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Mural of punk icon Chi Pig going up at Cambie Hotel

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“There was many a night when I grabbed (Chi) by the arm and walked him home,” he said. “People would recognize him, (but) if you actually had the chance to sit down with him, he never played the rock star. He was very humble, you could sit down with him and have a chat. He wasn’t pretentious or anything, it made him really special.”

He continued to tour with various versions of SNFU until recently.

“Even in 2017 he’d be at the bar or whatever, then he’d be gone,” said Trenholm. “I’d say, ‘Chi where were you?’ ‘Oh, touring Italy or Austria or Australia.’ He kept on touring as long as he could.

“Incredible musician, just a quirky interesting character.”

Still, there wasn’t a lot of money in being a hardcore punk legend. At the Cambie or Pub 340 up the street, he’d set up in a table, hold court and sell his art to keep himself in beer and smokes.

“He was always doodling,” said Trenholm. “If he wasn’t singing or on tour he was painting art.”

In recent years he took to doing the Nine Inch Nails song Hurt on karaoke night at Pub 340, in the intense ballad style that Johnny Cash did.

Sun and Province writer Dan Fumano saw him performing Hurt there just before COVID-19 hit.

“It was powerful and it was very poignant,” said Fumano. “Everybody in the place was silent with reverence. He was sitting down when he sang, then he went back to his table afterwards and was doing his drawings, drinking Kokanees.”

Before he died he recorded another haunting ballad, Cement Mixer. The lyric said that after he died he wanted to be a cement mixer, “just rolling around, (a) dead man about town.” He ended it, “goodbye to all my friends, going to miss you guys.”

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Illustration of what the finished Chi Pig mural should look like at Cambie and Cordova streets.
Canadian punk legend Chi Pig (Ken Chinn) of SNFU, who died July 16 at age 57
VANCOUVER, BC - October 28, 2020  - Jameson Trenholm with half finished mural of punk rock legend Chi Pig on the side of the Cambie Hotel in Vancouver, B.C., October 28, 2020.  - Photo by Arlen Redekop / Vancouver Sun / The Province (PNG) (story by John Mackie) [PNG Merlin Archive]
Jameson Trenholm with the half-finished mural of punk rock legend Chi Pig on the side of the Cambie Hotel in Vancouver. Photo by Arlen Redekop /PNG

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