Skip to main content

Amped On Music

03/19/2013 02:56PM, Published by Anonymous, Categories: In Print, Community




story: Jim Dyar photo: Kara Stewart

MARVIN ALLEN’S PASSION FOR MUSIC

Marvin Allen remembers the exact moment he heard the sound that set his life’s course in motion. It was Jimmy Page’s guitar solo on Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.” Allen, a fourth grader at the time, was riding in a car with his father on North Street in Anderson in front of Duffy’s Liquor Store.

“It rocked my world so hard I knew I was going to die if I didn’t learn how to do that,” Allen says.

He learned the Zeppelin solo and so many more. Allen, now 46, went on to pursue guitar as a living and has been pouring his love of music on the North State for more than 25 years as a performer, teacher and songwriter. As a 19-year-old in the early 1980s, he was the red-hot, rippin’ guitarist playing six nights a week at Doc’s in Redding and the Top Flight in Chico. His band at the time, Inside Straight, toured throughout the Pacific Northwest and Allen sealed his reputation as a scorching six-string sensation.

But it was also before age 20 that he started sharing his knowledge on the instrument as an instructor. Many hundreds of students have taken lessons from Allen over the past two and a half decades. Many have gone on to become well-known performers themselves, including Jeremy Edwardson of the Myriad and Abbey DeWald of The Ditty Bops.

He also co-founded the Shasta Blues Society in 1990, an organization that has hosted weekly performances and annual music festivals for nearly two decades. Three years ago, he organized a group of young guitarists called the Shasta Blues Kids and presented them as the opening act at the society’s Blues by the River Festival. He’ll do it again at this year’s 18th annual festival, which takes place Sept. 19 at Lake Redding Park.

“I’m really proud of it and happy to have been able to add something culturally to the area,” Allen says of the society. “To have everyone get together and share the joy of music - that’s what it’s all about.”

As a performer, Allen has entertained audiences in groups like True Blues, Earthbound, the Marvin Allen Band, Broadband, Wild Hair and the Rattlers. He’s collaborated on projects with a variety of songwriters, including Trisha Harris and Chase Gilwreath, and over the past 12 months has performed on the Cascade Theatre stage with three different acts: Wesley Jenson and the Wildcats, Kristene Mueller (opening for the Myriad) and the Jim Dyar Band (opening for Dave Alvin and the Guilty Women). He’s also performed on a variety of album projects over the years.

“You want to spend your life in a meaningful way doing something good for the right reasons,” he says. “I have no aspirations of being a star. I just want to be a good songwriter, teacher and to perform with all my heart. That’s my life path. I pretty much have been doing music all day every day for as long as I can remember.”

Despite his impressive guitar chops, Allen says less is often more when it comes to making good music.

“When you’re playing in a group, No. 1 it’s about the song,” Allen says. “Then after that, it’s how you create space for the other musicians and how you fill the space they create for you. More often than not, it’s about showing restraint. Magic happens when you tune into that.”

Though he’s performed hundreds of shows over the years, one memory that stands out is the 10-minute standing ovation he and the cast of “Tommy” received after the final performance of the rock opera at the Shasta College Theatre in 1991. Allen, the show’s music director, finished the production with a scorching solo, then lit his guitar on fire and smashed it to pieces a la Jimi Hendrix. Not typically a fan of smashing guitars, Allen allowed himself to obliterate the instrument for the sake of theater.

“It was pretty primal,” he says. “It was quite a moment that a lot of people won’t ever forget.”

Despite being so well-known on guitar, Allen’s first instrument was piano, which he still plays. His grandmother Maxine Self, herself a piano teacher, taught him at age 8. As a fourth grader, he picked up the guitar and started playing with his childhood friend, the late Darren Farris.

“I would walk five miles to Darren’s house with my guitar in my hand,” Allen says, his eyes misty thinking about the memory. “In sixth grade I was as serious about music as I am now.”

He spent two decades of his teaching career at Herreid Music, taught for three years at Bernie’s Guitar, and since 2008 has been teaching at Music Max in Palo Cedro. Music Max hosts monthly workshops and performances, in which Allen often plays a key role.

“My philosophy about teaching is that I have the greatest job in the world,” Marvin says. “I’m honored to share my love of music.”



profile


  • Past & Present COLLIDE

    03/27/2017
    07:00AM — 06:00PM

    Great artwork from LOCAL artists that is available for purchase . Featuring art work of classic c...


  • Past & Present COLLIDE

    03/28/2017
    07:00AM — 06:00PM

    Great artwork from LOCAL artists that is available for purchase . Featuring art work of classic c...


  • Free Retail Healthy Food Sampling

    03/28/2017
    03:00PM — 04:30PM

    Celebrate National Nutrition Month with Free retail healthy food samplings on March 28, 2017 at A...


  • Shasta Bike Challenge

    03/28/2017
    06:00PM — 08:00PM

    Under the guidance of several longtime RMB members, you will be guided through the process of m...


  • Past & Present COLLIDE

    03/30/2017
    07:00AM — 06:00PM

    Great artwork from LOCAL artists that is available for purchase . Featuring art work of classic c...


  • Work Readiness Event

    03/30/2017
    09:00AM — 01:00PM

    Nervous about finding a job? Not sure how to get started? Come to the 2nd annual Work Readiness E...


  • Free Retail Healthy Food Sampling

    03/30/2017
    03:00PM — 04:30PM

    Celebrate National Nutrition Month with Free retail healthy food samplings on March 30, 2017 at S...


  • Beauty and the Beast, Jr.

    03/30/2017
    07:00PM

    Be Our Guest! You are invited to come to SSCCC’s amazing presentation of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST JR...


  • Past & Present COLLIDE

    03/31/2017
    07:00AM — 06:00PM

    Great artwork from LOCAL artists that is available for purchase . Featuring art work of classic c...


  • Tarzan

    03/31/2017
    07:00PM

    Based on Disney's epic animated musical adventure, Tarzan features heart-pumping music by rock le...


  • Beauty and the Beast, Jr.

    03/31/2017
    07:00PM

    Be Our Guest! You are invited to come to SSCCC’s amazing presentation of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST JR...


  • This Year Come to Red Bluff and Celebrate All Fool's Day aka April Fools Day! A Double Header We...


  • Past & Present COLLIDE

    04/01/2017
    07:00AM — 06:00PM

    Great artwork from LOCAL artists that is available for purchase . Featuring art work of classic c...


  • Love Your Pet Expo 2017

    04/01/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    10th annual free pet-friendly event, with charity auction, pet adoptions, low cost vaccines, hear...


  • Friends of Shasta County Libraries

    04/01/2017
    10:00AM — 01:00PM

    On Saturday, April 1st, 2017, the Friends of the Shasta County Libraries will sell gently used bo...


  • Tarzan

    04/01/2017
    02:00PM

    Based on Disney's epic animated musical adventure, Tarzan features heart-pumping music by rock le...


  • Art Roster 5th Annual Forgery Show

    04/01/2017
    04:00PM — 07:00PM

    The Forgery Show is an annual art exhibit featuring the work of Mt. Shasta's ArtRoster Atelier pa...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Brewhouse Tours

    04/01/2017
    04:30PM — 05:00PM

    Want to know more about what goes on behind the scenes at Wildcard? Join us for a tour. This is y...


  • 2017 Young Artist Showcase

    04/01/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    HIGHLAND ART CENTER ANNUAL YOUNG ARTIST’S SHOWCASE Weaverville, CA, March 22, 2017– It’s t...


  • Bunco Night Fundraiser

    04/01/2017
    06:00PM — 08:30PM

    Join us for a fun night of rolling dice! It's BUNCO time! This is a fun fundraiser that benefits ...


  • Tarzan

    04/01/2017
    07:00PM

    Based on Disney's epic animated musical adventure, Tarzan features heart-pumping music by rock le...


  • Rumi’s Caravan brings to life the rich tradition of ecstatic poetry, featuring the mystical poems...


  • This Year Come to Red Bluff and Celebrate All Fool's Day aka April Fools Day! A Double Header ...


  • Mojo Child at The Dip

    04/01/2017
    08:00PM

    "The Feast is about to begin..." -Jim Morrison Mojo Child delivers Doors music that is fun, en...


  • Past & Present COLLIDE

    04/02/2017
    07:00AM — 06:00PM

    Great artwork from LOCAL artists that is available for purchase . Featuring art work of classic c...


  • Clear Creek Wildflowers and Wild Plants

    04/02/2017
    01:00PM — 03:00PM

    Come walk with David Ledger from the Native Plant Society. Enjoy the beauty of blooming wildflow...


  • Tarzan

    04/02/2017
    02:00PM

    Based on Disney's epic animated musical adventure, Tarzan features heart-pumping music by rock le...


  • Past & Present COLLIDE

    03/27/2017
    07:00AM — 06:00PM

    Great artwork from LOCAL artists that is available for purchase . Featuring art work of classic c...


  • Past & Present COLLIDE

    03/28/2017
    07:00AM — 06:00PM

    Great artwork from LOCAL artists that is available for purchase . Featuring art work of classic c...


  • Free Retail Healthy Food Sampling

    03/28/2017
    03:00PM — 04:30PM

    Celebrate National Nutrition Month with Free retail healthy food samplings on March 28, 2017 at A...


  • Shasta Bike Challenge

    03/28/2017
    06:00PM — 08:00PM

    Under the guidance of several longtime RMB members, you will be guided through the process of m...


  • Past & Present COLLIDE

    03/29/2017
    07:00AM — 06:00PM

    Great artwork from LOCAL artists that is available for purchase . Featuring art work of classic c...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Midweek Madness

    03/29/2017
    02:00PM — 08:00PM

    Visit either Wildcard location on Wednesday and get $3 off a growler fill.


  • Beauty and the Beast, Jr.

    03/29/2017
    07:00PM

    Be Our Guest! You are invited to come to SSCCC’s amazing presentation of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST JR...


  • Past & Present COLLIDE

    03/30/2017
    07:00AM — 06:00PM

    Great artwork from LOCAL artists that is available for purchase . Featuring art work of classic c...


  • Work Readiness Event

    03/30/2017
    09:00AM — 01:00PM

    Nervous about finding a job? Not sure how to get started? Come to the 2nd annual Work Readiness E...


  • Free Retail Healthy Food Sampling

    03/30/2017
    03:00PM — 04:30PM

    Celebrate National Nutrition Month with Free retail healthy food samplings on March 30, 2017 at S...


  • Beauty and the Beast, Jr.

    03/30/2017
    07:00PM

    Be Our Guest! You are invited to come to SSCCC’s amazing presentation of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST JR...


  • Past & Present COLLIDE

    03/31/2017
    07:00AM — 06:00PM

    Great artwork from LOCAL artists that is available for purchase . Featuring art work of classic c...


  • Tarzan

    03/31/2017
    07:00PM

    Based on Disney's epic animated musical adventure, Tarzan features heart-pumping music by rock le...


  • Beauty and the Beast, Jr.

    03/31/2017
    07:00PM

    Be Our Guest! You are invited to come to SSCCC’s amazing presentation of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST JR...


  • This Year Come to Red Bluff and Celebrate All Fool's Day aka April Fools Day! A Double Header We...


  • Past & Present COLLIDE

    04/01/2017
    07:00AM — 06:00PM

    Great artwork from LOCAL artists that is available for purchase . Featuring art work of classic c...


  • Love Your Pet Expo 2017

    04/01/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    10th annual free pet-friendly event, with charity auction, pet adoptions, low cost vaccines, hear...


  • Friends of Shasta County Libraries

    04/01/2017
    10:00AM — 01:00PM

    On Saturday, April 1st, 2017, the Friends of the Shasta County Libraries will sell gently used bo...


  • Tarzan

    04/01/2017
    02:00PM

    Based on Disney's epic animated musical adventure, Tarzan features heart-pumping music by rock le...


  • Art Roster 5th Annual Forgery Show

    04/01/2017
    04:00PM — 07:00PM

    The Forgery Show is an annual art exhibit featuring the work of Mt. Shasta's ArtRoster Atelier pa...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Brewhouse Tours

    04/01/2017
    04:30PM — 05:00PM

    Want to know more about what goes on behind the scenes at Wildcard? Join us for a tour. This is y...


  • 2017 Young Artist Showcase

    04/01/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    HIGHLAND ART CENTER ANNUAL YOUNG ARTIST’S SHOWCASE Weaverville, CA, March 22, 2017– It’s t...


  • Bunco Night Fundraiser

    04/01/2017
    06:00PM — 08:30PM

    Join us for a fun night of rolling dice! It's BUNCO time! This is a fun fundraiser that benefits ...


  • Tarzan

    04/01/2017
    07:00PM

    Based on Disney's epic animated musical adventure, Tarzan features heart-pumping music by rock le...


  • Rumi’s Caravan brings to life the rich tradition of ecstatic poetry, featuring the mystical poems...


  • This Year Come to Red Bluff and Celebrate All Fool's Day aka April Fools Day! A Double Header ...


  • Mojo Child at The Dip

    04/01/2017
    08:00PM

    "The Feast is about to begin..." -Jim Morrison Mojo Child delivers Doors music that is fun, en...


  • Past & Present COLLIDE

    04/02/2017
    07:00AM — 06:00PM

    Great artwork from LOCAL artists that is available for purchase . Featuring art work of classic c...


  • Clear Creek Wildflowers and Wild Plants

    04/02/2017
    01:00PM — 03:00PM

    Come walk with David Ledger from the Native Plant Society. Enjoy the beauty of blooming wildflow...


  • Tarzan

    04/02/2017
    02:00PM

    Based on Disney's epic animated musical adventure, Tarzan features heart-pumping music by rock le...


  • Past & Present COLLIDE

    04/03/2017
    07:00AM — 06:00PM

    Great artwork from LOCAL artists that is available for purchase . Featuring art work of classic c...


  • Past & Present COLLIDE

    04/04/2017
    07:00AM — 06:00PM

    Great artwork from LOCAL artists that is available for purchase . Featuring art work of classic c...


  • Mornings with Mommy

    04/04/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    Mornings with Mommy isn't preschool and it isn't childcare. It's something different. Mornings wi...


  • Art Roster 5th Annual Forgery Show

    04/04/2017
    04:00PM — 07:00PM

    The Forgery Show is an annual art exhibit featuring the work of Mt. Shasta's ArtRoster Atelier pa...


  • Past & Present COLLIDE

    04/05/2017
    07:00AM — 06:00PM

    Great artwork from LOCAL artists that is available for purchase . Featuring art work of classic c...


  • Artistic Endeavors Spring Open House

    04/05/2017
    09:30AM — 11:30AM

    ***Raffle*** ***Paintings*** *** Pottery*** ***Jewelry*** ***Sewing Crafts*** ***Refreshment...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Midweek Madness

    04/05/2017
    02:00PM — 08:00PM

    Visit either Wildcard location on Wednesday and get $3 off a growler fill.


  • Art Roster 5th Annual Forgery Show

    04/05/2017
    04:00PM — 07:00PM

    The Forgery Show is an annual art exhibit featuring the work of Mt. Shasta's ArtRoster Atelier pa...


  • Kiwanis Club of Redding

    04/05/2017
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    KIWANIANS ARE LEADERS,DOERS, AND ADVOCATES. We are looking to begin a Kiwanis Club in Redding, C...


  • Past & Present COLLIDE

    04/06/2017
    07:00AM — 06:00PM

    Great artwork from LOCAL artists that is available for purchase . Featuring art work of classic c...


  • Shasta College Annual Spring Plant Sale

    04/06/2017
    08:00AM — 05:00PM

    In conjunction with California Native Plant Week, and in order to promote native plant conservati...


  • Art Roster 5th Annual Forgery Show

    04/06/2017
    04:00PM — 07:00PM

    The Forgery Show is an annual art exhibit featuring the work of Mt. Shasta's ArtRoster Atelier pa...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Vinyl Night

    04/06/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    Join us downtown the first and third Thursday of every month. We are going to ditch Spotify for t...


  • Tarzan

    04/06/2017
    07:00PM

    Based on Disney's epic animated musical adventure, Tarzan features heart-pumping music by rock le...


Check out our sister publication, Enjoy Magazine: South Valley Living
Wedding Style Guide 2017
Enjoy Magazine Facebook
Enjoy Magazine Instagram Instagram
Enjoy Magazine Pinterest Enjoy Magazine

Enjoy Our Sponsors