Platinum Blonde (band)
Platinum Blonde perform, Vancouver B.C. 2012
|Genres||Rock, power pop, new wave|
|Years active||1982–1990, 2010–present|
|Associated acts||Crystal Castles
|Past members||Chris Steffler
Alexander "Sascha" Tukatsch
Platinum Blonde is a Canadian rock music group formed in Toronto. At the beginning of its most commercially successful period in the mid-1980s, the band consisted of Mark Holmes from Mansfield, England on vocals and bass, Sergio Galli on guitar and Chris Steffler on drums. Scottish musician Kenny MacLean joined the group as bassist in 1985, freeing Holmes from bass duties.
Platinum Blonde originated in Toronto in 1980 as a quasi-punk trio, consisting of a seventeen year old Mark Holmes (vocal/guitar), Joey Ciotti (bass), and Ray Bailie (drums). This line-up issued one self-released single ("Hey Hey You" / "No Regrets") in 1980, before the group splintered.
Holmes then rebuilt Platinum Blonde, switching to bass and adding Sergio Galli on guitar and Chris Steffler on drums to form a new trio. Platinum Blonde spent the next two years mainly as a tribute band performing the music of The Police in Canada's university and club circuit. However, they also developed their own material, which they performed in smaller venues.
In 1982, they signed to CBS Records Canada and released a self-titled six-song EP that became CBS Canada's biggest EP seller ever and made it to No. 39 on the Canadian album charts. It was quickly expanded into a full length album titled Standing in the Dark, which featured identical artwork to the EP. The LP version then received a wide release distribution deal through CBS America.
The band's popularity on the airwaves in Canada led to a triple platinum (300,000) album, featuring four hits including two Juno Award nominations: "Standing in the Dark" and "Doesn't Really Matter". Their music videos were placed into high rotation on Canada's Much Music television and play listed as well on MTV America & MTV EUR.
In 1985, the band released a second album called Alien Shores, featuring the addition of a fourth member, Kenny MacLean. "Alien Shores" went quintuple platinum (500,000), the group's high-water mark of success. Hits from the second album included "Situation Critical", "Crying Over You", "Somebody Somewhere", and "Hungry Eyes".
Steffler left the band in 1987, and was replaced by Alexander "Sascha" Tukatsch. In 1988 the band's next album, Contact was a hit in Canada, going double platinum, but was significantly less successful than their previous record. The title track "Contact" was a modest hit, but the album was a commercial disappointment, and they were dropped by CBS. Platinum Blonde changed their name to The Blondes and recorded and released one further album Yeah Yeah Yeah before disbanding.
The entire group appeared as alien bikers in the 1988 episode Eye for an Eye of the television series War of the Worlds.
In 2002, Mark Holmes and partners opened the acclaimed Mod Club Theatre on College Street in Toronto CAN. The Mod Club Theatre has showcased the likes of Muse, Amy Winehouse, MGMT, The Killers, The Ruby Spirit, Keane, Feist and more.
Rumors of a reunion of the original band, and possibly some new material, continued to swirl, as the band played a few charity concerts in the mid-2000s. A DVD video compilation entitled Platinum Blonde: The Complete DVD Collection, containing all of their music videos was in production but ultimately shelved by CBS as they were bought out by Sony Music that same year.
In November 2008, Holmes took up McLean’s long-standing offer to make a guest appearance at one of his shows at the Mod Club, this time to mark the release of his third solo CD entitled Completely. McLean had commented to Holmes “hundreds of times” that Platinum Blonde should re-unite. Holmes quotes McLean as saying, “Let’s get back together. Music doesn’t have any rock stars anymore.” Holmes always replied that he was too busy with his DJ career, but this time he agreed and they performed a collection of Platinum Blonde hits. MacLean died of a heart attack three hours after the show ended in his recording studio on Yonge Street in Toronto. His body was found there on November 24, 2008.
Present and future plans
On March 10, 2010, Platinum Blonde played their first reunion show at The Mod Club Theatre in Toronto, Ontario. The original line up of Mark Holmes, Sergio Galli and Chris Steffler were inducted into the Radio and Television Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame. The next day, the band announced on MuchMusic that a reunion is in the works with a new recording and show dates.
On December 6, 2010, an EP containing a cover of the song "Not in Love" was released by the Canadian electronic band Crystal Castles featuring the vocals of UK singer Robert Smith (The Cure) on the Fiction Records label.
In January 2011, after rehearsals and two shows misfortune befalls drummer Chris Steffler as he is forced to bow out from the band suffering from the auditory affliction tinnitus.
In June 2012, Platinum Blonde, original members Mark Holmes and Sergio Galli with drummer Dan Todd and bassist Rob Laidlaw released a new single "Beautiful" to radio and announced a full new album Now & Never would be released in August that year. Their music video for "Beautiful", directed by Jesse Mann, was released in February 2013. A music video for "Valentine", directed by Michael Penney, was released in March 2014.
In late 2013, Platinum Blonde announced a worldwide celebration of their debut album Standing in the Dark to take place in 2014. The show will take the audience on a fully enhanced production experience of visual story-telling and special effects. Exclusive VIP experiences offer faithful fans the opportunity to experience an intimate acoustic performance of songs from Standing in the Dark, meet & greet and a rare Q&A opportunity.
Community service and support
Platinum Blonde sponsored a minor hockey team for youth in Whitby Ontario Canada during the 2012/2013 season. While the Whitby Platinum Blondes were on the ice, the band's music could be heard during breaks in the action at arenas they played in. Some of the band members are themselves parents with kids in the sport of hockey.
- Platinum Blonde EP (1983) No. 39 CAN
- Standing in the Dark (1983) No. 23 CAN
- Alien Shores (1985) No. 3 CAN
- Contact (1987) No. 20 CAN
- Yeah Yeah Yeah - released under The Blondes (1990)
- Best of Live (1993)
- Seven Year Itch: 1982-1989 (1999) No. 23 CAN
- Now & Never (2012)
|Year||Single||Peak chart positions||Album|
|1980||"No Regrets" / "Hey Hey You"||—||—||Single only|
|1983||"Doesn't Really Matter "||31||—||Standing in the Dark|
|"Standing in the Dark"||43||—|
|1984||"Sad Sad Rain"||57||—|
|"Not in Love"||44||—|
|1985||"Take It from Me"||—||—|
|"Crying Over You"||1||—||Alien Shores|
|"If You Go This Time"||71||—|
- "CANOE — JAM! Music — Artists — Platinum Blonde: MacLean died of 'natural causes'". Jam.canoe.ca. 2008-11-26. Retrieved 2010-03-14.
- Canadian peaks
- Platinum Blonde Allmusic.com