Frank Carillo is the epitome of the “musician's musician.” Throughout his career, his craftsmanship as a gifted world-class guitar player, electrifying stage performances, memorable prolific songwriting and his warm and affable persona have allowed him to make an indelible mark on the international music scene.
In 1972 and 1973 respectively, Frank traveled to England to add his distinctive guitar sound and style to Peter Frampton’s Wind of Change and Frampton's Camel albums for A&M Records.
In 1973, he formed Doc Holiday which recorded its first album at Olympic Studios in England for Metromedia Records. The album was produced by Chris Kimsey, who had just finished recording the Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers album at Olympic. Kimsey obtained permission for the band to use the Stones’ equipment to record their album. As if using the Stones’ equipment wasn’t enough, the members of Led Zeppelin, who were mixing their Houses of the Holy album in the adjoining studio, became fast friends, which culminated one night in an unforgettable Led Zeppelin - Doc Holiday jam session at Olympic.
In 1978, Carillo released his first album for Atlantic Records, Rings Around the Moon, which included backing vocals by Yvonne Elliman, who had a tremendous hit with her performance on the Jesus Christ Superstar album singing “I Don't Know How To Love Him” and as a member of Eric Clapton’s band singing backing vocals on the hit, “I Shot the Sheriff.” Just prior to the release of Rings Around the Moon, Led Zeppelin had requested that Carillo be their opening act for a forthcoming North American tour, the first time Led Zeppelin used an opening act for a North American stadium-size tour. The tour was cancelled when, tragically, Robert Plant’s son died.
Carillo toured extensively throughout 1978 and 1979, playing with such acts as the J. Geils Band, Cheap Trick, Van Halen and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. During a break in touring late in 1978, Frank found time to collaborate with Carly Simon, co-writing the song, “Pure Sin.” Frank played guitar on the track, which was produced by world-renowned producer Arif Mardin for Carly’s Spy album. The second Carillo album, Street of Dreams, was released on Atlantic in 1979 and also had another luminary doing backing vocals: Michael Bolton. After the release of this album, Frank embarked on a 64-show U.S.A. tour opening for Bad Company. Playing to sold-out audiences in major areas across America, Carillo stunned the critics and fans with electrifying shows that received rave reviews throughout the United States, with standing ovations and encores occurring at every show. The tour culminated in San Antonio, Texas, when after Bad Company’s show, Carillo and Bad Company came out on stage and jammed, rocking the roof off the building! In 1986, Frank began writing and producing sessions with famed British model, actress, and singer Twiggy while she was in New York performing in a Broadway play. These sessions once again brought Frank and Carly Simon together, performing backing vocals on the Twiggy recordings.
Ricky Byrd, guitar player and songwriter for Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, collaborated with Frank in 1988 to write “Play That Song Again,” which appeared on Up Your Alley, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts’ multi-platinum album. Two years later, Frank joined up with singer Annie Golden, creating the duo of Golden Carillo, and recording two albums, Fire In New Town and Toxic Emotion, for Silenz Records, which met with great acclaim and success in Europe. Golden Carillo embarked on a number of extensive tours overseas, playing to sell-out crowds in Holland, Belgium and Germany. While performing in Europe, Frank appeared on countless radio and TV shows and created a loyal and strong fan base. Between European tours Frank worked with Atlantic recording artist and former Zebra band member Randy Jackson on Jackson’s solo album, produced by John Sonneveld.
Returning to Europe to record the Toxic Emotion album for Silenz Records, Frank utilized a studio in Belgium owned by Golden Earring guitarist George Kooymans, and they became good friends. He was reunited with producer John Sonneveld, and Frank, George and John produced the Toxic Emotion album, which had a great deal of success in Europe. In 1992, Frank, along with Annie Golden, made his first major film appearance as a musician in Prelude to a Kiss, which starred Meg Ryan and Alec Baldwin. Frank and Annie also co-wrote and performed the song, “Waiting For Someone,” on the film’s soundtrack. In 1995, George Kooymans introduced Frank to Dutch vocal sensation Anouk and Frank wrote two songs, “Pictures On Your Skin” and “Time Is a Jailer,” on her platinum debut album.
When Golden Earring journeyed to upstate New York in 2003 to record their most recent album, Millbrook, U.S.A., Frank co-authored seven songs on the CD along with Golden Earring members George Kooymans and Barry Hay. He also contributed backing vocals, slide guitar and laud.
Frank toured North America and Europe as a member of legendary bluesman John Hammond’s band. Playing with some of the greatest blues musicians in the world was a tremendously artistic experience for Frank. He played guitar on Ready For Love, one of John Hammond’s albums recorded during that time, which was produced by David Hidalgo of Los Lobos.
In 2004, Frank formed a new band called Frank Carillo & The Bandoleros, featuring Norman DelTufo on percussion/backing vocals, Eddie Seville on drums/backing vocals, Karl Allweier on upright bass/backing vocals and Frank’s brother Andrew Carillo on guitar. With the formation of the band, Frank also reunited with his former manager, Phil Lorito. The band’s debut CD, Bad Out There, was released on Jezebel Records, Inc. in 2004 both in the U.S. and in numerous European countries.
Embarking on its first headline tour of Holland and Germany in January, 2006, the band played night clubs that were sold out or nearly sold out, receiving a minimum of two and sometimes three encores each night. This tour established the band’s base as one of the most impressive new American groups in Europe.
In the United States, Bad Out There received rave reviews and was selected in many journals as one of the year’s best. Songs from the CD were added to Play Network, which streamed tracks to over 15,000 retail outlets throughout North America, including Starbucks, TGIF, Krispy Kreme, Hooters and Eddie Bauer. In addition, DMX In-flight played tracks from the CD on all major airlines worldwide, with American Airlines featuring Frank Carillo and the Bandoleros on one of its channels.
The CD enjoyed Top 10 airplay on XM Satellite Radio, which also aired a live recording of Frank Carillo and the Bandoleros in the summer of 2006. Songs from the CD were eventually played on over 180 Triple A, Americana and Roots radio stations in the United States, with different stations playing all 14 tracks from the CD at one time or another.
Bad Out There did very well on the AMA charts and achieved # 1 on both the Roots Top 100 and the Roots Rock Top 40, including a run on the Roots Rock Top 40 chart for over 42 weeks. The CD was “Featured CD Review” on the Roots Music Report where it was given the highest rating - five stars.
In a display of the album’s versatile appeal, the band’s single, “Red Queen,” was shipped to country radio in the U.S., where it was warmly received, and was also included on the CDX Country Radio release.
Frank Carillo and the Bandoleros are on MySpace with tens of thousands of fans and listeners and the band has been noted in the Top 10 most popular Alt. Country artists in New York State on MySpace.
In the fall of 2007 Frank Carillo and the Bandoleros entered Millbrook Studios in upstate New York and teamed up again with producer/engineer Paul Orofino, who also produced Bad Out There. At Blue Cat Studios in San Antonio, Texas, legendary keyboard player Augie Meyers (Bob Dylan, Sir Douglas Quintet, John Hammond, Texas Tornados) added his distinctive keyboard talents to four songs. The result is the remarkable new CD, Someday.
“I met Augie Meyers when we were in John Hammond’s ‘Wicked Grin’ band,” remembers Frank. “Augie and I hit it off right from the first day of rehearsals. He is one of the great storytellers, can tell you a joke and all the while you think it’s a real story until he gets to the punch line. He gets me every time. I was a fan of his from the days of Sir Douglas Quintet, as well as the Texas Tornados. We’ve become really good friends over the years and try to get together whenever possible. He’s a great songwriter, musician and, most of all, he’s a great friend. We were having a drink together when we were on the road somewhere in Europe and he turned to me and said, ‘Ya know Frank, don’t get too excited when things start goin’ good ‘cause they’ll eventually go bad. But don’t get too excited if they go bad, ‘cause they’re gonna go good again.’ Then he gave me this big Texas grin. A truly great man.”
Someday demonstrates Frank Carillo’s knack for combining potent songs and stirring performances, resulting in a disc that radiates with the values of traditional heartland, blue collar roots-rock. Of the 14 songs on Someday, Frank shared his thoughts about a few of them in particular.
“Regarding ‘Roll the Bones’ - I was listening to some old CDs by Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span - British folk/rock. I have always been amazed with the content: lust, murder, war, betrayal, sheep shearing! All the things that make up a great story! I wanted to write something that was in that highwayman vein; the guy with the mask and three-cornered hat who robbed the coaches in England. I thought it would be fun to add some romance along with a sprinkling of betrayal and revenge. I wanted to slip in some of my favorite places in London as well, Chelsea and the Old King’s Road. It was a kick to write.”
“‘Someday’ was a deliberate attempt at writing a song with just one chord. It started with just that Slim Harpo kind of rhythm and grew from there. The lyrics pretty much wrote themselves. In fact, while we were recording it, the ‘see the light inside your head’ verse just came flying out. It wasn’t on the lyric sheet. I love this one ‘cause it’s one of the songs on the CD that the lead vocal was recorded while we were cutting the track and the recording was very spontaneous.”
“I started writing ‘Eastern Time’ on an instrument from Spain called a laud. It has a shape similar to a mandolin, but much bigger and it has 12 strings. I picked it up in Barcelona when I was on the road with John Hammond. Augie Meyers and I found it in a small shop off some side street. I’ve always been inspired by new and different instruments. It seems like they have new songs built into them. Anyway, the lyrics came after a trip to Thailand and Hong Kong that my wife and I took. It has kind of an old 1940s mystery movie theme. There are shady characters (I love shady characters - from a distance), exotic locales and a bit of humor. There are some bits of reality, too, like the Quan Yin. It was given to us in Hong Kong, but we didn’t have to smuggle it into the States! This was written mostly in Arizona. Go figure.”
Frank Carillo and the Bandoleros – Someday – Jezebel Records, Inc.