After a mittful of mid-‘80s top 40 hits, Vancouver-based mainstream-rock outfit Boulevard called it a day in 1991—and then, 23-years after the fact, UK festival promoter Kieran Dargan called to suggest a reunion.
What seemed like a boulevard of broken dreams now has prophetically proven the sextet’s last single “ “Never Give Up” to be the gospel truth.
Against all expectation, Dargan’s FireFest reunion attracted a die-hard clutch of fans with long memories and deep pockets who flew in for the one-off reunion from Europe and South America to see this historic show date.
Pumped by this undiscovered groundswell of fan appreciation, the group is ready to go the distance (again) with an impressive new album, partially recorded at Abbey Road Studios, entitled Luminescence.
The first release is in Australia on September 22, with the power ballad, “Life Is A Beautiful Thing,” cued to go as the advance single.
The strategist behind the band’s success is and was John Alexander, a former A&R executive at MCA Records who signed the band, and cojoined them for a brief moment with Bruce Allen, the Vancouver Svengali to the stars.
It all came undone when the promise of world conquest devolved into a notable but ultimately inconsequential success that built on fame in the GAS countries of Germany, Switzerland and Austria.
It was a career highlight without global affirmation.
But let’s allow band founder Mark Holden to tell the extraordinary story of how Blvd became Boulevard 1V (renamed for copyright reasons), reunited and turned a corner and re-routed itself.
“In 2014 the band got a call from UK concert promoter Kieran Dargan who produced a show in Nottingham called FireFest.
Kieran said this was the 11th and final year for FireFest and he and his team had put together their list of their dream bands to come and play this last year. Boulevard was one of them. Apparently, the band had sold thousands of albums in the UK, Europe, and South America,” Holden tells me last night via e-mail.
“Kieran realised that the band had not been together for years but asked if would we consider coming back together for FireFest 2014. We pulled everyone together and decided that it would be very cool, so we started rehearsing and that fall, after doing a few small shows to make sure we all still knew where to stand on a big stage, Boulevard headed over to Nottingham for Kieran’s dream fest.
“We were already in a state of disbelief that this was happening, but when we arrived at the host hotel in Nottingham none of us was prepared for the response that awaited us.
“We discovered fans had travelled from as far as Lima, Barcelona, Madrid, Athens, all over Germany and northern Europe where the band got its start with our first release, 'Rainy Day In London' (which ended up going to No. 45 on the Billboard charts in Europe.”
Continuing, Holden explains: “FireFest was a huge eye opener for the band as we had gone to the UK uncertain how we would be received. It was mind blowing to us as we looked out into the audience during the set to see the audience singing every word of our lyrics. Crazy!
“In the process of coming back together, we decided that we should think about dusting off a few songs that didn’t make it onto the second album, or were written just after it's release, along with new material. Our keyboard player Andrew Johns and I also started working on some new ideas as well, and the magic started to happen. A few new songs turned into a full album. The band kicked in and voila! “
For Alexander, this is vindication for an act he firmly believed in and continues to believe and be connected with.
Remember, this is the same John Alexander who discovered and nurtured Alanis Morissette in her teenage years, and created co-ventures, publishing and development deals early on for acts such as Alannah Myles, Rik Emmett, Sarah McLachlan, Blue Rodeo, and Dream Warriors.
He continues his career living in California and heads his firm Music Business Consultancy as well as acting as Sr. V.P. Business Development for the Montreal based company Hitlab and is currently managing the affairs of Boulevard.
The band has festival bookings in Chicago, Sweden and Australia in 2018 and awaits the release of its latest and long-overdue new album.
Lead singer David Forbes is now a lieutenant in the Fire dept in Washington state; Mark has written a book—Inside Out- Chronicles of a Rock and Roll CEO; keyboard player Andrew Johns, drummer Randall Stoll, guitarist Dave Corman and bass player Cory Curtis remain involved in various aspects of the music business.