Harp, the Herald Angels Sing

The Ghost of Christmas Past: Mark Harp (1957-2004)

Like Santa Claus, Mark was a Big Man

Lest we forget, legendary Baltimore musician Mark Linthicum – better known to friends and local music lovers as Mark Harp or “Harpo” (for his resemblance to the similarly curly-haired Harpo Marx) – passed away on Christmas Eve, 2004. God rest ye merry rockin’ man – and thanks for the music, mirth and memories.

He’s making a set list, he’s playing it twice…

Atomic TV: Mark Harp – Music Minus One from Atomic TV on Vimeo.

Some remembrances follow…

Mark Harp (1957-2004)
(Baltimore City Paper, 1/5/2005)

It can be difficult to put your finger on who, exactly, Mark Harp was. That’s because, in some respects, he was many people. He was, as his web site www.markharp.com describes in the fine print on the front page, a “guitarist – web geek – theater sound designer – sampler musician – songwriter and composer – nutbar – website and graphic designer – bass guitarist – producer – director – arranger – bon vivant – unemployable dirt eater – Clark Bar enthusiast – ex-IMAX projectionist – actor – retired paperboy – SubGenius Pope – AND The King Of Peru.”

He was also Corky Neidermayer, bowler and musician who wrote the underground bowling hit “Bowling With You.” He was a member of too many local bands to name here, but the list includes the Motor Morons, Chelsea Graveyard, Glasphalt, Kunigunda, and 700 Lb. Boyfriend. He was a card-carrying pope in the Church of the Subgenius. He was the guy who put Hampden’s Miracle on 34th Street Christmas display. on the web

“He was a freak,” longtime friend Brandon Welch says. “But when I say ‘a freak,’ I mean it in a positive way. He was a smart, talented man with a strange sense of humor who enjoyed making people laugh and entertaining himself.”

At 5:48 a.m. on Christmas Eve, that smart, talented man’s heart stopped and Mark Harp died.

Continue reading “Mark Harp (1957-2004)” at Baltimore City Paper.


Set List: Remembering Mark Harp
by Pamela Purdy (Baltimore City Paper, 1/5/2005)

I can’t say I knew Mark Harp that well. For a brief time though, from September 1981 to December 1982, I’d push up close to the bandstand at venues like Girard’s and Coast to Coast and dance until my calves ached to the music of Null Set—Mark on guitar, Billy on vocals, John on bass, and Louis on drums. So when I heard last week that Harpo’s heart had failed him after a serious operation, all I could do was picture myself dancing with Amy, Bernie, Genie, Ira, Katie, Leigh, Lumpy, Mindy, Randy, Steevee, Tommy, and the rest of the Null Set camp followers.

According to my diary, first time I ever clapped eyes on Mark Harp was in a Battle of the Bands at the Marble Bar on Sept. 6, 1981. I’d come straight from the hospital where my father was all wired up and fighting for his life. I’d held his hand for almost an hour, until the radio at the nurses’ station played “Can’t live if living is without you.” Then I joined a teeny-weeny audience to hear the Screamers battle Null Set and St. Vitus’ Dance. I told my diary I was probably the one person who voted for Null Set who wasn’t dating a member of the band.

Continue reading “Set List: Remembering Mark Harp” at Baltimore City Paper.


Our Friend, Mark Harp, Dies
by Benn Ray (The Mobtown Shank, 12/24/2004)

Some of you may have heard that Mark Harp, friend, resident of Hampden’s Miracle on 34th St., vertible music factory, and Baltimore fixture, was seriously ill. We did not post anything about it in the Shank due to the serious condition he was in. He was in no position to receive visitors, and we didn’t want to do anything that would contribute to chaos while Mark was trying to recover. This week we had intended to post an address where friends could send cards.

Tragically, Mark didn’t recover.

The following is a message posted to ArtMobile.
Mark passed away last night. His heart stopped in the middle of the night and they were unable to start it again. I had just seen him hours earlier and he was happy. He had regained the ability to talk. He was telling jokes to me and his friend Brandon and my wife and the nurses. We were making plans to talk to him again “tomorrow” when he would have more time to talk. Well for Mark there was no “tomorrow”. He was so glad that so many people were concerned about him. He will be sorely missed. Details to follow when I know more. -Dave Z.

The lights on Hampden’s Christmas St. will not shine as bright.

I’m so sorry to have to post this.


by Tom Warner (Accelerated Decrepitude, 4/12/2008)

I love Mark Harp. Along with Mark O’Connor, Randy Peck and the boys in Berserk, he is one of the few local musical geniuses I’ve met in my life. By pure serendipity I happen to be dating his ex-wife and by pure happenstance she just happened to come across this old CD by him while we were shopping at Normals Books & Records.

Insane? Believe the hype!

It comes from Mark’s casio cowboy days as a heavy, heavy sampler of sound bites. Some of these Amy recognized, most she didn’t, coming as they did after she and “Harpo” split up in the mid-’90s. I recognized a kindred spirit for, just like me with Atomic TV, Mark loved finding obscure sound bites and looping them ad infinitum. Marshall McLuhan would be proud.

Who would get rid of this CD? Their loss. As it is the world’s loss since Mark Harp passed away Christmas Eve of 2004. But fear not, the whole album is available for download from Mark Harp’s website (www.markharp.com). Click to download: Insane!

Anyway, herein is a track by track review of this mostly all-found-sounds record (with additional real human voices courtesy of bassist Dave Zidik, Mike Dejong and even Mark himself intoning “Grey Peach Cobbler” in the song of that name).

Continue reading “Mark Harp’s Big Thing: Insane!” at Accelerated Decrepitude.

This entry was posted in 2000s, 80s Rock, Baltimorons, Music, Punk / New Wave, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Harp, the Herald Angels Sing

  1. I remember the year he gave everyone Devo’s Snowball 45 for Christmas. I still have mine.

  2. David Wright says:

    I still remember the look in his eyes when I gave him a Bill & Ted action figure of Lincoln playing the keyboards for Christmas. He looked like a five-year-old. He usually looked like an eight-year-old, but that day I made him look five. 🙂

  3. John Dugan says:

    Mark Linthicum Patterson HS Class of 1975……….Mark and I were Thespians together, performing some silly melodrama for our classmates entertainment. He was the protagonist, Jack Dalton, dressed in the silliest lavender plaid jacket, with matching pants. He was in his glory! I played the foil, Hector Harcourt, with handlebars and stovepipe hat……”Curse you, Jack Dalton!!!”

  4. Pingback: Atomic TV — The “Mark Harp: Music Minus One” Episode | Atomic TV

  5. neal blaxberg says:

    I was booking entertainment for the Hopkins Rathskellar in 1980 and had no idea what I was getting into………I just started talking to all these bands playing down at the Marble Bar, and the next thing I know, Mark Harp, Null Set, The Alcoholics and Thee Katatonix were getting the big brass at Hopkins very upset with their bad manners and awesome music. It was the best year of my life to date. Thanks Mark and all the rest (with a special nod to Ebenezer and the Bludgeons and their opening salvo “Biafran Boy.”)

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