Mark Lindsay is best known as the frontman for ‘60s super group Paul Revere and the Raiders. But Lindsay has been working non-stop since the days of TV’s hit show “Where the Action Is!”
The rock & roll variety show aired from 1965 to 1974. Hosted by rock impresario Dick Clark, it toured the United States featuring popular music acts of the day, playing games and interviewing celebrities.
Paul Revere and the Raiders were on so many times they were considered the house band, with such hits as “Kicks,” “Hungry,” and “Arizona.”
Classic acts as like Otis Redding, The Four Seasons, The Association, The Zombies, Peter and Gordon, and The Everly Brothers were among other acts that appeared.
Lindsay has not only been a “rock star,” but he has also worked as an A&R Director for a major record company, owned a restaurant, and been the host of his own radio show.
In the 1960s, Paul Revere & The Raiders sang that “‘kicks’ just keep getting harder to find;” however, for Lindsay today, the “kicks” just keep on coming!
Improper correspondent and celebrity author Mark Bego recently caught up with rock music legend.
TheImproper: I understand that you have kept busy with touring lately, where all have you been working?
Lindsay: I am in Florida at the moment, where I live. Actually, I just gave a concert here recently, and then I am going up to New York City to appear at Town Hall. So, I am just jumping around the countryside.
IM: That’s excellent! What is upcoming for you?
Lindsay: Well, they are releasing a three-CD set of all of the Paul Revere & The Raiders “A” and “B-sides” [of singles] on CD, which will be coming out in a couple of months. I will be doing some promotion on it. And then we have the Mark Lindsay solo concerts, and there is a packing tour coming up called Happy Together, with The Turtles, The Grass Roots, The Buckinghams, Micky Dolenz, and myself. So, we will be in various places this coming summer!IM: I know that Micky Dolenz is in London at the moment in Hairspray on the West End, and that you were doing the “Teen Idols” show together with Peter Noone for while.
Lindsay: No, because Micky is in London, we are not doing any “Teen Idol” dates right now until he gets back. So, these are just “Mark Lindsay” concerts at the moment. I am really looking forward to the New York City date, because Town Hall is a great old theater in the middle of Times Square.
IM: I see you are doing a cruise in March; a birthday cruise?
Lindsay: Yes, it is a non-performing cruise. I’ve got like 32 guests, and it’ll be me “Up Close and Personal” with everybody, at dinner and activities. It is more of a personal “get together” than a concert.
IM: That’s a nice way to do your birthday!
Lindsay: (laughs) Well, we’ll see what happens! It’s on the Oasis of the Seas, that behemoth ship, so it will be interesting to see what that is like. A floating city!
IM: That sounds great to me. Now, you were in the restaurant business for a while, I see.
Lindsay: For two or three years we [his wife and he] had a restaurant, Mark Lindsay’s Rock & Roll Café, up in Oregon, in Portland.
IM: Did you enjoy doing that?
Lindsay: It was fun. I don’t think I would do it again. The restaurant business is a pretty brutal business, and pretty tough, and it’s a lot more work than I thought it was gonna be!
IM: Was it a fun adventure, or a nightmare? (laughs)
Lindsay: I had a radio show in Portland, a weekly radio show in Portland, so we did that on Saturday nights from the restaurant, so that part was fun. I always wanted to be a DJ when I was a little kid. I thought I wasn’t talented enough to get into music, so I thought that I would become a DJ instead. As luck would have it, we got lucky and I got in a band when I was 15. And time went full circle, and when I retired for about three years. And, after I was retired for three years, I was ready to pull my hair out, so I hung up my “retirement shoes” and I am back doing it again. During that hiatus, I got on a radio station in Oregon, and I started out on an AM station. It was the big traditional AM station from the ‘60s. I got my show up to Number One in that time slot, and then moved over to FM, and got the show up to Number One in that time slot, which was doing pretty good considering all of the other competition. But then, like everything else that is happening, the whole radio station chain was bought up by a big conglomerate, and everybody—including people who had been there for 20 years—was immediately “canned.” That’s radio!
IM: How long did you have a show?Lindsay: About a year and a half, maybe two years: (sings) “Time keeps slipping away…”
IM: That’s excellent, because I know that Alice Cooper has a show here in Arizona, up in Phoenix.
Lindsay: His show does very well. The guy whose show I enjoy the most of all of these musicians, is Bruce Springsteen’s guitar player: Little Steven Van Zandt. His show is great! He does a lot of research, and his show is very interesting. It is syndicated, and it’s all over the United States, and maybe even globally. He does all of his research, and he has a crack staff.
IM: Well, here is you with your own radio show, Alice Cooper, Steven Van Zandt, Micky Dolenz did it in New York; all of these rock & roll people doing that. Apparently, it is because of your love of the music that makes you want to be on the radio—I’m assuming.
Lindsay: Yeah, well you know: they say “write what you know” and in this case it’s “play what you know.”
IM: I certainly grew up watching you on Where the Action Is on TV.
Lindsay: (singing) “Oh, baby come on…”
IM: I remember The Supremes on there too, and that picture of them in the snow on a sled.
Lindsay: I had a dream last night, and somebody was interviewing me in my dream, about Where the Action Is. I said, “Well, it was in black & white, and we had everybody from James Brown, to Peter Noone, to The Supremes, to Wilson Pickett, to The Who.” And, actually I started reeling it off, and just about everybody that was on the charts during the three year period that the show was on the air, was on the show, with the exception of The Stones and The Beatles. The Yardbirds, The Who; a lot of English groups were on. I think we had the same tape of “Strawberry Fields” and “Penny Lane” that was distributed to everybody, but they weren’t ever live on our show.
IM: That’s great! I’m sure that show was fun to be on.
Lindsay: It was incredible! Here was all of this talent, and we’re the house band, and get see and meet all of the people whom we idolized, growing up.
IM: And, a lot of contemporaries who grew up with your music too.
Lindsay: There were a lot of cross influences there.
IM: That must have been fun.
Lindsay: It was a lot of fun! It was like three years that I thought would go on forever, but unfortunately everything ends. But I sure have some great memories.
IM: Paul Revere & The Raiders broke up in the early ‘70s?
Lindsay: Yeah, I left the group in ’74, shortly after our biggest hit, which was “Indian Reservation.” And, then I left the group. I did some touring, and then I was doing commercials off and on. And then towards the end of the ‘70s, I got a job as the head of A&R for United Artists Records.
IM: Really, that’s fascinating!
Lindsay: The way I got the gig, was that they brought me an acetate copy of a new album and asked me if there was a hit on it or not. They said, “What do you think? Should we sign this artist?” I said, “Well, let me take it home and listen to it for the weekend.” So I did, and I came back and said, “You should definitely sign this guy. There’s one song that’s going to be a monster: a two or three-million-selling hit.” So, they did.
IM: Who was the artist, and what was the song?
Lindsay: The song was “Baker Street,” and it was Gerry Rafferty
IM: That is amazing!!! How long did you do that job?
Lindsay: About two, almost three years. Again I was the victim of corporate takeover. EMI bought United Artists Records, and the same thing happened. Everyone who was there got their “pink slip.” But then again, it was a great experience.
IM: You have had a very varied career! What brought you back to performing? When did you really go back to performing?
Lindsay: A guy named Paul Stanley—not the Paul Stanley from KISS. This was the guy who put The Beach Boys together with Chevrolet, for commercials, and various things like that. He was doing a tour to raise money for the renovation of The Statue of Liberty, and he said, “Lindsay, I want you to come out and be part of the show.” And I said, “No, no. I’ve done that before.” Then he said, “Well, would you consider coming out and hosting the show?” So we talked back and forth and I agreed to that. Then on the first day of rehearsals, he said, “Well, since you are here, maybe in addition to hosting, you could to a couple of songs…” One thing led to another, and after doing a 20 minute segment, I found that I really enjoyed it. So it slowly grew until I was back on the road again.
IM: Amazing! And, you were right back into it!
Lindsay: You can take the kid out of the music, but you can’t take the music out of the kid.
IM: Well, your music is so infectious, and everyone loves the sounds that you have, so I can imagine working as long as you want! Are you someone who sees yourself doing this perpetually?
Lindsay: Wouldn’t that be cool! (laughs)
IM: (laughing) Well, Elton John and Bonnie Raitt both claim that the want to be on stage forever: “I’m going to be ancient, but I am gonna drag myself out of bed forever to do this, because I love it so much!”
Lindsay: Well, as long as I can do it, I am there. I am actually in better shape vocally, than I have ever been in my life. I take it seriously. Before—in your 20’s you can kill yourself several times and still come back from the dead—but as you get older, you have to watch things. I probably live a more sane lifestyle than I used to, we probably all do—those that survived! So, actually, my voice it better shape than it had ever been. And, I am enjoying what I am doing. So, as long as I can do it well, or at least well enough that the audience gets off on it, and I get off on it, then I will continue to do it! As long as they are giving me standing ovations, and it’s fun, why not?
You can read more about Mark at his Web site; just click here.