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1952 Gary 2021

Gary Maki

September 5, 1952 — August 19, 2021

Gary A. Maki

Gary A. Maki of Castaic, CA passed away Thursday, August 19th, 2021 due to natural causes. Gary was a few weeks shy of his 69th birthday. He grew up in Northern MN where he lived until relocating to Los Angeles in January of 1980. He graduated from California State University, Northridge (CSUN) with a BA degree in English (graduating with Honors).

‘I lost my brother, my best friend, my musical collaborator / band mate and business partner of 36 years in a blink of an eye…’ Brian wrote.

While Gary had some health issues over the last couple of years, certainly nothing we felt that could not be addressed and he still had a lot of life left to live… But his Finnish stubbornness and an aversion to doctors / hospitals certainly played a role in his demise.

Gary was smart as a whip, highly creative, a great writer with a twisted sense of humor. He was a prolific songwriter. Musically he played keyboards and considered himself a synth player more than a piano player (Gary’s early years playing accordion set that stage). Gary had a great voice and knack for lyrics and melody. He was a true artist, as he also loved to paint abstracts and acted while in college. On the flip side, he was definitely mechanically challenged… None of his father’s, ‘If a man made it, a man can fix it’ genes ever morphed into Gary.

Gary loved sports too, basketball / baseball (he was a pitcher in Little League and he still holds the record for the most ‘beaned batters’ on the Iron Range). He ditched the Vikings and boarded the Brady / Patriots bandwagon. He’d played tennis for many years where in his weekly doubles matches he was nicknamed, ‘the Wall’, not because of his speed, but because of his fierce net play. He was also The #1 Lakers fan and his brother was treated to the daily minutia of Lakers trivia 365. Gary loved reading the LA Times and Daily News (had to be analog / paper, not digital) and he challenged himself by doing both of the newspaper’s crossword puzzles every day.

Gary and Brian worked side by side in family businesses for nearly 60 years. They mopped floors / bussed tables @ Maki’s Cafe in the early ‘60’s (while all their buddies were out playing ball and goofing off). That evolved into working with their Dad at Maki’s Jewelry in the 70’s, which evoked another one of his Dad’s favorite sayings, ‘…always something to do just put your head down and work.’ Dad had always wanted one of ‘the boys’ to take over the jewelry business… But balanced by him also valuing his son’s desire to do something on his own (and frankly mirroring his own journey to CA as he’d sought out new opportunity moving to San Diego prior being drafted into WWII).

Gary’s path was certainly focused on rock and roll and his journey with The Dawn Raiders, The Civilized Few, Stone Def / Angel, Island, Red Weather and The Rumbles got him touring the Midwest (opening for Ted Nugent, REO, etc).

These groups evolved into, you guessed it, another family business of sorts, after he resettled back in Northern MN from being on the road, Brian (drummer) joined Gary’s new band Matrix that later became the band, Actor. Actor landed a record deal and they moved an army to LA in 1980. But the LA music scene was a tough a nut to crack, they all needed day jobs to support their music career and to offset the cost of living. Brian took a job with an employment agency and then placed Gary with D&B after he graduated from CSUN. Within the year, Brian started his own recruiting firm and recruited Gary to join him in 1985. Fast-forward 36 years and SB Solutions Inc. is still thriving.

Gary got really close to making his musical dream come true. Actor had signed a record deal with the notorious, Kim Fowley (The Runaways) and played all the showcase clubs in LA, The Troubadour, Gazzari’s on Sunset, Madame Wong’s West and garnered airplay on KROQ (frequent in-studio guests of DJ Dusty Street) and Actor caught some serious LA buzz. They had a lock out rehearsal studio at the renowned Sound City at its height and later signed a production deal with Devonshire Studios (one of LA’s top recording studios). After 7-8 years of pouring their hearts into the band, life intervened and the band broke up in 1985. The brothers focused on their recruiting business, SB Solutions Inc.

Gary however continued making music and co-writing songs with a variety of musicians and most recently with Cody Clark, as the Hip Hop act, 91384, playing his role as G.Mak, the oldest White Rapper. 91384 released many CDs and great videos.

‘It’s been melancholy thinking about my Bro and emotionally challenging but gratifying to hear from the wealth of friends that genuinely loved him.’

The day before Gary passed, he had a very interesting conversation with Brian. Gary had been home ill for a couple of days with a recurring stomach bug but mentioned he’d had a lot of time to reflect on his life. He said:

‘You know Bri, it seems that about every ten years or so bad things have happened to me… My divorce, then a DUI, then my house gets destroyed by the sewage flood. I had the blood clot / operation on my leg and now some health issues. You know, it would really be easy to just sit back and do the whole ‘woe is me’ bit… But then I got to thinking about all the really great things I’ve had in my life. I grew up in a great loving family, working with you and us building our business, and all the great times I’ve had playing music with my friends. You know that I’ve partied a lot and had a helluva lot of fun along the way. You know, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.’

Gary was preceded in death by his father, John (2010) and his dear mother, Elma (2014). He is survived by his brother, Brian, his wife Gigi and their furry sidekick, Kona of Stevenson Ranch, CA.

Gary was a big supporter of the Wounded Warrior Project and the Alzheimer’s Association, so donations in his name would be greatly appreciated.

A ‘Celebration of Life’ event befitting Gary will be announced at a later date as COVID’s grip loosens allowing for safer gatherings.

To send flowers to the family of Gary Alan Maki, please visit our Heartfelt Sympathies Store.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Gary Maki, please visit our flower store.


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