BEN: The new cd and vinyl release “Stompin’ Ground” on Alligator Records is out and the response is very positive. How does that feel?
Tommy Castro: I feel relieved and excited.
BEN: The fact that “Stompin’ Ground” is near the top of the Blues Charts as well as in the middle of the “Billboard Top 200” record and cd chart has to have you pleased.
TC: Charts matter in our business. Yes, I feel good about that.
BEN: Radio play is good on this release as well with Serious Networks picking it up on their Blues stations along with Americana stations. I’m sure you’re busy with interviews.
TC: Satellite radio is great. BB King’s Bluesville, Channel 74 has been very good to us. Then there are still hundreds of dedicated college and public radio stations with regular blues programs. We are number one on Living Blues radio chart with Stompin’ Ground the last few weeks, so it looks like I still have a career which is nice.
BEN: This is your “day Job”. How’s life on the road with 4 band members and other help?
TC: We get along really well. Our bus provides a certain level of comfort and a home away from home, though we do get rooms most nights.
We had my son Skyeler doing sound and Randy’s daughter Sami doing merch. They also drive the bus. It’s a great crew.
Gigs have been well attended at some nice venues, so I can’t complain.
BEN: You and the Painkillers continue to entertain on the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruises. Tell us about those.
TC: The LRBC is the best gig ever.
Just sailed with Buddy Guy, Taj and Keb Mo together and Elvin Bishop to name a few. Had my first real day off on the island of Curacao. A whole day at the beach. Lots of jamming, good friends and good food.
BEN: I see a European leg of this tour coming up. How is the response in other countries?
TC: We are in Germany now just starting the tour, but the Europeans love blues and we have always enjoyed the audiences here.
BEN: You are all over the web. Where can we follow you?
TC: Things have changed since we started out. Our website is tommycastro.com
We have a Facebook page. Search Tommy Castro musician
Instagram, search Tommy Castro official.
BEN: What does the future look like for Tommy Castro and the Painkillers?
TC: It looks very good. I plan to keep making good records and touring for a long time to come. I might slow it down one day, but not anytime soon.
BEN: I have been asking this question in some form since 1968. You are on the road for a number of weeks and can take 5 lp’s, cd’s, etc. to listen to. List yours.
TC: That’s a tuff one.
Giant Step -Taj Mahal
Get my Grove Back Again -Elvin Bishop
Atlantic Sessions -Ray Charles
I’m Ready -Muddy Waters
Live at the Regal-BB King
Tommy Castro, thanks for taking the time for this interview. Best wishes in the future and enjoy the road.