Martin Luther Lennon
About Martin Luther Lennon
Martin Luther Lennon (MLL) is the stage name of Los Angeles-based power pop singer/songwriter Tony Perkins. (He obviously couldn't use his real name without getting confused with the guy who played Norman Bates, so he took his stage handle from an interview with Paul McCartney where the ex-Beatle decried John Lennon's near-canonization after his murder; neither McCartney nor Perkins mean for the name to be insulting.) Born in the San Fernando Valley, Perkins adopted the moniker in the late '80s, also using it as an umbrella name for whatever band he was playing with, like in the early days of Alice Cooper.
The first MLL sessions were recorded between 1988 and 1990, but Perkins was diagnosed with Epstein-Barr Syndrome in the early '90s, which led to an enforced hiatus from performing. These five songs weren't released until 1995, when one appeared on the third Yellow Pills compilation and the other four showed up as part of Not Lame Records' first release, Sympophony #1. Not Lame signed Perkins later that year, and, in 1996, the first proper Martin Luther Lennon album was released. Music for a World Without Limitations featured Perkins on bass, backed by Steve Refling and Robbie Rist on guitar and drums, with occasional guitar and vocals from Cockeyed Ghost leader Adam Marsland. The same lineup featured on 1999's Escape to Paradox Island.
Perkins also developed and ran the Poptopia series of yearly Los Angeles power pop festivals and was an executive producer of the three-volume Poptopia! history of power pop released by Rhino Records in 1997. ~ Stewart Mason