David Marks – Beach Boy Through-and-Through
The first part is the Beach Boy part – from David’s early association and friendship with the Wilson family to his “departure” from the famed California iconic group. A lot is packed into David’s brief stint with the Beach Boys, from his somewhat reluctant invitation to replace Al Jardine, up through his clash a few years later with the Wilson Clan manager, Murry Wilson.
Seems the intention of the book first and foremost is to convincing establish that David was:
- A true founding member of the group
- An accomplished guitarist (if not the most accomplished of the group)
- A stylist of the patented “Beach Boy Sound” via his Fender Stratocaster
- A tested member of the group in both the studio and on the road
- David was promptly written out of the Beach Boy history until now (actually until 2008 when this book was published)
The account begins by establishing David’s relationship with the various members of the Wilson’s. David and family resided directly across the street from the Wilson’s who lived in the California community of Hawthorne. The street they resided on was a border for the neighboring community of Englewood, and thus, while the Wilson’s attended Hawthorne High School, David would be enrolled in Englewood High.
Beyond living in such close proximity to Brian Wilson, another early influence on David was a friend of his cousin, young musician John Maus. John, along with his sister, had experienced some local chart success recording as “John and Judy”, being promoted by their mother Regina, who also composed tracks for the duo.
John Maus would later become a member of The Walker Brothers – Judy was his sister and composer Regina Maus was their mother. Early on, Maus mentored David Marks, who was captivated by the Sunburst Fender Stratocaster which Maus employed. Several informal music lessons would follow for David with Maus.
Judy, John and David made their way to American Recorders Studio in the L.A. area and cut a Marks’ composition titled “China Sea”. Marks proudly returned home with an acetate in hand of his first recording. Maus lent David his Stratocaster for the session and back the young Marks (11 years-old at the time), on rhythm guitar.
The Beach Boys Enter the Studio
So the young Marks would befriend his across-the-street neighbors – Brian, Carl and Dennis Wilson – Both David and Carl would take guitar lessons from John Maus, both taking big strides toward landing that great Beach Boy sound so prevalent on the early Beach Boy hits. David spent much time casually playing with the Wilson’s in their home and around the neighborhood. So when the time came for the boys to enter the recording studio on behalf of the Candix Records, David was surprised when he was not invited to tag along. Instead, neighbor and high school classmate, Al Jardine would join the brothers along with cousin Mike Love (calling themselves “The Pendeltones) to record two tracks “Surfin” and “Lua”. The group – now calling themselves “The Beach Boys”, would be pleasantly encouraged when the single entered the Billboard Charts in early 1962 – peaking at number 75. (The two tracks were initially released on Candix 331 (Nov ’61) followed by the very hard to find and very valuable “X” label 301 (Dec ’61), before again being released on Candix 301 – numerically a little bit strange – in January, 1962 – The “331” release is credited as being the charting version on Billboard).
Jardine was a folkie at heart and didn’t place much stock in casting his lot with a surfing band, and so in short order, he turned his attention elsewhere and Marks landed firmly in the classic Beach Boy line-up.
Shown below- 1st Issue Promotional label 301 Candix followed by the commercial 1st issue – Next the “X” label #301 – 2nd issue and finally by the third issue Candix 331 – the single which charted.
After “Surfin'” the Beach Boys settled in quite nicely and launched their fantastic career with the classic hits. David Marks was firmly on board for the first three long plays, over 100 public appearances, and serving as a more-than-proficient guitarist with his surfin’ Stratocaster in hand.
The Last Wave
The end as a Beach Boy came during a road trip in the Midwest United States. The Beach Boys had been traveling on an extended tour without the guidance of Murry Wilson who remained in California for business reasons. The boys were not behaving so well to say the least, to the point where Murry was forced to fly in to join them – fire the acting road manager, and then launch an admonishing verbal assault to the band but directing a focused attach on the 15 year-old David who Murry had never been fond of.
From Jon Stebbins account: David took the assault up to appoint before finally bursting out with “‘We’ve been out here busting our butts for a month and a half!’ he shouted. “We’re making you rich. Don’t we get any credit for that?’ Murry replied in a superior tone, ‘You broke all the all the rules, my boy. You disrespected me, Andree (his wife) and your parents. You boys should all be ashamed. I set the rules, David. If you don’t like them you are welcome to leave.’ And if was at that point that David fired back the words that would change Beach Boys history: ‘OK, I quit.'”
For all practical purposes, this was the end. Marks held on for a few more months, some additional appearances, but it was over. The “Little Deuce Coupe” album was the next project. David had worked with the group on several of the tracks and was pictured on the back of the jacket. After that, he simply “vanished” from the Beach Boys, and their following would see a new face on future LP jackets and single picture sleeves. In February of 1964, the Beach Boys’ “Fun, Fun, Fun” single picture sleeve, followed by their 4th LP “Shut Down Volume 2” would both feature the “new” reluctant Beach Boy – Al Jardine.
Al Jardine – Like He Never Left
I was always very curious as to what happened to the “mystery Beach Boy”. No internet in 1963, no access to trade publications, no magazine articles – just simply “Al Jardine” out of nowhere. As of September of 1963, David was on his own. His contract with the Beach Boys would provide royalties for several years but not a fortune, and eventually he would be nudged altogether from Beach Boy earnings – missing out on what has been estimated to have been several million dollars.
David Marks – The “Lost” Beach Boy – Part 2
As is the case with seemingly every rock and roll biography, David’s tails off into a dismal journey of poor decisions, alcohol and drug abuse, broken relationships, lots of car crashes and so it goes.
But in 2016 David is still standing, having gained what appears to be a state of sobriety, a reconciliation of sorts with members of the Beach Boys (he never was really at war with anyone other than father Murry Wilson), and a coming to terms with his place in the history of rock and roll.
The book is worth the time. For me it was enlightening and entertaining to gain another inside view of America’s band, one not so much centered on the Brian Wilson saga. There are many tales shared here that are off the usual Beach Boy beatin’ path that – for me – was enough reason to read on to the end.
David’s Post Beach Boy Journey
Sifting through the pages devoted to the Marks’ set-backs, I have extracted the following information which relates to his on-again, off-again sojourn through a life in rock and roll.
After David’s departure from the Beach Boy family, which didn’t occur on a single clean-break date in time, he found his way to join a close friend, drummer Mark Groseclose, in forming a band in early 1964 known briefly as The Jaguars before utilizing some of David’s Beach Boy fame, becoming The Marksmen.
David Marks – lead guitar
Mark Groseclose – drums
Gene Fetko – rhythm guitar
Ed Gauntt – rhythm guitar
Bill Trenkle – bass guitar
Denny Murry – rhythm guitar (replaces Gauntt in August, 1964)
Greg Jones – vocals (joins briefly in 1965 before the break-up of the band)
Through recording contacts the group came to the attention of A&M Records and became the label’s first rock and roll act to record. The group recorded four tracks for A&M, one being “The Sheriff of Nothingham” a track which was vocally backed by a ‘Beach Boy Family’ female ensemble (included Brian Wilson’s wife – Marilyn) The Honeys.
“Sheriff” didn’t make it’s way onto vinyl until the year 2003 when it was released as a “garage classic” on the Sundazed label. “Cruisin” and “Kustom Kar Show” were released on A&M 730 with promotional and commercial stampings making their way to the marketplace.
David had presented “Cruisin” to Brian Wilson while still a member of the Beach Boys, but the composition failed to make it onto the Capitol label.
The two tracks failed to attract any airplay nearly anywhere, which David’s biographer attribute mainly to the British Invasion which hit at the same time.
The Raiders Beckon
In February of 1964, during David’s stint as a Marksman, he received a phone call from Paul Revere Dick, the “Paul Revere” of the band out of Boise, Idaho. David was invited to join the lineup but politely declined, sure that he was making his own way and also had difficulty picturing himself parading on-stage in Colonial-Era patriot garb.
In March of the same year the Marksmen would record two additional tracks for A&M, “Do You Know What Lovers Say” backed with “Food Fair”. Biographer Stebbins compares “Food Fair” to future Mother’s of Invention compositions, placing it “ahead of it’s time”.
In early 1964, a song co-composed by Marks and bandmate Groseclose, “Blue Roses” finds it’s way onto the “B” side of blues singer Ramona King’s minor hit “You Say Pretty Words”, via The Marksmen’s brief association with Warner Bros.
No Sunrays For Marks (sort of)
Oddly, David was also contacted during this time period by Wilson papa Murry to be recruited (with the Marksmen) for a ‘Beach Boy sound-alike’ ensemble to become “The Sunrays”. Again David declined the offer for whatever reasons but one would have to think that his recent discord with the senior Wilson would have been reason enough.
But then, oddly, in the Spring of 1965, David agrees to play guitar on a Sunrays’ session for two tracks, “Out of Gas” and “Car Party”. Future part-time Beach Boy, session man, and hugely popular in-his-own-right musician Glen Campbell joined in on the same session with David.
Onto The Band With No Name
David’s next stop was in joining a group called “The Band with No Name” in late 1965 again with his pal Mark Groseclose. They were joined by guitarist Eddie Haddad, Richard Faith on piano and an additional guitarist, Larry Puckett. Marks didn’t stay on for long, departing in early 1966.
“The Band with No Name” would be signed by Mike Curb to Tower Records and appear in a teen genre flick called “Thunder Alley” in 1967 performing the film title song. “Thunder Alley” starred (who else?) Fabian and Annette.
Warren “Lyme” Zevon & the Flies
During the Summer of 1966 David would hang out with another California band, “The Everpresent Fullness” but didn’t latch on permanently with them. It was during this time period that he would make the acquaintance of the male singer in a duo called “Lyme & Cybelle”, a singer who would go on to use his own name and obtain composing and performing notoriety, Warren Zevon. Marks and Zevon would maintain a friendship for several years until it was interrupted by a personal misunderstanding.
The two formed a very short-lived band called “The Flies” in the Summer of 1966 with guitarist Glen Crocker. Zevon was beginning to establish composing credits of sort at this time writing a few “B” sides for The Turtles. David relates another “close call” with fame, telling of Turtle lead vocalist Mark Volman frantically calling him one evening pleading for him to come into the group quickly due to Howard Kaylan abruptly quitting The Turtles.
This seems a little strange to me since Kaylan was a premier vocalist and David was not known at all for his vocal skills. Before David could even pack a bag, Mark made a second phone call saying ‘never mind’, Kaylan was back in the fold.
“The Flies” break up nearly as quickly as they formed, not recording or performing much, other than a brief stint in Hollywood
The Tender Trap & Shooting The Moon
David’s next stop along the way was in 1967 was joining Terry Hand from “The Everpresent Fullness (drums), Garrett Moore on keyboards and future Byrd John York on bass in a group called “The Tender Trap”. Again, no recording sessions, and the foursome quickly dissolved.
David’s previous association with Mike Curb led to his next musical adventure, one which would perhaps become his most creative endeavor during his up again – down again journey.
The lineup this time would be David on guitar, Matt Moore from “Mathew Moore Plus Four” on keyboards, Larry Brown on drums and working as a recording engineer for the group and Andrew Bennett on bass. Matt Moore had already released several singles on various labels in the mid 1960’s, working with his producer/composer brother Daniel Moore. Daniel would go on to pen the hits “Shambala” for Three Dog Night and “My Maria”, “The River of Love” who also charted with “Shambala” but not nearly as highly charted as the Three Dog Night version for B.W. Stevenson in the 1970’s.
It is with the output of The Moon that biographer Stebbins is most elated: “(the album Without Earth) was filled with wondrous treasures of psychedelic pop and is simply one of the most underrated works of its time. Larry Brown’s gorgeous production is filled with layers of invention. Lush voices, inventively played instruments, flourishes of tape manipulation and percussive effects and sophisticated accents fill The Moon’s sound palette with wonderful results.”
And further, “Without Earth stood tall amid the psychedelic pop class of 1967 and 1968. In it’s own way, it held up well to The Beatles, Stones, Monkees, Zombies and Pink Floyd releases during the same period.” But what The Moon sadly did lack was any chart success at all, with no appearance by the long play or the singles on the nation’s charts.
The band “Colours” was another American group who marketed to the British Invasion genre both in appearance, spelling of the band name an in their own words “They spell it the English way, and for a jolly good reason. Colours have the crystalline sharpness of the Beatles before they turned acid.”
Marks joined up with Colours for their second long play on Dot Records. Two of the band members, Gary Montgomery and John Dalton had written a couple of The Moon’s tracks on which Marks had taken the lead vocals. Danny Moore also had production involvement with Colours and a former short term Moon band member, David Jackson would join for a time furthering the Moon-Colours connection. Marks nor any of the band members are cited on the second LP jacket which was titled “Atmosphere”. Like David’s other ventures, Colours (though highly acclaimed today) failed to gain any airplay or chart action. On-line band biographies do not make mention of Marks’ participation with the group.
Bumped by Dr. John and Clapton
Colours broke up in 1969 and so David was once again searching for a platform. In late 1969 Marks joined up with Delaney and Bonnie more or less as a fill-in guitarist. Thinking he may have landed a solid gig, he first received a call from Delaney telling him that Dr. John would be handling guitar on the next appearance – services not needed – followed by another call that Eric Clapton was on hand – services terminated.
Marks landed some session work (as he often did throughout his career) with Denny Brooks, Buzz Clifford (who was a long-time friend), Michael McGinnis (of McGinnis-Flint) and others. He worked closely with a group of session men that included Jim Keltner (drums), Carl Radle and associates Danny Moore and Gary Montgomery from Colours.
Dirty Dog Days – Mundane – and Beyond
In late 1969 David would find himself working with a combo called “The Dirty Dog Blues Band” along with Glen Crocker (piano), Richard Crooks (drums) and Robert Watson (bass). The combo did some studio work on a session were backed by The Raelettes backing vocal group for Ray Charles. This work went unreleased.
David seemed to work through so many groups and temporary assemblies of musicians. In late 1972 he would be part of a Tulsa group calling themselves “Mundane Willis”. The members were all former acquaintances of David’s including Buzz Clifford, Gary Montgomery and former 1960’s Carp band leader and future actor Gary Busey – an accomplished drummer. His early 1970’s sessions joined him up with so many – Glen Clark (Byrds), Don Preston (Don Preston & The South), Stanley Hightower, as well as past band mates Skip and Terry Hand. In time Marks would come to peace within himself, successfully raising a daughter and finally coming to terms with his first band, The Beach Boys. His famous neighbors entered the Hall in 1988, David being omitted from the official induction.
But when they reunited in 2012 for a reunion tour, joining Mike Love, Al Jardine, Brian Wilson and Bruce Johnston, was the surfin’ Stratocaster guitarist from across the street in Hawthorne/Englewood, California – David Marks.