British Columbia·Photos

Late punk rock legend Mr. Chi Pig honoured with mural in Gastown

Friends of the late SNFU punk rock star are putting the final touches on a mural beside the Cambie Bar, a favourite watering hole of Ken Chinn a.k.a. Mr. Chi Pig.

Lead singer of local punk band SNFU died in July at age 57

Artists work on a mural of late musician Ken Chinn, known as Mr. Chi Pig, in Vancouver on Oct. 30, 2020. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

The late punk icon Ken Chinn a.k.a. Mr. Chi Pig, frontman for the band SNFU, is the latest Vancouverite to be immortalized in mural form.

Friends of the musical legend are putting the final touches on the mural — which features his famous whiskers — located outside one of his favourite spots, the Cambie Bar. 

Jameson Trenholm, a bartender at the Cambie and a close friend of Chinn's, says the bar is a fitting home for Chinn's larger-than-life portrait.

"[The Cambie] is one of the oldest bars in the city, started in 1897, and it brings people that are unique characters from all around the world," Trenholm said. 

Ken Chinn was featured in a 2009 documentary called Open Your Mouth And Say … Mr Chi Pig. (Craig Laviolette)

Chinn, who grew up in Edmonton but moved to Vancouver in the 1980s, was known as an eccentric singer and lyricist who put on unpredictable live performances.

SNFU released its debut album ...And No One Else Wanted To Play in 1985, followed by 10 full-length albums. The band built a skate-punk fan base across North America.

Chinn died in July at the age of 57.

The mural of Ken Chinn is located in Vancouver's Gastown neighbourhood, outside the Cambie Bar, one of Chinn's favourite spots. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Chinn struggled with mental health issues, as well as drug and alcohol addiction. He opened up about being a mixed-race gay man in the punk scene in the 2009 documentary, Open Your Mouth And Say …Mr Chi Pig

Trenholm said Chinn was drawn to the Gastown and Downtown Eastside neighbourhoods.

"This area of town has a lot of people that struggle with mental illness. Chi was one of them," Trenholm said.

"I remember he came up to the bar one time and looked at me and said, 'Jameson, you know what? Sometimes I get down and I get blue, but I know that I can go to any jukebox in the world and put in a dollar and play one of my songs and that can make me happy forever.'"

The mural of the late Ken Chinn, known as Mr. Chi Pig, features his distinct whiskers. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Trenholm says the mural is a fitting tribute to Chinn.

"This was his zone. This was his area," he said. "I feel that his spirit and this mural will bring light to the craziness of 2020."

With files from The Early Edition, Travis McEwan

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