The End… for now!

Posted: September 13, 2021 in 21st Century

Looks like this marks the end of our Sparkling Apple journey, although we must say “never say never”! Our supposed last gig was in November 2019 for our 50th Anniversary, but because of the spread of COVID-19, we were unable to fulfill any engagements for the last two years. Thanks for joining us on a decidedly bumpy ride, and perhaps we MAY see you in the future. However, a band reunion does seem rather unlikely at our advanced age (although Charlie Watts managed to keep on rockin’ until the age of 80), but stranger things have happened. Therefore, we are reminded of the Roy Rogers tune, “Happy Trails, until we meet again”.

Wow what a wild night! On Saturday, November 9, 2019 we celebrated Sparkling Apple’s 50th anniversary in grand style at Donegal’s, and it’s really hard to believe that we started out 50 years ago. It was great to see so many old faces from long ago (shout out to Ding, who resumed his roadie activities admirably) — the family of Stringbean was there, as were several Scottsdale fans as well as many rockers too numerous to mention, including Wailin’ Al Walker, Ray Roper and our contingent of paparazzi like Phil Nielsen and Darren Lulka!

Special thanks to Crush, who got the audience dancing right away before Sparkling Apple came out of hibernation and limped to the stage, as well as the amazing Scott Young, who performed beyond the call of duty and not only dialled in the sound perfectly, but made sure we were comfortable on stage — and even played drums on a couple of our tunes! A big shout out to “the new guy”, Kevin Stuart Swain (who’d actually performed with us for the past 28 years), and of course Lisa Freakrock and Daniel Cook for organizing the entire event. Mention must also be made of Frances Kee, our merch girl, who cheerfully sold tons of T-shirts and CDs, as well as Don N. Mendes who printed the shirts in the first place.

Special mention goes out to Art the Fart the Heavy Metal Kid and Rosie, who managed to sell a multitude tickets for us, ensuring the event was indeed a sell out and the unqualified success it was.

Yes we put the old girl to bed nicely, and we want to thank everyone for supporting us for the last 50 years! For the detractors out there (you know who you are), thanks for nothing!

As Art (Arthur Kyllonen) said later, “not bad for a bunch of old farts”!

All photos by various photographers, including Darren Lulka, Phil Nielsen, Michele Thibeault, Vic Hildebrandt, Margaret Williams, Frances Kee and Darrell Ellens.

Apple 50th


Photo by Darren Lulka


Photo by Vic Hildebrandt


Photo by Shawn Klatt


Photo by Shawn Klatt

Here are some photos taken by Lisa Freakrock of our recent rehearsal at Music Makers Studio in Surrey. The aim was “what songs do we remember?”, many of which are now lost in the Mind Garage of the mists of time! Without the aid of recreational pharmaceuticals or copious amounts of adult beverages (which we would have had on hand in the daze of yore), we have compiled a set of great old tunes, including some memorable Sparkling Apple originals as well as Classic Rock anthems.

2019 marks our 50th Anniversary (our first gig was in 1969)! The official celebration happens at Donegal’s Irish House in Surrey on the night of November 9, 2019 — wristbands are now on sale at the bar. Our special guests that evening will be Vancouver’s hottest rock act, Crush, opening and closing the show (Kevin is the bassist of Crush, so he will be on hand anyway). We intend to have Sparkling Apple t-shirts and CDs on sale to commemorate this monumentous event, which features Art the Fart the Heavy Metal Kid, Captain Maniac and Kevin Stuart Swain, all previous and certified Sparkling Apple alumni. Special word goes out to our fallen comrades Buzz Constantly and Stringbean, both of whom contributed greatly to our sound before they recently went on to The Great Gig in the Sky. As for the 50th Anniversary celebration, an evening of kickass rock n roll is in store, so be there or be rectangular!

Sparkling Apple50thPosterUPDATED

Rest in Peace.

Posted: April 21, 2019 in 21st Century, Behind the scenes


Gary Whistler 76

We regret to announce the passing of Stringbean (real name Gary Walchuk), our bassist from 1975 to 1978, who died of complications of pneumonia on April 20, 2019. He would definitely find it amusing that he passed away on 4/20! He is currently “going Comanche” on the basso profundo somewhere in another dimension.


Gary Promo 1975

Sparkling Apple made yet ANOTHER surprise appearance at the Freakrock Jam on June 21, 2018, in preparation for our 50th Anniversary show in 2019. There’s no stopping us now, apparently — this retirement crap is highly overrated! Seen here are a few shots from that night (the first two taken by Rosielynn Crosby, and the one with Captain Maniac out front photographed by Mike O’Connor). With the battle cry, “Play Some CCR, Man!”, we started off with Born on the Bayou, after which Captain Maniac came out front from behind the drums and offered a lovely rendition of The Doors’ tune, Roadhouse Blues (Chris Murray Driver bravely manned the drums for that number). We ended our brief three-song set with the old ZZ Top chestnut, La Grange, and then it was all over but the shouting! Pointing at Art in the second photo is none other than Lisa Freakrock.



Rancid Road Crew Reunion

Posted: May 6, 2018 in 21st Century


Rancid Road Crew reunion at Ernie Arneson’s house in Maple Ridge, May 5, 2018. Shown here is the version of Sparkling Apple from 1976, only 42 years later! Left to right is Art the Fart the Heavy Metal Kid (Art Kyllonen), Stringbean (Gary Walchuk) and Captain Maniac (Colin Hartridge). Also in attendance were Animal (Robin Hicks) and Puke Monster (Gerald Mackie), along with Phil and others — I recognized their voices, but I would have to see name tags to verify who these people were! A pleasant afternoon of appies and Road Horror Stories from the past. One topic that was mentioned was the “N*gger Trap 500”, where Captain Maniac’s pants were removed after a session with a 26-er of vodka!



Sparkling Apple at Donegals

Another surprise appearance by Sparkling Apple at Donegal’s in Surrey. Twice in the same year? Whoa, that’s ALREADY more than we played in all of 2017! Let’s hope we survive long enough to celebrate our 50th Anniversary in 2019! At Thursday night’s Freakrock Jam on March 29th, we played Born On the Bayou (“play some CCR, man”) and by request, unearthed a decidedly uneven intrepretation of I’m Only Here For the Beer — yes, I forgot the second verse, but nobody noticed, did they? We ended our three-song extravaganza with Red House by Jimi, “because Art wanted to play it”. We had people dancing for at least one of the songs!

Surprise Appearance!

Posted: March 27, 2018 in 21st Century, Gigs, Rock n Roll


Sparkling Apple makes an announced and uncalled for surprise appearance at the February 22nd edition of the Freakrock Jam at Donegal’s Irish House in Surrey BC.! If we play in 2019, we will have been together for fifty years! (Photo by Lisa Freakrock.)


Budd and Joanne’s Wedding

Posted: September 27, 2016 in 21st Century, Gigs, Rock Show

Photos of Sparkling Apple at East Delta Hall, most of which were taken by Lisa Freakrock on September 24, 2016, at the wedding of Budd Marr (who used to play bass for Sweeney Todd) and Joanne Stern. Several musicians were invited to share the stage, including Elio Martelli, Mike Kelly, Dave Vidal, Doug and the Slugs, the Shindiggers and many luminaries of the live music scene! Black and white shot by Michelle Yu.