David Marks -
Hepatitis C - Treatments and Beyond
1962, David Marks, along with the three Wilson brothers, Brian,
Dennis, and Carl, and their cousin, Mike Love, signed a record
contract with Capitol Records. With those five signatures, an
American institution was created.
The Beach Boys, with their clean cut faces and tender harmonies,
quickly found themselves in the spot light, fighting off
teenaged girls and traveling around the world. But after playing
on their first five albums, Marks, just 16, quit The Beach Boys
at the height of their success.
Since leaving The Beach Boys, Marks has worked on several
projects. His band, Dave and The Marksmen, was signed by Herb
Alpert and Jerry Moss themselves as the first act on their newly
formed A & M Records and later went on to record on the Warner
Brothers label. The Marksmen received moderate success in the
local California markets during the mid 60's and toured
extensively in California during 1965 and 1966.
After the Marksmen disbanded, David and his drummer, Mark
Groseclose joined Casey Kasem's Band WIthout a Name with Kasem's
cousin, Eddie Haddad. The Band Without a Name acted as a back-up
band for many of the singing acts of the day.
David's next band, The Moon, signed to Liberty Records as a Mike
Curb Sidewalk Production on the Imperial Label, received
tremendous critical acclaim on both of their albums and are
still cult favorites among many music collectors. In spite of
the Moon's significant airplay on the East Coast, lack of
distribution from the label led to the short lived success of
After The Moon, David decided to take a break from the pop music
scene, at the age of 20, so he could pursue a childhood dream of
studying classical music. He studied briefly with classical
guitarist, Vincente Gomez, a protege of classical legend Andre
Segovia. Studying with Gomez inspired Marks and convinced him to
relocate to Boston to pursue studies at the Berklee School of
Music and then to study classical composition at the New England
Conservatory with their resident composer.
After returning to California in the early 70's, David worked as
a union studio musician, as well as with such artists as Delbert
McClinton, Warren Zevon, Leon Russell, Delaney and Bonnie and
and Gary Busey. During these years, Marks also played guitar on
many of Danny Moore's (writer of My Maria & Shambala)
productions where he would find himself jamming with such
artists as Joe Cocker, Bonnie Raitt and Rita Coolidge.
During the 1980's and early 90's Marks spent most of his time
raising his daughter, Jennifer as a single father, and recording
and playing in Blues bands with his long-time musical partner,
Buzz Clifford, an early 60's teen idol who is best known for his
1961 hit Baby Sittin' Boogie.
In August 1997, David returned to the band he helped create.
Carl Wilson was suffering from cancer and unable to continue
touring; of course, Marks was the obvious choice to replace him
on the road. David spent 2 years as one of Mike Love's Beach
Boys, traveling the globe and playing Brian Wilson's music for
millions of fans in 14 countries spanning four continents. In
addition to playing live, David Marks recorded tracks for the
Brian Wilson 1992 solo album, Sweet Insanity, as well as the
Beach Boy's Tribute to NASCAR CD. Marks also appeared on an
episode of the television hit, Baywatch. He can be seen on
Grammy nominated television documentary, Endless Harmony, the E!
True Hollywood Stories and has been a feature story on Inside
Edition and Entertainment Tonight. Also, David Marks was
portrayed in the Emmy nominated mini series, The Beach Boys, An
American Family, produced by John Stamos.
Marks, who was forced to leave the Beach Boys once again due to
his battles with Hepatitis C, has founded a grass roots
foundation called Artists Against Hepatitis, which is dedicated
to providing services to the children of those suffering from
Hepatitis. David Marks is also the National spokesman for the
Hepatitis C Action Movement and participates in fundraising
events. Along with the Hepatitis C Action Movement, David has
been involved in lobbying members of Congress and elected
officials on behalf of Hepatitis C related issues. In addition
to his work with these foundations, Marks is touring with Beach
Party!, an all star band made up of former members of the Beach
Boys touring band.
January 27, 2003
After many years of struggle with his hepatitis C, David is
currently undergoing Pegasys/Ribavirin treatments in a clinical
study in Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. David
was kind enough to grant me this interview to lay bare the story
of his struggle with Hepatitis and treatments. Here is the
transcription of the conversation we had the evening of January
David Maxwell speaking to David Marks: Let me start by telling
you that I am really excited to be doing this with you. I have
been a strong Beach Boy fan from way back when and you guys
rock. If it weren't for all you guys, others and the music that
impacted my life I might not be doing this right now. You have
all been a strong influence on the endeavors of my life.
David Marks: I didn't think anybody was that old (laughs).
You've got to think about how we survived. That was a long, long
time ago. I didn't appreciate it then, but as time rolls on I
realize how valuable it was compared to what has been going on
in the last few years with music. That's my own personal opinion
anyways. I can't rap darn it, (snickers).
David Maxwell (question): You can't rap(laughs)?That's so funny.
David Marks (answer): Yeah, I am a sour grape(laughs).
Q: You wouldn't consider that a downfall would you?
A: No not really.
Q: So I assume you are feeling pretty good?
A: Yeah, three months into treatment, considering what I am
going through, I feel pretty good. Sometimes it is not so fun
and I have my ups and downs, good and bad days. But it seems if
I try to support myself and be active in some manner then I
don't do so badly...
Q: When did you first start noticing your symptoms?
A: People at the clinic told me it was different for everyone,
so I didn't really know what to expect. I have heard of people
being bed-ridden and such, but it is not that bad. The first few
weeks were really a breeze, I felt better if anything. After a
while the drugs started piling up, and the side effects were a
lot more noticeable. As you know, I am doing the pegalyted
interferon with ribavirin, one shot per week, pills every day,
twice a day, the combo therapy. Pegasys is the latest version of
Q: Carrie has also mentioned that you are in a clinical study?
A: Yes, I luckily got involved with Dr. Brown at Columbian
Presbyterian Hospital. I was referred to him through a colleague
of my doctor in LA at Cedars Sinai. We were living in upstate
New York at that time which was really too faraway for regular
treatments. But now we live closer to New York City, like 45
minutes from there. When we moved, I went to see Dr. Brown and
the timing was perfect, they were gathering people to do the
study. I lucked out.
Q: And this was sometime after you had been waiting on
Schering's access assurance list?
A: Well, yes, something like seven months. I did different
things before going on the list, I was hooked up with Dr. Zhang,
a Chinese Herbal specialist and he had some help in treatments
for me. I did a lot of research on different types of health
care and alternative drug, because that is absolutely essential.
Controlling your diet, taking herbs and anti oxidants and just
being smart about what you do to your body can help take care of
your liver until you can get on treatment.
Q: Did your liver functions lower at all, did it seem to help?
A: No, my liver readings stayed pretty much the same. I was
doing that along with other things to help break down the virus
and buffer up my immune system. But my liver didn't get any
worse, so something was working for me.
Q: What lead you to finally do something with Interferon; were
you resisting treatments?
A: When I was first diagnosed they really hadn't come up with a
good treatment. The success rates were so low, you know 3 shots
a week, pills, the discomfort all the time and the odds just
weren't worth it to me; success rates of like 18 percent. Of
course the virus was not going to go away and I was aware of
that. When I finally went and saw Dr. Brown, I figured I should
dive right in and take advantage of it. Eventually it is going
to come around and kick you in the ass, there is no question
Q: What is your geneotype?
A: Mine is 1a, one of the harder ones, you know. My liver is not
quite cirrhosis stage but between fibrosis and cirrhosis. So in
other words, I am not really that bad off yet and not anywhere
near end stage or liver failure, by no means. Evidently those
five minutes during my life that I actually took care of myself
Q: When and how did you first notice your Hepatitis?
A: I didn't notice it. I went to the Doctor in the emergency
room for a broken rib, although I didn't know at the time it was
a broken rib. Yeah, liver problems from lots of drinking is what
I was thinking. They did some blood work and that's when they
noticed the liver enzymes being awfully high. This was a few
years ago, December 1999. My doctor happened to be waltzing
through the emergency room and he could tell right away by
looking at my eyes. I was quite jaundiced and I was still into
my active drinking, practicing my best alcoholic skills at that
time. So I was diagnosed, I'd never really heard about hepatitis
c but Carrie looked it up on the internet and we found out that
it was something quite serious, even potentially fatal.
Q: It kind of wakes you up quite fast, don't it?
A: Oh yeah!... I immediately stopped drinking, smoking
cigarettes and taking hard drugs. It took me a while to get a
grip on it but I finally did. I understood that it plays hell
and havoc with the immune system. Yes, I quit smoking, which I
never thought I would. Only one reason; Carrieann, if you want
to quit smoking you have to live with Carrieann (laughs). Anyway
what happened next was I got on all these herbs, we did research
and found out there is a whole bunch of stuff out there, Milk
Thistle, Licorice, Dandelion, Burdock, a whole lot of other
things to help with the immune system and the liver in general.
All this was before I was even on treatments, I was just taking
herbs. This probably would have worked for me for a while but I
know it does not get rid the virus and I wanted to give that
"old college try" to kill this virus. The odds are better, they
say it's a 50/50 shot at eradicating it, and since I've spent a
lot of time in my life with pain and discomfort I've got a lot
of practice, I'm willing to take that chance. The side effects
so far have not been too bad, some days I have a little trouble
with it, like today, I had a lot of fatigue, I was a bad boy...
I didn't get any recording done.
Q: How about other side effects?
A: Muscle and joint pains, that's starting to happen. I've been
noticing that lately with my back muscles and such. There's also
stuff going on in my head that I've never before felt in my
life, weird pains, fog, sometimes I just daze off. I'm digging
the trip, however, they're not cheap drugs(laughs). I'm giving
it my best shot and a little comic relief never hurts. My
insanity is my salvation. If I get to far into the dumps or
depressed it's so easy to cross over for me into happiness, it
saves my ass. You know, I go to the hospital periodically for
the clinical studies and their big one (question) is "do I want
to kill myself or others?"(laughs). Have I lost all hope for the
future (more laughs)? So, I guess I'm getting the best available
treatment at this point and I'm thankful for that.
Q: Do you have any messages for others going through or
considering treatment for Hepatitis C?
A: I would say don't give up, have fortitude if you want to
survive. I don't want to get into any big philosophy thing with
it but you've got to want to really do it. It's so easy to give
up because of the discomfort and all. If I were to give a
message to anyone it would be, take it serious, this is a deadly
disease, it can kill you. Bear down, grit your teeth, knuckle
down, suck it up, eat a lot of chocolate, do whatever helps
getting you through it, this is a deadly disease, you got to
find a way to make it all the way and beat it. Who ever is able
to take this stuff should feel lucky, stick it out.
Q: How does all this intertwine with your various projects;
Artists Against Hepatitis and the Hepatitis C Action Movement?
A: Well so far our website, Artists Against Hepatitis, people
write in for advice, information, we hook them up with certain
people, literature to help them get back in a state of health or
try to point them in the right direction where they can get
help. And there are some sad cases out there, guys in prison who
can't get treatment. And not just the prison population, but the
whole general population, people just don't know what the hell
the thing is yet. We went to Washington and talked to a few
representatives and they were shocked when we gave them the
information. One guy came right out and said "what is that?"
Like when AIDS started out we had to educate the public and make
people more aware.
Q: As the general public what can we do to help out with this?
A: Maybe at this point Carrieann should be in on this. She can
explain, she is the expert.
Right now, the main focus of our efforts have been on raising
awareness for Hepatitis C with government officials and
agencies. We hope that anyone who would be reading this
interview must be interested enough in Hepatitis C to find this
site, so why not spend the time and right a letter to your
Congressmen and Senators and let them know that we need to
educate people on the seriousness of this disease and to provide
adequate support for those who already have been infected. Most
officials have email addresses on their website where you can
send a quick note. We need to bring the issue to the front
burner and unfortunately, that isn't going to happen unless
people start speaking up.
Many thanks to David and Carrie Marks for their wonderful help
with this interview.