About Me

How Mark Street became Mark Percy
Mark Percy’s journey from his birth name to his stage name and back again is a story of resilience and self-discovery. In his youth, he endured taunts and mockery due to his surname, Percy, prompting him to adopt the stage name “Mark Street” in the mid-70s. This transformation was influenced by his first wife Juliette Jarzabkowska and fellow musician Mark Von Strobel of “The Name”, who saw him as resourceful and street-savvy, reflecting his journey from homelessness to stability.

Years later, a chance reconnection with Michael Syddons Corby of “The Babys” made Mark reassess his identity. Michael, impressed by Mark’s Northumberland Percy family connection, encouraged him to embrace his true name, Mark Percy. However, this name change may have caused a disconnect with music industry connections who knew him as Mark Street. Thus, Mark Percy aims to reconnect with friends from his Mark Street days who might be searching for him under his new identity, bridging the gap between his past and present.

Bass Player turned Multi-Instrumentalist
Mark Percy started playing bass at age 10 and has performed professionally since his teens. He is a multi-talented musician, self-taught out of necessity due to limited resources during his early years.

Mark’s journey as a musician began with a profound love for bass playing and singing. He discovered the electric bass through musicians like David Scarisbrick and Alan Vallance, who introduced him to its connection to the double bass. This revelation led him to recognize the propulsive quality of bass lines harmonising with vocal melodies, as heard in tracks by Larry Graham and Billy Cox. Mark was captivated by the power of Motown, Stacks, and soul music, where the bass and vocals intertwined.

As some people hear drums, keyboards, saxophones, or guitars first in music, Mark’s primary focus was on the bass and singing. This early fascination led him into the world of bass player/singers.Mark’s love for the bass and his commitment to sharing its musical possibilities are a testament to the profound role that bass players play in shaping the heart and soul of a band.

In the right hands, the bass can be a groundbreaking tool, exemplified by musicians like Jack Bruce, Glen Hughes, Paul McCartney, Sting, Sheryl Crow, Mark King, Larry Graham, Alan Roberts, and Michael Anthony. He encourages bassists to explore the full range of their instrument, balancing melody, harmony, and groove in their playing.

Guitar and piano came later in his journey, initially as tools to understand the polyphony of songwriting. His thorough guitar studies were partly a response to adverse experiences with guitarists in his early career who perpetuated the myth that bassists were limited to playing single notes. Mark realised that this was far from the truth, thanks to his discovery of chords, triads, arpeggios, and scales of chords on the double bass andinspiring him to expand his songwriting abilities and technical skills on the polyphonic guitar.

Mark emphasizes the importance of studying other instruments, particularly the piano and guitar, to better understand the musical possibilities of the bass. This approach, endorsed by musicians like Marcus Miller, allows bass players to create harmonically compatible and complementary bass lines while mastering rhythm techniques.

Mark excels with five-string electric basses through Ampeg amplification systems, emphasizing 4×15 cabinets with JBL speakers for larger setups. He also embraces the innovation of Ampeg vintage 8×10 cabinets with Hartke aluminium speakers.

He extends his expertise to the double bass, utilising Fishman transducers and EMG pickups for a rich sound. Mark’s profound understanding of the guitar enhances his ability to complement guitarists in various musical contexts, utilizing techniques like Larry Graham’s thumbing and exploring jazz double bass.

Mark’s diverse repertoire spans genres from bluesfunk to jazz, Cajun to heavy metal, and reggae to roots music. He is an eclectic musician with a broad musical horizon, open to working in any genre.

Mark Percy and the Smokin’ Band
Smokin’ is a three-piece band, occasionally joined by a guest Hammond organ player, in the vein of ZZ Top, Hendrix, and the blues rock tradition, infused with soul, gospel, and funk.

Unlike typical cover bands, Smokin’ boasts an extensive repertoire of original compositions alongside classic covers in the styles of artists such as Arc Angels, Storyville, Joe Bonamassa, Johnny Winter, Hendrix, Albert King, Doyle Bramhall the Second, and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

A night with Smokin’ is a lively blend of rock, soul, funk, old-school R ‘n’ B boogie, and the vibrant Texas R&B funk rock tradition. Get ready for a Texas-sized musical journey that’ll have you rocking and grooving all night.

So, put on your Stetson, hop in your Cadillac El Dorado, and get ready to experience the hottest Texas R&B this side of Austin. Smokin’ delivera great night out and guarantee an unforgettable performance. These seasoned pros will transport you to hazy New Orleans taverns and evoke memories of bitter winter nights as they light up the stage. With their talent, confidence, and undeniable charisma, they’re ready to captivate you like a coiled rattlesnake.

Get ready to groove with Smokin’.