Mark Mallman

A friend says ex-Odd keyboardist Mark Mallman made clubgoing fun again this year, and we won't argue. Eleven months after City Pages took a long look at this largely ignored showman and shut-in, "Mall Man" made the evening news in September by playing a 26.2-hour song (titled, appropriately, "Marathon") in the tiny Clown Lounge of St. Paul's Turf Club. Backed by a 30-member band of musicians working in shifts, the singer degenerated from actual melodies (staring into his thick pile of lyrics) into moaning and rambling and droning by day two. At this point his nasal voice had long since abandoned him, leaving a hoarse croak in its place. Few performers earn their bow with more monomaniacal dedication. And few so blatantly make a play for a place in local rock mythology. Along these lines, Mallman and 12 Rods singer Ryan Olcott met the millennium by watching events unfold on television as the countdown approached, writing and recording songs about what they saw. (As it happened, not much did happen, though the results couldn't have been worse than Sting's "Brand New Day.") With his new, second, self-released album, How I Lost My Life and Lived to Tell About It, Mallman doesn't need a gimmick. He stretches his affected asthmatic-Freddy-Mercury bleat into an expressive horn that breaks in all the right places. Despite his publicity buzz, he remains without peer--and perhaps that's for the best.


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