Mark Aguirre

A first person account:

I was born and raised in this valley (Phoenix) a little while ago (centuries - ed.) and my first musical recollections of this town was of this C & W bar on 19th avenue and Van Buren called McGoo's. 

They had country and western bands and boxing every Friday night. Not professional boxing but cud chewing , name-on-the-back-of-their-belt, radar-eared, Chandler/Glendale cowpokes beating the bejesus out of each other for fun.........FOR FUN. I thought I was destined to live in this god-forsaken-sanctuary for Buck Owens wannabes.

Then one night in 1962, while my father was working a second shift job at the Republic and Gazette [that's what the Arizona Republic newspaper used to be called] on a Saturday night , I was watching The Jack Parr show, soon to be changed toThe Tonight Show , with my Mom.  He did a story on a group of guys from a place called Liverpool in England...

He prefaced his story on how the entire city was being lit up by the music these guys were playing. He went to film and the story started off showing The Lads , in black and white, wailing, playing and shaking to music they were playing that I had never been witness to before.

My whole life changed. The next thing I knew the local radio stations KRIZ and KRUX were playing their hits.All my brother's friends were growing their hair long. My brother got into a band. His friends got into bands.

Some of the local bands I remember:

The Precious Few [they played a lot of Byrds], the Mile Ends [they played underground music and music by Them], The Earwigs [they played really underground stuff, The Yardbirds, Clearlight, stuff I've never heard before AND they wrote their own songs, wooah....they would soon become The Spyders and after that Alice Cooper] The Red , White and Blues Band, which would become The Tubes. All these bands came out due to ONE band. The Beatles.

   I never looked back. I got a guitar , took 6 months of lessons and headed down the hole, like Alice looking for the Rabbit with the pocket watch.

   I've played in Rock bands, blues bands, country bands [I'm still apologizing for that], funk bands, jazz bands, cover bands, variety bands, show bands, duos, trios, quartets, quintets, octets and trapezoid triangle bands.

   Whenever I've been asked to list my influences and there are many, it never fails for me to start my list with The Beatles. Unapologetically aware that everything I've learned about chords,harmony, song structure and vocal blend is in deference to them.

   I bought their 45's religiously every 2-weeks to a month or more at Bill's Records in Chris Town Mall, the new central social scene to meet chicks and other hipsters like myself. I bought Beatle boots, both the zippered and seamed center with 2.5" Cuban heels at Tom McAnn's. I bought a corduroy John Lennon cap. I was everything but a Beatle. That didn't stop me. I continued to play way after the group went their separate ways. 

   I've played guitar all my life. I will continue to play hopefully till they are burning all my guitars at my funeral pyre. (uh, "will me" the Gretsch Tennessean - ed.)

   I have never , ever been in a band where the focus and focal point were on the Beatles until my birthday one year. I asked my fellow Skiesian , Bobby, to join me in putting a band together that would learn and play, sequentially , the entire Rubber Soul album, a benchmark recording for me.

We tapped Micro [Mike Roe] to play bass, H.W.[Keith Rosenbaum] to play drums and Charles Newton for ancillary keyboards. We learned the whole album , got a friend to loan me his night club for a night, invited friends and family and made the mistake of taping the whole evening.

Marmalade Skies was founded, although at that time, I dubbed it Rubber Spam.

   Five years later and Bobby had his birthday and called me up and said," It was a bad choice doing what we did for your birthday.....let's do it again". We did, and THAT was the start of Marmalade Skies.

   With the addition local vocal stylist Jodi Drew  and the recent addition of keyboardist Stevie Golba, the true vision of Marmalade Skies has come to fruition.

   It's a tremendously fun, talented group of players that I'm blessed to be a part of. We've all been heavily influenced by the Beatles throughout our playing lives and now we are able to get together with good friends and wonderfully talented players and play music by some good friends who we've never ever met but have considered them to be part of our family and lives.

It doesn't get any better than this.