CHARLY LOPEZ FULL BIO
Ranging from hard rock classics to soulful ballads, his vocal
range and style can really grab a hold of you.
Position: Lead Singer/guitar player
Genres: Rock / Hard Rock / Heavy Metal
The childhood years
Charly Lopez, born in Montevideo, Uruguay, South America on July 11 1964, lost his mother at the age of 8. Teresa was a big fan of The Beatles, she loved music! His grandmother Maria took over and raised him together with his father, Maria's son Ruben.
At the age of 9 his father Ruben sent him to learn guitar and English. Charly lived in Malvin most of his childhood, in a very modest part of town and his life was about playing with other children and going to school.
He went to a school called Escuela Experimental de Malvin, located just a few blocks from the ocean.
Although Charly was a normal child, he had a little bit of a difficulty getting himself integrated in groups, he was very shy and already some kind of a dreamer and ofentimes didn't fit in.
When he started going to elementary school he lost his mother and at the same time a military dictatorship broke in the country, putting everybody's life in danger, specially children's.
"I went to a school called Escuela Experimental de Malvin, located just a few blocks from the ocean."
Charly recalls. When he started going to elementary school he lost his mother and at the same time a military dictatorship broke in the country, putting everybody's life in danger, specially children's.
At the age of 9, Charly got selected to sing in the choir in elementary school. At his school he had to go to rehearsals for the choir and the rehearsals were conducted in the theater of the school.
He loved to go there because there was a big stage and he could see the empty seats in front of him during rehearsals, but they were all full when the choir was performing. Those were his first appearances on a real stage with lights and sound and the clapping of the public was music to his ears.
Charly loved to perform in that theater, passion that follows him today as well, being shows in theaters his preference.
Another passion of Charly's was soccer: "I could have been a very good soccer player but it looks like that was not my purpose in life. I was born to be a musician."
At the age of 11, for his birthday, his father gave him a gift that would change his life forever: a turn table and a record of The Beatles: “Help!”
He listened to this record over and over every day; then he tried to follow the music with his guitar and started to translate the lyrics to understand what they were singing about. Later, his
father remarried and his new wife had 4 children. His older step-brother and step-sister had records of Led Zeppelin, CCR, Pink Floyd, Sui Generis and several other Rock bands. That is how he got introduced to Rock. Charly had found his passion: to be a Rock Musician! "One day I read an interview with Paul McCartney where Paul said "I quit school to go play with the band around the world", and went like wow! that's what I want to do! But my parents didn't think so. I didn't quit school, but at the age of 17 my dream came true: I was in a band!!"
The political situation in the country in those days was a military dictatorship that lasted for 11 years, basically during his whole teenage years. When he was 15, he adopted the name of "Charly", this name coming from his cousin Charles who he admired. At the age of 17, he got into his first band called “Vision” which soon changed its name to “Aeroplano”. They were playing in the style of Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin.
When Aeroplano disbanded, he met Marcos Virdo, an Uruguayan guitar player with a New Yorker kind of attitude. Marcos called the band “The Beasts” and Charly joined on bass and vocals. "The first time I got paid for playing in a band I got 10 dollars and it was with "Las Bestias". We played at a very small bar in the docks". Until in 1983, Marcos migrated to the United States and the band ended.
1984: Charly joins Mamut: his first real band
In 1984, at the age of 20, Charly joined “Mamut”, a band that played Rock covers from AC/DC, ZZ Top, Fastway, etc. "This was my first professional band, it's when I started to get well paid for singing and the beginning of my professional career." They recorded a demo with those covers and when a producer listened to it, he got very impressed with Charly’s voice as well as the quality of the band, so he suggested them to write their own songs and record an album, which they did at La Batuta Studio. A dispute between the band members made the group to stop their activities and the album never got released. A couple of songs from that album have been re-produced by Charly and included in his 2011 CD.
Charly singing in Mamut in 1984
Click on the picture to enlarge
1985: Charly joins Alvacast: The Metal Years
In 1985, Charly became the lead singer of Alvacast, and quickly the group became one of the most influential bands in the Heavy Metal scene in Uruguay, remembered until today for being the band that recorded the first Heavy Metal album in Uruguay’s Rock history.
"With Alvacast we never sang covers, on our shows we only played our own songs. That was amazing!"
In 1988 Charly was awarded “The Voice of Uruguayan Heavy Metal”, at an event held at the Chilean Stadium in Santiago, while touring in Chile. In 1990 Charly recorded his first video clip with Alvacast of the song "Innocent", title track of Alvacast's second album.
Click on the picture to enlarge
Click on the picture to enlarge
Video of Charly performing in 1988 with Alvacast
in front of 20,000 people
Alvacast's official video of Innocent, filmed in 1989
Charly with Alvacast foto gallery from 1985 to 1989
1992: Charly moves to Canada with Alvacast
With Alvacast, Charly recorded 4 albums, made the TV, radio, news papers, magazines, and had great critics from North America. Those great critics made the band to take the decision to move to North America. They tried to fly to the United States, but in those days getting visas to enter the U.S. as a band was very difficult.
Leo Lamela, one of the guitar player of Alvacast decided to move to Montreal, Canada, where he had friends. Six months later, in February 1992 the rest of the band followed Leo and they all landed in Montreal, where a few years later they became Canadian Citizens and then could travel to the United States.
The manager of Alvacast flew to Montreal and had their video clip air played in Musique Plus, the French Canadian version of Much Music, and the band played all around Montreal and Quebec, creating a lot of interest amongst the HM fans.
In 1993 some of the members of the band were having a lot of trouble adapting to the new country and tension arised in the band to the point that the group disbanded.
In late 1992, Alvacast splits up and Charly joined a band called Boize, for a brief period of time as a replacement of their original singer, who called it quits a few weeks before. With Boize Charly recorded 2 songs that were released only in 2013.
BOIZE was a heavy metal band from Montreal, Canada, active from 1989 to 1995. According to their official bio in Wikipedia "The band was not ready to give up after their main singer quit and, not wanting to cancel more of the shows that were booked, placed an ad in the Gazette looking for a new vocalist. They quickly found Carlos "Charly" Lopez (a Bruce Dickinson type), who had recently moved to Montreal from Uruguay. Back home, Charly had recognition as being the vocalist for the band Alvacast, who according to their fans were the South American close equivalent to Iron Maiden".
Boize was a group with excellent musicians that unfortunately disbanded not long after Charly left the band to reunite back with Alvacast, but this reunion didn't last and Alvacast disbanded officially in 1994. (Please see this link for the official biography of Boize with full details of the time Charly spent in the band: http://abridgedpause.com/boize)
1995: Charly joins Up The Irons, a Tribute to Iron Maiden
With Alvacast and Boize disbanded, Charly joined an Iron Maiden tribute band from Montreal called “Up The Irons” in 1995. Charly’s vocal resemblance to Bruce Dickinson’s is remarkable and was a great attraction to their fans, which helped them to become the best Iron Maiden Tribute band in Canada. They toured Canada (Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, New Brunswick and the East Coast of the U.S., especially Upstate New York.
At the time the tribute bands became very popular in Canada to the point that they were paid plane tickets to go play in cities like Winnipeg.
Charly sang with Up The Irons for ten years, until he moved to Costa Rica in 2005
The band reunited in 2014 and is still active and plays festivals in Canada in the summer time.
Charly with Up The Irons in 2005
Charly with Up The Irons in 2014
Charly quits music in 2000!!
"Not too many people knows this: I felt my music carreer wasn't going anywhere, so I decided to quit music in 2000 to dedicate myself to working as a programmer analyst in the computer field! But only quit a few weeks as I felt dead without the music."
After what turned out to be a short break, in late 2000 Charly started to attend the jams with John McGale, an extraordinary guitar player, a Rock icon in the 80's with his band Offenbach. From John Charly learned how to conduct a jam session, lesson that would help him a lot in the years to come.
At the same time that year Charly came back with "Up The Irons" and also started the "Carlos Lopez Band" as an attempt to go back to the idea of playing and writing original songs. "The Carlos Lopez Band" was born as a Rock group where Charly was the lead singer and the bass player, dedicated to play his original compositions. The band had several line ups and played live not very often, as a result of Charly being busy with the other projects. To produce an original band in those days in Montreal was a difficult task. The band was playing songs like "Un Vaso De Vino", "Vuelo A Ganimedes", "Soy Zero" and many other songs composed by Charly during the years. The Canadian version of the band came to a halt when Charly moved to Costa Rica in 2005.
The "Carlos Lopez Band" playing live in Montreal
A demo version of the song "Bruja Blanca"
2005: Charly records a CD in Canada
In 2005, Charly was recruited to be the singer in a Cd called “Tears For The Dead Gods”, a solo project of Fred Bergeron, one of the guitar players of Up The Irons. The band recorded the album in Quebec, with Pierre Remillard, one of the best music producers in Canada. The name of the band is the same as in the album: "Tears For The Dead Gods". The album was released in the U.S by Gaia Records, a company that no longer exists but the album can still be listened in Charly's website.
A few months later after the album was done, the band was hired to be the opening act for Belladonna, the lead singer of Anthrax. This concert was at Cafe Chaos in Montreal.
TFTDG did also the opening for Up The Irons, Charly explains: "opening for Up The Irons was the craziest idea! that show made me sing for more than 3 hours, as when I finished singing with TFTDG I had to change clothes and then sing Iron Maiden songs for another 2 hours! I finished that night exausted and with a sore throat!"
After a few more shows, Charly moved to Costa Rica and that is when Up The Irons stopped their activities. TFTDG found a new singer and remained active for a few more years. The band later changed their name to "Deeply Confused".
Charly singing with Tears For The Dead Gods in Canada
2005: Charly moves to Costa Rica
"I loved to live in Montreal but I couldn't stand the long winters anymore, so after 13 winters, I looked for a warmer place". In 2005 Charly moved to Costa Rica where he reformed "The Carlos Lopez Band" in 2006 with local talents but the band concentrated more into playing covers. In 2007 it was decided to change the name of the band to "The Storm" to finally "The Electric Storm", and after a few years they became one of the best cover bands in the Gold Coast of Costa Rica.
In 2009 Charly participated in the annual Costa Rica Blues Festival as the "Rock option" for those rockers that attended the festival hoping to get their fix of Rock music. The next year Charly participated again in the festival, this time with a Canadian rocker called SAB.
Charly Lopez playing with Donnie Walsh from Downchild Blues Band
Charly Lopez playing with The Electric Storm at the Costa Rica Blues Festival in 2009
Charly Lopez playing with Paul James and with Chuck Jackson
Charly Lopez playing with SAB at the Costa Rican Blues Festival in 2010
After living in Canada for 13 years, playing Heavy Metal and Hard Rock music the time came for Charly to reinvent himself. When he moved to Costa Rica's Gold Coast, life turned to be very different. Charly had to find the way to keep doing what he loves and make a living out of it. So he reinvented himself and switched from being the front man of a Heavy Metal band playing in concert halls and festivals, to be a solo singer and acoustic guitar player playing in bars and restaurants for turists. A big change. And it worked! He also appeared onstage as "Don Carlos", name that came about as a joke. In a couple of years Charly managed to make himself a name and to be today one of the most popular musicians in his area.
His popularity was growing and the opportunity came to share stage with a few Canadian and American Blues players Like Donnie Walsh, Chuck Jackson, Paul James and SAB.
2009: Charly returns to the Metal scene
In 2009 Charly returns to Uruguay after 9 years of absence to perform in a series of shows in Montevideo with "Siria" as the supporting band. Charly and Siria offered a Heavy Metal set of Alvacast songs plus a tribute to Iron Maiden with several icons of the Uruguayan Rock scene as special guests. The public were very enthusiastic and demonstrated that they didn't forget Charly nor did they forget Alvacast. Charly also demonstrated that he was still rocking and capable of offering a professional show.
2011: Charly records his first solo CD
In 2011, Charly returns to Uruguay, this time to record what it is his first solo album with the songs that "The Carlos Lopez Band" was performing in Canada. This album took three months to record and includes 11 songs that Charly composed between 1984 and 2010 plus one cover. This album is performed today with The Electric Storm and it's available to buy at Charly's website.
Charly recording in studio
Charly's first solo CD
2013: Charly opens for Trooper in Canada
In 2013, famous producer Ronnie King from California got interested in Charly’s music and went to Costa Rica to record a new song and to mix one song from “A Glass Of Wine”.
Charly and his band “The Electric Storm” just opened for a series of Arena shows with Canadian legends Trooper. Also Charly won the contest for Boonstock Music and Arts Festival, where he played an acoustic set.
Also in 2013, Charly wins a contest in Edmonton, Canada and was selected to play at the prestigious Mega Festival Boonstock in Alberta, Canada ().
Charly played an acoustic set on the AXE Stage.
In this festival also participated that weekend Rock stars Slash from Guns'N'Roses and Sebastian Bach from Skid Row. Here is a video and pictures of that event.
2014: Charly reunites with Up The Irons in Canada
In August 2014 Charly flies to Canada to play with "Metal Legends" featuring members of Up The Irons, his tribute to Iron Maiden. They performed at La Salle Royale in Drummondville as part of the Metal Rock Day Festival. Charly started singing in Up The Irons in 1995 until 2005. Ten Wasted Years? Absolutely not! Up The Irons made themselves a place in the Montreal Music Scene.
2015: Charly and the Alvacast Reunion in Uruguay
In 2015 Charly plays a couples of shows in Uruguay with Alvacast after 15 years of the band's last performace. They were also celebrating the 30 years of the formation of the band. For the occasion they recorded a song called "Volver A Crecer" in a studio in Montreal. This song was released in the 2015 edition of Alvacast first album "Al Borde Del Abismo".
Also Charly and Bulon from Alvacast were invited by Transe Metal Machine (the band of his team mate Leonardo Lamela) to participate in a couple of concerts, one being the Punta Rock Festival in Punta Del Este, Uruguay.