Posted on November 05th. 2018
Questionnaire by Jason Houston on behalf of METAL TO INFINITY WEBZINE BELGIUM
Jason: Londa Marks you are the Wife of Doug Marks, a Guitar Player from the 80’s Los Angeles Metal Scene but you yourself worked with Doug in regards to both his band: Hawk, and the Metal Method Guitar lessons series behind the scenes and you were very involved with helping to promote/spread the word about both the band and Metal Method. Which came first the band, or Metal Method? What came first regarding Hawk or Metal Method?
Londa: Fate. Metal Method was born from destiny, a need, a desire and drive to develop Hawk, perhaps even more so for me as a visual artist, though Doug was also driven to make things happen for himself musically and business-wise. My magazine, Rock Legend News, did an interview with Lonnie Vencent, bassist for Hawk, Bullet Boys and Lies, Deceit & Treachery. Lonnie kind of sums me up in this interview by saying: “First, Londa was the fifth member of HAWK. She was a huge part of that. Second, I love working with her. She is the consummate professional.”— Lonnie Vencent, Tempi-Dispari Rome, Italy & Rock Legend News, Firenze, Italy.
The philosophical elements of Fate have been discussed further back in history than Plato but I think part of Fate’s job is mapping out a driven nature — or not.
Those who are driven and especially artists/musicians, are susceptible to hearing acutely, seeing acutely and understanding acutely, then formulating or organizing ideas and thoughts so others can ‘see it’ or ‘hear it’ too. Driven natures require being fueled by something extraordinary and include risk taking.
My driven nature needed to create the ultimate rock glam band at the time; mythological rock gods with substance; that which could be historic, add value to viewers and set examples. Those ingredients factored into every ad I created, everything I created for both Metal Method and Hawk and everything I still create.
The visions for developing Hawk turned into a drive to create ads for local magazines such as: Bam, LA Weekly, promotional flyers and some of the guitar lesson ads which included audition information to entice the right musicians to be part of magnanimous ideas. Advertising in top magazines at the time expressed the fact that you are a professional and serious about what you do.
Doug was pretty well known after Hit Parader and Circus magazine ads circulated for a couple of years. He was designed to look like a successful musician because like-minds attract. And, they did. Plus, it was also helpful in attracting guitar lesson customers as later explained here.
Having worked as designer and creative advisor to Doug since we met in 1971, it was a natural thing for me to find the right musicians for Hawk. I had very specific ideas in who I felt should be part of the band. And, after all, it was going to be my creative project with my name on it too. I have always worked hard and have been independent so whatever I work on I do so as professionally as is humanly possible for me, which is why I am selective about what I do work on because generally, holidays, weekends and any other days are just another gift of time for me to achieve something of value. And, time is unforgiving. Of course, more is needed than just being a creative thinker or hard worker to find world class musicians and formulate a mythological entity, business or band that has success potential. Like most artists/musicians, music and or art is something you are born with; some are born as polymaths and have several talents.
It was apparent to my family, teachers and everyone from the start that music and art were going to be an important part of my future. And, Doug knows that I am intuitive about musicians, recognize good music and understand it and artists in-depth as well as manage projects professionally.
Aside from being born an artist what happens in formative years can matter. My father owned The Peppermint Lounge in Marietta, Ohio. He played sax in his youth. I still have it. He also sold real estate. I am the oldest of six. Growing up in a night club means hearing some great music. If you are predestined to music and art, sounds and visuals greatly shapes your thinking and what you create.
Hanging out at the Peppermint Lounge meant listening to Motown and early 60’s music. As the 45’s were changed in the jukebox the changers were instructed to send the disks home with me per my request.
Watching band rehearsals and watching my father run a couple of businesses were all pre-Nightwyng job lessons. Nightwyng was one of Doug’s bands that I traveled and worked with and was pre-Hawk. Nightwyng lineup included Michael Lingefelt (keyboards B3/Leslie and vocals), Randy Cordell (drums), Andy Rich (bass), Joe Ottinger & John Suveizdis (vocals).
In 1971, I was cocktail waitressing at The Evolution Club in Vienna/Parkersburg, WV, (originally called The Hutch) where I met Doug. It was owned by a prominent West Virginia mafia family who owned two of the best rock clubs there.
Some good bands from Youngstown and other areas of Ohio played at the Evolution like: Glass Harp, Freeport, Brain Child. Doug’s band Buck Run, was playing then with the lineup: Tommy Evans (vocalist), Edwin Arnott (bassist), Rick Hackathorn (drums) and Doug Marks (guitar).
One night at the Evolution, the first time I saw Doug, I thought, “He could be a star if he would just lose the beard, flannel shirt and baggy pants.” He was definitely grunge style and it was just becoming a heavier rock era with originals like Joplin and Hendrix and they were more my line of thinking than Neil Young, who was a favorite of Doug’s, although Neil does have some good songs.
In my purse I kept my little black kitty cat named Brandy while I worked at the club. Doug found a good conversation piece with Brandy, introduced himself and we began talking about Brandy and my most recent painting. Doug then asked to ride with me back to my house to see my refrigerator that I had just painted black with a colorful phoenix on it.
Still, I utilize phoenix’s in a lot of my design work as well as crow’s. According to Greek mythology, a phoenix is a long-lived bird that cyclically regenerates or is otherwise born again. Associated with the Sun (fire), a phoenix obtains new life by arising from the ashes of its predecessor – which can be your old self. And, if you keep seeing crows around, another bird I use in my work, pay extra attention to the messages they bring. The power sign of this bird brings mysticism. Though crows are usually associated with dark omens and death in mythology they are more about wisdom because if you live your life like the phoenix it means you are in realization that death is a door you leave through taking this life’s wisdom for rebirth, resurrection.
Hawk Myth and Legend: In Cherokee mythology Tlanuwa was the name given to two giant raptors meaning the “Great Mythic Hawk” and was a variation of the Thunderbird and Piasa Bird. Hawks symbolize the life force. Doug and Charles were hiking in the hills one day and came up with the name for the band, Hawk. There are many hawks around where we lived.
That night after Doug’s show at the Evolution we walked out to basically an empty parking lot. I had a junk car I paid $30 for sitting there just waiting for this event, I guess. Possibly having just finished painting a phoenix on the frig was a life force signifying a transition about to begin. I have created 13 decks of tarot cards (symbolism) and each time I design the cards they tend to cause things to happen. The type of car I had at the time escapes me because I think it was pieces of several kinds of cars. Usually, I can tell you the name of any car. They are art to me. Mine was one of two cars left in that huge parking lot when we left. The other car, a yellow Beetle was parked behind mine. Doug got in my car and I put it in reverse by mistake and hit the Beetle. Doug said very patiently, “That’s my car. I just got it.” Doug and I were married in 1972.
When the second version of Hawk ended in 1990, so did our marriage. We had that Beetle until we lived in Woodland Hills for a couple of years and then bought an Audi and eventually a Jaguar XJS. I sold my share of the business (40k) and my share of a house we owned in Woodland Hills, CA (32k) to Doug in leu of alimony and loaned him 10k of that to build his recording studio in Northridge. He paid me back with interest. We are still friends, always have been and I doubt that will change even though we don’t speak at times for years. He has been with Leanna Brand (owner of carolers.com) since about 1996. They are married.
We were both fully invested in Metal Method and Hawk. All the money I made was invested into the business and Hawk. All the money Doug made, the same. After divorce I still worked on Metal Method stuff until around 2002, and I still maintain Hawk Official Facebook page and run ads for both in my zine, Rock Legend News.
When Fate calls resistance is futile.
A Couple of Testimonials From Metal Method Camp: “Londa, as you’ll find out, is a very special person, an incredibly gifted artist. She’s also punctual, reliable, has the ability to meet deadlines “at all costs” and is a very hard worker. I have never met an artist with more natural ability and creativity.”— Doug Marks, Owner, Guitarist Metal Method Productions, Inc.
“Enjoyed this very much, especially the section on Hawk and early Metal Method! Londa, your artwork was a huge part of the success of Metal Method. In a time before the Internet, you created the visual impact and excitement that drew people to MM and made it look totally professional, even as a small “start-up!” — Sarah Spisak, Producer, Guitarist Metal Method Productions, Inc.
Jason: Now Metal Method to my knowledge was one of the very first Guitar lessons to see any kind of real success. My question is Londa from 1982 when Metal Method was first launched how long did it take before it really started to take off?
Londa: 1-year; yep, 1-year – almost to the day. During that year Doug even hand wrote checks to refund a lot of customers who bought lessons because he didn’t think the lessons were good enough – even though I don’t think one person complained. They were being sold for $9.95 each. It was a lot of money to refund and that was after paying for magazine ads. Yet, people just kept buying. More importantly, we took care of them. It’s amazing what happens when you are grateful and thankful.
Metal Method grew fast. It was like people were starving for guitar lessons. At the year anniversary of Metal Method the business seemed strong enough that we could move to a bigger place to live/work. Every Thursday a new Recycler (local paper) came out and I would get up early to get the newest issue before others did to check for houses for rent. Good houses to rent go super fast in Los Angeles. You have to be at-one with your desire to get what you want – not just in LA, but in general. Don’t wait for chances, take them.
Doug’s only requirement was that I find something with a room he could use for his studio. So I did. In Los Angeles, everyone needs a studio so most houses have a room just for that purpose or a guest house that can be used for a studio.
A house in Woodland Hills stood out to me. It was $1000 a month though and a little scary going from $300 a month to over 3 times that amount. But, it was three floors and Doug’s studio was spacious and on the first floor next to a huge garage. It was almost dream-like that I found it. My studio was on the third floor and next to what became the mailroom with inventory of t-shirts, leather merchandise from Ape Leather in Los Angeles, shipping supplies, guitar lesson books, tapes and cassettes. I could also pack orders in between working on my art projects and watch over employees when they eventually came, and they did.
We even had rooms in the middle floor of the house for office space, computers (started out with an Osbourne), printers, office supplies and a room for cassette tape recorders.
The house is at 20942 Calimali, up in the hills and near Malibu beach and Gladstones; a beautiful English Tudor that had just been built by a guy named Joseph Godbout in 1983. Not only did it have a studio, it had a bar in a living room with a huge stone fireplace. Eventually, Yngwie Malmsteen moved in right behind us and entertained us with his practice sessions when windows were open. Pat Benatar lived down the street and Quiet Riot was nearby along with Dio and Motley Crue.
Yngwie drives the way he plays; fast! And in the hills it is a bit unnerving to come up a winding road in a Jaguar XJS and see Yngwie blazing trails towards you. The rent amount on Calimali never changed and a rent payment was never missed. We did very well. The right environment can be motivating. We lived there for 8 years until they sold it, then we bought a house up the street on Alhama.
Arlen Roth’s Hot Licks lessons and Star Licks Productions with Wolf Marshall and a couple of other guitar lesson teachers began advertising in the same magazines we did. But for me, and it was for Doug too, competition is a waste of time to focus on. To be concerned with what others are doing can really stall what you are working on or in some cases cause you to give up. I prefer to partner with or promote those who are doing things in life than fight them and myself. Inspiration is more important. Play the right song and I am ready to create. If you don’t take the positive path, you are on a negative one and downward spiral.
Our ads started out as 1/3 page for Hit Parader, then half page, then full page in Circus, Kerrang! where we worked with Kelv Hellrazer, and eventually Guitar World working closely with publisher Greg Di Benedetto for years. I think Doug continued advertising in Guitar World until around 2002, maybe he still does, I don’t know.
We acquired sponsors: Carvin who basically gave Doug a key to the store, Jackson guitars built a guitar for Doug. We would go down to the Carvin Hollywood store and pick up equipment to add to his studio and include the equipment in ads; same with the Carvin factory and Jackson factory.
Jason: Do you remember how Doug came up with the idea for Metal Method? Metal Method started out where Doug would record lessons on audio tapes. Do you remember how long it would take for him to record these lessons and when recording the lessons to tape did he plan out ahead of time what he was going to record or did he just hit record, and come up with the lessons as he was recording them?
Londa: Doug is still recording the lessons. Last time I talked to him about a year or so ago, he said he was re-doing the lessons. He has revised the lessons many times since inception because he is an absolute perfectionist; very methodical, very detail oriented.
He does plan out ahead of time what he is going to do. That was also his method for song writing and his method for playing live. There is nothing about the lessons that have been on the spur of the moment that I am aware of. That is really not his style. Possibly he played some things emotionally live, but I kind of doubt it. He rehearsed and prepared thoroughly.
The idea for guitar lessons came from giving guitar lessons in our basement in Denver. We lived there for two years. After Nightwyng ended I started working at a design firm in Atlanta who relocated me and Doug to Denver where Doug began giving guitar lessons. But, I missed the band life and was desperate to go to Los Angeles, so I persuaded Doug to leave Denver and go to LA. After we arrived in Van Nuys he continued the guitar lesson idea but became overloaded with guitar lesson requests. Students from Denver followed us to LA, students in the valley came to our tiny oneroom studio apartment and after working all day in East LA at a design company there, I had to come back and sit in the bathroom until he finished with the lessons. We thought, “Let’s advertise in the rock magazines and do this the easy way.”
Believe me when I say, “It is not the easy way.” Although, working for yourself is a better way to make money and be paid what you are worth; it allows you to remain independent and in some cases it can make you a better person.
We went over several ideas for names for a company and one day Doug was opening the refrigerator at the Van Nuys studio apartment and as I was standing there. He turned to me and said, “What about Metal Method?” I said, “That’s it!” I designed a logo that I role modeled after Marshall amps logo and we began the business. Later, I added the word: Productions, on the end of Metal Method when we incorporated.
Doug sold a lot of his equipment he had built and or used on the road to invest in the business too. Originally, Doug bought a few cassette tape recorders to record the lessons and make copies to mail out. As the business grew we acquired a lot of cassette machines to duplicate until much later finding someone to duplicate for us.
How long it would take him? Well, that was a frustrating thing for me because he always wanted to put the ad out before he was completed with new lessons because it forced him to finish something, otherwise, he would be years completing one lesson. But, it put pressure on me to complete the booklets and graphics for the new project because I had to wait for his final input on the lessons. It worked though.
It is hard to say how long because you know, you work on stuff your whole life until you format it and it’s a product. We lived in Denver for two years and he began writing lessons there. And he continued in Van Nuys after we got there in 1982. We lived in Van Nuys for one year before moving to Woodland Hills. The Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced were complete by the time we got to Woodland Hills.
Jason: Now Londa I know you played a big role in coming up with the Metal method Ads, and helped with the promotion of Metal Method. My question is how was it that you were the one who was given that responsibility? I mean did you have any previous PR experience?
Londa: Doug and I did everything together. We were basically together all the time and very much in sync with each other. It was a natural thing that I did everything visually and was in charge of it. Music has always been a driving force in my life, before Doug, during Doug and still is, my life. It is what makes me create art.
We were always animated and excited about developing projects and building a music business together, discussed what was needed creatively all the time and I made my end of it happen as he did. I always wanted to impress him, make him proud of me. Doug also worked on a lot of the business aspects; database, mailing/shipping labels, newsletter mailings until we had help then he was freed up to work more on music. But, he and I answered the phone (customer service) for a long time. We did hire someone to do so but we sold more guitar lessons when we did and it was good to find out what people thought about the lessons when we talked to our customers.
Doug continued answering the phone until mid 2000’s. He may even do so now. Getting an 800 number was something that took Doug awhile to agree to due to costs and such but it turned into a positive. We would do mailings frequently and have huge mail bags filled with newsletters that we sent to our mailing list and mailed from the dock at the post office; thousands, like 50,000 or so at a time.
My PR experience came from traveling and working with Doug’s bands, being art director of an interior decorator’s design firm in Atlanta Ga., and working at graphics companies. I went to a couple of colleges and took design, minor business and tech classes through the years including a branch of UCLA tech school in Los Angeles. I have always been in charge of things I worked on, including at a couple of tech companies, one of which was a Jenna Jameson company where I was head of marketing but that was after Metal Method and Hawk. When I was younger, I was the one who sold the most cocktails at waitress jobs, just natural at marketing I guess. I am a risk taker and push the envelope to make things happen – IF I believe that something has to happen it happens and visually I prove why, as quickly as humanly possible.
Doug had complete faith in me as far as marketing and design. He knows how intuitive I am, how well I understand music and his ideas as well as my own. He would write out what he wanted for an ad and I would interpret it creatively and include my own wording too; edit each other. We both worked every single day, any time. I still do. We compromised in a very flowing manner. Sure, we disagreed on things at times but for the most part, it was worked out to where we were both satisfied. But, I am a self starter type, comprehend things quickly, know what needs to be done and do it. Generally, I don’t wait for direction, which can be a problem at times but it was a good balance.
Jason: Now i must go on record here as saying that those Metal Method ads really stood out, I mean I was not any kind of a Musician myself but I remember seeing these ads in Circus Magazine, Hit parader magazine, both of course were print magazines that supported the hard rock/Metal scene at that time. Talk a little bit about how you were able to get Metal Method advertised in such major publications at the time?
Londa: Money. That is what it takes to get an ad in a magazine unless you know a magazine who loves you so much or you are so successful they will be happy to advertise or market you for free.
I was paid to work at a graphics studio in East LA and had access to some pro graphic tools that helped me put some ads together, but my design approach is to market from a mythological perspective. You know, rock and roll is, or has been, and should be, a mythological experience; a show that can make people feel something, see as mythological, feel as mythological and inspire them; full of heart and soul, love, passion, the right words that can cause them to dream about being in that position or affect their life positively.
Marketing/advertising is a show. And, when you put those hard earned dollars down to place an ad in a magazine that people around the world can see for a month or two and years beyond you want it to be as great as possible.
I looked at it from my perspective; “What would make me buy guitar lessons? Well, a rock star would. And, since there weren’t rock stars selling guitar lessons then I knew that Doug could be that guy – whether he was or not. If we were fully investing in this, we had to do it right.
Think like a Rock Star thinks, or close to it, put on the best show you can from your heart and soul. And, if you do then you see the kind of results you dream of: people appreciating what you do for them.
I have always been very emotional but I know how to harness it and turn it into my work. Technicalities are not on my mind when I create stuff, zero. Emotion, love, passion and pure energy is. And, if those ingredients aren’t in the work, that is felt too. Well, technicalities now matter in that hoping my equipment and Internet work. That helps. And, since Italy has the world’s worst Internet connection (literally), it can be challenging some days. But, I love Italy.
I just posted this in my last magazine issue and it is the basis of dream results for both the creator and the receiver: “When you design something you have to have cost in mind, but at the same time you can’t just think of money because if you start to think of money, you stop thinking of ideas.” And, although I could have worked for major corporations for the majority of my life, I knew that if I did I would become a part of that entity, that owner’s dream, not mine. I would lose myself. I see it all the time, very unhappy lost souls – they have no souls – trying to make everyone else as miserable as they are to justify their bad choices.
I’d rather not have money than become part of a corporate environment. I study that environment or what they offer only to know how to avoid certain things or discover any benefits if possible, though truthfully, about the only thing worth studying right now is technology, especially cryptography, blockchain, cryptocurrencies.
My family roots are from Cork too so maybe it is an Irish thing, a rebel thing, I don’t know. As my fellow Irish artist Rory Gallagher said, “I don’t want to be Boy George. I don’t want to be Bryan Ferry. I want to be me. I am Rory Gallagher.”
Jason: Metal Method started out as lessons on Audio tape from what I understand, how long after launching Metal Method was it before Doug made the decision to start doing the lessons on video tape?
Londa: Yes, we started out on cassettes. Doug recorded copies on his machines, then we had a company make duplicates of them too. As for video, I believe he began those in 1992/3.
Jason: I must tell you Londa that those Metal Method ads really impressed the hell out of me even all these years later because I remember when I first started seeing the ads in Circus Magazine and Hit Parader and I thought to myself, who this guy Doug Marks?
Londa: I don’t know but he really looks like a Rock Star! I realize now just how impressive these ads were because again all these years later when I hear Metal Method I think oh yea Doug Marks, the Guitar Player from that band: Hawk, Circus Magazine, Hit Parader! I mean all these years later hearing the name: Doug Marks and I make all those associations right away! So I guess the ads did make a lasting impression.
Really good to hear that! And thank you Jason for saying so. Doug wore the Hawk look, t-shirts, hair and band clothes in the major magazine ads, including Guitar World for guitar lessons for years before and after Hawk.
It was fun for me to go to the garment district in Los Angeles and buy leather, suede, feathers, rivets and all the fabrics and stuff they have there to create the band clothes and accessories. There were a couple of shops that sold Native American supplies that I frequented too, then build a character that was seen as a rock star. People do that every day in the entertainment industry but it was great to do that for my own band and artist husband at the time.
Doug would rehearse for the photo sessions and then we got the Jackson and Carvin guitars. The day Doug got the white Jackson V in the mail he was in his studio in Woodland Hills, not long after we had moved there, opened it. He literally jumped up and down. It was a happy day! We approached everything about both Metal Method and Hawk professionally and with the intent of doing the best job possible for every single person who believed in us enough to buy our product, our band, our ideas. It all mattered and still matters. House where Hawk was created and Metal Method business was located.
Jason: Now we’ve mentioned Circus Magazine and Hit Parader quite a bit throughout this interview but what I find very interesting is that Metal Method is still around and kicking long after both those magazines have since gone out of publication. My question to you is why do you think that Metal Method has remained a thriving business all these years later?
Londa: The same reason anything is successful after “All These Years” is that, “All These Years” happen through continuity, through considering value for your customers and audience, being persistent and believing in what you do, being true to who you are.
Growing with the times like adding new product, especially learning technology, conveying stability, a history of being there for those who believe in you: your customers, so they feel secure in ordering from you; advertising, and marketing is huge – without good marketing it is extremely difficult to achieve success. Think about a couple of million ‘Pet’ Rocks that
sold for $4 each…focus on SEO and content; Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Get a great artist to work with you who becomes a part of what you do, who believes in you, is passionate about what you do and who you are and brings out the best in you.
Customers can become loyal to you, follow you, stay by your side if you have something that helps them, that makes them feel magical. And, if you do then they tell people too or others see the changes in them and asks about what made that change happen.
Jason: Do you remember what was the point and why Doug made the decision to bring other Guitar Players into Metal Method and have these other players start to help him recording lessons as well?
Londa: When I was evaluating audition tapes for Hawk there were three vocalists I considered; Jim Gillette, David Fefolt and Charles Morrill. It was close with David. He had just completed a record entitled Valhalla which was really good. He is a super polished vocalist and excellent, but I personally preferred a raspier, more raw vocal and personality with Charles and felt he was a better fit with at least my idea for the band. Obviously Charles was chosen. He is full blooded Cherokee, a natural, emotional, excellent front man, songwriter and guitarist.
Doug remained friends with Jim and David. Eventually David sang on the Hawk album and Jim began working with Michael Angelo Batio. Michael Angelo Batio and Doug decided to do a guitar lesson in or about 1991 entitled, “Speed Kills,” as well as Jim did a vocal lesson for Metal Method entitled, “Vocal Power.” After that, Doug realized that by adding new and different lessons it could add variety to his catalog and free him up a bit. Prominent musicians Myles Kennedy (Alter Bridge and Slash), Rusty Cooley (Outworld) and Mike Chlasciak (Halford) have cited learning to play guitar using Metal Method guitar lessons.
Jason: Now in addition to Metal Method at one point Doug had a band called Hawk which went through a few lineups and some of the other band members included Drummer: Scott Travis (Judas Priest/Racer X), Bassist Lonnie Vincent (Bullet Boys), Drummer: Matt Sorrum (GNR, The Cult, Velvet Revolver). So as people can see because of who was involved in the band here we’re talking about a band that had huge potential. My question is how long was Hawk together before the band disbanded?
Londa: Hawk was together from 1984/5 – 1986. Yes, agreed. It was a band of greats. I am very proud to say that I found those guys. When I received Charles’ package for an audition from an ad in Bam magazine in LA., Doug had been staying in Hollywood working on some
lessons. I was floored by what I received and listened to: “Lovin’ You” was a song Charles wrote and it was just one of many excellent songs he came with and he had a following in Long Beach. His pictures fit my idea of the ideal vocalist/front man and I just had a feeling he was the vocalist. I was so excited I had to go to Hollywood to find Doug, and figured he was at one of the clubs. I found him at the Troubadour and showed him the package. He was very excited about it. And, we began immediately going forward with the band. Hair, makeup, getting dressed was an all day job with the band before shows; 4 guys and myself inhaling Aqua Net all day, doing hair and makeup, lacing up costumes, preparing mic stand with rawhide, brass and beads; getting psyched up.
After talking Doug into hiring Scott, I spent months talking to Scott Travis trying to persuade him to move to Los Angeles. He said he got stage-fright and hated leaving his mother there and family and so on. Lots of logical reasoning but when Scott agrees to do something he is all-in, very disciplined and performs beyond expectations. For me, there is nothing like working with a professional. Achievements you can be proud of can happen then.
When I first received Scott Travis’s video tape, and I went through thousands maybe, we already had a drummer, Glenn Burtis from Lita Ford. But, I knew that Scott had to be the Hawk drummer.
One afternoon after rehearsal I made everyone sit in front of the TV and I put Scott’s audition video in. His solo was the same solo he plays with Judas Priest on Painkiller. Glenn wasn’t there at that time. Well, eyes widened and no one said anything after it was finished. Mouths were opened, then slowly everyone looked at each other. I had to spend days trying to talk Charles into this because he just was having a hell of a time with replacing Glenn as we all were, but reality set in.
Eventually, Doug and I moved Scott and Sharon (his girlfriend at the time) out to Los Angeles and rented an apartment for them and Charles and his wife and kids to share. Lonnie lived with us; he and Charles grew up together so he came into the band through Charles.
We rehearsed at the Rock House in Burbank and later at SIR in Hollywood where Guns ’n Roses, Faster Pussycat and the likes rehearsed at the time. I got into it with Scott one day at the Rock House because he wanted to paint his name on his drumheads but I insisted the band name Hawk be painted on them. It was Hawk band not the Scott Travis band. In the end he
agreed. I painted the drumheads with the Hawk logo on them around the same time I made the Hawk backdrop with Charles’ help (see videos). The band rarely ever argued though. We had a lot of fun and were seriously professional.
Jason: Once the Hawk album was released what was the immediate response the band got? I mean how well did the album sell and what was reaction the band got once they started to perform live?
Londa: The original Hawk band sold out every show we did – before the album. No shows were done with Hawk that included David Fefolt the vocalist on Hawk album, or anyone else on the album. Live shows were with Doug Marks, Charles Morrill, Lonnie Vencent, Scott Travis or Glenn Burtis. I’ll never forget the day I spent with Bill Gazzari at his bar chatting for hours about HAWK and listening to the history of Gazzari’s, playing the HAWK demo tape for him and that moment when he said he would book Hawk.
We hit it off and he helped me put up the HAWK display window right next to the entry door outside the club on the Strip. Loved Bill, he was an awesome, super gentleman! Along with Gazzarri’s, I booked Hawk at the Troubadour, Country Club and Roxy around the time I took a demo tape to Michael Wagner at his Burbank studio and waited by his side while he listened to it, then delivered a demo to Spencer Proffer at Pasha Studio on Melrose.
Kevin LaHue worked at Pasha Studio owned by Spencer Proffer, and after I dropped off the tape one day Kevin called me and said he had found the tape in the trash and loved it. He started working for us because he was very enthusiastic about Hawk and was quite instrumental in the album coming together with parts of it being done at Pasha.
The HAWK album included David Fefolt (vocals), Matt Sorum (drums, Guns ‘N Roses, Velvet Revolver, Hollywood Vampires, Motorhead), Dave Tolly & Steve Ayola (keyboards), Mark Edwards (drum tech), Mixed by Duane Baron, Alex Woltman & Kevin LaHue at Spencer Proffer’s Pasha Music House/CBS label, Hollywood. Originally mastered at Greg Fulginiti, Artisan Sound Records, Hollywood. The Hawk album was recorded in 1986 as a Doug Marks solo project after the original band dissolved.
Spencer Proffer produced the first heavy metal record, Quiet Riot’s Metal Health, to reach the top of the pop charts, selling six million albums. The Hawk album got airplay across the U.S. and several great reviews. I have a lot of that info in storage but have lived in Florence, Italy for the past five years and don’t have access to it right now. I don’t remember how many albums we sold but it did pretty well. It was a great feeling to be driving up the coast in Malibu and hear Hawk on the radio out of the blue!
Doug still sells the Hawk album from metalmethod.com and the Hawk Youtube channel collectively has over 500k views (Google Hawk Hollywood, Roxy). One video that David Fefolt sang on, “Tell The Truth” has 393,000 views as of today, November 1, 2018. A live Hawk video at the Roxy includes Charles singing one of his songs, “No One To Love,” it has 63,000 views. Hawk live performance videos includes Scott Travis, Lonnie Vencent, Charles Morrill and Doug Marks.
There are a couple of Hawk albums for sale on picclick.ca one for $84.99 and another for $20 or so, and Doug sells them for $9.95. Some of our ads for sale there too.
No, I don’t make anything on anything Doug sells. I am just still enthusiastic about a dearly loved creative project I was a sponsor of. Please don’t ask me if I have Hawk stuff for sale. I do not. The few shirts, albums and other merchandise I have left I am keeping. I gave a lot away to fans in Colombia.
Jason: Once the Hawk album was released I was curious if a lot of people on the scene at the time knew the Guitar Player: Doug Marks was the same guy who did the Metal Method Guitar lessons?
Londa: Yes. Doug was stopped frequently and asked to sign autographs. Any time we went to Hollywood, the Rainbow or Roxy and clubs it was like a rock star entered the room. And, of course the album was promoted in some of the guitar lesson ads as well as we put full page ads in the major magazines too which helped.
Jason: I know that you were also very involved with doing a lot of the PR to help promote Hawk. How much did you enjoy that and how different was the PR. you did to promote Metal Method VS. the PR you did for HAWK?
Londa: I still promote both of them. Hawk and Metal Method is a big part of who I am; Hawk more so. I can’t say there was much difference in my approach at all with either. It all worked together. The guitar lesson business really helped the band and the band really helped the guitar lessons. It was rock ’n roll dynamite that never fully exploded because the fuse is still lit since Colombia can’t get enough of Hawk.
Lots of pirating there printing their own Hawk hats and t-shirts and probably albums because I see all that stuff for sale all the time, and being worn, literally about every day through Facebook. People still buy Metal Method guitar lessons, students from the 80’s are buying it for their kids now. It’s mythology. That’s how mythology works; it’s timeless. That’s why people still love 70’s music/artists.
Jason: In regards to HAWK what was the point when the decision was made to end the band and concentrate full time on Metal Method?
Londa: We were in talks with a manager sent by Ahmet Ertegun, President of Atlantic Records then who wanted to sign the band to Atlantic Records, but money issues broke the band up. From that point, Doug completed the Hawk album and has been working on Metal Method ever since.
Jason: In regards to Hawk is there any unreleased music, has there ever been any talk of doing any kind of Re-union?
Londa: I am 99% sure there is none. It is highly doubtful there is any unreleased music. I have not heard of any and I am sure it would have been released by now. As for reunions, anything is possible of course, perhaps not probable, but I won’t answer with an absolute no.
Jason: Now Londa I know these days Doug is keeping busy with Metal Method but you are involved in a new venture of your own called: Rock Legends. Talk a little bit about this new venture and let our readers know how they can find out more about Rock legends?
Londa: Rock Legend News magazine is developed in Firenze, Italy at my studio by me. The magazine generally features my favorite 60s, 70s and 80s musicians, but also current bands and artists who submit material are considered.
Every issue includes Pete Way, as I am the administrator of Pete Way Facebook Group, which I founded January 2015. Bass legend Pete Way as you probably know is a founder of UFO and Waysted. He has performed with Michael Schenker, Fast Eddie Clarke, Jerry Shirley, Neil Carter, Jason Bonham, Aynsley Dunbar, Clive Edwards, Danny Peyronel, Nikki Sixx, Herman Rarebell, Robin George, Johnny Dee, Simon Wright, Spike and so Pete has also played with Ozzy Osbourne and was a founder of FastWay.
My magazine is published online only and through ISSUU, the world’s largest electronic publishing and discovery platform for magazines, catalogs, newspapers, and other publications. Rock Legend News can be found on ISSUU alongside Classic Rock, Fender, Circus, Guitar World, Music Connection, Drum Media, Rolling Stone, The History of Rock, Heavy, In Rock, Metal Hammer, Billboard, MRF (Frontiers Records, Italy), and is registered with R.R. Bowker LLC., based in New Providence, New Jersey, and incorporated in Delaware, an exclusive agent for issuing International Standard Book Numbers (ISBNs) for works to the book trade, including publishers, booksellers, libraries, and individuals; its roots in the industry trace back to 1868.
Jason: How did you come up with the idea for Rock legends and how happy have you been with response you’ve gotten since you launched Rock legends?
Londa: Originally, I had done interviews with Tempi-Dispari in Rome, Italy. They made major changes to the format and website and some of the interviews still haven’t been reposted on their new site: tempi-dispari.it. I setup a Facebook page to keep the interviews I did archived and called it Rock Legend News Interviews then added Rock Legend News page to include other things.
Around that time I was managing Gypsy Pistoleros and wrote an outline for them on how to sell their own music because it frustrated me so much at how artists/musicians are taken advantage of. I booked a show for them at Hard Rock Hell about 2 years ago; they had played Rocklahoma too and they paid quite a lot to do so. HRH pay is minuscule; it is unbelievable how little the artist makes playing these shows though they do get exposure – for what it’s worth. All of that and what record companies take from artists, for me is just painfully shocking! So, I tried to show some ways they could sell their own music.
As I was writing the outline, it turned into about 50 pages and I thought that magazine format is easier to read and would let others know about it too. During Metal Method years I put together a zine entitled, Visions, that we worked on and sent out a couple of times a year teaching people how to get Doug’s ‘look’ and included some guitar lesson info and I really liked doing that.
After one issue of Rock Legend News, I thought that my zine would be perfect for promoting Pete Way so he’s been featured in every issue starting with the second one. Rock Legend News began in 2016. I also did an interview with Pete in October 2014 for Tempi-Dispari, now located at: Rock Legend News https://www.rocklegendnews.com/pete-way .
Alchemist Publishing publishes Rock Legend News online magazines along with numerous self invented products, including Tarocchi games, luxury products, fashion & accessories and reproduction medieval furnishings. I found the publishing company in 1993 just after being published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc., Londa Tarot & Crow’s Magick Tarot decks and books/kits. Londa Tarot, named by the publisher at U.S. Games, included 80 paintings now housed in U.S. Games private art museum alongside Salvador Dali art and 15th century Visconti-Sforza decks.
As for the responses to Rock Legend News, according to my stats I have accumulated over 132,000 readership/impressions since 2016. Basically, I only post the magazines on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin at this point due to time constraints. I’m not sure people are aware that it is my magazine that I develop and only publish every couple of months. It would be nice to have help but it is a free magazine and I already invest all I can into it. I do plan to offer some of my products and merchandise for sale in it though next year. And, I do accept Bitcoin donations.
Jason: Thanks again Londa, anything else you’d like to say to our readers?
Londa: Before locating to Firenze I was contemplating my options of France instead. The French Riviera is appealing to me because of the lifestyle, the beach and seafood. I had just finished creating numerous products and my 13th tarot deck entitled, Medici Tarot for my publishing company and decided it was break time.
While looking through videos about the Riviera I found something that seemed like Fate screaming at me though and is probably the best advice I could give to anyone. A ‘message’ (back to the crow) came glaring on the screen, it was two yachts; one was named: Work Hard. The other yacht was named Work Harder.
I ended up choosing Firenze then because of my love for the Renaissance, Cosimo de’ Medici and his grandson Lorenzo de’ Medici and all the artists they sponsored, nurtured, invested in and believed in and who basically created the Renaissance. I wanted to be able to leave my apartment every day and walk in the Renaissance creators footsteps and be surrounded by their work.
Growing up in a Catholic schooling system you are taught about Firenze from first year of school and I had desired to be here since then. Upon arriving in Rome, Italy (back to the phoenix) – (the country of Italy is in the astrological sign of Leo/fire), I met someone who worked at the Rome, Leonardo da Vinci (codes) airport that talked me into working on rock star interviews with him (Tempi-Dispari) which was really the beginning of Rock Legend News. I haven’t stopped working on music and art projects since I got here February 14, 2014. Firenze Hard Rock Cafe was the first place I went for food too.
Recently, I utilized a phoenix in an ad I did (just realizing this) which included Pete Way for a Rock Legend News issue featuring Pete. That issue and the David Byron/Uriah Heep issue are my two favorites for 2018.
You can view Pete Way issue here: https://issuu.com/rocklegendnews/docs/petewaymay 2018 issue.
You can view David Byron issue here: https://issuu.com/rocklegendnews/docs/rocklegendnews_july2018_issue_featu
Jason: For people who might be interested in being featured or wanting to help support Rock Legends how should they go about doing that?
Londa: Next issue of Rock Legend News is scheduled to be published February 2019 To be considered for inclusion please send info by January 15 to: Rock Legend News: https://rocklegendnews.com/contact
*Hawk Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/HAWKRockBandOfficial
*My Website: https://www.londarmarks.com/
*Pete Way Facebook Group (PM me to join): https://www.facebook.com/groups/petewaygroup/
*My Facebook: https://facebook.com/Londa.R.Marks
*Metal Method: https://metalmethod.com
Jason: Yeah Londa Thanks so much again for doing this once again, I’d like to do a followup interview maybe in a few months where we could talk a little more about Rock legends. Take care of yourself.
Londa: Any time Jason. Thank YOU! These were good questions. You take care too.
* Lonnie Vencent interview with Tempi-Dispari & Rock Legend News: https://www.rocklegendnews.com/lonnie-vencent
** Doug Marks testimonial 1990: https://www.rocklegendnews.com/testimonials
*** Sarah Spisak testimonial March/April 2017 issue of Rock Legend News: https://issuu.com/rocklegendnews
Pasha Music House / Spencer Proffer: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spencer_Proffer