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 “Faux Pas”.
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.