Mark Volman of The Turtles Shares News of Progressive Neurological Disorder

Share This:

Mark Volman, who with Howard Kaylan formed the backbone of the popular ’60s music group the Turtles, has revealed that he is suffering from a progressive neurological disorder known as Lewy body dementia (LBD). Volman shared the news in a June 14 interview with People on the eve of the publication of his autobiography. Happy Forever: My Musical Adventures With The Turtles, Frank Zappa, T. Rex, Flo & Eddie, and More, with forewords by Alice Cooper and Chris Hillman, was published on June 20, 2023, via Jawbone Press. The book, timed to coincide with the 2023 edition of the popular “Happy Together” tour in which Volman is performing, was written with John Cody.

From the People feature: Volman had been experiencing hallucinations, tremors and struggles with concentration for several years but he wasn’t diagnosed until 2020. The progressive brain disorder is the second-most common form of degenerative dementia after Alzheimer’s. Actor Robin Williams also suffered from LBD for years before taking his own life in 2014.

Volman began to notice his symptoms in 2018, while teaching a music business program at Belmont University in Nashville. “I remember slurring, and I wasn’t sure what was going on,” he told People. “My brain wandered. I’d go off track. It made no sense.”

After earning their first hit with 1965’s Bob Dylan cover “It Ain’t Me Babe,” the Turtles went on to achieve enormous pop success with such singles as “She’d Rather Be With Me,” “Elenore,” “You Showed Me,” and the #1 hit, “Happy Together.”

On the 2023 edition of the “Happy Together” tour, Volman performs as the Turtles with singer Ron Dante. (Kaylan has not participated in the tour for several years.)

“Mark is one of the most indomitable yet gentle spirits I’ve ever met,” notes Alice Cooper in his foreword. “He will always be one of my favorite artists I’ve ever worked with. And someday, when I grow up, I want to be just like him.”

The People article notes, “Over time, the effects of the disease will progress into a ‘slow decline that will eventually interfere with his ability to function, says Kristen Pilote, who specializes in cognitive neurology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

From the publisher’s announcement: Volman, born April 19, 1947, has led a storied life, and many of those stories are contained in Happy Forever. A true son of Southern California, he has gone from topping the charts with the Turtles to underground cred with Frank Zappa and beyond. As Flo & Eddie, Volman and his long-time singing partner Howard Kaylan were the not-so-secret ingredient on many other artists’ records, taking Bruce Springsteen into the Top 10 for the very first time and helping T. Rex dominate the British charts. Then came the Ramones, U2, Blondie, Duran Duran and so many more; the list of credits is long and varied.

Alongside his own comments, the book contains contributions from more than one hundred of Volman’s peers, friends and lovers, who share their thoughts on the man himself and on topics that span the social and cultural landscape of the past half-century.

Happy Forever’s cast list reads like a who’s who of popular music, featuring members of the Doors, the Monkees, the Byrds, the E Street Band and many more; producers Tony Visconti, Bob Ezrin, and Hal Willner; voice actors from The Simpsons and the Firesign Theatre; and key figures from the worlds of radio, animation and academia. The book also includes previously unseen photographs.

The “Happy Together” 2023 tour began on May 31, hosted by Volman and featuring performances by the Turtles, Little Anthony, Gary Puckett, the Vogues, the Classics IV and the Cowsills.

Author John Cody is a freelance musician who has toured and recorded with over two hundred artists. This is his first book.

Best Classic Bands Staff

9 Comments so far

Jump into a conversation
  1. Bob D
    #1 Bob D 14 June, 2023, 22:33

    I’m heart broken by this news 🙁 Best wishes to Mark !

    Reply this comment
    • Udemami
      Udemami 15 June, 2023, 09:26

      So sorry to hear! The Turtles were part of the soundtrack of our lives. Thoughts and prayers for Mark.

      Reply this comment
  2. Cisley
    #2 Cisley 15 June, 2023, 02:11

    So sorry to hear this news. Met Mark August 31, 1969, when a couple of my friends and I had snuck into their show at Sacramento State Fair. The Strawberry Alarm Clock were on. A security guard at the show came over and was telling us to leave when Mark, out of nowhere, came over and told the guard we were with him. What a sweetie. I will never forget his kindness. We thanked him and continued enjoying the show. Those indeed were great times.

    Reply this comment
  3. BIWJ
    #3 BIWJ 15 June, 2023, 10:23

    Sad news. Hoping that his progression is as slow as possible. In the meantime, the Turtles deserves to be in the Hall of Fame as one of the most impactful American bands of the late 60s. Nine Top 40 hits, including five in the Top 10. And great live performers. Overdue.

    Reply this comment
  4. Pyro Pete
    #4 Pyro Pete 15 June, 2023, 19:17

    I saw the Turtles with many other great bands at a psychedelic Sunday concert at Molson park in Barrie Ontario Canada. They were great it was like a well polished Vegas show with all the hits and great comedy. I always wanted to see them again

    Reply this comment
  5. SeafordMax
    #5 SeafordMax 21 June, 2023, 02:18

    Saw “Flo and Eddie” many times at The Bottom Line Cabaret in Greenwich Village, especially memorable was their ‘The Fence Tour’. Their parody of Pink Floyd’s, The Wall Tour which only played in two cities due to expenses.
    Love live ‘The Tibetan Memory Trick’.

    Reply this comment
  6. Terry O
    #6 Terry O 21 June, 2023, 12:50

    It was 1964 or 65, I was 15 years old, and I was going to a teen dance at the Westchester Rec Center next to LAX in LA 90045. The band playing that night was The Fireflies, and hearing them, I thought – destiny is coming to meet this group. About a year later, I was at Westchester Music on Sepulveda Bl, buying an amazing new single, by a band called the Turtles.
    The first concert I went to was 1964 in box seats at the Hollywood Bowl – The Beatles.
    These 2 concerts, following my discovery of rock and roll on the radio, Ed Sullivan Show and the Teen Fair at the Palladium, were the began my endless love of live music❣️
    Will be at the Happy Together concert at the Saban Theatre, in Orch seats, on July 9th with my bffs ❤️

    Reply this comment
  7. Tommy
    #7 Tommy 2 July, 2023, 21:58

    Its a crime against humanity that the Turtles are not in the R&R Hall of fame,

    Reply this comment
  8. Del
    #8 Del 10 August, 2023, 20:27

    He struggled at the Happy Together Tour in Utica in July but stayed on stage and and performed. The other band members were wonderfully supportive when he struggled and the affection they all had for him was apparent. Hope we have him on stage next year.

    Reply this comment

Your data will be safe!Your e-mail address will not be published. Also other data will not be shared with third person.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.