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Mark Avsec (born August 23, 1954) is an American rock keyboardist / songwriter / producer, and more recently (since 1995) copyright lawyer, who is best known for being a member of Wild Cherry, and also Donnie Iris & the Cruisers since 1979. Avsec co-founded this band, wrote or co-wrote all of the band's music, was its sole lyricist, and produced all of its albums.[1]


Avsec joined the band Wild Cherry immediately following the recording of the disco hit, "Play That Funky Music" (1976). He was brought in as a session keyboardist for two tracks on the band's debut album, and was then asked to join the group. He also toured with the band, performing "Play That Funky Music" at the 1976 Grammy Awards.[2] During this period, he befriended Donnie Iris, with whom he composed Donnie Iris & The Cruisers' hits "Ah! Leah!" (#19 Billboard Mainstream Rock) and "Love Is Like a Rock" (#9 Billboard Mainstream Rock).

In 1980, Avsec wrote and produced the debut album for the band LaFlavour which garnered the hit single "Mandolay," climbing to number 7 on Billboard's Disco Chart.[3] Avsec later released "Mandolay" himself under the artist name Art Attack. By the time Avsec composed LaFlavour's follow-up album, the band's label, MCA, had decided to change the band's name to "Fair Warning," due to interest in disco music tapering off. The lead-off Fair Warning single composed by Avsec was called "She Don't Know Me," which was taken by MCA from the Fair Warning debut album and given to New Jersey's Bon Jovi, who were preparing their debut album for PolyGram's Mercury label. The label felt Bon Jovi needed the song as a single, making Avsec one of the only outside songwriters to compose a song released by Bon Jovi. Avsec has played with other musicians such as Mason Ruffner and The James Gang featuring Joe Walsh, Jimmy Fox, and Dale Peters.

In addition to Donnie Iris & the Cruisers, Wild Cherry, and James Gang, Avsec was a member of the Cleveland, Ohio-based band, Breathless.[4] He has also released material in collaboration with fellow Donnie Iris and the Cruisers member Kevin Valentine under the pseudonym Cellarful of Noise.[5]

In 2010, "Angel Love (Come For Me)," a song Avsec co-wrote with Mason Ruffner and Alan Greene, was included on Carlos Santana's Supernatural (Legacy Edition) album.

Avsec decided to become a lawyer because he was sued frivolously for the song "Ah! Leah!" He won the lawsuit but lost all of the royalties defending himself.[2] Today Avsec has a successful practice specializing in intellectual property law based in Cleveland, Ohio, having graduated from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in 1994 magna cum laude.[6]

Avsec focuses his practice on entertainment, copyright, trademark, and e-business matters, including copyright and trademark litigation, privacy law compliance, and the provision of strategic counseling and contract preparation services for various types of entertainment and media companies. He regularly advises clients regarding copyright and trademark infringement, and is involved in trademark preparation and prosecution on behalf of his firm’s clients. Since 2003, Avsec has taught "Law of the Music Industry" at Case Western Reserve University School of Law.

According to the law firm's website, Avsec has negotiated agreements that involve music-related intellectual property. These include record label agreements, music publishing agreements, personal management agreements, and all aspects of music licensing. Further, he represents music publishing businesses which are either seeking to sell music catalog or are seeking growth through catalog acquisition.


  • Breathless, 1979
  • Nobody Leaves This Song Alive, 1980
  • 20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: The Best of Donnie Iris, 2001
  • 25 Years, 2004
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