Not a lot is known about the di Martino brothers – Andy and Dave (aka Augie or Auggie).
(Note: not to be confused with the music journalist Dave di Martino who has written a few pieces about Don and the Magic Band)

They seem to have been hustlers in LA, trying to make money where they could but hung around the fringes of the music scene there. Andy was a guitarist and the more ‘musical’ of the two whereas Auggie wasn’t a musician and was probably the business ‘brains’ of the operation.

I have seen one reference to Andy as ‘a guitar teacher from San Diego and wannabe personal manager’, before becoming the manager of The Cascades (‘Rhythm of the Rain’) in 1962.

Andy is listed as a songwriter and producer for many recordings in the early 1960s. Whether he actually wrote the songs or not is probably debatable if his writing credit on Beefheart’s songs is anything to go by. If you’re interested in his output check out Discogs – https://www.discogs.com/artist/390656-Andy-Di-Martino – this shows he was producing albums at least until 1981

Before connecting with Don, Andy di Martino had produced and arranged a single by Del Simmons in 1972. (Simmons is the sax player in the ‘Tragic’ iteration of the Magic Band). He also managed the soft rock band Buckwheat producing several albums between 1971 and 1974 for the ‘A. di Martino Production Company Inc.’ (visions of grandeur there, I think!) The keyboard player of that band, Michael Smotherman, was hired for the Tragic Band. The production company has a separate entry on Discogs – https://www.discogs.com/label/776347-A-Di-Martino-Productions-Co-Inc

How the di Martinos got involved with Don I have no idea. Don’s manager Grant Gibbs had moved on during 1973 and somehow the brothers managed to get Don’s attention and promised him commercial success. Their timing was perfect because Don had been left high and dry by the original Magic Band quitting on him and he had lengthy US and European tours booked. The di Martinos, give them their due, rallied round and pulled a band together in a very short time comprised of people they’d worked with and knew of in the LA session scene. Andy also became their tour manager …. it seems he wasn’t any good at it!

Don allowed Andy di Martino complete control over the album Unconditionally Guaranteed¬†which had been recorded with the original Magic Band before they quit. Andy played guitar, has producer and arranger credit as well as co-writing credit on all the songs. Don did try to reduce the publishing money going to Andy by also getting Jan Van Vliet co-writing credit. The production job Andy did on the album was awful. The original band were appalled when they heard it. All of their work had been pushed down in the mix. All the sharp edges had been removed in a bid to make the album ‘commercial’.

Andy’s involvement continued with the next album ‘Bluejeans & Moonbeams’ although he doesn’t get arranger or writing credit on this one.

The di Martinos bid to make money by making Beefheart commercial was a dismal failure. Alienating existing fans by releasing two travesties of albums didn’t help. With no money the brothers melted away leaving Don high and dry. What happened to them after this I do not know apart from Andy’s production involvement as listed on Discogs.

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