Golfdom Conversation: My son the rock star

Tue, Jan 12 2021

Seth Jones chatted with Mark Merrick, CGCS, about the success of his son’s band, All Time Low; researchers delve into what covers increase winter soil temperatures on ultradwarf bermudagrass putting greens; experts give some insight on how to deal with water feature woes.

Golfdom: Thanks for taking the time, Mark! First, tell us about yourself.

Mark Merrick: I started in 1973 when the changeover from farmers to superintendents started, and every irrigation system was manual with snap valves everywhere — even on greens! I could tell you stories, that’s how old I am now.

Golfdom: And, I discovered this by accident recently … your son Zack is the bassist in All Time Low? They’re a big-time band …

Merrick: They’re really big in punk-pop, alternative, whatever you want to call it. It wasn’t my thing until all this started, and now my wife and I know every word to every song.

Golfdom: What’s it been like to see their growth and their success?

Merrick: It’s a long, long story, like anything involving parents and kids and what they want to do. They were in their teens, they got together as friends, they hit it off and came to us as parents and said they want to quit everything else to get into this band thing. We were like, ‘excuse me?’ It was right before they were all to go to college. We had to drive them around at the beginning, and we said this isn’t going to last. Then, they brought us all together at the drummer’s parents’ house, there’s a guy there from California, and he wants to offer them a record deal at 16 years old. It didn’t take off right away. Local bars and things. When it did take off, it took off big. Now, Zack lives in a big house in Hawaii.

Golfdom: Their song ‘Monsters’ has been the No. 1 song on alternative charts for 13 weeks. You’ve traveled with them and seen some pretty cool venues.

Merrick: Paris, Montreal, Hawaii, Germany. They’ve traveled the world seven or eight times. They sold out an arena in Shepherds Bush, England, three nights in a row. My favorite is they sold out Wembley Arena, not the Stadium, but the Arena, which holds 15,000 or so. As all rock bands do, they bought out the bar at the top of the Hyatt in London. We went, and this guy taps me on the shoulder … he’s British, in a suit. This gentleman turns out to be friends with the band because his kids love the band. He’s an MP in Parliament. To make a long story short, he says, ‘Hey, want to go to Parliament tomorrow? They’re out of session, I’ll walk you through.’ … this is one story of many. These kids have been great; they’re great at what they do. They won an award in England, called the Kerrang! Awards (Best Newcomer, 2008). I’ll never forget, the guy who handed over the award to the band was Alice Cooper, and it made my day. To have a guy from my era like Alice Cooper hand that to the band at their age … it’s neat. I remember they won a contest and were playing this festival, and we were backstage. Joan Jett walks by. My wife says to my son, ‘Zack, it’s Joan Jett!’ Of course, Joan Jett could hear her say that. So, my son says, ‘Mom! We don’t do that back here!’

Golfdom: Did you have a musical background or did he find it on his own?

Merrick: Our whole family is musical. His sister Sam has the best voice. My wife, Carla, she’s been a musical dancer. We’ve done some charitable work, and we’ve been involved in The Paint & Powder Club, one of the oldest charitable performing clubs in the nation. I fronted a band for five years as the lead singer, so they’ve seen a lot of that growing up.

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