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|Mardo on Mardo
Singer for glam/metal band Mardo, Aron Mardo, talks shop on famous acquaintances,
whirlwind touring and that all-important sophomore disc .
SEE MARDO LIVE ON APRIL 26 AT HELL'S KITCHEN IN TACOMA
by Chris Mulally
“The last couple years have been a whirlwind for us,” says Aron Mardo, on the success of the band that shares his last name. The recording of Mardo’s latest disc, soon to be released, took less time to record than the last (four weeks rather than five), and the band’s increasing popularity has allowed them to spend time with true rock superstars, like Jimmy Page, Mike Ness (Social Distortion), the Violent Femmes, Green Day and Weezer.
“The thing I liked best about Michael Stipe (of REM) was he was very warm,” Mardo says. “We played with him three nights, and the one thing I am seeing over and over again with the greats, is just that they are great people; they are humble, honest people.”
On recently meeting Jimmy Page, Mardo says, “He just seemed like he was paranoid of everything. I saw two or three people walk up to him and they introduced themselves and he just turned away. I walked up to him, introduced myself, holding out my hand, and looked him right in the eyes, and he reached his hand from under the Mexican blanket he was wearing, and he shook it.”
Several years ago, the Mardo brothers were sharing a rehearsal spot with the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Aron’s brother Robert, close with RHCP drummer Chad Smith, used to bring a barbeque to the studio and cooked burgers with the boys every day for a couple months.
“That kind of stuff you can’t buy,” Mardo says.
Not bad for a couple of boys from a small farming town in Southern California.
Fame and fortune have also come into play, though. While touring extensively, heading to places as remote as Argentina, the boys lost along the way a couple of their very close friends, one to old age and one to suicide.
Mardo says was upset because their extensive touring kept them from saying proper goodbyes. And, life seemed to just went on without them while they were away from home.
“You miss things like having Christmas and Thanksgiving,” he says.
As a result, Mardo is quick to warn young people that they have to sacrifice everything they love for music if it is their true passion. There is no sense in putting one’s family and friends through the stress of watching them try to make it, he says. “You don’t have a chance in hell unless you are willing to jump of the edge.”
As for the new album coming out, Mardo, the band, used the exact same recording techniques as last time. Their goal is to go into the process with as little formula as possible.
“My brother and I hold to a few simple philosophies,” Mardo says. “One formula is to have no formula. Second, be yourself. We would rather be hated for what we are than loved for what we are not.”
The drum tracks were recorded at their house, tracked live to tape.
“We like to track live to tape because it is what we have always done.” They, unlike many other musicians, are exceptional at recording live in one take without thousands of overdubs, like many pro tools users these days.
Aron started in music as a farmer, driving a tractor from 5 in the morning to 5 at night. He didn’t have anything to record his ideas, so he learned to write entire songs and memorize them in his head. Neither of the boys have taken any music lessons, and instead of covering songs like many bands do, they just started writing their own and never stopped.
Now they have honed their songwriting abilities so much so that when they go into the studio like they recently did, they can crank something out, with nothing written, no chord structure before they started, in just a matter of a few weeks. Some bands have taken over a year or even up to five to finish an album. But Mardo realized that many of their great ideas are just given to them.
“A lot of my best ideas come in the shower and right before I go to sleep at night,” Aron said. “They are gifts from the gods. When the gods are smiling down you don’t ask yourself ‘why?’ you just bow your head and say ‘thank you.’”
Mardo makes a tour stop in Tacoma on April 26 at Hell's Kitchen. For more information, hit up www.myspace.com/mardo, or www.mardomusic.com