Mark Newman was born in the Bronx. His first musical inspiration was hearing his father play the two songs he knew on piano, "Heart and Soul" and what he calls "that famous tune that people play on the black keys...." He grew up in New York, and after moving to Los Angeles Newman studied with session guitarist Howard Roberts and Ted Greene, who wrote Chord Chemistry and Modern Chord Progressions. His earliest musical influences were the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Allman Brothers, Ry Cooder, Little Feat, Jimmy Nolen (the guitarist for James Brown), and Steve Cropper, among others. One of his earliest experiences working in a band came after he answered an ad in a local paper. The musical group was looking for a guitar player and Newman fit the bill -- and he remains a friend to the musicians in that group to this day. His first gig was an outdoor performance with that ensemble at a high school. The regular band canceled at the last minute and his new act filled in, though Newman felt the gig was less than it could be.
In 1997 his acoustic and electric guitar, mandolin, and vocals fronted the band Tao Jones, which released the album Rorschach Sunset in May of that year on Secret Records. Nine years later, after representatives from a new label saw him perform live at The Bitter End in New York City and after Newman gave the powers that be copies of the songs "Dead Man's Shoes" and "Must Be a Pony," the Must Be a Pony CD found release. When Fred Herrera from the band Sweetwater ran into Sam Samudio (of Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs), Samudio was looking for a slide guitar player. Herrera told Newman that Samudio was going to call, and Newman thought he was kidding. When Samudio got together with Newman and they played guitar for a few hours, Newman ended up doing a gig with Sam the Sham the next night. Mark Newman can hold a crowd on his own in live performance, his slide guitar superb, his vocals earthy and endearing. A version of the Blind Faith nugget "Can't Find My Way Home" shows that his pop sensibilities go well with his traditional leanings. He has toured with both Sam Moore of Sam & Dave and Sam the Sham. ~ Joe Viglione