Carmen M. Grago, 44, rock musician and computer software consultant


Carmen M. Grago, a computer software consultant and musician who was a founder of the rock band Charlie Don't Surf, died Sunday in a hit-and-run automobile accident in Capitol Heights. The former Parkville resident was 44.

Mr. Grago, who lived in Waldorf, had parked his car on the shoulder of Interstate 495 when it was struck in the rear by another automobile, state police said. He was pronounced dead at the scene, while the other driver fled on foot and was being sought yesterday.

Mr. Grago was born in Syracuse, N.Y., and moved to the Parkville area with his family in the 1960s. He was a 1978 graduate of Polytechnic Institute.

A certified computer software consultant, he had worked for Pepper Weed Consulting and had recently taken a job with MJM Consulting.

"He started playing guitar at an early age after finding our father's guitar in a closet. And since then, it's been his life," said his brother, Timothy D. Grago of Parkville.

Mr. Grago, who was greatly influenced by the music of the Beatles, was lead guitarist and vocalist with the Blue Meanies until 1990, when he established the Killing Floor. In 1995, he co-founded Charlie Don't Surf, which plays clubs and other venues from the Middle Atlantic region to Key West, Fla.

"He was one of the stalwarts of the Baltimore music scene. He was a very talented musician with a very nice voice -- a feisty little guy who liked to perform," said Greg A. Therres, president and chief executive officer of Starleigh Entertainment, who represents the band.

The band, which plays classic rock from the 1970s, '80s and '90s, regularly performed at the Firehouse in Baltimore, Red Eye's Dock in Grasonville and the Purple Moose Saloon in Ocean City and the Champions Billiards chain of clubs.

Mr. Grago enjoyed collecting guitars and would often bring as many as six of the instruments on stage during a performance.

Services are to be held at 8 tonight at the Evans Funeral Chapel, 8800 Harford Road, Parkville.

Surviving, in addition to his brother, are a son, Anthony M. Grago, 12, and a daughter, Sarah M. Grago, both of Catonsville; and his parents, Robert E. and Janet Mary Grago of Fort Loudon, Pa. He was estranged from his wife.

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