Born Mark Jones and brought up in Swindon, Lamarr dropped out of school aged 17 in 1984 and came to Harrow, London, where he joined the local rockabilly scene.
Between 1995 and 1997 he appeared as a team captain in the surreal panel show ‘Shooting Stars’, where he displayed a mixture of dour boredom and contempt towards hosts Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer who, in turn, mocked his “50s throw-back” appearance.
The mocking took various turns, even after he left the show, Vic explaining that ‘Mark had to leave the show because he was under the impression he was going to be called up for his National Service.’
For 12 years, between 20 July 1998 and 2010, Lamarr hosted a new show on BBC Radio 2 called ‘Shake, Rattle and Roll‘, where he played tracks from his own sizeable record collection of obscure rock’n’roll gems. He also presented ‘The Reggae Show’ series and ‘Mark Lamarr’s Alternative Sixties’, playing lesser known tracks from the 1960s.
“I’ve actually, you know recently, I worked it out and there are probably 30 or 40,000. Whoa! And no I haven’t listened to all of them, but the vast majority, there is probably always a thousand that I keep meaning to get round to or something, which I know sounds ridiculous, erm, and I store them, I’ve got a big record room, in my house, obviously.”
2018 charged with assault.
How did you come to change your name to Lamarr? And is Lamarr just a stage name or now your legal name?
When I joined Equity when I was 18, there was already a Mark Jones, and of course in a union, particularly in that union, you can’t have the same name as someone else, so I had to change it for them. I just thought it was funny, it was just a little in-joke for me, because I was literally playing in rooms above pubs in front of 20 people, that would be a very typical gig, and I thought it would be really funny to have to a big showbiz name, because what I was doing was so ratty and useless
and I was on the dole at the time, and I thought , “Oh that’ll be a really funny thing to do”. Then as the years went by it just, you know, it’s weird, I never thought I’d be doing it for longer than 6 months, I was 18 and just thought I’ll go off and do something else interesting at some point in my life. So it just stuck and I’m glad it stuck, I really like it, I think it’s a really nice name and I encourage everyone to go and change their name to something they prefer, because it’s quite good fun. It’s really nice when you say to someone your name and they go, “that’s a really nice name” and you go “Yeah I chose that one” and it was just someone on a record, I just thought, “That’s a really nice name Lamarr, I think I’ll have that”. And yeah, now I suppose I am legally Lamarr, it’s on my passport, so yeah.
Your famous quiff has now gone, why?
I was about to start a tour, I never do interviews and I haven’t done one for 3 years or something [interview in 2003], again I don’t like to be in people’s faces the whole time, but anyway I was doing a tour, and I’d worked really, really hard and it was a really good show and I’d written for about four months to write this tour, and I did like 30 interviews in 2 days to promote the tour and every single person asked me about my hair and I just thought I don’t want to be known for my hair, I want to be known for all the hard work I put into what I do, so I thought it was probably a good time to get rid of it. It was always just my hair to me, it seems to be a bigger fascination to everyone else than it was to me, it was just the shape of the things on top of my head. But I think it probably did help in a weird way, I think it became sort of something to identify me with and all those weird show biz things, but I’m sort of glad it’s gone…I don’t know why, I think just because I’m getting older again and I think I can’t have the same haircut I had when I was 17. The weird thing is men keep one hair style for their entire lives, that’s what men do, so I suppose that’s why it caused such a big fuss, I still, people ask me about it probably on a daily basis, people still talk about it which is quite a weird thing just for a haircut.
two more FANTASTIC compilations such as this under the titles of: “Mark Lamarr Presents – Mule Milk ‘N’Firewater” and “Mark Lamarr’s – Roc-King Up A Storm“. Don’t know why these three comps are not in stock these days and