Carmen was a British-American band active from 1970-75. Their style was a fusion of rock music and flamenco music and dance. Carmen's first album, Fandangos in Space, is ranked number 46 in the Rolling Stone list of 50 Greatest Prog Rock Albums of All Time.
The group was founded by David Clark Allen, a Mexican/American Californian trained in flamenco guitar. Originally a seven-member band in Los Angeles, the band relocated to London, England, in January 1973, where the personnel soon stabilized as a quintet.
In London, they became friendly with several rock stars of the time, including David Bowie - who introduced them internationally by including them on his Midnight Special '1984 Floor Show', Marc Bolan ( Paul Fenton became his studio and tour drummer ), 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 and John Glascock went on to join Jethro Tull.
Carmen's stage performances featured Amaral and Angela Allen dancing on a specially amplified stage floor, so that their flamenco zapateado became an integral percussive addition to the music. 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 after Carmen disbanded. He played guitar as a session musician and wrote songs for Agnetha of ABBA.After Carmen David played on Michelle Phillip's solo album produced by Jack Nitzsche and was managed by Herb Cohen during the late 70s. He wrote for Agnetha's solo album, Wrap Your Arms Around Me - produced by Mike Chapman and a single release by Swedish band Katz - Heart Beats Stronger. David was diagnosed with thyroid/throat cancer and after a successful operation and therapy changed his name and career - Housk Randall/sexual anthropologist and photographer. As Housk he had 5 books published in 4 languages: Revelations/Rituals of Love/The Customised Body/Piercing/Radical Desire and Bizarre Rubber - a photographic fantasy catalogue for fetish designers DeMask. He then married, changed his name to David Randall-Goddard and established a successful family photographic studio Family Portraits which is still active.
For the 2006 reissue of Carmen's three albums by Angelair, David produced an instrumental album Widescreen with Larry Lush. Widescreen became the name of the band David then formed with Larry Lush. They opened for The Buena Vista Social Club, Ojos de Brujo, Eliades Ochoa and were regular performers on the festival circuit in England. Widescreen eventually morphed into Flamexicano which disbanded in 2013. David then formed an Americana/Latino roots rock band, Papa Tigre which disbanded in 2015.. David is now 2 years into studying a new path - recording engineer/producer/composer/music blogger.
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 died due to complications caused by a congenital heart condition.
Angela Allen has relocated to Los Angeles and 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 from his own studio in Southern California. After over 40 years, his dance companies, including Ballet Espanol de Los Angeles, Fuego Flamenco and Espana clasica, continue to receive public and critical acclaim. He collaborated on the book and composed the musical score for an original stage play incorporating Flamenco dance. He has also formed a music publishing company called Delicia Music.