Multi-award winning UK guitarist MARINO recently had his unique blend of Blues/Rock guitar playing described in three words… “Incredible, Sublime and Exquisite”. These are the words of Blues and Rock historian Paul Merry, author of America’s Gift: Evolution of the Blues. “Musical immortality. Magnificent album!” announced Al Bowman, President of the Los Angeles Music Awards. And the glowing reviews keep coming for MARINO’s 2016 release MARINO AFTER THE STORM - quite simply “a magnificent musical tapestry” of “guitar magic”.
It was back in the early 80s opening for Thin Lizzy at London’s legendary Marquee Club that MARINO was first discovered by Oscar winning composer-writer Lionel Bart. The man most celebrated for his musical masterpiece OLIVER! proclaimed “a guitar wizard from the north has arrived in London!” After signing with Lionel’s publishing company and under his wing, MARINO rocked London playing shows with rock icons Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin), Johnny Winter, Mick Ralphs (Bad Company), Steve Marriott (Humble Pie), Ian Gillan (Deep Purple), The Phil Lynott/Gary Moore Band, and a host of others.
This all led to a production deal with Mick Ronson, legendary guitarist with David Bowie and the Spiders from Mars. Mick chose Trident Studios in London’s Soho district for the sessions, where Ronson had previously recorded Bowie’s classic albums Hunky Dory, Space Oddity, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane – and where he had also produced Lou Reed’s Transformer album. With Lionel Bart as Executive Producer and “Ronno” at the production helm, MARINO followed in the hallowed footsteps of British rock royalty The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Genesis, Queen, David Bowie, Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Elton John in becoming part of the illustrious history of this iconic London studio.
“Moonlight’s Daughter” from the Ronson/Trident sessions can be heard on
MARINO AFTER THE STORM.
The expected record deal followed, and it was with FM Records/BMG that MARINO recorded two critically acclaimed albums, After Forever’s Gone and Blues for Lovers, the latter launching MARINO on international radio and TV. Blues for Lovers also received extensive airplay on BBC Radio One’s highly influential Friday Night Rock Show with Tommy Vance, who told listeners across the nation… “MARINO has that beautiful fluid guitar style reminiscent of Carlos Santana and Jeff Beck – real class”. High praise indeed from the definitive voice of rock radio in Britain. It was during a Radio One interview with Tommy Vance that MARINO revealed… “As a teenager my guitar gods were Hendrix and Santana. I taught myself to play guitar by jamming with their records, and – except for Brigitte Bardot and Raquel Welch – my bedroom walls were covered with posters of Carlos and Jimi. So fast forward and you can only imagine how I felt when Carlos Santana invited me to perform with him at London’s Hammersmith Odeon – to duet with Carlos on his Grammy winning instrumental “Blues for Salvador” was totally surreal – to go from being a kid jamming with his records to trading licks on stage with one of the greatest and most iconic guitarists in the history of rock was beyond amazing. That performance with Carlos Santana made me realise that as a guitarist, I’d arrived. It was also living proof that if you work hard at what you do and keep doing it… dreams can come true”.
MARINO continued to follow his dreams, making the move to Los Angeles in 1993. His reputation as “the hot UK guitar-slinger” was further enhanced by igniting Hollywood’s Sunset Strip with a string of sold out shows at The Whisky A GoGo, The Roxy Theatre, The Coconut Teaszer, The House of Blues, and Johnny Depp’s Viper Room. Stunning reviews and cover stories followed and very soon MARINO had a growing list of movie stars and celebrities attending his shows. At LA’s legendary rock ‘n’ roll haunt The Rainbow Bar and Grill, in an interview with Rock City News magazine, MARINO told journalist Jo Gibert… “When a Hollywood star like Burt Reynolds comes backstage to tell you you’re one bad ass guitar player, you know you’re doing something right”. And it was at Burt Reynold’s invitation that MARINO entered into the Hollywood film industry, composing and playing guitar at Paramount Recording Studios on several of Burt’s projects, including the Oscar nominated actor’s movie ‘The Maddening’, a psychological erotic thriller co-starring Angie Dickinson.
‘Angels of the First Rising Sun’ and ‘Gypsy Soul’ from The Paramount Sessions can be heard on
MARINO AFTER THE STORM.
MARINO went on to contribute to a plethora of soundtracks, most notably movies with Oscar winner Leonardo Di Caprio, Golden Globe winner and Oscar nominee Mickey Rourke, Golden Globe winner Drew Barrymore, and MARINO’s favourite Charlie’s Angel, Cheryl Ladd. In 2007 MARINO himself was honoured with the Hollywood F.A.M.E. award, and the nominations and awards kept on coming. At the Los Angeles Music Awards held at the Hollywood Palladium, MARINO had been nominated for ‘Best Guitarist’, and on this scintillating red carpet night of Rock ‘n’ Roll, MARINO gave an electrifying performance with his own band, and with the fantastic Eddie Money on his US mega hit ‘Two Tickets to Paradise’, bringing the show to a climactic end. But there was still something else of great significance about to happen that night… at the after show party, Eddie Money introduced MARINO to keyboard ace Tommy Eyre (Joe Cocker/Gary Moore/BB King/Rolling Stones) and the two hard drinking Yorkshiremen hit it off right away. At the bar in the wee hours after a bottle of Jack Daniels, they decided to form a band, and so the MARINO/Tommy Eyre band was born. MARINO described their live musical collaboration as “adrenaline driven, hard drinkin’, rip-it-up raw Rock ‘n’ Roll baby!” And their red hot rendition of ‘Good Morning Little Schoolgirl’ from MARINO AFTER THE STORM certainly bears witness to this. Featuring some blistering solos, it’s a virtuoso masterclass that really captures the lads at the top of their game, it’s taken from their unreleased album cheekily entitled ‘Cheers Mate!’ recorded in 2000 live at The Mint in Los Angeles (scheduled for release on JM Records 2017). During MARINO and Tommy’s live shows they were inevitably joined onstage for some amazing jams featuring members of Santana, Chicago, Aerosmith, Canned Heat, Rolling Stones, Heart, Toto and a host of others, many of which were recorded. All of these Rock ‘n’ Roll treasures will emerge from MARINO’s studio vaults in the near future. Sadly the curtain was brought down on the MARINO-Tommy Eyre band with the passing of Tommy in 2001.
Good morning little schoolgirl from the MARINO-Tommy Eyre band’s live album ‘Cheers Mate!’ can be heard on
MARINO AFTER THE STORM.
In the forthcoming MARINO AFTER THE STORM Rockumentary, MARINO talks in depth about the magical synergy involved in the next phase of his musical journey, and it all begins with an extraordinary dinner meeting with the legendary Stevie Wonder at La Bruschetta Ristorante in Los Angeles, and the rest as they say is history. Very soon MARINO was introduced to Greg Phillinganes, keyboard player and music director for Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson. (Greg first worked with Stevie on his multi-platinum Grammy winning album ‘Songs in the Key of Life’ and also played on and worked very closely with producer Quincy Jones on Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’, the biggest selling album in the history of music with over 65 million copies sold). What followed were the incredible MARINO Capitol Records studio sessions. Accompanying MARINO on these sessions are some of the greatest musicians in the history of music…
Keyboards – Greg Phillinganes (Stevie Wonder/Michael Jackson/Eric Clapton)
Drums – John “JR” Robinson (Michael Jackson/Chaka Khan/Eric Clapton)
Bass – Abe Laboriel Sr. (Stevie Wonder/Michael Jackson/Steely Dan)
Rhythm Guitar – Paul Jackson Jr. (Michael Jackson/Whitney Houston/George Benson)
Keyboards – Bobby Lyle (Sly and the Family Stone/Al Jarreau/George Benson)
Sax – Keith Anderson (Prince/Erykah Badu/Al Jarreau)
Lead Vocal – Alex Ligertwood (Santana/The Jeff Beck Group)
Lead Vocal – Bill Champlin (Chicago/Sons of Champlin)
Lead Vocal – Carol Dennis Dylan (Bob Dylan/Bruce Springsteen)
Backing Vocals – Lani Groves (Stevie Wonder/Quincy Jones)
Backing Vocals – Jim Gilstrap (Stevie Wonder/Quincy Jones)
Backing Vocals – Maxayn Lewis (Bonnie Raitt/Bon Jovi)
Backing Vocals – Alvin Chea (Take 6/Michael Jackson)
“Marino’s a seriously brilliant guitarist and a great composer, bringing him together with these musicians was a match made in heaven. Just take a listen to pray – it’s awesome!” Ronny Sussman, Executive Producer
Pray from the Capitol Records studio sessions can be heard on MARINO AFTER THE STORM.
As the London night skies open up and the rain falls hard on the west end, at around 10pm I enter Denmark Street Studios. MARINO is listening intensely to a playback of a haunting blues instrumental recorded earlier that evening. When the track ends he opens his eyes and says to the sound engineer… “The best is yet to come, brother”.
After spending over an hour interviewing MARINO for the Rockumentary and book, I take my leave. Coming up from the studio out onto the rain soaked street, I think about the phenomenal response from the media and fans to his 2016 release MARINO AFTER THE STORM and I hear his voice in my head… the best is yet to come... and I find it hard not to believe this charismatic, emotive musician on his journey to what he calls ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Nirvana”. Tony J. Rosenberg