Mark “Hoss” Amans
Mark “Hoss” Amans, a Santa Barbara resident and friend to many in our community for over 25 years, passed away on December 7, 2017 at the age of 73. Born and raised in the state of Washington, Hoss was the son of George, a Washington State Patrol officer, Alice, a homemaker, and brother to two sisters. As a teenager, Hoss became an expert driver under his father’s careful tutelage, inciting in him what would be a lifelong love and appreciation for the perfectly conducted behind-the-wheel experience. While a talented athlete with high aspirations, Hoss ultimately gave up his big-league dreams in pursuit of his true calling–rock ‘n’ roll–when he joined the Northwest group, The Viceroys, as what was then called a “band boy” in 1963.
Over the twenty years that followed, Hoss went on to pioneer the role of the modern road manager, working in that capacity with some of the biggest bands of the time, including Paul Revere & the Raiders, Cat Stevens, The Who, and many others. More than just a chief logistician, bodyguard, emcee, and “gear-slinger” for these acts, Hoss was also respected for his innate abilities as an unofficial producer and sound engineer.
Despite never learning how to strum more than a few notes on a bass, Hoss had a gift for powerful music arrangements and a great understanding for composition – friends from the time attest to many groups having written songs under his vigilant guidance, with his “unique way of seeing the shape of a tune from start to finish…[yielding] extremely high quality results”. Hoss garnered great respect in the industry for his exceptional work ethic, professionalism, ingenuity, and vivacious charisma. He went on to write of many of his experiences from this time of life in his book, Where The Action Was: On the Inside of the Evolution of Rock ’n’ Roll, which demonstrates his gifts as a master storyteller and made him the subject of numerous interviews on local and LA-area radio.
After deciding to leave the music business in the early 1980s, Hoss moved to California and proceeded to work by turns as a security guard, property manager, and, primarily, a professional driver for many Santa Barbara and Montecito families, which he did for the remainder of his life with much aplomb. With no children of his own and an eternally youthful spirit and curious mind, Hoss delighted in making life great fun for the children of his friends and clients, all of whom respected and adored him for his uncompromising dedication to high standards, mischievous sense of humor, masterful storytelling, and creative playfulness. He had a wonderful way of making a lasting impact on all who met him, no matter their age or stage of life; he even had a gift with animals, always becoming chummy with every dog he ever met, and befriending wildlife on more than one occasion.
In the last few years of his life, Hoss dealt with intermittent health issues, but his spirit never truly waned. While he is a man of myriad legacies, many of us will remember Hoss as being a generous, proud, gregarious man, who cut a larger-than-life, magnetic figure in the lives and hearts of those who knew him. He is already deeply missed, and forever loved and admired.
Hoss is preceded in death by his parents, George and Alice Amans, and his sister, Sherry. He is survived by his sister, Jill.
An informal gathering to celebrate Hoss’s life will be held on Sunday, February 25th, from 2:00pm-5:00pm, at 3245 Cliff Drive, Santa Barbara, CA, 93109. All of those who wish to celebrate Hoss and his life are welcome to attend.