About Mark Dumais
"Though cut before his time, songwriter Dumais left a legacy of pop-rock gems that are haunting, slashing, and painfully aware."
Mark Raymond Dumais grew up in Baltimore from French Canadian roots. He was as gay as they get. He once said that when he was fourteen he stepped out of a car and his bare ankle made a grown man turn his head. Mark liked them handsome and dangerous. He went around with a tough bit of Baltimore royalty while he was in art school. I met Mark in NYC in 1981, standing at the rail in The Bar, bobbing with that great jukebox. I casually turned to make conversation: “You play music?” “Sure do,” he affirmed with supreme confidence through half-lidded eyes.
Mark wrote songs on my tape recorder and played with King of Culture in Tompkins Square Park with Lee and Bill. Mark and Lee loved the kinky girlinky scene at the Pyramid Club and danced on the bar once or twice in drag. Mark worked in a bookstore, then was a waiter at Café Orlin serving Chicken Dijon. I recall him feeling so embarrassed once during a friend’s performance because the guy was not a star. Mark felt like a total star.
Mark met men at “London & Paris,” a pair of nocturnal cruise parks on Second Avenue near his house. He made drawings and wrote songs, then started to play solo and put out disks. He formed Crash and we played in places around the neighborhood for about a year. Mark dropped me and Brian and worked on his album with Bill. Dave Whitehead released the record and Mark moved the new band to London in 1986. They had some swinging, shambling times there.
Crash played around London and hung out but eventually collapsed. Mark worked as a barman at The Angel, but still wanted to be a pop artist, so he created Tangerine and made a dance record in 1989. I don’t know all of what happened next, but Mark had AIDS and probably didn’t feel very well. He kept writing songs. I’d love to know what they sounded like.
In April 1992, Mark came back to the States to be with his mother; he died the following month. He talked about his mother and sisters and Mémère all the time so I think he loved them a lot.
Mark liked Dusty Springfield, Marc Bolan, the Velvets, David Bowie, Bohannon, Scott Walker, and the Associates, to name a few. The Smiths and the Jesus and Mary Chain were big influences at that time. This is my stateside take on some of Mark’s music from the Crash era.
Mark was funny, emotional, difficult, and supersharp. I think he wrote some great songs. It’s just stupid he’s not around now, older and wiser.
Bob Huff is an American guitar player and singer (still) living in New York.
"I Had Fun Tonight"
Produced by Scott Harrington and Bob Huff
Vocals, guitars, bass, harp, and autoharp by Bob Huff
Piano and organ by Michael Thompson
Drums by Brian “Nucci” Cantrell (tracks 1,3,4,7,8,10,12) and Scott Harrington (tracks 2,5,6,9,11,13)
Recording and sonic design by Scott Harrington at Renunciate
Mixed by Andy Hunt (1,2,4,6–10,12,13) and Jacquire King (3,5,11)
Mastered by Alex McCollough at YesMaster, Nashville