Ask drummer Onix Marion to show his badge of musical experience and you’ll get a repertoire that includes performances with the 1960s rock group The Coasters, Patti LaBelle and late blues musician Albert King.
Marion, who hails from Memphis, said he has been on the music circuit for 16 years, playing shows on both large and small scales. Now, with his aptly titled Onix Marion Band, he can perform his own breed of nostalgic cover songs for a Murfreesboro audience.
In 1986 Marion began drumming for legendary blues guitarist Albert King, responsible for songs like “Born Under a Bad Sign” and “Laundromat Blues.”
“B.B King is the most well-known blues singer, but Albert King was the most well-known blues player,” Marion said.
Before Marion got the gig, King’s manager warned him that the legend had burned through seven drummers in only three months.
“I had met Albert before but never thought about working for him because he was a really hard man to work for,” Marion explained. “He was an old guy from the hood, from the sticks of Mississippi and Arkansas. He was a gambler, would cuss you out, just a regular person.”
Marion said he wasn’t shaken. Upon hearing that King was out another percussionist, he said he met with the legend and boldly informed him that he was his new drummer, refusing a formal audition because he was already familiar with King’s music. He told King he would only accept an invitation to rehearsal.
“He looked at me and said, ?You kind of cocky aren’t you?’ I said ?Well, I heard you were a cocky individual. We’ll either get along or we’ll kill each other,’” Marion said.
His tenacity paid off and the legend invited him to his next rehearsal. After Marion stuck, he said his manager gave him the compliment that he was “one of the first and only guys that Albert doesn’t mess with.”
While drumming with King, Marion was able to perform at blues festivals with the likes of Eric Clapton and Billy Joel. He said that performing with King could be challenging because he was a “very spontaneous player,” but it was the “greatest creative learning experience.”
After a three-year stint, Marion left King to go on tour to Japan with the remaining members of The Coasters.
Moving to Murfreesboro in September of 2005, Marion works as a drum instructor at Music World on Church Street and performs with various acts in town.
His pet project, The Onix Marion Band, is a four-piece group, with Marion as the drummer and lead vocalist. The band covers a variety of songs, popular among different genres and eras. Layering a performance with covers of artists including Prince, Dwight Yoakam and James Brown is what Marion credits to giving his band an edge.
“People want to hear something that they can identify with,” Marion said. “They want to hear something they can get a good beat to and feel the pulse of the music going.”
He said he formed the band because he wanted to gain notoriety as an artist in the area and enter the “corporate world of entertainment.”
Therefore, the players will perform as the house band at new restaurant and venue Chef Raymond’s, located on 123 S.E. Broad St.
The venue, which opened in May, will feature music every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday night from 8-12 p.m., always with no cover. Marion will also be booking other bands interested in performing at Chef Raymond’s.
From Memphis to Murfreesboro, Marion can’t stop earning more badges. To get a virtual sample of Chef Raymond’s cuisine visit chefraymonds.com. Contact Onix Marion at email@example.com.