Mark Stone

from an interview in Grass Eye, 1969

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN PLAYING GUITAR NOW, MARK?

Three years. My playing has developed on its own. I've not tried specially to get this style, it's just come about. It's just myself. I've never had any musical training at all.

WHEN YOU PLAY, YOU SEEM TO BE VERY ENGROSSED IN YOUR MUSIC, AND NOT REALLY AWARE OF WHAT'S GOING ON AROUND YOU.

Yes, well, when I play, I just play my gultar, although usually, it's my guitar playing me. When I play, I don't seem to think about anything. It's really a musical channel through which I can communicate my feelings.

   

WHERE ELSE OTHER THAN THE VILLAGE DO YOU PLAY?

Well, I haven't played outside of Mandist for quite some time. The places I play at are the Magic Village, and the Arts Lab,when it was open. The thing is, I've never actually played anywhere at any time when I've actually been satisfied with the way I've played. I use the guitar merely as a vehicle for spontaneous musical- composition. You see, eventually, everyone will turn on to classical stuff - in the end, they'll all dig ballets and things like that.

WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO DO IN THE IMMEDIATE FUTURE?

Well, I have some wild ideas. If I had a million pounds, I'd buy a recording studio, and record all day long!

WHAT ABOUT PLAYING OUTSIDE OF MANCHESTER THO', MARK? ANY PLANS IN THAT DIRECTION?

I'd like to play at the Saville Theatre in London, in a concert there featuring three different types of groups - one called 'ACTAVEOUS', a second called 'PASSAVEOUS', and the third who would be called 'THE END OF THE WORLD'. It would be very hard to do it (but if someone would give me a million pounds ), and at the end, they'd all play together, lined up with an orchestra.

Their playing would be environmental, you know, just being themselves, and not trying to copy Eric Clapton. There would probablybe total improvisation - a very goood outlet for emotions.

TALKING ABOUT IMPROVISATION - DO YOU PREFER THIS TO PLAYING PRACTISED PIECES?

I enjoy improyising, but I've written about 600 songs, and they have come about thru things on tapes, etc. Playing other peoples songs, well, Eric Clapton plays like Eric Clapton, but, say in this Saville Theatre thing, Actaveous wourd play hard - our type of music - whereas Passaveous wouls be more soft - say like Donovan - and the End of The World with the orchestra, would be like this free improvisation thing.

The idea behind this is that the first group would be, say, active- a hard-hitting group; the second would be a passive one, and the last would sort of reconciletlle two extremes together, sort of channelin~ them.

CAN YOU SEE ANYTHING LIKE THAT EVER HAPPENING?

Quite possibly, or definitely would if someone would give me a million pounds

HAVE YOU ANJY RECORDING PLANS?

Oh, yes, but I don't know whether to tell or not. O.K. Well, this guy who worked for Track records in London came up to Manchester and heard me play. He said I was the new Jimi Hendrix, invited me up to his flat, and we arranged to have some tapes made. We had a group together at that time - the drummer was only thirteen! Well, when we were in London, at the Track offices, Jimi Hendrix walked in and said, "Hey, is this the kiddie group?"

What happened was that we were offered a contract, which we didn't sign because the terms were too tight. The contract's still there. We could sign it now, but I don't think that that'll happen because of those sticky terms.

DO YOU ENJOY PLAYING AT THE VILLAGE?

Actually, I don't want to perform there at all. I've been here for about a year now, and so now, well, I just want to go in a recording studio and make all these records, which will have oriental flute, gypsy violins, harpsichords, and other things. What I want to do is a Ballet - you know, to be performed in London and in amphitheatres. All it needs is for someone to give me a million pounds!

DO YOU HAVE STRONG RELIGIOUS BELIEFS?

No ,not really, but if people want to believe in things like that, then I can see the point. But I don't really believe in it, or anything else for that matter! Want any personal facts? I was born on October 8, 1952; height- approaching 6' 3"; eyes -brown; I'm afraid that I don't know my inside leg size!

Hairdresser- well, l just leave it and let it take care of itself!

   
Memories

I used to know mark very well in the sixties and early seventies.  As accomplished player as he was he always seemed to be 'out there' in a world so much his own with his acoustic.  Would love to hear what became of him.

Steve Dillan
8/8/10

Saw Mark again a few times about '75 in the Cornwall Terrace squat on Regent's Park. He was well, wearing tasteless Hawiain shirts and was getting into Flamenco (Paco Pena) but wasn't interested in discussing the Purple Alchemist. Strangely he had only just hit on a guitar technique, current in the '60s, of weaving a thin card across the strings at the bridge to add fuzz. He showed me one of his old school exercise books (!!!) and it would seem he really had been an astonishingly intelligent and mature 13 year old, probably more intelligent and mature than either of us in '74!

Geoff Lee
5/9/11

I had the pleasure of knowing Mark Stone and playing with him and drummer Tim Franks.

The three of us had very similar musical interests, which were too off the wall for most people we played to, I could never tell whether we were the vanguard of manchester's avant garde or collectively insane.

We had a very strong interest in Ornette Coleman's music and Sun Ra etc. I thought Mark was an improvisational genius and still wonder about him regularly today.

I once watched him and John McLaughlin  swopping ideas in the dressing room at the Free Trade Hall, He lived with his Granny in the flats off Barlow Moor Road just near Burton Road Dole and could be found often in the Midland Hotel (lapwing lane, now the Metropolitan).
He was with out doubt one of that periods more interesting and adventures musicians and much loved, I believe he moved to Spain to concentrate on his Flamenco playing and I haven't heard of him since the seventies.I stopped trying to play about the time he disappeared and have only recently started again again with another Guitar wizard  (John Scott) and we have a large (sometimes 30 piece Orchestra) The Orchestra of Fools, employing some of the ideas Mark, Tim and myself were pursuing way back.

If anyone has any up to date information about Mark I would be so grateful.

Tosh Ryan
15/5/12

 

 




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