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Friday, November 15, 2013

Exclusive Follow-up Interview: Mark Dawson, Lead Singer and Bassist of The Grass Roots

By Aaron S. Robertson

Last fall, 2012, I had the wonderful opportunity to conduct an extensive interview with Mark Dawson, the lead singer and bassist of The Grass Roots, as well as a talented solo artist. But so many exciting things have come his way since that interview just over a year ago, that I felt compelled to do a brief follow-up with him to see where he’s at with some of these exciting projects and developments. Enjoy!

“Busy summer. Where did it go?”, Mark asked in our hour-long conversation by phone on October 9. “The Grass Roots kept really busy. We played a lot of small towns. We also did the American Pop tour with The Buckinghams (author’s note: see my interview with Carl Giammarese, lead singer of The Buckinghams). We still have a few more of those shows this year.”

Mark Dawson Grass Roots Happy Together Tour
The Grass Roots on the Happy Together Tour, Wisconsin State Fair, 8/7/11.
Since our last conversation, Mark has launched a weekly radio show on the Internet-based station, Our Generation Radio, which also surely keeps him busy. “I’ve been receiving great ratings,” Mark said of the show, which airs Thursday nights from 9:00-11:00 eastern time and is named after his latest solo album, “Making Noise”. “I’ve been doing the show since the end of January [2013]. So far, I have 35 shows in. They tell me I’m their number one guy,” he explained. The show essentially got started through a mere chance meeting one evening after a concert with The Grass Roots and a number of other acts. “Holly Hammet told me about the station. She’s a friend of Howard Kaylan [from The Turtles]. She was following the Happy Together Tour, and I met her at a meet-and-greet after one of the shows. Took her card. Some time went by, and I decided to call her out of the blue one day, asked for the contact info for the station manager, Rick Wrigley. Was told to send a demo in. Two days later, I was asked, ‘When do you want to start?’”

As for the format of show, Mark describes it simply as, “Things I listen to.” Themes have included, among many others: bands with odd names, songs with the word “summer” in the title, and birthday songs, where you tell Mark the day and year you were born. There’s an occasional character, Frank the Bug Guy. “I write and edit my own comedy skits, and I’ll start on Monday for Thursday’s show,” he told me. Show episodes are now also archived at .

When he’s not on the air, touring with The Grass Roots, or cranking out the tunes in the recording studio, there’s always Simulcast, the local Orlando-area band that’s built up a loyal following and has become a smash hit at all sorts of events, both public and private, throughout Florida.

Mark Dawson Simulcast, Simulcast
Performing with Simulcast. Source: Mark Dawson.

And as for the book of hilarious Facebook posts and Tweets mentioned in my first interview that Mark is working to publish? It is currently being edited, and is set to be released in 2014, so stay tuned. It promises to be a real treat.

Be on the lookout for LayZEE pants in 2014, as well - a line of clothing he and wife Cathy are working on. The idea came from the radio show. As Mark explains, “I came to realize that I was often telling listeners at the beginning of the show, ‘It’s time to get into your lazy pants.’ You know, something comfortable, whatever you like to lounge around in. And that’s really how the idea came to be.” Mark and Cathy are currently lining up all the logistics, and there are plans to produce pants for men, women, and children.

Finally, mark your calendars. For the first time ever, and one time only, Mark will be airing a live concert on his radio show on 1/18/14. He’s putting together a talented lineup for the concert and billing the band, Mark Dawson and His Kings of Snack. It will be a one hour show featuring both Mark’s original material and some classic covers. Among the selections will be “She’s Gone Hollywood”, a song Mark wrote and recorded back in 1982 and originally produced as a 45 record.

Do check out my previous, more in-depth interview with Mark, and if you’re free on a Thursday night and find yourself wanting to relax and just be LayZEE, do tune into Mark’s radio show on Our Generation Radio. It’s a lot of fun.

Check out other neat, exclusive interviews by Aaron S. Robertson.

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