This developed into a full band by 1997 and finally imploded in 1999. His first live performance was with 6 piece jam-band Keith Burton’s All-Stars in 1994 (2 drummers, 2 guitarists, a bassist & a saxophonist). They were together for about a month, had maybe 2 or 3 rehearsals, no songs to speak of but a gig! After the concert in front of about 500 people at a university party at a warehouse in Plaistow, East London they split up. Also in 1994 Mark formed Raw Essentials with C, John Freeborn. They met in a record shop in Ilford, Essex and recorded an album, ‘The Green Rush’. Freeborn later collaboated with Cottrell again on his 2004 album, ‘Loop’ & Mark’s ‘Ex-Scapegoat’. In 1995 Mark was given an Amstrad 4-track (with a tuner/turntable) by his friend Bob Sweeney on which he recorded 10 albums of 4-track recordings in 2 years with a whole array of social misfits.
He released these on his own tape label, Renaissance, in 98-99. Further forays into live performance happened in 1997 the highlight being a gig at The 12 Bar Club in Denmark St, London alongside Hefner and The Hangovers (featuring ex-Raincoat Gina Birch). During 1998 Cottrell joined Smart Fruit (with then-current) Scapegoat drummer John Gleeson. The Scapegoat imploded later that year and after finishing the recordings in 1999 Mark decided to have a rethink. After 3 years of writing & demoing Cottrell returned to live performance in 2003 playing at various venues in London including The Spice of Life & The Arts Cafe. 2004 saw the release of ‘Ex-Scapegoat’, Mark’s first CD of the 21st century. 18 songs and 52 minutes long, the album featured many of Cottrell’s best songs from the previous 10 years.
Launch night was at Filthy MacNasty’s Whiskey Bar in Islington, London. The same year Mark collaborated with The Libertines’ cover star & encore singer The Rabbi on the single, ‘Tom Dooley’. Joined Essex based ‘fuzz-skiffle’ band Trad Arr and performed with Jason Swindle, Hadleigh Ford & C John Freeborn. 2005 saw the artist perform many times at the notorious Duke of Clarence in Islington, twice at The Steeles, Chalk Farm; twice at The Wilmington, Islington; twice at The Boogaloo, Highgate (including a performance of Ian Dury’s ‘Plaistow Patricia’ with Shane Macgowan) & Phil Lynott’s memorial at The Westbury in Dublin alongside Jason Swindle, Thin Lizzy & Wheatus. Cottrell also co-wrote 3 songs with ex-Billy Bragg guitarist/producer Wiggy the same year. Mark started 2006 with ‘The Late Mark Cottrell’ & Trad Arr’s ‘Music Nobody Else Likes’ album before starting on a new project with singer Beth Dismore.
In august the duo made their debut (having never met beforehand) at the Peafish festival in Islington, where Mark performed 4 times (solo, with Betty Woz Ere, Trad Arr & The Rabbi). In October he promoted an all day party in Kensington at the Orange Club for Fuzzynoise records, performing with Trad Arr, The Rabbi, Betty, Lee Harris from The Blockheads & solo. 2007 proved to be Cottrell’s most productive yet, including a nomination for an INDY award. He co-wrote & co-produced 2 albums in the 28 days of february, Neutral Sons eponymous debut and Weeping Sores 'Fake Right Arm' (with Andy Golding from Trad Arr).
Between March and August Mark played may gigs & recorded a staggering amount of material. Betty Woz Ere's debut E.P. & 'Betty's Extravaganza' L.P. The Rabbi's 'Now...' album. 6 songs for Trad Arr’s ‘Elephant Keen’ album. 4 songs with punk poetess Strychnine for The Sighs. In September Mark travelled to Toronto, Canada for the start of 6 months travelling around the world. Over the following few months he wrote over 30 songs and played in Canada, America, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Hong Kong & South Korea. On his return in March 2008 Cottrell began mixing the songs he recorded during the past 6 months and found he had enough material for 2 albums. Whilst working on them he continued to play with many appearances at The Flask in Hampstead, Filthy MacNasty’s & The Hope & Anchor in Islington & The Water Rats, Kings Cross.
In October he recorded several tracks with Neutral Sons at Tapewurm Studio in Cambridge & old friends Smart Fruit at The Enterprise in Denmark Street, London. Having now moved to York, 2009 has seen Mark play to a packed house at Filthy MacNasty’s alongside Trad Arr, The Rabbi, Betty, Jason Swindle, Spizz Energi & the first appearance on stage of Neutral Sons. March has seen the second Neutral Sons CD ‘The Ballad of Ariel Piccolo’ & the first of Mark’s albums written on the road, ‘King Gooski & The Honey Buns’. Already hailed by some as ‘a masterpiece’ & ‘a compelling work of genius’, the album comprises 17 tracks written in the U.S.A. The second ‘road’ album is third of the way through and should appear in mid-2010. May saw Cottrell’s first appearance at Rock ‘n Roll Cabaret at the Dublin Castle in Camden with new band The Chacers, with whom he has written many new songs and promise to be a hot tip for 2010. June was filled with many collaborations with Trad Arr, Foundlings, Betty Woz Ere, Dave Oliver, The Chacers and The Rabbi. It culminated in a party at Filthy MacNasty's in London, organised by Mark, to celebrate The Rabbi's 65th birthday.
The latter stages of 2009 have been busy for Mark as he has recorded 2 new Rabbi tracks, 3 Betty Woz Ere demos and several new Chacers demos. November saw Mark's first performance with a loop pedal which he used on 'Build 'em Up, Knock 'em Down'. He has since started working up a set based around the pedal. 10 live acoustic tracks have been recorded at The Jam Factory studio in York which will become part of a new album in 2010. 2010 has started off in fine fashion (excepting the cracked ribs suffered in late december).
Mark has done 2 gigs in London with The Chacers, Betty Woz Ere, Trad Arr and The Rabbi. Aswell as countless gigs in York with an array of artists including Helen Heath, Eve Cole, Kirby Howarth, Cedellah Hall and Voodoo In Vain. February saw a bulk of the next Neutral Sons album recorded and a whole new album by The Scapegoat written and recorded for RPM Challenge. Next up in March will be the completion of the Neutral Sons album, several live performances and more sessions for Betty and The Chacers forthcoming releases. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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