An accomplished song writer, Mark's music and lyrics can be heard in film, on the radio and on TV. Also an avid Philadelphia baseball fanatic, Mark can be found each home Sunday at Citizens Bank Park.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Mark about his 2010 album release, "Rain on the Roses", his baseball phandom, and more. Check out the interview below and be sure to go to Mark's web site, MarkEvansMusic.com and sample his music.
1. Mark, you’ve been a Phillies Fan and a musician both for a long time. Describe the differences in your love of baseball and your love of music.
Tough call. I guess the most obvious difference is that I can play music professionally, and with baseball, I’m like Mario Cuomo, I can’t hit the curve ball. They’ve both been a part of me for as long as I can remember. Baseball sooths me, and I can relax and just be with it. Music gets my creative process going, so it’s a very different experience. I’ll say this – they are two loves that have never abandoned me. When it comes to music, I’m still a little boy with big dreams; when it comes to baseball, I’m still a little boy in awe. This spring I went to the WXPN Beggar’s Banquet Fundraiser in Philly. I’m sitting at David Dye’s table. The room is full of music people – on-air personalities, performers, some of Americana’s royalty was there. I spent most of the night talking baseball with a CEO from the finance world… we had the same love of the game. Hey, please support WXPN; they bring great music to Philly!
2. How often do you make it out to the ballpark during the season?
Wow! Never enough. I live in NYC, but have a Phillies Sunday season ticket plan (I’ve had it since the last year in The Vet). So, I get to those 13 or 14 games (unless I’m in Nashville or on tour). I’ve got a nice circle of fellow expatriate Phillie fans in NYC, and we’ll get out to see Mets/Phillies games at Citi Field, or Phillies/Yanks in the Bronx. Then there’s the playoffs and World Series games. Plus, I try to get to a couple minor league games as well. Went out to Lakewood this season, great little ballpark… all-in-all, I guess 25-30 games are a safe bet.
Love wearing my Phillies road grey at Citi Field!
3. You’ve performed National Anthems at minor league parks. What kind of dream would it be to perform prior to a Phillies’ game?
It’s funny. Clearly I sing, but always see myself as a song writer more than a singer – like a Lauren Hart… that’s a singer. When I do the anthem, it's more out of love for the country, tradition, and the anticipation of the ump calling out “play ball”. It’s not a performance for me. That said, I’d be thrilled to sing it at the Bank (and I think I need to get my manager back on that, we were going to do it in ‘08, but I had a conflict), as long as I can be back in my seat by 1st pitch so I can keep score. In 2008, I was in Nashville to open up for “Lonestar” at a festival, and it had been arranged for me to sing the anthem before the Nashville Sounds game - they’re the Brewers' triple A team. So, I’m down at the field with my “Sounds” jersey on, waiting to be walked to the microphone, when I realize the starting shortstop for Nashville is Abraham Nunez. He’s running by me and I’m like “Abe, I’m a Phillies fan!”, and we start talking about the Phillies, and I’m not interested in singing anymore.
4. What can you tell Phillies fans about your music and why they should check you out?
It’s true, no pretensions. I’m not trying to be a star, or a celebrity, I’m just trying to write and perform music that will touch people, and take them through a variety of emotions: laugh, cry, whatever. It’s from my heart and I hope they like it!!
5. What has been the highlight (or a couple of highlights) from your musical career thus far? (Was it the "Never Again" song?)
This may sound strange, but I do musical ministry at the Bowery Mission in NYC a couple times a year. There’s something about looking out at a room full of homeless men, who are only there so they can get a meal, who are on the bottom and out of hope; and they start singing along and before you know it they’ve touched God and are alive again. It’s very powerful stuff, and not at all about me. Outside of that, yes, it was writing “Steady Now” with Amanda Kravat for the film “Never Again”. She’s so gifted…
6. The video for "Tearing Down Our House" off of you recent release "Rain on the Roses" is pretty unique. What is there to know about the location and creation of the video, the kids, the band or the song?
It’s a 1930’s lighthouse tender docked at Pier 40 on the Hudson River in NY. It’s basically across the street from my apartment, and when I go running, I run by it all the time. See it from my window, you know? So, I was looking for a location that could convey the Feeling of something huge and decaying, to reflect the end of love, and I was sold on this ship in the Raritan called the Mary Murray. It was an old Staten Island ferry ship that had run aground in the 70’s; I’d been passing it on the NJ turnpike for years. So, we’re getting ready to shoot, and I find out the Mary Murray had been sold for scrap a month earlier. I’m literally in a conversation with the producers about what to do next, when I look out the window, and there’s the Lilac – It’s one of those “finding the love of your life in your own backyard” kind of moments. The Ship is gorgeous. I mean, I never knew my paternal grandfather, but he was a lighthouse keeper in Long Island Sound at the same time the Lilac was in service. For me, it was very intense – my father passed away in 1992, and when I stepped up in the wheelhouse for that one shot, I felt him there with me.
The band: drummer, Bobby McKeon, moved from Philly to Nashville a while back – been my drummer since 1990. Jessie Nelson on fiddle – NYC via Minneapolis. Dave Randal on base, NYC via Seattle. The kids were great. Brett Effman, I’m very close friends with his parents. He’s 12 and has been writing songs since he was 10. I mean “GOOD” songs. Real good guitar player too. He’s got that "troubled artist” vibe that I’ve carried my whole life down pat, so he was the perfect choice to play me. The girl, Josette, is my God daughter. Her older sister Caroline was supposed to play the role, but at 12, she’s already modeling, and at 5’10”, she looked more like Brett’s aunt, so Josette stepped up to the plate and was brilliant. I thought that the two of them captured the essence of love’s innocence, even when love is at an end - there’s a innocence in walking away; thinking that you’ll never be over it - when Josette walks down that gang plank – and Brett’s reaction – wow!!
The whole team was great. Produced by Josephine DeMichele and Gary Inzana (Big Fun Studio One). They had us fly in Kurt Feldhun from Seattle to direct, he did all the Bad Brains videos in the 90’s. We were all on the same page and I love the result. The day we shot it was 98° in the shade, if you could find the shade.
7. Are any of your fellow musicians, Jesse, Bobby & Dave, as big of a baseball fan as you are?
Mr. Ballz – only you are as big a fan of baseball as I am! No, and it’s a good thing, 'cause if they were all into baseball like me, we would never get anything done.
8. Who was your favorite Phillies player from your youth? And what did you like about him?
Del Unser. He wasn’t a “star”, a bit of an underdog, but he was tenacious and clutch. When I played ball, I always wore his #25.
9. Do you have any predictions for the Phillies’ 2010 post-season?
Well, following the 4th straight Division title, we'll see a 3rd straight NL Pennant followed by a World Series rematch vs. NY. This year, we win. There's no stopping that pitching rotation, and the lineup is the best it's ever been, when healthy.
10. I know you used to write some freelance baseball material on the side. Can PhoulBallz count on you to be a guest blogger in the future?
I really enjoyed writing those articles – and it was a blessing that Phillybaseballnews.com took a chance with me. It would be an honor to make the pages of PhoulBallz.com – hope I can come up with something the phans want to read about. PhoulBallz is a great blog, and you’re the man!!
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