Author Archive

Death Card Update

Reposted from Kickstarter

I’m back in Chicago now, after quite an amazing and productive month spent in Paonia, Colorado.  My days at Elsewhere Studios were filled with composing, singing, and drawing, as well as discussions with other artists and Paonians about Bartok, Reiki, true crime novels, and how to survive a bite from a black widow spider without the aid of Western medicine.

Near final draft of the Death Card.  Artwork by Mark Winston.

Near final draft of the Death Card. Artwork by Mark Winston.

Since returning to Chicago, I have dedicated most of my time over the last week to coloring the Death Card.  It has come a long way from the pencil drawings I shared in the last update. I’m hoping to have the final version within the next few days. After that I’ll create a pattern for the back of the cards. I hope to ship these to our Kickstarter backers in early October.

I’m working on some other things, which will remain top secret for the time being.  Suffice it to say that If things go according to plan, you will be seeing a lot of DSO in 2014.

That’s pretty much it for now.


Somewhere even further beyond

Reposted from Kickstarter

Thank you to everyone who came out to see us perform at the Meadow City Music Festival on August 9!!!  We were overwhelmed by the turnout and the response.

Rachel Hixson.  Photo by Diego Romero.

Rachel Hixson. Photo by Diego Romero.

So many people were there to see the “goth orchestra.”  Many were there because they knew Craig and I, but many were there because curiosity got the best of them.

Julietta Rabens Moore.  Photo by Diego Romero.

Julietta Rabens Moore. Photo by Diego Romero.

About 5 minutes into the set, the entire crowd was hooked and everyone cheered as the string section blazed through the virtuosic passages at the end of “Someday, Somehow, Somewhere,” and the rest of the orchestra joined for the song’s thunderous finale.

Lee Harvey, Jim Martinez, Pecos Singer.  Photo by Diego Romero.

Lee Harvey, Jim Martinez, Pecos Singer. Photo by Diego Romero.

The energy of the audience propelled us through the remaining two hours of music.  We ended the evening with a cabaret rendition of “Somewhere beyond the sea” (the DSO song, not the Bobby Darren one), and a cover of “Head over heels” by Tears for Fears.

Craig Winston, Julietta Rabens Moore.  Photo by Diego Romero.

Craig Winston, Julietta Rabens Moore. Photo by Diego Romero.

It’s been odd walking around Las Vegas after the show.  Strangers say to me, “You’re the guy with the orchestra, right?”  They come up to me at local coffee shops and shake my hand or hug me just because they attended the show.   I’m a minor celebrity in the middle of nowhere.  The location doesn’t matter though.  What’s important is that DSO has given people a new perspective on music and the possibilities that exist beyond the boundaries of this little town.

Mike Campbell.  Photo by Diego Romero.

Mike Campbell. Photo by Diego Romero.

To the future.  I am packing my suitcase for a journey to another unheard-of southwestern town: Paonia, CO.  I’ll be there for the next 30 days composing something for The Dead Superheroes Orchestra.  By something, I mean the remaining music for “Beyond the farthest star,” and music for another story I’ve been daydreaming about for the past year.  When that time is up, I’ll travel back to Chicago, where DSO will be rebuilt again to begin performing by the end of October.

Photo by Diego Romero.

Mark Winston. Photo by Diego Romero.

I’d like to leave you now with photos from the show on August 9.  We posted these on Facebook.  These photos were taken by Diego Romero of Las Vegas, New Mexico.

Thank you again for your support.  We couldn’t have done this without you.

– Mark

This one goes out to you

Reposted from Kickstarter

It’s show time.

We put everything we could into this event, and it’s paying off.  The Orchestra sounds amazing, and Las Vegas is abuzz with talk of the “goth orchestra from Chicago.”

This week I talked about DSO on KLVF Radio in Las Vegas, and KBAC in Santa Fe.  New Mexico newspapers also took an interest in our performance.  The Las Vegas Optic printed an interview with me on Wednesday, and the Albuquerque Journal and Journal North printed articles about DSO and the Meadow City Music Festival this morning.

Amazingly, this nearly impossible idea of rebuilding the Dead Superheroes Orchestra in a dusty, forgotten old west town, is turning into the largest event DSO has ever done.  As of yesterday afternoon, circa 1pm, the show was 75% sold out, meaning roughly 375 tickets were already claimed.

We take the stage at 9:30pm.  I hope to see you there.  If you can’t make it, don’t worry, we hired a film crew and photographer to document the whole thing.

I have to finish rounding up cables and amplifiers now.  I’d like to leave you with the image of the poster for the show.  This is the one I’ll be sending to backers soon.  This was designed by one of my best friends, John Patrick Garcia.

Thank you for your support.  This would not be possible without you.


Poster illustration and design by John Patrick Garcia

We did it!!! From Darkness funded!

Reposted from Kickstarter

We reached our funding goal!!!! Together we will bring the Dead Superheroes Orchestra to Las Vegas, New Mexico!

It’s been inspiring to see such a widespread community work together to reach the funding goal for this campaign. Pledges have come from all over. They have come from friends, family, and fans from all eras of our time on planet earth. Thank you all so much for your support.

I can’t wait to see some of you on August 9 in Las Vegas. I also can’t wait to send rewards to others. The zombie, too, is ravenous with excitement…or it is simply ravenous. Thank you for being here with us. You give us a reason to perform, to compose, to write existentialist poetry and gothic stories, and to keep going.

Thank you once again for your support!



The Death Card and the origins of “Beyond the farthest star”

Reposted from Kickstarter

Roughly 5 years ago, I had a dream about a fire.  The dream centered around a married couple whose daughter who died in the fire.  The tragedy led to the couple to drift apart, both overcome by grief.  The man became obsessed with reviving his daughter from the dead.

At one point in my dream, the man had a dream of his own, in which he was walking through a mannequin factory.  Suddenly, the mannequins all came to life, singing a melody.  One of these mannequins was giant and covered in burns.

Ultimately, I decided to use this dream as a starting point for my opera, “Beyond the farthest star.”  I named the central character Violet, the girl brought back to life as a monster.

I wrote several short stories about Violet and drew many sketches of what I imagined she might look like.  This is the last sketch I finished.

I will adapt this image to the traditional themes of the Death Card from the tarot deck.  The final product will be used in our Death Card reward.

Positively Beautiful – A fight song.

Reposted from Kickstarter

I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to this Kickstarter campaign thus far.  Your generosity and support has inspired me.  I have completed a song entitled “Positively Beautiful.”  It is a song about love and living without fear.  I posted a recording of it on Youtube this morning:

Thank you for your support.  Together we can do amazing things.

Please share this video and this campaign with everyone.

Also, please memorize these lyrics:

I will tie my soul to yours
And build a barricade around our hearts
To stand against all attempts to pull us apart.

I will breathe each breath with yours
And exhale the breath of the universe
that lifted bones from the sands of the planet earth.

I will add my scars to yours
To build a thicker skin to defend
When my arms have no more strength in them.

I will raise my voice with yours
And scream ten thousand thousand things
Until there are no more words for us to speak.

We know the odds are stacked against us.
Even so, we’ll take our chances.
We’ll never look back,
Never turn back.
So positively beautiful.

Meet Beth Alderete Meyer, Pianist

Reposted from Kickstarter


We have a pianist!  Meet Beth Alderete Meyer from Las Vegas, New Mexico.  Beth will be playing piano with DSO on August 9 in Las Vegas, NM.

Here’s a video of Beth practicing Debussy’s “Doctor Gradus Ad Parnassum.”

Beth Alderete Meyer is a pianist, singer, and clarinetist from Las Vegas, New Mexico.  She began playing piano at the age of 6, studyingwith Mary Edith Johnson and later with Linda King.  As a pianist, she has performed for classical music festivals in Las Vegas including Bach Marathon, Mozart Marathon, and Moveable Music. While studying at New Mexico State University, Beth played clarinet with the Pride Marching Band, Roadrunner Revue, and Symphonic Concert Band. Beth is currently a senior at New Mexico Highlands University where she is studying Early Childhood and Multicultural Education. She is a member of the NMHU Performing Arts Club, with which she recently performed in a musical review of “Wicked.” In her spare time, Beth plays piano and sings for her two year old son’s entertainment and welcomes opportunities to learn and perform new music.

Meet Julietta Rabens-Moore, harpist and composer from Albuquerque, NM

Reposted from Kickstarter

On August 9, harpist and composer Julietta Rabens-Moore, from Albuquerque, New Mexico, will perform with DSO for the Meadow City Music Festival.  Julietta writes intensely beautiful, often dark, songs for harp, piano, voice, and many other instruments. She has some very impressive credentials, having a doctorate degree in Music Composition, and a master’s degree in Harp performance.  She’s also had works commissioned and performed by members of the Chicago Lyric Opera, Chicago Symphony, and the Minnesota Orchestra.

After exchanging a few emails about music with Julietta, she told me she had composed a cycle of songs based on text from Stephen King’s novel “Carrie.”  Obviously, I was very intrigued by this.  I am always happy to hear music with such interesting, dark origins.  These songs are abstract, haunting pieces for piano and voice that explore the psychological breakdown depicted in “Carrie.”  You can listen to these pieces, entitled “Dirty Pillows,” and more of her music on her Reverbnation page.

Julietta received her Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition from University of Nebraska in Lincoln. She received her master’s in harp from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. She has had works commissioned and performed by members of the Chicago Lyric Opera, Chicago Symphony, and the Minnesota Orchestra. She teaches at the New Mexico School of Music where she is chair of the theory and composition department. She teaches composition, harp, and piano to students, including those with special needs. Julietta is a harpist for the Arts-in-Medicine program and is the Executive Director of Healing Harps, Inc. She is a freelance performer and is harpist for the Bellissima duo with flutist Cathy Hawthorne-Perez.

From Darkness: The Reanimation of the Dead Superheroes Orchestra


From Darkness. From Infinite Loneliness.

We’re bringing the Orchestra back from the dead, and we’re unleashing it on Northern New Mexico.  We’re also unveiling a new studio demo of “Vexed.”

You can take part in all of this madness.  Join us on

From Darkness on Kickstarter

Contribute to our campaign “From Darkness.”  Receive an MP3 of our new studio demo of “Vexed” and a whole host of other things, like tickets to the show, graveyard tours, Scary-oke, or a date with the living dead.

The money we raise on Kickstarter will be used to hire an orchestra of 10 professional musicians in Northern New Mexico for the performance.  It will help with transportation fees, printing, promotions, supplies, and the many other costs associated with a performance of this magnitude.
On August 9, 2013, The Dead Superheroes Orchestra will headline the Meadow City Music Festival in Las Vegas, New Mexico, and present a musical spectacle of epic proportions.  Over 1,000 miles away from its Chicago home, under the moonless sky of the high desert, the Orchestra will be built anew from the finest musical talents of Northern New Mexico to perform for one night on the Old Town Plaza.  Performing 3 hours of dazzling music including brand new compositions and classic Dead Superheroes Orchestra anthems and favorites, this mercenary band of 12 virtuosos will rock until the whole wide world screams along.


Someday. Somehow. Somewhere.

We’re getting very close to heading back to the studio in the next few months.  We’ve been rehearsing many of our new songs, working on things in shifts in sectional rehearsals, and occasionally amassing the full orchestra for rehearsal.  One of the more difficult pieces we’ve been working on will be the second track on the album.  It is an epic song that makes use of our full group plus choir.  It is called “Someday.”  I began writing “Someday” in 2011 during a 2 day snowstorm.

Cars abandoned on Northbound Lake Shore Drive, Chicago

On February 1, 2011, a mammoth snow storm covered the city of Chicago, burying cars, making streets inaccessible, and forcing businesses to shut down until the city’s snow plows could clear paths for traffic.  My car was one of those entombed in the frozen precipitation, and further buried when snow plows finally made it to my part of town.  My drafty 19th century apartment was barely comfortable as the outside temperatures dropped below zero and snow continued to fall.  I washed dishes over and over again in an effort to keep my hands warm.  I walked around the house in 3 layers of clothing, running space heaters, and the forced air heat as high as they could go.

I feared that the electricity in my apartment might fail.  I was afraid the pipes might freeze.  I was afraid that the heat would stop working.  I was afraid I’d never see the outside world ever again. Read more

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