Saturday, September 22, 2007
Name: Jason Rullo
DOB: July 17, 1972
POB: Hackensack, NJ
How + why did you start playing/ Early Influences/ Musical training/ First piece of gear, etc:I had taken a few lessons for piano and guitar but nothing had really grabbed me yet. Then my mother read that hitting something was a good form of therapy, and since my father had just passed, she was concerned about that. I was 11 at the time and she asked if I wanted to get some sticks and a pad and I lit up at the idea. Then a cousin of mine told me he had a drumset sitting in his closet collecting dust and offered it to me, so of course I jumped on it. I had grown up listening to Stevie Wonder and bands like Earth, Wind, and Fire but by that time my main influences were Alex Van Halen and bands like Iron Maiden...but at that time I would also play to anything that came on the radio. I had lessons for only about 4 months and I was more interested in playing Van Halen songs than practicing my rudiments. That first set was a vintage Slingerland pearl black 4 piece.
Later Development / Main Influences:Then I discovered Rush and the world of progressive music while still listening to some heavier stuff as well....everything from Slayer and King Diamond to Zeppelin. A few years later I started getting into fusion and jazz also...Mahavishnu Orchestra, Chick Corea, Tony Williams, Frank Zappa, Miles Davis and the list goes on and on. As far as drummers I would have to add names like Dennis Chambers, Vinnie Colaiuta, Dave Weckl, Simon Phillips, Terry Bozzio, Steve Gadd, Manu Katche, Steve Smith, Jeff Porcaro and of course Buddy Rich. Now I listen to all kinds of stuff depending on the mood I am in.
When I was 16 I found out that Sonny Igoe was living and teaching in the same 1 sq mile town I lived in so I started studying with him, which I did on and off for about 3 years. After High School I attended Drummers Collective and graduated the Certificate Program there.
How did you hookup with the band Symphony X:I had known our first singer Rod for about a year when he introduced my to Mike and Tom. He had been telling me "yeah I may have this cool thing you might be interested in, this guitar player might be putting a band together"...so eventually Mike called me at work one day set up a jam, and the rest is history as they say.
Important turning points in your musical career:The first was when I started taking lessons with Sonny, the next was one of my first concerts (Spyro Gyra) with the very talented Richie Morales on drums, which was when I realized I really had to make a life of drumming. After that I would say Drummers Collective, which took my playing and awareness to another level. Then it was the first show with Symphony X, which was in Japan. I think for the whole band it got us right over that nervousness and made us a real band. More recently I would have to say being named on the Modern Drummer readers' poll.