Jim Webb and his band didn't really exist before the Whistler Music Search was announced.
The four band members — including Webb on guitar, drummer Drew Chrome, Art Barrientos on bass and Greg Kestler on trombone — knew each other from jam nights in town, and decided to put something together. In the end it was more than something, with the band winning the contest and $1,000 of recording studio time.
"We literally formed a week before our first performance, and to be honest we spent that first week trying to put something together that we thought could win that qualifier," said Webb. "We weren't even thinking about the finals until after that, and we really only chose what songs we would perform on Sunday (Oct. 20)."
The songs they performed in the finals included Aeroplane by Red Hot Chili Peppers, Date Rape by Sublime and a mandatory Beatles cover. They chose I Am The Walrus.
Webb, who has lived in Whistler for seven years, credited a complete group effort for the win. "We deliberately picked a few difficult songs with a lot of changes in them so it was a challenge, but these guys are all really talented musicians and everything just came together."
Although he has a few original songs to choose from, including a song he played for the qualifier, Webb said they would discuss what song to record as a band. In the meantime he imagines that the quartet will keep playing together in a more official capacity.
Drew Chrome had another reason to celebrate his win at Whistler Music Search. The same day he won he also received his permanent residency status for Canada after four-and-a-half years in the resort. "I'm Austradian today!" he announced proudly. “I was already having a good day, and this is just the best.
"It was just amazing. I've known Jamie (Jim Webb) for a few years, Greg works with me — and he added so much with his trombone skills — and we already knew each other from jam nights at the Crystal here, so it all just came together. We didn’t play together much, but it felt like we’d been together for years."
Next up is picking a song to record at Bunker 7 Studio in Pemberton, which donated the top prize. Runner up duo The McQuaids won a Takamine guitar.
The Whistler Music Search took place over five weeks with bands playing small sets at the Crystal Lounge, with the top bands— as selected by the panel of judges — moving on to the final night. The judges included Brandon Barrett, Rachel Thom and Jason Jaski.