“If I’m going to affect change in any way, the best way to affect change is to amass some form of money to execute those changes and I feel if you’re doing positive change, something that’s going to help people…then you are leaving the world a bit of a better place.” – Mark Holmes
Born in Mansfield England, Mark Holmes is a Canadian rock star icon who together with his bandmates Sergio Galli, Kenny MacLean and Chris Steffler formed the legendary ‘80s band Platinum Blonde. From 1982-83 they performed over 200 nights together as a Police tribute band, firmly securing their spot on the university and club circuit. This environment gave them the chance to write and rehearse their own music, while immersed in performing the music they loved.
In 1983 they signed a recording deal with CBS which shot their career into high gear and captured a new wave audience with hit songs like “Doesn’t Really Matter”, “Situation Critical” and “Standing in the Dark”. With this recording deal, they could also embrace a new art form that was becoming imperative to the success of recording artists: music videos. With high rotation on Canada’s MuchMusic network, their signature look and their hit music, Mark, Sergio, Kenny, and Chris rode the new wave movement to its pinnacle.
A musician first, Mark is ever evolving, and not interested in riding on past success. He firmly believes we must keep moving forward and evolving to remain on the cutting edge. Mark stays relevant and interested in the progress of music through writing new music, producing, touring, and releasing new albums with Platinum Blonde in 2012 called Now or Never and a solo album. Embracing another side of the business, Mark is the co-founder of the Mod Club nightclub in Toronto, and together with his son he is involved with raising capital to support start ups and emerging business.
Mark has no interest in retirement or resting on his laurels. He has verve, tenacity and heart and all three are leading the way.
- Show Notes
- [01:57] Patrick introduces his next guest, rock ‘n roll legend and entrepreneur: Mark Holmes
- [04:00] Mark and Patrick rock and roll into Mark’s elevator pitch, which spans from music to finance and start ups.
- [06:44] Mark expands a little on what he’s up to on the finance side of his well-rounded pitch and how markets must adjust when new and improved products or ways of doing business arise.
- [11:27] Keeping himself current and leading edge lets Mark take his ideas, research them and put the winning ones into action. Things change; we have to adapt.
- [13:33] Mark talks about a trading app he’s advocating which is another technology that keeps him on the leading edge and current.
- [14:59] Mark explains how he got interested in one of his newest start ups in stem cell cosmetics. He sees the opportunity to not only help other people but leave the world a better place by being in contribution.
- [18:39] Going back to Mark’s beginnings from Great Britain to Canada, he talks about getting started with his rock band Platinum Blonde in the ‘80s, the challenges of the industry in that era and the warm embrace he received from Canada.
- [24:29] How the lure of a James Bond style movie he saw as a boy became the catalyst for Mark’s dream lifestyle. His outlet of choice was to become a rock star. So, he went ahead and did that.
- [27:33] A little talent didn’t hurt so as Mark progressed with his song writing and singing, he also learned to play the guitar in short order and started his first band. While not an instant hit, Mark continued to learn and grow, all without knowing how to read music. He created by ear.
- [29:13] Patrick shares a quick story about another musician who excelled in the art of playing music by ear, and then delves into how that shows up for Mark in the way he creates his own sound.
- [32:01] The making of a hit single: Mark shares how some of their singles came to be, and the importance in any team effort or collaboration of bringing people together who have different strengths to continually elevate each other’s game.
- [34:10] Necessity is the mother of invention! From improving his singing and song writing to learning the guitar and the business side of music, Mark invented his own sound and felt the music came easily. Despite his many accomplishments though, he doesn’t see himself as successful, he’s always trying to better himself because success doesn’t always last.
- [37:45] At 52, being in great physical condition and aware of what he eats is imperative to Mark for life enjoyment and ensuring he is around for the important people in his life.
- [39:19] Using the metaphor of a performer on any stage, Mark illustrates both the breadth of opportunity we have to make the world a better place while simultaneously remembering who we are and that our core world doesn’t change no matter how much success we achieve.
- [43:32] Mark shares his struggles with mental health as someone who has bi-polar disorder, ADHD and dyslexia which have often left him feeling insecure in many areas of his life.
- [46:35] After creating an opportunity to make money as a cover band while he wrote his own music, Mark experienced a great disappointment when greed entered in and pushed him out. The disappointment turned into a positive outcome when he and his new bandmates signed their first record and started playing large shows around the world.
- [48:52] In the changing fortunes of time, Mark opens up about having to relinquish all of his music in order to create freedom for himself as an artist, which left him broke, to start anew in the ‘90s.
- [49:55] Linking back to the James Bond style film, Mark connects that dream to his reinvention – starting a night club in Toronto called the Mod Club where he could create that reality every night. This led him to re-exposure in the music world where he pioneered new concepts.
- [52:10] As reinvention reared its head once again in the face of greed, it set off a chain of events for Mark that led him to new place in business ventures. He reflects on Patrick’s question of why he doesn’t feel successful and brings it full circle.
- [53:41] In the face of all the adversity and challenge Mark has endured, he continues to rise to the challenge. What does he do to manage his mental health awareness and keep the wheels going ‘round?
- [59:41] Where are Mark’s trust levels now after the disappointments he’s experienced? Well, he hasn’t lost faith.
- [63:42] Ramping up the rapid fire! Favourite reading material (as a person with ADD that is sometimes favourite first chapters), favourite swear word, turning the tables Mark shares his strong messages at the pearly gates, room-desk-car, favourite tune, Mark’s two favourite movies.
- [67:38] Mark’s appreciation for staying in touch with his emotions and allowing himself to be connected to the important people and relationships in his life within that vulnerability.
- [71:21] Mark’s gratitude.
Connect with Mark Holmes:
Selected Links and People Mentioned from this episode:
Casino Royale 1967 movie spoof
Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd