RIP: Life of “Mad Monty” Doug Montgomery to be celebrated this afternoon

Doug ‘Mad Monty’ Montgomery with Lexie Egan & Jeff Lazare @ Scruffy Murphy’s July 10, 2021 -GARY 17

Not for nothing did they call him “Mad Monty.”  Yet, when Douglas Montgomery, owner of the bar of that name in TO’s midtown Yonge-Eglinton area from October 1994 through first couple of years of this century, passed away tragically too young at 55 years of age from a viral disease this past May, it wasn’t the stories about a wild and crazy Irishman who loved his drink, music and carousing, that people recollected in social media posts.

I’d expect that some of the partying stories might be told this afternoon when friends, family, former employees and no doubt several musicians of note get together at the Argonaut Rowing Club at the room at 1225 Lake Shore Blvd, West near Jameson Ave. for a 1-5 p.m. wake to remember his life.

Doug “was my roommate and best friend for a lot of my university years. Can’t say enough good things about him. We had some damned good times and I will always remember his smile and his guffaw,” one friend posted on social media.

He had adventure in his life too, by all accounts.  “I always remember the story Doug told, about his time in Europe. Waking up at dawn to help the fisherman launch their boats. Barefoot in the sand…” another recalled.

But there are likely to be as many or more recollections of times when Monty went out of his way to help a friend, about how he used his club to help nurture the local live music scene by bringing in talents like Tony Springer, John BouvetteKenny McLean, Jeff Lazare, the late Adrian Egan and a then-very-young Julian Taylor .

Doug ‘Mad Monty’ Montgomery speaks at wake for Adrian Egan @ Scruffy Murphy’s July 10, 2021 -GARY 17

Julian, who cut his teeth in the bar biz working at Monty’s —even while playing there solo and jamming with mentors he honed the musical chops that would rocket him and his Staggered Crossing band onto Pop charts across Canada in the early 2000s— recalled the influence Doug had on his life in a Facebook post in May.

“He was instrumental in the development of my very own music career and helped me in so many ways. I owe him great debt of gratitude.

When I needed work he employed me and gave me one of my first bar jobs. My friends in Staggered Crossing played the upstairs room at his bar for years. We even helped him build the stage,” Julian wrote.

As well as Taylor, other former employees remembered how he helped them out, such as one who wrote “I was fortunate to work at Mad Montys and share some memorable moments with him” and other who posted that he “gave me my first bar job and taught me many tricks of the trade. I met my husband through him. He had a larger than life personality. So many great times.”

I last saw Monty at Adrian’s funeral in July of 2016, when he and a cohort former employee turned the after-party wake at then Scruffy Murphy’s on Eglinton Ave. into an impromptu music jam by setting up sound equipment they’d brought along in their vehicles.

At the time he told me he was running an ice cream truck and ended up blowing off the next day’s work in order to stay and party with Adrian’s pals.  Today it’ll be some of those same people chuckling over the good times long gone in Monty’s memory, including, I’d expect former to-nite writers Lexie Egan and Chip Thomas, who wrote about Tex at Monty’s on several occasions (when this publication was a hard copy weekly/bi-weekly known by that name) along with many other musicians.

He advertised with my to-nite magazine for some time and even after he discontinued his ad we remained friends and I had many, many fun nights in the two-floor establishment on Yonge just south of Sheldrake Boulevardover the years —from some of which I even remember some stuff!

Monty leaves his wife, Kathy, and two daughters, Claire and Jenna.  Today’s gathering is a casual affair, open to anyone and everyone, I’m told —Monty was never one to stand on ceremony or false dignity— and I’d be shocked if there isn’t at least some musical activity taking place given the bevy of talents likely to be on hand.

-Gary 17,
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