See It Happen Live @ Pappy & Harriet’s, Thursday, January 22, 8:30pm

By Lisa Morgan

What happens when you put two old friends who were session players for Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Gram Parsons, Fleetwood Mac, Eric Clapton and Gerry Goffin (to name a few) together in the middle of the Southern California Desert? You get Cisco and Dewey and a 13 piece bit of self-titled, roots Americana magic.

Tony “Cisco” Marsico was an original member of the punk band The Plugz (best known for their score in the movie Repo Man) and ultimately their evolution as the Cruzados. He graciously gave CV Weekly the opportunity to talk to him about his rich music past, and what brought him to the high desert for this latest project.

“It’s kind of a funny story,” he shared. “Dylan saw us when we were playing around with The Plugz and asked me and the drummer if we’d like to come up to his house for a year and just jam with him. I said, ‘I think we can do that!’ It was kind of an odd thing. Dylan had just put out Joker Man. It was ’83/’84 and I guess he was hearing a new kind of vibe. We jammed with him for about 9 months at his house in Malibu. The highlight of it all was when he asked us to do the David Letterman show with him. I just saw in Rolling Stone that we made the top 10 shows of Letterman out of all the shows over 30 years. I was pretty psyched. After that, I got pretty busy. I hooked up with my old friends Dave Alvin (Blasters), John Doe (X), Peter Case and the rest of my LA buddies. I was doing a lot of sessions with them and got known for playing bass. Eventually I played for Willie Nelson, Neil Young, Linda Ronstadt, Roger Daltrey, Marianne Faithful, Dr. John, Matthew Sweet among others.”


“I met Darran “Dewey” Falcone while doing session work for Gerry Goffin, Carol King’s writing partner. Goffin hired me on for 15 years to play on his demos. When I met Dewey, he was a young scruffy kid who was blowing some great harmonica and was singing on Goffin’s demos. I always told him he needed to make his own record.” As Cisco spoke of Goffin, his voice broke slightly. “Goffin passed away this past year – he was an amazing, ridiculous, songwriter…a wild guy.” Gathering his composure, he continued. “We did 30-40 songs and then Dewey just disappeared. It was just this past spring I was going through my old cassettes and found one Dewey and I recorded all those years ago. I finally tracked him down in Joshua Tree where he had dropped out of the music scene. He got tired of LA, and took up motocross full time. He invited me out, and we started writing songs in May. We recorded the album by the end of July. It’s produced by my friend Tom Lavin (Lavin holds over a dozen gold and platinum records for Powder Blues Band and many others). We threw everything in the soup out there in the desert. What came out? I don’t even know how to describe it. I feel like we had 15 years apart, and we had all this stuff brewing. It came out so quick that we weren’t sure if it was total crap or if it was half decent. I guess it turned out ok, people seem to like it. (Note: the album is currently being taken very seriously by people in the industry).

“Joshua Tree was truly a magical place to create. I’d never spent any time there before, but since I hooked up with Dewey, I stay out for a couple of days at a time. All I hear is the freeway here (San Fernando Valley). It’s nice to get away. I love going into town here to have a beer, and hearing the coyotes at night. A few days in Joshua Tree, and I feel like a new person.”

Considering the number of legendary music creators Cisco had worked with over the years, I was curious as to who was his favorite, a question that he understandably had a hard time answering: “That’s a tough one… Joe Ely (Bruce Springsteen, Uncle Tupelo, Lyle Lovett, John Hiatt and Guy Clark…) was a great and fun guy to play with. Dr. John (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Grammy winner) was the best pianist, and wears great cologne,” he laughed. “There are so many though, it’s hard to pinpoint.”

“The most influential would have to be Bob Dylan. Dylan taught me how to listen, not just play. We’d play songs for 20-25 nights at a time to get into the grove, and then go and just look over the ocean. We’d do this for 8 hours a day. I was so used to being in punk bands where we’d finish a song in 30 seconds. I did a total 180 with Dylan, but it made me really appreciate playing music, and I truly got to see what makes a song groove. He taught me a lot. He taught me a ridiculous amount.”

In closing I asked Cisco if he had any advice to offer any of our local musicians. He replied, “I’d say keep your ears open and listen. If you want to learn, keep your ears open.”

Cisco and Dewey will be performing their new songs at The Best of Ted Quinn’s Reality Show, Thursday, January 22nd. It will be a free show, and doors open at 7:30pm. Ted, or “Teddy” Quinn, as locals call him, is a Pappy and Harriet’s staple. “I come from the old punk rock days where we had kind of a community that usually blossomed from the efforts of one person,” shared Cisco. “That’s what I feel Teddy has done. He’s really helped turn Pappy’s into a real community, and I think that a lot of it stems from his vibe. We’re doing this show, quite honestly, because Ted is involved, and we appreciate anybody with passion like that.”

Quinn, famous child actor turned founder of Radio Free Joshua Tree, and host to Pappy and Harriet’s Open Mic night, as well as his “Reality Show”, has brought many amazing people to his stage, most remarkably, the legendary Robert Plant. “One of the best surprises of 2014, was finding that long-time friend, Tony Marsico, and long-time friend Darren Falcone, were also old mates who happen to make some remarkably warm, melodic, tender and driving Americana of the high desert kind,” shared Quinn. “Together, with a sense of humor and style, two gentlemen (who are too self-effacing about their talent to ever rub it in your face) have created music that finds its way into the heart like water finds the desert ground.”

The album, Cisco and Dewey, truly seems to encompass a piece of every amazing artist they’ve ever come in contact with. It’s a bit of folk infused Uncle Tupelo style rock meets a bit of Blue Grass brightness, with rich straight forward, soul connecting, honest vocals, the album is not only a great introduction to these artists as they stand on their own, but it is packed full of musicianship. Musicians contributing with the two friends include Tony Gilkyson (X, Dave Alvin), Joel Alpers (Carole King), Greg Leisz (Eric Clapton, k.d.Lang), Rick Vito (Fleetwood Mac, John Fogerty), Barry Goldberg (Gram Parsons, Bob Dylan), Gary Mallaber (Van Morrison, Steve Miller) and Gia Ciambotti (Bruce Springsteen, Lucinda Williams).

You can now download the full 13 song Cisco and Dewey album for only $9.99 at But the best opportunity to enjoy these artists and their work will be live at the very intimate and earthy, Pappy and Harriet’s, the perfect setting for these understated, stellar artists. p>