2005-10-19 17:57:11 UTC
By Clara Cobb/Features Editor
October 18, 2005
After a six-month battle with lung cancer, Grammy-award winner and
Lubbock live-music legend Marc Mason Harper died Sunday morning.
In his last media interview in late July in a dimly-lit bar, Marc Mason
Harper watched as his youngest son, Hunter, helped two young Texas
country artists prepare for open microphone night. It was clear Harper
was focused completely on his son, and he smiled.
"I like smaller places," Harper said. "It's more intimate. Everyone
gets to know each other."
Harper was about the same age as his son when he first learned how to
play guitar from what he called an "old hippie" who lived across the
street from Harper's childhood home. When he was 13, he played his
first paid show.
Harper had been in the music and entertainment industry for more than
three decades and had traveled the world with the Box Tops and the
Kentucky Head Hunters. He was working with the Kentucky Head Hunters in
1990 when they won a Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo
or Group with Vocals.
Harper said he toured extensively for 10 years in the U.S. and abroad
"Waking up in different place every night, unwrapping a little soap,"
Harper said. "I hate that more than anything - little soaps in hotels."
When he was touring, he traveled with as many as 30 people and as few
as one. He said he preferred traveling alone.
"I'm a lot easier to deal with than 30 other personalities trying to
deal with me," he said. "I don't have to take it as serious. I can have
more fun by myself."
Harper, a 1978 graduate of New Deal High School, returned to West Texas
in 1995, and began to make a mark in the Lubbock Texas music scene,
which he was involved in for more than 25 years. Harper's style,
according to his Web site www.marcmarsonharper.com, was "Y'alternative
West Texas Country Rock Music."
"I don't consider myself 'Texas country' because I was doing it along
time before the fad started," he said. "That's not putting anybody
Locally, he performed regularly at Kershner's Inside 4-Bar-K, Bash
Riprock's, and Texas Caf? and Bar, also known as "The Spoon."
Friend and fan Lindsay Duhe, a graduate student studying English from
Highland Village, said she will miss Harper and his regular
"Marc always came in with a smile," she said. "Even in the end, no
matter how bad he felt, he always came a played to make other people
Harper was still singing and smiling the day he died.
"Within the past six or eight years I've been raising my kids so I had
to change a lot of stuff," Harper said. "It keeps me home a lot. I live
in New Deal - I'm proud of that."
Harper said he did not plan writing a song or have any method for
"I pick a subject, and I write about it. I try to stay on that subject
best I can," he said. "My life is totally spontaneous musically."
Jason White, coordinator of the Marc Mason Harper Benefit Concert in
July, said he enjoyed listening to Harper's songs and listening to him
"Marc was kind of carefree; he's a free spirit," White said. "He's not
afraid of offending someone through his music."
Harper said he was aware his choice of words sometimes might have
offended people in the audience.
"I tend to speak my mind without trying to be offensive to anyone. I've
ran myself out of a couple places with my mouth," he said. "Rednecks
tend to put things funny. If you're taking yourself too serious, you
can't have fun. I think being myself is fun, and if other people can
have fun with me, that's kick butt."
Harper said he played because he loved sharing his stories from the
stage with other people.
"I like the college crowd, the younger crowd. It keeps me from
over-maturing. I enjoy doing this, I don't just do it for the money,"
he said. "Of course, the more attention I get, the more money I make.
If it was about the money, I wouldn't be playing at Bash's or any other
place in Lubbock all the time. I don't like Nashville; I don't like
politics of someone else's version of success. To me, success is a
level of happiness individually."
Having fun and being a single father are the only things Harper took
"He was so good with children," said friend and fan Andrea Antonietti,
a senior interior design major from Austin. "He was an amazing father."
He is survived by his four children. Holly and Hunter, his two youngest
children, will remain with their paternal grandparents.
"My children are my greatest accomplishment in life," Harper said. "I
was peaked over the top a couple times, I was looking over the top, and
that's nothing compared to my children."
Services for Harper are 2 p.m. Wednesday at White Funeral Home located
at 2210 Broadway Ave. Harper requested attendants do not wear black.
His last recording was Oct. 16 at The Blue Light. The release of the
recordings are pending.
"Don't take things serious to the point you're not having fun," Harper
said. "Appreciate the goodness of the small things."