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
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'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
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.
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
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.
Doug Horstman, lead
guitar; G. H. Lorimer, drums;
Scott Litz, vocals; and Marky De
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'
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.
We miss you all.
Bonnie Bucqueroux, a close friend
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.
The State News Remembrance
Hybrid Life Remembrance
Original article was posted here: http://www.newslinkassociates.com/marky