Archive for January, 2011

Flying Saucers Rock n Roll

Posted: January 29, 2011 in Rock n Roll
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In the photo above: Outside Woody’s Trailer Park (Sault Ste. Marie in 1980) is our soundman, Woody (real name Jim Woodburne).

As mentioned in our last blog entry, the latest edition of Sparkling Apple Road Stories will once again be found at our trusty website in living color. This partiular installment concerns our lovable old band truck, scene of many refreshments and Black Sabbath musical interludes on cassette as well as journeying to Where No One Has Gone Before (since last week). Oh, I know I’ve probably forgotten many a good yarn where our truck was an unwitting participant, but let’s move on, shall we? If you have memories good or bad and you’re able to remember pertinent Sparkling Apple road stories, feel free to contribute them in the “leave a reply” section below, or directly on the Road Stories section of http://www.sparklingapple.ca.

Hey, wait a sec, I remember a truck-related road story (of which there can’t help but be too many): Once Art and I were driving in the old Ford Econoline after completing a gig, and being late at night & irresponsible young adults, we were merrily pounding back bottles of beer to accompany the journey back to our motel. This sort of behaviour is not condoned in the 21st Century, and far be it from us to be considered role models — but Christ, we must have been a menace on the road. Anyway, before long we were pulled over by a cop, and sensing impending doom, we hurled our beer bottles behind us into the truck’s cargo area. The cop came and went, but when we got back to Vancouver, we discovered that one of the tossed beer bottles had made a direct hit into an upturned Altec Lansing horn — like one of Steve Nash’s three-pointers! Concerned that the horn would be inoperable, it was delivered to the Kelly DeYong service depot, where an incredulous Dave Zeffert emptied its contents of what amounted to a full bottle of beer and broken glass!

We encourage you to leave comments on our blog, and unless you have been redirected from Facebook, the easy way to do that is to click on the name of the post title. You will then be redirected to a new page where LEAVE A REPLY is shown below the posting. Here you will find a form where you can type in your name and comment. Play nice, now! (Users following a link from Facebook will see the LEAVE A REPLY section right away.)

Keep on rockin’,
Captain Maniac

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Go Ahead Punk… Make My Day

Posted: January 29, 2011 in Rock n Roll

The last couple of Road Stories entries have been posted here on the Blog, but this weekend we return to the website as usual, with more tales from when we were a Legend In Our Own Back Yard. Incidentally, the above photo was taken in Niagara Falls in 1980, and is an example of what was considered high-tech for the time!

Keep on rockin’,
Captain Maniac

Photos, Left to Right:

Captain Maniac at Speedway Hall, August 77

Gerry Flasch (our lighting tech) at Speedway Hall, August 77

Ed “Sweat” Wilson at Speedway Hall, August 77

Two drunks in the balcony at Campbell River Rec Centre 77

Ding (our soundman) at Campbell River Rec Centre 77

Stringbean just reminded me on Facebook that the Rolling the Rock story isn’t quite finished yet. I’ve forgotten a couple of details, so in order to set the record straight, here’s Part Two of the Monumental Binge ’77:

As mentioned, both bands embarked on a Vancouver Island Tour, which lasted until our endurance or supply of beer ran out (whichever came first). In the above photo of “two drunks in the balcony”, Art is joined by Berrycup bassist The Prez, as they are contemplating the evening’s festivities at the Campbell River Rec Centre, and are apparently feeling little pain. Our afternoon soundcheck was punctuated by brief interludes with a bottle of Southern Comfort, which I had been transporting in my not-inconsiderable overalls. As the gig was in August, the Southern Comfort was now the temperature of lukewarm tea, but was enthusiastically enjoyed nonetheless.

It was at Port Alberni, however, where our merrymaking and animated amusement reached its nadir. As Port Alberni was Berrycup’s home town, Sparkling Apple’s assignment was to be opening act, a mission heartily accepted (because it meant the rest of the evening off, with some serious imbibing involved). After a workmanlike set of blue-collar farmhand rock n roll, the band went into party/mingle mode, while Berrycup did their usual stellar job of entertaining the crowd. After going their separate directions and left to their own devices, Sparkling Apple band members enjoyed the proceedings to the extent that yours truly, by that time well-liquored up and befuddled after gobbling MDA, mounted the stage to participate in whatever music Berrycup was providing. For some reason, Art’s guitars were still onstage, so I grabbed his gold-top Les Paul and started playing along as a guest guitarist. There were two interesting factors in play here: 1) I couldn’t play a guitar if it came up and bit me on the ass, and 2) the guitar was not plugged in to any visible amplification! But I soldiered on a la Jimmy Page or Ted Nugent, or whoever was the flavour of the month guitar god in 1977, and broke two strings while in the process. At this point, I had the presence of mind to put the guitar back where it belonged (i.e., somewhere onstage, preferably leaning against an amp), and after sufficient flailing and posing (in my quest to be the before-mentioned flavour of the month guitar god), I decided a wise idea would be to find somewhere suitable to pass out.

Amazingly, the spot I chose was at the top of the bleachers in the Port Alberni Rec Hall. While Berrycup played, I dozed, and settled down for a well-deserved nap. The next thing I knew, I awoke at the BOTTOM of the bleachers, covered from head to toe in bruises and welts. Before I could question, “Who shit on me?”, it became obvious that I had rolled from the top of the bleachers to the bottom — while ASLEEP, mind you — and regained consciousness in a slightly altered condition. Ouch!

By that time, Berrycup had finished their set, and it was now time to tear down the gear and load the trucks. While in load mode, we somehow discovered a ten-pin bowling ball backstage. Now correct me if I’m wrong (and I might be), but I believe the bowling ball in question belonged to Ed “Sweat” Wilson of Berrycup, and similar to my famed hat rack, was one of his onstage props. At any rate, said bowling ball was now in our possession, and like any self-respecting sports fan, thought it appropriate to be Alley Gators while three sheets to the wind. One of us lofted the ball down the hallway in a vain attempt at Bowling For Food, and down the “alley” the ball sailed — until it reached the men’s washroom. With an almighty explosion followed by a terrifying gush of water, the force of the bowling ball totally destroyed one of the toilets, causing untold destruction and water damage! Our reaction was typical of most musicians — “let’s get the hell out of here!!” We wisely chose to exit the premises immediately, but it was a few days later that we got a nasty phone call from the management of the Port Alberni Rec Hall about the desecration and our rowdy vandalism. Somehow, we had been identified as the perpetrators, and our solution to rectify the damage was to pay for the levelled toilet as compensation. As it turned out, any money we had made that evening now had to be used to pay the City of Port Alberni!

Keep on rockin’,
Captain Maniac

Monumental Binge ’77

Posted: January 20, 2011 in Rock n Roll
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In a departure from our usual format, we present an installment of Sparkling Apple Road Stories as a blog-only posting. The Sparkling Apple website will certainly continue in the not-too-distant future with firsthand accounts of Rock n Roll Horror Stories (or what we can remember, anyway), but this account is an Exclusive on the Official Blog.

In August 1977, we did a short 4-day tour of Vancouver Island with certifiably unhinged rock group Berrycup (Berrycup was once known as the Berrycup Blues Band, but dropped the Blues Band moniker in order to “broaden their horizons”). Both bands performed at the Campbell River Rec Centre, Port Alberni Athletic Hall, Nanaimo’s Speedway Hall and the Oak Bay Rec Centre in Victoria, in a tour advertised as “Rolling the Rock: A Monumental Binge”. We shared the bill in that one or the other of the bands would headline in the location where they were the most popular. Therefore, Sparkling Apple headlined at Speedway Hall (seen below) near Nanaimo, and Berrycup headlined in their hometown, Port Alberni. By the way, click on the photo to see a larger version in your browser.

Speedway Hall was so named because it was on a straight stretch of highway in Cedar, BC, where all the local redneck drag racers would put their hot wheels through their paces. Oddly enough, Speedway Hall (an ancient building that was the scene of many a depraved social gathering and virgin sacrifice) was adjacent to a cemetery! We set up our gear in our usual fashion, i.e. consuming mass quantities of adult beverages while attempting to assemble high-tech (for 1977) musical equipment. After taking five hours to perform what would normally be a one-hour setup, we were sufficiently lubricated enough to put on a Rock Show. After a righteously drunken opening set by Berrycup, we literally hit the stage running, and as you can see by the photo, we were dressed comfortably. Stringbean was, in the vernacular of the era, “going Comanche”; Captain Maniac was outfitted in his best Rocky Bongo attire with Everlast boxing shorts, CCCP tank top and pith helmet (pith on, pith OFF!); and Art wore a pair of the widest bell-bottom jeans in the History of Western Civilization As We Know It.

In 1977, we had a pyro show featuring onstage explosions and flashpots, courtesy of our lighting technician, Gerry Flasch (I am NOT making this up). We used the same presentation to great effect at Speedway Hall, but unfortunately the stage curtains caught fire due to their proximity to the explosions, and alert roadies quickly doused the flames before the hall was consumed in a conflagration! The hall was packed with an inebriated, intoxicated & cheerful crowd of party animals, who rocked until the wee hours to what must have sounded like the world’s loudest train wreck!

And a monumental binge it was… after four gigs of being drunk & disorderly, the bands were in no condition to continue after the Victoria date. In any case, Elvis had just died, so out of respect, we thought it inappropriate to perform on August 16th.

Keep on rockin’,
Captain Maniac

The O.G. Boogie 1976

Posted: January 16, 2011 in Rock n Roll

Gather round, boys and girls — once again it’s Story Time! Yes, in our continuous stream of Rock n Roll Road Stories, here’s another chapter in “Rock n Roll is a vicious game”. Join us via THIS link in the Year 1976, as Sparkling Apple encounters an actual living, breathing rock festival. Sorry, Jefferson Airplane was not present at this gathering. Endlessly, doggedly (woof woof), ruthlessly (I wonder where Ruth is) toward the Unknown. Stay with us as we bring you an episode we call “The O.G. Boogie” (not available after curfew in Sector R).

Keep on rockin’,
Captain Maniac

What the world needs now…

Posted: January 16, 2011 in 21st Century

Funny Pun Photos - Everyone Wants Peas and Hominy
see more So Much Pun

Edmonton Breakdown

Posted: January 10, 2011 in Rock n Roll
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All done! OK, here’s an eyewitless drummer’s-eye-view of one of our touring episodes. Just check out THIS link to read (printed for the first time anywhere), a compelling tale of Life on the Road with Touring Perennials, Sparkling Apple. Please bear in mind that this story occurred when we were in our twenties, long before we knew any better. Yeah, right.

By the way, friends & neighbours… we encourage you to leave comments on our blog, and unless you have been redirected from Facebook, the easy way to do that is to click on the name of the post title. You will then be redirected to a new page where LEAVE A REPLY is shown below the posting. Here you will find a form where you can type in your name and comment. Play nice, now! (Users following a link from Facebook will see the LEAVE A REPLY section right away.)

Keep on rockin’,
Captain Maniac