Wednesday, October 24, 2007

National Velvet and the Muffy Online Heelprint

I was obsessed by the Canadian band "National Velvet." I loved them to death. I recorded every interview and little bitty scrap I could onto VHS tapes that I still (happily) have with me today.

Long after they'd faded from the Canadian music scene, somebody started up an online National Velvet fanclub. I was unable to visit their one-off reunion concert, but I DID manage to contribute to the group by recording a "National Velvet Care Package"...a VHS collection of videos, interviews, and other oddities that I sent to five (or maybe four) people. One of them had promised to record the videos onto a DVD and send it back to me, which (as is so often the case) never happened. Oh well.

Why do I mention this now? Because I was just doing my annual YouTube check of National Velvet videos, and suddenly there are four of them online...all from the VHS I sent out! There's something strange and sort of exciting about this, seeing something that I put together appear elsewhere as though I had nothing to do with it. It means the videos are getting around. It means that people still like the band. I admit that I don't like the fact that I'm not credited for compiling these rarities, but I'm still glad that they're "out there."

So here's "Change My Mind," probably my favourite National Velvet song. Maria Del Mar kicks butt (as always). At the time I remember that there were two contenders for "coolest Canadian female vocalist." When Margo Timmins (from Cowboy Junkies) won, us fans were outraged. But Margo was pretty cool too.

UPDATE: It actually appears that these videos WEREN'T digitized from my original "care package." The guy just taped the same Much Music spotlight that I did, many years ago.


VanillaJ said...

Holy! I forgot how awesome Maria Del Mar was. She totally kicks Britney Spears' ass. What a great vocalist who represents the antithesis of the dumb-ass American Idol formula.

She strangely reminds me of Robert Crumb's "Devil Girl":

I'm not sure if that's good or bad.

Adam Thornton said...

Wow, she DOES look like Devil Girl! And yes, her alcohol-fuelled butt-kicking was spectacular.

Please come back to us, Maria Del Mar...please!

Adrian said...

I have a XM Satellite Radio account, and I was pleasantly surprised that their DJ's actually play a lot of National Velvet on stations like 'Fred' and 'Ethel'. So it seems they were notices south of the border by some as well.

Anonymous said...

Oddly, "Sex Gorilla" was on heavy rotation on my tapedeck back in University. Maria could go from throaty purr to demon wail like that(tries to snap fingers and type at the same time and fails, predictably).

Adam Thornton said...

Yes, it always thrills me to find out that they're not only remembered, but they're actually still being PLAYED here and there.

Last I heard, Maria del Mar was occasionally performing with Classic Albums Live in Toronto, and I think she was in a band called "The Rockets." Sadly, co-founder Mark Storm was found dead in Lake Ontario under circumstances I still don't understand.

And yeah, she could go from growl to shriek in an eyeblink (or a kick)! I saw them live at Phil's during their "Courage" tour, and I remember them being spectacular, confrontational, and very very drunk. MDM did a vulgar version of "Misguided Angel" in honour of Cowboy Junkies winning the Casby award...

Anonymous said...

I saw these guys live WAY back at "The Brick" in Montreal... I think it was around 92'.... I liked this band for a long time...


Unknown said...

Hi There,

I have been looking for Change My Mind forever, as there is 1.5 seconds of my flipping my hair in the video. Is there any way that I could get a copy of it from you?