Frank Marino, Guitarist-Leader of Mahogany Rush, Retires: Health

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Frank Marino at the Agora Theatre in Cleveland

Frank Marino, the guitarist, vocalist and leader of the Canadian rock band Mahogany Rush, has announced his immediate retirement due to “an unexpected and debilitating medical condition.” No specifics were revealed though he did ask fans “to include me in their prayers.” He posted the news on his Facebook page shortly after 11 p.m. ET on June 29, 2021. At the time of the announcement, Marino, just 66 years old, had several dozen dates scheduled for September and October.

Marino is the sole continuous member of Mahogany Rush and his guitar prowess has often been compared to that of Jimi Hendrix. The band’s core lineup also included bassist Paul Harwood, and drummer Jimmy Ayoub. They were later joined by Marino’s brother Vince Marino also on guitar. The band released albums nearly every year throughout the ’70s but a hit single evaded them and none ever earned significant chart success. As the decade came to a close, they were billed as Frank Marino and Mahogany Rush, and were a popular concert draw as the opening act for fellow rock bands.

Watch Dickey Betts introduce the band’s performance of “Johnny B. Goode” on The Midnight Special in 1978

Related: Frank Marino & Mahogany Rush performed at 1978’s massive California Jam 2

Marino’s full statement noted: “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-century. 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.”

Watch Marino perform at the Agora

Marino was born Francesco Antonio Marino on November 20, 1954 in Montreal, Canada. On his website, he tells a tale of his guitar prowess. “The most often heard story is that I took an overdose and woke up from a coma in the hospital and somehow became the spirit of Hendrix… endowing me with this amazing ability to play a guitar and magically know everything about it. Later on the story changed into a version that said I was in a car accident, died and came back as Jimi Hendrix in my body.

“The short truth about it is that I learned how to play guitar while recuperating from my trip. The guitar became a soothing help for me because of my great fear of letting my mind wander back into the trip if I wasn’t occupied and besides it was the only thing in the hospital relaxation room. I never even thought about the guitar before since I played the drums quite well anyway. I had this trip while Hendrix was still alive and began to play his music because it matched perfectly to what I was going through at the time.”

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  1. Sleepwalk Blue
    #1 Sleepwalk Blue 30 June, 2021, 11:49

    What a crying shame about Frank Marino. I’ve seen him several times and such was the wall of power emanating from his band that it seemed nothing short of a nuclear blast could lay him low. As a proud Canadian, I’m wishing him nothing but hope.


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    • marcddailey
      marcddailey 1 July, 2021, 03:00

      My heart goes out to Frank Marino, Mahogany Rush, all of their family, all of their friends, all of us fans. Thanks for all your music!

      Reply this comment
  2. Gregorio
    #2 Gregorio 1 July, 2021, 01:12

    I have seen Frank Marino/Mahogany Rush several times. Each time they blew the roof off the place. It was truly an extraordinary musical experience!
    My heart is saddened to hear this news.
    I was planning on seeing them this Fall in the Detroit area.
    Indeed, Frank, I will pray for you! I am a believer in Jesus Christ and in miracles.
    I was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and I am still here by the grace of God 10 years later.
    Calling all prayer warriors to intercede on Frank’s behalf!

    Reply this comment
    • Max
      Max 12 July, 2021, 21:39

      Amen. Frank is simply the best, period. I was going to my first ever concert this Sep in the Washington DC area. May the Lord strengthen this brother and give him peace.

      Reply this comment
  3. makk
    #3 makk 1 July, 2021, 09:19

    The Canadian Jimi Hendrix. Saw them play on a flatbed trailer in a hay field in Glover Vt on the 4th of July in the early 70s.

    Reply this comment
  4. 3rdStoneMan
    #4 3rdStoneMan 1 July, 2021, 12:03

    So sorry to hear of your suffering. I first heard you one late night on the radio playing Funky Woman and I have “been listening to her scream all this time”! Wow! Long time gone but will not be forgotten. All the best to you and family.

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