Charles Calmese by Tom Guerra

By Tom Guerra, guitarist, recording artist, journalist:  

“Charles Calmese was one of the greatest blues / rock and roll bassists America has ever produced.  Coming out of tough 1970’s Chicago, where he cut his teeth with Matt “Guitar” Murphy and James Cotton, Calmese was soon recognized worldwide as a rock solid player, with his talents ultimately being utilized by Ike and Tina Turner, Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, Johnny Winter, and Steve Miller. 

Johnny Winter told me the highlight of his life was playing in Muddy Waters’ band, alongside Charles.  After having made his home in Willimantic, CT, Calmese became a fixture on the local scene with bands such as Avalanche and the Shaboo All-Stars. 

I met Charles after securing a guitar spot in the short-lived “Easton Bros. Band,” after which he became a great mentor and friend to me.  He was a very giving person with a great, funny, friendly, larger than life personality. 

To me, Charles was the ultimate bass player, whose groove always reminded me of a slow rolling Mack Truck… was steady, powerful, and unstoppable. Charles was so great, as a musician and as a guy....he was hand-picked to play on Steve Miller's Fly Like an Eagle and Book of Dreams


Sadly, Charles’ life was cut short in late October, 1988 after a head on collision while returning home from a late night show.”  

Charles Calmese.jpg
Tom Guerra

Tom Guerra