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March 16, 1960 - March 1, 1994

Mark Alan Sliker
Mark Sliker
Little Marky
Marky
Marky de Sade
Hollis
Snake

photo of Marky
All of these names signify different facets of the unique young man who deeply touched all of our lives. When I thought about the many things that knowing Mark taught me, the first is how he showed us about family. Unlike most of us, Mark never knowingly met anyone whose genes he shared. But he understood that it is love, not blood, that binds us.

As he grew up, Mark continually expanded his family, seeking to connect any new friend to old friends, so that they could all become part of his tribe. An African saying tells us that it takes an entire village to raise a child, and the first village to embrace Marky as one of their own was at 222 South Clemens.

Denny Cook served as the village elder, the patriarch of the musical tribe that included Omar and my sister Tina. Omar remembers the first time he saw Marky walk by, a fresh-faced kid in the throes of inventing himself.

In that era, Marky always showed up with a bottle of pop and a professed dedication to vegetarianism - at least until Denny caught Marky at the Mini-Mart, slathering mustard and relish onto three hot dogs he planned to wolf down out of sight from his pals.

This was the time when Marky eagerly played the role of little brother, endearingly pesky and the butt of all jokes. Tina remembers how excited Mark was at the prospect of them taking the music business by storm - with the gimmick of dressing the band in monks' robes - a reminder that the line between rock stardom and Spinal Tap has always been narrow.

Marky in jeans jacket
Marky's first real band was Razer, and bandmate and roommate Rick Wolfe remembers that becoming struggling rockers launched Marky on his lifelong career as a first-rate pop-can recycler. Staying afloat in that era often meant retrieving enough returnables to afford the fine cuisine of a Snickers or Baby Ruth.

To supplement their diet, Mark and Ricki planted row after row of squash and beans and other veggies on the land behind their home in Williamston. But these rock 'n' roll farmers soon discovered that a ravenous horde of ground squirrels had designs on their crops. The prospect of not only meatless but foodless meals spurred Mark and Ricki into waging all-out war against their furry foes, which included pouring water and ultimately even Dran-O into their burrows.

                                              From the left, Lee/Biggie, Craig/Roxy, and Mark/Marky

Living mostly on those green beans left Marky suitably skinny, so he could easily squeeze into the black leather that defined his role as the bassist for Ded Engine, a band that earned widespread respect in heavy metal circles for its Americanized Judas Priest sound.

With Doug, Scott, and Chip, Ded Engine allowed Marky to come into his own, writing lyrics, playing bass, and perfecting his stage persona as Marky de Sade.

These were the glory days for music in the Lansing area, when pals always made time to see other pals play. At bashes from Webberville to Bunches' to Spartan Speedway to Club Doobie, you would see friends cheering Marky in Ded Engine, then you would see Marky supporting Jan and Roxy in the rockabilly band The Flying Tigers and later in Jewel Fetish with Ricki and Kyle. And all of them would show up when Omar, Tina, Kitty, Crowmaxx, and Lee created their own unique version of rural punk with the infamous Vomit Pigs.

the entire gang

The release of Ded Engine's first album also signaled the time when many of these young musicians faced a life-shaping choice - whether to get serious about trying to make a career in music or whether to consider it a hobby done just for fun.

For Mark, there was really no choice. An extremely intelligent and multi-talented young man, Mark could have pursued any of a number of traditional careers, where paying the dues required to earn the proper credentials offers a virtual guarantee of future success. Mark also knew that, in contrast, the odds of becoming a rock star are even worse than for the Lotto. But he passionately loved rock music and its outlaw image, to the point where it was so much a part of his identity that he could not envision himself doing anything else, no matter the odds or the risks.

For him, it was a matter of personal integrity, and therefore his life also teaches us lessons about tolerance and respect.

When Mark joined his bride and soulmate Aimee in launching a new life in New York City, he made an unwavering commitment to pursuing a career in music, first in Ded Engine, then with the Love Pirates, and finally with Smashed Gladys.

 

Ded Engine
Doug Horstman, lead guitar; G. H. Lorimer, drums;
 Scott Litz, vocals; and Marky De Sade, bass

His immediate attraction and lifelong devotion to rock 'n' roll no doubt also stemmed from the fact that he was a true night person. As one myself, I know what a struggle it can be to find your niche in a world built by - and for - day people. And when I talk about Marky as a night person, I mean not only that he loved the feel and taste of the night, but also that his internal clock was calibrated so that the night was when he was at his peak.

As Mark's parents will attest, raising a child who considers midnight an early bedtime for a kindergartner is a challenge, and flipping days and nights is not something that Marky outgrew.

When day people talk about experiences that enrich their souls, they often talk about a bike ride through the woods or watching the sun come up on an early morning run.

But Marky felt that same sense of awe and wonder during his late-night walks on the streets of New York. One summer night a couple years ago, Mark called to tell me of the sheer beauty he saw in the neon lights reflected in puddles after a rain. He was the kind of man who could even smell romance in the piles of garbage stacked on the curb. He keenly felt a sense of shared humanity with those who inhabit the streets at night - the hookers, the homeless, the drag queens - the kinds of people that day people often turn away from.

It was playwright Paddy Chayevsky who had a character say that people talk differently at night than they do during the day. Daytime is for logic and order and efficiency. It is only after dark that people talk easily about their fantasies and their feelings. Part of what made Marky unique was his ability to speak intimately and openly at any time - nighttime talk at any hour.

When Mark was making plans to come home to Michigan that last Thanksgiving, he told everyone how much he wanted them to meet Jeanne. He always subscribed to Woody Allen's advice that 90% of life is showing up. He also wanted to share with her all of the many facets of his personality, including his Delta Kings' persona, Hollis.

With his flair for drama and theater, Marky loved the fiction of the Rev. Dr. R. B. Calvert and his Delta Kings -- from the ritual anointing of all the bluesmen band members with Chaz cologne to the opportunity that it provided Mark to do his best Keith Richards' impression.

After the show that night, Mark was so touched by the effort that his bandmates had made to make that show happen that he took the time to take each aside and tell them how much he loved them.

It was precisely such thoughtful and caring gestures that defined Mark's unerring loyalty. Omar said it so well - Marky had the purest heart of anyone he's never known.

Marky was always willing to ascribe the best motives to whatever his friends said or did. He was always there to help - or just to listen.

I think of the nights when Marky walked five miles through blinding snow to keep me company when I was staying at a motel after my home burned. And of the times that he helped nurse me when I shattered my arm. And most of all, I remember the night when Marky headed out to find Drew, when Drew was stranded and lost somewhere outside Detroit late at night after a gig.

I find it very hard to envision a world without Mark. Though he dressed almost exclusively in black, with occasional touches of silver, he brought so much color to all of our lives. I used to try to persuade Mark to worry more about his future. But he teaches us the importance of squeezing every ounce of juice from the present. His passing leaves a hole in my heart and in the hearts of so many others.

When I think of how to honor Mark, I appreciate Omar's suggestion that each of us should say a little prayer to wish Mark well on his new journey, no matter our personal beliefs or lack thereof. Perhaps we should donate a copy of a Stephen King novel to the local library in Mark's name. It comforts me to think that someday a young boy, searching for direction, will take out that book and find the same sense of meaning that Mark gleaned from those words.

But most of all, I invite you to carry on Mark's legacy by making a daily commitment to express your love openly to all those you hold dear. Each time we feel the pain of our loss, we should translate that into an expression of caring. We live in a world in desperate need of many more acts of unabashed kindness, and I cannot think of a more fitting tribute.

Mark Alan Sliker. Mark Sliker. Little Marky. Marky. Marky de Sade. Hollis. Snake. We miss you all.


 

 

written by Bonnie Bucqueroux, a close friend

Note from G. H.:

     We lost Bonnie on Oct 13, 2015. I can't personally say enough about who she was, what she did, and who she affected; but she was very strong, learned, and an important beacon to many lives. There is certainly a vacuum where Bonnie once existed.

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BUCQUEROUXART

Bonnie's YouTube

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Lansing State Journal Remembrance

The State News Remembrance

Hybrid: Thinking Inside the Traditional Herb

Hybrid Life Remembrance

Original article was posted here: http://www.newslinkassociates.com/marky

 

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I have discovered that you can usually still get our albums from eBay. Quite often you can find all of our albums in LP, Cassette, and CD forms, as well as other Ded Engine rare collectables! I've seen our original self released cassettes, old rare foreign compilations, 45's, magazines including Kerrang, Circus, Sledgehammer Press; and even a t-shirt! Click the logo to search for Ded Engine right now!

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This site is maintained by me, G.H. (Chip) Lorimer, Jr.