Frank Marino announces immediate retirement from touring and “possibly all things related to continuing my career” due to unexpected illness

Frank Marino
(Image credit: Gus Stewart/Redferns via Getty)

Mahogany Rush icon and electric guitar god Frank Marino has announced his retirement from touring, and possibly music altogether, after revealing he has developed an “unexpected and debilitating” medical condition.

Though no specific details were given regarding the condition, Marino stated that it has made it impossible for him to continue his prolific touring career.

In a statement posted to Facebook, Marino wrote, “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,” he continued. “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.

“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.”

Marino cemented his reputation among his contemporaries via a string of successful albums with Mahogany Rush throughout the '70s.

Zakk Wylde once commented of his playing, “Frank is just an amazing combination of feel, taste, musicality and technique. It’s all there, and in staggering degrees.”

Over the course of his career, Marino established his legacy as an eclectic guitar-wielding powerhouse, with his infectious explorations of blues, jazz, rock and psychedelia prompting Marty Friedman, Steve Vai and Joe Bonamassa to all voice their praise over the years.

Speaking to Guitar World in 2015, Marino mused, “For me, playing music has always just been about having fun with my friends. Beyond that, it’s not that important. 

“The self-importance of rock and rollers –  particularly guitar players – I mean, we’re not curing cancer, we’re not saving the world,” he continued. “What are we doing? We’re a bunch of guys who play instruments and who are actually getting money to do it. That’s unbelievable! I’d do it for free!”

Of his love of the guitar, the Mahogany Rush leader continued, “I progressed incredibly quickly. In my state of mind, I hung onto that guitar the way a person would grab a piece of shipwreck if he was drowning in the ocean. It was a lifeboat for me.”

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.