Australian Football played a major part in Mark’s teenage years (and still does) and he dreamed of a football career when he joined St.Kilda City, a feeder club of the then VFL club St.Kilda. Mark’s first game (the home ground was called Peanut Farm) came to an abrupt halt within 5 minutes at the end of a very large opponents’ elbow, resulting in yet another broken nose and two black eyes. It was self-preservation that pushed Mark into music; music as a career seemed less dangerous physically than football (that’s a good one….) and anyway, Mark was zoned to St Kilda not his beloved Carlton, so out went the footy, in came the music.
Mark messed around with guitars with his mates, notably his best pal from Prahran High, Graham Kennedy. They did the standard garage band thing of slaughtering Rolling Stones songs, then writing their own tunes which were raw rip-offs of the Stones songs they had butchered - typical young band stuff, learning the ropes. Mark switched from guitar to bass guitar in 1974.
In March 1975 Mark and Graham visited their local pub in Prahran, the Station Hotel, to see an unknown AC/DC.
Two days later Mark was playing his first gig as AC/DC’s new bass player at the Waltzing Matilda Hotel. The next day he was on ABC TV’s national music program “Countdown” with AC/DC playing their soon-to-be hit single “Baby Please Don’t Go” with schoolboy Angus Young and Bon Scott, resplendent in schoolgirl’s outfit, plaits, cigarette and brandishing a huge mallet. All in all, an interesting start to Mark’s professional music career.
1975, ’76 and ‘77 were spent touring Australia, the UK and Europe while recording landmark albums such as TNT, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap and Let There Be Rock, which would go on to sell more than 30 million copies worldwide. Mark’s last tour with AC/DC was a jaunt through Europe with the Ozzy Osbourne-led Black Sabbath. The tour ended badly with Black Sabbath’s bass player Geezer Butler allegedly pulling a knife on AC/DC rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young and Malcolm retaliating immediately.
May 1977 saw AC/DC back in London, licking its wounds and kicking Mark out of the band. Management sighted the old chestnut of “musical differences” and Mark was quoted at the time saying “the band and myself are both better off for it.” These days Mark’s take on the split is reasonably philosophical; “if I was the right guy for the band I would still be there”.
Mark returned to Australia to help form Contraband, a five piece rock band that featured old friend Graham Kennedy on guitar. Contraband were instantly signed to an international recording deal with Portrait Records, so what Mark had planned as a “bit of a holiday back home” before returning to the UK lasted less than a week. Contraband went on to record three albums and garner excellent reviews in the US, but unfortunately the sales and reviews didn’t match up and in late 1979 Contraband imploded.
The 1980’s saw Mark start a new career, music publishing at Rondor Music with his mentor John Bromell, signing and nurturing bands such as Midnight Oil, Cold Chisel, The Radiators and Swanee. He was also regularly on the road playing bass with bands such as Cheetah, Swanee and The Headhunters. When AC/DC’s former manager Michael Browning asked Mark to join the band Heaven, he re-located to the US and switched back to guitar. Heaven toured widely with acts such as Kiss and Motley Crue.
Whilst in the US, Mark’s passion for vintage guitars came to the fore and he scoured guitar stores, pawnbrokers and anywhere else he could find them. When Heaven disbanded, Mark returned to Sydney and turned the hobby into a business. His love of vintage guitars has seen Mark rub shoulders, sink drinks, swap stories and play guitars with musicians such as George Harrison, Ron Wood, Richie Sambora and Metallica. Mark is now associated with Carlo Bova at Downtown Music, Annandale.
Besides the guitar store, Mark has played for many years with singer Dave Tice in an acoustic Blues/Roots duo ingeniously named Dave Tice and Mark Evans.
Mark lives with his wife and daughter in inner-city Sydney and has been described as “one of Australia’s loudest quiet achievers.” His bass playing is widely recognized, his guitar playing infamous. He is a US Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominee and author of “Dirty Deeds” the memoir of his life “inside and outside of AC/DC” published by in Australia Allen and Unwin.