|Marc Bristol, Rockabilly & Blue Suede News
Born in Michigan, in a place called Muskegon (which means roughly swamp by the river in the native tongue), Marc Bristol comes from a long line of entertainers. His great grandfather had a wild west show and a caravan of wild animals like lions, tigers, bears and reptiles. Marc's great grandma was a "snake charmer" or reptile woman and her daughter, Marc's grandmother, sang and did a contortionist act in vaudeville as "Baby Nona". Marc's dad sang in a barbershop quartet (the Aire Tonics, Mich. State champs '56-'57), and his mother was a tap dancer. Because of the automobile and fruit industries, Michigan is full of all sorts of people with different backgrounds - hillbillies of every stripe, Okies, Arkies, Cajuns, Blacks, Chicanos, immigrants from everywhere. This made for a wide range of influences on a young writer and musician. To top it off young Bristol spent many evenings in the late '50s and early '60s tuning the AM radio band pulling in signals from far off radio stations bouncing off the ionosphere. In the process Marc listened to every kind of music on the airwaves at the time. He was already displaying a voracious appetite for variety. Bristol's career in music started in the mid-'60s playing rock and roll, but soon expanded to include country, blues and folk music. While in college Marc played in a few more bands, then turned to soloing on the college coffee-house circuit. After conferring himself with a "black belt" in journalism from the "school of hard knocks", he stuck out his thumb and he and his guitar took a couple turns around the U.S. looking for a suitable place in the country to live and write some songs.
The place turned out to be Index,Washington, in the Cascade Mountains. After woodshedding (literally) for a couple of years, Marc unleashed himself on the unsuspecting Seattle music scene, starting modestly on the streets and in the cafes of the colorful Pike Place Market. It didn't take long before he was also playing coffeehouses colleges, and pubs. Then, when he met a couple of like-minded musicians, he formed The Okie Doke Stringband - the name gleaned from a collection of names used in jest by Marc's first band back in Muskegon (who jokingly called themselves "Okie Doke & The Local Yokels", among other names). That was the mid-'70s.
Marc's first band the Moogaloonies, alias Blue Blais and the Flash Gordon Four, alias Okie Doke & the Local Yokels, alias Potts & the Pans. 1965. Okie Doke still performs occasionally (most recent recording Feel Like Flying), and Marc plays in a couple of other bands as well, most notably the Filé Gumbo Zydeco Band. At this writing Bristol's catalog of original tunes numbers over 90, and spans a wide variety of styles from rockabilly & country, to blues, R&B, calypso and beyond. Other artists are beginning to pick up on those tunes - Rockabilly star Ronnie Dawson released his version of Marc's "Sucker For A Cheap Guitar", and Marc's also had tunes done by Northwest R&B sensation Duffy Bishop and nationally syndicated radio stars Sandy Bradley & Small Wonders (their show was called "Potluck").
As if he wasn't busy enough performing and writing songs, Marc also wrote a regular column for The Mother Earth News for 6 years and now edits his own American roots music magazine called Blue Suede News - House Organ of the Church of Rock'n'Roll!!!
Blue Suede News
Courtesy of Marc Bristol