Vanilla Fudge Site Exclusive!

by Joel Lavine

An Evening With Mark Stein

On December 31st, 2000, Mr. Mark Stein gave a performance to a standing room only crowd. In fact, after hearing him perform for a private but elite audience on New Year's Eve, I can only say that his songwriting and arrangement capabilities are very compelling - brilliant in fact.

This very privileged group of people had the unique opportunity to hear Mark Stein perform his new material for the very first time live! In this writer's opinion, Mark has always been a fantastic musician but he is even more so now. I am here to tell you that Mark Stein is a man that is in great physical condition and appears much younger than his age. His voice is more incredible now than ever before and his keyboard work is nothing short of awesome.

Mark is a very warm and friendly if not humble man and is witty and quite personable. What a wonderful surprise after hearing to the contrary for so long from others supposedly in the know.

Near The Beginning...

I first saw Mark Stein in November of 1968 at Shippensburg State College just a few months after discovering the first Vanilla Fudge LP. The band live was even better, and I had chills running up and down my spine for two hours while sitting in the audience at my first rock concert. Then a couple of years later I had the privilege of seeing Mark again in Georgetown, DC on M street with a band named Boomerang. This time I was able to talk at length with Mark in the audience between sets.

He was very gracious as we discussed what happened to Vanilla Fudge and where he was heading with the new band. I could tell that he was very upset with the demise of the band. Two members of the band wanted to go off on their own to seek even more fame and fortune. Mark pleaded with them not to split up the band at that time and suggested that they just take a break for a while and then get it back together. Of course we all know now what has happened since that day. Mark was genuinely hurt by the break-up of Vanilla Fudge, as it was his considered opinion that they were only going to get even bigger and better in the years to come.

Dreams Do Come True!

Now here we are 30 years later and I am honored to have had the pleasure of visiting with Mark Stein and his family at his home in Florida. Patty, Mark's lovely wife, is one of the most gracious hosts that anyone could ever meet - and can she ever cook!

Patty prepared a wonderful New Year's Day meal that had everyone there complementing her on how sensational the meal was. All day while Mark and I talked and laughed we could smell the most enticing aromas. By the time we were to sit down and eat, we could hardly wait to dive right in and stuff ourselves... which we did.

After spending two days with Mark and Patty, I just can't imagine how anyone could ever say anything bad about either one of them. I know that I won't, and I truly feel that others have been as mislead as I was. But that will never happen again! Those of you who disagree with Mark and his ideals need to spend a day or two with him, to see what I see and to feel what I feel and to know what I know.

As for myself... can't wait to go back for another visit and I plan on doing so very soon.

Most of the two days that we spent together, we sat around talking and laughing and listening to great music. Mark's music! Patty brought out some of the memorabilia from the early days of Vanilla Fudge. I know that there are things in that collection that would make some people very excited and you know who you are. I don't know about any of you, but to be able to visit with your lifelong musical hero, in his home and be able to spend time with he and his family, is just the end all to beat all!

Click Here To Visit Mark's NEW Web Site!

Story & Pictures by Joel M. Lavine
Layout & Design by Casey Butler
Inspiration: Mark Stein