Have records will travel
Classic Scooterist|April/May 2017

How many DJs do you know who would travel to a music gig on their trusty 2-Tone Vespa PX with a huge box of rare vinyl records strapped on the back?

Step forward DJ and scooterist Mark Howard, who when he’s not spinning tunes at one of the many well-known south coast venues like the Brighton Ska Train, can be found in his garage tinkering with his scooters, or recording his internet radio show.

It would be fair to describe Mark as a little more than your average scooterist DJ, as he’s not only passionate about the music, but about the whole scooter lifestyle. But he didn’t get into music because of the scooter lifestyle – in fact it was the other way around.

Music was part of Mark’s life from a very early age. When he was only five years old he got drawn into the whole process of how the oldfashioned record player worked and the way it dropped down individual records and then played them; this and the telltale scratching sound of the needles on vinyl just fascinated him. In his mind, it was just such a wonderful sound and he listened to all the rock ‘n’ roll tunes of that time – Buddy Holly, The Shadows, and many more. He never lost those first memories and his love of vinyl continues to this day. “I always preferred vinyl and never really got into CDs,” said Mark. “I think it was 1995 before I bought my first CD player. I like the way the internet works and how you can download things – but CDs never really worked for me.”

Mark’s dad also had a great influence on him. He was a jazz musician and one day, he sat Mark down in front of the telly and showed him a Bob Marley video, telling him: “That’s how you play the bass guitar, sunshine!”

At school when he was aged 12, various orchestral instruments were handed out in the music class. Mark had wanted to play the clarinet because he thought it might lead to him playing the saxophone, which he really wanted to do. But he happened to be the tallest boy in his class, so he ended up with the double bass. While that may not have been his first choice, it was eventually to lead him into the world of music, because playing the double bass led into him learning to play the bass guitar.

The Mod revival came along in the early 80s, but Mark was still a bit too young to get into the scene; he can recall scooters being around at the time, but because he couldn’t ride one, it didn’t rally spark any interest – and at that point in his life, he was playing in a band anyway, so he was otherwise occupied, especially as the music they played was more orientated towards groups like the Rolling Stones, or Jimi Hendrix; he was also influenced by seeing films such as the Blues Brothers – all of it seemed so much better than the Mod revivalist bands.

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