Big Toe bassist Mark Goffeney was born without arms and plays with his feet. When they appeared as contestants on the TV show Star Tomorrow in 2006, Grammy-winning producer David Foster said “It’s impossible to truly evaluate this. I mean, what this guy does is amazing, he’s a good bass player…he doesn’t sing great but he’s a phenomenal human being. You should be able to use anything to get there, whatever the gimmick is.”
“In my eyes, a gimmick would be something like Jimi Hendrix playing his guitar between his legs,” says former guitarist Dave Gilbert. “He didn’t have to play it that way, whereas Mark does have to play with his feet, because that’s what he does.”
As of summer 2009, Gilbert also played with Claire Monsters and with West Coast Iron Works, one of the longest continuously-operating rock band in San Diego, having formed in the mid-1960s.
On June 20, 2011, someone stole the armless guitarist’s Taylor 314 acoustic from his car trunk at his Santee home. Goffeney offered a $100 reward, no questions asked.
Goffeney made number 9 on VH1's 2013 list of 10 Musicians Missing Body Parts, which includes Sammy Davis Jr., Tony Iommi, Paul Stanley, and Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen.
When the band Maná came to town on September 9, 2016, Goffeney sat in for two numbers, with the resulting video going viral over the next few days, racking up over a million hits. Soon, he was touring with the band as a featured guest star.
In 2017, James Neal and David Kotz were working on a local project called Servants of Sound. Goffeney passed away in 2021.