Mark Nelson – Interview

Mark Nelson – Interview

Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (

PD: What type of artist are you?

MN: Predominantly I am a pop artist. I love writing pop songs. I prefer to sing soulful, meaningful songs and strive to make them catchy and memorable. However, I do wear many musical hats and like to go where the ideas take me so I’m not adverse to putting out rock, blues and soul/gospel/funk songs out there.


PD: Tell us the brief history of yourself.

MN: Having been born with one arm I perversely chose the guitar as my weapon in life. First, however came the songs. From an early age I listened to, and absorbed, music so much so that I began hearing my own songs in my head way before I could play an instrument.

It wasn’t until my teens that I found a way of playing the guitar with one arm using my thumb to strum and fretting with any other willing digit. I formed a rock band in my early 20s, the Poppyheads and, at last, was writing and performing pop songs. The band lineup changed over a period of 20 years sometimes it was very hard rock, almost grunge, other times it was pure pop. We almost found fame as Slinki Malinki , when the legendary producer Gus Dudgeon managed and produced the band until his sad, untimely death. Eventually, after two decades of rocking out, I decided to jump off the band wagon (so to speak) and went solo and acoustic – playing ballads and blues songs. I’ve been doing this ever since both solo and with my own acoustic blues band.

My blues band are: Paul Stone percussion, Kevin Rowe on bass and Glen Vaal on blues harp. I write all of the songs, sing and play guitar.

I am a songwriter at heart and my inspiration is varied. Last year, I made a full on pseudo late 60’s style Psychedelic pop album, this year I feel a ‘70s funk/punk album coming on. I simply love this gift of being able to create music!


PD: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?

MN: The Beatles, The Who late 60’s pop and rock, 60’s psychedelia, ballad artists like Nick Drake, Ralph McTell & Jon Allen amongst many others. Comedy is also an important part of who I am so I also greatly admire Peter Sellers (the impersonation side of him), Dave Allen and Ricky Gervais whom I think is a modern genius of comedy!


PD: What are your dreams and goals?

MN: To be well known as a successful songwriter/artist and have my songs heard by many; to make the World smile back….oh and to live a long and full life of course!


PD: Who writes your songs, what are they about?

MN: I write the songs. They tend to be about the pain and beauty of being in love and falling out of love. If I’m wearing my blues hat they will be bitter songs about betrayal, if it’s a ballad it will likely focus on longing and pining like in this latest single release – “Lost Love in a Day”. I also like to inject humour if I can into some songs to reflect my nature and to connect with an audience, my song “Bottom fell out” is a good example of that.


PD: How do you promote your band and shows?

MN: In normal circumstances I tend to rely on social media to promote the band and upcoming shows – Facebook predominantly! As well as promoting on my website –


PD: What do you think about downloading music online?

MN: ‘Tis the way of doing things now and there are obvious advantages to both consumers and unsigned artists. Obviously I’m a bit old-school and, in some ways, long for the days of vinyl.

The excitement and anticipation I used to feel on saving up my money and travelling miles to purchase a new LP, taking it home on the bus, studying the artwork, song titles and liner notes and imagining how the songs sounded. Then, once at home, finally taking the ominous black, shiny disc out of the sleeve and carefully, almost ceremoniously, laying it on the record player, sticking the headphones on and getting completely lost in the music.

Nowadays it’s all a bit too instant, you can pick which tracks you want and make your own playlists, and discover new music far more easily which is great for consumers, but I think people miss out now on the whole ‘albums as a work of art’ concept where the sequencing of the songs was just as important as the artwork.; and led the listener through the album the way the artist intended.

Picking a download is a bit like breaking into an art gallery through a window (avoiding having to pay the fee and having to walk through room to room) taking snapshots of the sacred paintings on your phone then back out the window to share the photos with your friends!


PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why? 

MN: There are quite a few songs I wish I’d written but as I performed it recently I would say a song like ‘Let it Be ’ – I’m a huge admirer of Paul McCartney and this song is legendary, timeless, poignant, beautifully structured and has the classy elements of a perfect, gentle pop song – sweet, almost mournful, melody in the verse, a catchy hymn-like chorus and a fab, uplifting guitar solo. It feels very religious like a hymn (although the Mother Mary bit is literally about Paul’s mother Mary) and although I am not particularly religious myself, I do connect with the supplicating worship and humble need for solution and redemption which the song dictates.


PD: What are some of your pet peeves?

MN: I find as I get older I bawk at more and more in the World, it’s an age thang….almost certainly hormonal! I do dislike the fact that the ‘pop charts’ these days is as alien to me now as Nirvana was to my grandparents! It pains me to hear the regurgitating repetition of so called pop music’ these days. There is some great music out there and I meet many young and upcoming musicians who are writing amazing acoustic songs, but it seems we are only getting to hear a thin, pale veneer of what’s really going on. I long for the day when real talent gets the attention it deserves.


PD: What is your proudest moment in music?

MN: I have had many moments in my musical journey that I can be proud of. Working with Gus Dudgeon was one of them. I would probably have to say though that playing the main stage at Weyfest Music Festival with my Blues trio, alongside Paul Stone and Phil Thorpe was my proudest moment. Weyfest is a relatively large festival near Farnham in Surrey and draws quite a crowd. We had played on the Acoustic stage for a few years always going down well, so being elevated to the Main Stage was quite a thing. It was sunny, I was relaxed, amongst friends and playing and singing my songs to a thousand people or so – it really was quite a thing. Obviously, I’m hoping I can do something similar every week in the future but then, in that moment, yes, I was proud!


PD: So what are you working on at the moment?

MN: I regularly write songs – ballads and pop for myself and blues songs for my blues band and we are working on a second self-produced blues album of original material as I write. Just recently, I have had numerous funky riffs and crunchy guitar rhythms exploding in my head and so I’m thinking of putting together all of these ideas into a pseudo 70s funk and punk project, it may take a while and it’s likely just for my own amusement but I have to go where the songs take me.


PD: What music have you available online and where can we buy it from? 

MN: My brand new single “Lost Love in a Day” is just being released with Animal Farm Music on Spotify.

I have previously also released several self-produced albums (consisting of ballads, pop, blues and Psychedelic) on digital download platforms such as iTunes, Amazon, Last FM and Spotify and you can also hear tracks on my website:

Mark Nelson links:
Band/Artist location – Aldershot England
Website – Facebook – You Tube – Soundcloud – Reverbnation –
Twitter – Instagram – Apple – Spotify – Amazon – Deezer – Google Play
Check our page for Mark Nelson