‘Loud rock and roll, quick:’ Shane de Leon is getting older, however he’ll by no means decelerate

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Miss Large Snowflake are kicking off a Montana tour with stops in Billings, Bozeman and Missoula. 

As soon as upon a time, Shane de Leon needed nothing greater than to depart Billings, Montana.

He grew up right here, attending Burlington Elementary, Will James Center Faculty and West Excessive. He’s of Billings. It created him. And he needed out so unhealthy. As soon as the commencement caps landed, he nearly immediately moved to San Diego.

He wasn’t alone in that want to depart the place you had been younger within the second you begin feeling outdated.

“The ten individuals within the ’80s that I used to be actually good pals with, all of them moved,” de Leon remembered. “They had been all creatives.”

They went off and had disparate careers, scattered throughout the nation and the financial spectrum. After which a humorous factor occurred. The artist varieties who fled Billings wound up transferring again.

De Leon has been round. There was that stint in San Diego, and he lived in Portland for years. However he wound up discovering his method again house in 2017.

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He’d been touring for years as part of his band Miss Large Snowflake. De Leon is the rock and roll group’s founding member, and the one fixed one since he first carried out below that title in 2004.

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When he is not rocking with Miss Large Snowflake, Shane de Leon owns Billings artwork gallery Kirks’ Grocery. 

“From the years 2012-2017, I used to be enjoying about 200 reveals a yr,” de Leon stated. “I used to be simply on my own, and in van. Anyplace that may have me. I simply performed.”

It sounds exhausting. And it was.

“I acquired actual drained,” he recalled. “I used to be 47. And I moved again to Billings. I believed ‘I’m gonna go sleep in my mother’s home for a yr.’”

That yr has became a everlasting keep. De Leon is the proprietor of Kirks’ Grocery, the artwork gallery at 2920 Minnesota Ave. in downtown Billings. As its huge brick façade suggests, Kirks’ actually was as soon as a grocery retailer, inbuilt 1900. Now it caters to a distinct want. In de Leon’s palms, Kirks’ has develop into one of many hippest spots on the town. It’s an artwork gallery, usually specializing in weirder and extra conceptual and summary types of artwork. And it doubles as an occasions house, for comedy and selection reveals however largely for music.

De Leon is a visible artist. He paints and makes grand collages. However music is that this man’s bag. He’s been in a couple of bands and had a hand in some totally different tasks through the years. There was Freak Seen within the early ’90s, after which Rollerball after that. De Leon likes to go by quite a lot of totally different names.

Miss Large Snowflake is considered one of them, and now it’s probably the most prolific and most lasting factor he’s performed. The group form of straddles the road between band and solo challenge. De Leon has all the time been there, however the items round him shift and alter over time. It’s harking back to acts like Bon Iver and even Steely Dan.

When Miss Large Snowflake began nearly 20 years in the past, they had been what de Leon known as a “recording challenge” between himself, his daughter and his then mother-in-law. It was simply enjoyable, a challenge for the household to do collectively. Plus, de Leon needed to work on his recording and modifying expertise, and for good cause. He’d simply began North Pole Information, the third report label he’d been part of.

“I’m hooked on labels,” de Leon admits. “I simply actually like selling artists. It’s the identical factor I do right here at Kirks’.”

Miss Large Snowflake stayed that method for some time, however across the finish of 2000s, de Leon needed to alter the challenge up. The group’s 2010 launch “Songs about Music” was the rebirth of Miss Large Snowflake as a full-fledged rock band. They had been even a five-piece for some time.

The simplest style to make use of to explain Miss Large Snowflake’s music could be indie rock, not simply sonically however spiritually, too.

“I grew up within the ’80s listening to music,” de Leon defined. “And yeah, company rock nonetheless sucks.”

Miss Large Snowflake are quite a lot of issues, however they’re by no means company. The band has put out six full-length information and a handful of early EPs and singles. Every little thing has been launched on North Pole Information, who additionally put out music for different bands that de Leon is into. A lot of them play Kirks’ on their excursions.


Shane de Leon is the lead singer of Miss Large Snowflake, and has been the band’s solely constant member since its conception. 

“I’ve been a touring musician,” de Leon famous. “Miss Large Snowflake has performed over 800 reveals in about 15 nations and many of the states.”

Miss Large Snowflake didn’t decelerate after de Leon moved to Billings. The group’s most up-to-date long-play is “All Your Favourite Bands,” a form of unfastened idea report de Leon made, largely by himself at Kirks’ throughout April 2020, the peak of the COVID shutdown.

“I wrote this album about how a lot enjoyable it’s to see bands that you simply love,” he defined, “and that second the place you’re watching your favourite band and the way blissful you might be.”

The songs on “All Your Favourite Bands” are about longing kind music in a time the place dwell efficiency appeared not possible. However they’re not trite. Take the hilarious “Church / On line casino,” an actual ripper about touring by the sprawl of America.

“American US tour,” de Leon howls on the observe. “All of the cities look the identical.”

He recorded in Kirks’ and despatched the tracks to longtime Portland-based collaborator Andy Brown, who produced and added drums. Brown was a part of Miss Large Snowflake for a couple of decade, and despite the fact that he’s not a touring member of the group anymore, he’s nonetheless there, serving to de Leon’s imaginative and prescient.

“We’re a extremely bizarre band,” de Leon stated with a smirk. “It’s about 10 people who make this band occur. I simply type of coordinate who excursions and who performs on the album.”

Kirks' Ad

This advert for Kirks’ Grocery — again when it was nonetheless an actual grocery retailer — ran within the Sept. 9, 1911 concern of the Billings Gazette.

“All Your Favourite Bands” is a musical lifer trying again. However Miss Large snowflake simply preserve trying ahead.

De Leon has been enjoying with a brand new lineup for a couple of yr. This model of “Miss Large Snowflake” is rounded out by bassist Isaiah Demontiney, one half of Scuba Steve and the Sharks, and drummer Conner Haman, of Billings-based pop-punkers Hey, ILY.

The brand new members add a youthy punch to de Leon’s world-worn bona fides.

“I’ve all the time tried to have restraint,” de Leon stated. “Perhaps that’s as a result of the principle individuals within the band had been my age. We’d get loud at factors, however it was all the time quite a lot of push and pull.”

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Miss Large Snowflake’s present lineup is Conner Haman, Shane de Leon and Isaiah Demontiney.

“Dwell now we’re fairly brutal,” de Leon stated. “Loud rock and roll, quick. All my songs are like loud rock songs now, so it’s enjoyable.”

The band has had quite a lot of lives. They’ve been a solo challenge, a giant, sturdy rock band and now they’re a lean, tight group with a concentrate on improvisation and pace.

“I haven’t performed loud quick music since my 20s,” de Leon stated. “It’s been tremendous releasing.”

He likes to tough it up, however de Leon has an plain ear for melody. “Candle,” a single Miss Large Snowflake launched earlier this yr on a forty five RPM report, with funding assist from the Montana Arts Council, is a testomony to that. It begins gradual, like a torch music. After which explodes into cascading guitars, with energy chords blurring and streaking throughout the sky.

“There’s lightening in your head,” de Leon sings. “And there’s hearth in your coronary heart.”

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