.Mari Mack and Livin’ Like Kings live at ‘The Throck’ July 13

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Arne Frager and Mari Mack are a Marin-based married duo who just so happen to be music industry icons. And, as luck would have it, locals can come on out to the Throckmorton Theater this weekend to see the performance of a lifetime with Mari Mack and Livin’ Like Kings on July 13.

That’s right—Mill Valley is soon to be the epicenter of a full-blown, 12-player concert showcasing some serious music and musicians the community won’t want to miss.

Mack (of Livin’ Like Kings) is a lifelong singer and songwriter of all things smooth, like blues, jazz and soulful tunes. She quite literally learned her way around the music industry when she was still a child, thanks to her father’s singing career.

“I thought everybody could sing growing up since my dad was a singer,” said Mack. “When I was 16, my mom left me in charge of the household with my younger sister and…the only thing I knew to do was sing, so I fell into singing for bands.”

Given the family’s musical inclinations, Mack took to the stage early on in her life and sang her way across New York before moving and grooving westward to California, where she later met her future husband, Frager.

“We moved [to San Francisco] within a month of each other,” said Frager. “We literally lived around the corner from each other, and we could have run into each other at any moment.”

Frager, for those who don’t know, owned the renowned heart of Marin’s musical production, The Record Plant studios, for over 20 years. Longtime locals of Marin may not need further introduction than that, since The Plant is a local legend. But as a refresher and for those readers who may not recognize the significance (at least not off the bat), Frager and The Plant hosted and produced household names in the music industry that any generation would know…Fleetwood Mac, Santana and Huey Lewis, to name only a few.

“When I recorded a lot of the sessions that I did for Prince or Dolly Parton or any of the great stars, the live recording of real people playing real instruments…it’s a different thing entirely,” said Frager. “The excitement of it all is where you have all these musicians on stage playing their hearts out—that’s where it is.”

Frager came to California in 1973, eventually leaving his career in Los Angeles behind and moving to the Bay Area. A year later, he was asked to join The Plant, and the rest is history.

“Bay Area had a pretty thriving music scene when I got up here,” said Frager. “Maybe one of the most significant things I did at The Plant was I discovered Beyoncé. She auditioned for me in Houston with her girl band, Girl’s Tyme, so we flew them out and…two of the six ended up in Destiny’s Child. During the time that we recorded the album, Beyoncé was a background singer…but she had such a charisma on stage that I decided she should be the lead singer.”

“It’s one of the things that’s in his soul, discovering new talent,” added Mack.

Mack and Frager believe their meeting held a certain degree of kismet, especially given their simultaneous move to San Francisco, where they lived as strangers and ships in the night and neighbors.

“There were all these weird intersection points of the parallel lives [Arne and I] were leading in the industry,” explained Mack. “I’ve always loved recording studios; they’re where I feel most comfortable—except for onstage. Onstage, you get to interact with the audience and feed on the energy of being with people, which is why we’re doing this album. [Arne] wants to capture the energy of life. And we love The Throck!”

The Throckmorton, aka The Throck, is where Mari Mack and Livin’ Like Kings are all set to play their 12-person concert. This concert will feature powerful performances of high-energy blues, roots and soul music. And, of course, the entire show is being filmed, recorded and produced by The Plant Studio Records.

“I’ve recorded two albums with Mari that we’ve done in recording studios,” said Frager. “They’re not bad, but they’ve never captured to my satisfaction the energy Mari puts out as a singer when we’re live in front of an audience.”

Mari Mack and Livin’ Like Kings originally formed in 2008 with Frager as not only the supportive husband but also the producer, recording engineer and bass player to boot. Mack, Frager and 12 other wildly talented musicians make the band complete with guitars, keys, drums, bass, percussion, horns, trombone, sax and trumpet.

“Music is a real job, and it’s a lot harder than people think it is, and the reward is really great,” said Mack. “I put out so much when I do these gigs, and it takes me several days to recover. I can’t do things halfway, and Arnes is the same way—all or nothing.”

“It’s hard being in the music industry, but it’s harder not doing music,” Mack continued. “I sort of feel guilty whenever I do music, which is…why I worked at the grocery store during the pandemic.”

Like many musicians and other “non-essential” public-facing professionals, Mack, Frager and a whole lot of other artists put their crafts aside for the course of the pandemic.

“Just about all the musicians were out of business during the pandemic so we all had to scratch our heads, hunker down and do something different,” said Frager. “We’re craving that human connection, post-Covid more than ever.”

Luckily, the closures of the pandemic era are in the past, and there’s no time like the present to jump back into enjoying local live shows. Especially since watching a musical performance in person adds an ambiance and energy to the whole experience that virtual events can’t quite capture.

“This is the album I’ve always wanted to make for Mari, and there’s been some wonderful breakthrough technologies that allow for this,” concluded Frager. “I’m very excited about this show—we lived in Mill Valley for over 20 years, so it’s like coming home.”

“I would really like for people to come out and support Lucy and The Throckmorton since it’s such a special part of Mill Valley, and we’re so happy to be part of that family,” said Mack. “And remember to support live musicians since it’s not all about the algorithms…it’s about the music and soul.”

The Throckmorton Theatre is located at 142 Throckmorton Ave. in Mill Valley. To learn more or purchase tickets for upcoming shows, including Mari Mack and Livin’ Like Kings, visit the website at throckmortontheatre.org.


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