born on 28/6/1977
Mark August Stoermer (born June 28, 1977) is an American musician and songwriter. He is best known as the bass guitarist and occasional rhythm guitarist for the rock band The Killers, with whom he has recorded four studio albums.
In addition to his work with The Killers, Stoermer has released two solo albums, Another Life in 2011, and Dark Arts in 2016. Stoermer also joined The Smashing Pumpkins to tour in support of the band's ninth studio album, Monuments to an Elegy (2014) and produced Howling Bells third studio album The Loudest Engine (2011).
Mark August Stoermer was born in Houston, Texas to a German father who was a physician and a big-band-style musician and an American mother who was a nurse. They moved to Las Vegas when Stoermer was three years old.
Stoermer graduated from Chaparral High School in 1995, where he played trumpet in the Jazz ensemble. His early musical influences included Hip-hop bands such as Public Enemy and N.W.A and later rock bands such as Nirvana, The Beatles, The Who and Pink Floyd. Stoermer played lead guitar for a number of local bands including Habit Rouge and The Negative Ponies. Before The Killers got signed, Stoermer worked as a medical courier. Stoermer also studied philosophy and music at UNLV.
Stoermer has been dubbed 'The Gentle Giant' by bandmates and fans due to his quiet but kind nature and the fact that he is 6 ft 5.
The Killers (2002–present)
It was while playing guitar with The Negative Ponies that Stoermer met Brandon Flowers and Dave Keuning who were performing as an early incarnation of The Killers. He was a fan of the band's unique sound and was often present at the band's gigs. "They even asked me to join the band as a guitar player, because originally -- at least according to Dave -- they wanted to build a five-piece, possibly more like The Strokes with a keyboard," said Stoermer in 2016. "I was first asked to be a second guitar player and I casually mentioned I also play bass. And then one day I got the call from Dave." In September 2002 he was offered the opportunity to become the band's permanent bass player, he accepted and completed the band's line up along with Ronnie Vannucci Jr. The band's first four albums each reached No. 1 on the United Kingdom Albums Chart and garnered the band seven GRAMMY Award nominations and seven BRIT Award nominations.
Production work and collaborations (2010–present)
In 2010, Stoermer produced rock band Howling Bells' third studio album, The Loudest Engine. The album was recorded at Battle Born Studios in Las Vegas, Nevada and was released in September 2011.
On September 24, 2014 Stoermer performed "Let It Down" and "Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll)" with Dhani Harrison on Conan during George Harrison week.
In late 2014 and early 2015, Stoermer played bass guitar on tour with The Smashing Pumpkins along with Billy Corgan, Jeff Schroeder and Brad Wilk. A Smashing Pumpkins fan since his teen years, Stoermer received a call from Corgan - who had become a casual acquaintance after their respective bands played a few shows together in recent years - to join the touring line-up in support of the Smashing Pumpkins' then-new album Monuments to an Elegy. The strength of the new material convinced Stoermer to accept the offer. "In addition to the nostalgia aspect, I also had to hear the new music, which I think is great. If the new music wasn’t up to par, I wouldn’t be doing it. I felt like, yeah, it was one of those things I had to do," he said.
On December 1, 2014 Mark performed “Maida Vale” with Smashing Pumpkins on BBC Radio 6. On December 11, 2014 Mark performed “Being Beige” with Smashing Pumpkins on Jimmy Kimmel Live. On April 3, 2015 he performed "Drum + Fife" with the Smashing Pumpkins on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
On May 24, 2016, The Killers announced that Stoermer was taking a break from touring "to pursue other educational goals and releasing a solo album." The statement emphasized that Stoermer was still involved in working on the band's fifth album, and that he may still occasionally perform live with them in the future. Stoermer elaborated further in an interview: "I'm taking a class online right now. The reason why I'm doing that is to take a break, but not exclusively. It's a combination of a lot of things. I've been doing the Killers since 2003 and I think about a thousand shows. I just needed to step away a while from that."
Another Life (2011)
The debut studio album Another Life was released on November 1, 2011 as a self-release on St. August Records. It was available for free download via markstoermer.com and sold on CD and vinyl on January 24, 2012. It was also released on iTunes the same day along with two bonus tracks. Stoermer recorded the album in early 2011 with the help of Glenn Moule and Joel Stein, from Howling Bells, and Jason Hill from Louis XIV. The album was mixed by Robert Root and mastered by Bob Ludwig.
Dark Arts (2016)
Dark Arts was released on August 5, 2016 as a self-release on St. August Records. The album was written and produced by Mark Stoermer. David Hopkins was also involved in writing and production. The album was mixed and engineered by Robert Root.
The first single Spare the Ones that Weep was released on July 22, 2016. Soon after the second single Are Your Stars Out? was released on July 29, 2016 and was featured on Billboard along with an interview in which Mark talked about his inspiration for the song’s lyrics. The album was sold digitally, on CD, and on Vinyl.
Stoermer talked about his idea for writing “Dark Arts” with Interview Magazine: “I wanted to do at least one [record] that was an album experience, even though the days of the album experience may be over. If anything, it may be a tribute to those times... Maybe someone out there will have that experience with this album”.
Soaked in sixties psychedelic foundations, the album is noticeably different from the work he is known for in The Killers.,
Blood and Guts / Beautiful Deformities 7” (2016)
The Blood and Guts / Beautiful Deformities 7" was a limited edition vinyl released for Halloween 2016 with only 100 copies made that were decorated with one of ten unique designs and only ten of each design was produced. The release featured the single “Blood and Guts (The Anatomy Lesson)” on one side, and Beautiful Deformities (The Monastic Controversy)” on the other. 100 additional copies were manufactured and given away to fans through the Secret Door, a hidden page on Mark’s website, initiated as a “thank you” note. These copies didn’t have the same picture disc artwork as the other 100 copies.
In support of Dark Arts, Stoermer invited several musicians to form The Hownds, a five people band including David Hopkins (keyboards), Nigel Ledgerwood (rhythm guitar), Ben Lecourt (drums) and Erik Paparozzi (bass). They performed five shows in Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
Stoermer mainly plays with a pick. He says "I love the punch and grit of a pick. . . I do a lot of unconscious palm muting. I love how you can instantly get that clunky tone with shorter notes. It's a great sound." He tries to play the bass as a "half percussive. . . half melodic instrument". Stoermer feels that "You can add to a song’s melodic side without taking away from the vocals. That’s my favorite kind of bass playing." His signature bass playing (featured prominently in The Killers' debut and sophomore albums) can be heard in songs including:
- "Jenny Was a Friend of Mine"
- "Somebody Told Me"
- "Mr. Brightside"
- "All The Pretty Faces"
- "Uncle Jonny"
- "Midnight Show"
- "Sam's Town"
- "Smile Like You Mean It"
- "Under the Gun"
- "Glamorous Indie Rock & Roll"
- "Bling (Confessions of a King)"
- "Believe Me Natalie"
- "Daddy's Eyes"
- "This Is Your Life"
- "Joy Ride"
- "I Can't Stay"
- "Losing Touch"
- "On Top"
- "My List"
- "A Crippling Blow"
- "Forget About What I Said"
- "Deadlines and Commitments"
- "Flesh and Bone"
While his aggressive playing was a focal point in The Killers' first two albums, Stoermer's playing became more funk-driven in Day & Age, and much more reserved and subtle in Battle Born. His style of playing has influenced many other bands and even a genre of music in bass-driven New Wave/Synth Rock.
Stoermer was featured on the cover of Bass Guitar Magazine in June 2009 and has been interviewed by other major bass guitar publications including Bass Player Magazine.
Stoermer is widely recognized for his signature tone: an overdriven signal using two modified BOSS Blues Driver pedals fed into separate amplifiers using high top-end frequencies to produce a trebly but thick, cutting sound while retaining excellent bass response; similar to that of Chris Squire (bassist of the band Yes).
Stoermer is also noted for heavily accenting his notes to produce string popping, as well as his use of jumping between octaves, such as in:
- "Jenny Was a Friend of Mine"
- "Mr. Brightside"
- "Somebody Told Me"
- "Bling (Confessions of a King)"
- "All the Pretty Faces
- "Midnight Show"
- "Uncle Jonny"
Some of his bass solos can be heard in the intros to "Somebody Told Me" and "Sam's Town", the outro to The Killers' cover of the Joy Division song "Shadowplay", the bridge of "All the Pretty Faces", Deadlines and Commitments, and live versions of "Jenny Was a Friend of Mine.
Stoermer cites influences such as Noel Redding of The Jimi Hendrix Experience, John Entwistle of The Who, and Paul McCartney of The Beatles and solo. He also lists The Cure, U2, and New Order as influences.
- Fender Jazz Basses (Geddy Lee signature model)
- Rickenbacker 4001 Bass
- Gibson SG Bass (Very rarely used)
- Fender Vintage Precision Bass
- Guild Starfire Bass
- Hofner 500/1
During the recording of Hot Fuss, Stoermer had been using a Fender Geddy Lee Jazz Bass for his main bass, but had switched over to a vintage Fender Precision Bass and Rickenbacker 4001 for the recording of Sam's Town. After recording and touring for Sam's Town had concluded, he switched back to the Geddy Lee as his primary bass and started broadening his equipment repertoire, using other basses for the recording of Day & Age, such as the Starfire for "This is Your Life" and the Hofner 500/1 on "Joy Ride".
- Gibson SG – On the Song "For Reasons Unknown"
- Gibson ES-335 (Occasionally used instead of the SG for live performances of "For Reasons Unknown"; this instrument belongs to and is a backup instrument of bandmate Dave Keuning's)
- Gibson J-45 Acoustic Guitar
- Gibson SJ-200 Acoustic Guitar
- All are strung with medium-gauge GHS Bass Boomers. Basses are tuned to standard or down a 1/2 step (Drop-Db on the song "Sam's Town"), and guitars tuned a 1/2 step down to Eb for playing the rhythm portions of "For Reasons Unknown" during live performances.
- Ampeg SVT Classic Head and 8x10" SVT Cabinets
- Hiwatt Custom 200 Head (one dirty, one clean) and Hiwatt SE-1510 4x10+1x15 cabs (x2, one rig with effects, one clean)
- Fender Deville 2x12"
- BOSS DS-1 distortion pedal
- BOSS GE-7 EQ pedal
- Big Muff Sovtek Big Muff pedal (for live performances of 'Andy, You're a Star')
- BOSS BD-2 Blues Driver (modified) (x2)
- BOSS GEB-7 Bass EQ (for volume boost)
- TC Electronic chorus/flanger
- MXR Phase 100
- Big Muff pi (electro harmonix keeley modded)
- Zaolla Artist and Zaolla Silverline series cables as instrument leads, cable speakers, and cable snakes
Picks: Dunlop Nylon – 1.00mm
|2004||Late Night with David Letterman||Himself||Performing "Somebody Told Me" as The Killers|
|2005||The Tonight Show With Jay Leno||Himself||Performing "Mr. Brightside" and "All These Things That I've Done" as The Killers|
|2005||Saturday Night Live||Himself||Performing "Mr. Brightside" and "Somebody Told Me" as The Killers|
|2006||Saturday Night Live||Himself||Performing "When You Were Young" and "Bones" as The Killers|
|2006||Late Night with David Letterman||Himself||Performing "When You Were Young" as The Killers|
|2006||The Tonight Show With Jay Leno||Himself||Performing "Bones"/"A Great Big Sled" as The Killers|
|2008||Saturday Night Live||Himself||Performing "Human" and "Spaceman" as The Killers|
|2009||The Tonight Show With Jay Leno||Himself||Performing "Spaceman" as The Killers|
|2009||Late Night with David Letterman||Himself||Performing "A Dustland Fairytale" as The Killers|
|2012||Late Night with David Letterman||Himself||Performing "Runaways" as The Killers|
|2013||Jimmy Kimmel Live!||Himself||Performing "Old Man Jimmy (Is Soon to Die)" as The Killers|
|2014||Conan||Himself||Performing "Let It Down" with Dhani Harrison|
|2015||The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon||Himself||Performing "Drum + Fife" as The Smashing Pumpkins|
- Another Life (2011)
- Dark Arts (2016)
- The Synthetic Love of Emotional Engineering (2013) – Vicky Cryer
- "Your Love Is Not Enough", "A Spade Is A Spade" (2014–15) – Bombay Heavy
Awards and nominations
- Stickland, Britt. "Mark Stoermer-Killer Instinct" Bass Player Magazine. February 1, 2005.
- Kalil, Mike. "IN DEPTH: killers rising" Las Vegas Review Journal. September 18, 2005.
- "Howling Bells reveal new album release date | News". Nme.Com. June 20, 2011. Archived from the original on June 21, 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-15.
- "Killers man in the studio with Howling Bells | News". Nme.Com. January 17, 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-15.
- "Dhani Harrison & Friends "Let It Down" 09/24/14".
- "WEB EXCLUSIVE: Dhani Harrison & Friends Featuring Big Black Delta "Ballad Of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll)"".
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 5, 2015. Retrieved 2015-04-04.
- Cambria, Christins. "MARK STOERMER'S SPELL" Interview Magazine. 12 September 2016 Published. http://www.interviewmagazine.com/music/mark-stoermer#_. 03 January 2017 Accessed.
- Taylor Bennet, Kim First M. "The Killers' Mark Stoermer Drops His Second Solo LP 'Dark Arts' Right Here" Noisey. 03 August 2016 Published. https://noisey.vice.com/en_us/article/the-killers-mark-stoermer-dark-arts-premiere. 02 January 2017 Accessed.
- Brungardt, Leah. "An Interview With The Killers’ Bassist MARK STOERMER On His Latest Solo Record and More!" All Access Music. 15 September 2016 Published. http://music.allaccess.com/an-interview-with-the-killers-bassist-mark-stoermer-on-his-latest-solo-record-and-more/. 10 January 2017 Accessed.
- FB Ref: https://www.facebook.com/markstoermerofficial/posts/11680-22346608030 Mark Stoermer. (2016, November 13). For those unaware, the 7 inch features the song "Blood and Guts" on one side, and "Beautiful Deformities" (unreleased) on the other. It's an exclusive vinyl limited to a hundred copies, with 10 different designs [Facebook status update]
- IG ref: https://www.instagram.com/p/BM13JKVBNsU/ Mark Stoermer. (2016, November ). @staugust Thank you gift for everyone who bought a bundle on the e-store. More info at markstoermer.com/secretdoor #SecretDoor [Instagram Post]
- "Cover Feature: The Killers – Mark Stoermer" Bass Guitar Magazine June 2009 Iss. #43
- Fox, Brian. "The Killers Mark Stoermer On Playing With A Pick" Bass Player Magazine. February 1, 2010.
- Stickland, Britt. "Mark Stoermer-Killer Instinct"
- The Killers official site, from Island Records
- The Killers official site (U.K.), from the Vertigo label
- Cover Feature: Bass Guitar Magazine from Bass Guitar Magazine June 2009 Iss.
- Video of 'Jenny' from V Festival 2009 featuring Mark's signature playing style