Monumental Binge ’77

Posted: January 20, 2011 in Rock n Roll

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

  1. It’s noteworthy that the guitarist for Berrycup, J.T., later joined Teen Angel and the Rockin’ Rebels as lead guitarist. Berrycup, which included The Prez on bass and Ed “Sweat” Wilson (real name Barry Colson) on drums, were on the bill with us at the recently-mentioned O.G. Boogie in 1977. We haven’t had any contact with the boys in the band for about 35 years, but they may very well be lurking on Facebook.

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