Archive for February, 2011

Scottsdale update

Posted: February 27, 2011 in Rock n Roll
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Well, I guess the Scottsdale story WASN’T a short anecdote, was it? Jim (ex-Army) told me on Facebook that he actually knew the guy who backed his pickup truck into the bar, and apparently he was/is a really nice  guy. The Scottsdale bouncers, on the other hand, were aggressive steroidal goons who loved to bust heads for the sheer joy involved. I remember one particular body-building gentleman (Heinz, I think it was, or else it might have been Otto, as in “better get out of here — Otto’s gettin’ MAD”!) who would NOT leave home without his hand-held spring-loaded fixed resistance grip exerciser. He would flex it while on duty to demonstrate how capable he was of rearranging your facial features if the mood struck him.

I forgot to add one more anecdotal musing to the Scottsdale entry: back in 1980, New Wave/Punk Rock was the new & improved replacement for the much-reviled Disco music of the 70s. In a misguided attempt to show how hip, groovy and current they were, the bar management presented New Wave Night, a new experiment in addition to the regular circuit of rock n roll bands appearing nightly. The featured bands for the first and only evaluation were The Pointed Sticks and the K-Tels (before a cease & desist order prompted them to change their name to The Young Canadians!). Both groups were media darlings in Vancouver, but of course in the boonies, were a threat not to be taken lightly. As a result, they were greeted with redneck catcalls and hollering, as in “get off the stage, you f*ckin’ goofs,” and were booed out of Delta! At that time, Surrey/Delta was still a heavy-metal mullet-loving classic rocker stronghold, so the audience reaction was far from surprising.

Seen below is a clipping from a May 1980 issue of the Vancouver Sun. Yes, Sparkling Apple referred to their music as “drunk rock: you have to be drunk to play it and drunk to appreciate it”.

By the way, people, we do encourage you to leave us your comments and memories! Let’s hear from those of you were there. An easy way to leave a comment is to go to the top of this posting, and just click on the little dialog balloon to the far right of the title. That’ll go right to the “leave a reply” window, OK? Thanks for playing, and we return you now to our regularly scheduled program, already in progress…

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I Gotcha Where I Wantcha

Posted: February 27, 2011 in Rock n Roll
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I was going to save this story for the Official Sparkling Apple Website, but seeing it’s just a short anecdote, I’ll throw it on the ol’ Blog… And yes, the above is a poster from the week we were appearing at this fabled watering hole (torn down in 2016).

Let’s all hop in Mr. Peabody’s Wayback Machine, and be transported to 1979 in Delta, BC. The most popular rock n roll bar in that city was the Scottsdale Inn, and several of you have mentioned that whenever we made an appearance, there was considerable mayhem and frolic. Cruising and bruising. Having a rave up. Of course, an enthusiastic audience was desirable for “good rockin’ tonite”, but the Scottsdale crowd never let us down.

When it came time for us to do what we’d planned to be a live album, Scottsdale was considered to be the ideal location to do the recording on account of the wild crowd. Unfortunately, we had such a good time that the tapes we made were, shall we say UNEVEN due to the logistics of recording a booze-fuelled band in combat conditions in a boisterous atmosphere! Some tapes we have managed to salvage (the loud & proud version of “Never Gonna Kiss You Bye Bye”, became the flip side of “It’s Criminal” in 1980), but not enough was usable for a complete album. One of these days, the world will be introduced to what we DO have in the vaults, and the likes of Justin Bieber will learn Just What It Was Like before he was born.

Hey, here’s an open call to anyone who remembers Cal Woosnam and Challenger Sound (who recorded us under those rigorous circumstances) – if you know the whereabouts of Cal, let him know that we’d sure like to track down the original tape, because all we have left of this show is on tape cassette (remember THOSE?). Thanks, and now back to our story…

But, I digress, as the saying goes.

We actually recorded two nights in a row, performing all of our best songs, including “I Gotcha Where I Wantcha” (dedicated to Lita, who loved the tune), “Papa Oom Mow Mow” and an uproarious version of “Johnny B. Goode” where Art got to imitate all of his favourite guitarists. Ding, our longstanding soundman, was at the board both evenings, and the Challenger Sound mobile truck was out in the parking lot. To cover our recording costs, we actually sold tickets to this show, Friday & Saturday, September 28th & 29th, 1979:

We even hired old friend Gerry Murakami to come in and take photos for the proposed album’s front and back covers. Seen below is a pic that was shot in colour in the actual Scottsdale pub where we did the recording (with The Apple Corps posing as bar patrons in the background), later used in Black & White for the cover jacket for our “It’s Criminal” single. Here it is in colour for the first time anywhere: Buzz is shown holding a starting pistol we borrowed from Jerry Kosterman’s sporting goods store in Surrey Place!


The front and back cover were meant to be a “before” and “after” sequence, with the back cover displaying a puzzled Buzz staring at the pistol wondering why he was still alive, but Art & I shot dead beside him. Our high-tech special effects crew applied some ketchup to my forehead to give the appearance of me being shot in the head, and Gerry even set off some flash powder to look as if a firearm had just been discharged (the smoke is not visible in the shot, however). Seen behind us is bar manager Ralph Chorpita telling us to “drink up and get the hell out of here”, and most of the audience members in the background are wearing the same hats we wore onstage! If you look closely, you can see Gary Robinson wearing a fur hat (to the the left of the girl wearing the yellow hardhat), and at the top of the frame, Ding is climbing over a railing to see us better.

Despite our best efforts, however, things went sideways and a) the album was never released & 2) the photos were never used except for a black & white version of the intended “before” shot. Thanks to everyone for being a part of a fun weekend, though!

Before we go, here’s an anecdote from the anals… er, ANNALS of Scottsdale history:

One night, a particularly belligerent gentleman got into a fight in the bar, and as a result the doormen were only too happy to escort him out of the place, advising him never to return. Assuming we’d seen the last of this confrontational drunk, we resumed playing, only to hear a resounding CRASH!!! at the front door minutes later. Seems that Joe Barfighter took a run at it and violently backed his pickup truck through the bar’s front doors at full throttle. (Man, it was IN-tense, as Jonathan Winters used to say.) What was sad but true was the fact that yes, the drunk had created a pantload of damage to make his point clear (whatever his point may have been), but his truck was now wedged into the building in such a way that he could not make a hasty retreat! He was jammed in there until the local Delta police arrived, happy to see an old friend in need.

Keep on rockin’,
Captain Maniac

Now Newspaper archives

Posted: February 23, 2011 in 21st Century, Rock n Roll
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(From an article by Tom Zillich from September 10, 2010)

Also on the reunion trip this month is Sparkling Apple, a party-starting power trio that rocked Surrey for a good number of years, starting in 1973 and lasting until hibernation circa 1993.

Three of the band’s surviving members — Colin “Captain Maniac” Hartridge on drums, Art “The Fart the Heavy Metal Kid” Kyllonen on guitar and Kevin Swain on bass — have been rehearsing for a gig Saturday, Sept. 18 at Donegal’s Pub (12054 96th Ave., Surrey).

The band reunion has been orchestrated as a one-time-only birthday gift for Kyllonen’s girlfriend Rosie, who is turning 50. “We’ve been rehearsing and it actually doesn’t sound too bad at all,” reports Hartridge, who designs some award-winning ads for the Now these days. “I’ve told Rosie that I (turned) 60 on Sept. 6, so I’m officially hijacking her party!”

Read more: http://www.thenownewspaper.com/entertainment

Chicks and Cars and the Third World War

Posted: February 22, 2011 in Rock n Roll
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Lost Weekend in Las Vegas, 1993. Jim Morrison is seen in the Flamingo Hotel, overlooking the old Dunes (now the site of Bellaggio).

Here we go again with another chapter in the Life and Times of Sparkling Apple, this episode featuring Kevin Swain, Captain Maniac and Art the Fart the Heavy Metal Kid. In this week’s adventure, Sparkling Apple go on tour with none other than Colin James in the wild & untamed 90s. Visit us on the Official Sparkling Apple Website (accept no substitutes). Warning: Some coarse and nasty content, not suitable for impressionable youth (there, THAT ought to attract more readers!).

Fort St. John is beyond Hope!

Posted: February 14, 2011 in Rock n Roll
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Calling all cars… new blog entry seen in the vicinity of The Sparkling Apple Official Website! Suspects are armed and dangerous, approach with caution. That is all.

The story this week concerns our visit to Fort St. John, British Columbia, in January 1977. A splendid time is guaranteed for all.

Captain Maniac

The Golden Drip

Posted: February 6, 2011 in Rock n Roll
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Now before some of you nervous nellies get the wrong impression, the title of this post is NOT a link to some skanky porn site featuring hookers engaging in sex acts involving bodily functions! No way, José! (Sadly, those sites do exist, and in this day and age I imagine they are well-frequented by professional losers.) Seriously, folks, this is just an example of Sparkling Apple’s custom of intentional dyslexia — the name refers to a nightclub in the Kootenays known as The Golden Drift! We’re talking 1975 here, gang.

This Nelson, BC establishment was run by a rather odd gentleman who went by the name of Cornelius Van Pelt, a Dutch immigrant who still possessed an unintelligible Dutch accent despite the fact that he’d most likely been a Canadian citizen for 75 years. He had a peculiar habit of going out in the audience with a pair of scissors and snipping off a large piece of some unsupecting customer’s necktie; his newfound prize would then be prominently displayed alongside other snipped ties, on a clothesline behind the bar — the Golden Drift Tie Club! Cornelius (yes, we referred to him as Cornhole-nelius) would appear onstage greeting the audience with “Velcome velcome to De Golden Drip. Fun Shpot Number Vun in BC. Drink a little, dance a little and shpend ALL your money, because dat makes me VERY happy.”

He would then introduce us by adding, “Now ve present a HARRRRD rock band — and you know vat DAT means! Here dey are, Da Shilver Vinggies!!” By way of explanation: prior to our booking, there had  been a band known as Silver Wings appearing at the Golden Drift. Apparently they did quite well (meaning that the bar sold a lot of beer during Silver Wings’ week), so as a result, Cornelius would refer to each succeeding band as The Silver Wings! We did meet up with other bands who were in the area at the time. Can’t remember what they were called, but one rock group from Washington State had us in stitches when they were bragging about their stage sound: “So-and-so had his guitar just QUACKIN'”. At that point we considered renaming Art the Fart as Carl Quackin’ (Art’s middle name is Carl).

The audience at the Golden Drift was comprised primarily of Kootenay greasers, who during the day would cruise up and down the strip (that is, the main street of town) in their so-called hot cars, in a vain attempt to recreate American Graffiti. [Side note: American Graffiti (the movie soundtrack) was so popular in those days, that 50s rock n roll was referred to as “graffiti”!] On the main street in town was an old boarding house called the Allen Hotel, which naturally prompted us to alter an “L” in the outdoor sign so that passers-by would be welcomed to the “Alien Hotel”.

The other segment of the audience was denizens of the local hippie communes (hippies were abundant in the area in 1975). I remember one hippie dude frightening his drinking companions with his cries of “angels and devils — angels and devils”, which produced spasms of terror among his coterie of hippie chicks! The principal drinking establishment was the Queens Hotel, which we were thrown out of because “we don’t serve hippies” (of course, our reaction was, “that’s OK, we don’t eat them”), and if I’m not mistaken is immortalized in a Trooper song, or at least on Ra McQuire’s blog.

When we weren’t performing, we would wile away the day in the Diamond Grill (wasn’t that a Seals & Crofts song?), watching those previously-mentioned demented rednecks in their quest for god nose what. Come dinner time, our idea of a “cheap pigout” would be to dine at the local Mr. Mikes and order the least expensive burger on the menu. Accompanied by all manner of free condiments like ketchup, mustard, HP Sauce, onions, soya sauce, chocolate chips, this burger would earn the reputation of The Assholy Grail — a heart attack on a plate, or “thousands of bites and turn out the lights”.

Our accommodation on one trip was at a sleazy motel across the lake. (I won’t mention the name of the establishment because after Googling it, it just so happens that it still exists!) We were all stuffed into a two bed, one bunk bed room complete with 70s pinewood wall panelling, but wonder of wonders, the motel had an actual swimming pool. This pool, not surprisingly, was the scene of several beverage-fuelled escapades involving patio furniture in the pool’s deep end late at night.

By now most readers are wondering, “So when’s this guy gonna get to the point?” Well, there IS no point. I’ve been deliberately wasting your time in order to inform you that this weekend’s “Road Tales” story, which normally would have been located on the Sparkling Apple website, is once again right here on the Offiicial Sparkling Apple Blog. However, stay tuned for yet another thrill-packed episode of our Continuing Saga in the life of a bar band, already in progress on Another Network (as Johnny Carson used to say). Fort St. John will be soon be exposed in our hard-hitting series!

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Keep on rockin’,
Captain Maniac