Archive for June, 2011

PNE Gardens Auditorium, January 12/79. Sparkling Apple onstage. Photo by Leslie Norrish.

Good morning, campers! We’ve now updated our rock n roll road stories page, adding a thrilling account of our show at the Gardens Auditorium, Vancouver BC on January 12, 1979. Yes, the same building where All-Star Wrestling was held in the 60s (“Monday night in the Gardens, I’m gonna rip your little bow ties off!”) Many photos were taken that night by various photographers including Dee Lippingwell and Gerry Murakamii, and we present many pics here, in our online scrapbook, several of them for the first time anywhere in any shape or form. As usual, Captain Maniac has done his utmost to actually remember what transpired on that fateful night some 30 years ago — we therefore present a stream-of-consciousness chronicle, TO THE BEST OF OUR RECOLLECTION. In short, if we’ve forgotten anything or left out any pertinent details, by all means let us know before we ALL forget! The story begins on our Official Sparkling Apple website…

Art onstage before hordes of screaming fans & admirers at the PNE Gardens, Vancouver.. Jan 12/79

Very soon, as in “imminently” The Official Sparkling Apple Website will be publishing photos and an essay about our gig at the PNE Gardens, January 12, 1979. At this show we were the opening act, and Randy Hansen (and his Jimi Hendrix tribute) was the headliner. At the moment, we are compiling all the material (oh, alright, I’m writing the damn story from my shattered memory), so this is merely a heads-up, as they say in 21st Century lingo. Had it been an actual alert, you would have been instructed to place your head between your legs and kiss your ass goodbye — wait a sec, that’s an old Nuclear Attack alert. And god knows, Canada needs more lerts, so be alert! Coming soon to a computer near you!

Buzz Constantly sings "It's Criminal" at PNE Gardens, Jan 12/79

People been askin’ me…

Posted: June 27, 2011 in Uncategorized

How do you leave a comment on the blog? We keep telling you folks that if you’ve got something to say or dispute, then definitely let us know about it. But, leaving a comment here might be more daunting than first expected, unless you know the drill:

In the blog post you wish to comment on, just click on the red number on the top right, the one that’s enclosed in a “dialog balloon”. That will open up a new window, and at the bottom there’s a space where you can “leave a reply”, as it says. Get it? Got it? Good!

Ever Been to Sea, Billy?

Posted: June 11, 2011 in Rock n Roll

Queen of Mushroom

Return with us to The Official Sparkling Apple website for another installment in our ongoing series of Road Stories. Tonight’s episode is titled, “The Rock n Roll Boat”, which BC musicians of any age will immediately identify with. Did we meet you on the early Sunday morning ferry in the 70s? The answer is “quite possibly”!

Stringbean and Lynda onboard the Queen of Mushroom
Hockey at 2AM! Outside our band house in Nanaimo in 1981, Puppy the Roadie (Steve K) and Buzz Constantly face off, with Art in goal. Woody watches through the window, photo by Captain Maniac.

With Canucks fever currently gripping the land (in Canada, anyway!), here’s a shoutout to Art the Fart the Heavy Metal Kid, who never missed a televised NHL game while on the road with the band. Back in the day, “Hockey Night in Canada” was on CBC-TV on Saturday nights (still is, if I’m not mistaken). All Sparkling Apple members were rabid hockey fans — except Captain Maniac, who would haughtily “harrumph” while the game was on. When winter winds were colder than the business end of a sorceress’s mammary, musicians and roadies alike would hunker down in front of The Box for a dose of hockey mayhem. Philosophically speaking, this behaviour no doubt would mobilize & prepare us for an engaging evening of rock n roll later on, particularly as there were no referees or officials at the nightclubs we played. We would have to supply our own calls, such as “too many men on the stage” or “penalty for pissing on the ice”, or “Sparkling Apple 3 – Audience 0: a f**king SHUTOUT!”. Art would follow the Toronto Maple Leafs, and was ecstatic when Sparkling Apple played in Toronto in 1980 — he actually had his picture taken in front of the iconic Maple Leaf Gardens. (see below)

Art outside Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, 1980.

Young Frankenstein

Posted: June 6, 2011 in Rock n Roll
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Buzz Constantly and Young Frankenstein (Ric Whitman and Dave Vidal, when they were in the same band)

Here’s a vintage pic! Seen above in a section of a promo shot for their old band Kitsch, are Ric Whitman and Dave Vidal, probably from 1976. I remember on Sparkling Apple tours to Victoria, Buzz would look up old friends from when he used to live there, one of which was the Legendary Dave Vidal. Because he was a brilliant guitarist, Dave became a friend of Sparkling Apple, too, and we would look forward to hanging out with him whenever we were on the Island. In later years, Dave was well-known as a session musician and guitar tech (Art would see him to “set up my inclination”!), and the last time I saw him, he was a much-in-demand Hammond B3 organist at one of the Yale Hotel jams. When asked how a dazzling guitarist could be an equally impressive keyboard player, he would shrug it off with, “It’s just mathematics”.

So how did Dave get the nickname Young Frankenstein? It was in 1978, while travelling to the Victoria nightclub “The Surfside” on one of our many visits, that Art became sick on the ferry (probably because of the “beep dip” as the cafeteria cook called it). By the time he got to the club for afternoon soundcheck and to set up our gear, Art was so ill that he had to be taken to Royal Jubilee Hospital (I think the prognosis was stomach flu). Buzz, meanwhile, had gone on to Victoria ahead of us in a separate vehicle, completely oblivious to Art’s condition, and the plan was that he would meet us at the gig. We set up our equipment at the Surfside, fully expecting Art to be released from hospital later in the evening; as it turned out, though, an overnight stay was required! Expecting to cancel the Monday night show, I waited at the club with our roadies for Buzz to show up and to break the bad news to him. Just before showtime, Buzz did indeed arrive at the club with an old friend — you guessed it, Dave Vidal, who was wearing a t-shirt which displayed the logo from the then-recent “Young Frankenstein” movie. When we told Buzz of Art’s inability to play, he of course was shocked, but Dave, trouper that he is, volunteered to fill in. “I’ll play,” he laughed, and without any rehearsal, we performed the Monday night set with Dave Vidal on guitar! Dave was the kind of guitarist at whom you could throw any song, whereupon he would think for a second and then say, “OK, let’s do it”. What a guy! So it was because he was wearing a “Young Frankenstein” shirt that he earned that nickname, which was how we’d address him every time we encountered him.

Blast from the past

Posted: June 6, 2011 in Rock n Roll

Buzz onstage with Kitsch

Pre-Sparkling Apple Buzz, onstage with Kitsch

Calling all Buzz Constantly fans! We’re seeking the whereabouts of former Sparkling Apple bass player Buzz Constantly (real name Ric Whitman). Last we heard from Buzz, he was living in Saanich, near Victoria BC — however, we have no phone number, email address or snail mail address for him, and have met with no success on Facebook or Google. If anyone knows where to find Buzz, please leave a comment below or on Facebook. For that matter, if anyone knows where to find Slim Chance (Gary Purcell), let us know about it, too. Thanks! Anyhow, the photos on this page are of Buzz’s pre-Sparkling Apple group known as Kitsch (which at one point featured the Legendary Young Frankenstein himself, Dave Vidal). Buzz became a member of Sparkling Apple in 1978, so the photos shown here would have to be from before ’78, most likely 1976 or 1977. Thanks so much to the Royal City Music Project for the unauthorized use of the photos — hell, you can help yourself to OUR photos if you want, as long as you give credit to the Sparkling Apple website!

Buzz (pre-Sparkling Apple and pre-mustache!) in the 70s with Kitsch