It can be a rare feat for an opening band at a concert to captivate an audience, and an even rarer feat for the first opening band. But California based JetStream has the ability to hold their audience in rapt attention. The three man band is definitely big on talent, which makes people stand up and listen on its own merit, but the fact that they are not even in their twenties makes an audience’s collective jaw fall open once they start unleashing said talent. And what did the band, who consists of Garrett Zeile, Kevin Grimmett and Ben Zelico, get to do on their summer vacation? Open for Stone Temple Pilots.
This is a rock & roll fantasy scenario only dreamt of by bands in basements and garages across the country, but these guys made it happen for themselves. While rehearsing one afternoon at Mates Studios in North Hollywood, JetStream had the good fortune of landing the rehearsal room next to the Stone Temple Pilots and caught the ear of bassist Robert DeLeo. DeLeo immediately took an interest in their music and initiated some discussion with the band members about writing and producing some songs together, as well as bringing the band out on tour.
Initially, JetStream’s manager, and Grimmett’s father, John, was a bit nervous when DeLeo said he wanted to invite the guys to come out on tour with them. Sure enough, though, DeLeo called, and JetStream joined them for 14 shows over a 27 day period. “Robert is a man of his word,” the elder Grimmett says, and added that STP’s people and crew working on the tour were all really nice to the guys.
“It’s really exciting to see the excitement that’s been building from that,” John says of the tour and watching the positive comments roll in from their rapidly growing Facebook fanbase. They even hired someone to accompany them on tour to handle all their social media, including a Vlog on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1sT3QvUgdI&feature=related) that documents the entire journey from start to finish.
The band’s been touring without an EP to support and, to compensate, have kept themselves busy in their hotel rooms burning and labeling CDs to hand out at shows. That, and Grimmett and Zeile have taken up golf. Grimmett says, “We get outside and it takes up all day.” As for Zelico, “Ben sleeps a lot,” Zeile adds with a chuckle that is chorused by the other two.
JetStream got together four years ago in Agoura Hills, California. They were the first to enroll in the School of Rock there and, after running through a laundry list of cover songs, Zeile, Grimmett and Zelico decided they wanted to do their own thing.
“We grew up with both old and new,” Zeile says of their influences, “We’re rooted in Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix, but we also take influence from Muse, Foo Fighters, the Strokes and Kings of Leon.” The latter of whom’s “Molly’s Chambers,” JetStream covers in their live show. Their own sound is a reflection of the melding of the old with the new. It’s a little bit grungy, a lot loud and rockin, and the way they move and interact onstage is so tight, if you closed your eyes, you’d think they’d been playing together for decades.
This summer was, however, their first tour, and during the school year, they play shows mostly on weekends and rehearse in between sports and schoolwork. Grimmett pulls double duty, running from baseball practice every day afterschool to band rehearsal three times a week.
What’s next for the band once they get back to California? “Reality,” one of them says, with the slightest hint of disappointment in their voice. Zelico started community college as soon as they got home, and Grimmett was going for his learner’s permit. Musically, putting out an EP is a priority, “Out of necessity,” Zeile says, “we need to make a record or EP.” They’ve already recorded several songs with DeLeo, and there is talk of recording more, but scheduling conflicts have caused the project to stall. As teenagers, the guys of JetStream have nothing but time on their side, especially since they’ve already got the talent.