Folk/rock/blues/Americana band Harpco features Sue Ferguson, who co-founded the local all-girl late-1970s punk band the Dinettes, along with her husband Mark “Harpo” Delguidice.
Originally from Chicago, Harpo moved from San Francisco to San Diego in 1999 with his wife, Sue (who also played with Slackjaw, Private Sector, and Shelf Life). “As a kid, I lived behind the Kingston Mines blues club in Chicago. I’d sneak in and bug the old players — in those days, bars weren’t so tight. I was fascinated with the blues. I got to learn from Big Walter Horton. He didn’t like me calling myself ‘Lil Johnny Winter’ (I had long blond hair) because I played harp, not guitar, then. So he started callin’ me ‘Lil Harpo.’ I dropped the ‘lil’ when I got older.”
“I worked at the Cabaret Metro Chicago: stage technician, monitor mix, house sound, and backstage security. Hung with everyone from Grandmaster Flash to the Replacements, Concrete Blonde, and Ministry.”
Since arriving in town in 1999, he says “San Diego has amazed me; I’ve never had this much fun. It’s the only place I was ever encouraged to do a band by other musicians. Joey Harris really inspired me in the first place, dragging me onstage two weeks after I moved here…I couldn’t have done it without them. I’d given up on playing live or finding a band. We kinda look out for each other here. The only thing missing is a real blues bar, Chicago style.”
He fondly recalls his early entries into the local music scene. “[I remember] watching the Crawdaddys at a wedding, sitting with Country Dick Montana. He had me steal a bottle of vintage champagne off the bride’s table. We drank it and had a blast as he regaled me with Crawdaddys history, and they kicked ass. Marc Cohn at Humphrey’s, three or four years ago. I had tears on my face the whole show; it was so moving. The Heartbreakers as the Dirty Knobs at the Belly Up, without Tom Petty. It was great to see musicians on that level just having a great time. And the last Beat Farmers/Powerthud show at Tio Leo’s.”
Delguidice turned 50 in 2011. “I’m easing into my wiser years, it seems. It is harder to stay out till two a.m. I enjoy telling stories to the youngsters: ‘Yep, saw Zeppelin in ’76…hanging with Spinal Tap…seeing Black Flag’s first tour.’ I worked backstage a long time.”