Twenty questions (or so) with Carlos Calvo
What’s the latest?
I am currently very happily immersed in the recording and producing of my new album. I’m so excited about this music and can’t wait for everyone to hear it!
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.
Most fun tour?
My friend Angus Webster booked me 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 take urban hikes with my wife and our friends where we see 15-mile stretches of our city on foot. Did I mention I make sausage?
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.
Additionally, Carlos is part of a writing/production team with former Capitol Records Studios engineer Paul Smith. They are currently working with Em Rossi, an exciting 18-year-old singer/songwriter whose flourishing career brought her to Los Angeles from Northern California.
Calvo’s other collaboration is with actor Rob Morrow, best known for his starring roles in TV’s Northern Exposure and Num3ers, as well as films such as Quiz Show and The Bucket List. Carlos and Rob co-write all the music for this project, and have had one of their songs featured in an episode of the television series The Fosters. For live performances, Morrow provides Lead Vocals and Guitar as the frontman of The Rob Morrow Band, while Carlos assumes the role of Lead Guitarist and Musical Director.