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.

The band members have included vocalist Maria Del Mar, guitarist Mark Crossley, guitarist Tim Welch, bassist Mark Storm (real name Mark Erickson[1]) and drummer Garry Flint. They came together after a chance meeting between Del Mar and Storm in an alley during a party in Toronto, Ontario. Six months later, they released an independent, self-titled EP with original drummer Ken Sinclair and saxophonist Chris Reis. Storm, Del Mar and Sinclair lived together and ran a rehearsal space at 50 Carroll Street called the 'Jam Factory' used by many Canadian and International acts, such as Jeff Healey, Lisa Del Belo, Paris, A Neon Rome, Honeymoon Suite, And Mott the Hoople with Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson. British guitarist Mark Thwaite (later to be guitarist for British goth rockers The Mission and Bauhaus frontman Peter Murphy) also joined National Velvet briefly in the fall of 1985 and recorded demos of 'Behind the Door' and 'Victim of Fashion' at the band's Carroll Street rehearsal space. Thwaite relocated back to the United Kingdom in early 1986.

The Tragically Hip spent months in this space before recording their first album. 50 Carroll Street also hosted some legendary after hours parties, the band members staffing them and the profits being used to support recordings for the group.

Mick Gzowski, who was in the band for about 2 weekends, claims that he sent the band's demo to then-Capitol Records president Dean Cameron, who assigned an A&R scout to see the band in performance in Toronto. A record and management contract resulted. Sinclair, Reis and Gzowski were then replaced by Welch and Flint. The official self-titled debut album was released in 1988, and spawned the radio hit "Flesh Under Skin". In 1989, their single and video for "68 Hours" garnered them a CASBY Award.

Their follow-up album, Courage was released in 1990. The album was recorded in England with producer Zeus B. Held, and gave the band hits with "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.)

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

Despite frequent confusion, Del Mar is not the same person as television actress Maria del Mar. She has continued to work in the Toronto music scene, including gigs with Classic Albums Live.

Storm was reported missing in November 2002. The following June, his body was found in Lake Ontario.[2]

The band has performed periodically (with guest electric spoon and slide-whistle player Paul "Stubby" Kimohc), including shows at Toronto's Bovine Sex Club in 2011 and 2012, and continue to perform at select venues.

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