Today's Paper Arkansas News LEARNS Guide Legislature Sports Core Values Puzzles Newsletters Public Notices Archive Obits Opinion Story Ideas

Five Minutes, Five Questions: Mike Marvin has link to original Kingston Trio

by Becca Martin-Brown | October 23, 2022 at 1:00 a.m.
Mike Marvin (left) is pictured with Kingston Trio co-founder Nick Reynolds. Marvin was taken into Reynolds’ family as a young teen when the Trio was at the height of their fame and popularity, and he still performs with the group today. (Courtesy Photo)

Although the Kingston Trio has been making music for nearly 65 years, there are still tangible and integral connections between the original group, founded in 1957 in the San Francisco Bay area by Dave Guard, Bob Shane and Nick Reynolds, and today's musicians. One of the biggest links between the past and the present is Mike Marvin, who sings baritone in today's Kingston Trio and plays a Martin D-28 guitar and Deering Plectrum banjo. With the group scheduled to bring their "Keep The Music Playing" national tour to the Faulkner Center in Fayetteville Oct. 26, Marvin took a moment to answer five questions for What's Up!

Q. Talk a little please about the significance of the original Kingston Trio's contributions to folk music and pop culture of their period?

A. The original group was the inspiration for artists such as Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Crosby, Stills, and Nash and many more. The Trio's emergence on the music scene was significant as American society suddenly rediscovered folk music and adapted the Trio's "clean-cut" image to the culture at large. Soon there were folk groups everywhere. Boys cut their hair short, wore button-down shirts, and generally reversed course in their music tastes. Not until The Beatles did this change.

Q. I know all of today's members have links to the original group. Talk about how that relationship influences today's Kingston Trio as opposed to groups that just buy a band name.

A. We were accused of 'buying' the name, but that's a falsehood. Bob Shane made the statement, "The Kingston Trio is who I say it is." One day founder Bob Shane called and asked me to take over the reins. My connection was with Shane's original partner and Kingston Trio co-founder, Nick Reynolds; I was taken into Nick's family as a young teen when the Trio was at the height of their fame and popularity. Not only did Nick and his wife, Joan, take me into their family home, Nick gave me a chance to go on the road with the Trio and the invaluable opportunity to learn firsthand the music and the business of music with touring, recording, composing and promoting.

As far as the band goes, we are not a tribute or cover band; we all have intrinsic links to the original Trio and when we stand behind that single stick microphone the way they did, we sing the songs they sang. Think of it this way: The San Francisco 49ers won five of seven Super Bowls. Today, the 49ers don't have a single player or coach from those winning teams on their rosters. Yet, they are still the 49ers, and they still play before thousands.

Q. Is your show all classic hits or is there also new music?

A. It's mostly the hits and revered songs. There is only one brand new song in the show. Just one.

Q. Who do you see in your audiences? Is it multiple generations?

A. Our audience is mostly seniors and their children and grandchildren. In that sense, it crosses over. There are still millions of men and women old enough to appreciate the Kingston Trio, and it is a joy for us to play the songs of their youth. Recently during a meet-and-greet after a show, a woman approached and told me how she and her boyfriend saw the Trio at the Purple Onion in the Bay Area when they were students at UC Berkeley. Keeping the music alive for people like her and sharing it with a new generation makes it all worth it.

Q. What do you hope your music brings to them?

A. Our music is a version of a time machine. Nobody leaves our show depressed or down. Our show is an escape, a fun escape into a time when things were significantly different. For some, a time of innocence, really. In fact, for two hours people have a chance to re-experience a time in their lives that they treasured. Ours is a unique experiential evening of time travel through songs and stories, different from usual concert fare.

  photo  The Kingston Trio celebrates 65 years of music with its “Keep The Music Playing” national tour, stopping Oct. 26 at the Faulkner Center. (Courtesy Photo/Faulkner Center)

More News



The Kingston Trio:

‘Keep The Music Playing’ Tour

WHEN — 7:30 p.m. Oct. 26

WHERE — The Jim & Joyce Faulkner Performing Arts Center on the University of Arkansas campus in Fayetteville

COST — $30



Print Headline: Five Minutes, Five Questions Mike Marvin, Kingston Trio


Sponsor Content