Joey is one of the best examples of a drummer who lets his playing do the majority of the talking. Quietly spoken, his intimidating ‘Mexican outlaw’ appearance is misleading. Muscles aplenty twinned with a canvas of tattoos, he is one of the last remaining musicians with an old-school DIY Punk ethic. To Joey, there is no right or wrong way of playing the drums. It’s an individual experience where you can express yourself freely. I have ultimate respect for him for this. I am not the biggest fan of institutionalisation, on any scale; music is about freedom to me.
Castillo’s style is unconventional and in many ways primal, he beats furiously on the skins, able to maintain obscure time signatures at spectacular speeds. In addition, he can tone it down to add a slick and solid backbeat. This is displayed on a great version of Make it Wit Chu, by Desert Sessions.
I love Joey’s drumming as it’s like mine in so many ways. He is largely self-taught, as am I, is a massively hard hitter and clearly just loves the drums. I definitely aspire to play like him. When I saw Queens of The Stone Age at Hammersmith Apollo I was right up on the highest deck. We were pretty central and had a great view of Joey. He walked on stage and just devoured his kit. From basically the back of the room, the raw power he was emitting really struck a chord with me, I was blown away. It was no nonsense, unadulterated rock n roll.
To have fill Dave Grohl’s shoes in Queens is a big ask of anyone, Joey slipped comfortably in and made the tunes his own. I remember reading about when Joey auditioned for the band; it took less than half of the song Avon for front-man Josh Homme to make a decision.
Before Queens, he has played with many great punk rock bands, including Wasted Youth, Sugartooth and Danzig. He stays true to his roots, never trying to emulate anyone else and striving to have a good time.