Marko drumming at St. Andrew's Hall
|Birth name||Nicholas Thomas Marko|
|Born||November 24, 1978|
|Origin||Dearborn, Michigan, United States|
|Genres||Indie rock, alternative rock, punk rock|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, entrepreneur, singer-songwriter|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, drums, piano|
|Labels||The Militia Group, Greyday Records, DPA Down Peninsula Audio|
|Associated acts||Gutwrench, The Habs, Levagood, The Holy Fire, Leaving Rouge, American Mars|
Nicholas Thomas Marko (born November 24, 1978) is an American musician, known for being a multi-instrumentalist, playing the guitar, drums and piano for bands such as The Holy Fire, Singer & Soldier, Leaving Rouge, and Levagood in the 2000s and 2010s. He is also an entrepreneur, having started up the company ALP Music, LLC in Plymouth, Michigan in 2007.
Born in Dearborn, Michigan, Marko had a typical childhood. When he was 2 years old, his mother would play records of artists like Black Sabbath, Rolling Stones, Ennio Morricone and The Beatles. His grandfather would play Johnny Cash as well as Ned Washington's Rawhide single, which gave him an eclectic perspective in music. His father exposed him to legendary jazz drummers Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich, triggering his desire to play drums. After graduating from Dearborn High School in the class of 1997, he then attended college at the Oakland Fire Academy, graduating in 1999. From that point, he went on to HFCC and got an associate's degree in fire science. At that time, he was in a band called "Levagood" which eventually disbanded. Disgruntled, he moved to Sherman, Texas, and worked as a roofer, eventually starting to write songs for a record which would become known as "Singer & Soldier". From Sherman he would move on to live in Santa Monica, California, working as a cook at the Howard Hughes Center.
Style and influences
Marko plays the drums and guitar, and draws inspiration largely from Brendan Canty and Bob Mould formerly of Hüsker Dü, now a solo artist. When he was young, his older sister got him turned onto punk rock, as well as "Dan The Man" from WHFR radio at Henry Ford Community College. Marko's influences are indie rock, punk rock, hardcore punk, thrash, alternative rock, and hip hop. He says Ramones, Hüsker Dü, Pixies, Big Country, Misfits, The Clash, Fugazi, Billy Bragg, Bad Brains, Black Flag, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Mazzy Star, Chrissie Hynde, Múm, Living Colour, Rumskib, Duran Duran, Camper Van Beethoven, Archers of Loaf, Nirvana, Neil Young, Baroness, Killing Joke, Big Black, Leatherface, Rich Kids on LSD, Motörhead, Guns N' Roses, Metallica, Public Enemy and Nas are artists that have shaped his musical style.
Marko joined his first band, Gutwrench, as a drummer in 1993. In 1996, he played drums in his second band, The Habs. Disgruntled at not being able to find a guitarist who liked Fugazi, Marko picked up the guitar in 1998, and recorded his first three-song CD in Joe "Butter" Reynolds' basement studio in Detroit. With a better understanding of recording & songwriting, he and childhood friend, bassist Frank Muscat formed the band Levagood in 1999, which Marko fronted. They released one album, in 2000, recorded at 40 Oz Sound Studios in Ann Arbor. The album was called "Never Trust The Experts". Later on that year, the band played many shows; opening for acts like O.A.R. at the famed Ann Arbor venue the Blind Pig. They then recorded a second album at Woodshed Studios under the direction of Tim Pak from the bands Angry Red Planet and Salt Miners. The album "Curse of A Thousand Legends" was never released. Disgruntled by the band's breakup, Marko moved to Sherman, Texas, where he worked as a roofer. During his time in Texas, Arizona, and California, he started the foundation for what is his current project: Singer & Soldier. Marko moved back to Detroit in 2003. Upon releasing the Singer & Soldier EP, he met his bandmates for The Holy Fire. On January 1, 2004, the Holy Fire recorded their debut album in Toronto at Signal to Noise Studio. The project was engineered by Canadian music producer Jon Drew. The band's first show was on April 9, 2004 at the Magic Stick Detroit, opening for TV on the Radio. Their Toronto EP made it into the hands of Flaming Lips bassist Michael Ivins, who would go on to produce their first EP at Ferndale's Temper Mill Studios. After this, they started playing and touring on a constant basis, playing with bands such as Metric, the Constantines, and Easy Action. Their second album was recorded at Tar Box Studios in New York and released nationally on February 21, 2006 to positive reviews under The Militia Group record label. During this time, Marko also recorded drums for the Leaving Rouge album "Elsewhere", released by Portland-based record label Greyday Productions on March 21. The Holy Fire's original lineup would eventually disbanded in the summer 2006. Marko went on to record and play shows, for various projects including Grammy winner Dave Feeney's American Mars and Ohio's Most Beautiful Losers.
Marko started a company called ALP Music, LLC in Plymouth, MI in 2007, and is the president and creative director. ALP Music scores films and works with other businesses and agencies to create music for commercial product packages, helping brand image and sales. Marko's music has been used for the Detroit/Windsor International Film Festival, clothing lines and Monroe Memorial Hospital. He is currently recording a new Singer & Soldier album.
Marko's drumming has earned him great recognition from various magazines and music critics. In their review of the Holy Fire's album "In The Name of The World", Revolt Media (formerly Running With Scissors Magazine) praised Marko by saying he is "right on point on this song ["Hate Your Smile"] as well, serving up a killer rolling drum track at just the right times, keeping the song barreling along, driving it right through the intense conclusion". Furthermore, in reviewing the Holy Fire's self-titled EP, Amplifier Magazine commended Marko by saying he "drives his drums like a rental with 16th notes, his flutter kicks and stop start dynamics pushing the music to great results". Transform Online has called Marko a "money drummer", and lastly, Cloak & Dagger gave Marko's drumming rave reviews, noting "the opening drum beat alone" was enough to catch their interest. Real Detroit Weekly hailed the Holy Fire's music, saying "Hands down this EP redefines what a rock band from Detroit should sound like. These guys toss out the garage revival and burn the trashcan with their ability to blend original rock riffs and a dark pop influence".
Marko enjoys going to see shows at various Detroit clubs such as Magic Stick, The Belmont Bar, and Smalls. His favorite authors are Napoleon Hill, Thomas Merton, C.S. Lewis, Flannery O'Connor, J.D. Salinger, and finds interest in autobiographies. Nick enjoys watching documentaries, Kids in the Hall, The Simpsons, Party Down, is a fan of the Coen brothers, director Darren Aronofsky, plus any movie by director/producer Nicolas Winding Refn, especially Valhalla Rising. He enjoys attending games of the Detroit Red Wings, as well as the Tigers and the Lions. Bicycle riding is one of his favorite stress-relievers. He is a fan of the DIA, and also the annual summer Jazz Fest at Hart Plaza.