Comox Valley music fans are in for a real treat when Stephen McBean brings his unique psych-folk new wave stoner indie rock project Pink Mountaintops to the stage at the Waverley Hotel on Wednesday, April 12.
McBean has become an underground Canadian icon and guitar hero of sorts the last 20 years or so as the frontman for the globally successful Black Mountain, alongside five wildly different and adventurous Pink Mountaintops albums sprinkled along the way.
Both projects have been short-listed for the prestigious Polaris Prize awarded to the best album made in Canada; Black Mountain’s In the Future in 2009 and Pink Mountaintops Get Back in 2014.
Raised in Victoria and later a Vamcouverite in his early adult years, McBean now calls Los Angeles home. McBean is catching up on the lost time of COVID restrictions and has toured relentlessly with both Pink Mountaintops and Black Mountain the last year on double bills with the likes of Primus and the Afghan Whigs. Pink Mountaintops’ new album Peacock Pools features Melvins drummer Dale Crover, Steven McDonald of LA’s legendary Redd Kross, Joshua Wells (Destroyer, Lightning Dust, Emily Rose Epstein (Ty Segall), and Jeremy Schmidt (Black Mountain).
After a long relationship with American indie label Jagjaguwar, Dave Matthews’ ATO Records was the first label to jump at signing recent free agent Pink Mountaintops and McBean now finds himself in the same stable as Alabama Shakes, My Morning Jacket, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard and beyond. Peacock Pools was made during lockdown times. McBean recalls playing with Dale Crover and the process.
“A few songs on Peacock Pools were in the Black Mountain queue. Right before the pandemic, BM was gearing up to start working on a new album then it was fantastic to have Dale & Steven McDonald involved in the record. All the friends that contributed were fantastic and it kept me a bit sane. Thank God for Drop Box!”
McBean cut his teeth in numerous obscure celebrated acts starting when he was barely a teenager in Jerk Ward, a spastic trio of youths that were hailed “the greatest hardcore band ever,” later becoming involved in numerous diverse projects as Gus, Mission of Christ, Jerk With A Bomb before settling into his heralded Black and Pink career.
As a Canadian living in Los Angeles, McBean opines on just how difficult it was to survive without the ability to tour or play live during the peak COVID times when global restrictions made it impossible.
“It was tough, but many people had it much worse. I survived. Between both bands, I spent most of 2022 on the road. There were emotional stutters.”
This will be his second time playing in the Comox Valley.
“Black Mountain played a festival (Cumberland Wild) a decade ago. It was fun! I spent some childhood times with my granny and cousins. I remember the drive up from Victoria seemed like torture when I was eight.”
Pink Mountaintops on this tour features Tygh Runyan (The Beans) on bass, and Andrew Moszynski (The Deadly Snakes, Comet Control, Quest For Fire) on drums. Opening the show are Cumberland post-punk Sonder, a quartet of Vancouver Island transplants who in past lives have recorded and toured with Pink Mountaintops, Neko Case, Shimmering Stars, Astrakhan, Diode, Perseverance Creek, and many more. The Pink Mountaintops with Sonder show is the first collaboration of outsider collective promotion group CVGBs working together with the Waverley Hotel; the Comox Valley’s premier original music venue.
Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. https://waverley.tickit.ca/