Bio

The Colonel was born in Sydney but grew up in 50s & 60s suburban Brisbane, the son of a one-legged ASIO agent and an Avon lady. School holidays were spent hiding from the KGB with the Petrovs, or riding horses and playing in creeks at Brookfield.
 
Back then the Colonel was Mark Doherty, known as 'Prof' or 'Dodo', a classic geek whose hobbies included reading comics and designing improbable torture machines.
 
There were no musicians in the Doherty family, but The Colonel became a typical baby-boomer blues fan in the mid 60s, getting high on the Animals, Manfred Mann and the Stones, with a touch of Psychedelia creeping in around 1967 with Pink Floyd, Steppenwolf, Moby Grape and the Electric Prunes. In the 70s he rejected 'white blues' in favour of an attitude that said 'If it ain't black, get back'. Oddly, he embracd Hendrix, Cream, Mayall, Butterfield and Canned Heat, but rejected Led Zep, Free, Ten Years After and Johnny Winter. Go figure.
 
Still a non-player, the Colonel discovered Reggae, Jazz, Western Swing, Bluegrass, Zydeco, Klezmer, Honky Tonk, Rockabilly, Doo Wop, Swing and all the branches of the Roots Music tree. He read, listened and collected voraciously.
 
1975 was a turning point. When a touring concert group that included Brownie McGhee & Sonny Terry, Alexis Korner, Duster Bennett, Freddie King and Hound Dog Taylor came to town, he met the artists and struck up a friendship with Bruce Iglauer, owner of the then infant Alligator Records. Later that year he spent a week in Chicago, staying with Iglauer and being taken to Southside clubs every night, seeing Albert King, Magic Slim, Jr Wells, Bobby King, Andrew Brown, Son Seals and The Aces.
 
Back in Brissie, at the end of 1975, pioneering FM station 4ZZZ started broadcasting. With fellow blues head Greg Cuffe, the Colonel got involved, and from 1978 up to today, he has been a regular voice on the airwaves, championing both homegrown Oz blues talent and the vast back catalog of original US blues artists.
 
In 1990 he started a newsletter for blues show announcers on community radio around the country. 'Blues On Air' became Australia's only national blues magazine, coming out monthly until 1997, when the growth of the internet made the fanzine redundant. Incidentally, Blues On Air initiated the first national blues awards. The Colonel continued writing about blues as Blues Editor of Rhythms Magazine for the next 5 years or so.
 
The other thing that happened around 1990 was the emergence of the East Coast Blues Festival at Byron Bay. Over the years his talents have been used at bluesfest (in company with Les Taylor 'The Honeydripper' from Bay-FM) as artist driver, stage MC, photographer, interviewer for the ABC-TV series 'Blues Moon Over Byron', co-presenter with Brian Wise (Rhythms/ Off The Record) of the national community radio broadcast (1996-2006), and in 1997 and 1998, performer with Natural Born Lovers.
 
Ah yes, the Colonel as performer. Back in primary school, a particularly evil music teacher had told the young and impressionable Mark D that he had absolutely no talent for music and that he should keep quiet during lessons. It took quite a long time to overcome this setback, but at age 36, and with no previous musical training, he set about the slow and arduous task of teaching himself the harmonica. He was aided by a book + cassette by American John Gindick, a guy who has put many would-be harp squawkers on the correct path.
 
By the early 90s the Colonel was making a nuisance of himself, getting up on stage with anyone who would let him. He is indebted to the following fine artists for providing him with the opportunity to sharpen his skills: Lil' Fi & the DRKs, The Mercurys, Phil Manning, Steve Perry, Mick Hadley, Buzz 'n the Blues Band, Slide & Growl, The Hipshooters, Wiley Reed, Ewan Mackenzie, Rowdy & the Awfins, The Johnson Stompers... sorry if I left anyone out.
 
Unlike many aspiring blues performers, the Colonel was not shy about getting up in front of an audience. He had spent much of the 70s involved in Brisbane's La Boite theatre, mostly as an actor, but also in sound and lighting. Making a dick of himself in front of people was second nature!
 
The Colonel's first professional band experience was with the short-lived Underliners in 1995 with Shakey Shaun Bindley on vocals. His next was with Natural Born Lovers (b 1997), a fabulous six-piece soul funk blues band with Jody Haines on vocals and Cameron Macdonnell on guitar. This outfit played all the major festivals in the SEQld area (Woodford, Brisbane Blues Fest, Sunshine Coast Blues Fest, East Coast Bluesfest (twice) but with relatively few gigs in Brisbane itself, due to the size of the band. For 5 years it maintained a regular rowdy Friday night gig at The Rails in Byron Bay.
 
During a quiet patch for the Lovers, the Colonel was picked up by Mike Frost & the Icemen. This was around 2001. Since then, Frosty and the Colonel have maintained a close musical partnership, bringing classic blues and swing to the masses with Tom Matthews (bs) and Greg Baikaloff (dms), resulting in many festival appearances as well as two CDs and 5 tours of New Zealand.
 
In 2002, Mike Frost started up the Blue Monday sessions at The Muddy Farmer in Annerley, with the Icemen as host band. An ever changing parade of great singers and players passed through the doors, including Wiley Reed, Dutch Tilders and Ash Grunwald. Around this time, the Colonel had the opportunity to develop his vocals and expand his repertoire, including some original songs. At the end of 2003 when Frosty took a break and the Muddy Farmer changed hands, the Blue Monday moved to Satchmo's in cosmopolitan West End. The Colonel now had his very own band, Mark D's Big 3, with Mojo Webb on guitar, Billy Bakos on drums, and Tom Matthews on bass. Blue Monday Blues became a CD. Can a national tour and top rating reality TV show be far behind? Well, OK, that didn't happen, but the jam nights continue. As of Sep. 2010 the fun had moved to Wednesday nights at the Boundary Hotel, West End, but came to an end in mid-2011. The Morrison Blues Jam, as of May 2013 has become the centre of the Brisbane blues jam universe, every Sunday 2-5pm. 
 
What now? The Colonel has had a satisfying life with the blues. Going from academic music lover (ie. nerd) to music maker has been a life changing experience, and the path of a musician is a never ending one. There are always new challenges, new techniques to master, new songs to write (or just do the old ones better). As a writer and broadcaster he's had the privilege of meeting and interviewing many of his heroes, including BB King, Buddy Guy and Albert Collins (see a more complete list below). Another trip to the US would be nice. In 2005, the Colonel and Big 3 drummer Billy Bakos spent a very concentrated all-music-no-sleep 2 weeks travelling through the music hot-spots of Austin, Lafayette, New Orleans, Clarksdale, Nashville and Memphis, immersing themselves in the birthplace of American roots music (and bad truck-stop food).
 
On the local front, it would be nice to get back in the studio for another CD. There's always someone else to jam with, and great local musos to go and see. He hopes to make lots more music with Frosty, as well as continuing his association with guitarist/ songwriter/ promoter Paul Renton (Morningside Fats). A new duo with Simon Worlo, exploring early electric blues is promising.
 
The Colonel recently retired from 4zzz-fm's long-running radio show Nothin But The Blues, where he broadcast the blues weekly for 40 years.

Other favourite artists the Colonel has met/ interviewed in his travels include:
 
Jr Wells, Rod Piazza, Magic Slim, Hound Dog Taylor, RL Burnside, Kim Wilson, Kid Ramos, Brownie McGhee, Champion Jack Dupree, John Hammond, Joe Louis Walker, Robert Cray, Rick Estrin and Little Charlie Baty, Duke Robillard, Roy Rogers, Jimmie Vaughan, Screamin Jay Hawkins, Debbie Davies, Candye Kane, Johnny Copeland, Shemekia Copeland, Sue Foley, The Paladins, Smokey Wilson, Canned Heat, Junior Watson, James Harman, Bill Kirchen, Tony Joe White, Bob Brozman, Margie Evans, Johnny Mars, John Mayall, Steve James, Del Rey, William Clarke, Elvin Bishop, Norton Buffalo, Billy Boy Arnold, The Holmes Brothers, Bob Margolin, Big Bill Morganfield, Lou-Ann Barton, Marcia Ball, Guy Davis, Keb Mo, Big Boy Crudup, Gatemouth Brown, Frank Frost, Big Jack Johnson, Charlie Musselwhite, Taj Mahal, Little Milton.
 
There would be an equally long list of great Oz Blues performers that the Colonel deeply respects and has hung out with. Life is short. Play well and take the time to look around.