A long-time Vic Firth endorser, Mark’s first “claim to fame” was winning Neil Peart’s “Chromey” drum set in Modern Drummer Magazine’s very first drum solo contest. As one of the winners of the competition, which was judged by the legendary Neil Peart, Mark found himself looking at his own photo in Modern Drummer and having Neil Peart write about him in the accompanying article.
Peart wrote that Mark’s drum solo was “a real piece of music--technically and rhythmically quite sophisticated.”
You can read other quotes from great drummers (like Simon Phillips and Kenny Aronoff) about Mark here.
Raised in NYC, Mark was bit by the drumming bug as a teen. In his bedroom of his family’s apartment in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, he obsessively read drumming magazines and books and listened to the drumming of his early drum heroes: John Bonham, Neil Peart and Peter Criss.
By the time he was a junior at Stuyvesant High School, Mark was playing gigs around the city with musicians more than twice his age and loving it. After college, Mark flirted with “real” jobs but wound up going to Drummer’s Collective, where he discovered a world of drumming beyond rock.
GOING PRO: HELP FROM KENNY ARONOFF
Playing professionally led to one band--Hearts and Minds--getting signed to A&M Records. The band found itself recording at John Mellencamp’s studio in Bloomington, Indiana and Mark met Kenny Aronoff there. Kenny taught Mark a lot about recording during his six weeks there. In fact, Mark and Kenny both played on the album so it was a big lesson in session drumming for Mark.
Kenny started recommending Mark for gigs and Mark continued to play live and record sessions in NY and elsewhere.
SESSIONS & PRODUCERS
In the studio, some of the producers Mark has worked for are David Prater (Dream Theater, Night Ranger), Stewart Lerman (Elvis Costello, Patti Smith), and Felix McTeigue (Florida Georgia Line, Amy Helm), among others.
SOME PEOPLE MARK’S PLAYED WITH
Alison Kruass, Oz Noy, Will Lee, GE Smith (Roger Waters, SNL), Marshall Crenshaw, Joel Hoekstra (Whitesnake), Curtis Stigers, Andy York (John Mellencamp), Tony Shanahan (Patti Smith), The Drifters, Big Brother and the Holding Company, The Marvelettes, and more...
SOUNDGARDEN & OTHER COOL STUFF
In 2013, Matt Cameron announced he would tour with Pearl Jam despite a scheduled Soundgarden tour during the same time period in 2014. He had been playing in both bands. Just after that, Mark sent an audition video to Soundgarden's management to try and get on the tour. He was considered seriously enough that their manager began communicating with him about the gig. Mark started learning the songs. Ultimately, he didn't get to audition in person, but being on the list of those considered was an honor. You can watch that audition video here.
Mark is an official endorser of Vic Firth Sticks
He’s written several articles for Modern Drummer and been written about in the magazine several times.
Mark has his own band, LEVEL5 and he produced the debut EP with Oz Noy on guitar and Will Lee on bass.