Band mates in Staind call him Sal Giancarelli

Posted by ADDICTEDtoStAiND on May 10, 2012 at 5:25 PM
Band mates in Staind call him Sal Giancarelli

The man behind the drum kit with Staind for the big rock show Tuesday night in the Onondaga County War Memorial will be announced to the crowd as Sal Giancarelli.

If front man Aaron Lewis is on his game, he’ll tell the fans that Giancarelli will be playing a hometown show that night of May 15.

Some folks might not make the connection.

At home in Cayuga County, he’s plain, old Joe Giancarelli, a 36-year-old guy who was born and raised in Weedsport before settling in Auburn.

Like many before him and plenty since, Giancarelli picked his first musical instrument when he was in the fourth grade. The drums caught the ears and eyes of this particular 10-year-old.

“Lots of noise. Big sound,” he explains.

He kept at it.

“All the standard stuff. Woodwind ensembles, private lessons, jazz ensembles. In high school, I was jamming with friends. I liked the rock side of things.”

Tyler Cole recalls hearing some cool beats coming from teacher Dick Howard’s studio, behind the studio where Cole was teaching guitar.

“His playing style was very fluid and complex,” Cole recalls. “He could solo with the best of them.”

Giancarelli was 12 or 13 at the time.

Cole set up a meeting with Gaincarelli’s parents, asking them permission for their son to come to Rochester to play on a records he was recording. They agreed.

Their son had his first paying gig.

Giancarelli is pretty sure the name of his first high school garage band was Menagerie.

“You know how it goes,” he says. “The name lasts a month.”

His passion for drumming grew. He majored in music at Onondaga Community College as he climbed the Central New York ladder of success. He played in bars with Jacaranda, the Ned Lucas Band and, yes, Tyler Cole and the Midnight Renegades.

Then came the band If Inertia, and regular gigs in the Lost Horizon.

One time, Giancarelli recalls calling music booker Scott Sterling to confirm a date there.

Sterling sounded confused, asking Giancarelli if he hadn’t just called minutes ago.

Giancarelli realized it must have been his best friend and bandmate, Joseph Dougherty.

“You have two Joes in the band? One of you better change your name,” Giancarelli recalls Sterling telling him.

The advice stuck.

When he, Dougherty and Benjamin Young moved If Inertia to Northampton, Mass., in 1995, Giancarelli decided to perform under his middle name, Sal.

If Inertia spent five years playing in New England. At the time, Staind was a cover band based out of Boston, and Godsmack — the co-headliner Tuesday night — was a cover band based in Springfield, Mass.

“We were acquaintances through the years,” Giancarelli says of the musicians, and their crew members.

That connection paid off after In Inertia moved to Los Angeles in early 1999.

Staind was in the process of signing its first major record deal, and a tour took the band to Los Angeles.

“One of the crew guys took me back stage,” Giancarelli says. “He told me the band was looking for a drum tech.”

If Inertia moved back to Central New York after four months in L.A.

Giancarelli got a call a couple of months after that, asking if he’d like that spot as the man who looked after Staind drummer Jon Wysocki’s gear on tour.

“October 2, 1999 was my first show as Staind drum tech,” Giancarelli says.

He loved the work.

He kept at it, for 12 1/2 years.

In June last year, Wysocki quit Staind, opening the door for possible great things.

Giancarelli asked for an audition to move from drum tech to drummer.

“I want you guys to experience me with my personality, on my drum kit, with the way I play drums,” Giancarelli told the Staind musicians. “Playing on somebody else’s drum kit during sound check doesn’t speak to what you can do as an individual.”

He got an audition.

Staind hired Will Hunt, who’d played for Evanescence.

Giancarelli swallowed hard and was Hunt’s tech. For three shows.

Hunt and Staind didn’t go together well.

So guitarist Mike Mushok called Giancarelli with a job offer.

“He was very calm. I was excited. I said, ‘OK, let’s go,’” Giancarelli says.

“There was a couple of shows that John was sick, and Sal sat in with us before,” Mushok says. “We’ve always known he’s a great drummer. It seemed like a perfect fit to us.”

His first show behind the drums with Staind came last summer, in Anchorage at the Alaska State Fair.

He’s played 30 shows so far.

Giancarelli loves it.

“Personalitywise, he’s the same guy,” Mushok says. “We have this thing we joke about on our site, on a webisode, where he’s this egotistical guy, that he wanted to have the band named after him. That was a joke. He’s the most quiet, down-to-earth guy you’d want to meet. We knew his personality. He’s been with the family.”

When Giancarelli heard that Staind was coming to Syracuse, he says, “My first reaction was, ‘Holy ——. How many tickets will I need for my friends and family?’”

“I need 30 for family alone,” he says, voicing his list. “Mom. Dad. Brothers. Cousins. Sisters-in-law."

“I’m super psyched,” he says. “It’s the chance for friends and family to see me play on a big stage under the big lights. It’s what I’ve dreamed of since I was 10 years old. It will be incredible.”

The details
What: Staind and Godsmack co-headline in concert. Halestorm opens.
When: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Where: Onondaga County War Memorial, 800 S. State St., Syracuse.
Tickets: $42.50, $53.50. Available at Oncenter box office,, 315-435-2121.

Categories: May 2012, Staind News

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