WARSAW — A Warsaw musician plans to take his music to new heights, literally.
Mark Allen, 50, said he’s loved playing music for decades, but decided after years of covering popular music that he would try his hand and creating his own songs. Next month he will take his eclectic original compositions to a Colorado mountain peak and attempt to set a world record.
“It’s a record that I’m setting where a musician is playing his live original music at 14,000 feet above sea level and it’s never been done,” said Allen, a 1987 graduate of Warsaw Community High School.
“I’m sure if you want to climb up there, someone could beat it the next day. But, I’ll be the first one to set it and that’s what matters.”
Allen said he was traveling out west in April with his three sons when he got the idea.
“We went out there in April and we were out there where the snow was in Denver and it was like ‘let’s go to the mountain tops where the snow is’” said Allen.
“So, we went about 50 miles west out of town and we came to this Loveland Pass and it took awhile to get up there and there was this parking area,” he continued. “It was 65 (degrees) on the ground and it was zero up on top with about two feet of snow. I left one of my CDs that I’d just had released at this one point that everybody passes for whoever wanted it. I just thought it would be fun. Then I looked up and saw how this thing went way up and I thought “I’ve got to play that, man.”
Allen vowed to return. He researched and found that his proposed feat would warrant a listing in the Guinness Book of World Records. He filled out the application and sent it in and made plans for his record-setting trek to the Colorado mountain. “I wanted to do it on a good day and I chose Friday the 13th.”
On July 9, Allen will leave Indiana with his son, Will, who serves as his videographer. He will attempt the record from the top of Loveland Pass on July 13.
The contrast between temperatures at the bottom of the mountain and the frigid air of the peak are symbolic of Allen’s own contrasting musical tastes, not to mention the diversity of his original work.
“I’m between Tom Petty and Nirvana,” Allen said. With original songs such as “You Made Your Bed,” “Pour Me Another Glass of You” and “Baby I Got You,” Allen will include other noteworthy locations to play his music live when he heads west next month.
Aside from Loveland Pass where he hopes to make history, Allen will play his music at Mount Rushmore, Sturgis, S.D., Devil’s Tower, S.D. and Red Rock, Colo.
“I love music man,” said Allen who has been a drummer for about 35 years before eventually adding guitarist to his repertoire. “I listened to the Partridge Family and went right into Kiss,” he said. Early musical influence came from Allen’s father. “Every night when we would go to bed, he had to listen to the radio, all night long,” Allen said.
Allen has been playing his music solo since his former drummer, his son, had to hang up his sticks to serve in the U.S. Navy. Allen’s cousin Dan Slone has been a playing partner for much of Allen’s career as well. Currently, Allen’s original catalog includes 17 songs.
Allen said his music has been featured on movies and he’s played clubs in Nashville, Tenn. The manufacturer of his portable P.A. system, Roland, will be keeping a sharp eye on his trip west.
For the tour, Allen said he isn’t really booked anywhere. “It’ll just be show up and rock,” he said. “It would be like going to the Empire State Building and getting that stuff up there and playing on the roof,” he said.