I met Mark in 2012 on a two-week tour from Montreal to Kentucky. He had just released a set of home recordings from 1976 called Digging in the Dust on the Tompkins Square label, and we had a great time driving around and getting to know each other.
A selection of recent and reissued music by Madrigal, Ulver, Royal Trux, and Bill Orcutt
I had the idea of making solo music that would incorporate all my weird stuff—all my various oddball rhythms, tics, repetitions, stims, and stutters—and use them as the basis of a new idiom for the guitar.
“There might be more passion in amateurism than with much of the known, famous stuff. Those are the kinds of energies in music I’ve always found attractive, regardless of quality, expertise, or skill.”
Of all the weddings I went to in Mauritania, this one had the most intense music. Here, I know, the audio quality is sort of insane and blown-out sounding, but that’s actually what it sounded like in person.
“Oh no, this is sounding too beautiful, too seamless, and too much like it was planned. I have to unravel it.”
“I don’t have a specific idiom that I’m aspiring to, and I’m not creating some sort of homage or giving a reference point for people to hang onto. I’m just playing whatever’s in my head, literally.”
“I still seek for eternity, which maybe is like a rainbow-colored butterfly flying away, suddenly in front of your face.”
“When it came to music, I always saw myself playing a punching bag. That’s just what I do on the guitar.”
“I do like feedback. It’s good for people. It is!”
Stepping into 75 Dollar Bill’s practice space in Greenpoint is a bit forbidding at first. The building has a hermetic, industrial flavor compounded by the taste of wet paint.
Into the mystic with the Chicago-based guitarist and songwriter.
A return to live performance after a decade-long absence.
On being nothing, looking outward, and the obstinant relevance of that popular art form, song.
The Clean, The Heavy Eights, The Bats, and smoking hash with Alex Chilton.
Interplanetary folk music, the production tricks behind the Ramones’ success, and how to produce a classic song.
The virtuoso jazz guitarist on unhinged sonic excursions.