Archive for August, 2012

This edition of the Official Sparkling Apple Blog is strictly for Canadian fans! Hard Core Apple will soon be available online on the Canadian Amazon site, although being the helpful and polite Canadians we are, we must alert you to a potential problem: is indeed selling the CD, but it’s only for sale from them as a USA import (due to the fact that the CD is shipped from CD Baby in Portland, Oregon), and is therefore priced accordingly! I think Amazon’s price is something like $19.73 plus shipping. Yikes! That’s a tad pricey considering it can be obtained much cheaper directly from the band. And how do I do that, you ask? Well we’re glad you brought it up, otherwise we wouldn’t have mentioned it…

If you live in Canada and don’t wish to pay exorbitant import prices, the solution is to order direct from us via PayPal. That way, the CD is only ten bucks plus tax & shipping. A screamin’ deal as they say. Now you American folks can still continue to order CDs from CD Baby & without any problem and we heartily encourage you to do so. The same goes for those of you classic rockers in England, France, Germany, Austria and other parts of the solar system.

However, we stress that the link below is ONLY FOR CANADIANS!

Thanks for your support, wherever you live!

Live and Impersonal

Posted: August 30, 2012 in Gigs, Rock n Roll

Sparkling Apple promo shot for appearance at Frenzy’s in Gastown 1980 (Vancouver BC). Photo by Simon Gunn.

Another free download! The sound quality is “not up to present-day community standards”, but in any event this song is included here due to its historical significance.

The link below is a live recording of Sparkling Apple from the “C-FOX Live At Eleven” broadcast on August 13, 1979. Monday nights, local radio station C-FOX would present a live broadcast from Gary Taylor’s Rock Room, Vancouver BC, and the resulting tapes would be edited to create the very first C-FOX Vancouver Seeds album (shown below). The track “Get Off the Stove You’re Too Old To Ride the Range” was NOT included on the Vancouver Seeds album, and is presented here for the first time anywhere in Low-Fi Sludge-O-Rama ®.


Taken from the back of the record’s sleeve:

“November, 1979: “VANCOUVER SEEDS” represents the culmination of efforts by C-FOX-FM99 Vancouver and Gary Taylor’s Rock Room. Our intent was to showcase live concerts, featuring as many Vancouver artists and relatively unknown groups as possible and to give them an opportunity to be heard on their FM rock station, then be released on record. “VANCOUVER SEEDS” is a complilation of some of the best performances during “Monday Night Live at Eleven”, recorded at Gary Taylor’s Rock Room over the Summer and Fall of 1979. Special thanks are due to Gary Taylor and Cal Woosnam of Challenger Sound.”


Side One:

1. KARROLL BROS – I Need Your Love
2. KARROLL BROS – If I Can Fall In Love
3. SIX CYLINDER – Strong Woman’s Love
4. FOREMAN-BYRNES BAND – I Had Your Love In The Palm Of My Hand

Side Two:

1. POWDER BLUES – You Been Mean
2. SPARKLING APPLE – Midnight Flight [an edited version of this song can be found on “Hard Core Apple”]
3. SPARKLING APPLE – It’s Criminal

Recorded off the radio, so the voice you hear at the start is that of radio DJ Ellie O’Day, who can also be heard at the beginning of “Two Time Affair” (from “Hard Core Apple”).

Lots of great old Sparkling Apple tracks can be found on our new CD, Hard Core Apple – but here’s a recording that was dropped from the final song list. It’s Switchblade Rock, a rockabilly/metal hybrid written by drummer Captain Maniac, performed here at the fabled Scottsdale Pub (Delta BC) in August, 1979. Played here in its entirety, the tune features the 1979 lineup of Captain Maniac (drums and lead vocals), Art the Fart the Heavy Metal Kid (lead guitar) and Buzz Constantly (bass guitar). This highly-collectible song is registered with SOCAN, but has never been released anywhere until now. A free download, kids!

© 1979 RadioActive Records. No unauthorized duplication is permitted without the written consent of the author an/or a case of Sleeman’s Honey Brown Lager, delivered promptly to our ivory tower.

Hype at its finest

Posted: August 28, 2012 in 21st Century, New CD, Rock n Roll

Well, it happens that Tom Harrison DID write about us a year ago! Following on a hunch and of course some “leaked” rumours courtesy of Kevin, Tom wrote a short piece about us in his music column in the Province newspaper, mentioning that a greatest hits CD was in the works. (The photo seen above is a screen capture from the online edition.) In the near future, we wish to have Tom review the final product!

Recap: Last summer, we had intended for our new CD to be released in December of 2011 (something to put in your Christmas stocking). Kevin had written the demo for what evolved into Midlife Crisis, and plans were made to record new tunes and transfer old tapes in anticipation of a late-2011 release. Things went sideways, however, and our best-laid plans went astray. Following some misadventures which eventually resolved themselves, we soon picked up the pieces and were able to move ahead in Spring 2012. The rest, they say, is hysterical.

And now, a word from our sponsor! That’s right, folks, our CD was finally released this summer, and you can have your very own copy of Hard Core Apple by clicking on the link below – check out our latest tracks. We have two new songs that should knock your socks off. Literally. One of them features a nice, discreet 48-minute guitar solo. There are some special guests on a few of the songs. Including a cameo by one very famous juggler.  By the way, you do have a choice of either MP3 downloads or an actual for-real shiny new compact disc!

“The first time I heard this music, I cried.” — Rex Hargrove, Montgomery Gazette

“Unmistakable genius!” — Sarah McTarnish, Oakdale Weekly

“Unparalleled musicianship coupled with an artistic vision that defies logic and reason…” — Spivey’s Corner Times

We actually got a review of our album on EMusic! Presently, you can only download digital copies of the individual songs from that website, but at 49 cents a song, who’s complaining! Check them out and leave your own review, or for that matter, let us know what you think right here on the comments area of the Official Sparkling Apple Blog. Please let us know: do you love it, do you hate it, there it is, the way you made it…. Is Midlife Crisis just fine as is, or would you change it in some way?  Are there songs on this album that are cringeworthy, or songs on here that make you want to get up from your recliner, shake your fist and go “hell yeah”? We need constructive criticism, folks, and what better way to voice your opinion than by speaking your mind right here on the Official Sparkling Apple Blog. The song list on the album is entirely original, by the way, so would you add cover tunes to the next album or boldly go where no human has gone before?

Thanks for listening! Tight lines and straight shooting…   

Mylinks_facebook Mylinks_join_mailing_list

Screen shot of German Amazon site, where Sparkling Apple MP3 files are downloadable

Sparkling Apple MP3s are now worldwide, thanks to CD Baby. Yes, you can order the hard-copy CD of “Hard Core Apple” direct from the CD Baby website, but there are now several places to obtain digital downloads besides iTunes. Not only can you snag individual songs at the USA site of, but (Great Britain), (France), (Japan) and (Germany) are all locations where you can download the latest and greatest from *my* personal favorite drunk-rock group. Other international download sites include, Zune, Deezer in France, eMusic, Rdio, and others.

The new Sparkling Apple CD is now available worldwide at CD Baby! You can now purchase your very own highly-coveted, limited edition, hand-crafted and faithfully restored copy of “Hard Core Apple”, still in the shrinkwrap and untouched by subhuman hands, while quantities last. Yes, you locals can buy this must-have disc at one of our gigs or from me personally, but for anybody else on the planet, you now have the golden opportunity to have neighbours complain about the highly questionable sounds of Sparkling Apple in your own dwelling. (And while you’re there, don’t hesitate to leave a comment — good or bad, we don’t give a rat’s hindquarters!)

Join us, won’t you, at

Captain Maniac at Donegal’s jam. Photo by Marko Ibarra.

I know we’ve already mentioned that Sparkling Apple’s new album “Hard Core Apple” is now available for download on iTunes (sorry, kids, it’s huge around our house, as in EPIC). Now talk about stuffing the ballot box, but can you guys do us a huge favour? If you like what you hear — and to paraphrase Mrs. Seinfeld, “how can anybody NOT like them?” — could you kindly leave a short review of your thoughts on iTunes for us? We’d *like* that! AND, even if you can’t stand the music, the band or life in general, please leave your thoughts on there *anyway* showing that someone took time out of their busy social schedule to actually listen to what we have to offer. Like Elmer’s glue for a change of paste. Thanks in advance, and now we return you to the Official Sparkling Apple Blog, already in progress…

Sparkling Apple at Vancouver 80s Rock Reunion in 2012. Photo by Lisa Freakrock.

Kevin Stuart Swain on the bass! Photo by Lisa Freakrock.

If you’d like to help us greatly by writing a short review, and hopefully downloading individual songs from the extensive Sparkling Apple back catalogue, click on the iTunes logo!

Gary Walchuk at a family gathering in 2012.

Between the years 1975 and 1978, Sparkling Apple consisted of Captain Maniac on drums, Art the Fart the Heavy Metal Kid on guitar, and Stringbean on bass (real name Gary Walchuk).

From 1975 promo: “On the Fender Bass: the amazing STRINGBEAN. This master of ohm-burning thunder on the basso profundo has levelled nearly every bar on this planet.”

So aging relics from those thrilling days of yesteryear have asked us, “Whatever happened to Stringbean?” The last time we saw hide or hair of him was at Rosie’s birthday party two years ago at Donegal’s in Surrey, where Sparkling Apple reunited for a couple of sets. Stringbean was in the audience, and we invited him up on the stage to jam with us on “Boney Maronie”. This was a song he used to sing when he was in the band, but as he’d forgotten the lyrics, Art had to improvise! The Bean reminded us of an old cartoon that I’d drawn years ago, featuring Sparkling Apple as frail and decrepit seniors in the future, complete with wheelchairs — rockers with walkers. He announced, “And now that day has come”! For photos of that occasion, go here.

Well, after considerable medical issues, Stringbean is alive and well in Hatzic, BC (near Mission), where up until recently he was the proud owner of a Corvette (seen below). He was recently at his brother’s wedding (Walt Walchuk of the Free Time Band, although we knew him as Wally!).

My question is: does the “Mud-1” license plate refer to Mudbone (from the Richard Pryor character)?

Gary Walchuk at the Surrey Arts Centre in 1975

Gary Walchuk at the Stardust Roller Rink in 1975

CD Baby told us they’d get our album “Hard Core Apple” on iTunes, and true to their word, HERE IT IS!  Physical CDs are still forthcoming on CDBaby as we speak (translation: not yet available), but as of this writing, the Internet is alive with Sparkling Apple downloads. You can download individual songs (and the entire album if you so desire) from the actual CD Baby site, or from iTunes. The cost of downloading a Sparkling Apple song from either source is the low low price of only 99 cents each. That’s right — where can you find a smokin’ deal like THAT anywhere else on the planet?

What are you waiting for? Get over there toot sweet, boys and girls, because we’re discounting *everything* here on the Official Sparkling Apple Blog. For those of you who require an actual CD before it goes online at CD Baby, you can get one from the Official Sparkling Apple Store for the insanely low price of only $10.00 each. Profusely illustrated with archival & live photos, painstakingly researched liner notes written by world-famous journalist Colin Hartridge, and a free frisbee. It’s already gone plywood in Grand Prairie, as we mentioned in an earlier blog post!