Sparkling Apple Outtakes part 2 – Stewart BC

Posted: January 22, 2012 in Rock n Roll
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Art and Gord at Prince Rupert Airport (Digby Island) 1974. Notice the CP Air sign on the side of the plane! Photo by Colin.

On August 3, 1974, Sparkling Apple had an adventurous one-nighter at Granduc copper mine, near Stewart, BC. The deal was that the band would jet up to Prince Rupert via CP Air, and after staying overnight at the Rupert Hotel, would continue by way of a Otter float plane to Stewart, BC (stage gear included). At Stewart, we would unload all of our equipment, pack it into “crummies” (all-purpose pickup trucks) and drive it through the Alaska Panhandle and miles of glaciers to perform for a bash at Granduc copper mine, not far from Middle of Nowhere, Canada. All expenses were paid by the Granduc mine, and after performing at the miners’ community hall, our accommodation would be at the miners’ bunkhouse, with miners’ breakfast included. (We saw miners wolfing down 3 steaks, a mountain of pancakes, sausage and other items which your arteries would thank you for.)

The fact that “The Thing” starring Kurt Russell was filmed in Stewart may have contributed to our adventure. Yes, after a night’s stay in the most godforsaken hole in Prince Rupert (a northern city which doesn’t particularly boast any livability prizes either), we were on our way to Stewart in a float plane, flown by what we hoped was an experienced bush pilot. By coincidence, we had endured breakfast in a wild & woolly Prince Rupert cafe that morning, and the music on the jukebox was a brand new song, Paul McCartney & Wings playing “Let Me Roll You”. An ominous beginning.

We flew from PR to the remote outpost of Stewart, or at least it seemed remote to us — the runway was gravel, and the airport manager was a “hippie chick” who looked about 19! After unloading the plane and stowing all our gear on the aforementioned pickup trucks, we drove the circuitous route to Granduc Mine through Hyder, Alaska (yes, we were initiated with a shot of snakebite at the local bar — yow!). After miles and miles of glaciers and rivers bursting with spawning salmon, we eventually arrived at the camp, which may as well have been on Mars for its proximity to civilization. We set up at the  hall, and played to an enthusiastic and music-starved camp of miners — now that I think of it, there weren’t really too many women in attendance! No matter — the miners were hella wild (as they say in the 21st Century) and just couldn’t get enough of Sparkling Apple’s rock n roll. We therefore played about six hours, due to the fact that these guys just wouldn’t let us go home.

Art beside the Salmon River Glacier

After a wild, crazy and successful (and financially lucrative) evening, we journeyed back to Vancouver in the same way we arrived: crummy, float plane, jet, only to enounter some creative baggage handling at Vancouver airport. When we went to the CP Air cargo hangar to retrieve our band equipment, it was nowhere to be seen, as in Missing In Action. After much panicked investigation, our gear was finally located at the Quantas Lost and Found! Because Quantas is an Australian airline, we pictured Barbara the Les Paul and Bert the Bag, dumped on some stage in Sydney, Australia, where AC/DC thanked their lucky stars that someone had graciously donated a planeload of amps and drums!

Art and Gord outside the Rupert Hotel in (guess where?) Prince Rupert BC

Sparkling Apple loading gear onto Otter at Prince Rupert airport

Stewart airport. Woman with long red hair is the airport manager.

At the Granduc Copper Mine. Our “venue” is the community hall, straight ahead.

Granduc Copper mine (alternate view). Green arrow points to where we played.

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