Marco Benevento on Richard Swift

MacEagon Voyce
October 21, 2020
Marco Benevento (credit: Michael DiDonna)

About five years ago I saw Marco Benevento cover David Bowie's Hunky Dory in its entirety at Brooklyn's Knitting Factory. The gig was my reentry into the Bowie cosmos -- just in time to anticipate what would be his final album -- as well as my introduction to Marco's world. I'm grateful on both accounts. NPR's description of the keyboardist's ability to combine the "thrust of rock, the questing of jazz and the experimental ecstasy of jam" is on point. He's as suited to play Carnegie Hall as Lollapalooza (and he's done both), and his musical world has seen collaborations with such luminaries as Trey Anastasio (Phish), Phil Lesh (Grateful Dead), A.C. Newman (The New Pornographers), and jam band lynchpin Joe Russo, with whom he plays in two bands: Benevento/Russo Duo and Joe Russo's Almost Dead.

For his Algorhythm, Marco remembers the exceptionally talented musician and producer Richard Swift, who played with The Shins and The Black Keys (among others) before his untimely death in 2018 at just 41 years old...

A musical life changing moment for me was entering the mind of Richard Swift and recording with him. He reminded me of who I was. There were paintings everywhere, drawings, records, palo santo, instruments, keyboards, guitars and basses; the walls were pulsating the brain waves of Richard’s brilliant mind. He had his three kids and wife next door and we’d eat delicious dinners and listen to amazing mixes made by Richard. One of my favorites out there is Malo Mono. He was so simple and so smart at the same time. He knew exactly what he was doing with everything he did from his drawings to music to his Instagram posts to the decor in his studio bathroom, yet he made it all look effortless. Through my connection to Richard, I have met and worked with a handful of musicians that continue to inspire me musically, including Leon Michels, Dan Auerbach, Freddy Gibbs and Madlib.

Marco's most recent record Let It Slide arrived last year, and his Aquarium Drunkard’s Lagniappe Session is to be released on August 7 via Royal Potato Family. Give his record a spin — and listen to our full Algorhythms playlist here.

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