Marcello Ciurleo was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. He joined Half Past Four in 2012. He is the band’s 11th drummer, their most long-lasting drummer and has been playing music the longest.
“I started drumming at a very early age,” he says. “Apparently, it’s Disney’s fault. My mom told me that I saw Mickey Mouse playing a drum in a cartoon and I started mimicking him. I was maybe 3-ish. I had a Rogers kit back in the mid-60s. I couldn’t reach the pedals. So my dad, a carpenter, made me some pedals so I could reach them.”
“I started learning simple rhythm and blues beats,” he remembers. “My brother taught me. I was introduced to a lot of different music – Chicago, Grand Funk Railroad, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple. I was also introduced to progressive rock around the age of 12 – a band from Italy called PFM.”
The prog-rock bug stuck. Through a series of wedding bands and cover bands, Marcello eventually became drummer for prominent 80s progressive rock band, Cerafim, for 15 years, before going on an extended hiatus.
“I left music completely,” he explains. “I got fed up with it, with everything that went along with it. I needed to take a break.”
For 13 years, Marcello focused on his other passion – fine wood working. He made everything from trim to carved pieces, entry doors, kitchens, and – of course – drums. (Marcello crafted his current kit.)
He returned to music in 2011, began creating solo works and jamming with keyboardist Maurizio Guarini of Goblin. It was through Maurizio that he learned of the percussive vacancy in Half Past Four’s lineup.
“When I first heard them, I was very intimidated and I didn’t think I could cut it,” he remembers. “My wife and son were saying, ‘Yeah dad, you can do it, you can do it.’ I went in, learned a couple songs. And I saw that they smiled at me during our first jam so I kind of thought they liked me. And I’ve been with them ever since.”
Marcello has nothing but good things to say of his bandmates.
“For a progressive rock drummer, for me, it’s the pinnacle to play with a band like this. With her voice going over top everything, that’s the cherry on top but these three – the way they play together – is just something else for me.”
Among his musical influences are The Beatles, Yes, Genesis, Gentle Giant, Kansas and PFM.