Archive for the ‘Mahogany Rush’ Category

Mahogany Rush and Lone Star Newcastle City Hall 1977

Mahogany Rush and Lone Star Newcastle City Hall 1977
mahoganyrushticketThis was a pretty hot double bill by any standards. Lone Star were an up and coming UK band who had only recently headlined the City Hall themselves and Mahogany Rush, featuring Frank Marino, were the new US power trio cum Hendrix-style guitar sensation. Legend is that when Marino was a teen he was “visited by an apparition of Jimi Hendrix after a bad LSD trip, which led to the spirit of Hendrix entering Marino‚Äôs body and bestowing his ability to play the guitar.” Marino denies this today, but its a pretty good story. There’s no denying that Frank Marino plays guitar like Hendrix, although in interviews at the time he would always try and downplay this. The programme talks about his drug fueled dream and how he picked up guitar after coming out of hospital, suffering from the effects of a drug overdose, aged only 14!: “the guitar became a kind of therapy, some way to express and perhaps exorcise his recurring dreams, which sometimes consisted of a rock music soundtrack accompanying a visual image of each instrument personified in an everyday object. mahoganyrichposter ‘Picture the vocals’ says Frank ‘coming out of a little plastic clothespin, with choruses of them coming out of the corner, thistles and reeds coming up with the bass. Legs turning into bicycle pedals, going around so they make percussive noises” and it goes on to refer to the Hendrix “experience”: “Particularly when you have the distinct idea that the spirit of the late Jimi Hendrix has become much more than an influence, and sometimes seems to have become permanently embedded in you to the extent where you seem to be his living personification….” Now come on Frank. Unless you had no input into the tour programme and no control over it, it would be difficult for you to deny that you had a hand in the crazy Hendrix stories and comparisons.
mahoganyruchprog Putting aside the question around whether Frank Marino is the “living personification” of Jimi Hendrix; Mahogany Rush were a hot live rock trio. Their set included at least one Hendrix cover maybe more, I don’t entirely remember, and was a showcase for Franks’ astonishing guitar wizardry. Lone Star also performed well, and went down a storm with the Newcastle crowd, although I seem to recall that the Hall was only around half full for this gig.
I would imagine that the set I saw at the City Hall in 1977 will have been something like this: The Answer, Dragonfly,I’m a King Bee, Excerpt form Back Door Man, A New Rock and Roll, Johnnie Be Goode, Talkin Bout a Feelin, Excerpt Who Do Ya Love, Electric Reflections of War, The World Anthem, Look at me, Strange universe, Voodoo Chile, Purple Haze. This is from the official live album recorded on a US tour in late 77 and released in 78, and an update from Damian. mahoganyrushcd This was the only time that I’ve seen Mahogany Rush. They continue to play to this day, but their visits to the UK are few and far between now. My friend John has seen them in the States a few times and tells me how good they still are. He sent me a signed CD (pictured here). Thanks also to John for the scan of the poster from this gig.
That early acid experience clearly had a profound effect on Frank Marino. He still talks of it today, and says on his official website: “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”. John saw Frank Marino four times between 2006 and 2011. His views on those recent shows: “I thought he was just absolutely fantastic and he had the same effect on me as the first time I saw Robin Trower in 1975. An exceptional player with a good voice, he plays a lot of covers which is fine with me and has some exceptional songs in He’s Calling and Hometown Hero. Electric Reflections of War is too much for me but other than that song; its all just great.” Frank Marino last toured the UK in 2005 and he played the City Hall in 2002 as part of a package called Legends of Rock; featuring him as the opening act, followed by Uli John Roth, then Glenn Hughes and with Jack Bruce headlining. Now there’s a gig I shouldn’t have missed.