This page is my heartfelt memory of most of the bands I was in from 1979-1997 in central Illinois. This collection is presented in order starting from the bottom (Jhaptal '79) to the top (Cook'n'Mark '97). When I discovered SoundCloud I just thought that this would be fun to do. I went through all of the old band tapes that I had, and because of the full spectrum of talent of all of the musicians I had the honor of playing with, I soon discovered that there was just way too much good material to post here. Therefore, what you hear in this labor of love are samples from each band. What a wonderful thing it is to help people leave their troubles behind, help them ponder how they feel about things, maybe offer a little inspiration, and generally just have fun!
A wise person once said that gratitude is the memory of the heart. Therefore, I am a very rich man because these memories are truly a treasure! Recalling the passion and hearing the talent of my friends brings a smile to my face and lifts my spirits. I am very grateful for this!
Special note: Words cannot express the depth of my gratitude for the countless acts of support and generosity I experienced from this Magnificent Musicians' Community, when I went down from brain surgery. Without you, I don't know how Connie and I could've made it. (You know who you are! :)
And for finding all of the profoundly rich quotes from the spirit of the Muse I wish to deeply thank my friend Nancy Ann Di Giorgio.
From a Discovery song I used to sing called "You Know I Love You" -
No one is an island
on that you can depend
A person on his own is a sinking ship
it'll be that way 'till the time will end
Because I see these songs as a gift it's an honor to gift these songs to you, for clearly they would not exist if it were not for every musician present in these recordings.
I started playing drums when I was about 12 or 13. I took lessons from the very gifted Rich Elam, yet the majority of my learning came from myself and my records. I was inspired by a lot of rock groups like the Beatles, but soon my tastes turned to the bigger, more expanded and spiritual sounds of the Moody Blues, Genesis, and mainly, Yes. Every note of Yes was to me a celebration of life, music, and self. In my opinion, Yes and leader Jon Anderson had it all, succeeding at expressing both head and heart.
That kind of positive and integrated music kept growing in me and teaching me while I continued to play the drums. Then at 17, I got my first professional gig at a place called the Chateau On The Lake, a supper club. Pretty nice place!
Soon I was involved with the local Jazz Society and other bands doing both Jazz/Fusion tunes and all-original music. I then found myself fortunate enough to be in a band called Helix that played both original and non-original music. To this day they are as family to me.
As my music career progressed, I found myself playing on the road, performing quality pop-rock tunes with the inspiring and fun Revolver and the full and fun Discovery, yet still yearning to express a more expansive, loving, and spiritual music that is often not at home in the bar scenes.
In 1987, I came off the road and played with the fabulous and fun married couple Eddie and Judy Howard (Waves). I decided to start studying A Course In Miracles and soon linked up with some spiritual seekers. Through these people I found out about a UFO seminar given by Connie Cook. Being open minded about the expansiveness of life, both physically and non-physically, I went. I was taken over by Connie, her experiences, her happy message, and her pure voice. I felt as if I had settled into place. (Or in other words, I finally met someone as weird as me!) Her beingness, experiences, and message joyfully confirmed everything I knew and felt. In addition to playing keyboards and singing, I also discovered that Connie played percussion as well! With her wealth of wonderful compositions, we two drummer became a duo called COOK'N'MARK. Our first performance together was at the Harmonic Convergence in August of '87. We got married in October of 1990.
Believing in a positive vision for the future and for humanity, our personal and musical partnership continued to blossom. This was the kind of positive, expansive, loving, and spiritual music that I was yearning to express within me. Being able to express such beauty in melody and words was the joy of my life!
We played in a multitude of settings and places for a decade, and raised my beautiful step-daughter, Erin. As well as the public performances, Connie and I shared in the experience of recording some of our music. After producing a number of short tapes, we then created albums, the 60-minute "Prairie Dolphins" cassette, and the 90-minute "Cook'n'Mark Live!" A vast amount of our music can be freely found at Cook'n'Mark's Cornucopia: http://hcsvx.hcsi.com/cornucopia/
Simultaneously with these activities, I enjoyed a good job at the local YMCA and playing in the fun Dick Benson band with Larry Harms on Sax, the Ed Kaizer Jazz Combo, and recording with the rich and colorful sounds of Paul Adams.
Then came personal catastrophe in 1997. While driving along the highway on the night of February 9th, I experienced a sudden and massive hemorrhage from what turned out to be a large but benign brain tumor. I certainly would have died if Connie hadn't luckily been with me and rushed me to the nearest hospital, which life-flighted me to a top neurological unit. The staff told Connie that I "should be dead, paralyzed, or in a coma." Miraculously, I was none of these. All I remember before I lost consciousness was affirming, "I'm NOT going to die!"
Even though I was indeed alive - thanks to machines taking over breathing and other vital functions for a few days - the life I had led was gone. The tumor was in my right cerebellum (the cerebellum governs fine motor skills...like what's needed for playing drums!). The surgical removal of it therefore affected my left side. My entire left side became spastic and uncoordinated, and still is. A huge and devastating loss for me!
Although I have regained my essential functions and the ability to walk, my balance is unstable, my endurance is low and my coordination is poor. But I know without a doubt that things happen for a good reason! It's not just "bad luck." It's not something that "just happens." And I certainly know it is not punishment for anything! As in a metamorphosis, the butterfly does eventually emerge from its dark chrysalis and ascends to beauteous flight!
This circumstance is offering me time to transform some ancient, unprocessed grief. It also is offering me the time to gift these songs to you. It is indeed a wonderful experience that turns out to be a gift to myself as well. Like I said above, it's an honor to offer these songs to you, for clearly they would not exist if it were not for every musician present in these recordings.
In Music & Wholeness,
I can be reached here at SoundCloud, any Website below, or firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark's Muse-ik’s tracks