"Animalize" Turns 30 This Year: Thoughts On The Album/MSJ?

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"Animalize" Turns 30 This Year: Thoughts On The Album/MSJ?

Postby thattimeofyear87 » Sat Jan 04, 2014 11:35 am

In honor of "Animalize" turning 30 later this year, how about a little discussion...

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On a scale of 0-5 stars, what is your rating for "Animalize"?

What's your take on Mark St. John's guitar work on "Animalize"?

How would you describe his style?

What do you think about his guitar tone on the album?

Do you think Mark was a good fit for KISS?

What is your favorite guitar solo on the album?

Favorite song on the album?

Least favorite song?

And the bonus question: What kind of Jackson is Mark playing the picture above?

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Re: "Animalize" Turns 30 This Year: Thoughts On The Album/MS

Postby thattimeofyear87 » Sat Jan 04, 2014 11:42 am


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Re: "Animalize" Turns 30 This Year: Thoughts On The Album/MS

Postby shramiac » Sat Jan 04, 2014 11:52 am

Solo was a little sloppy to be honest! But the song was played at breakneck speed! :shock:

Were you at this gig Freddy?

I don't mind the album actually. Burn Bitch Burn is the song everyone seems to bag but apart from the lame chorus (Ooooooooo, oooooooo) it ain't that bad. Had Enough is a great opener too. Give the album a solid 4 stars. (I like the 80's era albums though!)

I liked Mark's playing on it too. Shred would be the operative term to descibe his playing. :lol:
Had Enough for the win on best song and solo.
Album tone was fine, much better then his White Tiger or solo material tones.


As for the guitar, it's actually a Charvel with a Jackson logo!

http://www.jcfonline.com/threads/140572 ... rk+st+john

Vic was already on the case about this guitar Tim! :D
Last edited by shramiac on Sat Jan 04, 2014 12:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Animalize" Turns 30 This Year: Thoughts On The Album/MS

Postby PinkWiz » Sat Jan 04, 2014 12:00 pm

Loved Mark's solos on I've Had Enough, Thrills In The Night and While The City Sleeps. Of course he wasn't really the perfect fit for Kiss and had admitted as much. His style was kind of a mix of Vinnie and Bruce to me... definitely a talented guy who unfortunately found himself in a shitty way later on in life.

Overall I can listen to Animalize front to back without skipping a song. I like it equally as much as Asylum.

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Re: "Animalize" Turns 30 This Year: Thoughts On The Album/MS

Postby thattimeofyear87 » Sat Jan 04, 2014 6:45 pm



As for the guitar, it's actually a Charvel with a Jackson logo!

http://www.jcfonline.com/threads/140572 ... rk+st+john

Vic was already on the case about this guitar Tim! :D
Cool…. it certainly looks like a Charvel. Can anyone cut and paste any info from that thread? (I'm not a member…)

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Re: "Animalize" Turns 30 This Year: Thoughts On The Album/MS

Postby Genebaby » Sat Jan 04, 2014 9:02 pm

Charvel....#1969....w/a Jackson logo

There are more pics of it here from it's current owner, who has a lot of cool Charvel's and Jacksons.

http://s148.photobucket.com/user/bigmou ... wap&page=1

Animalize is a good album and I've Had Enough is a killer song. It's not quite as strong as Lick It Up though, what Vinnie brought to the table was missing, but the feeling was still there. That feeling diminished as the albums went by, though I do like Asylum and Crazy Nights, and even HITS.

I don't mind the tone, it sounds good,but I LOVE the production of LIU. The guitars, the drums, the vocals, all great, nothing too loud or out of place and a cool sound to the guitars. Still hold up fantastic to this day.

The guitars on Asylum don't sound as good for some reason.

I felt bad for Bruce anytime he had to play I've Had Enough Live.

Mark is a killer guitarist for sure, and I'm positive that Gene and Paul were wetting themselves over his playing at the time. They would have bee loving his shred. Loving it!!
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Re: "Animalize" Turns 30 This Year: Thoughts On The Album/MS

Postby thattimeofyear87 » Sun Jan 05, 2014 12:23 pm

Thanks for posting that… Some questions:

Do we know who acquired the guitar? And why? (Is he a MSJ fan?)

Was this in Mike Varney's Spotlight column?

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And does anyone recall any of the guitar magazines at the time doing any press on "Animalize"? (A review or interview?) I vaguely recall a Best of 1984 album list in Guitar For The Practicing Musician and "Animalize" being listed...

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Re: "Animalize" Turns 30 This Year: Thoughts On The Album/MS

Postby Slayer » Sun Jan 05, 2014 3:16 pm

Charvel....#1969....w/a Jackson logo

There are more pics of it here from it's current owner, who has a lot of cool Charvel's and Jacksons.

http://s148.photobucket.com/user/bigmou ... wap&page=1

Animalize is a good album and I've Had Enough is a killer song. It's not quite as strong as Lick It Up though, what Vinnie brought to the table was missing, but the feeling was still there. That feeling diminished as the albums went by, though I do like Asylum and Crazy Nights, and even HITS.

I don't mind the tone, it sounds good,but I LOVE the production of LIU. The guitars, the drums, the vocals, all great, nothing too loud or out of place and a cool sound to the guitars. Still hold up fantastic to this day.

The guitars on Asylum don't sound as good for some reason.

I felt bad for Bruce anytime he had to play I've Had Enough Live.

Mark is a killer guitarist for sure, and I'm positive that Gene and Paul were wetting themselves over his playing at the time. They would have bee loving his shred. Loving it!!
Great collection of photos here

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Re: "Animalize" Turns 30 This Year: Thoughts On The Album/MS

Postby Genebaby » Sun Jan 05, 2014 3:49 pm

Robert Witte is the current owner. He is just a Charvel Jackson collector, so not a big Mark fan as such. Being a former assist guitar would only make it more interesting.

It's like Jackson VVV guitars. They are wanted by collectors of the brand, not just Vinnie fans. Most of them don't care for Vinnie or his music, it's the rarity of the model that interests them. I lost out to one of those guys 10 years ago and haven't heard of the guitar since.
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Re: "Animalize" Turns 30 This Year: Thoughts On The Album/MS

Postby PinkWiz » Sun Jan 05, 2014 3:50 pm

Cool, I've never seen a pic of Mark before Kiss... in '82 he would've been 26.


Was this in Mike Varney's Spotlight column?

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Re: "Animalize" Turns 30 This Year: Thoughts On The Album/MS

Postby kisslolo » Sun Jan 05, 2014 9:17 pm

On a scale of 0-5 stars, what is your rating for "Animalize"?
3,5

What's your take on Mark St. John's guitar work on "Animalize"?
Mark makes of the seen good job the context of time, after Vinnie's departure, the group was in the worse state than after the elder!

What is your favorite guitar solo on the album?
I've Had Enough, Thrills In The Night

Favorite song on the album?
Thrills In The Night

Least favorite song?
Get All You Can Take

And the bonus question: What kind of Jackson is Mark playing the picture above?
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Re: "Animalize" Turns 30 This Year: Thoughts On The Album/MS

Postby shramiac » Tue Jan 07, 2014 12:13 am

You know, that guitar was probably used to reoord most of Animalize!
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Re: "Animalize" Turns 30 This Year: Thoughts On The Album/MS

Postby heavystef » Tue Jan 07, 2014 4:40 am

Don't like the solo. Just mindless shredding... :roll:
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Re: "Animalize" Turns 30 This Year: Thoughts On The Album/MS

Postby Vincent82 » Sun Jan 12, 2014 4:20 pm

Not a big fan. Mark is OK, but the songs are pretty sub-par in my opinion. I do like "I've Had Enough (Into The Fire)" and "Thrills In The Night", though.
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Re: "Animalize" Turns 30 This Year: Thoughts On The Album/MS

Postby doublev2 » Mon Jan 13, 2014 5:41 am

Still scratch my head why it sold way more than liu and tour was so much bigger.
i like msomething so but he is a session guitar player not a guy who should have joined kiss.
I don't mind white tiger it just needed better prodution/engineering and could have been something. i like his solos at times seems most fluid of all kiss players.
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Re: "Animalize" Turns 30 This Year: Thoughts On The Album/MS

Postby Vincent82 » Mon Jan 13, 2014 7:11 am

Still scratch my head why it sold way more than liu and tour was so much bigger.
i like msomething so but he is a session guitar player not a guy who should have joined kiss.
I don't mind white tiger it just needed better prodution/engineering and could have been something. i like his solos at times seems most fluid of all kiss players.
My thoughts exactly about the LIU sales and tour. Although LIU was a staple on MTV, I'm pretty sure it was "Heaven's On Fire" that made the album a bigger success, as well as the tour. Sad, considering I hate the song, Lol.
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Re: "Animalize" Turns 30 This Year: Thoughts On The Album/MS

Postby Genebaby » Mon Jan 13, 2014 9:35 pm

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Re: "Animalize" Turns 30 This Year: Thoughts On The Album/MS

Postby ankh » Thu Jan 16, 2014 5:17 pm

Animalize was a "meh" record............sounds like they used the same blueprint of the two previous record,just putting the songs in a different order........but too many fillers.Didn't lile the production....

Mark did try his best to please the bosses,he was given strict orders about what and how to play....if you read the interviews he did afterwards, it was clear that he wasn't free to express himself.Read especially the "hard force" intervew...........;).On the Interview from GFTPM he said he was asked to play more like Ace,meanin just pentatonic based style and slower.
On the other side, G&P thought to have the formula down and so it was clear what and how they wanted to achieve.

Just like with Vinnie, his style can't be described fully since he wasn't free to express himself....

The guitar tone on the album suffered a great deal from the producer's vision;).............Mark used Rockman gear,but thanks to the double tracking and equalization, you couldn't hear that............the sound was kind of thin and not greatly mixed...........

Mark was a musician with different roots and different style...........i think the fault lied somewhere inbetween..... if you want to join such an established band, you make a choice to adapt your style and just please them-sort of what Bruce did- on the other hand, just to choose somebody because he's a shredder and it fits the band visually when you just want a cross between Ace and a shredder doesn't seems a great idea to me.Mark used to play on the top of the beat while Kiss play behind the beat in typical rock and roll/hard rock style(think of Phil Rudd from AC/DC) and that caused friction during the few live gigs..............he wasn't used to play on such a big stage and also he did recall how he was demanded to tone down his performance, visual wise and how Paul ordered him to not use the volume pedal for swells ................he didn't want to be upstaged.Basically, kIss wanted somebody who could do exactly wha they wanted and nothin more................sort of what they afterwards and have now..........

Fave song? priobably "thrills in the night "..............because of mark;)

Least favourite ? "lonely is the hunter"..............bleugh.

Tim, since you always did such an excellent work in the past, would you consider an interview with Mark's sister and brother? it would be cool to know more about Mark and also,if possible,hear their side of the story...............especially since the tasteless comments from Both the band and Peter...............
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Re: "Animalize" Turns 30 This Year: Thoughts On The Album/MS

Postby shramiac » Thu Jan 16, 2014 5:33 pm

You mean bugger Ankh!!! :P :P :P :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:
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Re: "Animalize" Turns 30 This Year: Thoughts On The Album/MS

Postby Slayer » Fri Jan 17, 2014 3:28 pm

I like
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Re: "Animalize" Turns 30 This Year: Thoughts On The Album/MS

Postby PinkWiz » Fri Jan 17, 2014 5:29 pm

I know I'm in the minority but I love While The City Sleeps... especially the phrasing Gene uses on "It's hit or miss, an eye for an EYEeee♪ Almost a kinda Simon LeBon-Duran Duran feel to that line.

Norton's solo is solid too on that one.

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Re: "Animalize" Turns 30 This Year: Thoughts On The Album/MS

Postby Genebaby » Fri Jan 17, 2014 5:59 pm

I like that song too. I was just listening to Animalize on the way home.
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Re: "Animalize" Turns 30 This Year: Thoughts On The Album/MS

Postby PinkWiz » Fri Jan 17, 2014 6:01 pm

I like that song too. I was just listening to Animalize on the way home.
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Re: "Animalize" Turns 30 This Year: Thoughts On The Album/MS

Postby Genebaby » Fri Jan 17, 2014 6:20 pm

Not "exactly", ha ha. Animalize is an enjoyable album. Not quite up to LIU standards, but a damn fine record.

You could see by the time the album came out they had sorted out their "look" much better compared to LIU, so that may also have helped the album and tour do better.
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Re: "Animalize" Turns 30 This Year: Thoughts On The Album/MS

Postby shramiac » Fri Jan 17, 2014 6:59 pm

At least there's no rapping on it!!!!
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Re: "Animalize" Turns 30 This Year: Thoughts On The Album/MS

Postby ankh » Sat Jan 18, 2014 8:40 pm

You mean bugger Ankh!!! :P :P :P :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:
don't get me started ;) :P

Funnily enough, if you listen to Bruce solo guitar tone on Asylum and the tone he gets on his instructional vid, also there you can hear how thinner the guitar tone gets thanks Paul production.later on(during the CN era)record and tour he too used the Rockman module,albaeit on tour he coupled that with a Marshall and a sansamp preamp.

Even tough Mark has a tendency to use chromaticisms often, on his solo cd you could hear a guitarist who is enjoyng himself playng stuff he likes and ,for a music lover, this i think it is more interesting.

Kiss were ionterested in creating a musical product that could please their fanbase and also sell.For me Animalize could have been better if they had better songs and a better producer..........no wonder the drums sound good;).But ,by and large, the record did sell and that's what all mattered to them.

It would been nice to hear Mark and Eric jam sessions during the soundchecks..........
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Re: "Animalize" Turns 30 This Year: Thoughts On The Album/MS

Postby shramiac » Sat Jan 18, 2014 10:20 pm

All good points!

I have to admit, I listened to it this afternoon while mowing the lawn and I really enjoyed it! The guitars do have a thinner tone, yes. Tom Scholz has a lot to answer for!!! :P

Bruce really sticks out too!

And I'm gonna say it......Burn Bitch Burn..... sounds musically like a Vinnie song to me. Wonder if it was a LIU leftover? Or was on the infamous Vinnie Archives in its original form? Or maybe I'm just mad!?!?!?
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Re: "Animalize" Turns 30 This Year: Thoughts On The Album/MS

Postby PinkWiz » Sat Jan 18, 2014 10:55 pm

All good points!



And I'm gonna say it......Burn Bitch Burn..... sounds musically like a Vinnie song to me. Wonder if it was a LIU leftover? Or was on the infamous Vinnie Archives in its original form? Or maybe I'm just mad!?!?!?

I'm thinking Gene was still feeling Cusano's influence!

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Re: "Animalize" Turns 30 This Year: Thoughts On The Album/MS

Postby ankh » Sun Jan 19, 2014 12:59 am

i think they used COTN and LIU as blueprint;), they just rescrambled the order, BBB sounds like the Animalize's equivalent of "fits like a glove".The title was stolen,i think, from a B&W movie called "burn witch burn".And kiss was never been famous for their originality, many somngs were ,huh,"inspired" by other ones,especially Paul songs.

If you put those albums-and "asylum" too- back to back, you can see quite clearly which song is the equivalent of the other ones;).

Rockman was great for certain sounds,especially the clean ones, and was used by many rock bands- listen to "somewhere in time","not of this earth" "surfing with the alien" some tracks on "ram it down",just to name a few.

The key to unlock its potential is-unless you want the "boston sound"( more or less, a midrange peak about 400-450 Hz)-is to use the sustainor with an eq and very good active speakers.
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Re: "Animalize" Turns 30 This Year: Thoughts On The Album/MS

Postby shramiac » Sun Jan 19, 2014 1:17 am

Iron Maiden's Somewhere in Time?

That was all Gallien Kruger 250ML amps. Adrian's tone was THE shit on that one.

Wonder if Vinnie gave them a whirl during sound check when he toured with them?
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Re: "Animalize" Turns 30 This Year: Thoughts On The Album/MS

Postby ankh » Sun Jan 19, 2014 3:14 am

i know about the gallien kreuger, and how do tyhe sound(excellent ss amps) i think here and there the sound is more similar to a rockman through a marshall,but i could be wrong.
Comeing back to MSJ, i would have liked to hear more from him and hopefully with a better mix/production.Such issues plague even his solo efforts.
Aside from what is circulating through fanbase,it would be cool to hear the Animalize demos from the first session,where mark played more rhytm and different solos.Mark mentioned that many parts were very different.............he also stated that he worked with Bruce on tour reharsals to help him nail the solos.................it would be interesting to hear Bruce's take on that
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Re: "Animalize" Turns 30 This Year: Thoughts On The Album/MS

Postby Genebaby » Sun Jan 19, 2014 7:06 am

Ooh, wish we'd asked Bruce about the tour with Mark at his clinic. It would be cool to get the low down on that.
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"Animalize" Turns 30 This Year: Thoughts On The Album/MSJ?

Postby Slayer » Sun Jan 19, 2014 12:56 pm

The funny thing is no matter how much Mark worked with him I never felt that Bruce nailed Mark's solos by a long shot. Later on when Kiss started playing songs from their 70's catalog again I felt that Bruce sounded great playing the Ace Frehley Parts. Alive 3 Etc. Mark is a unique player and hard to replicate.

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Re: "Animalize" Turns 30 This Year: Thoughts On The Album/MS

Postby Genebaby » Sun Jan 19, 2014 2:34 pm

Agreed, Mark is a hard act to follow. I'm sure Bruce was not too sad to see I've Had Enough dropped from the set. Maybe he helped it go? Lol.
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Re: "Animalize" Turns 30 This Year: Thoughts On The Album/MS

Postby desperado » Tue Jan 21, 2014 5:48 am

to me it was alright..not great but alright....i was dissappointed in it because KISS lost the hard edge they had brought back with Creatures and Lick it Up so i have it but its not one that i listen to very much
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Re: "Animalize" Turns 30 This Year: Thoughts On The Album/MS

Postby ankh » Sat Jan 25, 2014 10:05 am

found this there:http://forums.stevehoffman.tv/threads/r ... st.110421/:



NO WAY! <incredulous> i have a hard time believing KISS would go *that* obscure, '80s obscure. great riff, great changes, wild solo and rad ending. one of KISS's best '80s moments, IMHO. if only the production were better. it's midrange hell. funny enough, i was at Sam Ash on Sunset about a month ago picking up some gear for an act i was working for and Mitch Weissman was my salesman. i saw his name tag, sussed out his Queens accent and asked him if he worked with KISS in the '80s. he was all surprised and happy that i recognized him. nicest guy. we talked for, like, ten minutes or something. i asked him about Animalize and he said he was the guy who Paul called to find a replacement for St. John when he came down with his ailment during recording. Mitch told me he went through the phone book and found Bruce Kulick's number and called him, that it was his idea to have Kulick jump on board. so, Kulick actually tracked some of the stuff on Animalize, according to Weissman. i found that interesting. i also asked him why the album sounds so bad and midrangey. among other things, he told me they recorded all the solos into a Tom Scholz Rockman
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Re: "Animalize" Turns 30 This Year: Thoughts On The Album/MS

Postby ankh » Sat Jan 25, 2014 10:14 am

from progarchives.com,http://www.progarchives.com/forum/forum ... ?TID=36472:

missed this when it was posted. I knew Mark very well I grew up with him. This makes me sad and feeling very old. Cry


The Magic Bullet Theory and the White Tiger CD I think can still be had if you search for them.



I posted this at Blabbermouth.net



My name is Brian Pate and I lived down the street from the Norton's on Easy Way in Garden Grove. Mark and I attended GG high school together and I remember when the guy started playing guitar. To the guy that called Mark an a-hole all I can say is you never met him. Mark did have a certain amount of cockiness to him but he wanted to be the best. It was important to him. The guy had hundreds of records which he referred to as his "books". We lived through a very exciting time in music and Mark had his ear tuned to all of it whether it was Rock, Jazz or Classical. He soaked in everything and what came out was pretty brilliant.
I think it was listening to Al Dimeola and John McLaughlin that Mark started to become a competent all around guitarist rather than just a rock guitarist. I remember Mark had a band called Jabberwocky circa 1974-7. They would have been labeled a progressive rock band by today's standards and with a few other prog bands in the OC area such as Gazelle, Aircastle and Handle played concerts. Mind you none of these guys had recording deals but were still able to sell 5000 tickets to a show at the old OC raceway in Irvine doing nothing but originals in 1975. I remember that concert very well because Mark took some lyrics of mine and put them to a song called "The Shepard" and that was the first time they performed it. But see that was Mark.


If anything Mark was a teacher and broker. He would sit down and teach you something because he wanted you to be able to play with him. If you were good enough you would be in his band. He taught me First Impression Part One of Karn Evil 9 by ELP which Mark had learned the entire organ parts of Keith Emerson and taught me both left and right hand parts on Piano. Check it out sometime you will be impressed. he had the most accurate ear of anyone I have met in my life.


He always had a vision of what he wanted something to sound like so yes he was a bit dictatorial in his bands and people with equal skills usually did not see eye to eye with him but that doesn't make him an asshole. There were many times just kicking back and talking with Mark and his brother Mike with other friends like Gordon Davis that his real side came through. He rented a studio (really just a big garage or shed ) in Cerritos California on some dairy land. I remember helping him one night "procure" some lumber to make a stage. He couldn't afford it for very long and another band, Gazelle, ended up with the place. There were many nights sitting in there drinking Lucky beer (the cheapest God awful stuff you can imagine because we could afford nothing else)
I remember another band he was in in the early 80's called Front Page and saw them several times at different clubs around OC. I still remember them playing Abacab by Genesis which the long instrumental part at the end was Marks spotlight and how incredible his playing had become. I remeber the guy next to me commetning "That is the best guistrist I have ever seen".

I lost touch with Mark after he joined Kiss although I did see one White Tiger show in Hollywood about 1987-8. We went with a few friends including a rival guitarist back in the prog days, Bruce Warner of Aircastle, who Mark always admired. He was so happy to see all of us there and he played his ass off that night. That was the last time I ever saw him and I regret not making the time to make contact which I will never be able to do now.

To his family if you read this I am truly sorry. To the world we lost a great musician and I feel a little older today.
“Men are apt to be much more influenced by words than by the actual facts of the surrounding reality.” I.Pavlov

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