Classic Punk Rock Drummer Passes Away

MarkMcKelvey3

Mmaxx L-R Mike Duffy, Brad Warner, Mark McKelvey

Last week, the world was saddened to learn of the death of Tommy Ramone, the Ramones’ original drummer and last surviving founding member of the group.

But few knew that just over a week before Tommy Ramone died, the world lost another drummer from an early punk rock band. On July 3, 2014 Mark McKelvey, the original drummer for the band Mmaxx passed away. He was just 47 years old.

You’ve probably never heard of Mark McKelvey or Mmaxx. But that’s OK. The band only ever played four shows. No recordings survive except for one super 8mm film posted on YouTube of the band performing a fairly dodgy cover version of the X-Ray Spex hit Oh Bondage Up Yours! and one really poor cassette of a show they did at a high school drama club party.

But Mark was an important punk rock drummer to me because he was the drummer in my first punk rock band (Mmaxx, in case you didn’t guess). We were together only about a year and, as I said, played just four shows. I didn’t know Mark very well even then. Mike Duffy, the bass player and I — who had yet to see the light and take up the bass myself so I was the guitarist — were old men of 17 when Mark was just a mere lad of 14. So we didn’t socialize much outside of rehearsals and our few gigs.

WHSTo say punk rock was unpopular at Wadsworth High School in Wadsworth, Ohio circa 1980-81 would be a massive understatement. I would be shocked if there were even 15 people at the school who were actually into punk or even new wave. It was all REO Speedwagon, Styx and Journey for the rest of the school. Mark was never as committed to the scene as Mike and I. But he was willing to give it a try and that was brave in those days when a guy could get beaten up just for being seen with the likes of us.

The band broke up before I was even a senior in high school and I had not heard anything from or even about Mark since then. I learned of his passing because I subscribe to an email list for news of Wadsworth High graduates. I’ve been meaning to unsubscribe for ages because all it seems to be is death notices for people from the WHS class of 1933 or thereabouts and the occasional  news that the football team has won a state championship or something. So I was truly stunned to see Mark’s obituary this afternoon.

It made me a lot sadder than I’d have thought it would to see that he was gone. Like I said, I hardly knew him. I just remember him as a funny energetic kid. His dad had installed a lighted disco floor in the family basement where we practiced. We sometimes turned it on while we played and it flashed colors under our feet. He had a dog that Mike and I always called Fluffy, though I don’t think that was its actual name. We played Ted Nugent’s Cat Scratch Fever in an arrangement that attempted to mimic DEVO’s cover of the Rolling Stones’ Satisfaction but just ended up sounding bad. I think we chose that song because Mark wanted us to play something he’d heard before.

Rest in Rock’n’roll bliss, Mark McKelvey!

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As always your donations are greatly appreciated. You can be a micro-donor now too. It really helps. I’m very excited about the new book I’m writing. But it’s taking up all of my time leaving me little time to devote to anything else.

By the way, this will be the book about Shobogenzo to end all books about Shobogenzo. No one will ever legitimately need another book on Shobogenzo after this comes out. It’s seriously going to destroy absolutely everything out there.

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My on-line retreat at Tricycle.com is still on-going. Check it out!

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Here’s my upcoming touring schedule:

Aug. 2 9:30 AM – 3:00 PM Half Day Zazen at Dogen Sangha Los Angeles in the Veteran’s Memorial Building 4117 Overland Blvd. Culver City, CA 90230

Aug. 16 9:30 AM – Noon at Dogen Sangha Los Angeles in the Veteran’s Memorial Building 4117 Overland Blvd. Culver City, CA 90230

Sept. 5-7 Houston Zen Center

Sept. 9 Austin Zen Center

Oct. 1 Turku Panimoravintola Koulu, Finland- Movie screening

Oct. 2 Helsinki, Finland – Lecture Event

Oct. 3-5 Helsinki, Finland Zen retreat at Helsinki Zen Center

Oct. 6 Movie Screening in Espoo, Finland

Oct. 8 Lecture in Munich, Germany

Oct. 10-11 Retreat in Munich, Germany

Oct. 12-17 Retreat at Benediktushof near Würzburg, Germany

Oct 18-19 Retreat in Bonn, Germany

Oct 20 Hamburg, Germany

Oct 24: Lecture in Groningen, Netherlands

Oct 25: Day-long zazen in Groningen, Netherlands

Oct 26: Movie screening in Eindhoven, Netherlands at Natlab

Oct 27: Evening zazen in Eindhoven, Netherlands

Oct 28: Evening zazen in Nijmegen, Netherlands

Oct 29: Lecture in Amsterdam, Netherlands  at “De Roos” bookstore from 19.00-21.00  (P Cornelisz Hooftstr 183)

Oct 30: Lecture in Utrecht, Netherlands at “De wijze kater” bookstore from 19.00-21.00 ( Mariaplaats 1,  Utrecht)

Nov 1-2: Retreat in Utrecht, Netherlands

Nov. 2: Movie screening in Utrecht, Netherlands at ACU

Nov 6-8: Retreat in Hebden Bridge, UK

Nov 9: Noon – 5pm  Manchester, UK

37 Responses

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  1. Gnodab
    Gnodab July 17, 2014 at 7:57 pm | |

    Brad,

    What exactly is an “on-line retreat?” You need to be subscribed to Trycicle to see all of what’s offered, and as far as I can see, it’s just random clips of you giving Dharma talks. Which while useful, it doesn’t fit into any definition of retreat I’ve ever heard of. Where’s the 3am wakeup bell?

  2. Senjo
    Senjo July 18, 2014 at 2:05 am | |

    Hi Brad

    Once its finished and done and dusted, is there any possibility of posting the videos / transcripts for the on-line retreat here? I really enjoyed the first one and downloaded the transcript as a reminder but really don’t want to have to subscribe to Tricycle.

    Can you tell us some more about the new book? Any timescale on when its likely to be published?

  3. Alan Sailer
    Alan Sailer July 18, 2014 at 6:34 am | |

    Sorry to read the news about your drummers death. It is strange how certain deaths affect us much more than other apparently similar events.

    It’s not a comparable event, but many, many years ago the death of a young boy in a climbing accident on a high voltage tower has always haunted me. I didn’t even know the kid but I still think about his accident every few months.

  4. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote July 18, 2014 at 12:55 pm | |

    47 is very young, I would say. Sorry to hear.

    Because I have more time on my hands than I once did (I suppose), I now have many flashback memories to oddnesses of my childhood and youth. They’re very clear, and make it seem like no time at all has passed in my entire life.

    and that’s the way it goes. Tune in again next lifetime for another episode of, “you’re all sanpaku”. Did you see that comment on a very old Hardcore thread (“The End of Suffering is Possible for You”) about Swami Premodaya– “(he) is literally the biggest asshole/most unethical person I’ve ever known in my 30+ years on this Earth”?

    oh, Yoko, what am I s’posed to do?

    “Markie says
    Its motion in the sacrum
    Pitch, roll and yaw

    Get there in the daylight
    Night time is a flaw

    Motion in the sacrum
    Pitch, roll and yaw”

    Thanks, Fred, you got me right where “the place and things” meets the road!

  5. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote July 18, 2014 at 1:03 pm | |

    Also minkfoot:

    “…When I forget to want
    To forget to want”

    I seem to forget it’s ok, when I just don’t know (ancient and twisted karma, don’t breathe down my neck…).

    Friend Steve on the last thread spoke out, comment 79:

    “To my earlier point on Brad’s diss of koan introspection, I saw this posted today which I think sums up my point better than I did:”

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wildfoxzen/

  6. Fred
    Fred July 18, 2014 at 3:16 pm | |

    Thanks for that.

    “earnest vivid sitting”

  7. Mumbles
    Mumbles July 18, 2014 at 6:01 pm | |

    Sorry about your first drummer’s unexpected (to you, anyway) death, Brad. Must’ve been a shock. He was very young, in my opinion. Too young.

    A couple years ago I found out our first drummer was struggling with cancer. He’s fine today, &it was an opportunity for me to reconnect with him. I can’t imagine what I would’ve felt if he’d died, and I just heard about it.

    I’ve been rereading Kafka’s novels, novellas, and short stories, what an amazing artist. Genius, really. He died from tuberculosis at only 40 years of age.

    Another author, my favorite, in fact, was Henry Miller. He died at 88.

    Life is only …this long.

  8. The Grand Canyon
    The Grand Canyon July 19, 2014 at 4:25 am | |

    Does drumming cause cancer?

    Mark McKelvey, died of cancer, age 47.
    Tamas Erdelyi (The Ramones), died of bile duct cancer, age 62.
    Alan Myers (DEVO), died of brain cancer, age 58.
    Allen Shellenberger (Lit), died of brain cancer, age 39.
    Randy Castillo (Ozzy Osbourne, Motley Crue), died of cancer, age 51.
    Jon Brookes (The Charlatans), died of brain cancer, age 44.
    Mike Hossack (The Doobie Brothers), died of cancer, age 65.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bOjc70f4p8

  9. Harlan
    Harlan July 19, 2014 at 10:21 am | |

    What do you call a drummer that breaks up with his girlfriend?

    Homeless.

    ba-dum-TSSSH

    RIP dead drummers.. if that’s fitting.

  10. Fred
    Fred July 19, 2014 at 2:46 pm | |

    “earnest vivid sitting”

    “Vigorously abiding in each moment is the time-being. Do not mistakenly confuse it as non-being. Do not forcefully assert it as being.” Dogen

  11. Senjo
    Senjo July 19, 2014 at 3:06 pm | |

    Ok Brad, point taken about the economics of these things and decided that, even though I am really not a tricycle fan at all, I am going to subscribe to get the rest of your talks.

    Btw, you wondered in the first video about where the idea of ‘emptying your mind’ came from. In the Tibetan tradition they say that it came from hashang Mahayana (sometimes hoshamg) and that kamalashila was sent from India to prove him wrong on this point, beating him in debate.

  12. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote July 19, 2014 at 4:53 pm | |

    “Vigorously abiding in each moment is the time-being. Do not mistakenly confuse it as non-being. Do not forcefully assert it as being.” Dogen

    +1

    “From the perspective of the Sōtō organization, the answer is probably largely institutional: the organization is now sponsoring an authorized edition of the Shōbōgenzō in Japanese. It would also like to have an authorized edition in English. Since Dōgen is the founder of Sōtō, and his Shōbōgenzō is the most important scripture of the school, this felt need for an official version is easy to understand. But so what? What does this mean for us as readers of the Shōbōgenzō? After all, it’s not as if we’re all going to stop reading the other translations and adopt the church version as our bible. Just because it’s been authorized in Tokyo doesn’t mean it’s better than what we’ve got already.

    Frankly, speaking as one of the translators, I don’t think our translations will be better than the best of what we’ve got already. Of course, it’s not so easy to say what makes a “better” translation. OK, we want to it to be accurate. But what does that mean? True to the letter of the original? True to the meaning? True to the spirit? True to Dōgen’s intention in writing it? True to the varied Sōtō traditions of interpretation? This is something we could talk about later. But for now, if by “better” we mean the translation that we put by our bedside or stuff in our back pack when we go camping, I don’t think I’d choose ours. If ours are going to be better in any way, they’ll be better in some other way than this, good for something else besides bedtime reading.”

    Ok, so now we see why Bielefeldt mentioned getting permission from the Sotoshu to put the translations of the Stanford project up online. If you’d like to read more, Brad, that’s from here:

    http://scbs.stanford.edu/sztp3/news/archive/translating_dogen.html

  13. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote July 19, 2014 at 5:06 pm | |

    oh dear; Carl on his best translation of Dogen’s “Ocean Seal Samādhi”:

    “What this version does best is give us some insight into the literary character of the passage. What jumps off the page here are the quotation marks. It turns out that virtually every sentence of the original is composed of material picked up from other sources.”

    A line of a thousand feet goes straight down
    The slightest motion of a single wave, and ten thousand waves follow
    The evening is still, the water cold; the fish aren’t feeding
    I come home with a fully empty boat, loaded with moonlight.

    (Tang-dynasty master Chuanzi (“the boatman”) Decheng (dates unknown))

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNj2BXW852g

  14. Fred
    Fred July 19, 2014 at 5:42 pm | |

    ‘The Buddha said, “It is just the dharmas that combine to form this body. When it arises, it is simply the dharmas arising; when it ceases, it is simply the dharmas ceasing. When these dharmas arise, [the bodhisattva] does not state, ‘I arise’; when these dharmas cease, he does not state, ‘I cease’.” “In prior thought moments and subsequent thought moments, the moments do not relate to each other; in prior dharmas and subsequent dharmas, the dharmas do not oppose each other. This is called the the ocean seal samadhi.”‘

  15. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote July 19, 2014 at 7:06 pm | |

    I’d have to say Carl’s a hero:

    三昧は現成なり、道得なり、背手摸枕子の夜間なり。夜間のかくのごとく背手摸枕子なる、摸枕子は億億萬劫のみにあらすず、我於海中、唯常宣説妙法華經なり。不言我起なるがゆゑに、我於海中なり、前面も一波纔動萬波隨なる常宣説なり、後面も萬波纔動一波隨の妙法華經なり。たとひ千尺萬尺の糸論を卷舒せしむとも、うらむらくはこれ直下垂なることを。いはゆる前面後面は、我於海面なり、前頭後頭といはんがごとし、前頭後頭といふは、頭上安頭なり。

    Samādhi is the actual present; it is a saying. It is “the night” when “the hand gropes for the pillow behind.”(1) The groping for a pillow like this of “the hand groping for the pillow behind” in the night is not merely “hundreds of millions of tens of thousands of kalpas”; it is “in the ocean, I always preached only the Lotus Sūtra of the Wondrous Dharma.”(2) Because “they don’t state, ‘I arise,’” “I am in the ocean.”(3) The former face is the “I always preached” of “the slightest motion of a single wave, and ten thousand waves follow”; the latter face is the Lotus Sūtra of the Wondrous Dharma of “the slightest motion of ten thousand waves, and a single wave follows.”(4) Whether we wind up or let out “a line of a thousand feet” or ten thousand feet, what we regret is that it “goes straight down.” The former face and latter face here are “I am on the face of the ocean.” They are like saying “the former head” and “the latter head.” The former head and the latter head are “putting a head on top on your head.”(5)
    _______________
    1. Allusion to a dialogue between Yunyan Tansheng (780?-841) and fellow disciple Daowu Yuanzhi (769-835) regarding the Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara, who in one form is represented as having a thousand arms with an eye in the palm of each hand. “Yunyan asked Daowu, ‘How does the bodhisattva of great compassion use so many hands and eyes?’ Wu said, ‘Like a person searching behind him for his pillow in the night.’”
    2. Allusion to two passages from the Lotus Sutra: (a) From the Sadāparibhūta chapter, in which the Buddha is emphasizing the rare opportunity to encounter the teaching of the sūtra: “After hundreds of millions of tens of thousands of kalpas, after an inconceivable period, they [the bodhisattvas] can hear this Lotus Sūtra. After hundreds of millions of tens of thousands of kalpas, after an inconceivable period, the buddhas, the bhagavats, preach this sūtra.” (b) From the Devadatta chapter, in which the Bodhisattva Mañjuśrī is explaining how he taught the sūtra in the realm of the nāgas: “In the ocean, I always preached only the Lotus Sūtra of the Wondrous Dharma.”
    3. Allusion to a passage in the Vimalakīrti-sūtra, in which Vimalakīrti explains how the sick bodhisattva should view his body: “It is just the dharmas that combine to form this body. When it arises, it is simply the dharmas arising; when it ceases, it is simply the dharmas ceasing. When these dharmas arise, [the bodhisattva] does not state, ‘I arise’; when these dharmas cease, he does not state, ‘I cease.’”
    4. Dōgen is here borrowing lines from a poem by the Tang-dynasty master Chuanzi (“the boatman”) Decheng (dates unknown): “A line of a thousand feet goes straight down / The slightest motion of a single wave, and ten thousand waves follow / The evening is still, the water cold; the fish aren’t feeding / I come home with a fully empty boat, loaded with moonlight.”
    5. The awkward translations “former face,” “latter face,” and “former head,” “latter head” struggle to preserve the play here on the colloquiual Chinese suffixes mien and tou. Though they would ordinarily function simply as nominalizers, Dōgen uses their primary semantic senses to move from former and latter “faces” to the “face” (i.e., surface) of the ocean, then from former and latter “heads” to the common Zen expression “putting a head on top of your head” (i.e., seeking that which one already has).

    Note 3, the passage Fred quoted. Sheesh.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8W1PnI7QGS8

  16. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote July 20, 2014 at 11:42 am | |

    The song I had in mind when I ran across the Akron anthem:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phx7dS_qi2o

    notice the foaming breakers in the windy void at 2:10.

    1. Fred
      Fred July 20, 2014 at 11:58 am | |

      Coming home with a boat full of moonlight.

  17. Mumbles
    Mumbles July 20, 2014 at 6:44 pm | |

    Master Pao-chih said, “The inward view and the outward view are both mistaken.”

    1. The Idiot
      The Idiot July 21, 2014 at 5:07 am | |

      I would definitely enjoy a cross-country road trip with Master Pao-chih.

  18. AnneMH
    AnneMH July 21, 2014 at 6:03 am | |

    I am 47, weird how that affects you. I am looking forward to the book. I have thought about Tricycle for awhile, my finances and yours have a lot of similarities. However we used to pay for every magazine we got and now we can get so much for free that we expect it. If they pay you and other writers/teachers then it is worth it.

    I just had a family reunion, I am the oldest cousin and apparently was responsible for my influence on my younger cousins. It was strange talking to my one cousin who remembers the summer trip we took to visit them when walk mans were first out and I had a Clash tape. That was his musical jumping off point that affected a lot of the course of how he lived. I had totally forgotten a lot of that,

  19. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote July 21, 2014 at 2:20 pm | |

    mb, how’s the coffee coming, ha ha! I had occasion to write about “Mind” over on Tao Bums today, and came across this post of mine that I thought might shed light.

    I should also mention that I have posted the gist of our conversation on the last comment thread to my blog; I hope you are ok with having our mutual gropings in the dark toward communication up in lights for the public to see. It’s under “zazen notes”.

    1. mb
      mb July 21, 2014 at 4:14 pm | |

      mark – it was my “mind flowing forth” that I was letting percolate into the ether, and there’s no etheric wet spot left at this point.

      And it’s perfectly OK w/me to copy the conversation elsewhere to confuse (or entertain) members of the general public who don’t come here to see it.

      Pitch, yaw, roll, over and out…

  20. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote July 21, 2014 at 9:36 pm | |

    thanks, mb. It percolates in me, still. I get high. I should sober up.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhE5w2R0EfY

  21. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote July 22, 2014 at 9:28 am | |

    Sotoshu Gyoji Kihan, “Observances of the Soto Zen School”:

    http://scbs.stanford.edu/sztp3/translations/gyoji_kihan/GJKH_vol1_contents.pdf

  22. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote July 22, 2014 at 9:39 am | |

    Brad, if you’re interested, here’s a page with links to the completed Shobogenzo translations of the Stanford project; they put them online after they appear in “Dharma Eye”, the journal of the Soto Zen Education Institute:

    http://scbs.stanford.edu/sztp3/about_sztp/publications.html

  23. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote July 22, 2014 at 10:52 am | |

    Carl Bielefeldt’s thoughts on the current and future status of Dogen’s Zen in America, which I am studying as I percolate; from 2008, and so far as far as I’m concerned, exactly right on:

    http://scbs.stanford.edu/sztp3/news/archive/participatory_buddhism.html

  24. TMZ
    TMZ August 4, 2014 at 6:48 am | |

    “this will be the book about Shobogenzo to end all books about Shobogenzo. No one will ever legitimately need another book on Shobogenzo after this comes out. It’s seriously going to destroy absolutely everything out there.”
    This is very bold statement, Brad. There is some very good stuff over there, not necessarily from celebrities…. if you do even half as good than this, it will be probably your bigger success:
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Buddha-Recognizes-Daishin-Morgan/dp/0954913914

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