and bad, I kinda identify with that, you know.”
“If I wasn’t Darth Vader, it would probably be Boba Fett. He´s a bad-ass like, I´m gonna go make my money and travel the galaxy haha and have a cool ship and a cool costume haha. I want to say that I would be one of the good guys but in Star Wars, all the bad guys are the cool dudes. I´d probably end up being an Imperial hahahah. I´d probably be hunting rebel scum hahaha. Yeah, that´s what I´d be doing.”
On a more serious note, I wanted to find out Garrett´s thoughts on the tragic events of Paris which happened on November 13th and the aftermath that came with it, as we heard daily of the bands cancelling their upcoming tours or even packing up and calling it quits on the remaining dates of their tours.
“You know, this world is starting to become a very crazy place. I remember when the real awful events happened in Colorado after the Batman movie and never in a million years would you think that anyone would ever walk in to a movie theater and do something like that. Its the same with the Le Bataclan concert hall, It SHOCKING and just thinking about it now makes my stomach turn. Music and live shows have always been my safe haven and my refuge, It was the same growing up and music is where time stops for me and everything else is in the grey.”
Garrett continues. “As I said my safe place is when I’m listening to music or playing drums, so to think of awful things like that happening in the spot you’re most comfortable…..HELL YEAH, it fucks with your head ! My grandmother and my dad called me and were like “please don’t go” but I’m not going to let a stranger dictate my life, this is what I do. This tour was planned, we wanted to come out and of course, we want everyone to be safe, we want the staff to be safe, we want the fans to be safe and our crew to be safe. So we just try to bump up security the best we can. I admit that at first, we were like oh, what are we going to do? but then, its obvious what we´re going to do. We´re going to go over and play music. These people need this music and this release more than anything and we, personally need this music and this release than anything, so its a no brainer! yes, its scary. but is it going to deter us from doing what we love more than anything? No it isn’t and living in fear in no way to live. We´re happy to be here, play music and for everyone to have a good time.”
On a lighter a note, Garrett adds.
“2 days before tour that Star Wars Battlefront game came out. I bought it and literally the 48 hours leading up until the tour, I was on my X-box, Just flying X-Wings haha and I was like if you guys want to cancel, that´s fine with me. I´ll just be playing here haha. But in all seriousness, No. we wouldn’t cancel.”
Garrett continued. “Touring the US has always been cool, we always have a great time doing it but coming over here to Europe, Its just a whole other world. Its so different, the culture, the architecture, the lay of the land, the fans, everything! One place where I would love to go to where we haven´t yet is Australia, I’ve always wanted to go there and go to Japan. So far my favorite place has to be Amsterdam, Amsterdam is very fun haha. The UK is a blast and its always been a real good stronghold for us, but honestly…Europe in general is just a treat and you´ll never get any complaints from me when we´re over here.”
“Playing live is a little more relaxed and my favorite part about being in Tremonti is the camaraderie. We´ve known each other for so long. We´ve known Wolfie and Tanner for a while and Eric´s like my best friend in the whole world, you know. So it´s like being out with your brothers, having a good time and playing music. I couldn’t ask for anything more and to be honest, I´ve had situations before for whatever reason it didn’t work so to be in a situation, where it does work. Everybody wins, It´s good times, good music and good friends.”
You would have all noticed by now, well almost all of you. (I noticed a few people mistaking Tanner for Wolfie on this tour cycle.) Tanner Keegan stepped in for Wolf Van Halen who had touring obligations with his other band Van Halen.
“When he first came in to the fold, it was always clear that if Van Halen has something planned, that´s first priority and of course, we are like go play with music your dad, that´s awesome! Its a family thing, so we were like, GO, you´re not staying with us, go tour with Van Halen! haha. He went out and did a really big extensive tour and then he had some recording stuff come up, so he´s been taking care of that and when we have time to do some more tours, we´ll chat and see what the word is. You know, its not like he´s gone and never coming back. He´s a busy guy too and we just try to accommodate everybody and make it work so when the time comes, We´ll just see.”
“Wolfie and Tanner are different bass players and their both amazing. They each have their own thing, so its cool having that, playing with different people. Tanner is very animated, enthusiastic and he´s cool to have around, There´s things I like about playing with Wolfie and things I like about playing with Tanner. Its nice to have the interchanging Lego pieces haha.”
To be continued…..
Words by Haylee Roebuck
Photo Credits to Chuck Brueckmann/Fret12