When Mark was performing in upstate New York in 2009, he was a lone conservative in a sea of ultra-liberal performers. "One night I was literally outed by a guy who ran an open mic," he recalls. "He introduces me as a very talented singer/songwriter, and then tacks onto the end, 'and he's a Republican!'" The crowd gasped and "took a step back," Mark says, and "I could've been the most talented guy in the history of music, that audience was lost. I should've just gone home."
At the same venue months later, a percussionist who frequently displayed Obama campaign material on his bags and gear, got a little drunk and cornered Mark, criticizing him extensively. "At the end of it, he says, 'I like your music, but none of it is upbeat. You gotta write some stuff that's more upbeat so I can drum to it.'" The next day Mark wrote "Free."
"It was an experiment," Mark recalls. "I wanted to see if I could write a protest song from my point of view using the language they always use to describe us - 'hatred,' 'prejudice,' etc." In the end, it rang true.
A few weeks later Mark debuted the song at that same open mic. "You should've seen the guy who yelled at me, when I started playing" Mark says. "He had this wide-eyed, open mouthed, dumbfounded look on his face that said 'hey, I can drum to this!' And he didn't get what it was about because I was using the language of the left. He probably thought it was about Bush."
Mark is convinced that he is at the forefront of a conservative music revolution. "Art is about emotion, and the way things are going right now, conservatives are full of emotion. We are scared, we are angry, we're anxious. The argument against the other side is no longer purely logical." Mark also believes that to communicate with someone, you have to speak their language. "You can rattle off facts and figures to the left all day long and they won't listen. Tell them they're hurting you, and you have a shot at triggering the guilt that made them liberal in the first place."
"Free" is a powerful and fast-paced song about the double-standard imposed by the left. Pulling influences from Rush, U2, and even 90s alternative, "Free" is an acoustic-guitar driven anthem for the new oppressed. While "Free" was originally released in acoustic-only form on "This is All I've Got Right Now," this is the definitive version, with drums, electric guitar, bass, and more creating a powerful wall of sound. "Free" is available in both the original-length version with an establishing, quiet opening verse, and "Mark's Attention Deficit Edit," a radio-length version for your impatient friends.
released October 12, 2010
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