Thursday, 20 December 2007


OMNIPHONIC 1994 Only 1000 copies made.
Going To A Love-In/Idiot Smile/Bad Mouth/2010 Anthem/Can't Dream You Anymore/Mr. Cream's Machine/Girl With A Heart For A Head/Suicide Rainbow/The Hellbound Train/Madeline/Putty In My Hands/No Way Dogs/You've Got The Moves/Pacificus (Half-Man, Half-Ocean)

Mark Mikel "After Sorghum Pudding I felt liberated and confident enough to do a new album that was more me…more like what I wanted to do. And the band kept continuing on, even though the lead guitar role kept constantly changing. We added a keyboard player Steve Eyer and a background singer/percussionist Dave Murnen. We’d had so much fun becoming famous in our hometown with Sorgham Pudding that we were eager to release another. The Idiot Smiles in late 1994 and though I believe this album was so much better than its predecessor it basically died on arrival. By this time every garage band in town had their own CDs pressed, so the radio station, rather than deal with that kind of onslaught, closed their doors on local talent for good.
I mastered Idiot Smiles when I knew nothing about mastering. I just compressed it slightly and copied it to a DAT tape and that was the extent of the mastering. It made the disc louder than Sorghum but left a lot of the hi end detail out of the mix."

Mark Mikel "The Idiot Smiles is a solo record because it's my record. It wasn't all done by me- it was done in support of me and my songs. Chalmers did the drumming on it- except two songs I think. Mark Kelley played some bass and was also around a lot for other uncredited overdubs and production work. Murnen did some percussion and extremely valuable backing and harmony vocals. I wasn't ready to commit to a band name either. After Marikesh breaking up- virtually right after the album was released- I swore I'd only release my music again if it was only under my name. Then I wouldn't be stuck with some album by a defunct band. Still it took a few years to even want to play my music with someone else- let alone do anything public with it. I didn't like my name. I liked BAND names.By late '93, Mark Kelley, Dan Chalmers had proved themselves to not be the normal half interested fly-by-night bandmates that I'd grown used to. They had matured immensely and were obviously essential. Murnen was still new to the band and was ultimately in it more for the fun but ...he's one of the most talented guys I've ever known -despite himself... he's an old friend and we were tight. I wanted him in the band very badly. But I digress...The point is: our band was kicking some ass around the time The Idiot Smiles was started. It really wasn't supposed to be a solo record in the sense that Sorghum Pudding was. Sorghum Pudding was basically as successful as a Toledo release could get and locally people were getting to know the Hallucination from all the live shows. I wanted to include the band in the next CD. Our 4th lead guitarist Mark Jackson was new to the band AND recording..."thrown to the lions" so to speak. He decided to cut out -after two or three sessions of 3 guys standing over his shoulder (as he tries to create a guitar solo). His leaving cemented my mistrust for the ongoing commitment of musicians. Hence I returned to the SP method of finishing the album and did not use the band name. But it wouldn't have been the same all by myself. The greatness of the Kelley/Chalmers rhythm section is evident on Mr. Cream's Machine. The next album, I would try again to get a band thing going, yet I was careful not to use my songs and came up with the Rip-Offs idea. I don't enjoy that album because it was fluffed-off on my part but Kelley, Murnen and Chalmers really got a chance to shine there. I tried to include our keyboardist Steve Eyer as much as possible but he lived out of town. When he did manage to record with us- he could only put up with 2 sessions and quit the band. Then along came Scott Tabner as the new guitarist but he wasn't involved with recording yet. Lessons learned from MJ and SE. Poor Scott Tabner had to suffer the attitude of a band abandoned by musicians too many times. Plus Scott was the first one to quit Marikesh and that was a big warning sign in my mind. He had to prove himself... and he did quite nicely."

Mark Mikel "Madeline was my first attempt at writing a song after the release of Sorghum Pudding and I needed an idea. I was thinking about my pregnant sister-in-law Becky and the names she and my brother Matt were going to go with (Luke or Madeline). The word Luke wasn't all that inspirational but that other name sounded good as soon as I hit the E chord and sang it. This was late at night and when I woke up the next day I got the news.I sing it differently than her name is really pronounced (like the children's book name). Her’s has the Mad-e-"lin" sound but I still call her Mad-e-"line"
Davey Murnen. “Mark designed that album cover, the photos were taken in one of those photo booths that you put a dollar into. It was located in what is called the Southland Shopping center, not far from Dan’s and my house. The booth was at the end of all these cash registers and you should have seen the looks we were getting all crammed into the booth. One of the funnier moments was, I believe Mark Kelley and I puffing on cigarettes and blowing smoke into the booth while Mark was having his shots done in order to give it that surreal hazy look. I remember being somewhat nervous because you were not supposed to be smoking in this public store and Mark just kept handing me cigarettes to keep lighting. The store is still there its called Odd Lots, a discount merchandise store with a lot of discontinued brand and slightly damaged goods at low prices. Look inside the cover for my Ray Charles imitation..Jamie Fox got nothing on this boyeeeeeeee!"

Mark Mikel. “Mark Jackson was the 3rd Mark in our band at one time, you can hear his playing on the first track Going To A Love In. We called him Mr. Jackson. He was a very nice guy who seemed to like our band a lot. He'd make it a point to approach me at our shows and say how he wished he could be in the band. That was a classic case of "be careful what you wish for." I think Mark eventually found that it wasn't at all what it was cracked up to be. There was a reason that we went through 3 lead guitarists in just over a year. When he audition for us he was incredible. Running through Eric Johnson and Santana licks like nothing. Mark was very colourful with different sounds and his diversity in styles was really impressive. He had a box that could make his guitar sound backwards and that really was impressive too.We were just coming off a short stint with Wayne Stevens as our lead guitarist. I loved Wayne too but he was the complete opposite of Mark and that's a whole other story anyway.Mark was great to play with live and he could play every lick on Sorghum Pudding (and other songs) to perfection. I can't remember how many shows we did with him though. It can't have been many. He did that live broadcast in Sandusky with us.Mark and I got along really well as friends. We'd have long talks about music but we decided we better stop doing that. The night of our long Zappa conversation-Frank Zappa died. Then not much later, we talked extensively about Kurt Cobain. That night Kurt died. We really did think that was creepy.Recording with us wasn't something he'd particularily enjoy. I think he felt a bunch of pressure being the new guy. Most lead guitarists really want to project their style and I tend to make it hard because of my own very strong musical vision when it comes to my songs. And with Kelley, Chalmers and I breathing down his neck making suggestions left and right probably didn't help matters much. Tabner still gets irritated at that every now and then. I would have given Mark every opportunity in the world to project his ideas but he couldn't stand the madness. Not many can. It was sad because I think that's what made him leave the band. And he was the SWEETEST one of all. If HE left the band what hope could we have of ever finding someone that's gonna stay?That's when I became the sole guitarist for the first time ever in life. That lasted for a year before we got Scott Tabner in.When we received news of Mark's death it was so unexpected and completely devastating. He'd only left the group a short while prior (a month?) He was only 40 and left a family behind who really loved him. It's still unimaginable that this actually happpened to him.We did a cassette recording with him of a song called "Things That Keep Us Together." I was just presenting it as a song idea and the rest of the band was helping me bring it to life. It was a toss-off and the cassette went into a pile of tapes that went unlistened to for a long time.Then not much later, I recorded my own version of "Things..." not really paying much attention to any previous demos. That was the only song that was rejected for "The Idiot Smiles" CD I think.Then a quite a few years later, while going through the tapes, I found the Mark Jackson version. I realized that was more the attitude the song needed and I did my own version again in 1999 imitating Mark. I know there's at least one video of TMMH with Mr. Jackson- The Meadowbrook show where we opened for Edwin Dare. I believe it was his first show with us. I don't have a copy of that. I know my performance on there made me cringe. I don't think I sang one note on key and I wish I would've worn a shirt. BUT I would still love to see Mark play if anyone has a copy of that.”"

Douglas W. Jackson “Mark Jackson was my big brother. I looked up to him more than any other person that has ever lived even though he was all of 5 foot 5. No one was ever more tall in my eyes.Mark was a veteran of more Northwestern Ohio bands than my fading memory can possibly recall. Although "Loony Toonz" was probably together the longest and most well known.I actually knew of the Mark Mikel Hallucination prior to Mark's stint in the band. WCPZ in Sandusky frequently played Deliver My Love and sometimes Holy Roly from "Sorghum Pudding" and they were very good at promoting a lot of the local bands. I even saw the Hallucination one night at some club on Byrne Road (next to the Deja Vu.) I loved the band live. Not long after that Mark gave me a copy of Sorghum Pudding and told me he was their new Lead Guitar player. He was absolutely thrilled and I was thrilled for him. I listened to the WCPZ radio broadcast live the night the Hallucination was on. Mark had set up taping equipment at my Mom's house in Sandusky, so I've had that radio show in my possession since that night. What a great radio appearance! About a month later (April '94) Mark gave me a tape of the demos that the band were working on, most of which later appeared on The Idiot Smiles. He was REALLY REALLY pumped about being in this band! He particularly loved Mr. Cream's Machine and so did I! The version on the demo has the guitars much more upfront in the mix. I actually prefer this version to the one that ended up on the CD. There were a few songs on this tape that never made it to the finished CD. "Things That Keep Us Together" and "Berti The Vertical Hold" which is also a very cool song. Also "Wicked Horizons" which later appeared on the first 'Bugs CD as "Fear No Horizons."The next time I saw Mark (June '94), I asked how the CD was going and he said he was out of the band. This surprised me after seeing how excited he was about the Band and the CD just a month or so earlier. He never really elaborated about what happened. In fact he'd already reconvened his previous band "The Dielectrics." Mark was never one to be without a band for long. He truly loved to perform and was never happier than when he had a guitar in his hands. This was to be the last time I'd ever see my big bro in this life. The second week of July '94 he left a message on my answering machine. I was on vacation and I never got back to him. On the afternoon of July 29th, 1994 Mark left his job in Paulding Ohio and headed north up County Road 115 (known locally as Emerald Road) on his turquoise Harley Davidson towards home. It was an exquisitely beautiful summer day. As he slowed for the stop sign at the intersection of State Route 111 a Toyota Pick-Up truck driven by 17 year old Brian Lee (running late for work at McDonalds in Paulding) took the turn much too fast and veered into Mark's lane. The truck hit the motorcycle head on. The doctors said he died instantly. There's been a HUGE hole in my life ever since.Mark left Mary a widow after only 2 years of marriage. It was the greatest honour of my life to have been his best man in June of 1992. And little Jennifer lost her Dad before she ever got to know him. She was only 16 months old. Mark was absolutely thrilled at being a first time Dad. He was revelling in everything to do with having a little toddler. This is probably the saddest part of the story in my eyes. He was so looking forward to watching her grow up.I lived in a walking daze the next several months. I actually have very little memory of this time in my life. The shock...I guess? A Mark Jackson tribute show was held in Bryan, Ohio on October 8th, 1994. Mary and myself were both in attendence. I think I cried for about 5 straight hours as person after person after person came up to me to offer condolences. Each and every person had a story to tell about how they had met Mark...or played with him...or had seen him play and how much he had meant to them. Although, it was probably the hardest night of my life....I'm so very glad I went.Mary has moved on wonderfully with her life. She is currently a singer/guitar player with Pete Schlegel and Tru South. A nationally touring country band. Jenny is now a beautiful and talented 12 year old young lady. Me? Thanks to my brother Mark for first giving me that demo tape back in 1994 and more recently(2001) my brother Steve for enlightening me to the fact that this band was now known as The Pillbugs and still going strong. I'm both an oldtime fan and new and eager fan of this band. I snatched up 3-D and Happy Birthday the first day they were available and bought the double CD when Proverus re-released it in '03. I love absolutely every note I've heard from this band as far back as Deliver My Love on ol' 103.7 I can't thank you guys enough for making such great music and making it so accessable to your fans. And my everlasting gratitude for keeping the memory of the Late Great Mark Jackson alive.Thanks for all the kind comments from all of you. It's unfortunate most of you never got to know my brother. He was a unique, talented and very funny guy.”

No comments: