Marcus Howells death: Lead singer of Foreign Legion dies after a brief illness

Marcus Howells died. (Source: Facebook)

Marcus Howells, a pioneer of punk in Merthyr Tydfil, has died. Gutted is not even close. He genuinely supported every band, every gig, and anyone in need and was a great friend to many people on the scene. Keep reading to know more about Marcus Howells and his cause of death in detail.


Who was Marcus Howells?

Marcus Howells was the lead singer of the Foreign Legion band. South Wales-based Foreign Legion is a punk band.

In 1984, the surviving members of the band Society—later known as Dead On Arrival—formed Foreign Legion. Bullsheep Detector, an album released in 1984, featured one song by Dead on Arrival. The band released their first EP in 1986 on their Rent a Racket label with the line-up of Marcus Howells on vocals, Lynne Murphy on guitar, Helen James on bass, and Paul (Marshon) Marsh on drums. This was after the name was changed to Foreign Legion and several line-up changes (drummers in particular).

The band supported artists like UK Subs, The Vibrators, The Partisans, Picture Frame Seduction, The Adicts, Major Accident, Toy Dolls, Angelic Upstarts, 999, Broken Bones, and others during the 1980s, including Bérurier Noir for one of their first overseas concerts in France after gig exchanges with Burning Ambitions from Le Havre.

The band also played regular slots in the renowned 100 Club. When visiting the band’s hometown of Merthyr Tydfil, they also provided support for The Alarm, Joe Strummer & the Latino Rockabilly War, and the UK Subs.

In 1991, the band disbanded.

In 2000, the original members of Foreign Legion—Marcus Howells on vocals, Mark (Jolly) Williams on guitar, Andrew Heggie on bass, and Ben Stansfield on drums—reformed the band.

The band released EPs in the early 2000s and performed around the USA, mainland Europe, and the UK, including at New York’s CBGBs, with the Dropkick Murphys, Major Accident, The Templars, NY Relics, UK Subs, The Misfits, Agnostic Front, Bad Manners, Stiff Little Fingers, and The Buzzcocks. A reworked version of Message From Nowhere from the first EP is included on the album Death Valley, which was recorded in 2007 and contains additional new songs.

German label KB Records published Light at the End of the Tunnel in August 2013 after it was recorded in 2013. The album includes several songs that make reference to the band’s Welsh working-class origins, including Market Trader, Regeneration (Council List), and Miners (The Fathers’ Sacrifice), as well as one song sung by bassist Zuki.

Along with the album title and the final track, Phoenix From The Flame, the cover image by fellow Merthyr resident Gus Payne shows a Welsh miner kneeling with his hand on the hilt of a sword planted in the ground, possibly alluding to the sword in the stone myth. This image conveys a hopeful message for the future. This intention to express hope for the future is confirmed by vocalist Marcus Howells,

“Light At The End Of The Tunnel is meant to give hope and strength to all the working class people all over the word, that the shining sword…”

Marcus was a great friend to many people in the scene, gave his all to help every band, every show, and anyone in need. He bravely led the way as the frontman of Merthyr Punk Veterans, Foreign Legion, for almost four decades.

For those who had the good fortune to know Marcus, he was a staunch supporter of the punk and music scenes, ceaselessly fighting for everyone, most recently for Rum Lad. Marcus was a fantastic person who constantly gave the punk scene a lot of support. A few years ago, many people got the opportunity to spend a memorable evening on stage with him.


How did Marcus Howells die?

On June 21, 2023, Marcus Howells of the Foreign Legion passed away suddenly. Marcus was one of the most ardent punk scene supporters many had ever encountered.

The news was verified and posted on Facebook by the Foreign Legion band.

“With very heavy heart, I’m shocked, saddened and devastated 💔 to hear of the passing of Marcus, lead vocalist and driving force behind Foreign Legion. Marcus, besides being a wonderful human being, was one of the best & truest friends you could possibly ask for.
We shared many adventures together playing live in the UK, Ireland & continental Europe with our brothers in the Legion. I will cherish those memories now and always. Rest easy big man xxx”

Marcus would frequently be spotted on the Penydarren Park terraces, where he would watch every Merthyr fixture. His everlasting passion for punk music and all of the participating bands was evident; he always gave it his all and displayed unyielding dedication.


Marcus Howells cause of death

We’re sorry to have to inform you that Marcus Howells has passed away. Marcus Howells was regarded as having a friendly personality. Many people must be curious to know the Marcus Howells cause of death in light of the recent news.

Many people will miss him because he was a proud valley man. He was a beloved buddy and a true embodiment of the punk ethos, serving as a prominent role in the scene. He was an avid supporter of Acid Attack as well, having first crossed paths with the band in 1983 when Acid Attack shared two shows with Marcus’ then-band, Dead On Arrival.

Marcus was reportedly one of the most ardent punk scenes supports they had ever encountered, according to Acid Attack.

Marcus was an ardent supporter of QPR. When he went to Loftus Road to see them perform, he ran into Mick Jones, and Mick eventually helped produce their debut record. Marcus invited Taurus Trakker to perform in Wales at a benefit concert he had planned. He was a proud member of the working class who was socially conscious. He would hop on stage with some boxing movements and do a full-on punked up concert since he was always full of enthusiasm. Both his family and the punk community are deeply saddened by his passing.

The precise Marcus Howells cause of death hasn’t been revealed, yet. As soon as we find out more information, we’ll update this story.


Tributes to Marcus Howells

Many people expressed their profound sympathies to his family and expressed how much they loved him. The news of this occurrence has upset his supporters and fans.

Richard Coombs wrote: “Absolutely gutted beyond belief , just heard the tragic news about Marcus Howells .. i 1st met Marcus in 2006 and we hit it off and he became a great mate , sending over cds and tshirts to Oz and talking online for hours some nights , he truly was a great man and i will miss you my friend”

Colin Scott wrote: “I am totally gutted. Rest in punk, mukka. King of the legion. Most won’t know how the last few years Marcus was so ill, fighting everyday to get well and better. Endless hospital visits over and over each week. And still he was trying to push others in the punk rock scene, always trying never stopping. Where’s Marcus Howells gone, rest in peace you beautiful legend of a best friend.”

Steven Ginger Thomas wrote: “Just hearing long time friend of 44 years, Marcus Howells has passed away.
Front man with Merthyr Punk stalwarts, Foreign Legion for close on 40 years, got to know him whilst on holiday in Weymouth back in June 79 and have stayed in touch ever since. A passionate fan of Merthyr Tydfil/Town FC and QPR as well as our beloved Wales, we only chatted on here recently. Ironically, posted this pic from Memories about 3 weeks ago, know he’s been ill a while but truly shocked to hear we’ve lost him. The world just became a poorer place. Sleep well my Friend. Go Easy. Step Lightly. Stay Free”

One of the worst things anyone can go through in life is losing a loved one. Any journey must have a destination at the end. The person’s time on earth has regrettably come to an end now that they have died. We wish him eternal peace and send our thoughts and prayers to his loved ones, family, friends. May he rest in peace.

Please leave a condolence in the comment section below in memory of Marcus Howells.


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