About Tommy Castro and The Painkillers
Tommy Castro is one of the most popular and creative roots artists to emerge in recent years. On his newest CD, Painkiller, Castro teamed up with producer John Porter, renowned for his work with a Who’s Who list of artists such as Los Lonely Boys, Taj Mahal, Keb Mo, Santana, B.B. King, Elvis Costello, adn Buddy Guy. Said Castro, “When I started looking for a producer, I realized that John had produced some of my favorite records of the last ten years. After working with him in the studio, I understand now why that is. With John, everything just seems to be right; all the parts work and flow together.”
Everything indeed just seems right about Painkiller. With the Tommy Castro Band anchoring the sessions, Porter has fashioned a most tasteful album from the many talented parts of Castro’s patented rock ‘n’ soul music. Special guests Coco Montoya, Angela Strehli, David Maxwell, and Teresa James join the fun.
Tommy’s career has been marked by one triumph after another. Considering his innate charisma and his skills as a supremely talented guitarist, gifted vocalist, and engaging songwriter, it is easy to see why Castro has enjoyed so much success so quickly. In a remarkably short time, he went from performing at a tiny San Francisco saloon to opening act on B.B. King’s national tours and international acclaim as one of the most compelling artists on the scene.
Born and raised in San Jose, California, Tommy expressed interest in learning to play the guitar at age ten. Young Castro was initially inspired by the likes of Eric Clapton, Mike Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop. Later, wanting to know who their influences were, Tommy became enthralled with the guitar playing of B.B., Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters, Elmore James and Freddie King, as well as the vocal stylings of Ray Charles, Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett and James Brown.
Castro went on to play with many Bay Area bands. “When I was a kid, music was something I did for fun. Later, it became obvious to me that playing music was the thing I was meant to do, so I made a decision to pursue it as a career.” For two years he toured the U.S. extensively with Warner Brothers recording artists The Dynatones.
In 1991 he formed the Tommy Castro Band, and they quickly became one of the hardest-working and most popular groups in the Bay Area. In 1993 they were named “Club Band of the Year” at the Bay Area Music Awards, an especially prestigious honor since it is a write-in category that includes all musical genres. They won that distinguished award, regarded as an indicator of their success, again in 1994. Previous recipients of the award include Chris Isaak and Huey Lewis and the News.
In 1996, Tommy’s first major release, Exception to the Rule on Blind Pig, garnered near unanimous raves from blues and mainstream publications around the world as the press took notice of a great new artist on the scene. Tommy Castro recording with Delbert McClinton