Seven years after alcohol and drugs knocked out Mr. Vein, the Whitehorse rockers are playing a reunion show.
The music is still hard driving ‘90s hair metal with crowd pleasers like Kiss My Heart and Bad Reputation, but the boys have changed.
Married, with kids and government jobs, the rockers aren’t quite as wild anymore.
And neither is the local music scene.
“It’s not like it used to be with rock and party bands—it’s more folksy,” said frontman Tim Naylor.
When Mr. Vein formed in ‘99, the hard rockers played five to six nights a week and even had lineups on Monday, said Naylor.
“Back then, the audience was different,” said drummer Dan Dunphy.
“There was live music somewhere in Whitehorse every night and a lot of people came to see a band perform.
“Now it’s just come to the bar, get drunk and get laid,” said Naylor.
Naylor, Dunphy and guitarist Tom Inglis got together to play an Atlin gig after Naylor double-booked Love Rhino, the band he was in at the time.
Inglis and Naylor had been jamming together already, but when they tried to cobble a group together to make up for the double booking, they realized they were short a drummer.
“We found Dan the night before the gig at the Capitol, and basically just poured him down the street and into the vehicle,” said Naylor.
With only one night to practise the boys were pretty green, but when Dunphy stepped off the stage and took a drum solo at the Atlin Inn tapping on glasses and chairs all around the bar, the crowd was in the palm of their hand.
“Before we even finished our set they asked us to stay another night,” said Inglis.
The band was playing top 40 hits, and took any gig thrown its way, including Thunder on Ice—an outside show on Marsh Lake in the middle of winter.
“It was minus 20,” said Dunphy
“It was brutal and horrible, but we were just looking to play,” added Inglis.
Mr. Vein also played Faro’s Farrago festival and played regularly at the KK and the Capitol.
“When we started there used to be 10 bars to play in,” said Naylor.
“Now there’re two.”
Mr. Vein started writing original tunes and, six months after forming, the musicians recorded an album at Laurie Malo’s Rainbow Studio.
“We paid for it all ourselves,” said Naylor.
“We had 100 songs and we got it down to 10 for the CD.”
Kiss My Heart kicks off the CD with Naylor belting out, “You’re blocking my door, I don’t love you anymore,” in a voice reminiscent of Axel Rose.
The album, called No Big Deal, ended up landing Mr. Vein a gig in Amsterdam, but Dunphy missed the show.
“I went to Las Vegas,” he said.
“I needed to get out of town and see something else. I was under the impression there was a big career in music waiting for me somewhere other than here.”
Drummer Neil Byblow filled in for the Amsterdam gig, but Mr. Vein had already started falling apart.
“We were having a lot of fun, and were having a hard time balancing our personal lives with our work lives—we needed a break,” said Naylor.
The band broke up in 2002.
Dunphy and Naylor stayed in the Yukon, and Inglis headed south.
Naylor drives heavy machinery for Highways in Destruction Bay.
“The next step is politics, that’s the way it goes here in the Yukon,” he said with a laugh.
Dunphy works at motor vehicles and while they occasionally saw one another, neither of them had talked to Inglis for years.
Then, nine months ago, Naylor got a call.
Byblow wanted to see Mr. Vein play a reunion show in Whitehorse.
“He kept asking,” said Naylor.
With the help of the internet, they found Inglis—working at Canadian Tire and raising his family in Milton, Ontario.
They set up a three-way call.
“We hadn’t talked to Tom in seven years,” said Dunphy.
“It was so good to hear his voice—I got all giddy.”
Inglis, who’s ticket was covered by Mr. Vein sponsors, agreed to fly back for the show
“I didn’t realize how much I miss this place,” he said, setting up the stage at Coasters on Wednesday afternoon.
“And I haven’t even seen that many people yet.”
One fan, flying up to Whitehorse for a wedding, changed his ticket to a week earlier in order to catch the Mr. Vein reunion show.
“We say it’s No Big Deal,” said Naylor, referencing the album. “But it is to us.”
Inglis stopped playing in bands after he moved to Ontario.
“It didn’t matter who I worked with, it just wasn’t the same,” he said.
“I’ve played with a lot of different people,” added Dunphy.
“But I haven’t found anything that fits like Mr. Vein does.”
The bandmates still love their originals, but musical tastes have changed.
“There will be lots of faces from the Mr. Vein days,” said Dunphy.
“But it will be interesting to see what the next generation of kids think of our tunes.”
“I believe in the music,” said Inglis. “I think it will live forever.”
Madly rehearsing since Monday, when Inglis flew in, the hard rockers might even have a new song for their patient fans.
“We try not to think—we just play,” said Naylor.
“And when the hair on your arms stands up, you know it’s done.”
Mr. Vein is taking the stage at Coasters Thursday through Saturday, starting at 10 p.m. Tickets are $5 at the door.
Contact Genesee Keevil at