Yet they also remain shrouded in mystery. Sometimes reclusive, sometimes enigmatic, very chameleonic, the band channels its unparalleled power into its music and the results are at once comfortingly familiar but distinctly all their own.
Mardo plays melodic rock written for arenas that sounds just as good on acoustic guitars. Whether performing live or on record, this rapid-rising band will take you on a vast musical journey across genres and generations – from ‘70s glam through Motown soul to stadium rock and back again. Their self-titled debut will be released on House of Restitution Records on February 8, 2005.
Currently, four of the forthcoming album’s songs are being played on Mark Sovel‘s “Check One-Two” show on Indie-103 FM, including their pulse-pounding cover of Huey Lewis’ “I Want A New Drug.” The station is also planning to add their music into rotation throughout the rest of its programming schedule. Furthermore, Hybrid Magazine has already heralded the new CD as the “best power-rock album of the 2000’s,” and their live shows do nothing but give genuine credo to that acclamation.
Aron and Robbie were raised on good music and an appreciation for all things musical in a small farm town in Central California. They are two brothers with a great sense of self-assurance, who are steeped in melody, rhythm and style to boot.
“Coming from a small town allowed us to develop into something all our own, not having been influenced by the flavor of the month or becoming jaded by hearing the same old thing over and over again,” said Robbie. “When everyone else was listening to Bel Biv Devoe, I was listening to Pink Floyd, Miles Davis, The Who and The Kinks records. I didn’t even own a CD until high school.” But it didn’t keep the brothers from starting their extraordinary collection of rare vintage guitars, which has become both their pride and joy and an emblem of where their musical passion and tastes lie.
Their father, an avid music lover, was also a huge influence in their lives. He kept the vinyl spinning and brought them to their very first concerts, including performances by some of the most influential musicians of all time - Paul McCartney, Ray Charles, Tom Petty – all of whom have in some way inspired the eclectic Mardo style.
Although they jammed together their entire lives, the brothers didn’t officially become bandmates until they joined with a childhood friend to form The Spies. One of the songs off their self-produced EP was picked up for a major motion picture soundtrack and the band was quickly catapulted into the spotlight. Other songs were used on a number of popular television shows and were added to radio station playlists across the country.
The band’s enduring commitment to be heard brought about a staggering 30,000 album sales without the benefit of a major label or distribution and they independently charted on the Billboard Singles chart. The brothers also toured endlessly, crisscrossing the country and performing with a wide variety of bands (Social Distortion, Smashmouth, Fiona Apple, Blink 182, Brian Setzer Orchestra) in an assortment of venues. “We performed everywhere from garages to a 10,000-seat amphitheater in our hometown,” said Robbie.
Even though everything seemed to be going well on the surface, Aron and Robbie realized that the most important thing about being in a band was to have musical freedom. Following their own artistic vision, the brothers dissolved The Spies and were galvanized into forming their own band, Mardo.
The reason for choosing the “Mardo” family moniker for the band name is a very deliberate one. The brothers’ grandfather was a famous artist who worked with everyone from Andy Warhol to Frank Lloyd Wright, which is where Aron and Robbie attribute the artistic side of the project originating – right down to the album cover having been designed and painted by Aron. In his own words, “That was why we ultimately named the project Mardo - because the project is entirely us. All the instruments, all the art, everything...”
As one single entity, the brothers’ powerful visceral guitar and drum rhythms set the tone for their new personae. Their newest album was written and recorded in five weeks and financed entirely by Mardo. “We begged, stole, borrowed studio time, because it was important not to lose the rawness with the recording,” muses Robbie. “It whipped us back into shape.”
The brothers Mardo played all the instruments on the album (with the exception of a sax solo on “I Want a New Drug” by the record’s producer Les Pierce). On tour, the band is rounded out by the addition of Rob Small on guitar and background vocals.
The new album features the instantly catchy power-pop of the first single, “Here She Comes,” the layered vocal harmonies and chanting, rhythmic tribal-like beats which define “Poor Paul,” as well as many other gems like “Hey Girl,” a fist-pounding love song that pulls at the heartstrings while rocking your body to thunderous drums.
Of course, the biggest surprise on the album is the gritty, growling version of “I Want a New Drug.” Why this choice for a cover? As children, the brothers met Huey Lewis in the parking lot of his show, minutes before he was set to hit the stage and were impressed that he made a point to stop and shake their hands. Huey has also heard and likes the new version.
Mardo rocks! And their new album is testimony to their talent, their intense drive and their unparalleled tunesful craftsmanship. Their music will take you on an amazing trip back to the glorious hard rockin’ past, then hurl you into the future on a sonic wave of guitars, melodies and sheer unbridled artistry. Welcome to the unique world of Mardo. We know you’ll enjoy your stay!