Whistler, mon amour 

Monty Biggins found he couldn't stay away from the resort and is back making music

click to enlarge PHOTO BY CATHRYN ATKINSON - Playing on Monty Biggins is now combining his new band with recording music and working with other musicians.
  • Photo by Cathryn Atkinson
  • Playing on Monty Biggins is now combining his new band with recording music and working with other musicians.

Monty Biggins had given up on Whistler.

The musician and songwriter had a noisy public break up with the resort. In several provocative "Letters to the Editor" in this newspaper he vented his frustration and became a social media lightning rod. It wasn't pretty.

"I'm sure it was more than two letters," he laughs, trying to recollect.

"I figured if I didn't go, I'd put my foot in my mouth even more."

The frustration had revolved around musical opportunities. Biggins' Americana rock band The Sociables was pulling great gigs in terms of crowds, he says, but he found it hard to get ongoing work for the band.

"I was playing in Vancouver and Squamish and having a great time. Pemberton was always a riot," Biggins says.

"I was offering a style of music that wasn't the normal model here. We played covers and I was taking the songs and giving them an original flavour.

"I was playing and I was seeing the opposite of what I was being told. I was told that the style didn't work for Whistler but I was seeing a full dance floor. People were coming up and tipping me."

But there wasn't enough work offered. Biggins vented and then left town for Calgary in July.

He was pulled back because his friend, WMN Studio owner Steve Clark, wanted him for his latest project.

An audio engineer as well as musician, he ran WMN's new Craft Singles idea this fall, getting local musicians into the Function Junction studio to lay down original tracks. It was an idea Biggins had suggested to Clark months earlier.

"It has been my saving grace. Steve kept sending me emails asking if I wanted to do it. I was really on the fence," recalls Biggins.

"He went ahead and pulled the trigger on it, and got the artists together for the first show."

Biggins was back by September to help out. He says he owns what happened with the public airing of his grievances, but wants to move forward.

"Steve told me, 'I believe in this. I know you're frustrated but come and do something here and decide what it feels like to do this rather than playing,'" he says.

Biggins now continues to subcontract space in the studio to other musicians. "I feel the benefit of the artist in here to continually create stuff. It's important to get ideas out and let them live."

Despite the upheaval, he met his goal to release one song a month in 2015 and he aims to continue to keep the monthly deadline going.

A year ago, Biggins put out his first Neon Beige EP, a foray into creative electronic music that allows him to "think like an orchestra." Since then, he has concentrated on his singles through Neon Beige, which features other local artists."We will literally hang out in the (sound) booth and I'm working on stuff. And a vocalist will start making noises and I will say, 'That's pretty cool, let's get that down.'"

He has also invested his time in the Little Biggs Band, a new, jazz-focused incarnation of The Sociables, which is now on hiatus. The Little Biggs Band's six-song EP was released earlier this year.

Biggins' heavy metal concept project Bike Thief Massacre also saw the release of a first single, in November. "You can't say to a guy like me that I should be just one thing. I say I'm from the Church of Zappa and my minister is Louie Armstrong. I come from a deep love and focus of what music can be," he says.

"I've studied music in all of these realms and I'm very motivated by sound. As an entertainer I want to entertain, have fun with it and get people moving."

And now that he's back he says he will continue to stand up for himself and plan into the New Year.

"I was in a funk, so I may as well have a year of funk," he laughs.

"I love funk music, which is something that I didn't realize until recently. What's more I love this town. I want to make it easier for others... we are a community and music is so meaningful. I have a hard time when what it's supposed to represent gets cast aside."

The Little Biggs Band is currently playing regularly at Speakeasy Tuesdays at The Cure Lounge in the Nita Lake Lodge.

Neon Beige is available on bandcamp.



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