Fifth-grader and Cougar Band alto saxophonist David DeMark was unphased by the water that covered the gym floor only hours before the band’s Spring Concert last Thursday. Perhaps it was because several days earlier, he’d played with a rock band in front of 1,500 people at the First Avenue nightclub in Minneapolis. It was actually David’s third time sitting in as a guest musician with The Violent Femmes.
Formed in Milwaukee in 1981, The Violent Femmes released their first album in 1983, and have since followed it with 15 more. David’s father, Michael DeMark, worked as the band’s live sound engineer in 1983-84 and remains friends with the band. The Femmes have a long tradition of inviting local musicians to join them onstage during concerts, in an ever-changing section called the “Horns of Dilemma.” When the band’s drummer, Victor DeLorenzo heard that David had taken up the sax, he invited him to join them at First Avenue last July.
David has been playing alto saxophone in the Cougar Band for about a year and a half.