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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Mark Roffe Brief Mudcat Biographies. (59* d) RE: Brief Mudcat Biographies. 21 Jun 99


Born in 1948 in Brooklyn, which is a country in New York. Moved to a 5-mile long skinny gleaming white sand bar off the Atlantic coast of Long Island at age 2 (brought my family along, too). Dad had had a few successful years, and made enough money to design/build his and mom's dream house. Growing up there was a delight, full of boats and fishing and swimming in the bay and the ocean. Small enough town that all the kids in school knew each other. People didn't move around as much in those days, so they got to know each other quite well. Began clarinet lessons in the 2nd grade, and played through school. Began guitar in 1959 - started with folk, was introduced to blues in college in D.C. Dropped out of college in 1968 and moved to a farm commune in British Columbia. Then to San Francisco with flowers in my hair. Made/sold stained glass windows and other crafts. Moved to the Caribbean in 1970. Got a National Steel guitar. Bought with some partners a funky bar and restaurant right on the beach. After one partner's murder I got my seaman's papers and worked on an oceanographic boat. Went to Bermuda. Worked on 3 other boats. Played music in bars all through this time, usually solo or in a duo, and occasionally in larger groups. Also made stained glass creations all through this time. Had a myriad of other jobs (baker, dumptruck driver, tilesetter, dishwasher, papaya farmer, etc.). Decided to pursue jazz guitar. Heard there was a fine jazz teacher (Howard Morgen) in New York. Moved there, took jazz guitar lessons. In between lessons, taught myself classical guitar (a slow and ongoing process). Worked as a toy designer in the Bronx. Moved to Florida for a while, then back to San Francisco. Worked at a stained glass studio. Moved to the beach in Marin. Left for six months travel in Mexico and Central America and the Caribbean. Drove San Francisco taxi for several years while I went to college there, this time studying computers and metalworking, and finally graduating at the advanced age of 35. Gave up stained glass creating, which required a large workspace, and began doing fired glass enamels on metals, which can be done in a small space. Got happily married. Got my first "corporate" job, doing computer networking. Still doing that kind of work. But I'm really an artist/craftsman/musician trapped in a networker's body. I'm emerging as time goes on. I make glass marbles and bead creations, and am beginning once again to fire glass enamels onto shaped/etched pieces of copper and silver. We have three children, who along with Ginny would love to see me stop networking and only do music and art, but somewhere along the line I have become more practical (and frightened) than in my younger days, and I don't think it's appropriate to stop the steady paycheck abruptly and risk losing the physical environment we've put together for the kids. So I'm step-by-step creating the art/music life that we will step into as the kids get a bit older. Finishing the studio. Making enough objects to start selling again. This is not pie-in-the-sky, it is true, you could ask my very smart wife. Discovered the Mudcat while in search of some lyrics. The man with the jumbled last name, Joe Offer, invited me to a song circle, which has become for me a golden circle of friendship, political information, and rediscovery of singing the old songs.

Mark Roffe


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