I LOVE MARK CURRY / Written By Micajah Ryan, Independent Recording Engineer

I LOVE MARK CURRY!  I’m sure there are quite a few of you out there that feel the same way.  His music does that to people. There is a deep connection, a cord that when touched, stays with you, holds on and sometimes becomes an addiction…not to a drug but to the sound of his voice and the turn of phrase in his lyrics that can’t be washed off, no matter how hard you try. 

When I first heard him it was at a show in Hollywood that I’d been invited to by Kenny Lyon, his bass player. The warm-up band had a few fans present and sparked the usual response from the Hollywood crowd… “I could have done that” or “that could have been better”.  Hollywood is filled with the toughest crowds in the world because they’re attended by people who listen to music all day for a living. They are saturated with judgment, soaked in the oil of opinion and there I was soaked and saturated with the best of them. Nothing could move me. It could have been the second coming of Ray Charles and even then I would have churned in my mind how to pick the performance apart and put it back together again. That was my job. 

The warm-up band finished and the next band started to get ready to play.  Soon the singer, with an enormous blond Gibson J-200 strapped around his neck, muscled up to the microphone wearing a wife beater t-shirt, his hair slicked back.  He mumbled some unintelligible words into the mic and then turned to his band and counted off. “One Two Three Four!” and they were off and roaring, following this ball of fire that screamed and crooned and cajoled into the mic, except I wasn’t following where they were going.  It was foreign to me.  I was lost. 

I rarely saw someone display such raw emotion when he performed. I’d seen Axl do it but I don’t think anyone else. The difference between Axl and this guy was Axl was more like rage, this guy was more like pain, palpable pain that I could see and witness. To be honest the experience was so alien to me that I couldn’t get it…but the crowd around me did. They screamed and shouted and sang along with every song.  When he held up a beer and toasted the crowd they all did the same.  He was the Pied Piper.  He could have led them anywhere and in a way he did.  It was an emotional journey.  A trek to the innermost caverns of his heart.  I walked away from the experience willing to take on the task of recording this emotional whirlwind because of the crowd's response.  They convinced me.  Mark was a genuine, rough and sweaty character after the show but it was them, the audience that sealed the deal for me.  They loved him.  Women fawned over him, men vied for his attention after the show…you would have thought they had seen Jim Morrison or Robert Plant but no, it was Mark Curry.  As one artist that I worked with years later after attending a show of Mark’s declared…"He’s the next big thing"!

The album we worked on became “Let The Wretched Come Home”, an amazing and intense experience.  I’m filled with memories that will never dissipate and I’m left with a love for Mark Curry that will never fade.  I'm grateful to him for taking me on that journey with him but as the time went on I had to turn to other things and other projects. 

Over the years we would hear from Mark every once in a while, just to catch up so we’d know where he was and what he was doing.  We knew he’d moved with his girlfriend and daughter to Indiana and he knew I had moved with my wife and children back to Kansas.  There were the usual holiday greetings and calls. 

But one day a call came from Mark that was different.  He wanted to make another record with me.  He had a way to pay for it. Kris Jones, a faithful fan and supporter of his and a dear friend of ours had agreed to cover the cost and he was raring to go.  Logistics were worked out and he and Ryan Smith, a drummer friend of his from Minnesota soon appeared at our doorstep to record the album.  Kris appeared soon afterward and we started to work.  We burrowed into Airhouse Recording Studio, the studio I had built with my friend David Lord and began churning out track after track.  Soon we had a bunch of new songs of very high quality.  This was some of the best work of Mark’s career. 

There’s a tendency when artists come back to the music business after being away for a while, they write songs from the perspective with a …“back when I was a successful rock star…” type of narrative.  Not Mark. The new songs are as current and dark and emotional as his previous work.  We had to get these out to his fans, everywhere. 

The music business has changed dramatically in the years since we made “Let The Wretched Come Home”.  Gone are the major record labels and big budgets to pay for expensive studios.  Instead there are ordinary people making extraordinary music in small towns connected by friendship and love.  Mark didn’t turn out to be the next big thing…yet. 

He’s waiting for the new album to come out “Right Now”. 
  
 

8 comments

  • Kendall

    Kendall Denton, Tx

    I first heard Mark when I got a gift certificate to Tower Records in Sac and saw Its Only Time on the end cap. It was totally random but he looked cool and was local. I was hooked from that day forward. His guitar playing is pretty unique and his singing comes from the bowels of his soul that most people cant get to. Its pretty much a perfect mix of punk, blues and rock. Over the years Ive always kept track of him looking for new stuff and I see him any chance I get

    I first heard Mark when I got a gift certificate to Tower Records in Sac and saw Its Only Time on the end cap. It was totally random but he looked cool and was local.

    I was hooked from that day forward. His guitar playing is pretty unique and his singing comes from the bowels of his soul that most people cant get to.

    Its pretty much a perfect mix of punk, blues and rock. Over the years Ive always kept track of him looking for new stuff and I see him any chance I get

  • Brandon Tryon

    Brandon Tryon Halifax, NS, Canada

    I had first heard the name Mark Curry through NOFX, which was a huge influence to my band at the time. A few years later I came across a used copy of "Wretched" in a pawn shop in Thunder Bay and thought it would be cool to hear this guy. I brought it home and listened to it...and was indifferent. A couple songs really stood out ("Please", "11 Minutes"), but I put it back on the shelf and forgot about it...for a couple years. Then one day I was bored of my usual tunes and decided to give it another try. Wouldn't you know...I loved it! Maybe I had to gain a few years experience before fully appreciating it, maybe I was just dumb... either way, the whole album absolutely blew me away upon 2nd listen. I went and bought his earlier stuff...I went and bought his later stuff. I learned a few things over the past decade or so: Mark is the best songwriter this side of Tom Waits; his voice cuts like a razor while still being vulnerable; I can play "Smoke and a Drink" for anyone and they will become a fan. I cannot wait for his new album! He will always have a fan in Halifax who anxiously awaits every crumble of melody that he drops.

    I had first heard the name Mark Curry through NOFX, which was a huge influence to my band at the time. A few years later I came across a used copy of "Wretched" in a pawn shop in Thunder Bay and thought it would be cool to hear this guy. I brought it home and listened to it...and was indifferent. A couple songs really stood out ("Please", "11 Minutes"), but I put it back on the shelf and forgot about it...for a couple years.
    Then one day I was bored of my usual tunes and decided to give it another try. Wouldn't you know...I loved it! Maybe I had to gain a few years experience before fully appreciating it, maybe I was just dumb... either way, the whole album absolutely blew me away upon 2nd listen. I went and bought his earlier stuff...I went and bought his later stuff. I learned a few things over the past decade or so: Mark is the best songwriter this side of Tom Waits; his voice cuts like a razor while still being vulnerable; I can play "Smoke and a Drink" for anyone and they will become a fan.
    I cannot wait for his new album! He will always have a fan in Halifax who anxiously awaits every crumble of melody that he drops.

  • pat ryan

    pat ryan los angeles

    lucky to be the brother of Micajah Ryan he was generous to me with this music he knew i would love it and i do i only saw him once in hollywood but it was unforgettable a true star without the trappings no music collection is complete without Mark Curry! special thanks to Kris Jones for this!!!!

    lucky to be the brother of Micajah Ryan
    he was generous to me with this music he knew i would love it and i do
    i only saw him once in hollywood but it was unforgettable
    a true star without the trappings
    no music collection is complete without Mark Curry!
    special thanks to Kris Jones for this!!!!

  • Kirstin

    Kirstin Del Mar

    Micajah, What a beautifully written walk down memory lane. I was probably at that show, as I rarely missed a chance to see Mark perform. I first saw Mark perform as the frontman for Crystal Sphere, probably at English Acid, but maybe Coconut Teaszer. Along with Crystal Sphere performances, Mark did a lot of acoustic, solo performances at places like 8121. While he always put on a great show, my favorite memories are of him playing in my crappy, Hollywood apartment, off Sunset, near Heavy Metal Ralph's, to a small group of friends. There was something so achingly beautiful about his raspy, old blues man' voice. and sad lyrics. We all knew that Mark was special. When my kids ask me about the famous people I knew in my Hollywood days, I also think about artists like Mark that should have achieved so much more. Mark's talent is otherworldly. He once told me that he would wake up in the middle of the night with songs in his head- he'd jot them down, and go back to sleep. How amazing to have a talent manifest itself even while sleeping! I look forward to hearing his new album, Micajah.

    Micajah,
    What a beautifully written walk down memory lane. I was probably at that show, as I rarely missed a chance to see Mark perform. I first saw Mark perform as the frontman for Crystal Sphere, probably at English Acid, but maybe Coconut Teaszer. Along with Crystal Sphere performances, Mark did a lot of acoustic, solo performances at places like 8121. While he always put on a great show, my favorite memories are of him playing in my crappy, Hollywood apartment, off Sunset, near Heavy Metal Ralph's, to a small group of friends. There was something so achingly beautiful about his raspy, old blues man' voice. and sad lyrics. We all knew that Mark was special.

    When my kids ask me about the famous people I knew in my Hollywood days, I also think about artists like Mark that should have achieved so much more. Mark's talent is otherworldly. He once told me that he would wake up in the middle of the night with songs in his head- he'd jot them down, and go back to sleep. How amazing to have a talent manifest itself even while sleeping!
    I look forward to hearing his new album, Micajah.

  • Paul Druc

    Paul Druc Detroit

    Seen Mark a bunch of times over the years in the Detroit area. The shows are always great and his music is from the soul. I look forward to seeing a show in the future and having a few beers to go with it!

    Seen Mark a bunch of times over the years in the Detroit area. The shows are always great and his music is from the soul. I look forward to seeing a show in the future and having a few beers to go with it!

  • Josephine

    Josephine Sacramento

    This man write songs that speak to my soul. incredible talent . i have known Mark for years and he never seems to amaze me with the depth in which his music takes me .. i used to date one of his friends amd was surrounded by that crew.. Pat made me listen to Its only time and i was hooked. so hooked , that by the time wretched was being recorded and mixed down - pat was on the phone to mark begging him for some new music because he was so damn sick of listening to its only time over and over .mark came up frim LA and low and behold i had a raw demo of Let the wretched come home. !! The most influencial music for me in the 90's. ( beautiful work by the way) every single day , at work , at play , where ever .. he has this way of infiltrating your enitre being and ( like a crack head ) that all you want . shaun mitchell his former drummer and friend passed alot of music on to me through the yeas as did Mark. ten pin trio, front street. and the rest . i am curremtky stuck on front streel .. its on a contstant loop in my brain.. this man has the most real voice which crys of pain, love lost and found , friends , and drinking with his buddys that resonates on a soul level. to hear him is to truly know him. not just the sitting around bullshit when you are hanging with the boys. the real him . to the core him. its very brave of him to let all of us into this sacred place. he is a gift and im am grateful to have known him . thank you to all of you who help him spread his melody and prolific view . which somehow seems to make the world easier to exist in.. love you mark ! keep making my heart sing !!! peace love and happiness to you and your family . josephine

    This man write songs that speak to my soul. incredible talent . i have known Mark for years and he never seems to amaze me with the depth in which his music takes me .. i used to date one of his friends amd was surrounded by that crew.. Pat made me listen to Its only time and i was hooked. so hooked , that by the time wretched was being recorded and mixed down - pat was on the phone to mark begging him for some new music because he was so damn sick of listening to its only time over and over .mark came up frim LA and low and behold i had a raw demo of Let the wretched come home. !! The most influencial music for me in the 90's. ( beautiful work by the way) every single day , at work , at play , where ever .. he has this way of infiltrating your enitre being and ( like a crack head ) that all you want . shaun mitchell his former drummer and friend passed alot of music on to me through the yeas as did Mark. ten pin trio, front street. and the rest . i am curremtky stuck on front streel .. its on a contstant loop in my brain.. this man has the most real voice which crys of pain, love lost and found , friends , and drinking with his buddys that resonates on a soul level. to hear him is to truly know him. not just the sitting around bullshit when you are hanging with the boys. the real him . to the core him. its very brave of him to let all of us into this sacred place. he is a gift and im am grateful to have known him . thank you to all of you who help him spread his melody and prolific view . which somehow seems to make the world easier to exist in..
    love you mark ! keep making my heart sing !!! peace love and happiness to you and your family .
    josephine

  • Kelli

    Kelli Sacramento

    I knew Mark back in the day, We were just kids. He used to play music in his mothers living room. Many name changes and members of his band. We used to hang out at a friends house and drink beer and listen to Judas Priest over and over. He was the most entertaining person I had ever met, musically or just in conversation. He could literally play any song that we requested from him, cover tunes, but my favorites were always his own. I saw him years later at the Cattle Club and then again after he signed on to Virgin records. He was always such a genuine musician and just a true loving soul. I really miss the old days with him. I hope that he and his family are doing well, he deserves a good life and I hope that he gets the recognition he deserves with his new music (as well as his old!), I can't believe someone with his true talent has not. Music is just not the same as it once was, and there is no one else like Mark. Miss you Mark, best wishes always!!

    I knew Mark back in the day, We were just kids. He used to play music in his mothers living room. Many name changes and members of his band. We used to hang out at a friends house and drink beer and listen to Judas Priest over and over. He was the most entertaining person I had ever met, musically or just in conversation. He could literally play any song that we requested from him, cover tunes, but my favorites were always his own. I saw him years later at the Cattle Club and then again after he signed on to Virgin records. He was always such a genuine musician and just a true loving soul. I really miss the old days with him. I hope that he and his family are doing well, he deserves a good life and I hope that he gets the recognition he deserves with his new music (as well as his old!), I can't believe someone with his true talent has not. Music is just not the same as it once was, and there is no one else like Mark. Miss you Mark, best wishes always!!

  • David

    David Honolulu

    I met Mark somehow. i don't remember exactly. I feel like I met him in Boston first, then LA. He went by Jack Murphy. i got a copy of PBBBFFFT, which was some of the songs from Dozen Lies I think, and some that weren't on that. i believe he recorded it on the Vineyard. This guy Kevin (KevCo) printed maybe a thousand? Awesome. I had that disc forever and to this day still have a copy. At one point I was in a band from all the way out here, we went on the road a couple times on the mainland just for a few gigs. We always had that disc. The whole band loved it. The songwriter in that band used to perform Mark's A Thousand Smiles whenever the opportunity arose. Then I got married on the East Coast, all the Honolulu crew was there. It was in my hometown and the reception/jam session was in my mom's yard, so there were a lot of wedding crashers, who were welcome of course. Then out of thin air Mark appeared, (probably with James or Huda). So then my singer from Honolulu takes one look at him and quickly approaches, He lifted Mark's shirt and saw the "Beer" tattoo and knew it was really him. They were star struck. People were playing music that day, as everything was winding down Mark sat down by himself and played a few requests from PBBBBFFTTT! for me, my bride, and my guys. Made a great day even greater. I forget a great many things but I will always remember that. The cops eventually showed up and the party had to knock off. Pretty sure Mark was playing when they arrived. Over the next few years I ended up in LA again and was fortunate to know Mark and be exposed to some absolutely brilliant stuff he was writing at the time. He did an EP called Find a Friend which I loved but no longer have. He also played tracks for me that he self-produced that were more hip hop. there was a track called Bombs Away, it was the time of the Iraq war and that track really stuck with me. Anyway, I still listen to PBBBBFFTT! Drink on the Moon, How 'Bout a Few Words, Smoke and a Drink, Tell me 'Bout Tonight.. Fuckin' Brilliant. Look forward to hearing new things and hopefully seeing him again next time I get off this rock.

    I met Mark somehow. i don't remember exactly. I feel like I met him in Boston first, then LA. He went by Jack Murphy. i got a copy of PBBBFFFT, which was some of the songs from Dozen Lies I think, and some that weren't on that. i believe he recorded it on the Vineyard. This guy Kevin (KevCo) printed maybe a thousand? Awesome. I had that disc forever and to this day still have a copy. At one point I was in a band from all the way out here, we went on the road a couple times on the mainland just for a few gigs. We always had that disc. The whole band loved it. The songwriter in that band used to perform Mark's A Thousand Smiles whenever the opportunity arose. Then I got married on the East Coast, all the Honolulu crew was there. It was in my hometown and the reception/jam session was in my mom's yard, so there were a lot of wedding crashers, who were welcome of course. Then out of thin air Mark appeared, (probably with James or Huda). So then my singer from Honolulu takes one look at him and quickly approaches, He lifted Mark's shirt and saw the "Beer" tattoo and knew it was really him. They were star struck. People were playing music that day, as everything was winding down Mark sat down by himself and played a few requests from PBBBBFFTTT! for me, my bride, and my guys. Made a great day even greater. I forget a great many things but I will always remember that. The cops eventually showed up and the party had to knock off. Pretty sure Mark was playing when they arrived. Over the next few years I ended up in LA again and was fortunate to know Mark and be exposed to some absolutely brilliant stuff he was writing at the time. He did an EP called Find a Friend which I loved but no longer have. He also played tracks for me that he self-produced that were more hip hop. there was a track called Bombs Away, it was the time of the Iraq war and that track really stuck with me. Anyway, I still listen to PBBBBFFTT! Drink on the Moon, How 'Bout a Few Words, Smoke and a Drink, Tell me 'Bout Tonight.. Fuckin' Brilliant. Look forward to hearing new things and hopefully seeing him again next time I get off this rock.

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