Mark Laff

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Mark Laff
Birth name Mark Red Laffoley
Born (1958-05-19) 19 May 1958 (age 58)
Barnet, London, England
Genres Punk rock, post-punk, rock 'n' roll, rockabilly, rock
Occupation(s) Pop musician
Instruments Drums
Years active 1976–2007
Associated acts Subway Sect, Generation X, Empire, Twenty Flight Rockers

Mark Laff (born Mark Red Laffoley, 19 May 1958) is a retired[1] English pop music drummer, and former member of several rock bands, including Generation X.[2]


Mark Red Laffoley was born on 19 May 1958 at Barnet General Hospital, in Barnet, London, England.[2]

After a failed audition for The Clash (he was one of two drummers to get a call back),[3] Mark Laff's first major drumming role was with Subway Sect, sharing the bill with the Sex Pistols, The Clash, and Siouxsie and the Banshees for the Anarchy and White Riot tours.[4] He left the band soon afterwards.

Generation X[edit]

In April 1977 Laff was recruited for his superior technical proficiency, despite being only 17 years of age, as a replacement drummer into the upcoming punk rock band Generation X, a few months before it signed to Chrysalis Records and released its first single, Your Generation. [5] Laff was Generation X's drummer through its two albums, the self-titled Generation X (1978), followed by Valley of the Dolls (1979);[5] which saw the band amidst a heavy performance schedule across Great Britain gaining momentum, drawing recognition and increasingly impacting the British pop music charts with its releases. However, after the relative commercial failure of the Valley of the Dolls long-player, internal disagreements about the band's musical direction and personality clashes within it came to a head in late 1979 during the recording of its abortive third long-player (which would be released retrospectively 20 years later under the title Sweet Revenge). Lead guitarist Bob "Derwood" Andrews quit the band in December 1979,[6] followed by Laff in January 1980, when he was asked to leave after a disagreement with the act's frontman/singer Billy Idol and bass player Tony James over song-writing credits for the band's recorded work.[7] With Laff and Andrew's departure Generation X essentially came to an end; a re-branded act with a replacement guitarist and drummer subsequently launched by Idol and James went on to fail commercially, and was gone by mid-1981.


After leaving Generation X Laff and Andrews played together as session musicians on Jimmy Pursey's solo long-player, Imagination Camouflage.[8] In mid-1980 they set up a new band entitled Empire,[9] recruiting bassist Simon Bernal to complete the line-up. A single entitled Hot Seat [10][11] was released, followed by a musically influential but commercially unsuccessful album entitled Expensive Sound.[12] The trio undertook four gigs before Bernal left. After a number of line-up changes of personnel and more concerts, but little commercial success, Laff decided to quit Empire in February 1983, and band was ended by Andrews in 1984.

Twenty Flight Rockers, and later career[edit]

In 1985 Laff founded a new rockabilly/rock band entitled Twenty Flight Rockers with Gary Twinn,[13] the future Balaam and the Angel guitarist Ian McKean [14][15] and bassist Jeff D. Vine. The group released via ABC Records the single 'Tower Block Rock' (1985) (ranked #31 for Best Single of that year by Rockerilla Magazine, but making no impact on the U.K. Singles' Chart),[16][17] and another single entitled 'Johnny 7' via WEA Records in 1986, which was also a commercial failure.[18] In March 1986 the band released the song 'Searching for a Hero' in cassette format on a compilation L.P. advertising new bands entitled Spools Gold, given away free with the Record Mirror.[19] Bernie Rhodes, who Laff knew back from his early days with Subway Sect was hired to manage them,[20] and arranged the signing of the band with Epic Records after having McKean let go from the line-up and replaced with guitarist Danny B. Harvey.
The band recorded a series of sessions, and a self-produced studio album entitled Ride.[21] which was scheduled for commercial release in 1988, however Epic Records in the meantime was bought out by Sony, which subsequently opted to drop the band from the label, leading to Twenty Flight Rockers breaking up.[22][23] The Ride L.P. would not see the light of day until 2001 when it was put out by Revel Yell Music as a retrospective release under the title Twenty Flight Rockers.[24][25] In 2004 'Revel Yell' released a second retrospective L.P. from the band entitled Twenty Flight Rockers - The New York Sessions 1988.[26]

On 20 September 1993, during Billy Idol's No Religion tour, Mark Laff played with a re-formed Generation X in a reunion concert at the Astoria Theatre in London's West End.

In 2006 Laff re-recorded the song 'Hot Seat' with Bob Derwood Andrews to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the release of Empire's Expensive Sound L.P., and it was re-released on the Expansive Sound Volume II compilation L.P.[27]

Laff briefly reunited with Vic Godard in 2007 to re-record Subway Sect's previously unreleased debut album under the title 1978 Now.[28][29]

Post-music career[edit]

Laff retired from professional music in 2004, and went into business as the director of a holistic lifestyle therapy company in Brighton in East Sussex.[30]


Generation X
Generation X Compilations
  • 1981 – Expensive Sound (Dinosaur Discs) (American reissue in 1986 by Highway 61 Records)
  • 2003 – Expensive Sound (Poorly Packaged Products) (Featuring bonus tracks.)
  • 2009 – Expansive Sound Volume II (Poorly Packaged Products)
Twenty Flight Rockers
  • 2001 – Twenty Flight Rockers (Revel Yell Music) (Originally recorded in 1988 as Ride.)
  • 2004 - Twenty Flight Rockers - The New York Sessions 1988 (Revel Yell Music)
Subway Sect
  • 2007 – 1978 Now (Overground Records)
Subway Sect Compilations
  • 1999 – Twenty Odd Years – The Story Of... (Motion Records)
  • 2011 – Live and Rare Vol 1 (Gnu Inc. Recordings)
  • 2012 – Live and Rare Vol 2 (Gnu Inc. Recordings)


  1. ^ Interview with Mark Laff, 'Mudkiss Fanzine' (2012)
  2. ^ a b Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 349. CN 5585. 
  3. ^ Marcus Gray. "The Clash: Return of the Last Gang in Town". p. 244. Retrieved 2016-03-13. 
  4. ^ "Vic Godard & Subway Sect - Caught In Midstream". 1978-03-04. Retrieved 2016-03-13. 
  5. ^ a b Strong, Martin C. (2000). The Great Rock Discography (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Mojo Books. p. 472. ISBN 1-84195-017-3. 
  6. ^ "Generation X - Day by Day". Retrieved 2016-03-13. 
  7. ^ Interview with Mark Laff, 'Mudkiss Fanzine', 2012.
  8. ^ "Jimmy Pursey - Imagination Camouflage". Retrieved 2016-03-13. 
  9. ^ Website detailing the career of the band 'Empire',
  10. ^ "Empire (7) - Hot Seat (Vinyl)". Retrieved 2016-03-13. 
  11. ^ George Gimarc. "Punk Diary: The Ultimate Trainspotter's Guide to Underground Rock, 1970-1982". p. 313. Retrieved 2016-03-13. 
  12. ^ "Empire (7) - Expensive Sound". Retrieved 2016-03-13. 
  13. ^ "Twenty Flight Rockers Discography". Retrieved 2016-03-13. 
  14. ^ "The International Who's Who in Popular Music 2002". p. 325. Retrieved 2016-03-13. 
  15. ^ Martin Charles Strong. "The Great Scots Musicography: The Complete Guide to Scotland's Music Makers". Retrieved 2016-03-13. 
  16. ^ " End Of Year Lists". Retrieved 2016-03-13. 
  17. ^ "Twenty Flight Rockers - Tower Block Rock". Retrieved 2016-03-13. 
  18. ^ "Twenty Flight Rockers - Johnny Seven (Vinyl)". Retrieved 2016-03-13. 
  19. ^ "Various - Spools Gold (Cassette, Album)". Retrieved 2016-03-13. 
  20. ^ "marklaffinterview - MUDKISS FANZINE". Retrieved 2016-03-13. 
  21. ^ "Ride - Twenty Flight Rockers - Release Credits - AllMusic". AllMusic. 
  22. ^ "Danny B Harvey Homepage". 
  23. ^ "THE LAST DAYS OF TFR. (Bernie Rhodes &... - Twenty Flight Rockers - Facebook". 
  24. ^ "Twenty Flight Rockers - Twenty Flight Rockers (CD)". Retrieved 2016-03-13. 
  25. ^ "Twenty Flight Rockers - Twenty Flight Rockers - Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards - AllMusic". AllMusic. 
  26. ^ Entry in the Discogs database:
  27. ^ "Empire (7) - Volume II - Expansive Sound (CD, Album)". Retrieved 2016-03-13. 
  28. ^ "Subway Sect - 1978 Now (CD, Album)". 2007-10-08. Retrieved 2016-03-13. 
  29. ^ "Features | A Quietus Interview | About Remembering: Vic Godard Interviewed". The Quietus. Retrieved 2016-03-13. 
  30. ^ Interview with Mark Laff, 'Mudkiss Fanzine' (2012)

External links[edit]