This is my story about how Frank Marino's music entered my life and became the soundtrack of my youth.
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Willy Parsons, site admin
The first time that I ever heard Frank Marino play, I was hooked. It was a nice spring day back in 1975 when myself and a couple friends decided to ditch school, get high and listen to records. Growing up in Imperial Beach, a southern California beach town located south of San Diego on the Mexican border, drugs were very accessible and the weather was impeccable. This, combined with the location of Mar Vista High School being only 3 short blocks from the beach, provided us with a lot of tough decisions regarding our quest for a higher education. After a few bongloads of Mexico's finest, "Strange Universe" found it's way onto the turntable and I was mesmerized. My musical taste was always a little off center than the mainstream crowd. While most of my fellow high schoolers were listening to Kiss and Led Zeppelin, I was into Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Thin Lizzy, Black Sabbath, Robin Trower and after this day, Frank Marino. Frank's soulful music immediately made an impact on my life and became my favorite from that day forward. I bought "Strange Universe" for myself that same week and ordered his two previous records, "Maxoom" and "Child of the Novelty" even though I had never even heard them.
As a youth, music and drugs were a major part of my existence and an opportunity to turn someone on to either one was what I enjoyed most. I especially loved to see the reaction on the faces of the many people that I exposed to Frank Marino for the first time. As my friends will attest to, whenever anyone came over to my house or rode in my truck, they were going to hear Frank Marino.
The first time that I saw Frank Marino play live, I was blown away. He exceded my expectations ten times over. It had been a full two years since I first heard him until I got to see him play live. The year was 1977 and I was now out of high school and living on my own. The concert at the San Diego Civic Theatre was priced at a mere $2.50, well within my budget. I was the first one to buy tickets and I got front row seats. This was to become a standard for me in the years to follow because, out of the 17 times that I've seen them play, 14 of them were from the front row. The fact that they were never a commercial success and that I worked for a ticket agency, made obtaining front row seats fairly easy.
Over the years, at the time of this writing in 1997, I had only met Frank Marino twice. The first time was in 1979 when I flashed a copy of my "Maxoom" album that I wanted autographed to Frank backstage and he wisked me into the room proudly as he showed off his first album to the room full of guests. For me, I was in the presence of greatness, but since he was so cordial to me, I was not nervous. Frank graciously signed my collection and we talked for the better part of an hour. I left there that night with a glow that could light up the whole universe, a strange one at that!.
The second time that I met him was in 1993 at a small beach club in San Diego where he was performing later that evening. Since I was booked to play the same club later that month, the club manager invited me down to the soundcheck during the day. By this time, I had seen Frank Marino live 15 times and probably knew more about them than most of his fans. Frank has very loyal fans who's familiar faces I would see year after year at the shows. One of my best friends is a guy that I met at one of the shows years ago and shares the same enthusiasm about them as I do. Frank had an all new band this time with the exception of his brother Vince on rhythm guitar. The band never mattered to me, it was Frank, just Frank that we all came to see anyway. It now had been 14 years since I first met him and music formats had changed, so I was now toting my entire Frank Marino CD collection to be autographed, which he graciously did with a smile. It was sort of sad to see a person with his talents playing in the same club that had booked me. Not that I suck, but I believe Frank deserves better. Of all the times that I've seen him play, he always gives 100% everytime, no matter the confines or the turnout. I did mention to Frank that he should do an all blues album like Gary Moore did, because the blues is where Frank shines the brightest and he said that he had thought about it in the past but wasn't sure if that's what he should do. Frank, if you're reading this, please do it! Since then we have become very close friends to this day. I speak with him often as he keeps me up to date on everything.
Frank always wrote all the songs, played most of the instruments and always produced his own albums because he desired the control over what was released and I'm here to say that he did it right. Myself and many of the other dedicated Frank Marino fans worldwide wish that he would get the recognition and success that he so much deserves so that we could all say to the new "bandwagoners", "Where the fuck have you guys been all these years, feeding Nugent?". Frank Marino is and will always be the best. Take care and God bless!
Willy Parsons 1997