Born in Buffalo, New York, and raised in Santa Cruz, California, guitarist Carmen Grillo fronted several local bands before moving to Los Angeles in pursuit of more creative endeavors.
Carmen soon became an in-demand session guitarist and vocalist. Carmen has performed or recorded with such great talents as David Foster, Smokey Robinson, Huey Lewis And The News, Donna Summer, The Four Tops, Boz Scaggs, Luis Miguel, Rita Coolidge, Bill Champlin and several other major artists.
From 1980 through 1986, Carmen toured the world and recorded with Rita Coolidge (Higher and Higher, We’re All Alone). Also, during that same time period, Carmen toured with Bill Champlin promoting his solo albums, Single and Runaway. In 1985, Carmen co-wrote One More Day with James Pankow of the band Chicago, which appeared on their platinum selling album Chicago XVIII.
In 1988 Carmen joined the legendary horn-based soul band Tower of Power, where he became a driving force within the group. His writing, singing and guitar playing made him easily recognized by music fans around the world. He performed and recorded with TOP for the better part of a decade before leaving in 1997 to pursue other musical interests.
Those interests included opening the doors to his recording studio, Big Surprise Music, where he is a music producer and the chief engineer. One of his first recording projects was his solo debut, Both Sides of the Coin.
Carmen is proud to present his new CD, A Different World. This collection of 12 remarkable compositions represents the diverse talents of this incredible artist, from the sensitivity of his lyrics to the fire in his guitar playing.
Carmen is currently a member of the Bay Area band The Sons of Champlin, who were an early influence in the San Francisco music scene of the 1960’s and 70’s, and The Max Weinberg Band.
In addition, Carmen is a voting member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS), which presents the recording industry’s most prestigious award, the GRAMMY.
A recent Music Connection Review of Carmen’s latest album A Different World.
"Grillo delivers upscale blues-rock with just the right amount of swing on tunes like “Come and Gone” whose balanced production allows ample space for each of his seasoned backups (including horns and B3) to exert their chops. That’s especially true of the bassist as well as Grillo himself, a solid singer who’s a gifted, fluid guitarist with a tone that is equal parts sweet and snarling. “A Real Mother For Ya” is an infectious strutter, while his original instrumental “I Got The Sauce” allows the guitarist to showcase his tuneful dexterity."
NMC Artist Of The Week, Music Connection