Born in Glasgow in 1968, Mark has been travelling and making his living from playing music for almost 20 years. He started playing in bands while at university in Edinburgh, then spent a year studying philosophy in France before leaving his studies to concentrate solely on music. For a couple of years he toured Europe with the band The Purple Rizla Experience, then settled in Prague in 1992, becoming a key figure in The Oul’ Bogwarriors, a loose configuration boasting many great musicians and songwriters within its ranks. For several years he split his time largely between Prague and Ireland, where he also had a band and a solo career.
In 1995, Mark formed the band Impure Thoughts with a couple of other Prague musicians, spending a year in Ireland writing songs and playing around the country. In 1996 they set off on an open-ended tour taking in 10 European countries. On reaching Berlin, the van died, leaving the band stranded there. Mark and another member decided to stay, and the band recorded two albums, "Life and How to Ignore it", and "Lights Ahead". Impure Thoughts evolved into the acoustic folk/country/blues band Two Dollar Bash, who have released four albums, "Two Dollar Bash", "On the Road", "Lost River" and "New Adventures". The band has toured extensively around Europe and North America, and was invited for the third successive year to the prestigious SXSW festival in Austin, Texas in March 2009, as well as to the Folk Alliance Annual Conference in Memphis in February of the same year. For many years Mark hosted a weekly session which was one of the main meeting points for musicians in Berlin, and together with a friend he opened an international second-hand bookshop, East of Eden, in the Friedrichshain district of Berlin, which was a venue for many concerts and readings and a favourite haunt of musicians, writers and artists for almost 10 years. Mark is also a partner in the Berlin record label Cannery Row Records,
His second solo album, “The Cactus and the Dragon”, was recorded in Berlin, Paris, Antwerp and San Francisco with an impressive selection of guest musicians, and released on the Berlin label Cannery Row Records in 2011 to critical acclaim, as a follow up to the double album “The Devil on the Stairs” (2008). September 2012 saw the UK release of “Waiting for the Storm”, a collaboration with former dEUS guitarist Craig Ward and Belgian double bass player Hannes d’Hoine. The album was chosen by the Telegraph as one of “five summer treats of British folk music”, and rated by R2 magazine as “one of the best albums of 2012”.
After years of splitting his time between Berlin, Paris and other European cities, Mark moved to Haiti in 2010, where he worked with young local bands in a cultural centre in Port-au-Prince, as well as collaborating with many established Haitian artists, including the world-renowned writer, painter and actor Frankétienne, with whom he created several spoken word and music pieces, and who also made a guest appearance on “Waiting for the Storm”, and the singer Wooly Saint Louis Jean, with whom he recorded an album of traditional Haitian songs which will soon be ready for release. During his time in Haïti, Mark made regular trips back to Europe to continue with his projects there, including two tours in 2012 taking in Belgium, Holland, Germany, the Czech Republic, the UK and France with Craig Ward and Hannes d’Hoine. In 2013 he recorded a full album with Frankétienne, entitled “Chaophonies”, which was released by Cannery Row Records/Jezus Factory Records in March 2014, and toured in Europe and Haiti with the project, including a performance at the prestigious Maison de la Poésie in Paris, and an interview and live performance on the “Tropismes” TV show on France Ô with the legendary French journalist Laure Adler. In May 2014 he recorded an album in San Francisco with two friends and long-time musical partners, Rusty Miller (Jackpot, Cake) and James Finch Jr., which will be released in 2015. In June 2014, Mark worked on a project in Haiti with the legendary Nigerian drummer Tony Allen, along with Sanba Zao and other top Haitian percussionists, bassist Jean-Philippe Dary, and electronic musician Olaf Hund. The collaboration culminated in a concert on the Champ de Mars, the main square of Port-au-Prince, which was broadcast live on national television, and the recordings of the project may form the basis of an album. During the week of rehearsals, Tony, Jean-Philippe and Olaf backed up Mark for a solo concert, and the spontaneous chemistry that happened during this gig inspired the 4 musicians to plan a recording session in Paris in November. During this trip he will also be starting work on a new album with Craig Ward and Hannes d’Hoine, and will be completing the mastering of the album he recorded with Rusty Miller and James Finch Jr. In September 2014, Mark and his wife moved to Bamako, Mali, and he looks forward to working with some of the many fantastic musicians there.
Mark’s songs have been covered on albums in the USA (Barleyjuice, Sharla June and the Mayhaws), the UK (George Stott) and the Czech Republic (the Lazy Pigs) and also feature in the live repertoire of a wide variety of artists throughout Europe, America and beyond.