Life-long Greenbelter Mark Opsasnick has authored eight books about culture, music and unexplained phenomena in the Washington, D.C. area. An avid fan and follower of the rock since in his early years, he's become best known for putting that passion into use researching and publishing his four books about the DC-area rock scene.
His most recent book, published in 2019, is Rock the Potomac, a comprehensive history of popular music in the Washington, D.C. area from Colonial times to the end of the Vietnam War in 1975, with a strong emphasis on the emergence of rock and roll and its early development in the nation’s capital. Offering a mix of cultural history, extensive night club information and detailed band and musician profiles, Rock the Potomac stands as a literary monument that will forever serve fans of Washington, D.C. area popular music.
Watch an interview with Mark about Rock the Potomac by Greenbelt Access Television.
Mark's first book, in 1996, was Capitol Rock, which chronicled DC-area rock music from 1951 to 1976 and attracted some nice reviews, with the Washington City Paper calling it “a feast of arcane, often fascinating detail, conjuring a long-lost world of innocent teen dances and rowdy honky-tonks.” The Washington Post called it “an excellent recent history of Washington’s rock ‘n’ roll scene.”
More music history books followed: Washington Rock and Roll: A Social History, and The Lizard King Was Here: The Life and Times of Jim Morrison in Alexandria, Virginia.
Mark got started writing through his interest in unexplained phenomena, and his first article for Rockville’s Strange Magazine is the first and last word on Big Foot sightings – Maryland Big Foot Digest. His coverage of that beat also led to his Miscellaneous and Unknown: Cultural Souvenirs from Prince George’s County, Maryland.
More of Mark's great local reporting and story-telling can be found in his Cultural Badlands Tour: An Outsider’s Guide to Obscure Landmarks and Offbeat Historical Sites in Prince George’s County, Maryland.
For 18 years Mark wrote for Strange Magazine, and his articles there led to the the publication of another book – The Real Story Behind the Exorcist. (Mark had determined who the “possessed” boy really was, where he attended school, and where he really lived at the time of his “possession” His methods and writing prove that meticulous research can really pay off.)