Memories of Mark Little

Posted: December 7, 2007 in The Roper Files


Was going through some old photographs and found this recently. It’s my late friend Mark Little (and no he’s not smoking pot; we here at file23 think pot smokers are horrible nasty people who should be hung from their ankles like Mussolini and have things thrown at them) on my couch in 1979 in a now-demolished apartment complex.

Mark passed on sometime during December 1988 after a long lengthy struggle with a brain tumor. Chemotherapy took its toll on him; he lost his hair and threw up constantly. Sad to think that one of my last memories of him is driving around with a mop bucket to throw up in sitting next to him in the car. Even sadder because up until the time he found out about the tumor, Mark was one of the happiest, most easy-going and care-free individuals I had ever had the privilege of knowing.

Mark lived for music. Especially 70’s prog-rock. ELP, Yes, Split Enz, King Crimson, Roxy Music and most of all Peter Gabriel-era Genesis. I remember him painting black rings around his eyes one Halloween: “I’m Rael!” (Gabriels character from The Lamb Lays Down On Broadway) Tried to explain to him no one was going to “get it” but Mark wouldn’t hear of it; he was Rael, dammit. And Rael he was; only Mark could pull that one off.

Mark was an excellent drummer. Self-taught, he would put on the lst ELP album ( or almost any album for that matter)  and play along with it note for note, never fumbling. Mark was also a big ladies man; always had a girlfriend.

So instead of all the sorry SOBS I’ve ever been unfortunate enough to know, it had to be the nicest guy I’ve ever known who discovered he had a brain tumor somewhere in the neighborhood of 1983-84. Can’t remember exactly. Mark struggled through chemotherapy, a divorce and becoming too physically weak to the point where he couldn’t hold a regular job. Mark continued playing in many local bands right up until the end, albeit puking in a bucket sometimes behind his drums.

When Mark was hospitalized, sometimes my friend Tom Finn and I would lug a VCR up to his room and hook it up to the hospital TV. One time a pretty English nurse came in and watched REPO MAN with us.  The hospital staff would smile when they saw me walking in wearing my Bullwinkle t-shirt and carrying a VCR.

Mark passed on right before Christmas of 1988. Everytime I listen to certain bands today, sometimes I feel a little guilty. I’ll think: too bad Mark didn’t live long enough to hear this on CD. Or then again for all I know he might just be listening.



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