Kim Mitchell says when 13 of Canada’s most influential ’70s-’80s bands are inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame it will be like a family coming together.
Mitchell’s pre-solo Toronto band Max Webster is among the 13 inductees that will be collectively honoured on Thursday night at Massey Hall along with April Wine, Chilliwack, Glass Tiger, Lee Aaron, Lighthouse, Loverboy, Quebec’s Michel Pagliaro, Platinum Blonde, PRISM, Rough Trade, The Parachute Club, and Trooper.
“I can guarantee you that over the last two summers I’ve seen all those bands at airports and hotel lobbies,” joked Mitchell, 71, who just came off some solo shows last week.
“Loverboy are a little more international but the rest of us I kind of call blue-collar working musicians of Canada. We’re grabbing small commuter planes going to little towns and playing these wonderful festivals. I really have to say, and I hope this comes across right, but I feel like we’re all family.”
Platinum Blonde’s Mark Holmes, a British immigrant to Toronto in the late’70s who has always divided his time between Canada and England, feels less close to the classic Can-rock scene.
“Kind of yes and no,” said Holmes, who currently runs The Jean Darlene Piano Room on Dundas St. after previously operating The Mod Club on CollegeSt.
“In the U.K. and America, you do festival tours and you get to know other bands. And we, for the most part, travelled with two massive tractor-trailers just full of merchandise and our gear and we went around and toured and we really didn’t get the chance to meet or become friendly with any of the other bands. I’ve been lucky enough to have some chats with (Parachute Club’s) Lorraine (Segato) a bit and (Glass Tiger’s) Alan Frew. I’m Facebook friends with (Rough Trade’s) Carole (Pope). I remember Rough Trade being around when I came over (from England) and thinking, ‘This is really cool. All my friends back home are going to love this.’”
(Mitchell, for his part, calls Holmes, “a sweet guy,” he’s had conversations with over the years.)
Thursday’s event, called Canada’s Rock of Fame in a play on words, is the largest-ever mega CWOF induction as part of the oranization’s 25th-anniversary celebrations and will be followed by another gathering at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on Dec. 2 to be broadcast at a later date on CTV and other 2023 inductees include singer Avril Lavigne, and TV star Rick Mercer to name a few.
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The Massey Hall occasion will be co-hosted by Jeanne Beker and Terry David Mulligan with radio-TV deejays and veejays from that era as presenters and performers include Holmes, Rough Trade and Pagliaro, the latter two who also have shows at the Phoenix on Sept. 29 and Sept. 30 respectively.
“I felt really nice about it,” said Mitchell of the CWOF induction. “Things rarely get my attention like this. I thought, ‘Wow, this is really great.’ The only funny thing about it was, (the CWOF) wanted an eight by ten (photo) and I’m like, ‘(Max Webster) band broke up four decades ago! I’m sorry kids, there are no eight by tens! And you know what? You don’t want to see one either!’ I’m just happy that Max Webster meant something. That’s really humbling. I’m thrilled.”
Holmes, who says Platinum Blonde “may be gearing up for some very, very large tour,” is just happy for the recognition.
“I was very, very surprised,” Holmes said of the CWOF induction.
“It’s funny ‘cause I thought the Canadian music industry was just trying to erase us from the map,” he said pointing to NOW magazine’s best 50 Toronto rock bands poll previously which didn’t even mention Platinum Blonde.
“And then the Juno Awards with a big (50th) anniversary show a few years back, they showed everyone except Platinum Blonde. So I was pretty excited that (we) hadn’t been forgotten. I guess if you’re around long enough, you’ll be loved. That’s really cool.”