Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Interview with Paul Revere & The Raiders singer Mark Lindsay

Even if his name no longer rings so many bells, his music will. As the pony-tailed lead singer of Paul Revere and the Raiders, Mark Lindsay sang on more than a dozen Top 40 hits and made more than 700 television appearances.


"We've gotten a lot of reviews," he told me , " Especially from European venues that say
'Hey man, the Raiders were the American Stones'."

Teen idol magazines called Mark the American Mick Jagger...with the Paul McCartney looks.
Though he was legally blind, Mark was rarely photographed wearing glasses.

"If you look at Tiger Beat or 16
here I was this clean cut all american guy
but inside I was still this raucous raunchy punk
hanging in the rafters you know?
So it was weird it was like not really being there you know?"

In the early days the Raiders really were punks, outdrawing Northwest bands like The Wailers and Sonics by playing loud and raunchy shows.

"I had a 100 foot cord for my microphone so I could go roll around or go to the restroom and give people a version of 'Fever' they never heard before".

It all came together for The Raiders in 1965.
They got signed by Columbia Records and Dick Clark made them the house band for "Where The Action Is".
The show could be seen every weekday afternoon nationwide for two years.

"Dick Clark signed us for 13 weeks under the assumption that if the show took off he'd hire a real band.
Well after 13 weeks we were getting bags and bags of mail and we became that real band."

They could be a real goofy band. The Raiders began wearing revolutionary war costumes they discovered in a Portland costume shop.

"When you look at the bass player and he's wearing a lace dickie it's hard to have a bad time you know?" Lindsay laughs.

For more than two years The Raiders were a huge hit making machine. Among their biggest hits was one of rock's first anti-drug songs, "Kicks".
"I didn't really realize it was an anti drug statement," says Lindsay today. " I thought it was about 'Gee it's hard to have as much fun as you used to have.'"

Even after "Action" went off the air, The Raiders continued their string of hits, but eventually the band broke up and Mark went solo. But he--and The Raiders--would be heard from again.
In 1971, Mark recorded a twelve year old song with some LA sessionmen.

"I went to (Paul) Revere and said this record is either going to be the biggest record we've ever done or the biggest flop. I said if you want to put the Raiders name on it you can."

"Indian Reservation " became the Raiders only #1 single.
Had he put the single out as Mark Lindsay perhaps his name would be better remembered.

 In the four decades since, Mark has stayed busy by recording, owning a restaurant, performing and working behind the scenes as an A&R man.
 Revere, on the other hand, is touring the casino circuit with his ersatz Raiders.
If Lindsay holds a grudge he's not making it public.

"Those were the days my friend.
I thought they'd never end and they didn't!!!"


  1. Great stuff, I only picked up on them a couple of years back but have been on perma-play since - there's so much variety in the catalogue: garage, pop even instrumental wig-outs..

  2. Yep. They wigged out on their Christmas album that's for sure. Another great tune, "Sometimes", was covered by The Flamin' Groovies on the Shake Some Action album

  3. I was in Junior High School in 1966 & 1967 and the Raider's were red hot back then. Sure they were corny on camera but on vinyl they had a hard driving sound. Besides, it was hard not to like a band that worked so hard in making it big. They would do anything that they thought would work. Some of it did and some of it didn't.

  4. I, too, was in Junior High in 66,67 and loved the Raiders...would rush home to watch
    Where the Action Is....Good old days...they were wacky, but the hits were great.
    Still like to listen to them! I recall when Keith Allison and Freddy Weller joined the band