Photo Credit: Annie Handley | Big Rock | Facebook

Forgotten Demo Tape Finds New Life

Campbell River locals are transported back in time as local rock legends release first album in 40 years

Band member decided to finish album to commemorate lead singer

Life has come full circle for Big Rock band members.

Campbell River high schoolers Hugh McGregor, Dave Davendisch, Clayton Hill, and Steve Hillis joined together to form the beloved local group when they were just 17.

“It was a great time,” said bassist Dave Davendisch to Comox Valley Now. “We were all listening to bands like Rush and Saga. When Hugh came along, he exposed us to bands we’d never heard of. Progressive bands like King Crimson and Bob Marley…We were just like, ‘Wow!’”

Big Rock | Facebook

Influenced by other rock bands that would shape a generation, Big Rock gained local renown touring with original songs before recording their first demo tape.

They were well-loved by locals and felt they had a shot at making it big time, but life happened, and things didn’t quite pan out.

The band split up and went their separate ways, all still working in the music industry.

But they never quite forgot about that first demo tape.

“The tape just kind of laid dormant,” said Davendisch. “It got shuffled around; drinks spilled on it.”

Then, after the band’s star, Hugh Mcgregor, passed away in 2014, the idea of making a commemorative album started to take root.

“Clayton said to me one day, ‘We should re-record the Big Rock stuff,’ and I said, ‘That’s a great idea.”

From his recording studio in Comox, Davendisch started formulating what would be the band’s first real album 40 years after their teenage dreams had been left to dust.

After re-recording, and adding Hugh’s vocals over the top, they had a finished piece.

“The 3 of us decided that the last track on this album, ‘After All This Time,’ is the name of the first and only album by Big Rock,” the members said on their Facebook page.

While the four decades between the band’s beginnings and their first albums release could have left them forgotten by Campbell Riverites, that’s been far from the case.

The album has taken locals on a whirlwind trip down memory lane, and they couldn’t be more pleased about it.

“I can remember the garage days: home parties and random jams. You guys were a huge part of our youth. Forever grateful.”

This sentiment expressed by local Stefanija Rivers Elickus represents just a snippet of the supportive feedback they’ve received since releasing their album.

The nostalgia in the album is tangible. You can listen to it on Spotify or Apple Music and find all their hits on Youtube.

Because of high demand, they’ll also release a physical copy that looks like an old cassette. It will come with a USB key with all the album’s rocking hits and old photos to take the viewer on a trip down memory lane.

Pre Big Rock 1981/82 BOSS. Big Rock | Facebook

In honour of Hugh, all proceeds for the album will go toward foundations that support diabetes and mental health.