Marlon Rabenreither of Goldstar

It was a late summer night in LA, I was partying with friends listening to music drinking some beers. My friend Ben, who’s THE music guru, and I were talking about a hot band in town right now, C.G. Roxanne and the Nightmares. He asked me if I had heard of Marlon’s solo project and when I said no he urgently took me inside went on youtube, and for the next 15 minutes I just sat there with a heavy heart, feeling incredibly inspired and in awe of a different side of Marlon I didn’t know existed. While smiling with my eyebrows raised I simultaneously wanted to cry, and harmonize with this new emotion Marlon’s music had ignited inside of me. I wanted to know what and WHERE this human writes from. I wanted to know who Marlon Rabenreither was. Fast forward a month later it’s mid afternoon in Hollywood and I was stuck in traffic running late- as usual. I was anxious to spend a couple hours with Marlon and find out what drives him to make the music he does. As I turned the corner in the busy intersection my GPS signaled I was at my destination. I looked to my right to find the large blue house I had heard stories about. I parked in the driveway. Marlon met me at the gate dressed stylish as all hell. He welcomed me with a huge smile led me into his house, Big Blue..I walked into a large room in awe of what I was seeing. After a tour of the massive house, he offered me a beer and we picked a spot on dueling couches. Marlon lit a cigarette and we talked for a while..

How did growing up in LA in the scene effect you personally?

“I think it affected me a lot. I’m from this neighborhood actually.. I’m a Hollywood kid, and thats a weird thing.. Especially for what people think Hollywood really is a strange place; one of the weirdest places I’ve ever been to. - Hollywood is sleazy and that’s what I love about it. I think that’s a huge part of my song writing. Los Angeles in general- This is Bukowski area, this is what he wrote about. Raymond Chandler; This place is a lot of history. People are always moving here to reinvent themselves, and nothings changed. This house we’re in has been here for over 100 years.”

How did you come up with the name Goldstar?

“I had a band called the Sister Ruby band and it was a Psych Rock band and I got offered a gig by Lucinda Williams who’s an idol of mine. After that, it inspired me to just do my own thing, start writing songs myself. Goldstar, it means so many different things. I guess the idea came from Phil Spector’s studio in Hollywood called Gold Star. Its a legendary studio thats no longer there and it just came to me-”

What does GoldStar mean to you compared to C. G?

“CG is, people just love it cause it’s fun, and GoldStar... it’s just another trip man. It’s something I want people to listen to in their headphones and fuckin cry about this shit. It’s a really different feel, a different approach to writing.”

When did you start playing music? Have you played your whole life?

“For a long time now. I never really seriously committed to it until I went to Art School in London to study painting and more towards the end I realized I was putting all my time into writing songs. I found it to be a more tangible, real pursuit. I came back to LA, about 5 years ago and started trying to play out. Music is the only honest thing I’ve ever found in my life.”

Were you scared?

“Yeah in a way. Performing and putting yourself out there is terrifying. But the more terrifying it is, the more likely you’re saying something valuable. You’re creating something interesting and honest. Its easy to mask all that stuff, there’s so much irony in the world and it’s easier for people to step away, than to be vulnerable and put yourself out there. I think the more terrifying it is, the more honest.”

If you’re having a bad day.. who do you listen to?

“Oh it depends on what kind of “bad”.. Cohen is great. John Lennon is inspirational, I’m a Beatles mania. Music is infinite and there’e so much stuff. The Clash can make you shake something off, Cohen can make you introspective and dig into it. It’s all powerful and it depends on what you’re trying to do. Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska Album is one of my favorite albums of all time. The way it looks, the way it sounds, the story behind it.”

With Goldstar theres a deep darkness thats coated in lightness..Where are you creating from? Where are these melody lines coming from?

“Yeah, music is a sacred, heavy thing. I try to write constantly everyday. The good songs aren’t the ones you set out to write- you have to be ready for it though. Sometimes you have an idea and it’s working itself out somewhere inside of you. As a songwriter I try to be observant and I try to tell stories of things that have happened to me, and my friends. Thats the thing about music, just because its a song about heartbreak doesn’t mean you have to feel sad.”

Whats your favorite song you’ve written?

“Thats impossible to answer. I think any musician would tell you their favorite song is the one they’re writing now.”

What is this new Album about?

“The Dark Days Record was more about heartbreak, this new one is more cataloging circumstances of people around me. This album is named after this house, Big Blue. All the songs were recorded here, and mostly written here. There’s a lot of stories that come with this house, everyone knows about it. It was a rehab house; a halfway house and a crackhouse at the same time.. it’s zoned for 36 people to live in it, legally.. the first release “Sonny’s Blues” is based on a James Baldwin short story. Do you want to hear it?


As the song played in the background I looked at Marlon.

“This is beautiful..You’re proud of yourself right?” I asked.

Marlon looked off into the distance. “This gives me chills to hear it right now, and if it does that means something is happening. Something cool is happening.”

I lifted my camera and spent the next 45 minutes having a one on one experience, watching Marlon sing and play his guitar. Listening back to the interview reminds me of this special moment and once again initiates the chills I had that day.

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