Carmen 'the final version' in 1973. Clockwise: David Clark Allen, John Glascock, Angela Allen, Roberto Amaral, Paul Fenton
|Origin||Los Angeles, California, U.S.|
|Genres||Progressive rock, flamenco|
|Labels||EMI, Mercury Records, Angel Air|
|Associated acts||Widescreen, Flamexicano!, 'Papa Tigre'.|
|Past members||David Clark Allen
Carmen was a British-American band active from 1970-1975. Their style was a fusion of rock music and flamenco music and dance. While the band achieved some success in recording and performance, its greatest significance lies in later contributions of its members to more famous rock groups.
The group was founded by David Clark Allen, a Mexican/American Californian trained in flamenco guitar. Originally a seven-member band in Los Angeles, USA, the band in the early seventies relocated to London, England, where the personnel soon stabilized as a quintet.
In London, they became friendly with several rock stars of the time, including David Bowie. Marc Bolan, and Bryan Ferry. Obtaining the services of producer Tony Visconti, Carmen released three albums: Fandangos in Space (1973), Dancing on a Cold Wind (1974), and The Gypsies (1975). By early 1975, the band was enjoying its greatest success, playing as an opening act at concerts by Santana, Blue Öyster Cult, and Electric Light Orchestra, and touring for three months as the opener for Jethro Tull. A series of unfortunate events then occurred while the group was recording The Gypsies at Longview Farm. Paul Fenton seriously damaged his knee, stopping his career as a drummer for many years. Carmen and Tony Visconti ended their musical relationship, and the band's manager left. Carmen disbanded shortly after finishing their last album in 1975.
Carmen's stage performances typically featured Amaral and Angela Allen dancing on a specially amplified stage floor, so that their flamenco zapateado became an integral part of the music. Additional Spanish influences in their sound included acoustic guitar interludes in flamenco style, occasional Spanish lyrics, themes of betrayed love reminiscent of Federico Garcia Lorca, and castanets, all supported by a traditional rock rhythm section.
David Clark Allen
David Clark Allen continued to pursue a music career - working with Jack Nitzsche on a Michelle Phillips solo album, session guitar for Giorgio Moroder, managed by Herb Cohen of Frank Zappa, Tom Waits and Alice Cooper notoriety, and writing songs for Agnetha of ABBA. In 1984, he was diagnosed with throat cancer and underwent surgery. He then reinvented his life, earning much acclaim as a photographer/sexual anthropologist, known as Housk Randall, first working in the field of erotic anthropology and then as a black and white family portrait specialist in London.
The 2006 reissue of Carmen’s three albums, by Angelair, was the catalyst for David’s inspiration to make new music. Widescreen - his first album of music in 30 years - was released in the same package as The Gypsies and brought David into contact with renowned producer and mixer Laurence Lush. The new album became the seed for a new band - Widescreen, who then became Flamexicano! (typically capitalized as FLAMEXICANO!). David has now started performing as 'Papa Tigre'.
Glascock joined Jethro Tull in 1975, and Angela Allen, his romantic partner at the time, contributed backing vocals on Tull's recording Too Old to Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young to Die!. Their relationship ended shortly after, and in 1979, at the age of 28, Glascock's life sadly was cut short due to complications caused by a congenital heart condition.
Angela Allen has relocated to LA and still continues to sing. She contributed vocals for the Widescreen album.
Paul Fenton was badly injured in a fall from a horse around the time of Carmen's break-up. He had already built a career for himself as a drummer outside of Carmen, in particular working with Marc Bolan's T-Rex; later, he went on to play in a Bolan tribute band.
Roberto Amaral, who currently resides in Van Nuys, California, has continued to create music as a singer, songwriter and producer. At the same time, he has established himself as the leading flamenco teacher/choreographer in Southern California. After over 30 years, his dance companies Fuego Flamenco and Espana clasica continue to received public and critical acclaim. He is currently collaborating on writing the book and musical score for an original stage play incorporating flamenco dance. He has also formed a production company called Delicia Music.
The first two albums were re-issued by Angel Air records as a 2-CD set in October 2006. Carmen's third album The Gypsies was re-issued by Angel Air records in May 2007, also as a 2-CD set; the second CD, entitled Widescreen, contains new instrumental music by David Clark Allen.
Widescreen - the band David formed with Laurence Elliot-Potter - supported The Buena Vista Social Club, Eliades Ochoa, and Ojos de Brujo and played for many years regularly on the UK festival circuit.
- David Clark Allen - lead vocals, acoustic flamenco guitars, electric guitars, synthesiser, mellotron, piano, backing vocals, lyrics (1970-1975)
- Angela Allen - lead vocals, synthesizer, mellotron, piano, backing vocals, dancer (1970-1975)
- Roberto Amaral - lead and backing vocals, lyrics, dancer (1971-1975)
- John Glascock - bass, bass pedals, synthesisers, lead and backing vocals, lyrics (1972-1975)
- Paul Fenton - drums, percussion, backing vocals (1973-1975)
- Brian Glascock - Drums (1970-1973)
- Dennis Trerotola - lead vocals (1970-1971)
- Adam Moody - guitars (1970-1971)
- Mark Moody - bass (1970-1971)
- Vicente - dancer (1970-1971)
- Rick Chavez - guitars (1971-1972)
- Mark Anthony - guitars, lyrics/music (1970-1972)
- Nigel Griggs - bass (1971-1972) Nigel also played bass guitar in the band Split Enz from 1977 to 1984 and performed in Schnell Fenster from 1986 to 1992.
- http://www.studiowner.com/essays/essay.asp?books=0&pagnum=82 – Studio owner's Carmen memories.
- http://www.epmusic.biz – Carmen licensing.