Carmen Grillo has been an in-demand session guitarist and vocalist. His credits in the studio include Bill Champlin (Chicago, Sons of Champlin), Rita Coolidge, Donna Summer, Tom Scott and Tim Weisberg to name a few.
Carmen toured the world and recorded with Rita Coolidge. 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 Chicago, which appeared on the platinum selling album Chicago XVIII. Carmen then joined the legendary horn-based soul band Tower of Power. 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", which showcased all of his talents, from the sensitivity of his lyrics to the fire in his guitar playing. His many recording projects include producing long-time Tower of Power bass player and trumpeter Rocco Prestia and Greg Adams. 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 1960s and 70s. The Sons continue to have a strong and loyal following to this day, and maintain a high level of musicality.
Carmen just released his second solo record "A Different World" featuring Mike Finnigan, Bill Champlin, Lee Thornburg, Greg Adams, Rocco Pretia, Bobby Watson to name a few. 12 new songs including a cover of Johnny Guitar Watson "A Real Mother For Ya".