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QUESTIONS
ANSWERS FROM FRANK MARINO

Did you use a flanger effect on all instruments or just on your guitar 0n the song "Land of a thousand nights".

We used real tape phasing on the majority of the track...It's a great effect.

I had read a long time ago that you were running acoustic brand heads onstage with 15" speakers.

I used to use Acoustic 270 heads with JBL 15" speakers. Alot of people thought I used tubes but I didn't start with that until Mahogany Rush IV, and even then I only used them in the studio...never live. For awhile I used some tube heads live in the 80's but I found them to be very unreliable. I now use a Pre-Amp that I custom build for myself, along with whatever high output power amp I can find...Crown, Ashley, Yamaha...you name it. The sound is largely made up by the method of playing. I can use just about any amp and EQ it till it sounds reasonably like my own, although I prefer to just use my own and forget about the hassles. I've even toyed with the idea of selling the design for my amp to the guitarists who want it, but it'll probably be a while before I get the chance to get around to that.

Have you ever performed Hendrix's Machine Gun in its entirely? I have seen you do bits of it and have always been left wanting more!

In the early years of M. Rush, we did Machine gun almost every night in it's entirety, when we were playing the schools and stuff. I always enjoyed it, along with the other stuff we did then. It seems like it was a lot more fun in those days....

I saw you in Boise Idaho in 1979 and you were wearing all leather, weren't you too hot?

Actually, I wear leather so that I will get overheated. I find that the hotter I get, the better I play for some reason. When it's cool on stage I kinda don't get into it as much, so i started wearing warm clothes to heat up. Strange, don't you think?

Who were your musical influences?

Hendrix, The Beatles, The Doors, Quicksilver, Santana, Johnny Winter, The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and most of the late sixties artists that had a psychedelic flair. Also Pink Floyd and older Bob Dylan, among others.

How young were you when you recorded "Maxoom"

I recorded "Buddy" and "Funky Woman" before my seventeenth birthday and continued finishing the "Maxoom" album for the next few months.

Who are the band members now?

Myself, Peter Dowse on bass, Josh Trager on drums.

Is there another 6 was 9 album that you were involved with?

There was only one "6 was 9" album. Unfortunately the band disbanded right after it was made. The leader/writer was Jamie Hebert, who played guitar with us on the last couple tours.

What are the other albums that you've played on?

I've done quite a few guest spots in the past. I played with "April Wine" on a cut called "So Bad" and I did a project with Ainsley Dunbar, which never came out called "The Fire Project". Recently, I did a Live Blues Jam down in New Orleans with Kenny Wayne Shepard and James Cotton on the upcoming Bryan Lee album. September release, I think. (Released 11-97)

Did the King Biscuit Flower Hour ever record you live?

I don't remember, but it may have happened. If someone knows, please tell me.

Have you ever played "Finish line", "Tales of the Unexpected" or "Ain't Dead Yet" live?

I've played all those songs live on occasion. "Finish Line" was a tune that I used to do live even before the first album came out and so was "Poppy".

What other famous guitarists have you ever jammed with?

I've jammed with Kenny Wayne and Bryan Lee, who would be the most known guys, not counting the weird time Ted Nugent came out on my stage and did his "challenge" thing in Detroit. I've done many a show with many famous guys and we got along good, but it doesn't always result in jams unfortunately. Recently played with Uli Roth as well.

Will you ever do a live video?

I'll probably do a live video one of these days, I just never really liked playing to cameras and I've shyed away from it most of my career. (He is working on a DVD now)

Do you ever play an acoustic guitar live and do you fingerpick?

I can fingerpick and I do all of the time, but I'm only now considering doing onstage on the upcoming tour.

What strings do you use most?

I use mostly anything that I can get my hands on, as long as they don't break. The brand isn't important.

What's your favorite guitar to play?

My favorite guitar is my main SG Les Paul, which was made only in 1961 and has a great feel. Although I have 14 guitars, I only have 2 like that, but my new stratocaster with which I did some stuff recently, is a great sounding instrument although I don't like the strat's feel 'cause it's a bit short-necked and stiff.

Who do you like out of the newer guitar players?

There are so many great players, it's really hard to say. I may not really dig what they do personally, but they're still real good at it. Most of the guys that make me smile are pretty well, not so young.

Do you know if any of the other albums will ever be released on CD?

Like I said, it's really up to CBS. I know that from "Full Circle" on, I have the right to do what I want, so I will put those out. I've tried to get my rights back, but they want a fortune that I don't have at the moment. Anybody got any ideas?

What's your favorite song to play live?

My favorite live song is still "I'm a King Bee" 'cause I get to get down on the blues, especially the quiet parts. I also love "Poppy", "Roadhouse Blues", "Free" and "Juggernaut".

Did you really have a guitar showdown with Ted Nugent and blow his doors off?

Click here to read the "FULL STORY" from Frank himself.

What is the meaning of the lyrics in "Something's Coming Our Way"?

The song is basically about the expectation of a day in which we all will need to come to terms with our way of life and how we have spent our time here.

Have you ever seen Randy Hansen's tribute to Jimi Hendrix and how do you feel about him?

Click here for the "FULL STORY" about Randy.

What is your brother Vince up to these days?

Vince is just sort of chilling and doing a few things with music and sound...productions and stuff.

Will you ever play any songs from the "Maxoom" album live?

I hope to play at least three of the "Maxoom" songs on the next tour. They'll probably be "All in your Mind", "Back on Home" and "Buddy".

How do you feel about Uli Roth and his simularities to your style of playing?

Again, as I said earlier, it's not so much simular to me as it is to the style that we have all chosen to be simular to. He's a great player with a great heart and soul for the music that he produces. I'd like to do something with him one day, if he'd want to. Recently played live with Uli on the Legends of Rock tour 2002.

Will you please play "Stories of a Hero" and "Land of a 1000 Nights" live on this tour?

Since you've ask, we'll give it a try.

What kind of music do you listen to most?

I listen to very little music really, but mostly Blues, Jazz, Hendrix, The Beatles, The Doors, and you won't believe this, but I just love Tony Bennett. Strange mix huh? I also like symphonic music and most things psychedelic and hypnotic, as well as Celtic music.

How much money do they want for you to get your rights back from CBS and 20th Century?

CBS and 20th Century want more money than I've got or can get, so if any of you out there are young entreprenuers who want to get in on the record business and have deep pockets, gimme a call!!! (grin/wink;)

When is your birthday?

I was born on Saturday, November the 20th, 1954...and for all you astrologers out there, it was 15 after midnight.

What is the meaning of the song "Land of a 1000 Nights", especially the talking part in the middle?

"Land of a 1000 Nights" is a representation of an acid bummer, one of a few that I experienced in my young teen years...especially the part in the middle.

Did learning the guitar come fairly easy for you or did you just lock yourself in a room and not come out until you were the "Master"?

It came very easy for me because OTHERS locked me in a room and playing the guitar was the only thing there to do.(...when I was in the hospital on an LSD bummer in the fall of 1968)

I've seen you play live several times for over two hours, do you enjoy playing live that much?

I enjoy being on the road and playing live more than doing anything else, including riding my bike (Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail)

This web site is excellent. Did you help design it or was it really just from a big fan of yours?

This site was done completely by Willy without my knowledge, until I came across it, we have since become friends.

What do you think about today's young blues artists? Click here for the full answer.

Do "new" guys like Jonny Lang and Kenny Wayne Shepherd do justice to the art of playing the blues?

Jonny Lang and Kenny Wayne Shepherd only need to feel right about what they do for it to be just. I don't know Jonny, but I've done a soon to be released Live blues album for Bryan Lee on which myself and Kenny Wayne played together, and I think that he really believes in what he does. Whether I like it or not, when someone plays is purely a matter of my personal taste, as is the case with any kind of music at all, not just guitar. I'm not sure that anyone can claim that you need to do justice to the art of playing the blues. I'm not even sure that it's an art. I would think that anyone who feels the blues that they play, and I don't mean they have to be sad, is doing justice to their feelings. As to the blues as a standardized "art form", I suppose that so many have done it so similarly for so long that there is now a tendency towards purism in the circle of blues lovers, but I feel that this is a rather stiff attitude, certainly not worthy of consideration. We have to be careful that while in the pursuit of non-conformity, we don't get caught in the trap of all "non-conforming" in the same way, as this just begets an even worse form of conformity. The true rebel walks alone and, when joined by others of his kind, rebels even against them. The true rebel's only cause is to rebel.

Where can I find any "Ivan Schwartz" artwork?

Unfortunately, my good friend Ivan died of cancer some time ago and the only original artwork that still exists is some that I have seen around Montreal on the walls of some nightclubs, which he sold to them before he died. I don't know if there is any other work anywhere that he has done, but I may have the originals of Strange Universe or Child of the Novelty somewhere.

What is your favorite song, lyrically?

That's a tough question. If you mean my favorite song that I wrote myself, I can't really pick one. Some that I like are Stories of a Hero, Juggernaut, Free, The King Who Stole the Universe...etc...

Have you ever played "Madness" live?

Not that I can recall.

What equipment did you use on "I'll Play the Blues For You"?

I believe I used a Marshall Amp along with a custom Lado guitar that I own, one of two. However, at that time I was playing some stuff with a custom guitar that belongs to a friend of mine, Phil Reznick, and I may have used that guitar but I don't remember.

How did "Poppy" get it's name?

A poppy is something that is rather soothing and pleasing, yet it can be strangely hypnotic, if you know what I mean, and so the name seemed appropriate at the time, since the tune is kind of hypnotic.

Does being religious have any affect on the way you write & play?

It has just about every effect on the way I write although not neccessarily on the way I play.

What's your current amp & speaker set up?

Well, I'm still using the homemade pre-amp (sort of a cross between a Boogie and a Fender twin) along with 15" Fane Acoustics speakers when I play live, but I use only my old Marshall in the studio, and have done this on every record beginning with Mahogany Rush IV.

Do you still race cars?

I don't race anymore because I don't really get the time, but I still love it and watch it alot. Most of the time I get my thrills now by riding my motorcycle (1993 Harley Davidson Heritage Softtail)

How was "Guit War" done and what are you actually saying in there?

It was done with a little Fender Amp and a Strat. The lyrics, if you could call them that, were taken from portions of the Bible. Try to figure out where they come from in the Book.

Frank, I was wondering if you listen(ed) much to any black artists from the 70's like Curtis Mayfield, Bobby Womack, Parliament or any of the funkier kinda stuff?

I always liked alot of soul music and R&B (which kind of grew into soul), and also gospel. I liked all of the bands and artists you mentioned, as well as Sam Cooke, Ray Charles (who kind of merged gospel and R&B), T-Bone Walker, early James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Sam and Dave, Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, The Temptations, Al Green, and even Mahalia Jackson (the greatest gospel singer I ever heard). But later on I also really came to like three artists in particular, which were Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and, most of all at that time, Sly and The Family Stone. I was never a record collector and don't have many now either, other than what some folks give me. I don't think I ever walked into a record store and bought a record, even once in my life. I just heard alot of this music because of the times. I don't own any records by the other guys you mentioned either, but Josh is an avid collector of CD's, it seems. He's always coming over with this or that CD or walking around with tapes and stuff like that, of all kinds. I'll check out the Carson Downey Band... sounds interesting.

You ever consider releasing an in concert dvd?

Jim West of Just In Time Records has just asked me that same question three days ago. We'll see where it leads.

Ever consider doing a film score?

I toyed with the idea of Film Scoring, but on one occasion I got to score an orchestral piece for a singer (not film) and the amount of work it entailed left me reluctant to do it again. Certainly if it were to be done with others as a team, or if it would only be scoring with guitar based music it would be easier, but the amount of time I put in and the little payment I ended up with after expenses left me saying "never again". But we'll just wait and see what happens. Personally, I don't really believe anyone would give me a gig like that because they usually like to use people who are more notable than I am. But they might want to use one of my existing tracks, and that I would welcome, depending on the film, of course.

Would you ever compromise by shortening a song for radio airplay?

I've actually done a shortened version of He's Calling that is finding its way onto some radio stations here, and I hope it will get on more of them. I included this version on the upcoming Sony Box Set, so maybe we'll get a chance to have it get out there.

Are you familiar with Eric Gales, Shawn Lane and Jeff Healey?

I like all of the guitarists you mentioned and think that they are very talented individuals. I've never jammed with them, though. Actually, I've jammed with very few famous people during my time in the music business, other than the ones who played in my band. This is not because I didn't want to, but because most of them didn't ever ask or invite me.

What is your favorite movie of all time?

For my all time favorite movie, that's a cinch. Although there are many I could list, my absolute favorite of all time, and probably will remain so, would be Franco Zeffirelli's 6 hour and fifteen minute version of Jesus Of Nazareth, which has a huge cast of great actors and a relatively unknown, Robert Powell, in the title role. It is a masterpiece of historical filmmaking.

What was the most psychedelic album that you ever heard?

That would probably be an album from the early days called Tonto's Expanding Head Band. It's all early synthesizer music. I believe that the two gentlemen who played the synths (their last names were, I believe, Margoleff and Cecil... not sure of the spelling)went on to careers as synth programmers for some top-name artist's, like Stevie Wonder.

I have always wondered one thing about your playing and how it relates to your early LSD experience? It seems there was very little time between when you picked up the guitar for the first time in the hospital and when you became incredibly great - probably less than a couple of years. Do you naturally pick up new skills very quickly, or do you think that somehow the LSD "rewired" your brain and because you were recovering while also starting guitar, this rewiring accelerated your development on guitar. In other words, if there was a piano in the recovery ward instead of a guitar, would we be listening to another Chick Corea right now???

I can't speak as a biochemist or a doctor as to whether the drug, LSD, actually performs any type of such modifications. I can only speak as a witness to my own experiences with that drug, and come to a conclusion based on a feeling, and on firsthand knowledge of my own self. I don't think that LSD, or any psychedelic drug, actually creates the trip that one finds oneself on after taking it. I believe that it starts a process within the body that chemically alters, temporarily, certain brain structures, and these altered processes do the rest of the "work", even if the drug were to be, somehow, magically removed from your system entirely. The trip that one finds oneself on is of one's own making, very much like dreaming, although you are physically awake. But one of the most striking facets of this situation is that, while you may become highly unaware of certain things going on around you, you become excessively aware of things going on inside of you, and you begin to interpret regular functions as a whole different thing altogether. So, it would not be uncommon for one to, say, "hear" the rushing of one's own blood, but to interpret it as thunder in the distance, and to add that thunder to a cacaphony of other noises and visual mis-interpretations, and create a "trip". Much like one mis-interprets physical sensations while sleeping which result in dreams of a totally unrelated nature... an alarm clock ringing that one hears for but a split second, which results in a seemingly very long dream, having at it's end the sound of a bell, or perhaps the sound of an onrushing train blowing it's horn wildly. So, all of that said, I can only surmise that my heightened state of awareness of myself, along with an immense terror and panic, produced the ability to actually focus on any little thing that might serve as an escape from the "danger", and to clutch onto it like a drowning man clutches a piece of debris. In my case, it happened to be a guitar. I played it in the hospital incessantly, and afterwards every single moment that I was awake I played it and played it. Couple that need with a chemically heightened sense of imagination and you get the situation whereby I, mis-interpreting certain realities (if there really is such a thing, but I digress), thought that the music I was "hearing in my head", due to memory, was music I was writing myself. So, if I thought of a song by the Grateful Dead, I thought I was writing that song. So I "worked on my song", so to speak. Basically, I was one inch from permanent insanity... a scary prospect indeed. I also firmly believe, in retrospect, that had it not been for God I would have remained so. I might have still been a guitarist after all of this, but I would have been a very crazy one. I do pick up new skills rather quickly. Whether this is my birth-nature or simply an extension of my "nature due to the experience", is anybody's guess. As pre-LSD Frank I was inclined to be quick about learning things but not to such an extent, in my opinion, although my parents do tell me that I was so. And I believe that you are right. If it had been a piano, I would have done the same with that. It's not so much to do with the instrument as it is the need to do something in a focused manner, as a type of therapy. I've never really considered myself a "guitarist" as much as a musician, whose instrument happens to be the guitar right now. I also play a few others, but if it weren't for the fact that guitar became the focus, I might have actually been a drummer since I like that instrument more.

EDITOR'S NOTE: I'm glad it was not a Pan Flute! Somehow, Frank Marino "Master of the Pan Flute" doesn't get me excited. WW

Frank,I noticed at the beginning of The E.O.T.S.track there is a soundbyte that sounds like,"On the resolution condemning Israel".Can you give a little insight as to the significance(if any)of this and how does it relate in any way to whats happening in the Mid-east right now? Do you have any opinion on whats happening over there?

You will notice that in the opening track, titled Storm Warning, there is the sound of a radio being tuned to different stations which are reporting many different things going on in the world, while a maelstrom of noises and violent sound effects overlay the foreground... sort of a collage of unpleastantness relating to world and other affairs. None of these radio reports was constructed... they're all real reports of actual events. Now, it should be noted that this track is titled Storm Warning, because that is exactly what it is meant to do... warn of an impending storm. But the other most notable thing about this track, which could not be known by many of you, is that it was originally recorded as long ago as the mid to late seventies. In fact, if you listen to Ain't Dead Yet from the Power Of Rock And Roll album, you will hear, blended into the background of the drum solo, the actual beginning of the Storm Warning track. And the fact that this was done so long ago is significant, because we can see how nothing has really changed in the world since then, especially with what is now happening in the Middle East. Now, you asked me for my opinion on the goings on in the Middle East, and I could write an essay on it, but I'm going to only say, very briefly and without detail that, while I disagree with suicide bombings and terrorism for obvious reasons (like everyone else I know, including Arabs, of which I am born half), I also find the Israeli invasion and occupation of Palestine to be equally abhorrent. Like President Bush and the rest of the world, I call upon them to leave Palestine immediately, and to end the occupation permanently. That said, I will only say, sadly, that all of this must come to pass, as it was foretold that it would. Killing begets killing. Murder can not be justified, even if you call it "war". When are people going to understand this? When God Himself comes to judge, as He most certainly will? And when this happens, who will dare act as an advocate for the guilty? Who will dare to tell Him that it was at all justified? I wouldn't want to be that person who dares to contend with the living God. There's no future in it, believe me and, contrary to the opinions of some, where God is concerned it isn't a democracy. Everyone loves to arrogantly and presumptuously trumpet, "God is on our side!" But I ask them to humbly consider the question, "Who is on God's side?"

Your music is great, and very impressed by the many unique styles you forge into your own original style. Was wondering what type of recording mikes did you use for your guitar and vocals during the Columbia years/records you made, and did you use different mikes for your recent record you made?

Well, in the old days we did alot of combinational stuff, meaning many microphones on single cabs. But I've found, over the years, that you are far better off to use one single mic on anything like that, and not have to deal with the phasing issues. It takes a bit more work and a bit more going out to the room to make adjustments, but in the end it's worth it, because it sounds more natural. The Eye Of The Storm album is a case in point. This album was done with just one cabinet, one Shure SM57 (Dynamic, imagine that), and a relatively small room at medium level. Vocals would usually be done with a condenser, like a U87a or even an old U47. and sometimes an Electrovoice CS15 or AKG 414. These days I just stick with the U87 for my own voice, but the microphone type should be matched to the voice of the singer. A U87 on me sounds different than the same thing on another person, so you've really got to listen and let your ears be the judge. We used to use every kind of microphone you could think of, and we did some pretty wierd stuff with 'em over the early years, but I believe that it all comes down to simply finding the right combination for the right cab, and so forth, and keeping the phase issues to a minimum.

I have more of a lower to midrange vocals, will to look into the U87a or even an old U47 as you advised. Someone told me there's also these tube mikes out in the market, what's you're feedback regarding these types of mikes? Would an old U47 be the ideal mike for my kind of vocal range?

Like I said, you can't just judge the mike until you've tried it on the voice. Some work wonders, and some supposedly "great" mikes sound awful on some voices. The problem has to do with what it is that makes a mike have a certain sound in the first place. Basically, anything that has a "sound" only has it due to out of phase cancellations in certain frequency ranges, as well as in phase multiplications in others. In short, a mike has what might be best described as an "EQ" of it's own, though not done electronically as much as acoustically. Now, if the frequencies being suppressed on a given mike are not those one would want to suppress for a given vocalist, then you will find yourself trying to "put them back" by using EQ, so the spiral of losses begins, which ultimately detracts from the overall "reality" of the voice. Likewise, if that same mike has an abundance of resonance at frequencies that are not desirable, then you go back to the EQ to cut them, and fall into the same trap. I guess that, by now, you've guessed that I'm not a fan of using EQ if it can be helped. On the other hand, "flat" mikes are really not very good for voices, because what is considered technically "flat" is absolutely undesirable for a pleasing sound, so once again, back to the EQ for correction, right? The human ear hears frequencies with an added emphasis in the midrange (1K and slightly beyond), and as volume increases, the ear hears these frequencies at a greater proportion to the rest, so the louder you go, the more midrange you hear in proportion, even if the original sound is flat. This is why you will always see the graphic equalizers at a loud disco set up with a "smile" EQ pattern. The mids are cut heavily so that the ear puts them back at loud volume, and the music becomes intelligible again at these volumes. Discos play music very loud, so the "smile" is very deep on the graphic EQ. So, there is no trick for mikes, except to try them. On a given voice, one mike's natural boosts or cuts will "EQ" the voice "acoustically" (or any other instrument, for that matter), and this is always better than EQ done electronically, for a host of reasons too numerous to explain here. Maybe I should write some kind of column or something...heheheh.

You have implyed that you yourself are not that pleased with the Power of Rock and Roll album. Is that a misconception from my side or have i gotten it right?

I used to dislike it, but now I actually like more of it than I don't. It had a bit to do with the fact that they forced me to use that ridiculous cover, so I never listened to it again after that. But upon further review, I actually do like, even love, some of the tracks, most notably Ain't Dead Yet, Running Wild, and two or three others. But I don't like the title track very much.

Where was the 1978 Live album recorded and where is the rest of it?

It is actually a compilation of twelve shows, or so, edited into one. Done in the South, I believe. The missing music is not the stuff on Tales. Maybe the future will allow us to release it someday.

I thought it would be great to hear you do an all instrumental album of music that crosses over all styles of psychedelic, jazz, blues and rock. Sort of like more songs along the lines of Poppy. Any chance, comments?

There's a reasonably good chance I'd do something like that. We'll have to see how things pan out this year.

Which guitar did you play March 26 at the Spectrum, besides the Glynn that you played Strange Universe with?

No, it was my usual one of the last few tours. The modifed SG Les Paul style Guitar, with the DiMarzio pickups.

I've been scanning the web reading reviews on various Uni Vibe pedals. I came across the Fulltone Deja Vibe website and it had your name as a "devotee" listed there. If your familiar with this product can you shed some light? Is this the best sounding vibe pedal you've heard? I've read in the past that you build, or have someone build, the pedals you need..I'm going after a "Vintage" sound and this pedal (Deja Vibe) seems to be the most favored unit.

Well, there's really nothing quite like an original Univibe. Some of the newer remakes sound a bit too...clean, I guess. I have used the other one you mentioned, and it works O.K., but I haven't really used it for awhile, mainly because the guy who owns the company and I had a wee bit of a misunderstanding over something a long while ago, and I had put it away at the time. I never really went back to using it, because I do have an original anyway which was actually given to me by Rob Bizz. My own original is in pieces and I've kind of been trying to put it back together for awhile now. Although I've been listed on that page as using that version of the pedal, that listing was put there without me knowing about it, for a long time. It was when I got in touch with the guy to tell him that there was an error, that he offered to let me have one of the pedals in return for the error. After that, like I said, a small misunderstanding developed (he misunderstood something, not me), and so I told him I would put the pedal away and did (even though he said not to, to be fair), and I just kind of forgot about it. I've never used it since, and I don't think I ever will, to be perfectly honest. I try to use newer stuff when it comes out but, more often than not, they just don't sound as good as the older discreet component stuff. So I tend to build and rebuild my own gear.

2003 Interview with Frank Marino

Click here to read the interview by Eric en Linda