By Robert Silverstein
I started playing guitar in 1958. I saw Duane Eddy on American Bandstand. My Mom used to watch and I remember walking by the TV, saw this guy with a big guitar playing "Rebel Rouser." That was it for me. I started taking guitar lessons soon after. I was 8 or 9. There was always music in the house: pop, rock and roll or jazz. I had a group when I was 12, so, when the Beatles arrived in '64, I was already in a band. Then I started The Young Blues and we played wherever there was a gig. We recorded at Talent Masters Studios in NYC and got to meet some great bands like Liverpool's Undertakers and The Vagrants. That's when I started to write songs. I went to London in 1970 and shared a flat with James Dewar who eventually became the singer/bass player for Robin Trower. Jimmy was a big influence for me. I got my first real break when I met Peter Frampton. When he left Humble Pie he asked me to play on his first solo album. The first sessions included Ringo, Billy Preston, Klaus Voormann and a host of others. I spent lots of time in London and got to play with and meet some great people.
The new CD is called Someday. It was recorded at Millbrook Sound Studios in Millbrook, NY during the summer of 2007. Paul Orofino produced it. It was recorded pretty much live, including some of the lead vocals. Karl Allweier played upright bass, Eddie Seville drums, Norman DelTufo percussion and my brother Andrew Carillo guitar, mandolin and lap steel. Everyone was involved in the arranging. For instance, on the title track, Eddie asked me if he could borrow my acoustic and a slide. Andrew played mandolin and we cut it live. We added backing vocals and harmonica later. As far as the guitar playing goes, it's what is best for the song. That's the most important element. If it needs a solo, I'll put one on but there's never a solo just for the sake of having one. My style is a stew of rock and roll, blues, country and most anything that snakes through my head and I think it comes out on Someday.
My favorite electric guitars are Gretsch. For Someday, I used a Brian Setzer 6120 that Brian gave me, a 1956 Duo Jet, a Billy-Bo and a reissue 1957 Duo Jet. For acoustics, a Gibson Hummingbird and Hank Williams Jr. LE, Martin D-35, 00-15 and J12-15 and a laud I bought in Barcelona. The electrics have fairly low action, except a '59 reissue Gretsch set up for slide. Amps used were Fender, Vox and Marshall, mostly a Vibroverb, tweed Bassman and AC-15. Strings are exclusively D'Aquisto; Phosphor Bronze 12s for the acoustics and 330 10s for electrics. Pedals used were Line 6 Echo unit, Ibanez TS808 Overdrive and a Fulltone Fat Boost.
My first guitar heroes were Duane Eddy and George Harrison. I still have my original Have Twangy Guitar, Will Travel. If you hold it up to the light you can see through it! George Harrison was amazing. You can sing his solos. His slide playing was wonderful, especially on Brainwashed. Other favorites include Clapton, Frampton, Mike Campbell, Django and Vishwa Mohan Bhatt. As far as influential albums go, anything by the Beattles especially Rubber Soul and Revolver, The Stones - Rolling Stones Now, Exile, Ravi Shankar's Shankar Family and Friends, Improvisations, Dylan - Highway 61 Revisited and, of course, Have Twangy Guitar - Joey Dee and the Starliters - Live at The Peppermint Lounge. I'd slow down the turntable to learn the solos!
© 2004 Frank Carillo All Rights Reserved.