Platinum Blonde Biography
(Taken from the bands ALIEN INVASION tour book.)
The 1931 Columbia Pictures movie entitled Platinum Blonde launched the era of the sex symbol, introducing Jean Harlow and leading the way for the ultimate Blonde Bombshell, Marilyn Monroe. Now over fifty years later, it is not the studio screensirens that reflect the Hollywood Glamour but the idols of a new generation known as Rock nÆ Roll.
"The name of the group was conceived as a sneer", says leader and native Briton, Mark Holmes. "We really picked the name to mock the Hollywood Glitter. We believe in saying you canÆt judge a book by its cover."
To appreciate the depth of Platinum Blonde you have to look past the image to discover what is at the soul of the music. The passion of the lyrics deal with the threat of Nuclear Annihilation, the controversy of Acid Rain to the adventure of a lost civilization fleeing a dying planet. Platinum Blonde offer their fans a wide variety of todayÆs topics that concern a well informed audience. Package this with dynamic videos, creative fashion and an energetic live performance and you have the consummate band of the eighties û Platinum Blonde.
Mark Holmes remembers emigrating from Mansfield England as a young lad who had no intention of making a career in music when his parents came to Canada. "They wanted to start a new life in a land of opportunity" he said. "Trouble is that all I ever wanted to do was play football û soccer û and thatÆs not exactly CanadaÆs national sport."
He dallied in commercial art in college, worked as an apprentice hairstylist, but it was as a guitarist and songwriter that he began to impress his student friends. His first part time band played a university and club circuit for two years, but in November of 1982 he knew it was time to get serious. Holmes chose to reform his band.
"My agent at that time, Bruce Barrow, had several university engagements lined up including a showcase at a downtown Toronto nightclub, owned by Tony Tsavdaris." (Both of these people would later become the groupÆs artist management company û T.B.A.) "But I had let go of my previous band, so I advertised in the newspapers for musicians" Holmes recalled. "Chris Steffler answered. IÆd seen him play drums before and I took him without an audition." A few days later a mutual friend Sergio Gali, an architect student whoÆd earned a reputation as a guitarist freelancing with local groups, joined too. "A week later we were on stage as Platinum Blonde."
Within six months the band had dropped their cover material of Marc Bolan, Gary Glitter and The Police to replace them with a strong set of new original songs bearing a sound that was uniquely their own.
One afternoon the recorded a seven song demo in a friendÆs living room. The bandÆs management sent the tape off to English Producer David Tickle (Split Enz, Peter Gabriel, Red Rider). He called back saying heÆd love to do the record but his schedule would mean starting immediately. On the following Monday, David Tickle flew to Toronto to begin recording at Metalworks Studios (owned by Triumph). The resulting mini-LP finished in sixteen days was instantly added to radio from coast to coast. An additional four songs were later recorded to form the basis of their double Platinum debut album Standing In The Dark.
Platinum BlondeÆs rapid rise to stardom throughout Canada was fuelled by cross-country tours with Bryan Adams and Billy Idol and a pair of state-of-the-art videos by award winning director, Robert Quartly.
The group skyrocketed from small clubs to headlining large arenas, climaxing with a summer celebration outdoors at TorontoÆs City Hall for 25,000 hysterical fans. The band became cover story material and lead a fashion revolution.
In February of 1985 it was time to get serious again. Time to record a much awaited follow up to Standing In The Dark. Their goal û to make a record that would break the international boundaries. With the pressure to overcome the sophomore jinx, the band enlisted the help of British Producer Eddy Offord, known for pioneering progressive rock with YES, Emerson Lake and Palmer, 10CC and a forthcoming Police Synchronicity Live tour album. "Actually it was my teenage kids who convinced me" says Eddy. "My kids listened to Platinum BlondeÆs first album, took one look at the new pictures and said youÆve got to work with these guys! Now my kids never heard of most of the people I worked with, they listed to Duran Duran, Billy Idol, the newer artists. Platinum Blonde seemed incredibly important to them. How could I refuse?"
Alien Shores represents a change in musical direction for both producer and artist alike. The album is deeper, more integrated with dance rhythms, distinctive melodies and contemporary sounds; not just a collection of pop songs.
Another change was the decision to depart from a proven successful formula of a three piece band to expand to include a new member, Kenny MacLean. Originally from Glasgow, Scotland, (that now makes the Platinum Blonde foursome half British) Kenny was known for his work with The Deserters. MacLean more importantly was an old friend having played with Chris Steffler in a band in High School called The Suspects. After The Deserters folded, heÆd jam with the boys on occasion. Originally a guitar player, Kenny was hired to play keyboards with Platinum Blonde for a special New YearÆ Eve show. Now recruited to play bass, back-up vocals and keys as a permanent member. "IÆll do anything for a gig" quips MacLean.
The three piece set-up was too confining for Mark to play bass, keyboards, foot pedal, sing and chew gum all at the same time, so the addition of MacLean freed Mark to be the frontman heÆs always wanted to be.
Platinum BlondeÆs new stylistic approach is most evident in the production of the live show. A futuristic high tech set designed by stage and video set designer Chris Edge, now has been incorporated. The lighting using hydraulic truss mechanical arms is an exclusive backlighting system for the Platinum Blonde stage show. All this is the perfect showcase for a new, more mature Platinum Blonde.
"The most important element of our live shows is not the technology, itÆs the audience because itÆs the fans that really matter." û Holmes.
PLATINUM BLONDE are set to embark on their Alien Invasion Tour of the World in a Quest to Conquer Alien Shores.