Blushing Brides

Originally fronting a covers band called Jade that performed material from the Stones, Bowie, Dylan, Springsteen and J Geils, Montreal’s Maurice Raymond was approached by Kingston, ON native Paul Martin in late ’78 one night after he caught one of their shows. He agreed to join him in his own band Consillium, and along with guitarist James ‘Doc’ Green, they went to Kingston with Martin and recruited Martin Van Dijk on bass, drummer Rico Berthiaume and Andre Lasalie on keyboards.

Martin’s one time high school teacher Gord Nichol was now working for Pro-Motion Management. He agreed to take them on and the band started touring the Ontario club scene. Their popularity quickly grew, and seeing as how tribute acts in large part didn’t exist much back then, and the Stones were always a huge draw in Quebec, they naturally did well there as well. It wasn’t long before the band began augmenting their shows with some of their own original material.

The band often played to crowds over 10,000 and were soon the hottest unsigned act around. They changed their name for a New Year’s Eve show in Ottawa in ’79, and before long developed a strong following in the eastern US. They eventually settled on a five year deal with RCA Records and went into Toronto’s Sounds Interchange Studios. Their ’81 debut UNVEILED and produced the single “What You Talkin’ About,” eerily reminiscent of the band they idolized as teens and began their career covering. “Run & Hide” was released as a single twice, once with “Lonely Boy” as a 12″, then with “Got To Like Yourself” as a 45. Also on the album was a remake of the CCR classic “Fortunate Son.” To capitalize on the Quebec market, they even re-dubbed four of the tracks, “Can’t Come Back,” “Lonely Boy,” “Foreign Supplement” and “Sweet Sister,” releasing them on a self-titled EP early the next year.

Late that same year the band decided to try to distance themselves from their Stones-like persona and focus more on their own material. But they returned home after a tour that had gone so poorly they were deep in debt and squabbling about musical direction. Raymond and Green were voted out of the band by the other members. Raymond then took a shot in the US that didn’t pan out, fronting the ill-fated group The Lonely Boys. James headed off to join the Toronto-based Perfect Affair, with about as much success. Other members meanwhile were recruited and they tried to record a sequel lp, but were dropped by RCA before its release, and the band soon drifted apart.

Raymond, Martin and Van Dijk reformed the band in ’84 with original road manager Richard Diamond filling the vacant guitar spot, ex-Goddo drummer Doug Inglis and Mike Mozak on sax. Along with occasional keyboardist Cam Butler & Sasha Tukastch, formerly of Platinum Blonde, they again made their mark playing live shows across eastern Canada and in the US, playing upwards of 200 shows per year and with a few casualties over the next six years. Inglis’ departure made way for Jack Fuller on the skins and Vic Cassis replacing Van Dyjk on bass. Martin left in 1990 and was replaced by Desmond Leahy.

The band sort of went in and out of dissolution over the next couple of years. But in ’95, with Raymond and Martin together again and shortening their name to The Brides, reformed with drummer Tukatsch, Leahy, Glen Olive on bass and Dylan Heming on keyboards. They scored a deal with Strawberry Records and recruited Mike Barlow to go to Phase One with them and produce some tracks. A self-titled album was released with “Feel Like A Man” as the single. The band hit the dusty trails once again, doing a combination of original tunes from both eras, as well as their bread and butter, Stones covers.

However it wasn’t long before they once again went their seperate ways, though Raymond and Martin occasionally reforming the band with various lineups for select dates on both sides of the border. The Blushing Brides name came back to the forefront in the early 00’s, when Raymond took the band back to its roots, billing themselves as, “The World’s Most Dangerous Tribute To The Music of the Rolling Stones.”