Ex-‘Raiders’ singer still going strongMark Lindsay started playing and singing rock music when he was 15 years old. At 69, he’s enjoying a rock renaissance.
By: Tom Lawrence, The Daily Republic
Mark Lindsay started playing and singing rock music when he was 15 years old.
Lindsay must have been good at it, because more than half a century later, he’s still on stage. Today, at 69, he said he enjoys it more than ever and is making plans for the future.
Lindsay, the former lead singer of Paul Revere & the Raiders, is one of the acts in the Happy Together Tour, which performs at the Corn Palace tonight to wrap up the 2011 Corn Palace Festival. Tickets are $40.
In some ways, it’s not like a tour, he said.
“It’s more like a class reunion where you see your old buddies you haven’t seen in 30 or 40 years,” he said in a phone interview from Florida before he jumped aboard the latest leg of the tour.
“This is kind of like getting back together and seeing everybody after a couple years or a couple decades,” Lindsay said.
In the mid-1960s, Paul Revere & the Raiders were one of the hottest pop rock groups in the world and Lindsay’s voice, songwriting and clean-cut good looks were primary reasons.
The band charted 17 hit singles, including “Kicks,” “Just Like Me” and “Hungry.”
In 1965 and 1966, they appeared every weekday afternoon on “Where the Action Is” and later were featured on the shows “Happening 68” and “It’s Happening.”
Lindsay, to his amazement, was a teen idol.
“There were two Mark Lindsays: The guy in teen magazines and on the radio and TV, and the guy I went to bed with every night,” he said Monday.
Lindsay said he didn’t even know the meaning of some of their songs.
“It was totally surreal,” he said. “For this little kid from Idaho, singing ‘Kicks,’ I had no idea it was an anti-drug song.”
By the late 1960s and early 1970s, Paul Revere & the Raiders were fading from the forefront of the music scene. Lindsay was carving out a solo career.
He had a final burst of chart success with “Indian Reservation,” which was credited to The Raiders, along with “Arizona” and “Silverbird.”
Lindsay said he still loves to sing “Indian Reservation,” the only No.1 single released by Paul Revere & the Raiders, and the other songs from that era.
The odds of a band reunion are minimal, he said.
Revere, whose birth name was Paul Revere Dick, and Lindsay met in the late 1950s and worked together until 1975, with a few reunions until 1979. Since that time, Revere has led The Raiders on a nonstop tour, performing at casinos, fairs and, most recently, in Branson, Mo.
The two men had a falling out that was caused in part by Lindsay’s success and fans’ interest in the lean, handsome lead singer. Revere, a chunky blond keyboard player with a flair for comedy, resented his bandmate’s success. They also disagreed on the musical direction of the band, with Lindsay favoring a more experimental approach and Revere wanting to stick with the tried and true formula.
Lindsay said he’s open to a reunion, but it is getting late in the game. He’s approaching 70 and Revere is 73.
“There’s been talk about it,” he said. “The ball’s in his court. But who knows?”
Lindsay said he’s just glad the music he was such an integral part of still has an audience.
“Most musical genres have a run of 10, 15 years and then die,” he said. “Mitch Miller (a noted music producer and TV show host) said it would last 10 years and people would go back to ‘good music.’ However, rock ‘n’ roll has legs that me or Mitch could have never predicted and it still is rolling, still alive.”
Lindsay said he still feels good and enjoys touring more now than he did for years. He hosted a radio show and opened a restaurant in Portland, Ore., before deciding to join in the oldies tour business.
“I’ve kind of gone through a renaissance,” Lindsay said. “I’m probably in better shape than I was 20 years ago. I walk six miles a day.
“There was a time, I kind of retired for a while, I got tired of what I was doing — I have gone through a renaissance.”
Lindsay said he is still writing songs for himself and other musicians and said he hopes to release some music in 2012.
“There’s a couple projects in the offing,” he said. “I made a lot of mistakes. At this point, I’m happier and more productive than I’ve been in years.
“I’m going to be the Jack LaLane of rock ‘n’ roll,” Lindsay said, referring to the health and fitness advocate who was active into his 90s.
He said while he listens to classic rock and pop — “it takes you back to a kinder, gentler time” — he also has songs from Coldplay, Adele, Lady Gaga and other modern artists on his iPod. Lindsay said he likes country and classical music.
The show tonight won’t be the first time he has performed at the Corn Palace. The Raiders played there years ago, he said.
“If you haven’t played the Corn Palace, you’re not in the who’s who of music,” he said.
Lindsay promises a “high-energy show” packed with hits and said he still enjoys getting a crowd swaying and singing, even if he’s sang the song thousands of times.
“Every time I do there’s a new crowd,” he said. “You connect with them and they connect with you and it’s a great experience.”