REO Speedwagon Drummer My Son Survived SeaWorld But We're Not Going Back

1/17/2014 7:40 AM PST

REO Speedwagon's protest of SeaWorld isn't just business ... it's personal too, because he now realizes his son was lucky to survive a close encounter with the park's most famous Orca.

REO's drummer, Bryan Hitt says back in the day he took his 6-month old son to the San Antonio SeaWorld ... and sat him right on top of Shamu.

But after seeing the "Blackfish" documentary, Bryan says ... "I would never put my kid on a whale [today]. They've eaten some people lately."

Bryan also gets pretty intense explaining why he's never taking his family back to the park -- and also why REO became one of the first acts to back out of a huge festival concert there.