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Jon Karel

Sawtooth Grin/Starring Janet Leigh — Visit Jon 's website


Jon Karel is now co-writing a new full length album with grind-core legends "The Sawtooth Grin" based in Buffalo, NY. He's also rehearsing in preparation for summer touring with "Starring Janet Leigh" based out of Toronto. He's involved in several recording projects and educational work, clinics and private teaching. Jon is best known for his work in heavy metal, and has performed extreme metal in hundreds of cities in over 50 countries across the globe. But Jon is also well known locally for improvised music spanning fusion, hip-hop, folk, punk, blues, dance, and piano rock.

Jon Karel was born May 24, 1983 in Rockland County, NY, an eclectic suburb of New York City bordering the Hudson River. Surrounded by art and music, his drumming obsession began almost at infancy. Ave Karel, Jon’s father, spent his own professional music career as a drummer and band leader for Avenue K. Orchestras from 1975 to 1998. "I spent a lot of time in that (dad's) drum room as a kid. But no one ever forced it on me. I chose it on my own. It felt natural."

Under the instruction of Ed Zacko in 1992, Jon began studying music/rhythmic theory, and drumming fundamentals at the age of nine. Since then Jon has advanced his studies independently and with the volunteered guidance and advice of several wonderful teachers including: Frank Marino (co-founder of the Long Island Drum Center), Seth Moutal (Renowned up and coming NYC session musician), Frank Colinato (Veteran teacher and published author), Bob W. Minton (Rhythmic mastermind, and master educator).

In 1996, Jon started writing and performing compositions with a wide variety of local musicians. Most were centered around the up and coming heavy metal scene emerging in the New York area during the late 90's. This included performing and composing with bands such as Close My Eyes, The Sawtooth Grin, Negativehate, and The Heatherton Heatwave.

Shortly after being accepted into Berklee College of Music in 2004, Jon got the offer to join national touring act The Number 12 Looks Like You. This troupe is known for their incredibly diverse and technical sound. Even with Berklee as an option, Jon decided to go pro as a drummer. With #12, Jon has shared the stage with dozens of wonderful and diverse bands like Thursday, Minus The Bear, GWAR!, The Dillinger Escape Plan, the Fall Of Troy, Every Time I Die, and many more.

In winter of 2008, Jon was hired by Los Angeles heavy music pioneers "HORSE The Band" for their independently booked Earth Tour ’08. The band played 90 shows over 100 days in 45 different countries throughout Asia and Europe. The tour also hit places like Turkey, China, Russia and Israel!

Jon can also add songwriting credits to his resume. He co-wrote The Number 12’s second and third full length album. Mongrel, and Worse Than Alone; Eyeball Records '07, '09. Both of which earned him wonderful 3 page articles from both DRUM! magazine and Modern Drummer magazine august and september 09'.

Jon spent 2009 touring full time with The Number 12 Looks Like You in support of their new full length album, "WORSE THAN ALONE" eyeball records march 09', which went to Europe in the fall with Misery Signals, and did very well.

Jon Karel would like to gratefully thank Vic Firth Drum Sticks, Zildjian Cymbals, Tama Drums and Hardware, and Aquarian Drum Heads for their endorsements and support.


  • Number 12 "Mongrel"
  • Number 12 live DVD "Here at the end of all things"
  • Number 12 "Worse Than Alone"

Drumhead Setup

Snare - Hi-Velocity on the batter, Hi-Performance snare side
Toms - clear Response 2 on batter, Classic Clear on resonant side
Bass Drum - clear Force I on batter, Regulator with small hole on the resonant side

Artist Media

"The Garden's All Nighters"

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"The Weekly Wars"

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Video coming soon...