As you will read: I too was fooled by this con man!
At 2000 Fashion Show Drive in Las Vegas, Nevada, stands the Trump International Hotel and, thanks to the wonder of modern technology, something quite remarkable happened to me there in the last few days. Every week on my radio show I choose an album of the week which can be from any era or genre: generally my listener decides. Sometimes there’s an album that’s new by an artist either unknown or lesser known to British audiences. Additionally I may get the opportunity to interview the artist along with playing their music.
Such was the case with Marino De Silva. Marino (Roberts) is a British musician who moved to Beverley Hills some twelve years ago since when he has never looked back. I was sent his new album ‘Voodoo Charm’ by his agency in California and I decided to research his body of work. What I found was quite astounding. He’s a remarkable song writer and musician who’s C.V. reads like a who’s who of rock music, yet he’s virtually unknown this side of the Atlantic. Names like Quincy Jones and Keith Richards roll off his tongue, a tongue which still retains its Hull twang without having fully given in to the Californian drawl. If Marino were to walk into a room you’d guess his profession immediately from his demena and look: his image screams rock music. A cross between Robert Plant and Brian May but with a better tan. When promoting a new album the record company and the artist publicise its release for all its worth, maximizing exposure to the international media with force and gusto.
It was during one such press conference last week at the Trump International Hotel in Vegas that Marino remembered that Voodoo Charm was my album of the week. In front of the gathered assembly of press he asked one of the staff in the lobby of the hotel to log-on to the ‘listen now’ facility on the HFM website, which was then pumped into the hotel’s public address system and, sure enough, they were all in time to hear me play another track from the album. Now, with the best will in the world, I think that’s amazing. There I am in the HFM studio in the middle of England ‘chuntering’ away yet completely oblivious to the fact that my voice was booming out in a Las Vegas hotel. Can it be truly be said that ‘Richard Oliff’s played Vegas’? perhaps not, but with the help of modern technology it’s surely the next best thing! Marino revealed this little gem in our live interview as he was waking up in California with a ‘Bloody Mary’ in one hand and the phone in the other. During our conversation he said that the next time he comes to England to record or play he wants me to go along for ‘a bit of a jam’: to sit in on the drums. He’d done his homework, flattering for sure, yet just another example of the mans professionalism.
Or….. so I thought! March 2012 update: Since then Marino’s somewhat ‘dodgy’ past appears to have tracked him down, but not before he left his mark on so many people who had placed a great deal of trust and financial support in his apparent integrity and honesty. See http://hotmonsta.blogspot.co.uk/. They report that “Marino DeSilva was arrested on Wednesday 22nd February 2012 on felony charges within the jurisdiction of the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department Harbor Division. If you are interested in reviewing this updated record, registering for notification on his release or disposition visit the Los Angeles Sheriffs department Inmate Search page here: http://app4.lasd.org/iic/ajis_search.cfm The North Las Vegas district attorney and the Nevada division of Securities have thousands of claims against him well in excess of millions of dollars taken from bilked investors and swindled donors of his various false charities and fictional album ventures. “
From my own perspective, I feel that this man has compromised my professional integrity, both as a writer and broadcaster, by fraudulently encouraging promotion of his ‘work’ by using personal associations with mutual and influential friends (who had likewise been duped) for such live radio broadcasts and associated articles. I wonder if I could make a claim?
Marino Roberts’ (aka Marino De Silva) Known potted & limited musical history.
DEVOTION: A three-piece rock group from Hull, formed early in 1978 by Andy Shillito (bass), Mike Simpson (drums) and Marino Roberts (guitar/vocal) and originally called The Seedy Gees, with a set of cover versions. Later in the year the band began writing their own material and changed their moniker to Devotion, soon achieving a remarkable popularity in the Hull area. Although Roberts also handled lead vocals, it was his guitar playing which was far-and-away the centrepiece of the often-instrumental combo, a mixture of Neil Young’s soaring melody and post-Hendrix blues. In March 1979 Devotion entered Fairview Studio and recorded three self-penned tracks: two instrumentals – the Hard-Prog Rocker DEVOTION and a superior Hard Rock number entitled ACID – plus ENERGY FOR THE UNIVERSE, a strong Guitar Rock cut sung by Marino Roberts. A 7” EP was issued one month later through the SRT plant in an edition of 1,000 copies, all sold locally. The platter, which turns up very rarely, would remain Devotion’s only release. Having being included in Greg Shaw’s book ‘New Wave On Record 1975-78’ the 7’’ is sought-after in New Wave circles although it is definitely much more interesting to NWOBHM buffs. Andy Shillito quit the group before the end of 1979 forming Mayfair, who failed to make it onto vinyl: he would later go on to studio/live sound work. Marino Roberts and Mike Simpson recruited new bassist Rob Creber and continued as Marino The Band, releasing a tape-only EP in 1983 and an album (WANNA KEEP YOU SATISFIED) in 1985. Simpson later became a respected drum teacher, while Roberts would issue several solo albums as Marino as well as assisting – live and in the studio – his sister Lisa Dominique.
April 2012 update: The British press finally catch on! http://www.thisishullandeastriding.co.uk/Hull-guitar-hero-Marino-Silva-Las-Vegas-jail/story-15790386-detail/story.html
LATEST: Marino Roberts AKA Marino De Silva jailed for up to eight years with a minimum sentence of three. http://www.classicrockmagazine.com/news/rock-fraud-marino-de-silva-jailed-for-up-to-8-years/