I was born in Fall River, Massachusetts on October 20, 1977 and grew up in Somerset, MA.  My earliest memories of wanting to become a drummer were from watching the Muppet Show and my parents first getting me an Animal drum set when I was very young.  When I heard Eric Carr's huge drum sound on “I Love It Loud” and Alex Van Halen's double bass on “Hot For Teacher” I knew I wanted to become a drummer.  I was too young to experience the original KISS lineup but grew up on 80's hard rock and heavy metal, all influenced of course by KISS.  My biggest musical influences are KISS, Van Halen, Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Queen, Rush, AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Ozzy, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Metallica, Motley Crue, Dream Theater, Extreme, and Alter Bridge.  I love all music from modern country to classical to house and techno.
I played drums on and off throughout my teenage years, but also played piano and keyboards and was a saxophone player in high school bands.  My first concert was seeing Rush in 1993.  I rediscovered the original KISS catalog after seeing them at the Providence Civic Center during the Reunion tour in 1997.  After graduating from Somerset High School in 1995 I bought my first real drum kit and began playing in various bands during college.  I joined Brockton based hard rock band "No Warning/The Prize" in 2000 and after playing the Boston and New England club scene and recording 2 original demo albums, we moved to Los Angeles in 2002. We spent time in Hollywood and played most of the major rock clubs on Sunset Strip.
I served as a military musician in the Massachusetts Army National Guard’s 215th Army Band from 1995-2001 and 2004-13. Upon completing my military service I realized something was missing in my life.  I missed playing drums and connecting with fellow musicians and audiences on stage.  I auditioned for a few bands and nearly gave up my hope of finding a group to form a band with. Focusing on family and work, I unexpectedly received an email and phone call from KISS Forever in January 2014.
After speaking with the other band members on the phone and playing about 25 KISS songs at my audition, we knew it was going to work.  We connected on a personal level and musically everything sounded as though we had played together for years.  After they asked me to join the band, we discussed what character I wanted to be and agreed the group needed a fresh start, something different from other KISS tributes. We decided I would pay tribute to Eric Carr as The Fox.  Although like all KISS fans I love and respect Peter Criss, my hard hitting, heavier playing more closely resembles the styles of Eric Carr and Eric Singer.  We decided it was time for the band to move into a different direction as well, incorporating songs from all KISS eras into a more varied set list!
Then in June 2015, after having the honor of portraying the Fox for a year and a half, I decided to switch to the Catman makeup and character.  I love Eric Carr, but whether it was through nostalgia or just die hard fans wanting to know, at every show people would constantly ask me “What about the Cat?  What about giving some love to Peter Criss?”.  After much thought and discussion with the other members of the band we realized that after over 40 years, KISS to most people is represented by the original iconic characters of the Demon, Starchild, Spaceman, and Catman.  Whether it was Peter Criss as the original, or Eric Singer carrying on the torch as the Catman today, these are the characters that KISS made famous in the 70s.  This is the KISS of legend that we pay tribute to in KISS FOREVER, the Hottest Band in the World!!!!


FAST FACTS ABOUT MIKE:

*I have seen KISS 6 times - on the 1997 Reunion tour, 1998 Psycho Circus tour, 2000 Farewell tour, 2003 World Domination tour, 2010 Sonic Boom tour, and in 2012 on The Tour with Motley Crue.

 

*I have met one current member of KISS, Eric Singer, in 1997 at a drum clinic at Rick's Music World in Swansea.

 

*Like both Peter Criss and Eric Carr I am Italian-American, my middle name is Paul (Eric's real name), and although I am a lefty, I play drums both right handed and open stance.

Mike Grillo

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