National Velvet (band)

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National Velvet
Origin Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Genres Goth rock, hard rock
Years active 1985–1995
Labels Capitol, Iron Music
Associated acts Classic Albums Live
Members Maria del Mar
Mark Crossley
Tim Welch
Mark Storm
Garry Flint
Darrell Flint
Mark Thwaite

National Velvet are a Canadian goth rock band, popular in the 1980s and 1990s.[1]

The band members have included vocalist Maria Del Mar, guitarist Mark Crossley, guitarist Tim Welch, bassist Mark Storm, saxophonist Chris Weiss and drummer Garry Flint.[2] The band came together after a chance meeting between Del Mar and Storm in an alley during a party in Toronto, Ontario;[2] that initial meeting was actually an argument about musical taste, because Storm was a fan of gothic rock bands such as Bauhaus, while del Mar was into Spanish classical music, Motown, swing music and punk rock.[3] Six months later, they released a self-titled independent EP,[2] before signing to Intrepid Records in 1987.[2]

Their self-titled debut album was released in 1988,[4] and spawned the radio single "Flesh Under Skin".[2] In 1989, their single and video for "68 Hours" garnered them a CASBY Award.[2]

Their follow-up album, Courage was recorded in England with producer Zeus B. Held,[5] and was released in 1990.[6] The album was supported by a cross-Canada tour,[6] and gave the band further radio airplay for the singles "Shine On" and "Sex Gorilla". (The latter title was a band in-joke. The song had actually been written as "Sarsparilla", but the fans kept misunderstanding the lyrics, so the band relented and retitled the song.)[2] "Sex Gorilla" also led to a fan tradition of throwing bananas at the stage during their shows.[1][7]

The band subsequently left Capitol Records, and released their third and final album Wildseed in 1995 on the independent label Iron Music.[1]

Despite frequent confusion, Del Mar is not the same person as television actress Maria del Mar.[8] She has continued to work in the Toronto music scene, including gigs with Classic Albums Live and with the Rolling Stones tribute band Midnight Ramblers.[9]

Storm was reported missing in November 2002. The following June, his body was found in Lake Ontario.[10]

The band has performed periodically, including shows at Toronto's Bovine Sex Club in 2011 and 2012, and continue to perform at select venues.[11]


  • National Velvet (EP, 1986)
  • National Velvet (1988)
  • Courage (1990)
  • Wildseed (1995)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Ottawa holds out banana for National Velvet". Montreal Gazette, April 16, 1995.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g National Velvet at Jam! Music - Pop Encyclopedia.
  3. ^ "Dark and emphatic, National Velvet brings rock to Whyte; Any resemblance with the sentimental, old flick is purely coincidental". Edmonton Journal, April 20, 1990.
  4. ^ "Bumper crop of Canadian pop blooming this spring". Toronto Star, April 2, 1988.
  5. ^ "National Velvet: Courage". Toronto Star, March 30, 1990.
  6. ^ a b "National Velvet". Calgary Herald, April 19, 1990.
  7. ^ "National Velvet singer Del Mar soon goes banana". Ottawa Citizen, April 2, 1990.
  8. ^ "Street Legal's Maria del Mar dreams of coming back to Ottawa". Ottawa Citizen, May 29, 1993.
  9. ^ "Hear the Rolling Stones' best album -- live". Ottawa Citizen, June 26, 2003.
  10. ^ "Memorial for National Velvet Bassist Tomorrow". Chart. 2003-06-09. Archived from the original on 2011-06-06. Retrieved 2009-09-16. 
  11. ^ "The top 10 Toronto goth bands of all time". BlogTO, October 25, 2014.