Gary Marker RIP

GaryMarkerlIt is with great sadness that I heard of Gary’s passing yesterday, 8 December. His family announced he had died following a massive stroke.

Gary ‘Magic’ Marker was a good friend of Don van Vliet’s in the early 1960s around Los Angeles. He helped produce the Safe As Milk album and for a time played bass with the Magic Band but wasn’t interested in it as a permanent gig.

I befriended him online about 20 years ago and he was always happy to talk about his Beefheart experiences and his time in the music world generally. He had a great fund of stories, was a great raconteur with a fine sense of humour.

I will miss him.

My thoughts go out to his family.




  1. That really is very sad news; Gary has been missed very much since he stopped posting to the discussion list..

    For several years he could always be counted on to give us an unexpected angle, entertaining insight, controversial opinion, enlightening interpretation of all things Beefheart and would give me a hammering if ever the list or website weren’t working properly which kept me on my toes. He was a real part of many of our lives, even if it was channelled through a keyboard.

    His Rising Sons recordings with Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder really helped me through the difficult time clearing up after my father’s death. I will never forget how the music turned a horrible chore into something entirely different and bearable as I listened to it over and over and over.

    Thanks for passing the news along to us Steve, I’m so very sorry we won’t be hearing from Gary again.

  2. Bye Gary,

    Thank you for that beautiful woman in the miror.


  3. one of the best linueps of the magic band was gary marker bass,john french drums,jeff cotton guitar, bill harkleroad guitar. sadly they only recorded 2 songs in aug/sept 68. they are moonlight on vermount and veterans day poppy. they were issued on trout mask replica. if only this lineup would of recorded more then it would of made a killer 3rd lp by captain beefheart and the magic band.

    1. Author

      Gary told me that a third track, a version of Kandy Korn, was also recorded. But where it is now no one knows! Would love to hear that!

  4. Gary was a good friend. He was always interesting, had a great sense of humor and was as cool as a human can get. Sandy Fries

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