An Interview with Mark Evans of Heavens Edge

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Photo Credit: Mark Gromen (Bravewords.com)

Just like any other night, Mark Evans took center stage radiating his infectious energy, while maintaining impeccable attention to detail. His band, Network, was gearing up to do an original set at Enchante, in Cherry Hill, NJ.

But what otherwise began as an ordinary gig would later prove to have a profound impact on a booming Philadelphia music scene.

Network’s opening act that night, Whitefoxx, featured an inherently gifted guitarist named Reggie Wu. And it was Wu’s virtuosic talents and stage presence that instantly captivated Evans. The two musicians briefly conversed, unknowingly laying the foundation of a relationship that would alter the course of their respective careers.

Shortly thereafter, Wu happened to run into Evans’ girlfriend – now wife – at the famed Galaxy Club in Somerdale, NJ. Wu had become increasingly disenchanted with Whitefoxx, so he took it upon himself to inquire about the possibility of getting together with Evans to write some material and gave her his number to pass along.

From a chemistry standpoint, you would have been hard-pressed to find a more dynamic and cohesive unit than Evans and Wu in those days. It became evident during the initial collaborations that the pair was onto something special.

Evans and Wu, fueled by artistic prowess and youthful exuberance, decided to commit to their vision. In mid-1987, they parted from their respective bands to join forces and form Heavens Edge. Guitarist Steven Parry, bassist George ‘G.G.’ Guidotti, and drummer David Rath rounded out the five-piece powerhouse.

Due to its musicianship, structure, and discipline, Heavens Edge garnered a following that was seemingly instantaneous and began packing some of the scenes more prominent venues, including The Galaxy, Empire Rock Club, and Trocadero. Following the proven blueprint forged by fellow Philadelphia Rock acts, Britny Fox and Cinderella, Heavens Edge signed a record deal with Columbia Records within a year of the band’s inception.

The band’s debut album, Heavens Edge (1990), climbed to No. 141 on The Billboard 200 and has gained a cult following over the years. Heavens Edge also received tremendous local support upon the album’s release, specifically from WMMR’s Ray Koob and Jacky Bam Bam.

These days, Heavens Edge remains active and continues to draw a following, playing occasional shows on grand platforms such as the M3 Rock Festival and the Monsters of Rock Cruise.

I recently caught up with Mark Evans for an in-depth peer into the band’s history.

Andrew:
I greatly appreciate you taking the time, Mark. As a fellow Philadelphian, I’d like to start by talking about what the music scene was like around the city when you were growing up.

Mark:
Well, when I was a kid, I wasn’t really aware of a music scene. The music scene was more whatever album you got, whether it was Sam Goody up on the Boulevard or Peaches out on the Boulevard. I grew up in Northeast Philly, you’d go down to your buddy’s house or people would come over to your place and you’d sit there and play Aerosmith, Black Sabbath, Zeppelin, KISS, and all that stuff. Then for me, starting out playing guitar when I was a teenager and then playing bass, most of the music scene was spent in your basement with the record player, just taking the needle and moving it back trying to learn the songs. It wasn’t really until I was probably a junior in high school because I was around when the drinking age was 18 in Jersey, and before there were picture IDs on licenses, so when I was 16 I could borrow my brother’s driver’s license and head over to Dr. Jekyll’s, Heaven, Club Hollywood, or different places in Jersey. That’s where I first saw The Dead End Kids, which completely blew my mind. My first concert being in ’74-’75, I saw KISS at the Civic Center in Philly, right before they really, really broke with KISS Alive!, which blew my mind because I literally had no idea what to expect. But then, going and seeing The Dead End Kids for the first time, I was just blown away, just as everybody was around here.

So, the middle of high school was when I started experiencing the music scene. At that point, it was mainly in Jersey, and it was really only cover bands then. The Dead End Kids did some originals and some of the other bands threw in a few originals here and there, but it was mostly all cover bands – and great cover bands. But when it came to influences, I think The Dead End Kids just set the bar at a whole different standard when it came to this area. And the influence is obvious; Heavens Edge being one of the last on the trail of it, but Cinderella was clearly very influenced by The Dead End Kids; Britny Fox was definitely influenced. Every band, we were trying to do our own version of, “How can we look as cool as they did?”

Andrew:
At what point did it become apparent that you were going to be a singer?

Mark:
Back then, I was a bass player. My first band was a band called Alien, which was a cover band but also did a Doors tribute. Never liked The Doors, but it was a gig. From Alien, I joined a band called Money, which was one of the strongest vocal bands in this area; everyone in the band sang lead. They would do “Bohemian Rhapsody,” including the opera, with four guys live. And Larry Baud, who was the singer in Network, he was the keyboard player and one of the singers in Money. So, I never viewed myself really as a singer. I was a bass player that could sing.

When Reggie [Wu] and I got together and started writing, I was singing on the demos. Then when we decided, “You know what? This stuff is really good. We should probably put together a band,” and decided I was gonna leave Network and he was gonna leave Whitefoxx and we’re thinking about different people who we’d like to audition, I was just like, “Who do you think we should get to sing this stuff?” He’s like, “What are you talking about? You!” I’m like, “Really? I just thought I was singing on the demos.” He’s like, “No.” And when we first got together, we were a four-piece; George was the last person to join the band because I was still playing bass. I was like, “Well, Kip Winger can do it, shit…” And they were like, “No, we need a front guy.

After I saw KISS at the Civic Center, that was like my Beatles moment. When I saw KISS live and saw what they did performance-wise, I knew I want to be able to put on that show that makes people go, “Holy shit,” because I just knew how that made me feel. And I’m like, “My God, what it must feel like to be up on stage and be able to do that kind of thing.” So, that was really the game-changer for me.

Andrew:
So, you really didn’t start singing until Heavens Edge?

Mark:
Well, I sang lead, but it was cover stuff. I would sing a handful of songs with Alien; I sang a handful of stuff with Money. I sang a little bit more with Network, but Network was another band where everybody in the band sang and we all kind of rotated. Larry, because he was one of the best singers that’s ever been in this area, he would sing, maybe, 65-70 percent of the songs on a given night. Then I would sing a half-dozen or so songs; Mark would sing a couple of songs; Greg would sing a couple of songs. We could all rotate around, depending on how everybody was feeling, but I still didn’t think of myself as, “Maybe someday I’m gonna be a singer.” I still thought of myself as a bass player that could also sing. So, it wasn’t until Reggie was just like, “Well, you, of course.” That’s when I started going, “Oh, okay. I guess I’m gonna be a singer now.” I’ve never looked back. I still played bass in different bands, and I still love playing guitar, but I feel very natural being a front person now. But that wasn’t the original goal back when I was 12-13 years old.

Andrew:
Network proved to be one of the more prolific bands amid a buzzing music scene. Take me through how you landed the opportunity, and subsequently, what prompted your departure.

Mark:
When I was in Alien, we were looking for a sound guy. Our sound guy, I don’t even remember who it was at the time, but he left, found another gig, got fired, whatever it may have been; this would have been around ’82 or ’83. And they hired Mark Eskey to do sound. Mark and I hit it off, and he was telling me about this band that he had that was just recording stuff. He had played me some of this stuff, and it was actually Tony Harnell from TNT who was singing on it because Mark knew him from the time that Tony had out in Delco and when he was in Precious Metal with Jeff LaBar. And he had Tony singing on this stuff, but then Tony had joined TNT and left the country. So, Mark was like, “Yeah, I’ve been talking to Larry Baud from Money and I think he’s gonna come down and sing this stuff and we’re gonna start doing some writing together if you’re interested.” And Network was initially just gonna be this original project that had nothing to do with being a cover band or anything with the fringe circuit. So, we started getting together and writing and recording this stuff; Mark had a nice recording studio at his house. Then as time went on, we started going, “You know, the band’s actually pretty good. Maybe we can do something more.

Money had been around for a long time. Mark actually took over playing bass for me in Alien and he was just like, “I don’t wanna keep doing this.” Greg Cellini, our keyboard player, was getting ready to leave. So, we decided we were gonna start the band as a cover band that would also do originals. But we wanted to make sure we could still focus on the originals. And the thing that sucked is, before all of this actually started, I had been approached by Larry, Rod [Margolis], and Zuff [RJ Bozzuffi] from Money because they were getting rid of their bass player for me to join Money. So, I joined Money, and maybe six months after joining Money, Larry and I got to tell the guys in Money that we were both leaving to start Network. They were going, “Was this the plan?” It was like, “No. It just kind of happened.” Luckily, I’m still friends with the guys in Money all these years later. It just kind of happened naturally.

Because of the names that everybody already had in the band, Freddy booked us right away and we were booked solid. We had just made the one change; we had gotten rid of the drummer that we had at the time and brought Jimmy Drnec in when things didn’t work out with Cinderella. And that was kind of the final piece to the puzzle. Jimmy was a very entertaining and electric drummer back then. He put on a show of his own, plus he was just a phenomenal drummer. He and I clicked really well, and things just started taking off for the band. And the originals, people really liked, so we were one of the rare cover bands that could play and sell out Dick Lee’s or The Pennant, or whatever it was at the time. And then, on a Saturday night at one o’clock in the morning, get away with saying, “We’re coming out and doing our original set now.” And people would stay, which didn’t happen — most cover bands were throwing in an original here and there — but people were really into it. So, that went on for a number of years. The only thing that had me looking elsewhere — which is literally no knock on anybody, it’s more of a compliment to them — is Mark Eskey and Larry Baud were such established, strong songwriters and I was working my way into it. So, it became very tough to establish ideas with them. Even though I helped write a lot of the stuff that we did, it was more smaller contributions.

Network did an original night at Enchante in Cherry Hill, the club from years ago. That night, I don’t even know who booked it, but it was Network doing an original set with Whitefoxx opening up, and that was the first time I met Reggie. I was blown away like most people are when they see Reggie play, and I got to hang out and talk with him some. But then the night ended and that was that. My wife, but girlfriend at the time, she wasn’t as much into hanging Dick Lee’s or The Saloon; she was already into the Galaxy scene. She was going to see Britny Fox, Cinderella, and Tangier. All the bands that were Galaxy bands at the time; Whitefoxx being one of them. So, one night she’s hanging out at The Galaxy and I was playing wherever I was with Network, and Reggie came up to her. He’s like, “You’re Mark’s girlfriend, right?” She’s like, “Yeah…” He’s like, “Well, do you think you could ask him if he might be into getting together with me? Maybe we could write or something.” And she was like, “I could ask him.” And he gave her his number; she asked me, and I called him. He had told me years later because my wife was working in the car business at the time; she had one of those Nissan 300ZX with the T-tops on it and everything. You know, I was making good money in Network, but not anything crazy. And the car that I had, because we drove so many miles, I had some old, beat up, piece of crap car. She goes, “Well, you’re going over to see Reggie. If you wanna make a good impression, why don’t you take my car?” I pulled up in front of the townhouse that him and [his wife] were living in at the time in this brand new, shiny 300ZX. And he said he turned around and looked at his wife and said, “There’s no fuckin’ way he’s leaving Network if he can afford a car like that!” Little did he know.

But it was funny. Jimmy and I are now both in Network, and Reggie and I started writing. A month or so before, Network had done all these promo shots. We were playing at a club down in Delaware, we had just finished soundcheck, and Jimmy grabs me, and he goes, “Mark, do you got a second? I wanna talk to you about something.” I said, “Believe it or not, I wanted to talk to you as well.” So, we go back out to the parking lot and we both confess to each other that we’re quitting Network — at the same time. He’s like, “Well, what the hell are you doing?” I said, “Reggie and I started writing. We’re gonna put a band together.” And he said, “Tangier just got signed and they asked me to join. So, I’m going to California to record the record.” I’m like, “Oh, great!” So, we go into the dressing room and we were trying to go, “Okay, well, who’s gonna say it first?” And Larry comes walking in with the template of this poster that they’re now gonna have made up with all these photos. He’s like, “So, guys, what do you think? I got a deal. If we spend x-amount of dollars, we can get 500 of them. But then if we spend this much, we can get a thousand of them. What do you think we should get?” Jimmy looks at him and he goes, “I’m thinking you might wanna stick with the 500,” because neither one of us had quit yet. But then Jimmy ended up going to California and ended up coming back and rejoining Network again after that.

The Galaxy present day.
Photo Credit: Andrew DiCecco

Andrew:
I’m enamored with the immense amount of talent the area had to offer. What was the Philadelphia club scene like for musicians coming up through the 1980s?

Mark:
Well, there were two separate scenes. Back when I was in high school and going out, there really was not an original scene here except for some of the bands like The Hooters, Beru Revue, Robert Hazard, and The A’s that were coming up. But none of the heavier stuff was happening yet. The Galaxy was even still a cover club at the point. I don’t even think The Empire [Rock Club] was a thing at that point. But then, by the time I was in Network, Cinderella had become a staple at The Galaxy and had just gotten signed out of there; Britny was on their way to getting signed. So, The Galaxy was a really strong original club with a really strong original scene; The Empire had become a thing. So, there was an original scene for the hard rock stuff. There was already the Philly thing going on at [J.C.] Dobbs, the TLA, The Khyber Pass, and the different places that were over in Philly that catered more toward that Philly sound; not the hard rock sound.

But then the cover scene was also exploding. So, if you were in South Jersey, you had the main places like Dick Lee’s, you had The Saloon, and then a whole bunch of smaller clubs in between. In Philly, you had Gene’s on the Boulevard; the god-forsaken Dolphin [Tavern] in the city. Then you go down to Delaware, and you had Four in One; you had Prime Time; Tally Ho. Throughout the middle of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, and those areas, there were a ton of clubs for cover bands.  And the original thing was just starting to come up. The thing was, back then, the talent of the bands was just a different thing. It’s something that will probably never happen again, but most of the bands – even an average band – was playing five nights a week. So, not only are you playing that much, but you’re sharpening your chops; you’re just getting better and better. And the really good bands were even that much better. When you’re playing three or four sets a night, five nights a week, unless you’re beyond hope, you’re gonna get better just by doing it all the time. So, those bands were excellent. The original bands were getting better and better; there were still the Wednesday or Thursday night bands or earlier night bands with the originals that hadn’t quite caught on yet, because they didn’t have the same kind of time to sharpen their chops. But eventually, a lot of them did.

Competition with the cover bands was different because Freddy booked you and you got paid whatever you negotiated. Your fee was kind of set once you got to a certain level, so it wasn’t like a certain band was gonna screw you out of anything. When it came to the original side of things, it was a little bit more competitive. It was just a matter of, if you were the headline band at The Galaxy, you had other bands that were gunning for … “We wanna have that slot.” Or if you were headlining at The Empire or The Trocadero, places like that, there was a little bit of a jealousy thing with some. With others, it was nothing but full support; we had bands that we played with that we always had a great time with. It’s funny, you fast-forward to today, and everybody now is going, “I’m just freakin’ happy to be here.” Especially when it comes to the bigger shows that we’re fortunate enough to get to do now, which we never expected. If you had told me ten years ago that we were gonna get back together again and be playing cruises and big festivals, I would have told you you were out of your mind. But now everybody is very, very supportive of each other and, in most cases, very happy for anybody that gets to do anything. But back then, it was a little bit more cut-throat; you’d hear “So-and-so said this,” or “So-and-so said that.

Heavens Edge was fortunate enough, because we came along at the right time and had the right chemistry, that we were able to, for lack of a better term, coattail on what was happening in the area. Britny was taking off; Cinderella had already sold a million records. So, South Jersey and Philadelphia kind of became what Hollywood was a few years before then, where if you were playing and half-decent, you were gonna get signed because you just happened to be at the right place at the right time. For us, we were right place, kind of right time. Things got delayed back then when George had gotten shot and stuff, but everything happened the way it was supposed to.

Andrew:
You mentioned Cinderella, and I would be remiss if I neglected to mention the late Jeff LaBar. You and Jeff came up through the club circuit together before Cinderella broke, so are there any memories that you care to share?

Mark:
I had known Jeff for years. When he was in Precious Metal with Mike Regina and Mark Chasen, they would do off-nights at Dick Lee’s; they would come in and do a set with Network to kind of, like, open up for us because we would get different bands. Which was actually kind of a selfish thing, because we were like, “My God, I gotta play six nights at Dick Lee’s,” because we’d play like Wednesday to Sunday. Larry would find different bands from the area, whether they would be original bands or bands just looking for a break and see if they wanted to come in and play a set here or there on one of the off nights. But Precious Metal used to play with us quite a bit back then. I remember it being one of the first times we ever got to hear Tony Harnell sing, and we were just like, “Holy shit. Who can do that?” He was just amazing. That was really when I met Jeff.

Then probably about ten years ago, I had been asked to come and sing a set with Jeff. It was going to be myself singing, Jeff playing guitar, I forget who playing bass, and Jimmy Drnec playing drums at The Cherrywood. I don’t know if it was a benefit or what it was. As you know, Jeff had his issues, but I had seen him the night before with Cinderella; they were at The Electric Factory and they were phenomenal. Jeff was one of the most electric performers; when he was on, he was just on. The next night I played with him, he was off, but the thing that struck me with him was, that was the first time I met Sebastian; he was probably 12 or 14. But the thing that struck me with Jeff – he was just the proudest dad. He’s had his issues, but he was such a great dad and so proud of his son and so into being a dad. Then getting to see him years later, when Sebastian was up and playing in Mach22 and then eventually with Tantric, and seeing his dad just beam when he would see his kid on stage basically doing what he used to do. Sebastian is just like a little mini-me of Jeff. Just another great player. He’s great on stage; all the right poses; all the right looks. But seeing the way Jeff would look at him and just beam with pride, that’s what broke my heart the most when I heard it. When I first heard it, I was like, “You gotta be kidding me.” To me, that’s one of the biggest memories because no matter what went on in Jeff’s life – he had the superstardom, the world tours, the gold and platinum records – but when it came to being a dad, he was this down to earth, humble, and amazed dad.

One cool story; I’m sure you know after George passed, we continued to move on, and I ended up suggesting Jaron [Gulino] to be the bass player for Heavens Edge; even though we were all old enough to be his dad. He just seemed like the perfect fit. So, before we did the first shows with him on the Monsters of Rock Cruise, we got together and rehearsed and we were like, “You know, we still do some of the choreography.” And he’s like, “Oh, no, man. That’s great.” We were like, “Well, do you know how to spin your bass?” Which is kind of comical because the guy is like 6’4″ and wears the bass around his knees. So, we’re like, “This is gonna be quite a circle if he goes to spin it.” About a week or so after we got together to rehearse, and probably a week or so before we went on the cruise, Jaron sends a video because Tantric was on the road and they happened to be down near Nashville. And when they were down there, they would stop and stay at Jeff’s house. He sends this cool video because he was just like, “Yeah, I was having problems spinning the guitar. May as well go to one of the masters.” And it was a video of Jeff showing Jaron and Sebastian how to spin their guitars. Which I thought was just classic. Jeff’s like, “No, no, stand up straight. Get up straight. Get your shoulders up. If you lean over like this, it’s gonna flop. It’s not gonna work.

Reggie, Dave [Rath], and I have talked a few times since then and we’re all just blown away. You just can’t imagine. Here’s another strange aside for you; Dave goes, “You guys may not realize this, but if it wasn’t for Jeff LaBar, I wouldn’t be in Heavens Edge, and I would probably not be the vice president of the record company right now at Atlantic.” And we’re like, “What are you talking about?” He said, “When I was going to Villanova, I was a drummer, but I was going to Villanova and doing what my parents wanted me to do.” He said, “And I was friends with Gail,” who was dating Jeff at the time. [Dave] said he was talking to her and he’s just like, “I’m frustrated. There’s no music going on over here and I just want to join a good band.” She was like, “Well, why don’t you come over to my place tonight? My boyfriend will be there, and you can talk with him because he’s a musician.” So, he goes and gets together with them, and Jeff’s like, “Dude, there’s a place in Somerdale called The Galaxy. Just get in your car this weekend, drive over there, and check it out. There’s just a ton of bands and some great talent. You want to join a band and you want to be a part of this scene, that’s where you want to be.” And [Dave] came over and ended up meeting us. We were in the process of auditioning; in fact, I think we had actually almost settled on a drummer, and I can’t remember who it was at that point, and Dave kind of came in last minute. If it wasn’t for Jeff saying, “This weekend, get your ass over to The Galaxy. You want to find a good band and you want to start playing in the right scene, this is where you want to be,” we would have never met the guy.

Andrew:
Heavens Edge featured some of the area’s top musicians, plucked from various local acts. How did the band take shape?

Mark:
Well, like I was saying, it started with Reggie approaching my girlfriend, now wife, saying, “Do you think Mark would be into this?” Reggie and a great guy who turned out to be our guitar tech for all the years we were together and still does it for us, Rich Granert, had this piece of paper. Reggie was just like, “I’m not really that happy in Whitefoxx. I’m putting my own thing together.” They would come out and see Network all the time and they had a little notepad that said: “The things we need to do to put the band together.” And No. 1 on the list was, “Get Mark Evans to join the band.” Once I had met Reggie and saw him play and the talent he had, and the fact that we just clicked, I was like, “I’m with you. I need to get you in the band.” But we started writing and we knew after about a half-a-dozen songs that we were gonna do something together. At that point there, I was like, “I’m leaving Network,” and [Reggie] was like, “I’m leaving Whitefoxx,” and decided that we were gonna put something together. And that’s when we started holding auditions. We got Steve Parry in the band, he was actually suggested by Michael Kelly Smith, and then got Dave into the band. And we started rehearsing as a four-piece, and that’s when I went, “You know, it’s just not gonna work with me as a bass player. We need the front guy thing.” So, we brought George [Guidotti] in, and he just clicked. He’s like Jeff LaBar; throw him on stage and he’s a rock star.

So, we got together and started rehearsing. We were also fortunate because I had a reputation from Network; Reggie had it from Whitefoxx and just being the player that he was. So, we were able to start right out of the gate with a better following than most brand new bands would have. And it was also just such a great time. When you could go and stuff that many people into The Empire or The Galaxy, or you could go on any given night and sell out a place as big as The Trocadero, it wasn’t unique that we were doing it; there was a lot of bands doing it. The scene was so strong back then. Fortunately, with Reggie and I, the chemistry that we had that wrote the first few songs that made us decide we wanted to be in a band together and seriously do this, continued all those years later and it’s continued to this day. He and I can still sit down in a room together and write and things just click. Or we can do it with technology now and do it via FaceTime. But that chemistry just continued on and we were fortunate to have it back then. We treated everything like it was a business because it is. We did everything very strict and on a schedule. These are the nights we rehearse; we rehearse from this time to this time. These are the nights that Reggie and I write. These are the nights that I go and record or he goes and records on his own little four-track cassette things. We had to master it as much as we could on a little thing like that, but that’s what we wrote everything on back then. We treated it like a business and kept a fairly strict schedule with everything. It worked because we were able to write enough songs to be able to select what ended up on the first record and some that ended up on the second record.

Andrew:
Where was the name Heavens Edge derived from?

Mark:
That was actually kind of a luck thing. When I was in Network and we were still in the process hoping we’d maybe get a record deal or something, we had found out that there was another band called Network and the name was registered, and that we would have to change the name of the band. We couldn’t come up with anything, so we decided to make announcements and put boxes with suggestion cards out at places like Dick Lee’s or The Saloon or whatever and just go, “Here. If Anybody has any ideas for a cool name for the band, put it in here and, who knows, maybe we’ll select yours.

So, we went through God knows how many name suggestions and couldn’t come up with one that we liked. But the one that I thought, I have no idea who wrote it down because nobody was putting names down on anything, somebody wrote down the name “Heavens Edge.” And I was like, “Guys, this is a great name.” They’re like, “Eh.” So, when Reggie and I were putting the band together, he was just like, “Well, what do we want to call it?” And I said, “Well, when we were holding this contest with Network, somebody had written down Heavens Edge and I thought that was a cool name.” And he’s like, “Love it.” I’m like, “Okay, so we’re Heavens Edge.” There was no great, deep thought behind it or anything. It was just some mysterious person who suggested it and it kind of stuck.

Andrew:
I realize this is testing your memory a bit, but do you remember the first song you and Reggie ever wrote together?

Mark:
Yes. It was a song called “Promises.” I think the hook was something along the lines of, “I don’t make any promises that I can’t keep,” or something like that. But then believe it or not, probably in that first half-a-dozen songs that we wrote that made us decide that we’re gonna see if we can start our own band and get signed, “Come Play the Game” was in that first grouping of songs and “Find Another Way” was in that first group of songs. The versions of them are slightly different than where they ended up, but pretty much the basics of those songs were in the first grouping of songs that we did.

Andrew:
Do you recall any of the songs that ended up on the first demo Heavens Edge ever recorded?

Mark:
Well, the demos that we had done were nothing but Reggie and me. I think out of that first group, “Come Play the Game” and “Find Another Way” might be the only ones from that first group. I remember there was one called “Deep Secrets” that I couldn’t play for you now if my life depended on it. There was one called “You Got Yours;” I remember that. And there were some other clichés — I think there was one called “Get Ready To Rock;” you’re typical 80s cliché kind of thing.

Andrew:
After cutting your teeth on the club circuit, did the band eventually land a residency at one of the area’s bigger venues?

Mark:

We were regulars probably at least once a month at The Empire, but we played every Friday night for, it had to be, two-and-a-half years at The Galaxy. Every Friday night at midnight. Britny did it; I forget if they were Friday or Saturday. Cinderella, they were the Saturday midnight band for a number of years before they got signed. So, we definitely had the residency at The Galaxy; the Friday night midnight slot for two-and-a-half years.

Andrew:
I actually drove out to Somerdale to check it out a couple of months ago. It’s a pet store now, I believe. I didn’t go inside.

Mark:
I actually did go in years ago. I went into the pet store and just walked around going, “Wait, the nasty bathrooms are gone. Where’s the kerosene heater?” It was such a typical, smelly dive bar rock ‘n’ roll club, but it was ours. We rehearsed upstairs, we actually had Cinderella’s old rehearsal room, and that’s where our gear stayed all the time. Our road crew, after we finished playing on Friday night, the amps, drums, and everything would go right up the stairs and get set up in the rehearsal room for the next week’s rehearsals.

Andrew:
At what point did the band begin to break through and garner interest from record labels?

Mark:
I would say within a year or so. I mean, it was fairly quick. We had signed with Golden Guru Management in Philly, and they started shopping the first actual demos that we did with the full band. We had done, maybe like three or four songs in the studio, and then we had done a live broadcast on WMMR from The Empire. They took a couple of the live recordings, put them on there, and they started shopping that around. We got together in mid-’87 and it was sometime in ’88 that we were playing at The Trocadero. We were doing the same thing that all the bands did — get a few thousand flyers printed up and put them out at all the clubs. If there was any similar band playing at The Spectrum back then, we’d go down and just walk around the parking lot and plaster everybody’s car with flyers if we were playing at The Galaxy, The Empire, The Troc, wherever. And if it was a record company showcase, you put “Record Company Showcase,” to try and get people even more excited to be there. Most times you would do that, nobody would show up, or somebody’s assistant’s assistant would show up.

So, this one show we were playing at The Trocadero. The place was sold-out; it was packed; everything was great. It was supposed to be a record company showcase and we’re sitting back in the dressing room. Our management comes back and we’re like, “So, anybody?” And they’re like, “Um, all of them.” We were like, “What!?” They said, “Every label showed up. Everybody we invited.” And we were like, “Fuck!” I remember that night going out and we did the set; had a blast; everything was cool. We had done our first encore and the crowd was still making noise. And Reggie and I had just written this song which was supposed to be on the first record and ended up on the second record, called “Just Another Fire.” Which was three acoustic guitars and vocals. We’re backstage and going, “So, do we go out and do another one?” And I went, “Let’s go out and do “Just Another Fire.”” Dave and George especially were like, “What!? Are you fuckin’ nuts? You’re gonna go out and do an acoustic song for an encore?” I said, “Just trust me. Just something different.” We had never done this song before, besides practicing it. And we went out with the three acoustic guitars and did “Just Another Fire,” finished, and walked off the stage. The crowd wasn’t expecting it either, but it went over great. We went back to the dressing room, we’re back there having some beers and everything, and every label came back and said, “We’re gonna be in touch this week. We’re sending you over an offer.” Our jaws hit the floor. We weren’t expecting everyone to show up, and we definitely weren’t expecting to get a whole bunch of offers.

So, that was sometime in ’88, and it would have been sometime later that year before we started that all the negotiations were done, and we had officially signed the actual deal with Columbia. We had announced on WMMR, I think the night before. I think we did a couple of nights in a row at The Empire, and we had announced the night before that we were doing the next day’s show or something. We finished the show, and that was when George got shot, which put everything on hold. Silly us, not even thinking about the fact that I had been a bass player since I was like 12; I could do this, and we’ll just record it and George will be healthy by the time the album is done. Like, “No, no, no. We have to wait. We’re doing this as a band.” So, we decided, “We’re just gonna wait for George.” It was the right thing to do. In hindsight, we can look back and go, “You know, could have just recorded the record. It still would have been us, and George would have been there to support the record with us and nobody will know anything.” But instead, we waited so he could record the record with us. In that amount of time, who knew that music was gonna change?

Andrew:
To the best of your recollection, could you walk me through the events of the night that George got shot at The Empire Rock Club?

Mark:
It was funny because George was a hell of a partier. We’d just signed a big record label; we just finished doing the show and the crew is doing their thing. We’re all hanging out and having drinks and celebrating the fact that we just got signed. I know we had a show, it might have been again at The Empire the next night. And George wasn’t always the most like, “Hey, guys, we need our rest,” kinda guy; normally we have to drag him out. But he said, “You know, I’m gonna keep it cool. I’m gonna head home so that I’m good for tomorrow night.” I remember I was sitting on the edge of the stage having a drink, and we’re all talking and laughing, and George left. Then we heard this bang, but it just sounded like a car backfiring or something. And then George came walking back in the club; he’s walking across the dance floor, or whatever it was at The Empire, towards me. And I’m like, “What’s happening? Did you forget something?” And he looks at me and he goes, “I think I got shot.” I’m like, “What? Get the fuck out.” I remember him walking up to me and just collapsing on me. I think his body was in shock or something because he wasn’t bleeding until he collapsed on me. I was shocked myself, so I had him laying across my lap on the stage. We called 911 and we’re waiting for the police and ambulance to get there. It was just weird because it was a shotgun blast, so the pellets were all over him. So, it was coming through his clothes from everywhere. It was just this surreal thing. Like I said, there was no evidence of it; he wasn’t bleeding or anything until, I guess, that shock wore off and he collapsed. Then all of a sudden it just started coming out. I was like, “Oh my God.”

It was somebody that was in the club earlier, that was causing some problems, and the bouncers threw him out. So, the guy drove home, got a shotgun, got the box of shells, pulled into the parking lot of The Empire, and came back thinking he was just gonna shoot the front doors out. Not expecting George to be walking through the door. Because George said that when he hit the push bar on the door to open it up, it felt like an electric shock; like the door was charged with something. But it was because as soon as he hit the door, the shotgun blast hit him.

Andrew:
You mentioned that several record labels attended your showcase at The Trocadero. Heavens Edge ultimately chose Columbia, so what was it about the label that lured you in?

Mark:
A very unfortunate decision. What it was is, we were offered deals, I know Atlantic was one of them, but when we were offered the deal with Colombia, it was actually more of a package thing. When we got signed by Columbia, John Mrvos, who was an A&R guy with Columbia came out, a guy named David Glew, who I believe was the president of Epic Records at the time, and then Tommy Mottola, who was the president of all of CBS/Sony came out. So, it was Tommy Mottola that really offered us a deal, and he was the boss of the people at Columbia and the people at Epic; so it really came down to his decision. But David Glew really wanted to sign us and John Mrvos really wanted to sign us. And they were in the process of bringing in a new president of Columbia, Donnie Ienner. And Tommy, at the time, thought that Donnie was a great forward-thinker, and he was going to be the best choice for us. And it turned out it was the wrong decision because we had the delay of putting the record out because of George getting shot, so we waited a little bit with that. But in the meantime, we basically got to sit down at a meeting with Donnie Ienner and have him go, “Uh, here’s this band Alice in Chains that I just signed. They’re the future and you’re not.” That’s basically what it came down to.

Sadly, one of these days I’ll share it with the guys from FireHouse. We had come into our management office. We were all happy; we’re signed with Colombia and everything’s gonna be great. We’re either recording the record or about to record the record; whatever it was. We’re going through the fan mail that came into the office, and we get a card and a package. We open it up, and it’s this Hallmark card; I wish I had saved it. It was one of those black-and-white cards that just have a little bit of color in it, like red or pink. And it was a gangster, almost like when Sonny Corleone gets shot at the tollbooth in The Godfather. One of those gangsters was like hanging out of this thing; the car was all riddled with bullets and all you could see is just the blood coming out but everything else is all black-and-white. It was a card from, I believe, David Glew; he was the president of Epic at the time. He was just like, “This is what I felt like when you guys decided to sign with Columbia Records. Best of luck with everything. Oh, here, by the way, check it out. This was my Heavens Edge consolation prize.” And he sent over the demo for the Firehouse record. So, Tommy Mottola gave him FireHouse, and we went Columbia with that. In hindsight, we should have gone with Epic. But good for FireHouse; they’re a great band and really, really nice guys.

Andrew:
I have the album in front of me, and besides the local ties, one of the things that initially piqued my interest was the cover due to its sheer originality. What was the concept of the album cover and where was it shot?

Mark:
What the concept was, I don’t honestly remember because Colombia had control over everything we were doing at that point. I guess they wanted something that looked somewhat industrial [rather] than otherworldly. It was shot in an old naval power station on the East River, I think it was, in New York. It was an abandoned power station. And it turns out it had been used in a ton of videos; Elton John had just filmed a video in there. There were commercials; like there was a Coke or Pepsi commercial or something that was filmed in there. So, it was just a really cool place. But where we were was maybe five stories below ground. Nowadays, if we did a photoshoot, it would be some photographer showing up with his own lights here or there; maybe even just an iPhone taking pictures. Back then when you did it, they spent a ton of money on it and there would be like 40 people. This was in the middle of January or something, and there’s no power in this place, so it’s bitter cold. And you’ve got makeup people, hair people, and all this stuff going on. So, they take us all the way down to where it’s at, and if you’re looking at the album cover right now, it looks like there’s powder all over the ground. It’s all asbestos that had fallen off the pipes over the years.

So, we’re down there and they picked the area that we’re gonna be shooting at for the cover. Part of the crew comes down, and they’ve got those cannon heaters; those kerosene or propane heaters that they use on construction sites that look like a little cannon. And they go to fire them up and whoever was doing the facilities of that building was like, “What are you doing? You can’t turn that on. This is all asbestos here. It’s all gonna go airborne. You can’t do that.” And you gotta be careful the way you walk because you’re gonna kick it up and everything. So, we shot for like 16 hours in the frigid cold because they couldn’t put any heaters on. We were just frozen. They had big blankets and stuff that when we were finished a certain shoot, they would wrap around us in between shots. We would stand there, weren’t able to move, but it’s freezing cold out. So, one of the things that happen when you’re outside in the freezing cold, your nose runs. We had a makeup girl that would come up with tissues and wipe our noses for us because we couldn’t screw up the makeup. I’m like, “This is why people become spoiled dicks because you have people that wipe your nose for you. And we’re nobody’s right now. I can’t imagine what it’s like.” I think the album cover looks cool, both the front and back. It was a very cool-looking place, but it was an interesting experience. And cold. Very cold.

Heavens Edge (1990)

Andrew:
Neil Kernon, who has worked with everyone from Judas Priest to Yes, assumed production duties for the record. What was it like working with such a legendary producer?

Mark:
It was funny when we got together with him and started doing pre-production, I know for Reggie and I both, you’re just kind of like, “These are our songs. Who are you to tell us?” But when it came to Neil Kernon, he had such a resume that you just had to go, “Okay, this guy must be right.” He would just come in, and it was little suggestions. And some of it is stupid, obvious stuff. Like, the original demos and the original version of “Play Dirty,” I’m literally singing, “You’ve got to play dirty.” And he was just like, with his English accent, “How not rock ‘n’ roll is that? Try “You gotta play dirty,” not “You’ve got to.” Too proper.” So, he wouldn’t write any part of what we were doing, but he would go, “You know what? I think you could do that better. We need another part here. I don’t know what it is but see what you can come up with.”

But then when it came to the actual performance when we were in the recording studio recording, he just had a way of getting you to do stuff that you had no idea you could do. When it came to me singing, he taught me so much. I would go in there and sing for a few hours, and then he’d be going, “Okay, man. Sounding good. Why don’t we do this for real now?” I’m like, “What?” He’s like, “Nah, I needed you to get things cleared out. You’ve got that Rock ‘N’ Roll sound in your voice now.” So, then we’d start singing. One of the things, in fact, it made it into the little clip in “Can’t Catch Me” when everything breaks down, you actually hear [Neil] with the English accent going, “Sorry, out of tune.” Because he would hit the callback button, whether it was Reggie bending a note on his guitar or me singing, and he’d say, “Sorry, out of tune.” And we’d go, “Oh, what the fuck?” But he just had a way of getting more out of you than what you thought you could do. And like I said, the suggestions that he made on the songs were just these simple, obvious things that you just go, “Oh, I never thought of that.” But the little things made the difference and lifted the songs a little bit more.

One of the coolest things for me — well one cool thing is I got married in the midst of doing this first record — so I actually had Neil Kernon at my wedding. But when I finished the last vocal for the record, and actually the last vocal was the song “Just Another Fire,” which unfortunately never made it on the record because Donnie Ienner back in 1989 when we recorded the record said, “What are you recording an acoustic song for? Who the fuck is gonna buy that from you guys? Acoustic songs aren’t a thing.” But there’s a line in this little breakdown in “Just Another Fire,” where I sing “Fools fall in love.” And it’s just me, the guitars drop out, and it’s just “Fools fall in love” and just hold out “love.” And it must have been two hours of Neil going, “Sorry, out of tune.” So, it was just over and over again and I’m like, “You’ve got to be kidding me.” I finally did the one take that even I knew. I was like, “Neil…” He’s like, “You nailed it.” So, we finished that song. The record, at least on my end, is done; all the vocals are done. He brings me into the control room, and he has these two speakers that he uses for playback that are old, beat-up-looking speakers with nothing but wood cases on them. He grabs one of them and grabs a sharpie and he goes, “Doing vocals are my favorite thing. When I feel like I’ve had a special moment with a singer in the studio, I have them sign these speakers for me.” He hands me these speakers, and I’m looking at signatures from Daryl Hall, Michael Bolton, Geoff Tate, Jon Anderson; all of these amazing singers. And I’m like, “You want me to sign this?” So, I remember signing it, “Fools fall in love. Even if it’s just for a couple of hours,” because that’s how long it took. I remember I was so floored that he actually thought that much to go, “No, your signature needs to be on these, too.”

Andrew:
The band’s determination and musicianship, coupled with Neil’s guidance, resulted in what I consider to be one of the strongest albums of the genre. When you look back on the recording process, what are some of your most vivid memories?

Mark:
A lot of it was kind of a blur. Just going into the studio initially because it was something new for all of us. We were used to recording in these little studios, then all of the sudden, you go into somewhere like Kajem and you’ve got this monstrous drum room. So, we were in there doing the drum tracks and all the rhythm tracks and such. And being blown away by just the sound. Reggie would be up in one of the big rooms with his Marshall doing his rhythm tracks, and just hearing the Marshall in the room or hearing Dave’s drums just booming like they did in those big rooms. I remember that blowing me away. Or just sitting back in this control room with this board that looked like it went on forever. But then we did the vocals, Kajem had like a little sister studio at the base of the Society Hill Towers in Center City; I think it was called Victory. It was funny because we were going in at night, I forget what time it was we would get there, but I would do the vocals and the lead guitar did the solos and stuff in there. The funny thing was, we’d have whatever it was, 12 hours overnight that we would have it booked. The 12 hours during the day were DJ Jazzy Jeff and Will Smith, “The Fresh Prince,” doing their first record. We were sharing the studio with them; they were just as famous as we were at that point. Nobody knew who the hell they were, either. Who knew?

But I just remember going in and the stuff [Neil] was showing us. We had Larry Baud from Network; we brought him in to help on background vocals. Plus, we had the five of us. We had another guy, Terry Brock, who was a friend of Neil’s, who was just a studio guy. He helped us out with background vocals as well. So, it was all of us gathered around a microphone signing all the big, gang vocals.

It was an amazing experience. Then to sit back after you’re done recording your parts and then you sit in the big room. Instead of using the little speakers, you would play it back on these big, monstrous speakers and you’re listening to it going, “Oh my God. This is us. This is awesome!” Then Reggie and I went up to New York with Neil for at least a few weeks, maybe even a month, to do the final overdubs and to mix the record. I remember each day going in him playing us the next track that he had finished mixing and we just kept on going, “Holy shit.” [Neil] did all of it; he wasn’t just the producer. He had an assistant engineer with him that he worked with a lot, but he did everything from producing to mixing. Just an amazingly talented guy. Great musician, too.

Andrew:
You and Reggie had such an innate cohesiveness as songwriters and co-wrote every song on the album together, with the exception of “Play Dirty” and “Is That All You Want,” in which George and Steve added to the collaboration, respectively. Can you talk a bit about the creative process?

Mark:
What Reggie and I would do, like I said, we did everything on a schedule. If I remember correctly, we would rehearse with the band on Mondays and Wednesdays. Then on Tuesday nights, Reggie and I would get together at his place, and we’d sit down with a couple of guitars or a keyboard and go, “Here, I got this riff, or I got that part. What do you think?” Then we’d go back and forth and come up with the music for whatever the next song was gonna be. We would do a real, quick rough version of that song on the little four-track cassette thing, then we would bounce it down to a cassette that I could listen to in my car. I had a little cassette recorder, so when I was driving back and forth to work or whatever, I’d listen to whatever we had come up with and start coming up with the melody and the lyrics. And I had a four-track at home myself, so during the rest of that week, I would come up with whatever rough ideas that I had and put them down on a four-track. Then the following Tuesday, I’d go to his place and record the vocals for real, because he had a nicer microphone and stuff. So, I’d record the vocals and all harmonies for real with him, and that would be done. Then we would sit down with the guitars and come up with the idea for next week. We would do that every week, and there were very few weeks where we didn’t come up with something. Sometimes what we came up with was garbage, but we always came up with something. We were just very disciplined every week.

Then when we went out on the road eventually, we had taken some of the publishing advance we had gotten, and we had a studio built for us. It had monitors; had outboard gear; the mixer; 8-track; reel-to-reel in it. It was great. But we would do the same thing when we were on the road. The road crew hated it because that thing weighed a ton. But they would have it in the dressing rooms for us when we were doing a gig. If we were staying a couple of days in a hotel somewhere, they’d have it in the hotel. You’d just work and continue writing and recording on that. So, we stayed very disciplined with that because a lot of times, quantity is what will eventually lead to quality. We worked really hard at it. We made it very much a business.

It was the same thing with the rehearsals. I remember talking to George years later on the phone. I remember he’d had a few, and we were talking about something, and he was like, “You know what? You were a dick!” I’m like, “What do you mean?” He said, “You pushed us so hard when it came to what we were doing on stage.” We’d finish rehearsing our set, and we were sweating our asses off ‘cause we were running around the rehearsal room like we were running around on stage, and doing all the choreographed stuff and all that. I had a rule with the band. I said, “If you’re standing still for more than 30 seconds, you already fucked up.” And so, I’d go around with my mic stand and if I saw somebody standing for too long, I tapped them on the back with it with the butt-end of the thing and just go, “Get movin’” But I just pushed because at that point, MTV was such a big thing, I said, “How are we gonna compete with what people can do on video?” How many times do you see a band on video and then you go see them live and you go, “That’s not the same band.” I said, “But what they’re doing on video is what we have to compete with. So, we have to do as much as we can to always give people a reason to not take their eyes off.” And so, we just pushed hard when it came to that, to make sure that we could put on the best show possible. A lot of that was also going back to watching The Dead End Kids. Those guys had their issues, but when it came to that stage show, they were disciplined; they were on. They rehearsed that stuff to no end, and when it came to the crazy choreography they did, it was damn perfect. I just said, “We’ve got to set ourselves to a different standard.”

People are looking at us like, “So, are you gonna be the next Cinderella? You gonna be the next Britny Fox?” Well, look at those guys on those videos; they were larger than life. When you’d go and see them live, it was the same thing. Jeff was a freakin’ rock star; Tommy was a rock star. That was what the competition was. We had to strive to be better than that because at least it would get you part-way there.

We have the same thing now. Monsters of Rock Cruise is doing a thing in October called Monsters on the Mountain down in Tennessee. I’m already booked on it; I’m supposed to be doing an acoustic set on Friday night. It’s Night Ranger, KIX, Vince Neil, Winger, just a ton of bands for three days. But when you’re looking at the fact that we’ve gotta go up on stage and we play once or twice a year, but you’re playing with KIX who plays all the time, Night Ranger who tours all the time, and somehow, we gotta look like we belong and deserve to be there. So, we’ve gotta have that same discipline to go, “Guys, we’ve gotta work our tails off here. We’ve got a few rehearsals to push it really hard to make sure that we look like we belong on the same stage with all these bands that do it all the time and have been doing it all the time for all these years and didn’t take 20 years off like we did.”

Andrew:
How was the local support upon the release of the album?

Mark:
The local support was phenomenal. The radio stations here were great with us. We did a couple of live broadcasts with WMMR; Ray Koob with Rockers had us on all the time. We still get great support. Ray still does stuff with us. Jacky Bam Bam has been a cheerleader for us forever. [Jacky’s] just awesome because my wife and I do different benefit stuff, and if he even sees it on Facebook, he calls me up … “Mark, man, you guys wanna do a spot on my show to promote the Rock for Food?” Or this thing or that thing. And I’ll get texts, “Oh, by the way, playing you guys in 15!” So, we still get support out there locally, but they were always good to us. We were one of the few hard rock acts that actually broke into the Philly thing. Because all that Philly stuff, the live broadcasts, and all that stuff, was all bands like The A’s, Beru Revue, Robert Hazard, Tommy Conwell, and The Hooters. Cinderella and Britny didn’t get that kind of local radio support. But with us, they were great to us.

Andrew:
In the summer of 1990, Heavens Edge was riding the wave of momentum of the self-titled debut. If you think back to that monstrous summer tour, is there a particular memory that stands out?

Mark:
Well, probably the coolest one for us was getting to play The Spectrum because that was the dream. When you were a kid, you’d go to all those concerts — I saw KISS, Van Halen, Rush, Journey, and everybody else under the sun. The time that we were with Dio and Yngwie and got to play The Spectrum, and got to walk those halls, and walk up behind the back of the stage, and listen to the crowd when the music shut off and the lights went down was something I’ll never forget. You know, walking onto that stage and just being on the stage in that building was something I’ll never, ever forget. And Ronnie James Dio is one of the coolest people you’d ever want to meet. Yngwie, not so much.

The story was, when we started playing at that show at The Spectrum, they all knew it was a hometown thing and everything for us. We had soundchecked and everything sounded great. We started playing and we were like, “What the fuck is going on with the sound?” Like, everything sounded weird for the first song or so. And we’re like, “What the hell is going on?” Then all of the sudden, it just went from sounding like everything was on five to everything being on, like, eleven. Then we’re like, “Ah, okay. There we are.” So, we finished the set, we’re back in the dressing room, and our sound guy comes back. I was like, “What was going on with the sound?” And he said that he got out to the soundboard and Yngwie’s people had come out and shut half of everything off. Ronnie James Dio got word that that happened and sent his sound guy out. His sound guy came out to our sound guy and said, “Excuse me for a second,” and went and turned everything on. So, we had full PA for the rest of the thing, which, usually as an opening act you don’t get all of it. He gave us everything because he was just like, “What a dick move. Just go out and turn everything on for them, please.”

Note: The Dio / Yngwie Malmsteen / Heavens Edge concert discussed was held on Aug. 20, 1990, at The Spectrum in Philadelphia, PA.

Some Other Place, Some Other Time (1998)

Andrew:
I wanted to ask you about the second album demo sessions, which were recorded shortly after the debut album. The much-anticipated follow-up, Some Other Place, Some Other Time, didn’t surface until 1998. Why was the album shelved for so many years?

Mark:
Well, what had happened, we sued to get released from Columbia Records because they had informed us that they were no longer gonna support anything we were doing. As soon as we got released from them, we got signed to Capitol Records, and they gave us money to start recording some demos. And they’d given us a decent amount of money, so we were able to record some decent demos for them. “Rock Steady” and “Just Another Fire” were actually recordings from the first record that never made it on the record. Then songs like “Some Other Place – Some Other Time,” “Jacky,” Can’t Cry,” and “Backseat Driver,” they were all songs that were written and recorded for the second record that was gonna be on Capitol. After we had finished all those demos, I think it was EMI or something that came in and bought out Capitol and they wanted to reevaluate all of the artists that they had on the label. So, we had to literally showcase again for them, but in a studio with no crowd or anything like that, and it didn’t go so well. So, they gave us the masters of what we had recorded and such, but the record deal was over. We continued on and recorded some other songs, which are some of the demos that are towards the tail-end of the record that sound not as good as the other stuff that’s on the record. And Reggie and I were trying to write and go, “You know, the music’s changing, and this Grunge thing is going on. We gotta try and change up what we’re writing.” So, we tried changing it up as best we could, and it was after we finished up that batch of demos that I quit. I said, “Guys, I can’t write this stuff. It’s not me. I got two kids at home, and I can’t keep doing this. What we do and what we love doing is over.” So, that stuff sat for all those years until the people from MTM and Perris Records had contacted us about putting a re-release together. So, we were able to grab all the demos we had and sent them to them. And that’s what came out as that second record.

Andrew:
In addition to the demos, there were also a handful of songs recorded around ’98, right?

Mark:
Yes. There were a couple of them. I’m trying to think, maybe “Cuts Both Ways,” there might have been one other one that we went in and did record at that time to finish that record. I forget when we even recorded them at that point. But yeah, we did go in and record a couple more.

Andrew:
When you split from Heavens Edge, the musical landscape had drastically shifted, and you had other obligations. But before the reformation years later, had you remained musically active in some capacity?

Mark:
Right after Heavens Edge, I was working; I had a job as a painter, but I needed to make more money than that. So, I put together a cover band called The Pack and went out for a couple of years doing that. But then after that, I was done completely until all of this started up again, back in 2011-2012. I had to relearn how to sing; relearn how to play; all of it. I just moved on with my life; I was a soccer coach and all that kind of stuff. I don’t coach anymore, my kids are all grown, but I still just have a job. And every once in a while, there’s a weekend when I get to go away and play rock star for the weekend. Then I have to come back to real life.

Andrew:
I’ve heard rumblings that there is new Heavens Edge music in the works. Are you able to expand on that?

Mark:
Yes. New demos recorded. There will be news coming out about that shortly. I wish I could announce it with you right now, but I can’t because not everything is signed on the dotted line. But there will be new Heavens Edge music out, probably sometime in early 2022. Yes, there is new music coming and we’re really excited about it. And hopefully, everybody else will enjoy it when it comes out.

Photo Credit: Mark Gromen (Bravewords.com)

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Andrew DiCecco

Predominantly known for his NFL coverage, Andrew DiCecco is a Pennsylvania-based journalist with a profound passion for Rock music and its illustrious history. What initially began as a childhood hobby collecting CDs eventually evolved into a full-blown absorption into the world of Rock and Roll. An aspiring rock historian, Andrew seeks out every autobiography and documentary on Rock artists imaginable to further his knowledge to go along with a growing collection of vintage albums and magazines. Andrew’s musical preferences include, but are not limited to, Def Leppard, Van Halen, AC/DC, Guns N Roses, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Ozzy Osbourne, Scorpions, Foreigner, and Journey. An innate appreciation for guitar heroes, Andrew cites Vito Bratta, Eddie Van Halen, John Sykes, George Lynch, Dave Meniketti, and Neal Schon as some of his personal favorite players. Andrew is also a regular listener to SiriusXM’s <i>Trunk Nation</i> with Eddie Trunk, his primary source of inspiration.
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