Interview with Mark Holmes from Platinum Blonde

In their heyday of the mid-'80s, Canadian rock band Platinum Blonde was playing packed arenas and getting mobbed like they were the Beatles. Their Alien Shores album (1995) sold 500,000 copies in Canada and poised the band for superstardom. Then, almost as quickly as they popped on to the music scene, they were gone and forgotten, that is until now. Now anyone who ventures out to check out the band expecting to see lots of hair and take a nostalgia trip down memory lane, may be in for a surprise.
Long gone is that whole big hair image, even most of the band members themselves have left, as only singer Mark Holmes remains, and he is now a brunette. The group, which is now trimmed down to a three piece, looks more like Halifax rockers Sloan than their 80's image. It's all too common when older bands reunite, musicians just going through the motions, hoping the nostalgia factor alone will be enough to make their audience content. Instead, Holmes along with guitar player David Barrett and their drummer, who goes by the name of Juice, perform with all the energy of a young band who is just starting out in the music industry. I did this interview with Mark in May of 2002.

GB- Who's coming out to see the band now. Is it still the older fans wanting to hear the hits?

MH - Not as much. I think it's people who have grabbed the greatest hits album and discovered it. It's mostly college age students. Of course there are some original fans who came out and they were 12 or 14 when we had a record out. So it's ok. Im glad they are there and supporting the band. There's been a big resurgence with us and it's been a very cool thing all of a sudden to watch us. The girls are running on the stage again and those who were late teens or in their 20s back then are in the back digging it. People are coming to our shows curious and they're leaving surprised. That, to me, is our advantage.

GB - I understand you have a new album coming out soon?

MH - Yes the single "Magic Roundabout" is due to go to radio the second Tuesday in July and the album "Are you Sitting Comfortably" will be coming out in the second Tuesday in August.

GB- How will the material differ from your older albums?

MH - We have our own sound. I'd have to say it's just new stuff so that's how different gonna be. The bands changed. I never ever live in the past. I've never done it. There is no point.

GB- Are people surprised with your new look?

MH - I don't think so, the posters are everywhere, the web sites up. There may be a couple of people who are a tad out of touch.

GB - Do you still keep in touch with the former band members?

MH - Occasionally but they are all doing different things now. They are grown up. I never grew up because there's no redeeming qualities to growing up "Grow up? For what reason? Too many people die when they're 19, 20 and they don't get buried until they're 80. I'm not growing up. When I'm 80, I'll be partying hard and living hard and then I'll just keel over. That'll be it.

GB - Ever get tired doing the old songs?

MH - We don't really ever rehearse them. Then I'd get tired of them but we just sort of play them live from memory. If the crowd goes crazy then it's great. That's why we don't get tired doing it.

GB - How do you feel about people downloading your music off the net in mp3 format?

MH - I'm not sure we will be able to completely avoid it. It's kind of weird as you think, ok somebody's going to download music so they don't have to go out to buy it. There is no getting away from it. If I download something it's cause I'm very excited to get it before it comes out and then I'll go out and buy it. When you see the units moving all of a sudden the airplay goes up.

GB - Whats one of your best memories from the early days?

MH - I think it would have to be in the very beginning when someone was driving by in a car. We were having a pint in a pub and they had "It Doesn't Really Matter" on their tape player and was blasting it. I got a real charge from that. Kinda cool!

Official Platinum Blonde Web Site

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