|Birth name||Mark Red Laffoley|
19 May 1958 |
Barnet, London, England
|Genres||Punk rock, post-punk, rock 'n' roll, rockabilly, rock|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, drummer, songwriter|
|Associated acts||Subway Sect, Generation X, Empire, Twenty Flight Rockers|
After a failed audition for The Clash (he was one of two drummers to get a call back), 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. He left the band soon afterwards.
Laff joined Generation X as replacement for John Towe. The band signed to Chrysalis Records and released their first single, "Your Generation," in September 1977, performing the song on Marc Bolan's Marc TV show that same month. Laff remained with the band through their first two albums, the self-titled Generation X (1978), followed by Valley of the Dolls (1979); however, internal disagreements came to a head in late 1979 during the recording of what was to have been the band's third album, Sweet Revenge (eventually released in 1998 by Empty Records, and then later as a second disc of the Anthology boxed set in 2003 by EMI Records). Guitarist Bob "Derwood" Andrews left the band in December 1979 to form his own band, Empire. Laff would soon follow suit on January 1980, as he was sacked from Generation X over artistic and managerial differences.
Beforehand, he and Derwood assisted in recording the first Jimmy Pursey solo record, Imagination Camouflage. They then recruited bassist Simon Bernal to complete Empire's line-up, releasing "Hot Seat" as a single and one commercially unsuccessful album, Expensive Sound. The trio undertook four gigs before Bernal left. After many replacements and more concerts, Laff decided to quit on February 1983. New Empire disbanded in early 1984.
In 1985, Laff founded Twenty Flight Rockers alongside former Supernaut frontman Gary Twinn. With future Balaam and the Angel guitarist Ian McKean and bassist Jeff D. Vine, the group released two singles in the mid 1980s: "Tower Block Rock" (ranked #31 for Best Single on Rockerilla Magazine magazine) with ABC Records (not the American record label.) in 1985, and "Johnny 7" with WEA Records in 1986. In March of that same year, a rare song, "Searching for a Hero", was given away for free on the Spools Gold compilation released on cassette by Record Mirror magazine. Former manager of The Clash Bernie Rhodes, who Laff knew back from his early days with Subway Sect, was hired to manage them. He decided for the band to sign with Epic Records, and he had McKean replaced by Danny B. Harvey. Twenty Flight Rockers recorded a series of sessions as well as an entire studio album entitled Ride. "Black Leather Jacket" was released as a single, with the album due to follow in mid 1988. But Epic was bought out by Sony, who then dropped the band from the label, leading to the break up. Ride would not see the light of day until 2001 when it was released by Revel Yell Music as the self-titled Twenty Flight Rockers.
In 2006, Laff re-recorded "Hot Seat" with Bob Andrews as Empire to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Expensive Sound. It was released on the Expansive Sound Volume II compliation.
- Generation X
- 1978 – Generation X (Chrysalis Records)
- 1979 – Valley of the Dolls (Chrysalis Records)
- 1998 – Sweet Revenge (Empty Records) (Originally recorded in 1979.)
- 2004 – K.M.D. – Sweet Revenge Xtra (Revel Yell Music) (Featuring bonus tracks.)
- Generation X Compilations
- 1985 – The Best of Generation X (Chrysalis Records)
- 1990 – The Idol Generation (Castle Communications) (Australia only.)
- 1991 – Perfect Hits 1975–81 (Chrysalis Records)
- 1999 – Live at the Paris Theatre '78 & '81 (EMI Records) (Reissued (and edited) in 2002 as One Hundred Punks – BBC Live in Concert.)
- 2002 – Radio 1 Sessions (Strange Fruit Records)
- 2003 – Anthology (EMI Records)
- 2003 – Live at Sheffield (Empty Records)
- 1981 – Expensive Sound (Dinosaur Discs) (American reissue in 1986 by Highway 61 Records)
- 2003 – Expensive Sound (Poorly Packaged Products) (Featuring bonus tracks.)
- 2009 – Expensive Sound Volume II (Poorly Packaged Products)
- Twenty Flight Rockers
- 2001 – Twenty Flight Rockers (Revel Yell Music) (Originally recorded in 1988 as Ride.)
- 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)
- Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 349. CN 5585.
- Strong, Martin C. (2000). The Great Rock Discography (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Mojo Books. p. 472. ISBN 1-84195-017-3.
- Punk Diary: The Ultimate Trainspotter's Guide to Underground Rock, 1970-1982, page 462
- The International Who's Who in Popular Music 2002, page 325
- International Who's who in Music: Popular music. Vol. two, Volume 1, page 378
- The Great Scots Musicography: The Complete Guide to Scotland's Music Makers, page 227
- "Ride - Twenty Flight Rockers - Release Credits - AllMusic". AllMusic.
- "Danny B Harvey Homepage". dannybharvey.com.
- "THE LAST DAYS OF TFR. ￼(Bernie Rhodes &... - Twenty Flight Rockers - Facebook". facebook.com.
- "Twenty Flight Rockers - Twenty Flight Rockers - Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards - AllMusic". AllMusic.