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The best kept secret in music


"Monday Magazine Issue 34 Vol 29"

Monday Magazine Issue 34 Vol 29, August 21- 27, 2003

Much Ado About Much

Much Music goes coastal with an all-ages all-Victoria special


Stand by, Victoria. We’re about to go on the air. Come this Saturday evening, the cameras and crew of Much

Music will be filling Centennial Square to shoot an all-ages local band showcase featuring the talents of Lappelectro, Insides Out, Moneyshot, Big Muff, Grace Nocturnal and Jets Overhead. Fronted by Much’s Going Coastal host Chris Nelson, MuchDoesVictoria is the latest in a series of concert gigs aimed at bringing national attention to local music scenes in cities like Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Winnipeg and now Victoria. But surprisingly, Nelson himself feels that garnering national attention may not necessarily be the point of it all.

“For me, the big thing about these shows is that I want to get as many people in the cities excited about their own bands as those outside the cities,” says Nelson. “Most local bands sort of get overlooked by their own communities; you don’t see them automatically being added to radio playlists, for example. I like to see these concerts to some degree circumventing that process—like it or not, TV brings its own kind of validation with it; that’s part of why Going Coastal and these shows exists.”

Nelson also admits to being surprised by the success of the shows in the various cities. “These concerts have had more effect on the communities we’ve covered than anything I’ve ever done before,” he says. “For most of the bands, it’s the biggest crowds they’ve ever played to,” Nelson notes. “We played to 1,500 in Edmonton, for example.”

“When I talk about tangible effects on someone’s career, you can see it in action with these concerts. People are getting excited, they’re buying the CDs, they’re getting press—it’s a very real side-benefit to all this. The same thing happened in Edmonton, in Calgary, in Winnipeg . . . by generating the attention these artists need, it gives them some incentive to go on. That’s the best part of doing this job, period.” And when it comes to the bands here, Nelson is obviously more than familiar with the talent involved. “I think it’s a really, really strong line-up. I’ve interviewed Grace Nocturnal, I’ve talked with Daniel Lapp through Velvet, Moneyshot played a gig we recorded in Langley, DJ Murge has been on the show already . . . I think it’s a testament to Victoria’s scene that most of the line-up has already been on the show.”

Only as strong as our audiences

But while it may be Much Music—and hopefully the bands themselves—who steal the spotlight this weekend, much of the behind-the-scenes effort has been put in by Atomique’s Nick Blasko, who spent more than six months working to put MuchDoesVictoria together. “We’ve been involved with Going Coastal specials before,” says Blasko, “and we’ve done a concert, some features . . . but never something that really brands it as a Much special about Victoria.”

Blasko is obviously proud that Much Music is coming here to film, and it’s clear from his work in organizing the Victoria showcase at New Music West earlier this year that he thinks local bands are worth the fuss—if only we’d pay a little more attention ourselves.

“I think we have a great pool of artists in Victoria,” he notes. “There’s stuff right now that can compete on the Canadian or international level, but a lot of things they do go unnoticed by the general public. I don’t think we have a very supportive audience here; compared to other cities in Canada, we don’t have that critical mass of fans to support the local scene. You walk into Lucky Bar on a Monday night, and there’s like two people in there when the cover charge is free.”

Obviously, as a concert promoter, Blasko has an interest in seeing both local venues and Centennial Square filled this weekend, but his passion for promoting talent goes far beyond his bank balance. “The bands and everyone in the city stand to gain from this—the only person who stands to lose is myself,” he notes with a wry laugh. “There’s been myths on Livevictoria that I’m being paid by Much to do this, but this is not a job anyone’s hired me for. This is something I conceived of and went after for the benefit of the music community.”

Bands on the run

Which, of course, presents a problem itself: given such a range of talent in town, who makes the on-air cut? “It was a tough call to pick the six bands,” Blasko admits. “I had 10 or 15 I thought would be perfect that I put forward to Much’s senior music programmer Craig Halket.” He rattles off a quick list. “Grace Nocturnal is making waves through New Music West and their affiliation with Sam Roberts . . . Insides Out—which everyone in Victoria claims they’ve never heard of—is DJ Murge and Just B under a new name, with Vancouver MC Ishkan . . . Big Muff, they’ve been out touring like maniacs. That’s cool, to be somewhat ambassadors for the city.”

“We’ve never gotten to play Centennial Square before,” says Big Muff’s Mariel Miller, “we’re not really a family band. We applied one time and they were, like, ‘You should change your name to ‘Big M’ and we were, like, ‘Uh, no.’ ”

In addition to having just completed a western U.S. tour, Big Muff also sold out the run of their new CD Rock-Lock at Steamers earlier this month, have been getting airplay on the Zone with their polished “diva-driven vixen rock” and are even in the process of shooting a video. “I think they probably wanted a female-fronted act for the Much gig,” says guitarist and vocalist Miller, “but that usually means a singer-songwriter. I think we got to fill that space on the line-up.” When asked if anyone recognized them as a Victoria band while they were on the road, Miller just laughs. “They basically didn’t know where Victoria was. But I think we’ve got a really interesting music scene here,” she continues. “There’s a lot of diversity in styles—you don’t have too many bands that are all the same.”

Looking to the future, fans can expect to see Big Muff in the pages of Hustler this fall—just not in the obvious way. “We’re going to be writing the rock reviews, not porning it out,” laughs Miller. “I think they were thinking it was a good match, name-wise. It’s good promotion for us, and we’ll be getting a lot of free porn.”

Hooking up with a porn mag may not be the best way for many bands to get known, but Blasko feels Big Muff is definitely doing the right thing by pushing themselves out of town. “My main piece of advice for any Victoria band is to concentrate more off the Island than on the Island,” he says. “Let your successes abroad filter back home; don’t work Victoria like it’s your only market.”

And if you were in one of the bands that didn’t get chosen, don’t lose heart. “We’ll be coming back,” says host Nelson. “It’s not like this won’t be happening again.” M

MuchDoesVictoria 6-10 pm Saturday, August 23 Centennial Square Tickets $10 386-6121

- John Threlfall

"The New VI - CHUM"

November 24, 2003
A VILand New Year – the biggest New Year’s bash ever to hit Vancouver Island – returns to Nanaimo to ring in 2004. Canadian rock icon Randy Bachman once again leads the on-stage charge, joined this year by stardom-bound (mostly) girl band Big Muff, world-class blues guitarist David Gogo, and local ska / reggae favourites The Kiltlifters.

With more than 5,000 attendees and a quarter of a million TV viewers in its extraordinarily-successful first year, the community-oriented party has already become a signature event for The New VI. “Last year I said it in jest,” says New VI Vice President and General Manager Howard Slutsken. “This year I can say it in all seriousness: Forget Times Square; Harbourfront Plaza is the place to be for New Year’s Eve!”

Presented by The New VI and The City of Nanaimo and sponsored in part by RMH Teleservices, the free outdoor party begins at 9 pm in Nanaimo’s Harbourfront Plaza. Broadcast live from 10:30 pm to 12:30, the party brings a longstanding and much-loved CHUM Television tradition to BC – and offers viewers the only live West Coast countdown to the new year. - Susan Kerschbaumer


The mid -1990's were all about fox-xore; grrrl fronted bands such as L7, Babes in Toyland and Hole could be seen on MTV vamping and grinding while actually playing guitar. But it's the 21st century now, and former indie near-hottie Nina Gordon of Veruca Salt semi-fame, was last seen judging the West Coast Air Guitar Championships (note: this is not a joke). So who will fill the void, the chasm, the abyss, the veritable gaping vagine of rock n roll vacated by these aging scream queens

BigMuff are four girls and one guy (the token EFH - "Eric from Hole" -factor) and they're Canadian. They've got the classic fox-core sound down, meaning quiet girlie vocals give way to screaming thrashy choruses, replete with thicker-than-bull-semen guitars blaring in the background. Punk-pop influences such as Veruca Salt and the Foo Fighters can be heard on their latest disc, Rock Lockl listeners will even detecta hint of  Chrissie Hynde- the grand old dame of fox-rock-in some of the vocals.

Despite the vagicentric connotations to the band's moniker, the group actually took its name from the old Electro-Harmonix disortion pedal, thereby cementing their indy street cred. But while their appelation may bear innocent origins, bIgMuff aren't afraid to revel in raunch (as evidenced by their guest stint as XXX reviewers on page 112 of this issue's erotic entertainment) According to singer Sarah Fletch, "Just because we happen to have more breasts than most bands out there doesn't mean we can't appreciate a good issue of HUSTLER. We're four girls and a guy." Sounds like your average HUSTLER photo shoot. - Rock n roll spotlight . feb 2004


Sun & Fun at the Holiday court
February 2001.
sold out - 500 units

Rock Lock
August 2003
2000 units to date

The Zone@ 91.3 modern rock sampler
October 2003

Buy Indie Music Volume II international compilation featuring Bigmuff's 'Idol'
July 2004

select radio airplay:
"Idol," "Barby," & "Catharsis" (RockLock,2003) were added into rotation at the Zone@91.3

"Idol," "Barby," & "Catharsis" "Achilles" (Rock Lock 2003) were added into rotation at University of Victoria's CFUV

streaming airplay for Idol and Catharsis on Indiepool


Feeling a bit camera shy


Formed in late 2000, BigMuff integrates influences such as Veruca Salt, Foo Fighters and Guns n Roses. Recently, BigMuff recorded their last EP “Rock Lock” at famed Mushroom Studios, as well as In-Vision Studios and Studio 1. Since selling out of the EP’s first Canadian run on its opening weekend, BigMuff has unleashed their brand of vixen rock across the Western Canada and the United States. Bigmuff is currently booking another series of tours for the winter of 2005 and is recording a new EP, scheduled to be released in March of 2005.

BigMuff performed at this year's NXNE music festival in Toronto, ON in June and then jet-setted back to the west coast to venture into the US once again.

In January-March 2004, BigMuff embarked on a tour of the Western US taking them from Seattle to San diego and playing venues like LA's Whiskey a go go and the Boston in Las vegas

HUSTLER MAGAZINE -BigMuff Spotlight. Jan, 2004
No we didn’t take our clothes off….BigMuff featured in Spotlight article as well as the Rock Review.

BigMuff opens for Canadian Rock Legend Randy Bachman. Open Air concert in Downtown Nanaimo, 6000 in attendance & broadcast live to over 1 million viewers nationally.

Much Music special on “Victoria’s Finest”. Includes interviews and live performance by BigMuff as well as other local talent.

Featuring the video for BigMuff’s first Rock Lock single: “Idol”

LOADSTART TOUR, June/July 2003:
BigMuff recently returned from a 9 state tour of the US. Taking them from Washington to New Mexico, Colorado, and back. Including performances at L.A.’s Whisky-a-go-go.

DOPE - 40 DAY 40 NIGHT TOUR, May 2003.
BigMuff joined the Jagermeister Presents bill for the Montana dates with Epic recording artists Dope. Other bands included Psychopathic’s Zug Izland and Earache’s Society 1.

BigMuff was chosen as the Zone’s Band of the Month receiving a local showcase and audio vignettes aired 5-7 times daily.

-More Touring for BigMuff
BigMuff is going to be very busy in the upcoming month planning another tour of the united states and europe, recording a new CD

Also BigMuff recieved a VideoFACT grant to fund their brand new music video for Achilles (Rock Lock)