Money Mark is the alias of Mark Ramos-Nishita, a keyboardist whose funky, retro-flavored riffs earned him the unofficial title of the fourth Beastie Boy. Born in Detroit to a Japanese-Hawaiian father and a Chicano mother, Nishita moved to the West Coast when he was six; some years later, he hooked up with the Dust Brothers production team and began overdubbing keyboards for the Delicious Vinyl label. While working as a handyman, Nishita accepted a job repairing the Beastie Boys' Silverlake, CA, home; soon, he became a pivotal member of the group's Grand Royal posse and performed on both 1992's Check Your Head and 1994's Ill Communication.
Recorded at his home studio, Money Mark's solo debut, Mark's Keyboard Repair -- a loose, infectious collection of fuzzy organ noodlings performed on vintage equipment -- appeared in 1995 as a set of three 10" records issued on the Los Angeles-based label Love Kit. Although the small pressing sold out almost instantly, the first record in the series found its way to Britain and the offices of Mo'Wax founder James Lavelle, who quickly flew to L.A. to meet with Nishita; a deal was struck and the instrumental Mark's Keyboard Repair was reissued in late 1995. Mark's next release was the more pop-oriented Push the Button in 1998, but he followed with another instrumental album, Change Is Coming, in 2001. Fast forward to 2007, when a shared association with none other than Jack Johnson -- via Beasties producer Mario Caldato, Jr. -- led the way to a contract with Johnson's Brushfire label and a new Money Mark pop album, Brand New by Tomorrow. ~ Jason Ankeny
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