A Conversation With FRANK MARINO Page 3
By Bob Nalbandian
BN: In Europe a lot of the younger rock fans, as well as the older ones, are really into classic rock and metal bands...
FM: We're scheduled to do 14 dates in the UK including some large festivals and they tell me I will be going on to Europe...Spain and even Russia. But in America it's really hard to do. It's just a matter of finding the right group of promoters who understand that we do have a cult following. If we come to any city in America, and they promote the show, we will sell tickets, there's no doubt about that.
BN: So how did the label deal come about with Just A Minute Records? I know your old friend and tour manager Jim West heads this label...Do you plan to release future records through this label?
FM: I would like to be with Jim's label for the rest of my career. First of all, we're good friends, and secondly, his attitude toward the label is music first. His label is mostly jazz and blues, and he's got three to four hundred titles. He's all about the music, and that's why a lot of jazz artists really respect him, he's given a lot of chances to artists who wouldn't be on other labels because they may sell only one or two thousand pieces. Jim just loves the music and he's always loved my music. And even though he got into the jazz and blues label as a means of his business he's still a rocker at heart. He was one of the first roadies for Mahogany Rush. So this is like a labor of love in a sense for him, but he's actually reaping the rewards from a label point of view. Because of this, that label is actively moving into a direction of rock music of our style. So it's worked out pretty well for the both of us. It's really a great place to be, it's not like 'business' deal.
BN: I have to tell you about my first experience with Mahogany Rush...I grew up in Orange County, CA and I remember when the Cal Jam II festival came into town back in 1978, I was about twelve years old at the time. I couldn't go to the concert but a lot of my friends went, mainly to see Ted Nugent and Aerosmith - they were like the two biggest bands in hard rock at the time. I remember watching the Cal Jam II television special and being really disappointed with Nugent and Aerosmith's performance. I had never heard Mahogany Rush before, but when you came on the screen and performed 'Purple Haze'...I was totally blown away! I remember the energy and intensity of that performance, and from that day on, all the rocker kids I knew were talking about Frank Marino and Mahogany Rush! How did the whole Cal Jam thing come about and what was that experience like for you?
FM: We had the same management as Nugent and Aerosmith, Leber-Krebbs from 1975 until 1982. David Krebbs would put us on as support for a lot of Aerosmith and Nugent shows. Everybody always asks me about that Cal Jam show. This is the story...throughout the years we opened for Nugent and Aerosmith, we were always kind of considered the 'other band' in the office. We weren't a radio act, and FM Radio was thee big thing. But David always put us on these shows because he knew we could deliver really well live. Consequently, the other bands didn't like us too much because if we opened for them and delivered well, it made their life a little bit harder. So there was a lot of back-biting and bickering going on at the office. The management offices had about 20-30 people working there, and they had their little 'camps' - some worked with Aerosmith, some worked with Nugent, and so on. So this kind of 'competitiveness' trickles down and it starts to become very uncomfortable if you're a group like us. It kind of feels like you've been invited over for dinner but you're not really that welcomed. But you know the guy at the top, David Krebbs, thinks you're completely welcomed. And that's the only reason why some of these people don't push too hard against you. So you kind of get the whole 'teachers pet' kind of thing. So when David got his acts Nugent and Aerosmith to co-headline the Cal Jam, of course he said to the promoters, 'I want to also put on Mahogany Rush.' So what ended up happening was somebody had the bright idea to put Mahogany Rush on after the headliners, Aerosmith. So you had Ted in the daytime and a bunch of other great bands like Santana, Dave Mason, Foreigner, Heart...and then you have this huge lead-up to Aerosmith with this laser light show. I mean, Aerosmith were truly the headliner of that show, there's no doubt about it. And you are told that you are going on after the headliner is finished. What do you do? I mean, there's no way we should have gone on after Aerosmith under normal circumstances. The promoters figured that Mahogany Rush would provide exit music for the crowd, since there was like a quarter-million people in attendance. But unfortunately for them, nobody left!
A Conversation With FRANK MARINO Page 4