Monday, May 20, 2013,
8:00PM – 8:30 PM
THE CARLOS GUITARLOS BAND joins Blues and Rock All Stars ** JIMMY VIVINO ** and ** BARRY GOLDBERG ** at The Maui Sugar Mill Saloon, 18389 Ventura Boulevard, Tarzana, CA 91356
@ THE MAUI SUGAR MILL SALOON
7 PM – RECOMMENDED SEATING
8 PM – 8:30 PM – CARLOS GUITARLOS BAND
8:30 PM – 9:30 PM – JIMMY VIVINO ** and ** BARRY GOLDBERG & THE RUSH STREET REGULATORS**
9:30 PM – HUGE OPEN PRO BLUES JAM TIL 1:30 AM!
There is NO COVER CHARGE –But a $15 or $20 donation per person is requested
CARLOS GUITARLOS – one of the world’s greatest roots and blues songwriters / guitarists from the infamous TOP JIMMY & THE RHYTHM PIGS – a seminal LA blues band from the 80’s
The Carlos Guitarlos Band features
Carlos Guitarlos, — Carlos has played with/for: Marcy Levy, Jim Keltner, Tom Waits, The Great Gene Taylor, Los Lobos, The Blasters, Maria McKee, John Densmore, John Doe, Dave Alvin, Top Jimmy, Gil T., Steve Berlin, Steve Nieve, Jeff Ross
Mike Hightower, P-bass — Mike has played with/for: Sting, Ray Manzarek, Robby Keiger, John Legend, June Pointer, Mary J. Bildge, Bonnie Pointer, Lester Bulter & 13
Adam Steinberg, Drums — Adam has played with/for: Bellylove, Swing Riots, Shanty Town Gadjos, Di$count Basie, the Still Moving Project, Johnny Fava Show backing up Lisa Loeb and Rashida Jones, Louise Frasier featuring Dave Immurgluck (Counting Crows) and Ron Blair (Tom Petty), West 79th Street Funk Jazz Band, VisionQuest Jazztet, Scott Detweiller, Andy Milukoff, Jonathan Morrow and Another Name for Music productions.
Blues, Rhythm & Blues, Rock-N-Roll, Folk, Cajun, and deep true original ballads brought forth from a lifetime of experience and hard living.
Here are four songs performed by The Carlos Guitarlos Band from Cadillac Zack’s Monday Night Blues Party
Jonny Whiteside says: “The blues, like jazz and country music, have become so diluted and misshapen in recent years that all three essentially exist as pitiful ghosts of their formerly commanding selves. With a scarce handful of genuine blues forces left–the 90-something Delta overlord Dave “Honeyboy” Edwards, the renowned musical ambassador B.B. King–the idiom today primarily exists as a showcase for musicians whose instincts run unremittingly to a terminal state of heavy-handed overkill, manifested as a tasteless barrage of notes that seem to purposefully avoid the primitive simplicity that made blues the primary source of most American popular music.
But within the tangled, polluted community of so-called blues players, there is yet one who stalks through the sound’s tangled jungle with a formidable mixture of dazzling technical facility, a passionate, innate understanding of the form’s spiritual qualities, and a repertoire of almost unbelievable scope–3,000 songs and counting.
That man is Carlos Guitarlos, a scrappy, hard-driving and hard-living Chicano axe-man from Southern California, whose near life-long involvement with the blues has driven him through an often brutal, cyclical course of monumental artistic peaks and disastrous, life-threatening plunges. Perhaps the only thing that’s kept him alive has been the music itself, an inescapable avocation so deeply-rooted that it’s provided Guitarlos with an unlikely yet sustaining edge.
By the early ’80s, when he hooked up with powerhouse blues shouter Top Jimmy and began assaulting audiences as the twin engines of infamous aggregation Top Jimmy & the Rhythm Pigs, not even the fiercest hardcore punk bands of the day could manifest their boozy, incendiary impact.
Holding forth at a weekly residency that stretched for over a year in Hollywood underground Mecca the Cathay de Grande, the Rhythm Pigs’ Blue Monday gigs drew in a star-studded rabble that included sit-ins by members of X, the Doors, the Blasters and frequent contributions from diehard fan David Lee Roth, the band’s gift for unmatched hellraising swiftly grew to a word-of-mouth roar that allowed them to positively dominate the town’s nightclub culture. Guitarlos’ shredding, impeccable fretwork was matched only by his reputation as a volatile, unpredictable, often hyper-obnoxious hothead; to call him self-destructive would be a grievous understatement–apart from the deleterious effects of his viciously Olympic-scale partying, his greatest mistake was flatly refusing David Lee Roth’s personal request to allow Van Halen to record one of Guitarlos’ compositions (Roth, instead, immortalized the group with the song “Top Jimmy” on Van Halen’s 1984 album).
Years later, diagnosed with congestive heart failure, he nearly died (again), but the ornery slinger astonished his doctors by not only surviving, but fully recovering. He finally got off the sauce and, with assistance from faithful (and long-suffering) nephew Damon Ayala, returned to Southern California and the recording studio, producing first 2003’s acclaimed Straight From the Heart CD and his current, equally kicking Hell Can Wait disc. Both are mesmerizing displays of his far-reaching prowess, twisting through a kaleidoscopic range of vernacular blues styles–fiery Louisiana zydeco, low-down Delta plaints, rousing jump-blues rave-ups, Chicago-style roof-raisers–with a critical acuity and an idiosyncratic personal style that’s matched by an almost reverent emphasis on the traditional basis of each regional flavor. Guitarlos pulls it off with a near supernatural prowess, conjuring the blues on a sprawling, epic scale, even as he maintains a delicate sense of intimacy and involvement.
Like his avowed idol, Robert “Hellhound on my Trail” Johnson, Guitarlos’ blues seem to soar, propelled by an indefinable, almost mystic quality long since drained from the idiom by the ceaseless degradation visited upon it by wrong-headed ofay aspirants. How he manages it is as mystifying as his own survival, something that even Guitarlos himself may be unable to explain. Ask him, and you’ll likely get a cryptic statement about “imaginary phone calls to Robert Johnson from beyond the graveyard, on a phone made out of human bone”–but when you hear him play, you’ll understand. (Jonny Whiteside) (Jonny Whiteside)
Los Angeles Times says: “. . .The technique is unmistakably sophisticated: chords and melody played simultaneously, the way Chet Atkins might have done. An old gravelly blues voice, perfectly cracked, effortlessly in tune, pours from the slumped singer. The truthfulness of the voice commands you to listen. . .”
LA Weekly says: “If you’re going to name yourself Carlos Guitarlos, you’d better make sure you’re a damned good guitarist. So good, in fact, that you can play anywhere, out on the streets or in a fancy concert hall, with the uncanny ability to pull from memory just about any blues-rock classic and, on top of that, play it in a style that’s uniquely your own. And then, somehow, you should also be so good that you can write and sing dozens of your own originals, in all manner of genres, from bewitchingly sad ballads and deft Beatles-like pop structures to ragingly dirty blues and Latin soul. –Falling James”
David Sinclair The Times (London) says: There is talk of making a Hollywood movie about the life of Carlos Guitarlos, and you can see why. As the guitarist with the LA blues-punk group Top Jimmy and the Rhythm Pigs in the 1980s, he lived a life of unbridled excess. By the time Top Jimmy died of liver failure, Guitarlos was drunk, divorced and diabetic, and forced to earn a living busking on the streets of San Francisco.
At the age of 54 and sober at last, his already prodigious performing and songwriting talents are now informed by a wealth of hard life experiences and his career has belatedly bloomed. His current album, Straight from the Heart, is a roots-rock gem, but even so it hardly prepares you for the musical and emotional masterclass that is a Carlos Guitarlos gig.
He seemed a little grumpy at first, berating the lighting engineer while rifling through a plastic bag filled with guitar accoutrements. And he was halfway through the zydeco-influenced shuffle of the opening number, Damn Atchafalaya, before the sound engineer located the fader to switch up his black Stratocaster.
Once he had done so, however, and Guitarlos had moved into the testifying R’n’B of The Love I Want followed by a blasting version of the Motown-influenced Ain’t That Lovin’ You, the extent of the man’s talent was beginning to be revealed. Blessed with a gruff but heartfelt singing voice and possessing a huge vocabulary of guitar chops, he performed like a rogue angel. With his long grey hair spilling out from under a fedora and an easy smile that suggested a lifelong mistrust of dentists, he looked and sounded every inch the battle-scarred survivor.
As if this was not enough, his three-piece backing band included the singer and guitarist Marcy Levy. Known for her work with Eric Clapton, for whom she wrote Lay Down Sally, Levy is also remembered as one half of Shakespears Sister, whose biggest hit Stay she also wrote. Tall, dark and exuding a Chrissie Hynde-like cool, she sang these and other songs in a beautiful, clear soprano, that was the perfect foil for Guitarlos’s street-hardened holler. She also took a two-verse harmonica solo during the 12-bar shuffle Women & Whiskey that was the sexiest thing I have ever seen on a rock’n’roll stage. The easy rapport between Guitarlos and Levy — “Beauty and the beast,” as Guitarlos described it — added yet another dimension to a performance that was already superlative. They rounded off with a sure-footed revival of Robert Johnson’s Rambling on My Mind and a blistering instrumental wig-out apparently called Pigfoot Shuffle. As far as basement-club blues goes, this was simply as good as it gets. (David Sinclair)