By Shereen Siewert
Mark Mattioli, a lifelong musician and national recording artist who performed on hundreds of recordings during his decades-long career, died Sept. 17 at his Mosinee home after battling cancer.
Mattioli began playing and performing in high school, when he toured the state with the rock band, Bad Habit, before joining New Country Sound. He later performed with Sly Billy, Dennis Puckett and many other bands including the John Altenburgh Jazz Ensemble. Mattioli also recorded with Johnny & The MoTones at Sun Studios in Memphis on their debut album, Two Hits for the Kitty, which spent 18 weeks on the World Blues Chart.
John Altenburgh, whose friendship with Mattioli dates back to grade school, said Mark’s passion for music was endless and inspiring.
“Mark and I knew each other since the first grade,” Altenburg said. “I believe it was our freshman year at Mosinee when I discovered Mark played the drums, I played guitar and we formed a band. Then another band and another until we toured Wisconsin our senior year.”
After that summer, Altenburg said, Mattioli went off to play country while Altenburg veered toward jazz. But later, in the 80s, Altenburg built RiverSide Productions recording studio in Mosinee, where Mattioli became the studio’s house drummer.
“We had always recorded together building make-shift recording studios in the early days, but now we had one where we could actually make professional recordings,” Altenburg said. “He would often join my band on stage as a percussionist for things like the Christmas Show and music festivals, and he had a hand in some of my most successful recordings that hit various jazz and blues charts.”
Mattioli’s drumming has been featured in movies, commercials, jingles, TV programs and more, including the theme song for Wisconsin Public Radio’s “Route 51” and the movie “The Best Christmas Ball Ever,” which plays every year on the ION Channel.
Mattioli was an accomplished recording engineer, received several Wisconsin “Addy Awards” and was presented a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Central Wisconsin Rock & Roll Revival Committee. He performed at Hodag Country Music Festival, The Grand Theater, Wausau, and countless music festivals and venues.
“Mark was my longest musical collaborator and if there had been no Mark, I probably would have never started a band and became a professional musician and recording artist,” Altenburg said.
Mattioli is survived by his family and countless friends and coworkers. A celebration of life is planned from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Paper City Lanes in Mosinee.