Marshall & The Fro

Marshall & The Fro

 Byron Bay, New South Wales, AUS

Marshall & The FRO create Australian rock/roots music with an edge. Energetic, engaging, hard hitting and exciting, Marshall & the Fro are a force to be reckoned with. The band have recently released their sophomore album, ‘Friends For Life, and are touring Nationally from May 2010.


Marshall and The Fro are a household name these days, on the roots festival circuit and in their home, the North Coast surfing mecca of Lennox Head, NSW. They are known for their powerful, pulsing roots/rock music, the soundtrack to the summer for many a carefree festival freak.

Their songs feature on cult surf films like David Bradbury’s Going Vertical and in Billabong ads. Having played virtually every big festival in the land, they have also had tracks on Australian TV shows ‘East of Everything’ and ‘No Way San Jose’. They have just released a new album, ‘Friends For Life’, that already looks set to eclipse these landmarks.

Marshall Okell, driving force, guitars, vocals and songwriter, recently recruited his newest member, Luke Ferguson, Fergo, on bass. The big, affable redhead also has a five-octave range that lifts their dual choruses into deep space. Their drummer, Jacob Mann, known affectionately as Poodle, is a hugely likeable unstoppable force, who pummels the kit like it’s his little brother and has done so previously for the likes of ARIA Award winner Pete Murray. Marshall reckons they are one of the hottest rhythm sections on the planet.

The sleep deprived trio have just spent three months hunkered down with producer Anthony Lycenko (ARIA Nominee, Pete Murray, U2, Beautiful Girls, Xavier Rudd) at 301 and Rocking Horse studios in Byron Bay. Together they have garnered an enormous tempered and timely record that reveals an artist and band in permanent progress.

The band’s first, self-titled release was a party record, the sound of young bucks on the hunt. ‘Get Up (raise your head)’ and ‘The Player’ were aimed smack bang at the heaving throng in the Far North Coast, the epicentre for grooving grommets and geishas. Yet even on tracks like the much-covered ‘Thongs’, a bouncing, full-blooded tribute to the surfer’s footwear of choice, OKell sang like he meant something else, something important.

On the 'Friends For Life' Album Marshall establishes his intent beyond doubt, with a potent collection of songs that defines an artist and band in a blazing trajectory – but still firmly anchored to their roots. The title track ‘Friends for Life’ is the breakthrough, a life-affirming festival romp bound to be a massive hit on the circuit. The anthemic chorus, "We came here with an open mind, we leave here, friends for life", will be on every summer pilgrim’s lips come November.

Revealing the bands rock edge the chunky descent of ‘We've All Got Something To Say’ owes as much to heavy rock as the Chilli Peppers’ staunch funk attacks – this is the kind of onslaught that fans of the band are itching for. In the big drums and gospel chorus of ‘Crocodile Tears’ there’s a measured lament laden with cracked emotions - one of the album’s truly soaring moments. ‘Bleeding Hearts’ is an epic ballad with deft touches of mandolin and bittersweet harmonies that underscore a radio-friendly regret for lost innocence.

Back to business as ‘I Don’t Mind’ features OKell’s trademark blizzard of slide guitar reinforcing the urgent refrain, “You took too much, it ain’t ever comin’ back”. Then the funk-on of ‘White Collar Thieves’ co-opts hip-hop cadences as a call to arms against the depredations of gun-happy goons with monied credentials – there’s no roots music festivals in Iraq, kids.

Meanwhile ‘Tall Poppies’ is another formidable radio ballad with a tactile melody that winds itself around the tongue. It evokes the classic beauty of superbly handled slide guitar against a declaration of artistic and emotional sovereignty. OKell's vocals are extraordinary – powerful and commanding, chiming with restless, taut guitar and over-the-neck slide virtuosity which the band meets, blow for blow.

Press reactions for Marshall & The Fro’s first disc were effusive, with Sam Fell of Rhythms magazine declaring the album ‘infectious as hell’ and Brisbane’s Courier Mail embracing "a stunning display of musicianship from the tight-knit trio." Three years down the line, Marshall OKell is a different animal to the man who roared, “I’m a player and I share it around, I take a dollar when I’m bringing you down …”

The band has toured hard, playing 200 shows in 2009 alone. Three East Coast Blues and Roots Festivals bookend a whole swag of festivals, tours and altered states. Festivals including Peats Ridge, Woodford, and Queenscliff festivals, and the miles have left their marks. “This album draws on different experiences and emotions to the last one” he admits, “it touches on heart-break, loss… being broken down, and bouncing back up”.

Steeped in quieter, contemplative moments, it also buckets and roars like the progressive roots and rock music of say, Ash Grunwald or Dallas Frasca. “It goes from straight thumping rock to deep organic ballads. There are up tempo festival songs, songs about heartbreak and injustice, and songs about friendship. In the studio we used Marshall stacks and Fender twins on 10, as well as


Tall Poppies

Written By: Marshall Okell

TALL POPPIES Marshall Okell

Welcome home, to this town of talk,
Where secrets are shared, and tall poppies grow.
People here, they know my name,
their stories don’t change, but, their faces they age.
It didn’t take long, whispers I hear,
your garden it speaks with its green eyes and fear.
With your words, you tell of your faith,
but the grapevine he bit you, and left you with stains.

Tall Poppies grow just as high as they can,
Why can’t I go with your wishful consent?
It’s the tribulations of the grateful dead,
Tall poppies grow just as high as they can.

I can’t stay long, I hold no resentment,
light up my candle and I will not give in.
It’s not your fault, you grew up and played the sweet game of life where the tall poppies lay,
Shake my hand, you win this time,
you have your means and I have my vine.
I’m on my way to mars and beyond,
I’ll tell you one day if I return.
Tall Poppies grow just as high as they can
Why can’t I go with your wishful consent
It’s the tribulations of the grateful dead
Tall poppies grow just as high as they can


Written By: Marshall Okell

FRIENDS FOR LIFE by Marshall Okell
I live in a small town on the beach,
Where the river meets the sea,
I wake up and always hear
the sounds of the bands on the aussie tv.
Pack up your guitar my old friend,
We can hit the road and start to sing,
Leave your baggage at the gate,
Pick it up later if you have to mate.

Said, we came here with an open mind
We leave here friends for life,
Come back next year she’ll be right
Never lose your fire.

These rhythms they get me so high,
Heard music and stated to cry.
Theme park rides and festival vibes
lay deep within my mind.
Leave here happy as baby, listen to blues beats and jazz,
Come back next year to the sounds of peace,
to the sounds of peace.

Said we came here with an open mind
We leave here friends for life
Come back next year she’ll be right
Never loses your fire.


Written By: Marshall Okell & Mathew Cummins

BLEEDING HEARTS Marshall Okell & Mathew Cummins
Bleeding hearts think they’re such good guys,
But they make bad boys feel alright.
You pacify with your two cents talking.
But who says you’re walking in my life?

Now I compare my world to you
And we’re finding out we’re not the same.

Taking on someone else’s problems,
Don’t say your worries, don’t make them mine.
Bleeding hearts and they can’t stop flowing,
And now I know it’s just not me.

And I compare my world to you,
And we’re finding out we’re not the same.


Marshall & the Fro have an electrifying debut album. Released in August 2007, the thirteen track album encapsulates the essence of Australian Roots Rock music.
Marshall and the Fro have released their 2nd Album "Friends for Life" recorded and produced by renowned Producer Anthony Lycenko at 301 Studios Byron Bay.

Set List

Our set list changes depending what venue we are playing at and the requirements of the gig.

#My Bubble
#White Collar Thieves
#We've all got something to Say
#Friends for Life
#Squished & Squashed
#Bleeding hearts
#Crocodile Tears
#I Don't Mind
#Tall Poppies
#Get Up
#Something Better
#Sip & Taste