A six-track vinyl recording entitled Platinum Blonde started our CBS recording deal back in 1983. But, before going on about ourselves briefly, we have to give more than a tip of the hat to the incredible rock artists The Police. We enjoyed playing over 200 nights as a Police tribute band (1982-83) in the club & university circuit. Tribute style bands were a new and hot commodity for agents and club goers who knew exactly what they were getting. As a band we also had to earn money to record material. The environment to write songs and rehearse our own material was good while rocking as a salute to the Police. So...Cheers to The Police.
1984 Toronto, CA. Rock & Roll Heaven club team platinum.
Our careers and money are on the table. (left to right) Jeff Burns CBS, Chris Steffler drums, Sergio Galli guitar, Bernie Finklestein president CBS, Mark Holmes lead vocals & bass, and Blonde’s manager Bruce Barrow.
Bruce Barrow, our agent and manager with the help of Jeff Burns (pictured) was the point man for the mighty CBS Music. CBS was holding a hot hand of artists and record-selling music sales with Michael Jackson and Bruce Springstein. We were lucky to get one chance from the CBS Toronto office to put together a music video.
This new and powerful music video medium was out of reach for us financially, so the partnership with our new friends at CBS was essential. It was $40,000 (1984) for the entire cost of producing the six-track vinyl Platinum Blonde record with our own money. It would be that same amount of forty thousand dollars again in cost just to shoot one video of a track called “Doesn’t Really Matter”.
It was this new music video medium that we took a chance on and all our assests and our careers were now on the roulette table of life.
As fate would have it (along with strong airplay support strategies from CBS) the release of Doesn’t Really Matter would shine bright.
There were people out there that were feeling the same rock style energy we were feeling as a band. It was heart-rendering and it energized us all to carry forward...for years.
1986 Montreal, a great crew.
We put our entire gig in the hands of these incredible rock’n roll sailors. Very few Emergency room visits & arrests during the following touring schedules. lol.
Other notable characters in our rock story come true are Brit producer David Tickle (Producer: Genisis, Split Endz) who produced our first two recordings of Six Track Attack and Standing in the Dark.
Producer Eddy Offord (Producer: multiple Yes albums, John Lennon, and The Police) is an incredible guy that likely helped us lure Alex Lifeson (Rush) into playing on a couple of tracks on our third disc “Alien Shores”, most notably “Cryin Over You”, the first single from that recording project. You can image the feeling when the Alien Shores album went five times platinum (500,000 units sold) in our beautiful home country of Canada.
Key Moments Gig Blurb
(crazy or cool)
Toronto / Nathan Phillips Square ’83
Our first big break, a free outdoor show with good radio support.
“Attendance over 25,000 with over 40 hospitalized and hundreds treated at the scene
in these fan-frenzied conditions“ says The Toronto Star.
Toronto / The Kingswood Music Theatre ’83
Standing in the Dark tour. Awesome August weather helped make for a great night.
After hundreds of club dates this was a heavenly experience.
Toronto / Maple Leaf Gardens New Year’s Eve ’83
Openers Corey Hart and The Spoons were great.
Can’t believe we are playing here...Its a dream sequence.
Brian Adams / Cuts Like A Knife Tour ’83
Good people all around on our first cross-country rock trek.
Nobody in our camps got arrested or hospitalized the whole tour.
London UK / The Marquee Club ’83
A Kerang rock magazine event. Near the front of our hotel, two women in their 50’s are hobo
panning for cash and are very drunk as they sit on the steps. These two old dolls were wearing
19th century style ball gowns and they were filthy. As our managers are not making a tip cup
contribution to them, they start cursing (with heavy Cockney accents) calling them
“fucking cheap Americans” etc, etc. Hilarious.
New York City / The Ritz Theatre with Dead Or Alive ’83
The Dead Or Alive band (You Spin Me Right Round) crew hijack our sound level in front of the
CBS New York brass to gain favour of our mutual record label. Lesson learned.
Billy Idol / Rebel Yell Tour 1984
Amazing Idol guitarist Steve Stevens out parties everybody knocking on Mark’s door pretty much
nightly to go out and keep the party going. This tour rocked hard. Luckily, most everyone in our camps
returned in one piece considering the wild drunkeness, high snow levels and hospital trips for these men of action.
The Kingswood Music Theatre Aug. 8/9 ’85
Kenny MacLean, our new bassist adds character to the Alien Shores record with good vocals, Scottish humour
and grit. He was great on those nights as was Mark, now free of bass duties and focusing of fronting the band.
New York City / The Fillmore East with Red Hot Chilli Peppers ’85
This was the SPIN Magazine 10th Anniversary Party. The incredible Blood Sugar Sex Magic album was on
the menu with the Peppers wearing only socks on their knobs by the fourth song.
Maple Leaf Gardens / ’85
A well supported United Way fundraiser. We hand over a cheque for $118,000.00 (1980s cash) to the United
Way management. Under some pressure we gave in to the request to play the charity but our manager Bruce
says our financial planning took a good nut shot.
Los Angeles CA / ’85
Shooting a video with CBS America for a track called “Somebody Somewhere“ and we are standing on the
street near Hollywood Mann’s Chinese Theatre. Walking down the street, here comes a local shopper and
its Skipper from Gilligan’s Island. We go up to him like big fans of the TV show and are pleasantly surprised
when he agrees to jump into a video scene with the band.
Detroit City / Harpo’s / Alien Shores Tour ’86
Two thugs try to break into one of the tour buses. As the show is in progress the driver, who was sleeping,
is startled awake. The two guys demand access and the driver refuses. Then, one of the creeps pulls out a
handgun and fires two shots into the door as they walk away. Welcome to Detroit, lol.
Calgary Jubille Theatre / Alien Shores Tour ’86
Fans flood the stage during the encore and bring the show to an abrupt halt injuring several female fans.
Cleveland OH / City Square with Blue Oyster Cult ’86
City of Cleveland outdoor show. Great rock town, “Don’t Fear the Reaper” just add More Cowbell!
Vancouver BC / EXPO 86 World’s Fair, Aug. 11/12
Straight-up fun. Back at the hotel with a room full of people, Mark & Chris use the bedside TV on/off switch to
have these young ladies think we were magically commanding the TV to turn off and on. Things get out of hand
when this beautiful but intoxicated girl thinks the TV is possessed and starts putting the boots to it at 1:30AM.
Boing! Management bounces her.
New York City / The LimeLight ’87
Infamous venue. Its all business as CBS USA attends...
Billy Idol, Molly Ringwald and quite a number of Hell’s Angels attend as well !?!
Montreal / Jerry Park Stadium ’87
The first time we played Montreal in 83, it was at a place called “The Maples” a big old
Dracula style estate home by the St. Lawrence river...about six people showed up!
London UK / The Redback ’97
Is the band still welcome here??? Nice.
Toronto / The Royal York Hotel, Hall of Fame Induction 2010
Canadian Music Week, Radio & Television Broadcasters Association award.
Do we really deserve this kind of love? ; )
So many thanks to so many people.
Big thanks to Peter Draksler...
I.T. Super Bon Bon since ’99