David Lee Marks is best known for his work as a member of The Beach Boys.
Growing up across the street from the Wilson family, Marks spent his formative years singing and playing with Brian, Dennis, and Carl Wilson.
At age 10, David received his first guitar for Christmas; he and Carl began studying with John Maus (later John Walker of the Walker Brothers) and developing their own electric guitar style, which caught the attention of Carl’s oldest brother, budding composer Brian. David and Carl’s rock ‘n’ roll guitar sound blended with Brian’s complex harmonies to help create the signature sound of the Beach Boys.
Thirteen-year-old Marks officially joined The Beach Boys in February 1962 and became one of the five signatories on the band’s recording contract with Capitol Records. He remained a member through October 1963, performing in over 100 concerts across the United States, appearing on national television, and playing rhythm guitar and singing on the band’s first four albums, and on hits like “Surfin’ Safari,” “409,” “Surfin’ U.S.A.,” “Shut Down,” “Surfer Girl,” “In My Room,” and “Be True to Your School.” While David's time in the band may be considered short, there's no denying the impact of the early years of the Beach Boys on their enduring and iconic legacy.
Leaving the Beach Boys gave David the freedom to focus on his own songwriting with a new band, David Marks & The Marksmen. One of the first bands to sign to Herb Alpert’s A&M Records, The Marksmen packed concert venues up and down the state of California but ultimately disbanded in 1965 after a release on the Warner Brother's label.
Marks went on to record session-work for Murry Wilson's Sunrays. He also played with Casey Kasem’s Band Without a Name, cult-classic psychedelic-pop bands The Moon and Colours, Delaney & Bonnie, and Warren Zevon. By age 21, he had been signed to five major record labels and had grown disillusioned with the Los Angeles music scene. In 1969, he relocated to Boston, where he studied jazz and classical guitar as a private student at the Berklee College of Music and the New England Conservatory. David went on to earn a reputation as a solid session guitarist without ever capitalizing on his previous association with the Beach Boys.
Through it all, however, he remained friends and stayed in contact with members of the Beach Boys, even appearing as a special guest from time to time. David rejoined the band in as a full-time member in 1997, when Carl Wilson, fighting cancer, was unable to continue touring with the group. Marks left the band for a second time in 1999 after being diagnosed with hepatitis C. Since his diagnosis, he has become a leader in the hepatitis C community, often appearing in the media to raise awareness of the disease.
In 2007, David co-wrote his autobiography, The Lost Beach Boy, with Beach Boys historian Jon Stebbins. The book is a frank account of his career with and without the Beach Boys, his health problems, his musical development, and his recovery and acceptance within the Beach Boys community.
The Beach Boys celebrated their 50th Anniversary in 2012 when David Marks joined Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, and Bruce Johnston on a 73-date World Tour. The highly anticipated reunion kicked-off at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards where they performed two classic hits: Surfer Girl (with Foster the People) and Good Vibrations (with Maroon 5). Their studio efforts led to the release of That’s Why God Made The Radio on Capitol Record, marking the first Beach Boys album of new material since 1992; for their efforts, the album broke in at Number #2 on the Billboard charts. The band’s subsequent world tour took America's Band on 73 shows on four continents and included appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Late Show with Jimmy Fallon, Charlie Rose, Good Morning America, the Jools Holland Show, SMAP, and the Today Show Australia. The also sang the National Anthem on opening day of Dodger's Stadium, which was also marking its 50th season.
Post reunion, David and Al Jardine joined Brian Wilson for a short US Summer Tour, followed that fall with a subsequent North American tour which included Jeff Beck. The collaboration was voted the #3 tour of 2013 and landed Wilson, Jardine, Marks & Beck another slot on the Jimmy Fallon Show. David Marks also joined an illustrious group of artist who guested on Brian Wilson’s 2015 solo release, No Pier Pressure – his guitar can be heard on the album’s single, The Right Time, which charted #28 on the Billboard charts and #1 on BBC Radio Two, and
David Marks toured as a part time member of Mike Love's Beach Boys from 2014 - 2016 and continues to perform with the Surf City All Stars and Dean Torrence of Jan & Dean. David's also returned to his roots as a session guitarist, playing on several albums by artists such as the Smithereens, the Surf City All Stars, Mod Hippie, Jez Graham, and Miami Dan.
On his own, Marks has also released two studio albums in the last five years: David Marks & Friends: Live on the Sunset Strip (with guests artists Marilyn Wilson-Rutherford of the Honeys and John Walker of the Walker Brothers) and Back in the Garage featuring Los A-Phonics, from Valencia, Spain, with whom he toured Spain in 2016.