“I’m going to Miami to be on a popular Telemundo show, on the heels of an arena tour with Maná,” said Mark E. Goffeney just before taping his TV appearance on August 31. The frontman of Big Toe has seen what began as a couple of one-off performances with the long-lived Mexican rock band (including September 9 last year in San Diego) turn into a regular featured spotlight at the group’s live shows, thanks mainly to a video of the San Diego concert getting over 100,000 views.
Mark Goffeney playing Tom Petty's "Last Dance With Mary Jane"
Goffeney, who was born without arms and plays with his feet (“I play left-handed, although I’m right-footed”), has long found the internet a valuable marketing tool, essentially launching his career with a Balboa Park performance of “Kryptonite” by 3 Doors Down that scored over two million views. A video of him performing Tom Petty’s “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” once had more views than Petty’s official promo for the track.
“That video was at one time the most-watched video on the internet in a day, period,” said Goffeney proudly.
A degreed martial artist with around nine years training in Okinawan kenpo, his quirky career path includes scoring number nine on VH1’s 2013 list of “Ten Musicians Missing Body Parts” (alongside Sammy Davis Jr., Tony Iommi, Paul Stanley, and Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen) and being featured in a Discovery Channel special called Born Without Arms, chronicling one of Big Toe’s European tours.
And then there was that celebrity fundraiser... “I was once asked by the former Prince Charles if he could put his finger in my prosthetic hook. I said yes. He hesitated and asked if it was going to hurt.…He offered me the olive from his martini and I declined. Looking back, I think he just wanted to see me eat with my feet!”
Goffeney supplements his music income with motivational speaking and occasional standup comedy.
“If I stumble, I can always fall back on playing a song.”
No matter how many headline bands want him to guest star, however, he says he’ll always go back to Big Toe.
“My own music is an appeal to the listener to drop their guard, open their mind, and let me in.”