In the words of Jake Heinitz, “If there is something cool going on in the city, he probably had something to do with it.”
You might not recognize Mark Fogarty’s name or even his face—he remained so entrenched behind the scenes that he refused to operate personal social media accounts, much less broadcast any of his big accomplishments to the world—but the 28-year-old Dayton, Ohio native was instrumental to many of the major developments in the Twin Cities music scene over the past four years.
Fogarty, who was also known by the nickname “Jerry” and, more simply, “Dad,” landed in Minneapolis in 2011 and immediately started moving and shaking things up. He had a hand in booking music for the Zombie Pub Crawl alongside Jonathan Ackerman, and helped grow the event from a small bar crawl into the sprawling monstrosity that regularly attracts 35,000+ attendees today. He worked alongside Jake Heinitz to launch Greenroom Magazine (where he served as publisher) and curate events ranging from P.O.S.’s “Best Show Ever” to D’Angelo’s triumphant performance in the First Avenue Mainroom. And he worked tirelessly in literal green rooms, practice spaces, offices, and back yards to connect artists with managers, bookers with venues, and up-and-comers with more established acts in the community.
“He was truly the man behind the curtain,” Heinitz writes, while artist Claire de Lune puts a finer point on it: “I don’t know if I’d be doing what I’m doing right now if he hadn’t been there to mentor and support me through it.”
Like so many artists in town, Fogarty mentored Claire de Lune and her Chalice crewmates Sophia Eris and Lizzo through the very beginnings of their careers in the Twin Cities, offering them opening slots for high-profile artists and helping to manage Claire’s latest project, tiny deaths, as it got off the ground.
“He didn’t have the vibe of an industry business person at all,” Claire says. “A lot of people in his field in the music industry are just kind of cutthroat, and that comes through. And he just wasn’t like that at all. He was just so sweet and kind.”
Fogarty passed away on Sunday morning, October 18. His death is the latest in a series of tough blows to the tight-knit hip-hop and electronic community in the Cities, which has also grieved the tragic too-soon losses of young rapper Phonetic ONE (a.k.a. Andrew Thomas) and filmmaker Andre Durand.
For Jake Heinitz, who has already dedicated much of his career to highlighting wellness and health in the music industry through Greenroom Magazine, he believes these losses are a profound call to action.
“What is worth talking about is the need for us to stop bulls****ing and literally build a space that helps the creatives in this community, [who] may not have access to proper care, to find ways to heal. So many people come here for the treatment centers, and it has created an incredibly rich and scarred scene. I dunno what that looks like, but I know I’m gonna lead the charge, because there’s no better time than now and I’m sick of burying my friends.”
Additional reporting was contributed by Jon Collins of MPR News.