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Rank and Revue - VOL. 1, Issue 23,  featuring Mike Mariconda

Rank and Revue - VOL. 1, Issue 23,  featuring Mike Mariconda

Rank and Revue - VOL. 1, Issue 23,  featuring Mike Mariconda

Mike Mariconda
You think you know, but you don't know diddley…


Some of you know Mike Mariconda as the DJ of the Beerland sponsored "ScuzzClub," or as the DJ at Casino El Camino on the third Monday of each month, but there are quite a few people who don’t know what an influential member of our musical community Mariconda actually is.
He was a member of one of the bands that helped form my musical taste and continues to this day to help produce and record bands that would otherwise never be heard if not for him.

A "lifer" who has been playing music for twenty-six years, Mariconda has been an integral part of the scene and will forever be a legend in my book.

Mike Mariconda

That being said, I had the honor of sitting down with him and asking him a few things about his love of music, how things have changed since the birth of his daughter, and if he thought he was better than me.

When I asked him how many bands he played with, he gave me a card with them all written down, telling me that he knew he wouldn’t ever be able to remember them all. In order that they appeared, they are: The Raunch Hands, The StepBrothers, The Bloody Tears, Devil Dogs, Cosmic Psychos, DMZ, The Hard Feelings, The Bulemics and Sons of Hercules.

I first heard the Raunch Hands when I was a teenager in San Antonio. I don’t remember who gave it to me, but it was a copy of Fuck Me Stupid, which at once intrigued me just by the title alone, but also raised the ire of my parents, which of course pleased me to no end.

At the time I was heavy into death metal like Pungent Stench and Guttural Breath. My only foray into punk pock was by way of Rock 'n' Roll High School in the movie theatre when I was eight years-old and living in Korea. While it sparked my interest, it didn’t do anything for me, like Slayer and Bolt Thrower did.

Mike Mariconda

The Raunch Hands changed my perspective a little in that I was willing to give it more of a chance. I liked that the content of these songs was all about getting fucked or sucked and not really too much else.

Being a big fan of Satan at the time, I knew that I would eventually return to metal, but was willing to have my feet straddle both musical lines for a bit.

I asked Mariconda what he was eventually trying to do with his musical career since he recently became a member of a local television station. He was quick to point out that music was not his career, and that it was merely a hobby at this point in his life.

He told me that in the '80s he thought of making it a career, but knew he needed a viable job in case it didn’t work out.

Along with his viable job at the television station, Mariconda has regular gigs recording bands at local music holes The Sweatbox, The Bubble and The Pawnshop, including a notable recording for 1993's Hits for the Misses by local favorites, The Sons of Hercules.

Although gaining a reputation as a hardass, Mariconda continues to be a sought after producer. He likens his talent as being a makeover specialist and told me that when he sees something that isn’t good in the world he changes it and makes it right. He applies that to every aspect in his life, hence the reputation as a hardass. He intentionally surrounds himself with beautiful things and people, and he told me he was tired of all of the Prozac-popping whiners that dominate the music scene now who can’t take criticism.

I asked him about the influences that made up his musical taste, and how he found out about them. As a kid growing up in Patterson, New Jersey, Cream magazine came to the rescue. In it he was able to find out what his idols (The Ramones, The Who, Pink Floyd) liked and who they were inspired by.

Mariconda lists Jerry Lee Lewis, James Brown and Bo Diddley as the main reasons why he even plays music to this day. Diddley is apparently his major influence because of his heavy focus on rhythm and how important rhythm is to Diddley's overall sound. He considers these three musicians true legends that always deliver the goods, no matter how old they get.

Completely off the subject, I found out that Jerry Lewis was one of his favorite people. That’s right folks, Jerry Lewis. Not to be a bitch, but damn, Mike, what the fuck is up with that? I understand hometown loyalty and all, but give me a break.

I think one of the main things I was curious about was how Mariconda has managed to play in so many bands and still maintain his level of interest. With a home life involving his baby girl and wife, I couldn’t imagine too much time for anything else. I asked him what it was like to not be out raging at 5:00 a.m. every morning anymore, and he gave me the best answer that I’ve ever heard: "All of the good conversations are had by three o’clock in the morning. At best you’re just listening to some jackass retelling you a story about his dad being a Marine in Vietnam for the third time. I’d rather be at home.’

Amen brother.

Another interesting thing I found out was that Mariconda joined the Bloody Tears in order to improve his keyboard skills. Being a guitar player that plays the bass and the keyboards, he feels that the best way to improve on any instrument is to be in a band with people that are better than you are.

Mike Mariconda is truly a dynamic character. I’m happy to know him and to know more of what he’s about.

He wants everyone to know that while being a musician is great and a lot of fun, that it’s the people that run the bars and work in the bars who deserve the recognition and praise.

In particular, Mariconda mentions Randall and Donya of Beerland and the bar and waitstaff at Casino. He wants to thank them for their hospitality and the dedication it takes to run a bar. He feels that these are the people that get to witness the ugliest of the ugly and deal with it firsthand--all in the name of rock and roll.

So anyway, make sure you go and see The Bloody Tears and the Stepbrothers the next time they play, if you’re down for white boy soul, and definitely check out Mariconda spinning records at Casino El Camino every third Monday.

--Corri Mava

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