2019 INDUCTEES >> MARK WILLIAMS
Category: Individual Artist
Mark Williams was born along the Mississippi River in Burlington, IA, in 1957. By age 10, he was taking guitar lessons from Joel Kipp (2012 Hall of Fame Inductee), and by age 12, he could play the standup bass in the school orchestra. He also learned to play the trombone, earning his first professional gig with the instrument at age 14. Doc Yard and The Debonairs performed mainly at local venues with Dixieland swing and rock ‘n roll sets.
After four years with Doc Yard and the Debonairs, Williams graduated high school and started a new seven-piece band called the Seventh Level. They covered artists like the Average White Band, Blood Sweat and Tears, Chicago, and The Doobie Brothers, to name a few. They began playing at local venues, eventually expanding to college functions in Iowa City as well as Galesburg and Macomb, IL.
With an urge to see more of the world, Williams joined the Air Force in 1977, and linked up with musicians at the base, forming the band Southwind. In 1982—with Honorable Discharge—he returned to Burlington and began performing solo acts at local pubs and clubs. In 1985 he was recruited to play bass and sing in the regional rock group The Freeze Band, cover artists like Bruce Springsteen, The Cars, and John Cougar Mellencamp.
In 1987, Williams moved to Ames, IA and was offered the Entertainment Manager position at a local nightclub. Two years later, he was called back to Southeast Iowa to rejoin the Freeze Band. The country-rock band Amarillo asked Williams to join them on bass and vocals in 1994.
Though Williams retired from a 28year career as a marketing firm account manager, he continues to play and perform in a group named Harrison Lane—a rock cover group—where he is the lead singer and plays rhythm guitar.