Tommy Castro & The Painkillers

Tommy Castro & The Painkillers

Ron Thompson

Thursday, December 31st

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

$42 adv / $46 door

We are sold out of advance tickets for this show.
Standing room only tickets will be available when the music starts at 8pm.

TOMMY CASTRO & The Painkillers
TOMMY CASTRO & The Painkillers
"Phenomenal and funky...soulful vocals and inspired blues-rock guitar." –Washington Post

"Funky Southern soul, big city blues and classic rock...silvery guitar licks that simultaneously sound familiar and fresh." –San Francisco Chronicle

Night after night, Tommy Castro, a fierce and fiery road warrior, fervently delivers his driving, blues-soaked, soul-baring music to fans all over the world. The road is where he honed his guitar playing to a razor's edge. It's where he learned how to captivate an audience with his intensely passionate vocals and his memorable songs, licks and grooves. It's where he learned to turn his band into a dynamic, high-performance engine, able to bring down the house with a soulful ballad and then bring fans to their feet with a blistering blues rocker. In the words of Blues Revue, "Tommy Castro can do no wrong."

Over the course of his four-decade career, Castro has played thousands of shows to hundreds of thousands of fans, packing dance floors, always leaving them screaming for more. He has released 14 albums filled with original blues, soul and West Coast rock, each one standing alone. Hailing from the San Francisco area, Castro, along with his band, The Painkillers (currently 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 And The Painkillers at their very best. It is instantly a career-defining highlight in a lifetime full of them. The album was recorded at Laughing Tiger Studio in San Rafael, California 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 Died And Gone To Heaven, Tommy and the band are firing on all cylinders. From the bayou rock of Got A Lot and the atmospheric, autobiographical Ride to the reinvented version of the Clarence Carter hit I'm Qualified and the emotional cover of B.B. King's Bad Luck, Tommy Castro And 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 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. In the mid-1990s The Tommy Castro Band served as the house band for three seasons on NBC Television's Comedy Showcase (airing right after Saturday Night Live), bringing him in front of millions of viewers every week. During the 1990s and into the 2000s, Castro released 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.

Castro joined Alligator Records in 2009, 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 song Hard Believer took first place in the blues category of the International Songwriting Competition. 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 an all-star collection of nationally recognized blues musicians, including Rick Estrin, Michael "Iron Man" Burks and Joe Louis Walker. His road-dog approach—gig after gig—has won him loyal fans everywhere he plays.

Castro formed The Painkillers in 2012, creating a lean, mean four-piece lineup and leaving his tight horn section behind. 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. Castro stripped his music down to its raw essence with the band hammering their point home on the bandstand. Jambands declared, "Tommy Castro And The Painkillers are a crackling, stripped-down band with plenty of grit and a rocking soul."

Now, with Method To My Madness, Tommy Castro And The Painkillers are ready to unleash their 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.
Ron Thompson
Ron Thompson

"Ron Thompson, he's my main man!" -- John Lee Hooker, Inductee--Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

"Ron's one of my all time favorite guitar players. I've known Ron over 30 years, maybe 40 years. Long enough to know that in all that time, every time I heard him play, it was always a treat to hear. I'm glad to call him a friend." -- Charle Musselwhite, "Most Outstanding Musician (harmonica)," Living Blues 2007 Readers and Critics Polls

"Ron Thompson is my favorite guitarist." -- Mick Fleetwood, founder and member of Fleetwood Mac

"Ron Thompson is a 'blues wizard.' There is no instrument and no style he can't put across, because the soul he brings to it is undeniable, and it is unmistakably his own." -- Angela Strehli, "The Queen of Texas Blues"

"I've always felt Ron is the most talented blues guitarist I've ever seen. He can do it all. He's extraordinarily gifted. What many folks aren't aware of is that Ron was a huge asset in the re-emergence of John Lee Hooker. He was the foundation for that boogie sound." -- Tom Mazzolini , founder and producer of the San Francisco Blues Festival , the longest running blues festival in the United States

"Ron Thompson is the baddest man alive!!!" -- Tommy Castro, "B.B. King Entertainer of the Year" 2008 Blues Music Award Winner

"We've been fortunate to have many great blues players here over the years, but no one--and I mean no one--blew me away like Ron Thompson. This guy is unreal!" -- Dan King, "Ambassador of Cool," Boulder's Home of the Blues

"What this guy knows, you can't get out of a book." -- Steve Cropper , one of the founding members of both Booker T. and the MG's and The Mar-Keys

"One of the best moves Mayor Gavin Newsom made last year was proclaiming Sept. 5, 2007 as 'Ron Thompson Day in San Francisco.' The Newark-born musician, best known for the years he spent in John Lee Hooker's band, is one of the Bay Area's truly great guitarists. He's on equal footing with Carlos Santana or, really, anybody else you want to mention. If you doubt that, just go see him in concert." -- Jim Harrington, Music Editor, Contra Costa Times

"As a slide guitarist, I would say Ron is the best in the world and yet the man sings his ass off too. Ron Thompson is one of the five top blues greats in the world today. " -- Andy Grigg, music critic for Real Blues magazine

"Ron could take a soggy cardboard box with strings and whip up a frenzy. Forget the young kids in tight pants and big amps, this funky fella beats everyone way past home. He's like a 45 in a 78 world." -- Kansas City Blues Society

Not many living blues musicians can say they have performed with and recorded for legends like Big Mama Thornton, Tina Turner, Bruce Willis, Luther Tucker, Jimmy McCracklin, Pee Wee Crayton, Carla Thomas, Booker T. Jones, Percy Mayfield, Etta James, B.B. King, and Jimmy Reed. Ron Thompson can, and that's just the beginning!

Ron Thompson is a legendary rhythm and blues guitarist and master keyboardist whose career began in the rough and tumble world of East San Francisco Bay nightclubs and bars in the early '70s. During many years of touring coast to coast with John Lee Hooker, Hooker was quoted as saying, "Ron Thompson, he's my main man!"

After serving as John Lee Hooker's bandleader for seven years, Thompson went on to form his own group, Ron Thompson and His Resisters, which continues to tour extensively in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Central America.

In the early 80's, Ron met Mick Fleetwood (Fleetwood Mac) and the two became musical partners and close friends. Ron and Mick formed the band, Mick Fleetwood's Blue Whale. Blue Whale still occasionally performs, when Ron and Mick's busy schedules permit.

Ron Thompson was honored by the City of San Francisco for his decades of musical contributions. A few days after Barry Bonds got "his day" in The City for breaking the all-time American baseball home run record, San Francisco celebrated its own musical home run king, Ron Thompson. By official proclamation of Mayor Gavin Newsom, September 5, 2007, was declared "Ron Thompson Day in San Francisco."

The City of Fremont followed suit in 2009, and officially declared April 25, 2009, as "Ron Thompson Day in Fremont." Ron's hometown of Newark, California, will be providing its own recognition to Ron on September 19, 2009, when Ron will preside as Grand Marshal at the 54th Annual Newark Days Parade.

Tom Mazzolini, founder and producer of the San Francisco Blues Festival, the longest running blues festival in the United States, said, "I've always felt Ron is the most talented blues guitarist I've ever seen. He can do it all. He's extraordinarily gifted. What many folks aren't aware of is that Ron was a huge asset in the re-emergence of John Lee Hooker. He was the foundation for that boogie sound."

Thompson tours and performs year round. Recent shows have included a summer tour with Chris Isaak; shows with Bruce Willis; two stints on the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise with such musical VIPs as Taj Mahal and Elvin Bishop; and many more.

In the intervening years since he was Hooker's "Main Man," Thompson's musical career has steadily soared, and he picked up a Grammy nomination and many other awards and accolades. He was recently inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame, and participated in this year's San Francisco Jazz Festival, where he performed and taught the Discover Jazz "Blues Guitar" lecture.

Thompson headlined the 40th Anniversary of the Summer of Love Concert in Golden Gate Park in 2007, sharing the bill with legends such as Jefferson Starship, Canned Heat, Jesse Colin Young, and many others. A two hour documentary of the concert, which began with Thompson's sizzling performance, was aired in the San Francisco Bay Area, and will soon be nationally syndicated.

Andy Grigg, music critic for Real Blues magazine, wrote: "If you haven't experienced Ron T. 'live' I can't even begin to convey the absolute go-for-broke Blues rave-ups and sweat-soaked pandemonium Thompson and his Resistors dispense on a nightly basis. When it comes to slide guitar workouts, I would say he's the Best in the World, and yet the man sings his ass off too."

In addition to his Grammy nomination for his album Resistor Twister, Thompson has received countless awards and accolades, including Real Blues magazine's Best Live West Coast Blues Act, Best West Coast Blues Slide Guitarist, and Best West Coast Blues Guitarist/Modern.

Thompson's extensive discography includes five of his own albums, much studio work, and several European anthologies. Not only has he shared the stage with numerous blues luminaries, Thompson has performed or recorded with such musical greats as Fleetwood Mac, Chris Isaak, Carlos Santana, Bonnie Raitt, Tina Turner, Elvin Bishop, Bill Medley, Huey Lewis, Dr. John, songwriter Bobby Womak, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Robert Cray Band, Z.Z. Top, and legions of others artists.

Shortly after recording with Chris Isaak on the album San Francisco Days and touring with Isaak to promote the album, Thompson was called on stage. Isaak introduced him, telling the audience, "You might think these crowd barriers are here to keep you away from the stage. They're not. They're here to keep Ron Thompson away from you!"

Steve Cropper, one of the founding members of both Booker T. and the MG's and The Mar-Keys, (and who has also written songs with Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, Eddie Floyd, and dozens of others) once said of Ron, "What this guy knows, you can't get out of a book."

Thompson's latest all-solo and first completely acoustic CD, Resonator, was released in 2007. Ron recorded on guitar, mandolin, piano, and vocals—and then mixed it all together for an unbelievable, quadruple threat, all-Ron Thompson recording. Most of the material is comprised of original Ron Thompson compositions.

Thompson is busy in the studio, recording what he thinks may be his finest work to date. Look for it later this year!