Mark was born on the Channel Island of Guernsey in 1962.
He spent his early years appearing in school plays, acting and singing. He picked up the guitar at ten years old – his mother sent him to guitar lessons on a Saturday morning – but he failed miserably and was put into a small group who basically were hopeless cases.
His teenage years found him acting again in amateur dramatics and dreaming of being in a proper pop group. Along with two friends, Shane de Carteret and Mark Guppy, he formed his first punk band, Rigor Mortis. This comprised Shane (a good guitarist) playing through a practice amp and Mark Guppy using various bits of kitchenware and biscuit tins as a drum kit while Mark gamely had a go at singing. Early punk songs written by Mark – such as King Rat – were attempted along with a bash at Dr feelgood’s Milk and alchohol.
Having bought records by the Jam and the Who at the age of 14, after leaving school, Mark embraced the burgeoning mod scene and began getting into bands like the Chords and the Purple Hearts. Although he still liked punk stuff, he found himself influenced by 60s bands like the Small Faces and the Kinks. At this point he decided to learn bass guitar and form a mod band. Recruiting gifted drummer Johnny Inder together with the long-suffering Mark Guppy (also learning guitar) into the band, they called themselves Single File. Playing lots of local gigs to friendly response, the band soldiered on but Mark wanted to make a record.
People in Guernsey just didn’t make records but he was determined. The others were not so sure and left Mark to go it alone. Somehow he managed to convince his mate Colin Leach to help out and the mini demo album, Mark One, was recorded.
Mark One became pretty successful. With great help from Derek Shepherd and Jackie Mechem (of In the Crowd fanzine fame) and Tracey and Kim Churchill, it managed to get major breakfast show airplay from Mike Reid on Radio 1.
Studio owner and producer of Mark One*, Steve Free, told Mark that he really should think about getting a band together. So, taking his advice and with drummer Steve Collenette in place, he did and the Risk was born. (but the Risk is another story and if you visit www.myspace.com/theriskpowerpop and any other related sites, you can read the story of records, tours to europe and america, dodgy managers, fights, exploding drummers and all the rest.
After the Risk broke up in 1989, the Sacred Hearts were formed – again with Colin Leach – in Bristol. A proto-powerpop/psychy/ sound, the band toured Germany and played venues both large and small to much acclaim. Again, this is another story, but they left behind two quite tasty albums and 3 singles. Recorded with Stuart Jungerius in Guernsey and Andy Povall in Leicester. After the last gasp of the Hearts, Mark got back together again with Mark Guppy and, along with old Risk/Hearts roadie Tim Morris on bass and Brett Stewart on drums, tore up local venues with the savage powerpop of the Redbones. They left behind one LP, Candie Gardens and an American-released single.
After a brief spell with non-recording band Casino, the Risk reformed with future Thee Jenerators member Stuart ‘Ozzy’ Austin on drums. The reformed outfit went on to record a long player, Songs from the Big Tomato, after which Colin left to leave Mark and Ozzy to think about doing something else and Mark wrote an album’s worth of songs and brought in Steve Lynch to play bass. Again, Mark tried to play guitar like he did when he was a nipper, but after one amazingly sonic gig he decided to get back out front again (where he belonged) and Matt Stephens joined on guitar.
For further info, visit www.myspace.com/theejeneratorsmusic for this story.
Bringing us right up to date to 2007, Matt left and the band, now called Thee Jenerators, has Steve Lynch on guitar, Nick Dodd on bass, good old Ozzy on drums, Mark singing and playing harmonica badly (which makes a change from guitar) and Garrick Jones – an old risk collaborator – and Henry Castledine, both on sax. Recording a new album is set for March.
The story however would not be complete without mention of Twist Records which Mark, along with his old mate Frank Osiewacz in Germany, has run since 1991, putting out a slew of garage punk, mod and psyche, freakbeat style of gear and getting to work with Simon Stebbing from the Purple Hearts and Buddy Ascott from The Chords – his long time musical heroes. The Risk also play from time to time and there are no plans to put that on hold they also went back to America in 2003 for a gig in Los Angeles
Mark Le Gallez, Feb 2007
For the latest news contact contact mark direct at email@example.com