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Del Castillo is a Latin rock band based in Austin, Texas. The band's name comes from the last name of two brothers, Rick and Mark del Castillo, who founded the group.
Del Castillo began as a Latin music style project between two brothers, Rick and Mark del Castillo in the fall of 2000. The brothers, who had always played electric guitar in many different rock bands, had never played together and for the first time ever they began collaborating on songs on nylon string, acoustic guitars. So Rick and Mark decided to record some music together that their family could enjoy and culturally relate to. Their musical friend, Alex Ruiz, began adding lyrics to the brothers' instrumentals, and soon after, the other band members joined them. Rick recruited his friend Albert Besteiro, Jr., on bass and friend Cecilio Ruiz III on percussion and vocals, and Mark invited drummer Mike Zeoli, from their other joint project, Milhouse. After receiving very positive and most encouraging responses from everyone who heard the music they created, the project naturally began to evolve into a real band. They began playing regularly around the Austin area. The intensity of the band's live performance centers around the two brothers playing guitar. Although not traditionally trained flamenco players, the two have proven to be equal to the likes of the Gipsy Kings, Strunz and Farah, and Santana. The speed, accuracy and expertise of these two, backed by a strong and swift rhythm section, draws fans and newcomers to the foot of the stage every performance.
With the original line-up complete, Del Castillo began writing material, fusing many styles and influences, all while retaining a solid Latin element. The band released their debut CD Brothers of the Castle in 2001, which met with rave reviews from critics and music fans alike.
As the once "project band" solidified into a family of musicians, the band crafted their follow-up release, Vida, which took the band to the next level. And recognition, if not fame, came calling in the form of an invitation to appear on the soundtrack of director Robert Rodríguez's Once Upon a Time in Mexico and the honor of winning "Best Austin Band of the Year" along with six other major awards at the 2002-2003 Austin Music Awards.
The Del Castillo Live DVD, filmed and edited by Robert Rodríguez, was released in early 2004. Filmed at the famous Steamboat on 6th Street in Austin, it captured the fire and intensity of their live performances. Also that year, Quentin Tarantino used a Del Castillo song in Kill Bill Vol. 2, performed by Chingon, Robert Rodríguez's musical collective of some of his closest musical compadres, including members of Del Castillo. Del Castillo, with Robert, performed as Chingon at the premier of the film in Los Angeles.
In the Spring of 2006, Del Castillo released their third CD, Brotherhood, which was immediately acclaimed by the media across the board.
In late 2006, Rick Holeman decided to retire from the band, and the group found a new percussionist, Carmelo Torres. Hailing from Los Angeles, but now living in Austin, Carmelo has proven a strong musician and songwriter. Carmelo was eventually replaced by home town friend, Jason Murdy in 2010. Jason has toured extensively with Del Castillo and is now creatively contributing with the other members to writing new music for the band.
On 10 September 2012 Del Castillo announced on Facebook: "Dear Del Castillo Fans, After 12 years of making great music together, the time has come for Del Castillo and Alex Ruiz to go our separate ways. We ask that you continue to support him and we wish him all the luck and success with his future projects. We will be finishing out the rest of this year's shows with guest vocalists and friends, and look forward to taking a much needed BREAK afterwards to regroup, refocus our energies, reorganize our business, and come back sometime next year with newfound energy and excitement, and an even bolder new sound. We hope that you will continue to celebrate Peace, Love, and Latin music with us until then, as we still have some amazing Del Castillo shows lined up for the rest of 2012!"
Currently, Del Castillo is writing and recording brand new music in their Texas studio with Grammy award-winning lead vocalist, Danny Ortiz from Grupo Mazz (2004) and can now be seen performing live with Del Castillo. New singles are streaming online and they expect to release a new album in 2014 following with a world wide tour to support their highly anticipated new release. Del Castillo is also featured on an ABC crime/drama show, Killer Women featuring their brand new instrumental single, "Las Seis Cuerdas de Tony Montuno".
Rick del Castillo - Guitar and vocals,
"Ever since I can remember, music has filled my heart and soul. From my humble beginnings of banging on trash cans at the age of six to touring across the country all through my twenties, music was my one constant companion. I've delved in many genres but playing Spanish/ flamenco music on a nylon guitar with my brother and four other dear friends seems to fuel my muse to infinite measures. All I've learned through my 24 years of playing, touring, producing and engineering has led me to this point." - Rick del Castillo
Mark del Castillo - Guitar and vocals,
Mark del Castillo grew up in the Rio Grande Valley city of Brownsville, Texas, surrounded by the many musical influences of his family. Inspired by the talent and success of his older brother Rick del Castillo, he began to immerse himself in the study of guitar at age 14. Mark was a self-taught guitarist until he became a Music Major at the University of Texas at Brownsville in 1990. At that time he studied Music Theory, Ear Training, and Applied Guitar as well as joining the University Latin/Jazz band. In 1991, at the age of 19, he joined a cover band called Kickstart and began to build a reputation for himself as a guitarist. After playing with Kickstart for over three years, Mark moved away to pursue further education in Biomedical Science at Texas A&M University. While a student there, he and some friends formed a cover band called Vivid. After graduating in 1996, Mark and Vivid relocated to Austin, Texas and began to play regularly on the 6th Street Circuit, various other cities in Texas, and in Europe. While playing in Vivid, he joined his first original rock band called Milhouse. This was his first collaboration with Mike Zeoli (Del Castillo's drummer). On the first Milhouse CD, which his brother Rick recorded and produced, Mark recorded an instrumental Latin track entitled "Para Mija Linda" showcasing his Spanish style guitar playing. This song became a huge inspiration for him to return to his roots and write more Spanish guitar music. After composing several instrumentals, Mark began working to add lyrics to some of the songs. Mark presented these songs to his brother Rick, who, realizing that they had never worked together, suggested that the Del Castillo brothers combine their creative forces and talents. Mark realized that this is the music that is true to his heart, in his soul, and will always live within him.
Danny Ortiz - Lead vocals and percussion,
Albert Besteiro - Bass and vocals,
Born in the barrio, "raised on Budweiser and Blues!" (No prior felony convictions.)
Mike Zeoli - Drums, percussion and vocals,
As a child, Zeoli was fascinated by the entrancing power of rhythm. He was known to entertain his neighborhood friends with daily performances full of dancing and drumming. Every night before falling asleep, he would lie in his bed and dream of playing thunderous, polyrhythmic beats that traveled on magic sound waves into outer space and into heaven.
"The beats and rhythms I play are like my prayers and gifts to the multi (uni)verse."
Mike has a diverse background in music and rhythm. He has performed with Ahmad Aladeen, Bobby Shoe, Clark Terry and Louis Bellson. He studied music at S.M.S.U. in Springfield, Missouri and also studied privately with John Cushon (Oleta Adams) and Gary Chaffee (independent).
Jason Murdy - Percussion and vocals (joined the band in 2010),
Frequent visits to Mexico as a child helped to inspire his rhythmic interests to explore more of a wordly perspective. He latched on to the Latin sound, for its ability to be easily applied to popular music. From 19 till my early 20s, trips to Cuba and touring with Cuban folkloric groups around the states, helped to solidify a deeper understanding of that sound. I've been in numerous groups, playing different styles like jazz, funk, hip-hop, and salsa, and love to see how they can be tied together, with an understanding of their roots.