Mark was born in the south suburb of Chicago, Oak Lawn. His father, Edward Baczynski was a machinist and his mother, a homemaker. Mark's musical influences came from his mother, Elaine, who loved to sing and was featured in musical variety shows in the area. His father, Edward, listened to country music on the radio and would wear out the two albums he owned; Marty Robbin's Gun Fighter Ballads and Chet Atkin's In Three Dimensions. Mark enjoyed entertaining for folks at an early age with puppet shows and had some of the first "air guitar" bands in the neighborhood. He learned how to strum the guitar when he was about nine or ten years old so as not to be "up-staged" by his older brother Mike who had a successful 60's top 40 band called "The Rebels".
During the changes in the political and financial climate of the late 60's Mark's family moved to Missouri, just south of St. Louis. Mark became active in competitive speech meets, as they were called in the Catholic school system. During his time in sixth, seventh, and eighth grades, he won many blue and red ribbons for his efforts. He still strummed on his guitar a little and tried tuba, and trumpet in school bands. While attending Fox High School in Arnold Missouri, he became interested in theatre and school choir and performed in many productions and worked his way up to Concert and even Honor choir. On his way to and from the choir room he always looked into the band room at the violins on the shelf. He eventually talked the band teacher into letting him take one home if he joined the orchestra. He didn't take this very seriously but it was fun learning. His dad had an old fiddle record at the house, Cousin Cecil Brower. Mark did his best to learn a couple of these tunes. He would bring the fiddle to any gathering he went to and the smiles he began to see on the faces of those who listened made him very happy.
His success in high school led to a drama scholarship at a local Junior college. He landed many lead rolls which even included a part in Godspell playing opposite television and movie star Scott Bakula (of Quantum Leap fame). When his two years were finished at this junior college and there being no money at home, his college days were done for the time being. He had no idea what to do with his acting skills because of the lack of guidance from the staff at the school, but he knew he still wanted to perform.
This is when the fiddling took over. He called his older brother and started talking about putting a band together. So in 1977 Mark and his brother Mike, put together their first band,Wild Water, in Springfield, Illinois. That lasted about a year and they moved to Houston Texas. They had no success putting anything together at that time so they went their separate ways. Mark came back to St. Louis and found a couple guys playing a duet called Sassafras. Mark joined these guys,Tom Henderson and Joel Swan and his brother Mike soon joined them also. This became one of the most popular party bands in the St.Louis area during the years 1978 and 1979. This band also moved to Texas and a month later they broke up do to some of the members being homesick. Mark stayed and started to look for work by himself as a fiddler. From 1980 through 1994 Mark kept the bills paid from fiddling in Texas and Missouri in bars and nightclubs. In the late eighties Mark started taking work other than music because he was tired of the smoky bar scene. And in 1995 things changed a bit. He got a call from a producer in Branson, Missouri asking if he was interested in playing fiddle and tic tac bass in a new production about the life and music of Patsy Cline. Wow! A fiddle job in the theatre! Mark found his niche.
These days if Mark is not on the road, you will find him restoring old fiddles and giving lessons at his home in Duck River, Tennessee.
© Mark Baczynski 2017