Sebastian Marino, former guitarist in two well-known ’90s heavy metal bands and the founder of a Batavia-based concert production company, died last week in Florida. He was 57.
Mr. Marino, a Rochester native who owned and operated Audio Images Sound & Lighting, was producing a show in Florida on New Year’s Eve and died suddenly early on New Year’s Day, according to his family.
Mr. Marino – called Seb by friends and Uncle Seby by nieces and nephews – played in numerous local bands in the ’80s and ’90s, but was best known for his time as a guitarist and work in heavy metal band Anvil’s 1991 album “Worth the Weight” as well as three Overkill albums through the 1990s: “The Killing Kind,” “From the Underground and Below” and “Necroshine.”
He stopped touring more than 25 years ago and switched his focus to a different sort of heavy metal — erecting stages and ensuring that lighting and sound equipment fit the performers’ needs. He launched Audio Images in 1996 and about a decade later created 5th Wheel Trucking to complement his production company and the logistics of moving equipment linked to his business.
Audio Images assists festivals, tours and other venues across the country — mainly up and down the East Coast — as well as local festivals including the Rochester International Jazz Festival, Rochester Fringe Festival and the Fairport Music Festival. He was particularly proud of a show he produced on the White House lawn, according to his brothers.
Sebastian Marino in Rochester
Raised in Charlotte, Mr. Marino was the oldest of four brothers. The family later moved to Greece, where he attended Cardinal Mooney High School, a co-ed Catholic school in Greece that closed in 1989. He studied classical guitar at The Hochstein School in Rochester and attended Monroe Community College and Musicians Institute in Hollywood. He also taught private guitar lessons in his home and at the House of Guitars in Irondequoit.
While he lived in the Rochester region for most of his life, Mr. Marino moved to Florida late last year to expand his business in Inverness, Frank Marino said.
John Marino described his oldest brother as a “gentle giant” who was a humble man and a hard worker. He said Mr. Marino “overwhelmingly cared about others and what was going on in your life.”
Frank Marino said his brother was thorough, organized and “wanted the best quality in everything, including in caring about the people he worked with and for like they were family. He always strived to do his best.”
“His influence will live on as everyone remembers his contributions to the overall music and entertainment community in Rochester.”
In his spare time, Mr. Marino loved snowmobiling, riding dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles, boating and jet-skiing, John Marino said.
He is survived by his wife, Betsy; five children, Julia, Emily, Joseph, Jenna and Mason Rivera; two brothers, Frank and John Marino, and his mother, Jeanette Vilar. He was predeceased by his father, Fran,k and brother Joseph.,
Calling hours are set to run from 3 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at Bartolomeo & Perotto Funeral Home, 1411 Vintage Lane, Greece. His funeral Mass is set to begin at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at Our Mother of Sorrows Church, 5000 Mt. Read Blvd., Greece. Interment will follow at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.
Following the funeral, a casual reception will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. at Iron Smoke Distillery, 111 Parce Ave. #5b, Fairport. In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to the The Hochstein School.
Outpouring of love
On social media, his friends, family, and former colleagues shared thoughts and memories of Mr. Marino.
Elvio Fernandes described his late friend as a gifted musician who “was humble to a fault and only spoke about his success if you forced it out of him. He was more interested in lifting everyone else up and celebrating the success of his friends, clients, family.”
“What a devastating loss of such a wonderful, generous and talented man,” Musician Billy Sheehan shared, noting that Mr. Marino was instrumental to Sheehan and the Buffalo-based heavy metal band Talas. “Seb became the ‘fifth wheel’ of the band right out of the gate. From touring with us, running sound, providing equipment and miraculously, turning Mark Miller’s living room into a drum studio where all drum tracks were recorded for the bands album ‘1985.’”
Tony Rutherford called his brother-in-law as an “extremely unassuming guy” who was a kind man with a huge heart. He was also an amazing father, he said.
Former bandmates Overkill said “the music world has lost one of the good ones.”
“Seb was an asset in the studio as well as on the stage for the three releases he did with us,” the band shared in a Facebook post. “Most importantly, he was a great friend, who remained a great friend beyond the band.”
“Seb was a mentor to many talented people in the production community and was always kind-hearted,” read a statement from the Rochester Music Hall of Fame. “He was a leader in sound and lighting with his company Audio Images, and had a very successful music career with internationally acclaimed bands Anvil and Overkill.”
“To say he will be missed is an understatement,” Fairport Music Festival organizers said in a statement, noting that Marino’s efforts made the annual event more enjoyable for fans and musicians. “He was our business partner and a cherished friend.”
“For almost two decades we have relied upon his dedication and commitment to our success,” Rochester International Jazz Festival co-producer Marc Iacona said in a statement. Iacona described Mr. Marino as a gentle soul. “We have been very blessed and fortunate to have had an organization right here in our backyard to support our world-class event. We are grateful for his exceptional work and will miss him very much.”