Thursday, 20 December 2007


Marikesh began as the neighborhood garage band. Mark Mikel, Scott Tabner and Ian McCormack knew each other since they were 6 to 8 years old. They used to play together and pretend they had their own rock group, "The Jelleybeans." They knew who was to play what, so they each begged their respective parents to supply them with the instruments (which they eventually did). Once they had the stuff, they changed the name briefly to "The Bronze Serpent" and played their first shows at high schools and parties. Tabner and Mikel renamed the band "Marikesh" after deciding exactly what kind of band they wanted to be. As Marikesh's popularity grew, different musicians were auditioned to help fill out the sound. Mikel: "No one really ever worked out with us because we were so musically weird and really tight as a band of good friends. We had to find another close friend and have him learn an instrument." They chose their roadie Daniel Rhyand to be the new keyboard player. Dan worked to buy his own gear and practiced relentlessly anything that Mark taught him. Almost as soon as they were becoming a tight four-piece, Ian's father got a job transfer to Georgia. To carry on without Ian was unthinkable, but breaking up the band was even more unthinkable. It was around this time that Mark's parents bought him a 4-track tape machine. Mark and Ian taped a co-written song called "It Looks Like Rain" just days before Ian moved away. Mikel: "It was getting really hard to keep everyone interested in carrying on without Ian. Plus we all kind of got into smoking grass, so partying took a lot of attention away from the music. I decided to pretty much become a recluse and record my own song ideas on my 4-track machine. I started then with a song called "I'm Laughing" and I never really stopped." Marikesh kept going with the help of John Conroy on bass. John was from a rival group that had just disbanded. He was a guitarist who was talked into being the bassist. John was not aware that they only planned to keep him as long as Ian was away. Playing bars was now something everyone was almost old enough to do, so the group started performing in nightclubs all over town. In 1980, they were gearing up to cut their first independent single. They rehearsed long and taped home versions of "Rock Garden" and "The Sky," but as the date to enter the studio drew nearer, John Conroy's fate was revealed. Ian McCormack was returning to Toledo to take up where John left off.

"Rock Garden" (A), "The Sky" (B) from 1980 on Keshsongs Records

Mikel: "It was tough to do that to John. Dan's the one who actually told him and that made it worse because Dan was pretty cold about it. I think he took it really hard. But Ian was the better bass player and we were going to spend a lot of money. Dan didn't even play on the single because he knew I could do it better." "Rock Garden/The Sky" was a mild success. Regular airplay on local radio helped them achieve some respect as an original group. For the next few years they would successfully continue to play the "Top 40-style" nightclubs with their own songs. Mikel: "We've never really fit in anywhere. Even to this day our music doesn't go along with what every one else is doing. It's always been that way and that's why we were never rich and famous." That's why in 1983, legendary promo man Al Coury turned down Marikesh. Coury, at a lunch meeting, told Mark that the music was incredibly good, but a little too good. He asked Mark if he was willing to do some "new wave." Mikel: He just wasn't looking for me. Nobody was at that time. Al's latest discovery was Irene Cara and he was raving about her. I did record a couple of diabolically new wave sounding songs, but I never sent them to him. I was afraid he'd like them."

Marikesh-Mas "Crazy On Christmas" (A), "Look" (b) from 1984 on Marikesh Records

After years and mounds of home recordings, Mark felt ready to produce an album entirely at home. Mikel: "I ended up playing more than anyone else on the record basically because the others didn't really have the time. Recording my songs was something that usually got forced on them. They also weren't the type of guys to sit at home and write music anyway. Marikesh was becoming more my dream than theirs. It was to eventually fizzle out completely." It took about a year and a half to complete the album, so to keep Marikesh from being forgotten about they released a Christmas single in late '84. "Love Is What You Want" was released in Toledo area record stores in late '85. It received good reviews and was played regularly on local radio.

Front Cover
A short series of concerts were performed before Marikesh slipped into the woodwork like yesterday's news and disbanded in 1986. Mark continued to record with an intention to release a second Marikesh album. Mikel: "I could get Dan over to record no problem. Ian was a little tougher and Scott was almost impossible. I would bring in friends of mine like T.J. Evans or Jeff Kollman to do the lead guitars. Then reality would set in that I really don't have a group so how can I promote a new album? It took me years to realize I wasn't in Marikesh anymore."

Love Is What You Want
ARTIST: Marikesh
LABEL: Marikesh Records
YEAR: 1985
Only 1000 made
Side 1: Love Is What You Want/Taking On A Day/Sam The Computer/Frogtown/The Policeman Can/When I Grow Up I'll Be A Spy/Mother's Eyes No. 1
Side 2: Mother's Eyes No. 2/Judy's Aquarium/She's The Girl/Capital L-O-V-E/Don't Be Afraid/Where Have You Been?/I'm Sorry Bad About You


Mark Mikel "We were very headstrong and maybe even foolish to record a 60's sounding psychedelic album in the mid-1980s but I'm glad we did because it holds up over time (unlike most 80s albums). There is one concession to the 80s on LIWYW and that's Sam The Computer. Of course that was our most popular song. I still like the trippy stuff like Judy's Aquarium and I'm Sorry Bad About You."

Back cover
Mark Mikel "BIG hair evokes to me images of 80s bands that poofed it up. I've never heard our hair described that way. My hair was no bigger than Lennon's on Abbey Road. Probably less even.We were products of the late 60s and early 70s, so the long hair was just always there. No one ever permed or poofed it. Dan Rhyand and Ian McCormack had natural fros ala Micky Dolenz/Roger Daltry. It just grew that way. A couple years earlier they looked like Hendrix. But at the time of this shot Dan's hair was thinning (as was mine) so it kind of dropped. Ian cut his hair pretty short but it still curled. We were hippies when hippies were out. Tabner's was cut shorter than normal. We hated the look and sound of the spandex/big hair bands. Still do. Even the term "hair band" didn't exist until a few years later. I never thought it applied to long hair- just permed out. If you look closely you can see I'm trying to look "woodstock" with the feathers, fringes and flags. Dan was trying to look Sgt Pepper-y with the marching band jacket. Scott and Ian being into jazz were a bit more late 70s (Weather Report) in their dress and style.But I always hated those pics on the album. We do look ridiculous."

Mark Mikel “I always loved Lend Me A Flower" but mainly for Ian McCormack's bass playing. Ian made every Marikesh track a canvas for really complex melodic bass playing but somehow never got in the way of the song. So sad he gave it up all those years ago.”

The Marikesh album has never been released on cd..though one day it might be....only ever on vinyl and cassette...until then we suggest you pop over to the bugvault at ebay and grab either an album or tape version of this excellent and rare collectable of an album, then covert it onto cdr yourself and then courtesy of no lesser person than Bob Tibbitts, download and print his excellent cd cover artwork conversion. ( see above for front, back, tray inlay and below for back case). If anybody wants the CD artwork with all the crop marks and at the correct size as jpg, pdf or tiff and eps. Then email Bob and that fine gentleman will sort you out. You can then print it direct to your inkjet printers.

Okay its not gonna be as wonderful as the remastered, annointed, bonus tracked to the hilt, ten paged booklet official reissue when it comes one day but its still something special.....thanks Bob.

CD Case Back

1 comment:

jay said...

special thanks to steve mumford for the scans of the two singles