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Grillo, Carmen

He is a guitarist, singer-songwriter, engineer and producer born in Buffalo, New York, and brought up in Santa Cruz, California.

His interest in music was obvious from an early age as, by the time he was five, he was already performing on the drums and the saxophone, but when he had been to see The Ventures in concert with his dad he made the decision that the guitar was what he wanted to play.  By the time he got into his teens he had begun playing with bands from his local band and led White Eyes and Feel Machine.

Deciding to move to Los Angeles in the late 1970s he became a much sought after session singer and guitarist and toured internationally with Rita Coolidge from 1980 to 1986 and with Bill Champlin around the same time.

Stretching out as a songwriter he teamed up with James Pankow of Chicago and wrote “One More Day” which would appear on the platinum Chicago XVIII.  1988 saw him becoming a member of the group Tower of Power and he remained with them for 9 years before moving on in 1997 and opening his own recording studio, Big Surprise Music.

Working as a producer now, as well as guitarist, singer and also engineer, he released his debut album as a solo artist, Both Sides of the Coin in 1997 and  later A Different World in 2013 and would produce albums for other artists that he had worked with in Tower of Power.

Having worked with numerous artists throughout his career he has been heard with David Lasley and Tom Scott along with many others.  Recordings he can be heard on as a solo musician/singer include Floridays by Jimmy Buffett , Inside the Fire by Rita Coolidge , The Wanderer by Donna Summer, the soundtrack of Footloose and compilations such as Lost in Bass, A String Quartet Tribute to David Gray, A String Quartet Tribute to George Strait and Swingin’: A Tribute to Michael Jackson which is just a very small selection.

He has been heard as a member of Sons of Champlin and shared his musical knowledge with students of the guitar and recording engineering.  He has given his votes as a member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and has also been Musical Director of the Westchester, California, Arise Christian Center.

Here’s his “Tryin’ TO Make It Happen” ….