For 30 years, Marc David Gambino has helped bring success to various types of rock bands by instilling in them an interesting twist on the bass guitar. He has continued to pursue the dream, while most of his former bandmates and peers have let their musical aspirations fall by the wayside.
At age 14, an accurate prediction came from his father and biggest musical inspiration (Thom Gambino, anaccomplished musician and composer). When purchasing Marc’s first bass, he told him: “As a bass player, you’ll always be in demand.”
In February of 2011, Kimon & The Prophets (Marc’s sixth band) represented New Jersey in Memphis at The International Blues Challenge, as they were about to release their 2nd album, “Trenton Blues.” Their 2009 debut, “Roadhouse Party,” garnered international acclaim, such as Gareth Hayes of BLUES MATTERS magazine, who wrote, “Fans of Stevie Ray Vaughn will lap up this three-piece, as they launch into a fiery selection of electric blues. Kimon Katafigiotis heads up the trio, but there is no doubt that the support team are, like with the Stevie Ray sound, very much part of the package; in particular Concrete Jungle’s Marc Gambino.”
After a rave review and subsequent full-page feature ran in KERRANG! Magazine, Concrete Jungle (Marc’s third band, stereotypically (though not entirely accurately) described as a glam/hair metal act in which he spent 9 years) achieved its pinnacle in 1989. Derrick Oliver wrote this, which propelled “Wear And Tear” to #3 on the UK import charts: “Typically brash and American, they come across as a perfectly arrogant mixture of Ratt, Dokken and Roth-era Van Halen. Exciting guitar riffs jostle for position amongst the heavy duty rhythm pounding of bassist Marc David and drummer Michael X.” Indeed, it was Marc’s twist of incorporating a funk/slap style with his brother, Michael Gambino’s syncopated, toe-tapping beats that set the band apart from the standard fare at the time.
Though Concrete Jungle’s success fizzled out quickly due to their indy label’s inability to capitalize on the sudden acclaim, a cult following remains to this day. And rare CD’s of Wear and Tear still fetch up to $450 apiece onInternet auctions.
Between Concrete Jungle and The Prophets, Marc helped bring success to two other bands. A four-year stint in Saving Grace (a/k/a Highway Jones, his fourth band) teamed him up with cousin Lou Corio on drums. Their 1996 self-titled release drew rave reviews and unlocked doors for the band to open up regional shows for such diverse acts as Eric Johnson, The Tom Tom Club and Quiet Riot.
Six and a half years following that were spent as a member of maybe pete, a roots rock outfit that Marc helped make unique by adding his hard rock experience. In a review of one of their early shows, Bill Roberts wrote in THE AQUARIAN, “The band is incredibly tight, with Marc Gambino laying down one solid-ass pocket of a bass groove.”
Gary Wien of UPSTAGE magazine wrote this after the band’s heralded 2005 release, “Between The City And The Stratosphere”: “The thundering bass sound of Marc Gambino gives maybe pete that something extra which all great rock bands have. It’s the type of sound that wakes you up and forces you to pay attention to who’s on stage. Whether he’s playing metal or punk or straight rock and roll, Gambino is always able to supply just the right kind of groove to make the music come alive.”
Al Muzer of THE EAST COAST ROCKER concurred, saying, “Bubbling just under the chaotic guitar interplay, on-the-money bassist Marc Gambino threw down a rock solid bottom line that included just enough slip ‘n’ slide funk to keep feet in the crowd constantly on the move. Part of a truly outstanding rhythm duo, Gambino’s genius as a bassist is to never overplay.”
The band built a loyal following in Asbury Park during the area’s musical resurgence, and was nominated in at least four categories in three consecutive Asbury Music Awards, including winning for Best Roots Band.
Fast-forwarding to today in starting Lion-Hearted, Marc finds himself paired with Joseph D’Aqui on drums. Marc and Joseph immediately clicked in their short time together before recently leaving “The Prophets”. Ready to take on lead vocal responsibilities as well, it is the musical situation Marc has waited for his entire bass playing life. He grew up on driving, funky, and upbeat bluesy hard rock. And everyone knows you never forget your first love.
Thirty years of grooving with no end in sight, “Bino,” as he is affectionately known as to friends and fans, is only getting funkier with age.