Meet The Band


Randy McDonald was born in Harrisburg, PA in 1959 and grew up in San Diego. He learned bass at an early age, becoming a first call, in-demand musician by his late teens. McDonald’s influences range from straight-ahead jazz to hard rock, blues, and soul music. When he joined The Dynatones—the nationally touring, six-piece blue-eyed soul band—in 1983, it was a perfect fit. During his tenure with the group, McDonald befriended Dynatones guitarist Tommy Castro. Not long after leaving the band in 1991, McDonald got a call from Castro, who was putting together the first incarnation of The Tommy Castro Band. McDonald appears on seven Castro albums and has toured the world with Tommy, helping the band to become one of the most celebrated roots music groups performing anywhere. McDonald left the group in 2007 before returning to join The Painkillers in 2012. “Randy has been with me from the beginning as a major contributor to the music we were playing,” recalls Castro. “Randy was a big part of the Tommy Castro sound. It’s great to have him back.”


MIKE EMERSON (keyboards)

Mike was born in San Francisco in 1967.  He started piano lessons at the age of 7, and started playing in bands in high school.  Since then, he has performed and/or recorded extensively with a wide range of musicians—Elvin Bishop, Carlene Carter, Percy Sledge, Zigaboo Modeliste, Chris Cain, The Blues Broads, Terry Haggerty, Harvey Mandel, Debbie Davies, James Armstrong, Will Ray(from the Hellecasters), Earl Thomas, Johnny Dyer, Christine Lakeland and Thad Beckman, to name but a few. He has performed at some of the world’s most prestigious festivals, including the Monterey Blues Festival, Chicago Blues Festival and the Montreux Jazz Festival.



Bowen Brown was born in Palo Alto, CA in 1958. He started playing drums at age 9 after getting turned on to Jimi Hendrix and Cream. He began working in club bands at the age of 15. For many years Bowen played in all kinds of club bands around Northern California, as well as some time in NYC. In 1988 Bowen began a 6 year stint with the legendary John Lee Hooker, touring the globe, recording, and sharing the stage with many other great Blues and Rock artists who flocked to pay their respects to this elder statesman of the Blues. Since leaving Hooker’s band Bowen has worked with a variety of artists including Mark Hummel and Little Charlie Baty, Maria Muldaur, Dan Hicks, Stompy Jones, Chuck Prophet and many more. It was during his years with Hooker that Bowen met Tommy and Randy. “The SF blues scene in the early 90’s was pretty hot, and Tommy’s band was at the top….absolutely on fire! I really dug what they were doing back then, and I am really honored to be a part of this band now!”