Frank Marino “ Guitar for a Higher Purpose”

Frank Marino and Mahogany Rush. Five words I heard during many listening sessions and music conversations. I slowly began to seek out the meaning. In time I found a Gravity to those words.

Frank playing on stage

I want to thank Frank for his blessing in allowing me to tell this story. I knew he had unexpectedly announced his retirement a while back due to an undisclosed illness but I reached out anyway and he was most gracious to be of help for sources and Granting his permission to tell the tale of what brought us 50 years of Stellar Music.

Frank Marino came to the guitar in a different way. He initially was into the drums for a time but being a young person in the times when the 1960s were wide open he explored many things. One of the explorations was L.S.D. and at a certain point as he discussed in a 2019 interview he took a little too much and got locked into an experience that lasted Far Longer than anticipated and had to be hospitalized for a considerable length of time. It so happened that in that facility was a guitar. Why? Well, no one knows for sure but Frank realized it was something grounding to focus on and practically lived with it. It was there to help him, literally find his way back. By the time he was released he wanted to take it with him but that wasn’t going to fly, so he acquired another in short order and it became his companion. During all this, he thought many things, alternative thought, and language, part of which was the term, Mahogany Rush. In the time that reoccurring thought became the name of one of the best Bands you could wish to hear. He also carried over the visions from the experience into the artwork for the Bands albums. He could have been a casualty, but he was fortunate and became a Guitar and vocal powerhouse and visionary.

“This experience became the basis of everything that I was to do in music, including the name Mahogany Rush, which was a description I would use to describe a certain sensation that I was having on the trip. The artwork on the albums, Child of the Novelty and Strange Universe are an artist’s rendition of my trip as told by me to the artist, Ivan Schwartz, who has since passed away”.

1972’s “Maxoom” and 74’s “Child of Novelty” announced Mahogany Rush as a major musical force. He was viewed as a Disciple of Hendrix, as was Robin Trower. They both were much more than that. The Guitarist’s Guitarist has been cited by many as a major influence, and those names are Big. “He set the groundwork for guys like me to have a successful career. If it wasn’t for Frank Marino I wouldn’t have a career “Joe Bonamassa. That is merely one of many. His tone is recognized by, for instance, Guitar Player, which called him a “full-spectrum guitar god,” alongside Jeff Beck, and Eddie Van Halen.

John Cipollina (of Quicksilver Messenger Service fame), Robby Krieger, and others Pulled him to be a Gibson SG player. His playing style is a combination of blues, heavy rock, and, to an extent, jazz fusion techniques. Long-term members of the band have included bassist Paul Harwood and drummer Jimmy Ayoub, and Frank’s brother Vince on guitar. Frank and company were known for Marathon show he was quoted as describing it all as “ The Grateful Dead meets Jazz” in the approach of a Jam band keeping within the song but letting the song play the band when it’s fired up.


Mahogany Rush,(live) 1975, Talkin’ ’bout a Feeling

1975’s “Strange Universe” and Continued Touring solidified the man was just getting better and was in this for the Long Haul. Playing to 350,000 in 1978 at Cal Jam II proved He and the Band stood Next to the Giants of Rock.

Frank is well spoken, well studied, and Driven even now in his Battles. He never let the troubles Canadian bands had to stop him and has expressed his satisfaction that even “Cult Status” is an achievement. He has never needed millions of dollars or to be the Media Darling to be happy. He has always wanted to just make music and oh what music he made.

Dozens of albums and countless concerts with other Legends, Television programs, and the Grind of Hard work over decades right up to the age of Covid. He still had bookings that he intended on doing as many other Musical acts but the world stopped. Then he had to follow up with this statement that shocked the Guitar community.

Frank Marino & Mahogany Rush – Eye of the Storm (EPK)

“With sorrow, I am forced to announce my immediate retirement from touring, and possibly all things related to continuing my career, due to an unexpected and debilitating medical condition which makes it impossible for me to tour. I want to thank all the people who supported me all of the last half-centuries. I know that many were looking forward to seeing us play this fall and I was looking forward to getting out again and doing more shows, but it now appears that in the absence of a miraculous recovery, my Concert DVD (Live at the Agora) will constitute the last show I will ever have played. I ask any that are believers to include me in their prayers.” – Frank Marino

I personally as well as many others urge you to order the “Agora” DVD. It’s roughly six hours of Masterwork by a Guitarist who covered the best of his life’s songs and a comprehensive study of awesome learn more here.

Frank Marino – Live At The Agora Theatre – Official Trailer

We here at Guitardoor and millions of other Guitarists are praying for the possible miracle to come as you have stated. We also thank you from the bottom of our hearts for what you have given us. We know when you walked a stage, you give it all you had and then some. Your positivity in your career and as a man is as inspiring as the music we treasure.

2 thoughts on “Frank Marino “ Guitar for a Higher Purpose””

  1. Truly sad to learn of the immediate retirement of one of the all-time great rock guitar icons. He and his band have brought us hours of fantastic music spanning several genres and all of which blended perfectly.
    A sad sad loss to our beloved music. I would aspire to have a tenth of his playing talent 🙏🎸🔥🎸🔥

  2. Thank you Jimmy,

    You did a very nice job with the article. Also, you are right; we are going through very difficult times… you and I physically but, more importantly, the whole earth is groaning. We know what these times represent. All we can do is pray and wait for His return, and I feel it will be sooner than most think.

    God Bless,

    Frank

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Jimmy Flemming