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Interview:
Painkillers have bluesman Tommy Castro feeling good
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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Being surrounded by Painkillers is nothing but a pleasure for Tommy Castro.

The blues-rock guitarist from San Jose's new album, "The Devil You Know," is the recording debut of his new band. And Castro says he felt it was high time for a change.

"I was just looking to do something different," says the 58-year-old Castro, who was part of the Dynatones before going on his own in 1991. "I'd done a dozen albums, been out on the road for close to 24 years with this act. I've gone through some different phases with the sound and the music and the kind of songs I write and the size of the band.

"I just tried to keep it interesting all these years. The longer I do that, the harder it gets to keep from repeating yourself. So it got to the point where I said, 'I want ot change this up. I want to shake this up quite a bit.' "

After winning a four Blues Foundation Blues Music Awards in 2010, Castro decided to take a more contemporary route on "The Devil You Know," what he describes as "more of a guitar-driven sounding band, with a little more of an edge to it." Some of that hearkens back to what he listened to in his youth, though Castro says there was some decidedly current music that helped steer him in this direction, too.

"I was listening to some Jack White Records and Gary Clark, Jr. and the Black Keys, for instance," Castro explains. "That really got me wanting a sound that was a little grittier, a little more rockin' but still definitely blues-based. That's what I felt like I wanted to do.

"Originally I was a teenager playing rock 'n' roll music and heavier sounding blues. So what I'm doing now kind of takes me back to when I was a kid playing in various garages around the neighborhood. I feel at home with it."

Tommy Castro & the Painkillers perform at 7"30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13, at Callahan's Music Hall, 2015 South Blvd. Auburn Hills. Tickets are $28-$38. Call 248-858-9508 or visit www.atcallahans.com.

Web Site: www.atcallahans.com

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