Inducted in 1998
Mario Moreno was born in Phoenix on July 22,
1954. He was inspired to play music by his
father and brothers who would sing Mexican songs
at all the family functions. He started playing
guitar in 1967. He now plays guitar, string bass
and accordian. He started playing gigs in 1971.
Through the seventies, he played in several
bands including a Rock and Roll band called
In 1982 he teamed up with an acoustic bass
player named Bruce Hamblin. These two guys (
along with various drummers, including Jim
Dortholt and Brian Fahey) would make local music
history as a rockabilly trio called "The
Varmits". In a time when there were very few
blues bands and even fewer fifties oriented
rockabilly bands, the Varmits were playing to
packed houses all over the Southwest and at
Anderson's Fifth Estate (Scottsdale) in
particular. The Varmits were famous for their
wild and hard drinking party shows and their
rocking roots music. Mario was following in the
footsteps of some of his early inspirations such
as Carl Perkins, Chuck Berry and Eddie Cochran.
The Varmits never released an album, but there
are plenty of bootleg tapes out there...
The Varmits were playing less shows around 1988.
In 1987 Mario started playing shows with the
Hoodoo Kings blues band. He has played off and
on with the Hoodoo Kings since then. Mario spent
some time playing with a rockabilly band out of
San Diego called the "Forbidden Pigs". He
recorded one album with them entitled "Una Mas
Cerveza". He says that album went "copper"...
Mario has recorded with bands including the
Hoodoo Kings, Kenny Love and Los Angeles based,
John "Juke" Logan and Brenda Burns.
In 1996 Mario and Bruce Hamblin got back
together and formed another band called "Trio
Grande". The band ended when Bruce passed away
on September 18, 1996.
Mario's newest project is called "The Ramblers"
in remembrance of Bruce. Bruce had sometimes
refered to himself as "Ramblin' Hamblin", so the
name "The Ramblers" is a way to keep his memory
alive. The Ramblers are very much in the spirit
of the "Varmits". Hopefully there will be an
album from the Ramblers sometime in 1999.
Mario served once as President of the ARIZONA
BLUES HALL OF FAME.
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