"Dangerous" Mark Doherty. If you’re in the Boston punk scene, you already know who he is. You go to a show, and you’re bound to either bump into him or someone that knows him. Doherty is an energetic, no holds barred kind of guy. Having been in the scene for 20 years, some would say that he has earned the right to be.
Born and raised in Dorchester, Doherty says that he has "seen and done a lot of things." Even as a child, life was difficult for Doherty. He has been suffering depression and bipolar disorder since he was 7 years old. By 10, he was having thoughts of suicide. When Doherty was 11 he turned to alcohol to “kill the pain.” And by age 13 he had become a full-blown alcoholic. Doherty would get into fights almost every night, and these fights would often result in him being arrested. It wasn’t until Doherty was in his late 20s that he turned to a doctor to be treated for mental conditions.
Doherty knew that being a musician was the life that he was meant to live. Even when he became a young father at the age of 21, he kept working toward a career. But becoming a father helped him realize that he actually had something to live for. From his kids, Doherty’s learned "tons of stuff, I learn new things from them every day."
Doherty has always had the desire to be the singer of a band and could never see himself doing anything else but that. Playing live is like therapy for him.
"I have a lot going on in my brain, so when we play, I let out all my pain," he said.
More than 10 years ago, Doherty sang live for the first time with the Pug Uglies. Lead singer Jim Burke introduced Doherty as "Dangerous Mark Doherty," and the name stuck. Most people who don’t know Doherty personally aren’t aware that he is a solid guy — not exactly a menace to society.
"Mark is an extremely loyal person and he will do anything for his friends," said Burke.
Being a positive influence in the Boston punk scene, Doherty has landed spots on other band’s albums. He has sung lead vocals for the Pug Uglies, the 86’ed, the Bunker Hill Pipe Band and Gang Green. Over the years Doherty has also contributed backing vocals to bands such as the Blue Bloods, Gozu, the Dropkick Murphys and the Street Dogs.
"Even with so much success under his belt, Mark is still a very down to earth guy,” said Doherty’s close friend, Dropkick Murphys bagpiper Scruffy Wallace. “he enjoys spending time with his kids, walking his dog or hanging out with his buddies."
Doherty even calls his older brother, Billy, his hero saying, "He has been in the Army for 29 years and never complains when they ship him out. He says all the time â€˜It’s my job’. I tell him all the time â€˜you made it, all your friends are dead, in jail or are junkies.’"
In 2005 Doherty started his own band, Nowhere USA. The band received some press coverage, put out a demo, and played some shows alongside some of Boston’s best punk bands. The band broke up in 2008, but they will get together for a reunion show June 4 at the Beachcomber in Quincy.
Dead Friends is Doherty’s latest band. They have been together for a little over a year and recently recorded their first CD, "The After Life." Dead Friends intend to tour this summer and fall, and then get back into the studio to record their second album.
Doherty’s friend, Bryan Connolly, a local cop, was asked what he thinks of when he hears the name Mark Doherty. He replied: "I think of Mark’s great tenacity to network with other bands, and to promote his own."
So what does the future hold for Doherty? He continues to deal with his demons. He was recently diagnosed with Post Concussion Syndrome, which is caused by excessive trauma to the brain. He shows no signs of slowing down. He would love to get into acting if the opportunity ever arose although he has no previous acting skills. Doherty occasionally writes for AMP Magazine and he hopes to eventually write a book about his life.