Mark Goffeney (May 22, 1969 – March 2, 2021) was an American musician from San Diego, California, known as "Big Toe" because, being born without arms, he played guitar with his feet. He was bassist and vocalist for the 'Big Toe' band and played the principal role on Fox Television's Emmy-nominated commercial 'Feet'.
|Died||March 2, 2021 (aged 51)|
Goffeney's mother was British. Starting at age 4, Goffeney appeared on telethons for March of Dimes and Variety Club charities. He interviewed celebrities such as Magic Johnson, Henry Winkler and Prince Charles.
Initially cast to be the son of David Hasselhoff's character on The Young and the Restless but a corporate board decided a character with no arms would be too controversial so he was let go. He felt disheartened by this and decided to concentrate on music.
He played trombone in the school band briefly, and then his father brought home an old guitar he had found at a garbage dump. Goffeney asked a guitar-playing neighborhood friend for instruction. The guitar had only four strings.
With his friend's help, Goffeney developed his own technique, learning guitar and bass. He would lay the guitar on the ground, supporting the neck with whatever he could get his feet on. He would strum with his left foot and make chords with his right.
He started a heavy metal band in high school and acted like a 'punk', in his own words. He married AnnMarie Alburg in 1988 and had three children shortly after high school. They were divorced for many years but reunited years later after Mark raised the children on his own.
In 1992 he founded the band "Big Toe" with another guitarist, and by the end of the 1990s had successfully completed his first CD, titled Big Toe, sponsored by PSB Records and produced by Steve Dudas, the former producer for Aerosmith.
He has been recognized for his work internationally and was nominated for an Emmy Award in 1999 for his principal role in the Fox Network commercial "Feet" that aired during the Super Bowl in 2000 and 2001.
Goffeney performed on "Lippe blöfft" (ARD TV in Germany) as an opening act for LeAnn Rimes. The station forwarded over 100 emails received the day following the show from viewers wanting Goffeney's CD. To date, CDs have been mailed to fans in Germany, Switzerland and Austria.
'Big Toe' appeared on The Next Great American Band on Fox TV and in StarTomorrow, an online-only musical talent search premiered on NBC and NBC.com on July 31, 2006 competing with 92 bands head-to-head competition on a weekly basis. 'Big Toe' made it to the semi-finals of the competition.
"Big Toe" CDEdit
In 1999, PSB Records signed the band to a CD deal on the condition that Goffeney work with Steve Dudas, former producer for Aerosmith, Ozzy Osbourne and Ringo Starr, to refine the songs for the band's self-titled album. At an interview Goffeney recalled him to be very professional, and that at the time Dudas let him know "in no uncertain terms" that he needed to listen to him.
The "Big Toe" CD is a collection of Mark Goffeney's original songs. It was featured in the San Diego Reader's "Best of the Best".
On March 2, 2021, both Goffeney and his wife AnnMarie were found dead in their home in El Cajon. The causes of death are still pending but a spokesman for the El Cajon Police Department said there were no signs of foul play.
- "Mark Goffeney on bigtoerocks.com". Archived from the original on 2008-03-05. Retrieved 2008-05-25.
- 'The World alikea to play guitar sighs his face like this is him typing jsjdiidndine dt His Feet: Mark Goffeney' Archived 2010-07-28 at the Wayback Machine on ABILITY Magazine.
- Sanford, Jay Allen (March 5, 2021). "RIP Mark Goffeney: Big Toe bassist never let disability hold him back". San Diego Reader. Archived from the original on March 7, 2021. Retrieved 2021-03-07.
- Varga, George (2021-03-17). "Armless San Diego guitarist Mark 'Big Toe' Goffeney and his ex-wife, AnnMarie Goffeney, found dead". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 2021-03-18.
- "Feet - Fox Sports.com". Television Academy. Retrieved 2021-03-05.
- Emmy Awards (1999): Outstanding Commercial, on IMDb.
- 'Guitarist with no arms faces reality TV' By Larry Knowles Archived 2012-02-13 at the Wayback Machine, Vyuz San Diego, September 11, 2006
- Star Tomorrow Fan Site, Week ONE Archived 2009-02-14 at the Wayback Machine
- "San Diego Armless Guitarist/Bassist 'Big Toe' Dies at 51". NBC 7 San Diego. Retrieved 2021-03-05.