MacLean died of 'natural causes'

Platinum Blonde in 1985: Sergio Galli, Kenny Maclean, Mark Holmes and Chris Steffler.

Platinum Blonde in 1985: Sergio Galli, Kenny Maclean, Mark Holmes and Chris Steffler.

JASON MacNEIL - Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:09 AM ET

Last Friday night former Platinum Blonde bassist and solo artist Kenny MacLean was where he wanted to be.

The musician was onstage celebrating the upcoming release of his solo album, Completely, with special guests The High Rollers at The Mod Club among fans, family and friends.

But sadly, that show would be his last as MacLean was found dead Monday by his sister at his Toronto studio/living space. According to his publicist and personal assistant Bridget Villemaire, MacLean was 52.

"On behalf of Kenny MacLean's family, friends and band, we want to confirm the tragic, and untimely death, due to natural causes, this past weekend," MacLean's family said in a news release issued late yesterday afternoon. "He will be greatly missed."

A memorial page on Platinum Blonde's official website featured a collage of photos of MacLean with the word "love" on one side.

Born in Glasgow, Scotland, MacLean honed his musical chops in a band called The Hairdressers before forming The Suspects in 1979 and, according to the Canadian Pop Encyclopedia, releasing an independent single. The Suspects changed their name to The Deserters in 1981, a quartet featuring MacLean, Henry DiClemente, Chris Gibb and Greg Stephens.

After its self-titled debut, The Deserters released Siberian Nightlife, which was re-released on EMI soon after. In a short Toronto Sun review of their 1983 gig at Massey Hall (opening for The Stray Cats) Sun critic Wilder Penfield III said the group "are more likely to recall the throbbing textures of Ultravox, the anthems of U2, or any number of hit-bound hard rock 'n' rollers" before adding they would "soon be helping secure Toronto's spot on the music map."

"Kenny had a great charm and knew everybody in the music scene at that time," Stephens said yesterday. "I will miss Kenny very much but always remember his energy, charm and great musicality."

Following his time in The Deserters, MacLean joined Canadian rock darlings Platinum Blonde for their 1985 album, Alien Shores, writing or co-writing a few songs on the record. The multi-platinum selling album, featuring Situation Critical, Crying Over You and Hungry Eyes, would be followed up by 1987's Contact and Yeah Yeah Yeah, a record released in 1990 with the band now called The Blondes.

Although Platinum Blonde would return in the '90s with lead singer Mark Holmes fronting a new lineup, MacLean went into his solo career with his debut album, Don't Look Back, in 1990, the single being the sweet and radio-friendly title track.

In 1995, MacLean returned with another solo album, Clear, featuring songs written with Holmes.

MacLean also had his fingers in the business side of the music industry, creating the company hMh Music and serving as its artistic director. The company, with its headquarters in downtown Toronto, featured various programs from recording and audio engineering to DJ arts and had just opened in early September.

Aside from his solo work, MacLean was also one of the core members behind a new project entitled Rock Through The Ages (or Rock TTA), a show featuring a stellar line-up of seasoned musicians doing songs from the '50s such as Ben E. King's Stand By Me to a horde of Beatles hits up to Keane's Everybody's Changing and Coldplay's Yellow.

According to the news release, MacLean's family has arranged for a private funeral which will be followed by a memorial service for friends and associates. The date has yet to be announced.


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