Music has always been in Carls blood, from his earliest years playing violin at the age of 10 in Catholic school he has always felt the calling. "I remember jamming to songs with my older brother in our room, me on a conga of all things & my brother on guitar" During Carl's grade school years he dabbled in other passions such as art & guitar, which quickly fizzled out when the guitar teacher told his parents "you're wasting your money, your son plays by ear!
Carl soon found the world of drums. After destroying a drum set his parents bought him from Sears, he convinced a family friend to co-sign on a drum set from a local dealer, now, he had found a passion he could build on.
In high school Carl's passion for music only grew, he formed the rock band The Mystics of Wizard with some high school friends, rehearsing as often as possible. " I actually had band practice on prom night, as if I would have gone to that anyway!"
With Carl's drive for music and honing his skills on drums, he modeled his playing after his drummer idols Hal Blaine, Cozy Powell, John Bonham & Neil Peart. In 1979, after playing in local groups (such as "Wizard" & "Slave" which featured a then unknown guitarist named Chris Holms ( WASP)) from the San Gabriel Valley of California, Carl was introduced to bassist Bob Loza and joined Razu, a popular band that had a huge following and who played along side many well known acts such as Van Halen, Stormer, Yesterday & Today and Sky People. The band had won a Battle of the Bands at the nightclub Gazzaris in Hollywood. " We turned down the prize because Phil Spector or someone on that level was in on this & would have produced our album and offered a horrible deal!" The band thrived until the departure of Guitarist Chris Eads, and from there, the group seemed to lose its way.
In 1982 Carl ( now playing under the stage name Carl James ) joined up with master guitarist Greg Leon to form The Greg Leon Invasion, The two of them collaborated on many songs as the group saw a revolving door of members from Joey Vera (Armored Saint) Chuck Stevenson, Kenny Kauffman to Jake E. Lee (Ozzy Osbourne) . They produced a single and an L.P. titled "Guitars, Cars & Women" that moved very well in the local music circuits. The Greg Leon Invasion was fortunate enough to play a gig with a newly formed band Metallica at the Whiskey a Go Go. The Greg Leon Invasion ran in the same crowd that included good friends Guns N Roses, Motley Crue, Yngwie Malmsteen, and many many other well known bands. Dung this time, because Carl was one of a few drummers that was said to have a sound reminiscent of drummer Cozy Powell, he was recruited by Jake E. Lee to audition to replace Ozzy Osbourne's ailing drummer, he didn't get the gig, but was honored to have had the opportunity. By this time, Carl was getting tired of waiting for a break with The Greg Leon invasion.
In 1984 Carl was recruited and took up the offer to drum for SIN, a Los Angeles based hard rock band. Sin quickly gained fame in the Los Angeles music circuit playing and selling out clubs playing along with the likes of Great White & Armored Saint. The band was fortunate enough to recruit bassist Joey Cristofanilli (Ratt) and the group changed their name to Jag Wire and were immediately signed to Target Records. Once again Carl's Drumming talents were recognized by his former Slave band-mate guitarist Chris Holmes , now of W.A.S.P & offered Carl the drum position with the band. After much thought, Carl turned down the offer, as Jag Wire were just at the peak of their international popularity. Jag Wire released the well received album Made In Heaven in which writer Laura Canyon from Kerrang Magazine sites "this will place them among the royalty of rock".
As with many groups, the fruits of their labor were short lived, and Carl left the group & met back up with bassist Bob Loza (RAZU) to form HEROES IN LOVE, this was an band with writing that was seldom found in unsigned groups. The band played the local circuit for a few years and were able to release a demo of well written songs which included "Touch The Blade" and "Is This Your Love" which peaked the interest of an A&R executive from a top ten record company. Unfortunately at this time, for reasons unknown, the guitarist & main songwriter for the group decided to make an untimely exit from the group, which left the rest of the band treading water. After much thought and the years of running in music circles, the remainder of the band decided to call it a day and disbanded. Rumor has it the boys may try to record long distance via the web, we'll see. Some embers never die,they just smoulder.....
Carl has jammed with other bands throughout the years but refused to commit to the ties that come with joining a group. Now, in the role of record producer, as well as a multi-instrumentalist, Carl has formed The Royal Union Of Architects, heading in the well proven British pop/rock vein. They have released Seven full length albums with Carl's Bella Kai Music through Soundesign Records & Studios. "The Crystal & The Cross", "The Tomes Of Lore", "Pieces Of Eight,"At Her Majesty's Command, We Present:" Curious Amusements For The Ingenious , The Keeper Of The Kings Conscience and The Exchequer Of Pleas. These are available at Amazon, iTunes, and wherever music is sold, worldwide.
Rumor has it this new group consists of either real band members, or of the multiple voices in Carl's head, the jury is still out on that one .....but this story continue.
6 February 2008
Talk about taking the road less traveled – jack-of-all-trades Carl Elizondo is only interested in success one way: his way. How else can you describe an artist who has played in thriving bands that have sold records, toured the country, even opened for Metallica… yet keeps breaking away to make the music he feels deep within; “music about his dreams and nightmares.” Elizondo, a drummer by trade has found musical glory in the past by admitingly “submitting to the ideas” of whatever band he was in at the time.
Elizondo soon realized it was not the recognition he was playing for, but instead for the fact that the music is his life’s blood. This uncompromising drive is what allowed him to not only learn how to record and produce his own music, but to play the guitar, bass and keyboards as well. The unbeaten path indeed. There’s more than drive and passion behind the work of Elizondo – his influences are impressive as well, drawing mainly from both The Beatles and Oasis. He explains that he “has always loved the older Brit sound; it reminds him of a time of discovery.”
You can hear this style, mixed in with some “psychedelic reverberations and a hint of India… birthing fresh ideas based on a familiar sound” on both of the albums “The Crystal & the Cross” and the upcoming “The Tomes of Lore.” “The Tomes of Lore” will hit the streets some time later this year, but you can check out his current single “Crash Landing” on internet radio stations such as Pandora Radio. Learn more about this artist by jumping into the XXQ’s.
XXQs: Carl ElizondoPensEyeView.com (PEV): How and when did you first get involved with music? Carl Elizondo: As a kid growing up in Los Angeles, I used to watch my cousin and his band play music in their house while on summer vacation from school, I was always drawn to watching the drummer, I thought how cool to move arms & legs at different times all over the place, I really got bit by the bug. I must have been 10 or 11. PEV: Growing up, what kind of music were you listening to? Do you remember the first concert you ever attended? CE: I used to listen to what ever was on the radio, mostly rock radio so Tom Petty, Kiss, Rush Oh and YES, I was a real Yes fan! One of my first concerts was Yes, & Kiss, who ever was coming through town. But I’ve always liked older rock.
PEV: Was there a certain point in your life when you knew that music was going to be a profession rather than just a hobby? CE: In high school, that’s when, I always really had a bad time in school, and didn’t get very good grades, except in art, I was damn good at drawing, painting and conceptual art but of course I was always thinking of music, I would doodle on paper different concert scenes or drum set up’s, I was imagining it to make it become real.
PEV: What were your first years in the music business like for you? Did you ever think you’d be where you are now, then? CE: The first years were ok, I would rehearse at a buddies home after school, I mean nothing would get in the way of rehearsal, I even missed the prom, parties, dates with girlfriends at the time. I wanted it bad. I ended up playing all over Los Angeles with various groups that I was in at the time. I honestly always knew I would be in music , as far as where I am now, well that’s hard to say, I suppose I would always welcome a higher level of success, but really I play cause its my life’s blood, not for the recognition…
PEV: Having The Beatles and Oasis are the main influences, is there someone you have not had the chance to work with or collaborate with, that you would like to? CE: I would like to collaborate with Noel Gallagher, now that would be stellar! PEV: When the band is not traveling or performing, what can we find you doing in your spare time? CE: I am actually always in the studio, really or watching reality TV, ah! I am addicted, of course I like a cold ale, or a great cigar…
PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about Carl Elizondo? CE: Well its either that I taught myself all the instruments with out any help or lessons, or that I make goofy faces in the mirror when I am alone, which ever you think is more interesting. PEV: If we were to walk into your practice studio what would we find? CE: Awesome question! A Beatle album on the turntable, a Beatle Bootleg in the CD player, various Rolling Stone magazines, books on Shakespeare, an easy chair… Oh! And Christmas lights hung up!!!! Very Zen, or does that qualify as very Hippie ( which I am not) but I’m not sure.
PEV: What is a live Carl Elizondo performance like? Its Usually an acoustic show, I have really produced my albums to the extent that I face the same problems of many bands, where its very hard to reproduce live, what I have recorded in the studio, I like to talk to my audience between songs, so its not so structured PEV: In one word, describe Carl Elizondo. CE: Introspective. PEV: So, what is next for you? CE: Aah! “The Tomes Of Lore”, my next album (2008)… I know I just released The Crystal & The Cross (2006), but I have got to get this music out of me and to the masses. I have recently realized that between the two albums, I have a particular sound and I am very proud of that!
BITS 'N BOBS (continued)
Carl Elizondo's Crystal Ball-by Bobby Collini- Freelance Writer
It was up an elevator to the 22nd floor of an undisclosed hotel deep in the city of New York, not far from the now infamous Ground Zero, where I found myself not knowing what to expect from this relatively unknown artist. I went over some of the questions in my head as I walked down the hallway on a French style carpet in the hotel. My knock on the door brought a shorter, rather wild raven haired guy with a big smile to greet me. After getting the formalities out of the way, I made myself comfortable in the rather uncomfortable hotel chair, as Carl moved his open luggage bag to relax on the sofa, and opened a Diet Coke.
BC : So what prompted you to write this collection of tunes? CE ; Woah!, talk about to the point! (laughs) Uh, well... I don't know Hmm BC : Ok ok , what's your music background?? CE : Whew! better. I grew up in Los Angeles back in the late 70's early 80's in the local music scene. I played in many local groups at clubs like the Starwood or the Whiskey, where it was common to see David Lee Roth, or Joey Ramone hanging out at the bar. I'm a drummer by trade, but I always remember hearing a million melodies in my head at two o'clock in the morning serenading my insomnia. Without formal song writing abilities, I sat back, played drums and learned from those guitarists and bass players around me who knew how to write a song, kinda mentally took notes 'ya know. I've always been torn between the very heavy loud aggressive songs and real wimpy sappy kind of broken heart songs.
BC: some of the tunes have a very 60's British feel to them, what influences you in your song writing? CE: Years ago I was introduced to a little group known as the Beatles, my guitar player at the time, Tony Perez from a former band insisted I really listed to the song structure and their writing because before this, I kinda hated the Beatles since I was so into heavy Metal. Then a light went on in my head... Wow, this music is a deep well of intrigue, these songs blew me away. All I wanted to do was get into the head of John & Paul, George too, I still love Ringo for his impeccable time keeping! That Beatle feel is so cool, it reminds me of a time of discovery!
BC: The CD has you listed as playing everything? Really? CE: Wow, you say that as if its a bad thing? BC : No no, just unusual. CE: Look, I had been in groups with a dictator leading us and groups with no direction at all, band members punching it out or long drawn out screaming matches, its really like being in a relationship, you have to learn to get along or face the demise, so I decided to go it alone and teach myself guitar, bass, keys and production. Looking back if I had known how hard it would have been...Shit I still would have done it, after all I am a control freak in a sorta kinda way. The only person I can argue with is myself, and I need a mirror to do that! (laughs).
BC: So you are self taught? CE: Yep, lots of hours with blistered fingers & finger tips! BC: What do the songs on this E.P. convey, or what do you want them to say? CE: I kind of write from the hip, but that being said, some of the subjects would fit nicely into somebody's' life that was going through some shit or had some problems or whatever, really I don't think it out too much.
BC: What has been your biggest challenge? CE: Hmmm, my biggest challenge is life and trying to be not dead, I wrestle with alot of crap in my head and......Oh oops, sorry, you mean on this album? well, being the producer and trying to critique myself, listening and re-listening to the songs, does this sound good here and is this stupid, things like that. Carl releases his self produced E.P. titled " The Crystal & The Cross" soon (2006)..
BC : Carl, what's behind the title of the E.P.? CE: Its the daily fight that some people have compromising between their beliefs and life, ying and yang, you know, the good and not so good. A shot of whiskey or an ice water...which is better?
BC: Tell me one thing about you that most people don't know. CE: I'm insane, no!, really insane, depressive, dark, and dank, Shit!... I don't know, I make faces in the mirror at myself.... There!... Damn, that is insane isn't it?------Bobby Collini- Freelance Writer .
Carl Elizondo & The Royal Union Of Architects also available at:
We are proud to now be available on:
Apple iTunes ,
Google Music Store,
Kuack Line Music,
The new album song listing for Curious Amusements For The Ingenious is now out: Pauper Millionaire, 32 Ford (working title), Wish It Away, Bittersweet, You won't (ever) Know, Window, Anymore, Spy vs. Spy (working title), Tell Me Summat, You're Leaving- This was written during a challenging time in life, and it shows, there are many hidden messages as well as blatant castoffs to those who know! enjoy.
We are, now working on the next album after Curious Amusements, which has yet to be released. We don't have a name for album # 6 but we do have a hand full of great songs. we have an unusual opportunity, and must take advantage of this time that w