Method To My Madness
Label: Alligator Records
Release Date: October 23, 2015
Review Date: October 18, 2015
Alligator Records has announced an October 23 street date for Method To My Madness, the fiery and soulful new blues/roots/rock CD from six-time Blues Music Award-winner Tommy Castro and his band, The Painkillers. Upon release, the band will immediately hit the road, with tour dates stretching from Florida to New York to Washington, Chicago, Denver, Salt Lake City, San Francisco and beyond.
Over the course of his four-decade career, Castro has played thousands of shows to hundreds of thousands of fans, packing seats and dance floors, always leaving them screaming for more. Hailing from the San Francisco area, Castro, along with his band, The Painkillers (featuring bassist Randy McDonald, keyboardist Michael Emerson and drummer Bowen Brown), play music that is guaranteed to fire up fans and leave critics searching for new words of praise. Billboard says the band plays “irresistible contemporary blues-rock” with “street-level grit and soul.” Now, with Method To My Madness, the group turns the intensity up another notch.
“My main objective when making a new album,” says Castro, “is to do something different from before. I’ve always been a blues guy; it’s what I’m meant to do. But I’m always listening and reacting to what’s going on in the outside world, experimenting with my guitar tone and my songwriting approach to constantly keep my music fresh. In the end, though, my brand is on every song.” Method To My Madness finds Tommy Castro & The Painkillers at their very best. It is an instant career highlight in a lifetime full of them. The album was recorded at Laughing Tiger Studio in San Rafael, CA and produced by Castro (his first time at the helm) using no recording studio wizardry, just the unadulterated sound of the band. Castro’s songs – he wrote or co-wrote 10 of 12 tracks – are raw, raucous and rocking. From the opening one-two punch of everyman anthems Common Ground and Shine A Light to the full-tilt energy of the title track to the searing deep soul ballad Heaven, to the bayou rock of Got A Lot to the atmospheric, autobiographical Ride to the reinvented version of the Clarence Carter hit I’m Qualified to the emotional cover of B.B. King’s Bad Luck, Tommy Castro & The Painkillers continue to break new ground while simultaneously having an incredible amount of fun.
Born in San Jose, California in 1955, Tommy Castro first picked up a guitar at age 10. He fell under the spell of Eric Clapton, Elvin Bishop, Mike Bloomfield and other blues rock players. As he got older, Castro discovered the blues guitar work of Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Freddie King, Buddy Guy, Elmore James and the deep-rooted soul voices of singers like Ray Charles, Wilson Pickett and James Brown. By his 20s, he was playing in a variety of San Francisco-area blues and soul bands.
Castro joined Warner Brothers’ artists The Dynatones in the late 1980s before forming The Tommy Castro Band in 1991. He released his debut album in 1996 on Blind Pig and hit the road hard, picking up new fans everywhere he went. During the 1990s and into the 2000s, Castro recorded a series of critically acclaimed CDs for Blind Pig, Telarc and 33rd Street Records as well as one on his own Heart And Soul label.
In 2009 Castro came to Alligator Records, releasing Hard Believer to massive acclaim. He won four of his six career Blues Music Awards, including the coveted B.B. King Entertainer Of The Year Award (the very highest award a blues performer can receive). His next release, 2011’s Tommy Castro Presents The Legendary Rhythm & Blues Revue–Live!, was a fiery collection of the highlights from a series of live performances anchored by Castro and fueled by appearances by an all-star collection of nationally recognized blues musicians, including Rick Estrin, Michael “Iron Man” Burks and Joe Louis Walker.
Castro formed The Painkillers in 2012, creating a lean, mean four-piece lineup and leaving his tight horn section behind. He stripped his music down to its raw essence with the band driving their point home on the bandstand. Fueled by Tommy’s voice and guitar plus bass, drums and keyboards, the band released The Devil You Know in 2014, winning over hordes of new fans.
Now, with Method To My Madness, Tommy Castro & The Painkillers are ready to unleash their blistering new songs on music fans everywhere. “With the new album,” Castro says, “I was trying to get back to my basic ingredients: blues and soul. I went for the energy of connecting with my band. We kept everything raw, capturing the feeling of playing live. I’m not about being perfect,” he says, summing up. “I’m about being real.” Clearly that is the method to his madness.