Frank Marino

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Frank Marino
Frank m1.jpg
Background information
Birth nameFrancesco Antonio Marino
Born (1954-11-20) November 20, 1954 (age 67)
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter
Years active1970–2021

Francesco Antonio Marino (born November 20, 1954) is a Canadian guitarist and singer, best known as the leader of Canadian hard rock band Mahogany Rush. Often compared to Jimi Hendrix, he is described as one of the most underrated[1] guitarists of the 1970s. In 2021, he announced his retirement from music.[2]

Biography and career[edit]

After playing drums since he was five,[3] around age 13–14 Marino started playing guitar.[4] An often-repeated myth is he was visited by an apparition of Jimi Hendrix after a bad LSD trip,[5][6] a myth Marino has always disavowed, and still does so now on his personal website.[7] His playing, however, is inspired by Hendrix (on the Gibson website he is described as "carrying Jimi's psychedelic torch"[8]), and Marino is notable for often performing cover versions of Hendrix classics such as "Purple Haze" and "All Along The Watchtower".[9][8] He has been criticized by some as a Hendrix clone.[10][11] Marino himself claims that he did not consciously set out to imitate Hendrix: "The whole style just came naturally. I didn't choose it; it chose me."[12]

Mahogany Rush was moderately popular in the 1970s. Their records charted in Billboard, and they toured extensively, performing with well-known bands, including Aerosmith and Ted Nugent,[13] and played at California Jam II in 1978. Toward the end of the 1970s, the band began to be billed as "Frank Marino and Mahogany Rush."[14] Not much later, Mahogany Rush split up and in the early 1980s Marino released two solo albums on CBS. The band reformed and continued to perform throughout the 1980s and 1990s. In 1990, Marino opened his own audio recording studio, Starbase Studio, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Marino reformed a band in 2000, "I always knew we had fans, I just didn't know I'd find half a million of them on the Web," he said in an interview with Guitar Player in 2005.[3] He released Eye of the Storm, and went on tour again, playing more improvisational shows.[3] After having not played live for a decade, Frank scheduled a tour for 2020 which was postponed due to the pandemic. He rescheduled the tour for 2021, before announcing his retirement on June 30, 2021, due to an undisclosed medical condition. He was also involved in blues recordings with other artists, playing on tribute albums to Albert King and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Technique and equipment[edit]

Besides Jimi Hendrix, Marino acknowledged the influence of John Cipollina (of Quicksilver Messenger Service fame), Robby Krieger,[15] Duane Allman, Johnny Winter, and Carlos Santana. His playing style is a combination of blues, heavy rock and, to an extent, jazz fusion techniques. One of his notable tricks is playing (live) a lick as if it were played backwards, with the help of only a volume pedal and a delay.[3] His style has influenced many guitar players, including Zakk Wylde,[16] Joe Bonamassa,[17] Eric Gales, Vinnie Moore and Paul Gilbert.[18] His tone is recognized by, for instance, Guitar Player, which called him a "full-spectrum guitar god," alongside Jeff Beck, Eddie Van Halen, and The Edge.[19]

Marino is a devoted Gibson SG player and uses them with the original PAF pickups and two with DiMarzio humbuckers.[3] He also has an SG with single-coil DiMarzio pickups.[20] He is noted for complicated setups; according to Guitar Player, he has "an entire pedalboard ... assigned to hold the expression pedals that control the parameters of the effects on another pedalboard."[3] In the past, he has built his own amplifiers to achieve the right sound; he also uses Fender Twins.[3] He currently uses a preamp which he built himself, reminiscent of a Fender, and any available power amp, through a 2x15" Fane cabinet.[20]

Personal life[edit]

Of Italian and Syrian background, Marino is a practicing member of the Syriac Orthodox Church.[21]

Marino is uncle to Danny Marino, lead guitarist of Canadian metal band The Agonist.



With Mahogany Rush[edit]

Other recordings and collections[edit]

  • April Wine - The Whole World's Goin' Crazy (1976)
  • Nanette Workman (album recorded but never released) (1976)
  • California Jam II (6 CD set) (1978)
  • Billy Workman:same (1979)
  • V X N (pronounced Vixen ) (1985)
  • Metal Giants (various artists) (1988)
  • Guitar Speak II (1990)
  • Hats off to Stevie Ray (various artists) (1993)
  • Fit for A. King (various artists) (1993)
  • Bryan Lee: Live at the Old Absinthe House Bar Friday Night (1997)
  • Bryan Lee: Live at the Old Absinthe House Bar Saturday Night (1998)
  • Best of the Guitar Slingers (various artists) (2002)
  • Live and Loud (various artists) (2002)
  • Rock Thunder (various artists) (2002)
  • Bryan Lee: Bryan Lee's Greatest Hits (2003)
  • Rockin' 70s (various artists) (2004)
  • Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir & the Jubilation Big Band – I'll Take You There (track 9) (2005)
  • Revolution – A Rock and Roll Tribute to The Beatles (various artists) (2005)
  • Doc Rock presents Classic Rock Weekend (various artists) (2006)
  • Vargas Blues Band – Flamenco Blues Experience (track 2) (2008)
  • Nos stars chantent le blues à Montréal – track 5. Who do you love? – Jonas (avec Frank Marino) (2010)
  • Just Gettin' Started – track 4. Wild Horses – Nanette Workman (2012)



  1. ^ Brown, Pete; Lisa Sharken (2003). Gear Secrets of the Guitar Legends: How to Sound Like Your Favorite Players. Hal Leonard. p. 97. ISBN 978-0-87930-751-6.
  2. ^ "FRANK MARINO Announces 'Immediate Retirement From Touring' Due To 'Debilitating Medical Condition'". June 30, 2021. Retrieved July 19, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Leslie, Jimmy (April 2005). "Not-So-Slight Return: A Massive Web-Fanbase Resurrects Frank Marino". Guitar Player. 39 (4): 94–97.
  4. ^ "Nothing Wooden about Mahogany Rush". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. October 1, 1993. Retrieved October 17, 2009.
  5. ^ Larkin, Colin (1992). The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Guinness. ISBN 978-1-882267-00-2.
  6. ^ Larkin, Colin (2002). The Virgin Encyclopedia of 70s Music. Virgin Books. ISBN 978-1-85227-947-9.
  7. ^ "Band History". Mahogany Rush. Retrieved October 17, 2009.
  8. ^ a b Drozdowski, Ted (September 22, 2009). "10 Guitar-Blasting 'Sons' of Jimi Hendrix". Gibson Guitar Corporation. Retrieved October 17, 2009.
  9. ^ Brown, Pete; HP Newquist; Jon F. Eiche (1997). Legends of rock guitar: the essential reference of rock's greatest guitarists. Hal Leonard. p. 114. ISBN 978-0-7935-4042-6.
  10. ^ Cromelin, Richard (September 20, 1975). "Mahogany Rush in Jimi's Shadow". Los Angeles Times. p. A.9.
  11. ^ Strauss, Duncan (February 1, 1983). "Frank Marino at Santa Monica Civic". Los Angeles Times. p. G.3.
  12. ^ "Reincarnated Rock and Roll?!: Frank Marino". Guitar Player. 28 (2): 83. February 1994.
  13. ^ "Frank Marino's Shredding High". Chart Attack, November 06, 2001, by Tim Melton
  14. ^ George-Warren, Holly; Patricia Romanowski; Jon Pareles (2001). The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll. Fireside. ISBN 978-0-7432-0120-9. frank marino.
  15. ^ thodoris (June 20, 2014). "Interview:Frank Marino (Mahogany Rush,solo)". Retrieved December 6, 2015.
  16. ^ Chappell, John (March 2002). "Repeat Offender: Zakk Wylde Reboards Ozzy's Crazy Train". Guitar Player. 36 (3): 64–67.
  17. ^ Bosso, Joe (December 7, 2012). "Joe Bonamassa: my top 5 not-so-guilty pleasures of all time". Music Radar. Retrieved December 6, 2015.
  18. ^ Hammond, Shawn (August 2001). "Pickups: Eric Gales". Guitar Player. 35 (8): 55.
  19. ^ Gold, Jude (July 2002). "Gear Bench Test: Vintage Modern 2266 Head and 425A Cabinet". Guitar Player. 41 (7): 136–39.
  20. ^ a b Byrd, James (March 2011). "Frank Marino: The Father of Fast". Vintage Guitar. p. 22.
  21. ^ "Exclusive Interview: Frank Marino Legendary Guitarist "I Can't Play Guitar Without Severe Pain"".

External links[edit]