While living near the University of Massachusetts, Carl got the opportunity to work with the innovative jazz drummer, Max Roach. After a brief taste of the road, he returned to the Los Angeles area and began leading his own group, which included bassists John Patitucci and Dave Marotta and drummers Chad Wackerman and John Ferraro.
Early in the 1980s, Carl was also a sideman in many groups, including the Victor Feldman Generation Band and keyboardist Dan Siegel’s group. He played on five of Siegel’s records and was the most prolific songwriting contributor to the first three Richard Elliott records (especially “Trolltown”, which contains five of Carl’s songs, and “Initial Approach” which contains the Verheyen penned hit “Gretchen’s Theme”). He also worked live with the saxophonist for five years. Carl played 2nd guitar in a group led by Robben Ford, and early in his studio career he recorded with Stanley Clarke, Dave Grusin and Little Richard. Soon he was getting called to work on many pop records including Tiffany’s multi-platinum selling debut. He performed live with jazz saxophonists Joe Farrell and Ronnie Laws, and over the years worked with singers Carl Anderson, Christina Aguilera, Melissa Manchester, Leanne Rimes, Michael Damian, and Eagle Glenn Frey. He played on the Tonight Show with country music artists Tom Wopat and Shelby Lynn, and recorded a movie soundtrack with Dolly Parton and a few records with Cher.
In 1985, Carl became lead guitarist for the British rock group Supertramp, replacing the departing guitarist Roger Hodgson. The band played stadium shows all across the U.S. and Canada . In 1986 the group toured Europe , selling out huge arenas in eight countries. This tour finished with a command performance for Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
After those tours, Carl slipped into the enviable position of being one of L.A’s first call studio guitarists. He has played on over 200 different television shows as far back as “Happy Days” and “Laverne and Shirley” and including “Cheers”, “Suddenly Susan” and “L.A. Law.” Soon Carl’s CD collection became full of the movie soundtracks he was doing like “Stand and Deliver,” “ Moscow on the Hudson,” “L.A. Story,” “Dusk ‘til Dawn,” “Mr. Wrong” and the soundtrack Oscar winner “The Milagro Beanfield Wars.” Due to the anonymous nature of studio work, not a day goes by when you don’t hear Carl on one thing or another: in the movie theaters, on TV, or over the radio.
But studio work alone wasn’t enough for this artistic soloist. In 1988 Carl released his first album entitled “No Borders”, featuring Dave Marotta and John Ferraro. Over the years it has obtained “cult classic” status and still sells consistently, in part due to the unique collaboration with guitarist Allan Holdsworth. In January of 1992, Carl’s recording of the pyrotechnic guitar display of “The Big Shuffle” was included in a compilation CD entitled “Guitar on the Edge”. This “underground” recording of the hottest new talent eventually gained cult status. Two more editions (volumes 3 and 5) were subsequently released containing some of Carl’s bootlegged live performances.
Later in 1992 Carl was asked to make a video for REH/Warner Bros. Titled “Intervallic Rock Guitar,” this advanced instructional primer has had guitarists working on Carl’s ideas and techniques for many years. In early 1993 an innovative computer-guitar educational interface company called G-Vox commissioned Carl to write three interactive libraries along with Steve Morse and Adrian Legg. Available since spring 1993, these interactive computer guitar lessons provided more insight into the Verheyen style.
In May of 1994, Carl’s second CD “Garage Sale” was released to very positive reviews and critical acclaim. Before long Carl became internationally known as a unique improvising voice on the scene. Guitar magazines began asking him to detail his innovative style. Quite a departure from the typical guitar sound, it interests people all over the world, from Japan to Finland to South Africa. A few examples of the publications that have featured interviews, profiles, transcriptions and CD reviews:”Essential Blues” is the 17th album released, in 2018, followed by the latest “Sundial” in 2021.
• Guitar Player has featured many articles on Carl including
a 12 page interview with 2 pages of musical examples in
• Guitar Techniques (England…. including a transcription of
the title song, an interview and an audio CD in 1995, then
in 1998 Carl made the cover with his long time hero BB
• Total Guitar (England …including an audio CD)
• Guitar World
• Vintage Guitar Many reviews and interviews
over the years.
• Guitar & Bass (France)
• Fuzz (Finland)
• Chitarre (Italy)
• Axe (Italy) (multiple features including the cover in
• Guitar and Bass (Germany, multiple features)
• Guitar Player (Spain …cover story)
• Young Guitar (Japan)
• Ad Lib (Japan)
• Guitar for the Practicing Musician (Japan)
• Guitar (Japan)
• Mojo (England)
• Music (Netherlands)
• Acoustic Guitar
• Living Blues
• Guitar One
• 20th Century Guitar
• Guitar calls Carl one of the “Top 10 Guitar Players in the
World”… April 1996. The following month Carl began
writing a monthly column entitled “ Studio City,” an
ongoing account of his experiences in the L.A. studio
scene and on the road.
• Guitar Shop A full page schematic of Carl’s live rig
describing a few of the many sounds he wrings out of a
Fender Stratocaster… April 1995. And in June 1996 a
twelve page pictorial of his various recording and live rigs
and his extensive guitar collection.
• “Best Studio Guitarist” award from Guitar Player
magazine’s reader’s poll.
• “Best Guitarist of Los Angeles ” from the LA Music Awards
In the mid-90s Carl continued to work consistently in the LA studios, playing on such interesting records as Chad Wackerman’s “The View” with Allan Holdsworth and Jimmy Johnson, and Steve Bailey’s” Evolution” with Greg Bissonette, T. Lavitz and Yes vocalist Jon Anderson. He played on three of trumpeter Rick Braun’s top selling jazz CDs and “Free Zone”, an album featuring Alphonso Johnson, Ralph Humphrey, Larry Steelman and Ernie Watts. Carl has contributed guitar solos to both of Gordon Goodwin’s acclaimed CDs, the latest one featuring Michael Brecker and Take 6. He worked on the number one soundtrack album (Billboard charts) from the movie “The Crow”, and the edgy, dark 1995 film “Strange Days.” Further soundtrack work has included “Crow II, City of Angels”, “Endless Summer II”, “The Negotiator”, “Blow”, “High Crimes,” “Collateral Damage” and “Walking Tall.”
May 1996 saw the release of Carl’s third CD. Entitled “Slang Justice”, This blues oriented project prompted the best reviews ever. Guitar Magazine wrote “’Slang Justice’ establishes Verheyen as one of the top modern virtuoso blues interpreters of our day.” This record also marks the first time Carl’s music is available worldwide, with retroactive releases of the first 3 CDs on European and Japanese labels.
Later in 1996, while working an average of eight to ten recording sessions a week, Carl still found the time to teach (CCR guitarist/vocalist) John Fogerty guitar lessons. In the fall of that year Rick Davies reunited Supertramp and Carl was asked to rejoin the legendary band. They recorded another classic Tramp album entitled “Some Things Never Change”, which went gold or platinum in many countries all over the world. During that period Carl played on the BeeGees hit record called “Still Waters” and had his songs placed in the movies “The Usual Suspects” and “Apt Pupil.”
On the educational front Carl continues to be a presence. Besides the video and G-Vox libraries, Fender Musical Instruments commissioned him to be the on-screen player for their first instructional CD-Rom entitled “Guitar 101.” This basic learning aid was included with all of the student model guitars sold by Fender! And Carl has been a guest lecturer at the following institutions:
• University of Southern California (Los Angeles…
yearly since 1996)
• Musician’s Institute (Los Angeles…. yearly since 1988)
• Berklee College of Music (Boston…
Guitar Week headliner, 1995)
• Duquesne University Guitar Camp (Pittsburgh…
yearly since 1998)
• Berklee College ‘s West Coast Music Camp
(Los Angeles…..yearly since 1999)
• National Guitar Summer Workshop
• LA Music Academy (Los Angeles… .2001, ’03, ‘04)
• Leeds School of Music (Yorkshire , UK… 2002)
• Hull College (Yorkshire , UK… 2002)
• Guitar Institute of London (London, UK…
yearly since 2002)
• Bath International Guitar Festival (Bath, UK… 2003)
• Music Academy International (Nancy, France… 2004-05)
In 1997 the Carl Verheyen Band began the first of many overseas tours, playing to new fans all over Europe. Directly following the last show in Copenhagen, Carl flew to Paris, France to begin an extensive world tour with Supertramp, eventually playing in 17 countries. That year saw more touring with the CVBand in late summer, followed by another Supertramp tour which resulted in the record “It Was the Best of Times.” This double live CD was recorded during a 5 night stand at the Royal Albert Hall in London, 11 years after first performing there with the band in 1986.
Early in 1998 Carl began recording his 4th CD “Slingshot”. This record was entirely conceived and written during the backstage downtime in the various stadiums and arenas of the ‘97 Supertramp World Tour. Following in the blues-rock tradition of “Slang Justice,” the focus is on serious guitar playing and soulful vocals. The result is a masterful take on a timeless art form. Augmented with Chad Wackerman on drums, the group embarked on another European tour in the spring of that year, playing to sell out crowds in Germany, Holland, Belgium and Denmark. The band was filmed for television at the Leverkusen Festival just outside Koln, Germany, and later Carl returned to Europe to play the Blues and Jazz Festival in Vienna, Austria.
In the new millennium Carl continues to be at the forefront of the modern day guitar scene, touring Europe and the US yearly. In early 2000 sessions began for the next record from the Carl Verheyen Band, entitled “Atlas Overload”. This recording featured the road tested touring band of Cliff Hugo (formerly with Ray Charles, Manhattan Transfer and Melissa Manchester) on bass and Steve DiStanislao (formerly with Joe Walsh and currently with Dave Crosby & Graham Nash, and Loggins & Messina) on drums. Essentially a live in the studio recording, it captures the intense energy of a CVBand performance. All the sounds were created by the trio with as few overdubs or fixes as possible. Carl once again proved himself a great songwriter and with his virtuoso band mates, he masterfully pulled off the challenge of trio playing. It should be noted that this band, playing constantly since 1997, achieves a Zen level of musical telepathy and their jams are an amazing event to witness live. The level of musicianship transcends any stylistic pigeonholes, with blues, jazz and rock fans enjoying the performances equally.
Soon after that he recorded “Real to Reel”, an instrumental record with European jazz guitarist Karl Ratzer. Released in the 2002, this live CD has become a cult favorite among guitar players. While continuing to tour 3 to 4 months out of the year, Carl still does a fair amount of studio work in LA and master classes at various universities and music stores. And three books written on the subject of recording the guitar feature Carl extensively:
• The Essential Studio Guitarist by Chris Standring.
• The Recording Guitarist by Jon Chappell.
• Studio City by Carl Verheyen… the anthology compiling
all of Carl’s Guitar magazine columns.
In 2001 he began work on an entirely different kind of project, an acoustic solo CD. Called “Solo Guitar Improvisations”, it was released in early spring to outstanding critical acclaim. After extensive touring with the CVBand, Carl began a series of solo acoustic shows supporting the new recording. In September Supertramp was again reunited from all over the world to record their best album in many years. Called “Slow Motion” and released in March 2002, it is another timeless chapter in the band’s rich musical legacy.
In February 2002 the CVBand braved the English winter for their first UK tour that saw Carl and Cliff reunited with saxophonist and Supertramp band mate John Helliwell for the last show. Next came Supertramp’s “One More for the Road” World Tour, another massive stadium endeavor that touched down in 12 countries in 6 months. Upon returning to LA, Carl then scored a movie during this time called “The Metro Chase.” Using techno sounds and incorporating Django Reinhardt style acoustic guitar with upright bass, violin, accordion and drums, the music was the opposite extreme of the new CD the CVBand was simultaneously bringing to completion.
Entitled “SIX”, this latest recording is the most fully realized disc the band has made. With extra help from keyboard wizard Jim Cox (Ringo Star, Aerosmith, Mark Knopfler, BB King), the sound is full and fat. Once again the songs were written backstage in the bellies of the stadiums and arenas during the previous Supertramp tour. At the beginning of 2003 the CVBand hit the road again, embarking on an 8-country tour celebrating this new release. And in the UK Carl and the band headlined the Bath International Guitar Festival and played two sold out shows in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Between concerts with the CVBand in LA and solo performances around the USA, Carl scored an edgy motorcycle film for the Discovery Channel. In February of 2004 drummer Bernie Dresel (Brian Setzer, Andy Summers) joined the band as they embarked on a series of 3 tours: Europe in the spring, the UK in the summer and the west coast of the USA in the fall. While home in Los Angeles Carl wrote and produced 2 songs for BB King and 3 for Jose Feliciano for a CD benefiting the Diabetes Foundation.
January of 2005 saw the long awaited taping of “RUMOR MILL”, the live DVD from the CVBand. This was released in May 2005. And in March Mel Bay released Carl’s first instructional book entitled “Improvising Without Scales”. This text and CD package contains examples of Carl’s style and includes the philosophy behind his unique improvisational line development. Carl’s signature guitar strings made by Thomastik-Infeld contain his unique Stratocaster setup instructions that enable the guitarist to duplicate his uncanny ability to stay in tune with a floating bridge. And Avalon Guitars now produces the Carl Verheyen Stage Model acoustic guitar, a high end double cutaway instrument specifically designed for live performance. It produces the most natural acoustic sound available for live application.
In May of 2005 the CVB departed for a very successful tour in Europe with legendary drummer Chad Wackerman once again on board. After a month of sold out shows and sun drenched European festivals the group collected in Los Angeles to begin recording a new studio CD, due out next year.
In 2007 the CVB released “Take One Step”. Chad Wackerman and Bernie Dresel share the drum duties with Jim Cox on keys and Cliff Hugo on bass. AIX released the CD along with a making-of DVD showing the band in the studio and on tour.
In 2009, Walfredo Reyes Jr. joined the CVB along with Dave Marotta on bass and Jim Cox on keys they released “Trading 8s” featuring six of Verheyen’s guitar playing friends: Robben Ford, Albert Lee, Joe Bonamassa, Steve Morse, Rick Vito and Scott Henderson.
In 2013, Verheyen released “Mustang Run”, a mostly instrumental record with one vocal track, Supertramp’s classic “Bloody Well Right”. Musicians included Simon Phillips (drummer), Greg Bissonette, Chad Wackerman and Walfredo Reyes Jr. on drums with Supertramp’s John Helliwell and solo artist Bill Evans (saxophonist) on sax. Jerry Goodman plays violin and Jimmy Johnson, Dave Marotta and Stuart Hamm share the bass duties. Keyboard players include Jim Cox and Mitchel Forman.
A movie called “Turn It Up – A Celebration of the Electric Guitar” featuring Verheyen extensively, was released in 2014. Then in 2015 Verheyen released another solo acoustic recording called “Alone: Solo Guitar Improvisations, Volume 2”.
In 2016 the CVB added drummer John Mader and recorded The Grand Design at Sweetwater Studios in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Stuart Hamm joins Dave Marotta on bass and Chester Thompson adds drums on one track. A documentary movie was made of the creative and recording process called Grand Designs: The Music of Carl Verheyen. It won the Special Jury Remi Award at the 2017 Worldfest Film Festival.
Verheyen returned to Sweetwater Studios to record Essential Blues in 2018 with drummer Nick D’Virgilio and bassist Dave Martin. The live studio record also featured Jim Cox and was completed in two days. It was the first recording also released on vinyl since 1987’s No Borders.
Classic Rock Magazine in the UK called Verheyen “One of the Top 100 Guitarists of all time” and Guitar Magazine in the US called him “One of the Top 10 Guitarists in the World”.
“Essential Blues” is the 17th album released, in 2018, followed by the latest “Sundial” in 2021.