Twenty questions (or so) with Carlos Calvo
What’s the latest?
At the moment, I am thoroughly enjoying my collaboration with Jack Daniel's. My trio is the house band for Room 7, which is Jack Daniel's private lounge in Los Angeles. In addition, I have partnered with Jack's National Brand Ambassador, Eric "ET" Tecosky, in creating Tasting Notes, which is an interactive whiskey tasting experience whereby each whiskey (Rye, Single Barrel, etc..) has it's own accompanying guitar cue that reflects the flavor profiles of that particular whiskey. This combines two of my very favorite things on Earth!
Acoustic or Electric?
Seen any good movies?
I am addicted to music documentaries, and I can watch Muscle Shoals over and over. Actually I do watch it over and over.
How did you develop you particular style?
My father was Spanish, so when it was time for guitar lessons, only Classical/Flamenco would do! My parents used to throw parties and we’d have a house full of Flamenco guitarists, including Juan de la Mata, Mario Escudero, and the legendary Sabicas. As it so happens, Jazz guitar legend Al DiMeola grew up nextdoor to me, and he also frequented these Spanish get-togethers! Those influences, in addition to the Beatles, Zeppelin, Hendrix, and the Stones, and there you have it.
Any non-musical talents?
Cooking! I love to make sausage! And one day, if you’re lucky, you’ll taste my paella cooked over wood fire. I might be a little too excited about my Instant Pot.
Most fun tour?
I was booked as the opening act for Colin Hay, of Men At Work fame, for a 15-city tour in Ireland. Quite amazing. I even got engaged on that tour! But Germany wins for most fun PLACE to tour. Prost!
What do you do when not writing or performing?
I teach guitar privately. I produce a handful of independent artists. I do recording sessions for Kurt Farquhar, who composes music for TV shows such as Black Lightning and The Neighborhood. Outside of music, I have my hands quite full with my nearly three-year-old daughter, who alternates between being a super hero and a guitar player.
Well, how could I not say opening for Bob Dylan and Paul Simon with my then band? But that was a while ago. Sharing the stage with Marilyn Manson and Steve Jones (of The Sex Pistols) for a twisted rendition of Hotel California was pretty epic!
Who would be a dream collaborator?
Paul McCartney comes to mind! But I have lots of dreams. Elliot Smith. Paco de Lucia. Thom Yorke and/or Jonny Greenwood. Jack White! Daniel Lanois. Emmylou Harris. St. Vincent. Father John Misty. Dreaming is fun!
At what age did you start playing guitar?
Well, this is me in Spain at 3 years old.
When did you know that you wanted to become a musician?
What does #machoguitar mean?
It's not as threatening as it sounds! It was a phrase originally coined in a bar in Spain by my good friend Dave, whose name is often preceded by an adjective. #Machoguitar is my own philosophy of approaching music in the most expressive and authentic way. Play like you, because certainly no one else can! Plus, when I see #machoguitar as a hashtag, it makes me happy.
More About Carlos
Carlos Calvo injects Alternative Folk/Pop with something it has been missing: virtuoso guitar playing. His original music features his warm, resonant voice, deep and thoughtful lyrics, accompanied by guitar playing that elegantly mixes genres from Blues to Flamenco and everything in between.
Carlos grew up surrounded by world-famous flamenco and classical guitarists. He was formally trained at Carnegie Hall to play Bach and Barrios, but has been equally influenced by The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, and Rolling Stones.
Before embarking on his solo career, Carlos fronted successful bands that toured with Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, and Willie Porter. As a solo artist, he has toured with The Bacon Brothers and Colin Hay and numerous times in Europe as a headliner.
He played guitar on the score of King of the Hill for three seasons and has placed original songs in major motion pictures (She’s All That, Finding Holden). He teaches guitar privately and counts Maroon 5’s Adam Levine as a student. Carlos also regularly coaches actors to portray musicians; most notably for TV’s Californication and Ray Donovan, the Muddy Waters character in the film, Who Do You Love?, and the recent James Brown biopic Get On Up. Carlos has most recently begun to work alongside composer Kurt Farquhar on his scores for the CW's DC Comics hit show, Black Lightning.
Carlos’ independently recorded and released debut CD, Past Present Future, was named one of Los Angeles Music Connection Magazine's top 25 releases of 2002. After much anticipation, Carlos’ album Further Down The Line was released in June 2015. It features his very original brand of Alternative Folk/Pop mixing up acoustic-based performances with a full band electric feel and sophisticated songwriting.
Currently, Carlos has assembled the Carlos Calvo Acoustic Trio, featuring Hector Torres on percussion and Carlos Costa on bass. Together, they perform as the house band for Jack Daniels' private Los Angeles lounge, Room 7. As well as performing at various other venues such as Rhythm Room LA, where they play Calvo originals, in addition to their very personal takes on some classic covers.
Calvo has begun collaborating with ET Tecosky, the National Brand Ambassador for Jack Daniel's Whiskey. Together they have created an interactive whiskey tasting experience called, "Tasting Notes". The tasting involves an original piece of guitar music created for and based on each individual whiskey's flavor profile. The riff is played live as the taster enjoys their sip of whiskey, enhancing the overall sensory experience of the tasting. Tasting Notes debuted in Key Largo, Fl, in November 2019. It will be at Bourbonfest in New Orleans as well as The Grammy museum in Los Angeles on April 1st. Very exciting news!