Mark Spencer

One of the more flamboyant frontmen to emerge during the early 80s progressive revival, Mark Spencer has eschewed conventional wisdom with regard to pursuing his musical ‘muse’.

A young man's pursuit

“I think I’d always wanted to try something a little more angry than most of the bands I could see around me.” laughs Mark. “It’s not as if I had any real ability to do anything about it at the time, though. After Lahost imploded, along with most of the rest of the revival, my musical career shot off in every direction imaginable, like a shopping trolley with a busted wheel. I’d love to say it was all planned, but even I’m not that full of shit!”

For some time Mark worked as a studio engineer and producer, as well as a session musician, after becoming proficient as a multi-instrumentalist and programmer.

“There’s a bit of a biological imperative in me, I think” says Mark. “It’s as if I feel there’s something wrong if I’m not learning something new. Even in Lahost, I suppose because I felt that I was having a hard time getting my ideas across, I borrowed Sean’s spare bass and taught myself to play by watching Stanley Clarke and Mark King. That kind of put me at odds straight away with what was going on musically at the time in the band. Not that the ideas were worth much in the end,” he laughs.

Looking more restrained and only slightly less mischievous than when he originally trod the boards of London’s famous Marquee club back in the mid-80s, Mark seems more at ease with his role in life. The extreme haircuts and heels may have gone, but the rebellious nature has, if anything, matured and expanded with time.

A better cut

“The whole business has changed, hasn’t it?” he offers. “The army of gatekeepers at record companies who used to hold the keys to success aren’t the only way through any more. I’m not saying that you can just chuck up any old rubbish on MySpace and become a multi-millionaire overnight, but there are so many avenues open to artists and musicians that simply weren’t there twenty years ago. For a lot of bands who got the short end of the stick from various record company executives, I imagine that seeing the record industry lurch about, struggling to keep up with a world that is moving far quicker than it can respond, is probably terribly satisfying...”

Aside from Lahost, Mark has been in a variety of bands and musical ventures across the years, recording and performing with a wide array of people, including Robert Plant, Prince and Alexander O’Neal, among others. The album This Way Out, to be released in November 2007, comprises a selection of tracks covering Mark’s twenty-something career in the music business.

“Don’t think it’s coherent or makes any sense whatsoever,” he laughs. “I just thought it might be fun to show people what on earth I’ve been up to, jumping about all over the place and trying out different things. It’s certainly been a laugh so far!”