Mark was born on April 12, 1954 in South Bend, Indiana. He grew up in Flint, Michigan. The second of five children, he exhibited extraordinary musical abilities at the age of seven, singing perfect third and fifth interval harmony’s while accompanying his Mother and older sister doing the after dinner chores. Mark took up playing the trumpet in the fourth grade elementary school band, and continued all through his school years eventually becoming the drum major of his high school marching band. But it was in the seventh grade Mark found his first love…the drums.
Working and saving all the money he earned from his paper route he bought his first drum set in 1967. Listening to his favorite records and playing along he quickly taught himself how to play well enough to be sought after by many of the young budding musicians in the neighborhood. He formed his first band at the age of 15 singing and playing drums for the Mark IV. They played at the junior high school dances and soon became the most popular band around. In 1971 Mark’s family moved to Saginaw, Michigan resulting in the loss of his musical connections, however he kept playing but remained bandless during his last year of high school. After graduating he went to work for a local bank and it wasn’t until 1973 that music returned when he was approached by some former bandmates from Flint to become their new front man lead singer. Mark gave up the drums and went on to leave his banking career for the life of a professional musician.
During this time he performed in local rock clubs throughout Michigan until 1975. It was at the T-Bird lounge, a small town rock club/biker bar in Flint, Michigan that he was discovered by a connection that invited him to move to Las Vegas, Nevada and sing in the Casino Lounge at the Las Vegas Hilton. It was only after he had moved he discovered singing in Las Vegas was not for him. Mark decided he would rather work a straight job than to “prostitute himself” as another Tony Orlando in the lounges of Las Vegas. Knowing he had to get to L.A. someday, Mark went to work as a casino cage cashier for the Stardust Casino, and four years later had saved enough money to move to Los Angeles, California. There he pursued his dream and his destiny with a passion and within a very short amount of time was singing in ‘Kid America’. A local band formed by guitarist Lloyd Chiate. Lloyd had co-written some of Eddie Money’s hits in the mid to late seventies. The band had a very pop flavor with a twist of “new wave”. It was with this band that Mark had his first experience in the recording studio. Recording in the famous studio “C” of the Record Plant they came very close several times to landing a recording contract with a major label, but to no avail.
Eventually his contacts and reputation paid off when he recieved a call from Carmine Appice in the fall of 1983. Mark and Carmine started forming King Kobra in the spring of 1984. The release of the bands first album, “Ready To Strike” in April of 1985 on Capital Records was Mark’s first professional record release. In the summer of 1985, King Kobra went on tour opening for Autograph. That summer, they also appeared on the bill for one show with Accept and Iron Maiden. Two months prior to the release their second album for Capital called “Thrill Of A Lifetime” in January 1986, King Kobra went south to Mexico and opened for Quiet Riot at the Mexican/American Friendship Festival in Acapulco in front of an adoring crowd of 30,000 people. Thrill Of A Lifetime” in January 1986, King Kobra went south to Mexico and opened for Quiet Riot at the Mexican/American Friendship Festival in Acapulco in front of an adoring crowd of 30,000 people. After the release of the “Thrill Of A Lifetime” album which features the song from the movie “Iron Eagle”, they were asked to join a nine week tour opening for Kiss in the northeast United States. They ended their last leg of the “Thrill Of A Lifetime” tour playing in the southwestern United States opening for Ted Nugent and WASP. In early fall of 1986, King Kobra returned to Las Angeles to learn Capital Records would not be picking up their option to continue with the band. Mark stayed with KK until late fall of 1986 when he decided it was time for him to follow his dreams in a different musical direction. In the spring of 1987 Mark recorded four songs for the movie soundtrack album “Black Roses” while forming what became Signal with bassist Erik Scott.
Signal signed with EMI Records in 1988 and released it’s only album called “Loud and Clear” in April of 1989. The EMI label had just experienced quite a few personnel problems which led to the band receiving no support and was dropped three months after the release. In 1990 Mark met Bruce Gowdy and together with Guy Allison wrote and recorded the songs for what became the Unruly Child record, released in April 1992 on Interscope/Atlantic Records. After the dismissal of their label connection, producer Beau Hill, the band was dropped one week after the release of the album. Mark and Bruce continued on recording and writing songs for what eventually became the Marcie Free “Tormented” album. But prior to that Mark released his first solo album called “Long Way From Love” on Now and Then Records in 1993. After the release of the “Tormented” album in 1996 Marcie took an extended leave…More to come.