Mark Gardner (HP Lovecraft)

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By Joe Gagliardo

Mark started playing bass on a 1970 Fender Mustang.  By 1972, he was playing a Rickenbacker 4001 and anchoring Utopia, a horn band that preceded Todd Rundgren’s band of the same name.  Utopia was playing the music of Chicago, Earth Wind & Fire, and Average White Band, among others, and was tearing up the college and club circuit until 1979.  This fit his playing style well, because in addition to Paul McCartney, Mark was deeply influenced by the melodic playing of Peter Cetera with Chicago.

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In 1979 Mark joined the band Lovecraft. HP Lovecraft is one of the legendary bands in Chicago that started out as a folk/psych band in the 60’s, and included George Edwards on guitar, Jerry McGeorge (Shadows of Knight) on bass, and Michael Tegza on drums (2 Lps-HP Lovecraft and HP Lovecraft II).

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With a shortened name, Lovecraft moved to a more rock sound in the early ‘70’s, and included Marty Grebb (Buckinghams, Leon Russell, Bonnie Raitt and more), Jim Donlinger (Aorta), Michael Been (The Call), and Michael Tegza (one Lp-Valley of the Moon).  By the mid-70’s Lovecraft was a Funk band, which included vocalist Lalomie Washburn, Tegza and Frank Capek on guitar (one Lp-We Love You Whoever You Are).

In 1980, after Lovecraft, Mark and Frank Capek joined one of Chicago’s hot power pop bands, The Kind, who had opened shows for Lovecraft.  That line-up was rounded out by leader, songwriter and lead vocalist, Frank Jalovec, and Frank Sberno on drums (The Hurd).

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Within short order, three of The Kind’s songs were creating a hell of a buzz!  “Total Insanity” was played heavily by WXRT, and was recently included in The Dirt- the story of Motley Crue, and is on The Numero Group’s compilation cd, Buttons—From Champaign to Chicago.

“When You Rock” received heavy play rotation on WLUP and WMET, two of Chicago’s other radio giants, and the band got a big push when “Loved By You” became a staple of WLS radio.  By this time, Mark was slinging a Cherry Red 8-string Hamer bass, as well as a 4 string Hamer Cruise bass.

This line-up of The Kind had a run until 1986, and released two Lps, The Kind and Pain and Pleasure.  During this time, the band toured extensively, and played shows with musically diverse groups, including, ZZ Top, Duran Duran, Robert Palmer, Angel City, and The Romantics.

After The Kind, Mark spent the next six years playing with The Legends, primarily a cover band, that also worked with Chicago DJ, John Records Landecker.  This run had the band playing with Paul Revere and the Raiders, The Monkees, America, Rare Earth and many other bands from the 60’s and early 70’s.

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These days, Mark is a co-owner of Naperville Music outside of Chicago, where he started to work as an employee in 1977, and became an owner in 1985. He is also busy working to promote the careers of his two sons, Dylan and Mark, who are involved in music.

Dylan is a multi-instrumentalist, who released 2 CDs on Warner Brothers, Adventures in Real Time and Almost Real, and is currently working on his third CD.

Mark is a drummer who works at Old Style Music in California, and one of his fortes, besides drumming, is making custom pedals for a who’s who of musician clients.

Check out Mark’s playing:

The Kind-“Total Insanity”

The Kind-“Loved By You”

The Kind “When You Rock”

The Kind-“I’ve Got You”

Mark Gardner, Dylan Gardner, Mark Gardner and Frank Capek-Recent Partial Live Clip of “Total Insanity”