Fishman Artist // Mario PargaBorn on the 7th of August 1969 in Lytham, Lancashire, England, Mario became interested in music and more specifically, the guitar at a very early age. Mario was given his first guitar (a small scale classical type) at the age of four, he was seven years old when he got his first electric guitar.
As a child, he grew up in both England and Spain, his mother is English and his father Spanish. Mario used to spend hours listening to records and then copying the guitar parts. Although he listened to a variety of musical styles, his Mother had numerous classical recordings, and he would borrow these and copy violin and piano parts. There were several classical musicans in the Parga family on his mother's side, so Mario was exposed to classical music at a very early age, favoring the late Classical and Romantic periods in particular with their great violin and piano soloists and composers of wonderful string arrangements. In Spain, Mario was exposed to the Spanish guitar and was greatly influenced by the fiery sound of Flamenco music early on in his musical development.
Mario played in his first band at the age of 10, it was around this time period that Mario became interested and influenced by rock music and also discovered the music of latin jazz fusion guitarist Al Di Meola who had a profound effect on him.
Considered by many to be one of the greatest sweep arpeggio players of the 'shred' guitar genre, Mario combines complex arpeggio patterns with rapid alternate picking and string bending. He is also renowned for his highly emotive slower playing.
Sometime in 1988 Mario was asked to play guitar for an unknown pop-rock band at a London venue as they performed for an audience containing music business people. A rock journalist from a magazine called Metal Forces attended the gig and liked what Mario did, and then began to feature him in the publication.
Since then, Mario has appeared in numerous mainstream magazines such as Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, Metal Forces, NME and the underground guitar fanzine G-Force. He's also appeared in major international guitar magazines and fanzines including Guitar Player and Guitar World, and was listed in the July '08 edition of Guitar World as one of the 50 fastest guitarists in the world (alternate picking technique) based on a note clocking experiment. Mario has also played a 'live' guitar solo on MTV and played 'live' on numerous radio and TV shows around the world.
Between the years of 1985 and 1988 Mario made quite a few underground demo recordings that haven't and won't be released, yet it never ceases to amaze him just how far these recordings have travelled. He's heard from guitar enthusiasts from all over the world who have some of these demos, and is often asked for transcriptions of some of the demo material (please see the FAQ page).
During the year 1990, Mario met ex-Marbles/Rainbow/Alcatrazz/MSG frontman and vocalist extraordinaire Graham Bonnet who was involved with a band called Forcefield. Graham and Mario became friends and Mario played on two of the Forcefield albums. It was through this project that Mario recorded a solo album for the same record company, President Records. This album was called The Magician and released in 1991.
Through these same connections Mario got to know drum and keyboard legends Cozy Powell and Don Airey. During the year of 1992, Cozy put together a band called Hammer, and Mario was recommended as guitarist for the band by Don. Cozy was enthusiastic with Mario joining Hammer as he remembered him from the Forcefield albums, and always referred to Mario as "the hooligan guitar player". The band was Cozy on drums, Neil Murray on bass, Tony Martin on vocals/backing guitar and Mario on guitar. During this time period, Mario played guitar on the remake of Cozy's 'Dance with the Devil'. Hammer went on tour and Mario has some very fond memories of it and the guys in the band. They had some great moments, but it came to an end in 1993 due to other commitments from everyone involved. Sadly, Cozy died in a tragic car accident a few years later in 1998.
In mid 1993 Mario returned to the acoustic guitar and played it almost exclusively. He recorded an unreleased acoustic album that was put to one side due to a number of reasons. 1994 saw him return to the electric guitar with a new project called Savage Paradise. The project remained unfinished, and due to disillusionment with the music industry Mario shied away from the music scene completely. Four years later, in 1998, Mario met up with his old friend Graham Bonnet in Los Angeles and played on his album The Day I Went Mad. This same album also featured guitarists Slash (Guns n Roses), Vivian Campbell (Dio/Whitesnake/Def Leppard), Bruce Kulick (Kiss) and John Thomas (Firefly).
Between the years of 1999 and 2000 Mario concentrated on writing material for both the electric and acoustic guitar. The songs 'Valse Diabolique' (The Alchemists, 2001) and 'Hourglass' (Warmth in The Wilderness II, 2002) were written during this time.
In 2001, he was approached by Liquid Note Records, a specialist guitar label. Mario recorded his track 'Valse Diabolique' for their album The Alchemists. During 2002, Mario recorded his haunting song 'Hourglass' for Lion Music's album Warmth in the Wilderness II.
Mario's latest guitar instrumental solo album Entranced was released on the 14th of April 2007 on his newly formed record label 'MidnightCafe Music'. The album instantly received great critical acclaim, and put Mario back into the international guitar spotlight.
Earlier in 2008 Mario collaborated with his friend, ex-Black Sabbath vocalist Tony Martin on a vocal version of one of the Entranced tracks called 'Spirit of Night'. The song was released as a single and was instantly taken to heart by both Mario's and Tony's fans. In December of 2008 Mario released the compilation album Spirit of Night featuring the vocal and instrumental versions of the song plus other material including 'Valse Diabolique'.