Mark Stoermer

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Mark Stoermer
Mark Stoermer Live.jpg
Mark Stoermer
Background information
Birth name Mark August Stoermer
Born (1977-06-28) June 28, 1977 (age 38)
Houston, Texas, United States
Origin Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
Genres Alternative rock, post-punk revival, psychedelic rock, alternative country
Occupation(s) Musician, singer-songwriter, producer
Instruments Bass guitar, vocals, guitar, trumpet, piano, keyboards, percussion, drums, harmonica
Years active 2002–present
Labels Island, St. August
Associated acts The Killers, The Smashing Pumpkins
Notable instruments
Fender Geddy Lee Jazz Bass
American-made stock 2004 Jazz Bass
Hofner 500/1
Fender Precision Bass
Guild Starfire Bass
Rickenbacker 4001

Mark August Stoermer (born June 28, 1977) is an American multi-instrumentalist and record producer. He is best known as the bass guitarist for the rock band The Killers, with whom he has recorded four studio albums.

In addition to his work with The Killers, Stoermer released a solo album, entitled Another Life, in 2011, and joined The Smashing Pumpkins to tour in support of the band's ninth studio album, Monuments to an Elegy (2014). Stoermer became the band's first male bass guitarist.

Early life[edit]

Stoermer was born in Texas to an Australian father and an American mother, they moved to Las Vegas when Stoermer was three years old. His father was a big band style musician.[1]

Stoermer graduated from Chaparral High School in 1995, where he played trumpet in the Jazz ensemble. His early musical influences included Hip-hop bands such as Public Enemy and N.W.A and later rock bands such as Nirvana, The Beatles, The Who and Pink Floyd. Stoermer played lead guitar for a number of local bands including Habit Rouge and The Negative Ponies. Before The Killers got signed, Stoermer worked as a medical courier.[1] Stoermer also studied philosophy and music at UNLV.

He has been dubbed 'The Gentle Giant' by bandmates and fans due to his quiet but kind nature and the fact that he stands at over 6 feet 5 inches tall.


The Killers (2002–present)[edit]

It was while playing with The Negative Ponies that Stoermer met Dave Keuning and Brandon Flowers who were performing as an early incarnation of The Killers. He was a fan of the band's unique sound and was often present at the band's gigs. In September 2002 he was offered the opportunity to become the band's permanent bass player, he accepted and completed the band's line up along with Ronnie Vannucci Jr.[2] The band's first four albums each reached No. 1 on the United Kingdom Albums Chart and garnered the band seven GRAMMY Award nominations and seven BRIT Award nominations.

Production work and collaborations (2010–present)[edit]

In 2010 Stoermer produced rock band Howling Bells' third studio album, The Loudest Engine. The album was recorded at Battle Born Studios in Las Vegas, Nevada and was released in September 2011.[3][4]

On September 24, 2014 Stoermer performed "Let It Down" and "Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll)" with Dhani Harrison on Conan during George Harrison week.[5][6]

During 2014 and 2015, Stoermer played bass on tour with the Smashing Pumpkins along with Billy Corgan, Jeff Schroeder and Brad Wilk.[7] He is the first ever male bass player for the band. On April 3, 2015 he performed "Drum + Fife" with the Smashing Pumpkins on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.[8]


Playing style[edit]

Mark Stoermer mainly plays with a pick. He says "I love the punch and grit of a pick. . . I do a lot of unconscious palm muting. I love how you can instantly get that clunky tone with shorter notes. It's a great sound."[1] He tries to play the bass as a "half percussive. . . half melodic instrument". Stoermer feels that "You can add to a song’s melodic side without taking away from the vocals. That’s my favorite kind of bass playing."[1] His signature bass playing (featured prominently in The Killers' debut and sophomore albums) can be heard in songs including:

  • "Jenny Was a Friend of Mine"
  • "Somebody Told Me"
  • "Mr. Brightside"
  • "Bones"
  • "All The Pretty Faces"
  • "Uncle Jonny"
  • "Midnight Show"
  • "Sam's Town"
  • "Smile Like You Mean It"
  • "Under the Gun"
  • "Glamorous Indie Rock & Roll"
  • "Bling (Confessions of a King)"
  • "Believe Me Natalie"
  • "Daddy's Eyes"
  • "This Is Your Life"
  • "Joy Ride"
  • "I Can't Stay"
  • "Losing Touch"
  • "On Top"
  • "My List"
  • "Deadlines and Commitments"
  • "Runaways"

While his aggressive playing was a focal point in The Killers' first two albums, Stoermer's playing became more funk-driven in Day & Age, and much more reserved and subtle in Battle Born. His style of playing has influenced many other bands and even a genre of music in bass-driven New Wave/Synth Rock.

Stoermer was featured on the cover of Bass Guitar Magazine in June 2009 and has been interviewed by other major bass guitar publications including Bass Player Magazine.[9][10]

He is widely recognized for his signature tone: an overdriven signal using two modified BOSS Blues Driver pedals fed into separate amplifiers using high top-end frequencies to produce a trebly but thick, cutting sound while retaining excellent bass response; similar to that of Chris Squire (bassist of the band Yes).

He is also noted for heavily accenting his notes to produce string popping, as well as his use of jumping between octaves, such as in:

Some of his notable bass solos can be heard in the intros to "Somebody Told Me" and "Sam's Town", the outro to The Killers' cover of the Joy Division song "Shadowplay", the bridge of "All the Pretty Faces", and live versions of "Jenny Was a Friend of Mine".


Mark Stoermer cites influences such as Noel Redding of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, John Entwistle of The Who, and Paul McCartney. He also lists as influences The Cure, U2, and New Order.[1]


Basses: [11]

During the recording of Hot Fuss, Stoermer had been using a Fender Geddy Lee Jazz Bass for his main bass, but had switched over to a vintage Fender Precision Bass and Rickenbacker 4001 for the recording of Sam's Town. After recording and touring for Sam's Town had concluded, he switched back to the Geddy Lee as his primary bass and started broadening his equipment repertoire, using other basses for the recording of Day & Age, such as the Starfire for "This is Your Life" and the Hofner 500/1 on "Joy Ride".


  • Gibson SG – On the Song "For Reasons Unknown"
  • Gibson ES-335 (Occasionally used instead of the SG for live performances of "For Reasons Unknown"; this instrument belongs to and is a backup instrument of bandmate Dave Keuning's)
  • Gibson J-45 Acoustic Guitar
  • Gibson SJ-200 Acoustic Guitar
  • All are strung with medium-gauge GHS Bass Boomers. Basses are tuned to standard or down a 1/2 step (Drop-Db on the song "Sam's Town"), and guitars tuned a 1/2 step down to Eb for playing the rhythm portions of "For Reasons Unknown" during live performances.[12]


  • Ampeg SVT Classic Head and 8x10" SVT Cabinets
  • Hiwatt Custom 200 Head (one dirty, one clean) and Hiwatt SE-1510 4x10+1x15 cabs (x2, one rig with effects, one clean)
  • Fender Deville 2x12"

NOTE: Hiwatt currently are one of Stoermer's sponsors.[13]

  • BOSS DS-1 distortion pedal
  • BOSS GE-7 EQ pedal
  • Big Muff Sovtek Big Muff pedal (for live performances of 'Andy, You're a Star')
  • BOSS BD-2 Blues Driver (modified) (x2)
  • BOSS GEB-7 Bass EQ (for volume boost)
  • TC Electronic chorus/flanger
  • MXR Phase 100
  • Big Muff pi (electro harmonix keeley modded)
  • Zaolla Artist and Zaolla Silverline series cables as instrument leads, cable speakers, and cable snakes

Picks: Dunlop Nylon – 1.00mm



Year Title Role Notes
2004 Late Night with David Letterman Himself Performing "Somebody Told Me" as The Killers
2005 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno Himself Performing "Mr. Brightside" and "All These Things That I've Done" as The Killers
2005 Saturday Night Live Himself Performing "Mr. Brightside" and "Somebody Told Me" as The Killers
2006 Saturday Night Live Himself Performing "When You Were Young" and "Bones" as The Killers
2006 Late Night with David Letterman Himself Performing "When You Were Young" as The Killers
2006 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno Himself Performing "Bones"/"A Great Big Sled" as The Killers
2008 Saturday Night Live Himself Performing "Human" and "Spaceman" as The Killers
2009 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno Himself Performing "Spaceman" as The Killers
2009 Late Night with David Letterman Himself Performing "A Dustland Fairytale" as The Killers
2012 Late Night with David Letterman Himself Performing "Runaways" as The Killers
2013 Jimmy Kimmel Live! Himself Performing "Old Man Jimmy (Is Soon to Die)" as The Killers
2014 Conan Himself Performing "Let It Down" with Dhani Harrison
2015 The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Himself Performing "Drum + Fife" as The Smashing Pumpkins


Solo albums

Other appearances

  • The Synthetic Love of Emotional Engineering (2013) – Vicky Cryer
  • "Your Love Is Not Enough", "A Spade Is A Spade" (2014-15) – Bombay Heavy[14]
  • Unreachable on Mountain EP (forthcoming 2015) – Aubergine Electric

Awards and nominations[edit]


External links[edit]