Archive for July, 2011

Play At Your Own Risk

Posted: July 28, 2011 in 21st Century, Rock n Roll

Play At Your Own Risk front cover, 1980

Play At Your Own Risk liner notes, 1980

The photo on the left is NOT the cover of our new Greatest Hits CD. With the news of our impending and threatened new release, I thought it might be entertaining & informative for you young folks to see photos of our last VINYL record. As mentioned in an earlier blog entry, “Play At Your Own Risk” was released in 1980 on the RadioActive label, and featured freshly-recorded tunes as well as two remixed singles. To totally confuse listeners, the actual SONG called Play At Your Own Risk was not included on this EP!
The remixed singles were It’s Criminal, from our 1979 single, and Little Bit, from our 1979 7″ EP. The liner notes (written by Captain Maniac) on the back cover of “Play At Your Own Risk” were exactly as as seen here.

The newer tracks were produced by Doni Underhill and Tommy Stewart (both at that time in Trooper), & were engineered by Dick Drake. It’s Criminal and Little Bit, as noted, were produced by Sparkling Apple and engineered by Dave Thomas (not the same guy who was on SCTV). All tracks recorded in Stereo Hi-Fi at Ocean Sound, then located in North Vancouver, BC.

It’s Criminal received considerable airplay on C-FOX FM99, and was in heavy rotation for some time. One evening after a spaghetti dinner in Cindy Wohlford’s house in Prince George, we sat around listening to the radio; the announcer informed us, “It’s 8 o’clock on the West Coast”, and played It’s Criminal to our unrestrained delight. Oh yes, the photo of the record jacket is not exactly the same as the original. This was created for a homemade CDR by yours truly. The original cover shows a different photo from the same session with photographer Gerry Murakami.

Actual label from Little Bit 45 RPM EP, 1979.

Captain Maniac on the drums at Gary Taylor's Rock Room, Vancouver, August 1979. Photo by the legendary Dee Lippingwell.

OK, word is out, so we can’t hide it anymore. We are hereby announcing the fact that yes, 30 years after making our last vinyl record, Sparkling Apple is finally releasing an actual CD. Bear in mind that when our last record was released in 1980 (the 12-inch EP, “Play At Your Own Risk”), CDs hadn’t been invented yet, so as time is of the essence, we now present what is technically our debut CD! Those of you who bought our original vinyl singles are now sitting on valuable collectors’ items, probably worth in the neighbourhood of five dollars — Antiques Road Show may give an inflated quote in order to boost ratings, but suffice it to say that these prehistoric artifacts are now suitable for framing.

The title of the new greatest hits CD is a closely-guarded secret at this time, although insiders will confirm that it WON’T be “What IS this, some kind of joke?”. “Analogue” has been suggested, but all will be revealed at the Official CD Release Party, to be announced this fall. The CD will feature newly-remastered (and balls to the wall-ized) recordings of our ancient singles, plus bonus never-before-released live tracks that have yet to see the light of day until now. PLUS, as an added attraction, and as if this wasn’t enough, 2 new songs recorded in 2011. That’s right: Sparkling Apple beamed into the 21st Century! Excited? Hell, *I* am! Rumour has it that the new album will also be available for download on iTunes, so that you folks with iPods won’t feel left out.

The track list will also be announced at a later date, so that doesn’t get the jump on us and issue an unauthorized bootleg. “It’s Criminal” is a safe bet, but then you expected as much, right?

Stay tuned for more developments as they happen.

Saturday, July 23, 2011 was Kevin’s birthday, so to celebrate his 49th year on the planet, we all gathered at Art’s house for a function at the junction. Rosie whomped up a fearsome and formidable chili, and after some serious imbibing and a visit from Slash (thanks, Rod!), and souvenir photos of party guests on the Shwinnnngggg, we set down to a righteously lubricated attempt at a singalong. Kevin brought a couple of acoustic guitars, Art plugged in his mighty Fender amp, and Captain Maniac’s percussion contribution was via bongo drums strategically balanced on his not inconsiderable beer belly. Roadhouse Blues, Gloria and even Slow Motion Walter were unearthed, but thanks are due to Kevin’s encylcopedic Beatles knowledge (“HEY — You’ve got to hide your love away…”) as well as tunes from The Illegals like “Take it Sleazy”.

Cindy Striegler (head Proper Villains cheerleader) made a special guest appearance, and captivated us with lead vocals on “Hotel California”, “Brother Louie” and even a song she made up on the spot while texting her son: “Are you OK?” Reply: “Yes.” After a while, local sirens, drive-by shootings and First Nations fireworks contributed to the bedlam, but the piece de resistance (and that’s pronounced “PEACE de Resist-unce”) was Art demonstrating the capabilities of his tiny Fender amp. “I’ll show you what this baby can do,” he muttered pixelatedly (does such a word exist?). For what seemed like at least ten minutes, Art did the whammy-bar/feedback/Eddie Van Halen routine on his guitar, and must have caused the neighbours to shrug, “Shit, Art’s havin’ a barbecue agin. Bring in the cats, Margaret.”

Captain Maniac on the legendary Shhhhwinnnnnggggg

(EXTREME WARNING: The following photos by iPhone — groovy, eh!)

Kevin at Kevin's Birthday, during the campfire singalong

Let's wake the neighhours! Art at Kevin's birthday singalong

Buzz Constantly at the Bow Fiddler, Langley, 1979. Photo by Stolie Sylte.

Buzz at the PNE Gardens, 1979

BREAKING NEWS! Our long-lost former bass player, Buzz Constantly has finally been located on Vancouver Island! He now lives in Saanich, BC, and sings lead vocals with local Victoria band, Ric Whitman and the Offenders (Ric Whitman is Buzz’s real name). Ric’s son Thomas supplied me with the appropriate phone number, so I spoke to Ric this evening. Now 60 and residing in an area of Victoria BC near UVic, Ric is no longer employed at the local golf course, but instead is devoting his time to music, with writing and recording being his prime activities. Stay tuned for more Sparkling Apple-related news, already in progress.

Buzz (

2011 poster.