Mark Richards
Toronto, d. 1.December.2011, cancer.

Mark Richards

Toronto bike courier Mark Richards passed away on December 1, 2011 after battling cancer. Mark was well known as a member of the Toronto bands Throbbin Hoods and Test Monkey.

From the Throbbin Hoods website:

Mark Richards, our good friend, a father, a devoted husband and singer/bass player of the Throbbin Hoods, was fighting for his life in hospital and passed away on Dec 1st, 2011. The Hoods are offering their whole catalog of music, from 1989-2011, for those who wish to donate what they can to support The Richards' family during this time of financial crisis.

All proceeds will go directly to Mark's family. Any ad earnings will also go to Mark's family.

Upon donation, you will be taken to the online folder where the music will be, in two folders - one is our greatest misses and the other with our 'B-sides' (we only had two songs in rotation, one on light rotation on Much (Walkin' Around) and the other, Perfect World, on rotation in Germany.

The History of Throbbin Hoods:

Mark Richards, a tall, lanky urban cowboy-type, musically stuck between The Sex Pistols and AC/DC, worked at Curry's Art Store on Yonge Street with his new friend Martyn Pratt in 1987 (Martyn was Buck Moore's roommate from Sheridan College in Oakville, 1985, and again in 1986-88 in downtown Toronto).

Martyn brought Mark over to jam and party, and Martyn, Buck and Mark talked about starting a band. Buck had been playing guitar for about 3 years at that point, and Martyn was playing for about 1 or 2 years. None of the three could read music, but they had some rhythm, some inane poetry and knew some chords. Buck let Mark use his 'Booger Bass' for a 'jam' and Buck was impressed that Mark knew nothing about playing bass, but sure had some moves, so Buck sold Mark the 'Booger Bass' for $40.00 (it was a cheap, pawn-shop special Buck bought from McTamney's on Church St.).

The boys tried to come up with a name for the new band and Mark suggested The "Robbin Hoods", being, like, noble and poor and such. Mark even came up with the tagline: "We steal from the rich, and keep it!" They even played around with "Th'Robbin Hoods". It was a young female staff member on the order desk at Curry's Art Store who finally came up with the name. She just shouted it one late afternoon before closing time. It was a kind of brain storming session for a band name (Martyn and Mark were tossing around names as a joke.) Mark, Martyn and Buck now had a name they could all agree on.

After putting an ad in the NOW magazine, their search for a drummer was fruitless, until a friend of a friend (probably from Sault St. Marie, Mark's hometown), introduced the boys to a guy named Byron, or Brian, we forget, but we just called him The Baron. At their first show, at The Slither Club (which became Healey's, under The Paddock at Queen and Bathurst in Toronto, Canada), The Baron would not stop playing drums, even after the band stopped playing. The owner said: "Tell him to stop!", but who knows if it was acid or just too much alcohol, The Baron finally jumped up, banged his head on a pipe and sat there laughing and bleeding as the manager 'barred us for life'. There were four more shows around town, for a total of five, then the band fell apart.

Over a year passed, Martyn moved out and Mark called Buck to see if he might still be interested in playing guitar, still under the name Throbbin Hoods. Mark explained that he had a co-worker, Martin Dulac, who was really good at hitting paint brushes against a counter, so he must be good at drums. Buck went to the practice and met Martin, where he was very impressed with Martin's timing on drums, so the quintessential Throbbin Hoods began; the year was 1989.

During a ten year run, the band released a couple of CD's (Ambush and Hot Live Action), a couple of videos (Jesus Was an Alien and Walkin' Around), toured to the West Coast and back a few times, became a very tight, ferocious power trio dubbed 'the Cars on acid' and 'Toronto's Underground garage darlings'. Martin, a talented graphic designer, took care of all the artwork with the help of his girlfriend (now wife) Libby, who is also a talented artist. Martin also wrote key musical parts for the songs. Buck took care of some of the recording and songwriting and Mark, who also wrote songs, took control of the audience, with his crusty wit and insane facial expressions.

After a decade and lack of focus, the band broke up, temporarily. Mark's new brainchild, Test Monkey, with Buck, Mike Severin ('Sev', from Tulpa) on keys and a drummer by the name of Jeff, no wait, 'Geoff' (I'm pretty sure), would go on playing new songs with crazy themes and even play the some classic Hoods tunes, here and there (this was 2002, maybe 2001?). Eventually, Geoff left and was replaced by Paul Richardson on drums.

Mark, Buck and Sev decided to go back to the name Throbbin Hoods, since they already had tons of press, two CD's and two videos. Why start all over again? It's all marketing hype, anyway. So they kept playing Test Monkey tunes and Hoods tunes and opened for lots of bands, like Teenage Head, Forgotten Rebels (that may have been with Martin, actually), Nazareth among others (thanks, Donnie Blaise!!).

Eventually, Paul left (hey, what's with drummers, man? Seriously!). Sev knew a guy by the name of Neil Saunders, who could play drums for the Hoods and the new Hoods, as a four-piece, went on to open for, well Nazareth, again, LA Guns and two SAGA concerts, among other shows (thanks Randy Charlton!!). Unfortunately, Mark started getting ill in late 2010.

Presently, Buck, Sev and Neil are currently doing everything they can to help Mark, his wife Cindy and his daughter Ruby (as in the song 'Ruby' - you can hear her voice, as a child, at the end of the song). With the help of you, our friends and fans, we can raise some money either by donating (pay-what-you-can), and/or attending one of the upcoming fundraiser shows, where Toronto bands are welcome to play a Hoods tune (and 2-3 of their own). In exchange, you'll get over two albums worth of music and a wicked show, when it happens.

You will be helping the one of the finest, rockin'est, funniest, unsung bands Toronto has ever known, The Throbbin Hoods. Thanks for your support!!

The Hoods Team.

Throbbin Hoods cover Gordon Lightfoot