Eye of the Storm
Mad Mark After Dark, the man
that hates everything except the real thing, writing to you once again.
Life is a cycle of events with many circles of experiences that intersect, good and
bad. The world sometimes can be an extremely dark place, filled with many egomaniacal
individuals who are ready and able to steal your dreams, twisting and turning them
into something unrecognizable and transforming them into your worst nightmare. The
fantasy of our own success can be turned into a soap opera of drugs and alcohol to
escape these demons, and to also gain their approval on some level. We might also
face major criticism for pointing out the obvious facts of life, and also for simply
Frank Marino has weathered many storms in his over thirty years of musical creativity.
We all remember our first girlfriend, like revisiting a song that stuck in our minds
during your first kiss. I recall a time sitting in front of the TV, waiting to see
Black Sabbath on Don Kirshner's Rock Concert. It was 1976 and this particular program
also featured Rare Earth with special guests Mahogany Rush from Montreal, Canada.
I'd never heard of them before. They were completely new to me, but not for long.
I saw their set on the show, and I was hooked. I became a Frank Marino and Mahogany
Rush fan almost instantly. Frank's music became a soundtrack to my life.
Mahogany Rush never got major airplay in the States and never reached the mainstream
of popularity that they deserved. They still had impact on music in North America
and all over the world through playing festivals like the California Jam in 1978
with Aerosmith and Ted Nugent. His guitar playing has inspired many players, including
Steve Vai. But the road to the heights of Franks' creativity started early and dominated
his life and still does. The sixties in the US and Canada were a time of unrest and
experimentation of all kinds. He played drums, and he played with LSD. While in the
hospital after a bad trip, he had a vivid experience which became the foundation
for Mahogany Rush. He played guitar in the hospital to recuperate and he's been clean
and sober ever since. This discovery of a new instrument and a new calling gave him
new life and made it's mark on the world of music. It was my pleasure to sit down,
talk with and become friends with one of my heroes.
MD: What are you doing musically these days?
FM: These days I'm waiting to tour. I'm just finished up a double-live record
it's a double CD. It actually was a triple CD, but I didn't think that most people
would want to buy a triple CD.
MD: well, I would!
FM: So I cut it down. It's two hours and forty minutes - wall to wall stuff
and it's really, really great. It's called Real Live.
It was done in Montreal actually. I was calling it Real Live, but then I noticed
if I added "Mont-" before the 'Real", it looks like "Montreal
Live" (laughs). So I may just do that on the cover. We haven't done the cover
yet. I just made a great deal with "Just in Time" here. I think that the
label in the States is "Just a Minute.". So they're gonna put it out, and
if a nice package deal I made with them, so once they put out that record, the next
thing I'm committed to do with them is a full DVD, not of this record but of a whole
other show. It's going to be more of a documentary-type DVD and then they're gonna
re-release the catalog of stuff that I had from Full Circle onward. They're going
to re-release all that, because the stuff before Full Circle was Columbia. I don't
have the greatest relationship with Columbia.
MD: Why is that?
FM: Got an hour? (laughs sardonically) And then I'm going to do a Blues album.
MD: Cool. What are you going to do?
FM: Jimmy West, the guy that runs Just In Time, actually his name is on my
very first album if you notice it there. I've known him since the beginning. He now
runs that label. He's been trying to get me to do a solid Blues album for about fifteen
MD: What are you planning on doing on it? Covers or originals?
FM: Originally it was going to be covers, like when he was talking to me about
it fifteen years ago. Y'know, like, "why don't you just do a lot of great Blues
tunes?" And then it sort of morphed as I got more into the Blues myself, playing
Blues the way I play it. I have sort of a different way of playing Blues, let's say,
than most other guys. And then he started telling me, "Look why even do the
covers? Why don't you just do all of your own Blues tunes?"
MD: Well, I've been researching Robin Trower and he put put out a Blues album
a couple of years ago, but they were all covers. So, it's different.
FM: The thing is, I have sort of a different take on Blues, then a lot of
guitar players do and I really do not like purist Blues, personally. I find it really
predictable. It might be fun to play, when you're jamming, but it's really a drag
to listen to.
MD: So you don't listen to Robert Johnson...
FM: You know, I find that whole thing about Robert Johnson to be [overrated].
You know, you've got so many Blues aficionados today that are saying Robert Johnson
this and Robert Johnson that.
He inspired the structure. In fact, I do Crossroads on this new double live album.
MD: Oh yeah, you have to put your own spin, like the way that Clapton did
FM: So when I say "Robert Johnson", I'm saying that the essence
of the songs are there. They're okay. When I say that I don't like the purist Blues
thing, what I mean is guys who play a lot of Blues that's like a lot of twelve bar.
That's okay, right, give me some passing chords. I'm into jazz, y'know? I did a version
of "Red House", as a matter of fact, on this upcoming live album.
MD: A Jimi Hendrix song
FM: So believe me, if I didn't call it "Red House", and use the
words of "Red House"...
MD: How long a version did you do?
FM: It's about fifteen minutes. There's no way that you'd know if was "Red
House" except for the fact that I used those words. Because it's not at all
"Red House". It's not what you're expecting. It's more like "Georgia
On My Mind". So, I'm totally into a kind of a Blues where I can deal with passing
chords. I like guys like Dr. John. For me, this is the kind of Blues that I like
to play. I found that there are two kinds of Blues styles that I like to play - what
I call the New Orleans Style which is like Dr. John, and then what I call the Chicago
Style which is more of an uptime, happy Blues - bar room Blues I guess you could
call it. So, the album I want to do is a cross between the New Orleans, the Chicago
and a little bit of Gospel. I think putting those together is the roots of Jazz,
basically. You're really starting to infringe on Jazz, and I don't mean Fusion, I
mean Jazz. That's where my Blues album is going.
MD: What are you listening to these days?
FM: I'm really not listening to much. When I listen to music, it's pretty
much the old music. It's the stuff that I've always listened to- The Beatles, Hendrix,
The Doors... Quicksilver Messenger Service is one of favorite bands ever, even more
MD: That's news to me, but okay...
FM: Yeah, most people don't know that...
MD: Well, I've always heard about how much you love Jimi Hendrix...
FM: Well, that's the closest thing to what I'm doing. But if you really take
a close look at what I'm doing, you're probably going to see a little bit more John
Cippolina than Jimi Hendrix. This was my earliest influence - John Cipollina and
Quicksilver Messenger Service. Early Santana was a big influence on me. And Johnny
MD: Have you ever listened to Copperhead?
MD: I just wanted to know because not that many people know of Copperhead.
Since you mentioned Quicksilver, I thought that I'd throw that in.
FM: I'm going to be covering two Quicksilver tunes actually on my next studio
MD: Really? Which two?
FM: I'm going to be doing " The Fool" and "Gold and Silver".
MD: Those are good songs.
FM: Yeah, they're nice. They're instrumentals, basically that's why I like
MD: So, where do you see yourself musically in the future?
FM: I don't know really. It's hard to say. A guy asked me that on the web
page the other day, and I couldn't really answer it. Well, what he wanted to know
is that I got this letter where this guy said, "well, I really like your Power
of Rock and Roll, and What's Next days and why don't you do any of your balls to
the wall stuff anymore?" And my answer was really, well I do, I just don't plan
it. Sometimes it comes out that way and sometimes it doesn't. So it really depends
on how I feel at the time. I may yet do another album that's all like Power of Rock
and Roll harder edged guitar stuff.
MD: Like Juggernaut. I really liked Juggernaut...
FM: But, it's really like I've never known, and I really have never had a
preconceived notion of what was going to be on that album. Not even one of the songs
came to me. They're all really written at the moment.
MD: I like the Mahogany Rush IV album. Out of all the albums you've done in
the last thirty years, which one do you take and say, "Oh wow, that's the shit!
That's my album"?
FM: I look at them as milestones. It's like these little set of watersheds.
It's like the first watershed for me was Strange Universe - the culmination of the
early Mahogany Rush psychedelica.
MD: Yeah, the first three where very much in that mode...
FM: All of a sudden there was a new door on Mahogany Rush IV, that was a huge
watershed for me. First time I used keyboards, first time I used melotrons. First
time I screwed around with production, first time I used strings, stuff like that.
I thought, "Wow, great watershed!" Then it kind of moseys along with a
few things in between, and then I finally get to Juggernaut. That's my next real
A few people argue with me about that. They mention albums like Power of Rock and
Roll and What's Next. Well, yeah, they were good albums in some ways, but Juggernaut
was just a magic album. They come every once in while. And then it sort of moseys
along again, and then I think the next real change was Full Circle. It's like an
experimental "let's do some songs with keyboards" record. Then it sort
of moseys along again and I get to my 2000 release, Eye of the Storm- the next big
watershed, where I'm kind of going back to the days of Maxoom through Strange Universe,
but I've got some of the elements of IV and Juggernaut. I've kind of put those four
MD: So where did you see your last album, Eye of the Storm?
FM: For me that's my favorite album, but only because it's like getting back
home. It feels good to me. It's my favorite record right now. But now I've done this
live record and some of the versions of the tunes that are on the live record, like
there's Strange Universe on it and Stories of a Hero... and I'm listening to this
and I'm think, "Wow. Now I like this better than Eye of the Storm." I really
do, because it's so out there. It's a cross between the Blues and the Psychedelic.
Anything that gets me between the Blues and the Psychedelic is something I end up
MD: Are you using any new effects these days?
FM: Less effects than I've ever did before. Less effects - because I build
amps. The better I became at building the amplifier, the less I needed a pedal. I
got the amp to do what the pedal did. Before, I had had twenty two foot pedals at
one point and basically what they were was like you had four different fuzz tones,
and four different this and that. Basically the amp never did what I wanted, so I
would try one fuzz for this and one fuzz for that and that's why I had all these
pedals. It wasn't like I turned them on all at the same time. As I got better at
building the amps, I started to say, "Hey, I don't need these four fuzz I'm
still using the basic pedals. I have my wah-wah, I have my fuzztone, my octave, my
delay and my reverb. That's basically all I need. The rest is pretty much in the
MD: Let's talk about your retirement. You retired in 1993 and what motivated
you to come back in 1998?
FM: Those kids on the webpage. I found the fan site because I was researching
for my dad. My dad comes from Sicily. When you come from Sicily, you don't always
know who your family was. So I was researching who was my grandfather and who could
be left over in Sicily.
MD: So your fans motivated you to come back.
FM: Yeah. I found "Marino", I found Frank Marino...
MD: So why did you retire in 1993? What was the reason for that?
FM: Because I just couldn't stand the business anymore. It was just horrible.
The eighties were a wasteland, the seventies were like obsessive and they paved the
way for the wasteland eighties and the business had become in my opinion ... now
don't forget when I joined the music business if you could put it that way, it was
the late sixties early seventies and I had a totally different mentality, I had a
late sixties mentality, I had a Woodstock mentality about what Rock and Roll was.
Right after I joined, it changed to the whole seventies thing. I was kind of like
a fish out of water. As soon as I got into the music industry, still thinking like
kind of a sixties cat hippy, right away... I was into the Grateful Dead, I was into
Hendrix and into those things... all of a sudden it became the bands that were singing
songs with harmonies, and the high voices and tight pants... so it changed into that
seventies thing. I was out of my element and I was never really comfortable with
it, but we sort of slogged through the seventies trying to fit in, or hoping that
we'd fit in, we actually never changed to fit in. Then the eighties came and I don't
have to tell you...
MD: Well the eighties were the worst period in Rock and Roll music and that's
why we're in the mess we are in today. A lot of people when I've said that disagree
with me. I say that the eighties were a wasteland of music, there was nothing there,
especially the mid to late eighties was just horrible and it paved the way into the
nineties and right now where there's nothing going on.
FM: Well, I think the birth that came out of the death of the eighties, when
we had all these bar chord bands and stuff- that was not something that I liked-
but I liked the idea at least that people were getting back to their roots, even
though I didn't like the music they were doing. All that angst stuff, y'know. But
thankfully all of that sort of went by the wayside, and I think that people are getting
back into experimenting with music again. We've got guys experimenting with World
Music and guys doing all kinds of different things. We've got guys going back to
Rock Music and Blues.
MD: Let's hope it stays like that, because there's not too much going on in
New York City. Let's talk about your first time playing New York City with Queen.
FM: [Laughs} Well, I did this tour with Queen. It was one of our first big
tours, big management and all that stuff, "You're gonna go up with this band
called Queen." I didn't know who they were or what they did. We go up with them
and we had one of the worst times in our lives with thirty or forty dates. It was
just a horrible, horrible experience. And we played New York City, and most of the
dates we did okay on. Mind you, we were only given twenty minutes on some nights
When we got to New York, we'd been signed by Columbia. We had the Mahogany Rush IV
record coming out, and it was like all new agents and new management, and we were
with Lieber & Krebs and everyone shows up for our New York gig. I think it was
at Avery Fisher, but some guy told me the other day that it was at a different place...
MD: Well, you would know. You were there, but then again it was the early
FM: So we go to this gig (with Queen) and it was just so horrible. The New
York audience, for that particular crowd, was really not kind. Someone threw a battery
at me and hit me in the head, I mean it was bad. I still finished my show. I didn't
walk off or anything say "Screw you!" or whatever. I did my thing and walked
off. I was totally mortified that this would happen in of all cities New York City,
and in front of all those business people who were there to supposedly sign the group,
excitedly. We were really embarrassed about this at the time. So you know, David
Krebs told me, and he turned out to be right, that he didn't take it at all seriously.
We said, "Well, how can you not be upset over this, David?" And he says,
"Frank, you have no idea what New York is like. You'll find out."
He was right, because three or four months later, maybe not more than five months,
we ended up coming back to do our own headline gig, the place was packed. Everybody
loved the band. And I've never had a bad New York gig after that... ever. Whether
I've opened, or whether I've headlined. So I don't know what that whole Queen thing
was about. Maybe it was the type of audience.
MD: I just think that the Queen audience are just hell bent on Queen. What
do you think of them musically? Did you like Queen?
FM: No. I liked Brian May, and I liked him as a person. I just couldn't get
my head around this whole... [hums enthusiastic bridge from "Bohemian Rhapsody".]
I just didn't get it. Brian had a cool style, and he had a great guitar that he built
and I thought he was pretty cool, and I still do like Brian May. Anyway, the whole
Queen thing for me was like Rock's version of glam. Me playing to a Queen audience
was just really wrong. It's like Hendrix playing to the Monkees or something. It
But David was totally right. When we got back to New York, the crowd was amazing,
not just good, but amazing. And for every gig we did after that... we did Giants
stadium, we did the festivals, I think we did something at Shea but I don't remember,
we did the Calderone, we did our own shows, we did the Ritz.. even on into the eighties
when we played in New York it was great.
MD: I remember seeing you at La'mours right here in Brooklyn where I live.
FM: Oh, the night I played at La'mours in Brooklyn. I remember I was so sick
that night. It was either the night before my birthday or on my birthday. It was
late November. I had a 105º fever, the place was jammed. It was so loud that
it was unbelievable. I didn't even know where I was. I was literally hallucinating.
But after all of that, we leave the gig. I have to go to the hospital. So we decide
to go to the hospital but the guy's car is stolen!
MD: Oh God, well you were in Bensonhurst! It's not like that anymore, but
I remember back then [laughs]...
FM: So there I'm standing on the street and he's supposed to take me to the
hospital because of my fever, and the doors close behind me so I can't get back in
the place, and I'm freezing, and he exclaims to me, " My car's been stolen!"
MD: Oh my God, that's horrible!
FM: So I said, what else can happen here? Maybe if the cats from Brooklyn
knew that I loved the place maybe they wouldn't have stolen my car!
MD: Brooklyn was a different place back then.
Do you think there was favoritism shown to American artists over Canadian artists
like at Cal Jam '78 with Aerosmith, Ted Nugent and Heart?
FM: From the fans or from the people putting the show on?
MD: From the fans, and from the people putting on the show.
FM: Definitely. There's no doubt about it. I was backstage. I could see that
there was more of a nepotism going on. It was more like the bands that were being
pushed at Cal Jam were the bands that had a deal with the promoters. But we had to
follow Aerosmith. So just to stick us on after Aerosmith, which was the ostensible
headliner, what do you expect guys like us to come out and do after something like
Aerosmith... but not just Aerosmith... Aerosmith with a laser show! So we had to
follow that. But I still came out. I played ninety minutes and we did absolutely
fantastic with the crowd. And I think that the people who put it on were extremely
surprised about that, because they figured that we'd be basically providing the exit
music for the people to leave. And people didn't leave. They stayed, they liked it
and we had a great time. And if you remember the whole show of the Cal Jam. I did
an encore in which I played The Mickey Mouse Club theme song. First I played "Purple
Haze", which I never should have done, because I was trying so hard to not do
Hendrix because of all the Hendrix crap, but then it might have even been the second
encore when I finally played Purple Haze. When they ended up showing our segment
on television, they showed "Purple Haze". I couldn't believe they did that
to me after I played ninety minutes of other music. Anyway, that's beside the point.
At the end, I basically played the theme from The Mickey Mouse Club. What I was trying
to really say there was not about the people, but about the way these people had
come to view Rock and Roll was like the Mickey Mouse fan club. It was really ridiculous.
I have long said that my experience on the Cal Jam was probably the worst, lowest
point in my life. People would think it was the highest point because, well, you're
playing to 330,000 people. Well, the people are great. There's no problem there.
But unfortunately I'm on the other side of the stage. I have to deal with all of
the politics that goes on in the business. I have to see a business that I love,
a music that I love, turn into Entertainment Tonight. I half expected Leeza Gibbons
to show up, and you know what I'm saying? For me, that's not Rock and Roll.
MD: I agree with you. It's part of what I've been saying about New York. The
New York "scene" is so horrible. It's the Mickey Mouse Club in New York.
FM: Well I don't know about New York right now, but I know that in Canada
they just put on a SARS benefit concert with the Rolling Stones and AC/DC and all
these bands. I looked at it on TV, and I thought to myself, what are they doing???
They're showing acts for fifteen minutes!!! And I'm thinking, hey... is this just,
let's get as many names as we can to put on the marquee so that we have a huge crowd,
right... and say, here they are? Why don't they just have these guys come out and
take a bow? They could have put sixty-five acts on that way, because these bands
really didn't play. I mean, they went out, they did a song or two and that was it.
I mean, what is that? Is it like a variety show or something? Let's respect the music.
These bands have done great music.
Let's put less bands with greater music, or make a longer show! Don't just start
jamming them all together just so that you can say that you went and you saw so-and-so,
and then so-and-so. At that point you might as well put a picture of the bands on
stage! They [the promoters] didn't really give anything back to music! That's when
I saw that the promoters who look at music today don't give a crap about the music
industry or music in general. They only give a crap about how many seats they can
fill up and whatever they can use to get the people in there. If they could have
the Flying Burrito Brothers in there, they'd do that too. It's like a circus. That's
the kind of thing that's still holding over. That's going back to your original question
- why'd I leave in '93? I'd just seen too much of my beloved music business become
the World Wrestling Federation. I said to myself, that's it. I'm not doing this crap
anymore. I'm gonna go home, have kids, have a different life and I ain't doing no
farewell tour so that I can look like a guy who's out to pump people for money. And
I just left. I didn't announce it, I didn't do anything, I just left and that was
the end of it.
When I found that site in '98, I started talking with the fans. I started answering
them on the web page and emailing them all. I started sending them copies of The
Eye of the Storm record that I had done, which I never intended to release since
I just did it for me. It had been in the can for five years. And they said to me,
"Oh please put it out!" And it went to from, oh please put it out to, we
did put it out, to please do a show, so we did one show that year. The next year
we did two shows. We started doing very selective dates just because people in an
area wanted to see us. It's grown to maybe not more than ten dates a year and I don't
know if I want it to grow beyond that. I don't know if I wanna start chasing it down
anymore because I don't like what it's become. I've been trying to get a gig in New
York for three or four years and it just never happened. What am I supposed to do
- start chasing it down, running after people, begging agents to handle the band?
That's ridiculous. I don't need to do that.
MD: Due to the fact that there were two bands from Canada - your band, Mahogany
Rush and a band just called "Rush", did you have any problems or resentments
FM: No. First of all, we actually did a gig with them early on in the high
school days. It was Rush, Mahogany Rush and a band called Bull Rush. Now that's pretty
unbelievable, but it actually did happen. And I thought, who's that promoter, what
kind of an idea can that guy actually have? So anyway, we did the gigs and I've never
really known the guys from Rush other than that one gig, I've never met them. They
live in Toronto, we live in Montreal- they're four hundred miles apart. They're way
bigger than we are, and they always really were way bigger than we were, and their
kind of music is so different from what I do. I always thought that they were Canada's
version of Yes.
MD: I definitely agree with that. I was never a huge Rush fan. Whenever I
mention Mahogany Rush, they say, "Oh, you like Rush?" and I say, "No,
it's called Ma-hog-any Rush. Frank Marino!!!"
So, what was your feeling about Stevie Ray Vaughn? For me I always feel like he was
compared to Hendrix in the eighties, and you were compared to Hendrix in the seventies.
FM: Let me tell you what I think the difference is. When it comes to Jimi
Hendrix and me, the only Jimi Hendrix that I knew or liked were the albums that he
did when he was alive. I've never listened to anything posthumous by Jimi Hendrix
other than someone coming up and making me listen to some bootleg. I'd listen for
two seconds and say that I'm not interested. I've never ever liked anything that
I've heard posthumously except for two songs- the "Red House" that he did
on Hendrix in the West and "Little Wing", and that's it. My Hendrix influence
is derived largely from what I call the Electric Hendrix- the early, real Hendrix
- the Hendrix music that he himself wanted people to know. But the majority of every
player today who's influenced by Hendrix is derived from the "other" Hendrix
- the work that was released after he died that he had no control over. And if you
notice, if you take the two eras, the era of albums he put out, - which are Are You
Experienced? to Electric Ladyland, parts of Cry of Love, parts of Rainbow Bridge,
and Band of Gypsies- that's a totally different Hendrix than all the other Hendrix
when he does "Blue Suede Shoes" or any of the out of tune messy songs.
And these other guys, including Stevie, have been influenced it seems more by the
"Blues Hendrix"- the bootleg Hendrix, when he was playing Bluesy tunes
and this is where they're copying his style.
MD: Well, Stevie Ray Vaughn was also looking to other Blues players, like
FM: Well, yes, and he's a great Blues player, but I'm saying that you have
a host of guitar players who all have a Hendrix influence. At one time I was the
only guy with a Hendrix influence, in fact I was the first. So today you have many,
but the many are always influenced by that "other" Hendrix, and this is
the difference between the sound - between when someone says that "I'm influenced
by Hendrix," or "he's influenced by Hendrix." When you hear Stevie
Ray or any of the other guys, it suddenly was okay to be influenced by Hendrix, but
in my case it was taboo.
MD: In what category would you put Robin Trower?
FM: Totally in the other direction. You can hear it in the very licks that
he plays. I think that he'd think the bootleg stuff was awful!
I remember doing an interview with a guy, and I got real peeved with him and said,
"Look man, one day, everybody who plays the electric guitar is going to play
this style and this is going to be the style that they're judged on." He said,
"Whatever". But it's totally true today. I have that in print, I've said
it, and it must have been like 1971 or '72. This has become the barometer by which
the top players are judged. They got on me for doing that kind of music. They got
on me for using pedals. They got on me for doing electrical feedback. And then three
or four years later we had Robin Trower show up, and I almost said, "Thank God!"
Then it got even more. Then you had Randy Hansen - beautiful guy by the way, wonderful
person - when he came doing the whole thing with the makeup and stuff. I Actually
saw him. I went to see him. He was playing this club and someone said to come see
this guy doing this thing. I went back to his dressing room, shook his hand and said,
"Man, you have no idea what you're in for. You have no idea what they're going
to do to you." But as it is, they didn't! He was allowed! I didn't think that
anyone would be allowed because of what they'd done to me. I haven't seen one guitar
player since me, not one, get hacked for the Hendrix thing. Ever. Not one.
MD: Well, that's true. But when you listen to the later albums that you've
done, Juggernaut and What's Next, you don't do the Hendrix thing anymore, you do
FM: Yeah, but they don't see that. They just say, " Oh yah, more Hendrix
stuff." It became a favorite kind of a whipping thing. I remember this magazine
Circus or Cream or one of those and they had this article and I did "Roadhouse
Blues" on What's Next. Do you know what the headline was when the album came
out? "Frank Marino Robs Fresh Grave". So, Frank Marino cannot cover a tune,
right?? Especially if the tune is by a dead guy. So don't ever do anything else.
So do you know what I did in response to that? When I did Tales of the Unexpected,
in response to this constant barrage of criticism about the Hendrix rip-off, I purposely
did "All Along the Watchtower". And I did that because I knew they would
get on my about it, and I knew that I could then say, "But that's a Bob Dylan
tune." So no matter what I do, if it has any connection to Hendrix, even if
it's a Bob Dylan tune they're gonna nail me. But that's why today I do "Voodoo
Child", not the short one but the long one. It's on this upcoming live album
- it's a great version. And I do "Red House", but I completely change it.
You wouldn't know it was "Red House".
MD: If Hendrix was alive to hear what you did with guitar, I think that he
would respect you.
FM: I think he'd like me, yes.
MD: I think he would take a lot of what you're doing with "Red House"
and the original "Voodoo Child' and he would say, "Wow. This guy is doing
his own thing to my tunes and that's a cool thing to do."
FM: I'll go you one better. I believe if Hendrix was alive, we would have
done something together by now.
MD: Probably, and you know what, so would Stevie Ray. That's just the way
FM: To get back to original question of the Blues thing, this is what I mean
when I say that I don't like Blues that's purist and that sticks to some kind of
rule. When I do the Blues, as you'll hear in the "Red House" on the upcoming
live record, it's completely different. I use the words of "Red House"
because I am trying to show these people that I can do Blues and I can use "Red
House" if I want to. It's really none of their business. It's like, get over
it. The people that harp on that are harping on something from thirty-something years
ago. And quite honestly I don't get that problem from modern people. I only get it
from the holdovers. I've never had a modern kid or even a journalist who would get
on me about the Hendrix thing. That's pretty much over and done with. And when I
do see the odd one, it's usually some guy who's sixty.
MD: Tell me about your meeting with Jack Bruce.
FM: Well a year ago Uli Jon Roth called me up and he was putting on this thing
in England for fifteen shows called Legends of Rock and he asked me to be on it.
I went to England. It was me, Uli, Jack Bruce, Glen Hughes and Clive Bunker from
Jethro Tull on drums, with a bunch of other guys playing keyboards and stuff like
that. Basically each of the bands did their own set. I only got to play twenty-five
minutes with my band, but then we did an all-star jam at the end. For me to meet
Jack and play with him, was a great experience.
MD: Not only was he in Cream, but his solo records blow me away...
FM: Oh yeah, and he's into Jazz and Fusion and the same things that I'm into
and we got along famously. He's into smoking cigars and he taught me how to smoke,
and it was just so cool. For me, it was the culmination of a dream, because here's
a guy that was in what I was totally into when I was young. And to get to actually
hang with him and play with him... and you have to understand through all the years
that I did play with all those other bands, they were never quite friendly. But Jack
was totally friendly. He was a great guy, a great player and a great singer.
MD: I love him. I saw him at The Bottom Line in 1990...
FM: Is The Bottom Line still there???
MD: Yeah, and Ginger Baker showed up, and everybody was expecting Eric Clapton
to show up, and of course, we all know that he's never going to show up. And it was
Jack, Ginger and this guitar player named Blues Saracino. They blew the roof off
the place - they didn't need Clapton. I love Clapton, but yeah, anyway...
FM: It was a great experience to do that thing over there. I've been trying
to get back there and do some more dates in Europe but as usual it's the same old
thing- trying to get enough dates to make it worthwhile.
MD: What's your take on guitar players like Yngwie Malmsteen and speed metal
guitarists like that?
FM: They do what they do and they do it very well. So asking me that is almost
like asking me what I think of a trapeze artist. I amazing to see. Do I like it?
Does it do anything for me? Well, no. At least a guy like Steve Vai ....
MD: well he has a lot of soul and that's what was missing from the whole eighties
Hard Rock/ Heavy Metal thing. The soul kind of disappeared, and that's important.
When you're playing Rock and Roll which is Blues and Country based music, to lose
the soul is just terrible
FM: I much prefer a guy like Zakk Wylde.
MD: Well, Zack had a lot of soul and rhythm and it's not like that.
FM: Yeah, typewriter stuff.
MD: It was the most annoying thing in the eighties. You would go to a show
and every guitar player and band sounded exactly the same Not much has changed in
New York. Now we have the glam thing. Everyone is trying to relive the Poison experience.
FM: (horrified) That's coming back!? I never thought that stuff would ever
MD: It was totally based on what you looked like and forget what you sound
like, and those crummy power ballads that don't really say much or mean much...
FM: There's a place in L.A. called Industry, and we played a gig there once
and we had four opening acts - all glam bands- 1986 or '87. Imagine this, we're at
the sound check... now I'm a guy who always gives sound checks to the opening acts
because I'm a guy who never got one when I was an opening act. I make it my business
to make my guys get on and get off and let the opening act get through onstage and
let them do their thing, and let them have lights and let them do whatever they want.
Now, here we have four that we had to accommodate. So, we got in real early. We got
on, did our thing moved our shit back and let them all do their thing. They were
happy. Fast forward. The bands are getting onstage and I'm sitting in the hall watching
them do their thing and I notice there's this one guy. He's got a mike stand. It's
at the edge of the stage. He goes back three to four feet from the mike. And then
he's running up to the mike and then he's grabbing it and making a face. He's doing
this about twenty times!!! And I'm going what's going on with this fucking sound
check here? What's he doing??? So the other guy says to me, "Well he's practicing
his moves." And I'm thinking, "What the fuck is that all about!!??"
MD: You have just described the New York Rock Scene. Thank you very much,
I've been away from the public scene for a while. The fire in my belly was gone,
and it became a total waste of time and still is. Since I've gone away, I made good
friend who got me to think and to utilize my original talents, which have always
been Classic Rock and Roll and made me think about what I can really contribute to
my original passion. She showed me that I have talents for getting to know people
who share the same passions that I have in Rock, and that I have a gift for telling
their stories. If it weren't for her, I wouldn't have thought about doing interviews
with the Real Ones, not with the Fakes. Thanks, Donna D!
to Mark After Dark