The past couple of years saw the birth of a new duo – Randy McStine and Marco Minnemann – with two rapid-fire albums being released in 2020 and 2021. Originally planning on just recording a debut EP, these two multi-instrumentalists couldn’t contain the amount of creativity unleashed as they both poured their hearts into this project. However, they haven’t had the chance to take their material to the live stage – until NOW! So, Cruise to the Edge, you are about to witness the debut performances of McStine & Minnemann and I highly suggest you don’t miss it. We caught up with Randy last week to see what they have in store for all of you on board.
For those of you not aware, Marco is one of the most astounding drummers on the planet. Most recently known for his fiery trio The Aristocrats and having played with Steven Wilson’s band, his discography is a lengthy who’s-who of rock, prog, metal, jazz and more, not to mention his own solo career. You truly shouldn’t be on the Cruise without witnessing him. In McStine he told me, “This feels like a true collaboration and it feels good to have a partner in crime.” And surely Randy McStine holds up the other half of the partnership, bringing his amazing voice, guitar and bass playing and songwriting skills to both of these albums. Having worked with some of prog’s greats since a young age, through Lo-Fi Resistance, The Fringe, In Continuum and most recently a solo career, Randy has the experience and talent to match Marco’s skill and diverse musical interests. With Marco also playing guitar and singing, there was literally nothing these two couldn’t do. Musically, their two albums are mind-bogglingly all across the musical spectrum, from pop to punk, rock to prog. There’s certainly something here for everyone, delivered in concise, dense and yet accessible songs.
So, how are they going to translate all this musical wealth onto the stage as a duo? Randy gives some insight: “Like Queen or the early Police tours, we’re doing what’s possible live without backing tracks. I don’t care if our live shows sound different than they did on album. Live music is a chance for it to live and breathe on stage.” So, are they bringing on a bass player with them? No, it’s more than that, as Randy reveals: “We’re going to be a quartet. Nick D’Virgilio will be joining us on guitar, keys and vocals. And of course, we probably won’t be able to resist a drum duet with him and Marco. On bass, we have Mohini Dey who Marco brought in. We’ve picked a handful of songs from both albums to feature in these shows.”
If you’re not familiar with Mohini Dey, search her videos on YouTube right now and you’ll have an idea of the level of musicianship we’re talking about. As for Nick D’Virgilio (who will also be playing in Dave Kerzner’s band this time – a role which Marco has also held), the opportunity to see him performing in ANY context is always a must, and the thought of him in a drum duet with Marco is worth…well, admission to the Cruise right there! The quartet will be rehearsing at Nick’s go-to spot of Sweetwater Music right before the Cruise, so they’ll be ready to blow our minds on board.
All of these elements culminate together to make this a must-see show(s) on Cruise to the Edge. Don’t miss this debut performance of McStine/Minnemann/Dey/D’Virgilio!
For more details, check out our review of both McStine & Minnemann albums:
We also spoke with Randy and Marco at large and you can check out such interview here.