Get up, stand up for Mostly Marley as band returns 

Vancouver reggae band plays the classics at the GLC

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - Good Time Guys Mostly Marley is performing a pre-birthday show in honour of Bob Marley.
  • PHOTO submitted
  • Good Time Guys Mostly Marley is performing a pre-birthday show in honour of Bob Marley.

It was while performing in Scandinavia in his 20s that singer Mike Henry discovered that he loved a musical style he hadn't known much about. It wasn't ABBA.

"I grew up appreciating all genres of music; I think the last genre I got into was reggae," he says.

"I was travelling and doing a cruise in Scandinavia, and they would play lots of reggae music, and that's how I caught the bug. I had heard a lot of Bob Marley before, but I didn't really appreciate him when Bob was still alive. My appreciation came much later.

"I was the feature artist on the cruise ship and after my show I would go to the disco and they would play a ton of Ziggy Marley and Bob. I realized this was great music."

So Henry came home to Vancouver in 2003 and started his band, Mostly Marley. Together, they've toured around B.C., playing small venues and festivals.

The aim is to give the music to their Bob-starved masses, "Coming in from the cold," as it were.

"It's been 12 years and I love it," he says.

A regular visitor to Whistler, Mostly Marley does what its name suggests. It plays the old-school reggae of the founders of the genre, such as Marley, Peter Tosh and Jimmy Cliff.

"I'm a huge fan of Bob, obviously. My background in reggae is basically the traditional classics. It's what drew me," Henry says.

"I try to keep that vibe alive. There's a lot of new reggae coming out and I like a lot of it, I like some of the dancehall. We dabble in some of that stuff also, but our main focus is the classic sound."

This is what fans of Mostly Marley have come to expect, Henry says.

"But we're always adding songs, so the band is progressing and probably drawing broader audiences, not just Bob Marley fans," he adds.

Asked what his favourites are to perform, Henry responds with a long "Hmmm," and takes a moment to consider the options. There are many songs to choose from.

"'In This Love,' 'Could You Be Loved,' and probably some of the more obscure ones, like 'Natty Dread,' or 'Stiff-Necked Fools,'" he says.

Henry was raised in Louisiana, where his musical pedigree was funk, soul, gospel and the blues.

"Years ago, I came up... I went to L.A. and had a school friend in Vegas. I ended up going there to hook up with him in a regular kind of job," he says.

"Then I got more into music full time, I left Vegas and went to see a friend in the Bay Area. He had moved to Vancouver and his mom gave me his number in Canada and told me to give him a call. I did, and he offered me a job. That's how I ended up here and I've been here for some time."

He's now a dual citizen.

Henry also draws on his other musical influences as part of his career, playing in the band Funkalicious, performing a James Brown and Ray Charles tribute, and being part of a band that performs Motown covers.

Along with Henry, the core of Mostly Marley for the Whistler show is Billy Mendoza (bass), Russ Klyne (guitar), and Tim Proznick (drums). They will also be adding a rhythm section.

"We can go up to seven. We like to have the full Marley sound whenever we can," Henry says.

They perform at the Garibaldi Lift Company (GLC) on Friday, Feb. 3, at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 and available at the GLC or online at www.whistlerblackcomb.com.

"People can expect good, positive vibes and wall-to-wall reggae sound," he laughs.

"Because Bob Marley's birthday is on the Monday (Feb. 6), we are promoting it as the pre-Bob Marley birthday show. We have a big show on the Sunday, after the Super Bowl."

If he was still alive, Marley would be just 72 on Monday, Henry observes. Marley died from cancer in 1981.

"He's still rockin' somewhere, I'm sure," he laughs.

"We want people to come out and have a good time. That is what Bob was all about and that is what we are all about, too."

For more information, visit the Mostly Marley Official page on Facebook.

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