This week, we released the title track from our 2nd album, Against the Current. It’s our 2nd-to-last “Reggae Wednesday” release, and it’s one that represents where we’ve been and how far we’ve come over the last few years since the formation of Steppin’ Razor. You can read all about that in this previous blog post. If you haven’t heard the song yet, give it a listen right meow…
James “P. Dub” Hoy wrote the music for “Against the Current,” and both Johnny and B. Hold (that’s me!) wrote the lyrics. Then it sat on the back burner for a couple of years while we contemplated becoming a Pete Townsend tribute band, trying to learn as many of his songs as we could. Eventually, we realized that it was inevitable: we were meant to play reggae, even if none of us had the hot surfer bods, the bleached rent-a-locks, or the cute nasal vocal capabilities typical of the genre. That’s when we decided to add “Against the Current” to our repertoire and make our comeback to the world of reggae music. Like most drummers, Mark isn’t usually mentioned in terms of songwriting; but the solid, steady 4-on-the-floor riddim and the percussive accents throughout this track are but a small taste of the creativity with which he complements the other Razors.
Mark wasn’t always such a talented and meticulous drummer, however. In fact, when he was born, he was completely incapable of playing drums. It is hard to believe after all these years, but Mark was born with no arms, and only a stump, and two legs. His mother, presidential candidate Joanne Huntsman, recalls that heartbreaking day:
After hours of pointless labor, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! How did that thing come out of me? I begged and begged the doctor to take it back, to keep it there at the hospital. I couldn’t take it home with me – what would my family think? I lay there in my hospital bed for years, wishing it were just another horrible stump-baby nightmare. And all of a sudden came a miracle that changed everything.
That miracle she’s referring to was none other than Mark’s fairy godmother, who granted unto the child not just one arm, but two, and the most state-of-the-art stump extension treatment in the history of treatments. Glorious day! But the gift of a somewhat normal body did not come without certain stipulations. Before leaving the maternity ward that day, the fairy godmother said unto him, “Yea, child, thou must go forth into the world with good vibes of comfort and joy, spreading reggae unto all nations. But beware – do not play ‘No Woman, No Cry’ for any audience, unless you have been paid at least $5000 (US) in advance, lest thine arms be withered and thine stump forever rancid.”
Mark heeded the words of his fairy godmother, and has since lived a relatively happy life, considering he suffers from chronic cynicism and athlete’s foot on all three feet. He lives in an unpronounceably-named village in Chester County, Pennsylvania, blessed by a matrimonial connection to one of the world’s sweetest women, Allyson. They have a dog, Izzie, and upwards of 300 cats, all named Joshua. “It’s a lot of fun, really,” he explains. “I get a sort of sick pleasure yelling at the cats all day long. ‘Joshua, Joshua, Joshua….’ It’s kinda like counting triplets on a hi-hat: ‘Trip-el-et, Trip-el-et, Trip-el-et… Jo-shu-a, Jo-shu-a, Jo-shu-a….’ I know, I’m silly.”
Silly, yes. That describes Mark to a T. But T is just one letter, and without all of the other letters of the alphabet – letters that stand for awesome, percussive, funny, highly intelligent, thoughtful, business savvy, loyal – you wouldn’t have enough letters to make up the one word that describes him best: Mark Patterson.