Damon Castillo Band

Who doesn’t love those lazy days of summer?  Cool and crisp nights, a refreshing beverage in your hand, and the camaraderie of close friends and new acquaintances are the things that this season is made of.  Summer means picnics and beach days.  Summer is a season full of music and love.

The Damon Castillo Band is all about music and love.

The quintet from San Luis Obispo, CA, entertains its loyal home base time and time again.  They operate out of a quaint recording studio on a street called Laurel Lane, and have toured the West Coast and beyond.

After receiving that all-important confirmation email from the band’s manager, I found myself on a tour of that aforementioned studio and later chatting with the band’s front man about everything from Sheila E. to opening for the band, Train.   Castillo moved to San Luis Obispo County at 13 years old.  He grew up listening to the Beatles, Elvis Costello, and Sly and the Family Stone.  He picked up his first guitar at the tender age of six and jammed with his twin brother.  Making music together was the better alternative to beating each other up.

Actually, he wasn’t a band geek like I was, but that didn’t stop him from attending Berklee College of Music in Boston.  The music education was worth it.  After creating a scene in California’s Central Coast with his band of close friends, music is now a full time job.  Proclaiming that he rarely leaves the studio, Castillo jokingly said that showers are a rarity these days.  Of course, he and I laughed about it.

His band consists of Kristian Ducharme (keyboard), Jennings Jacobsen (drums), Larry Kim (saxophone) and Brian Lanzone (bass).  Together, they create a sound that is jam band plus pop, layered with funky jazz, and full of old-school soul.  They are unique in that they play a type of music that is so old-fashioned, yet fresh and honest.  In today’s music world, the business overshadows the sound, with labels working tirelessly towards downloads and perhaps forgetting what music is really about.  To Castillo, it is a lifestyle and a passion.  It is more than just playing a sold-out venue; it is a connection that is universal.

His point of view is apparent on the band’s record, Laurel Lane (2008).  It is catchy and refreshing, and Castillo openly sings about love.  Sometimes comedic and maybe even confessional, the lyrics are relatable and straightforward.  Castillo said that the subject of love always fascinates him and that the interest is never ending.  Music lovers and lyricists both know that what we hear over the airwaves rarely consists of anything but the subject of love. 

As we dive into the days of summer, there may be that possibility of connecting with total strangers.  When the Damon Castillo Band embarks on their West Coast tour in August, dance along during those cool and crisp nights.  Don’t hesitate to share a drink with a friend or two, and let the band sway you into that smooth, summer romance.

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