Archive for the ‘Behind the scenes’ Category

Rest in Peace.

Posted: April 21, 2019 in 21st Century, Behind the scenes


Gary Whistler 76

We regret to announce the passing of Stringbean (real name Gary Walchuk), our bassist from 1975 to 1978, who died of complications of pneumonia on April 20, 2019. He would definitely find it amusing that he passed away on 4/20! He is currently “going Comanche” on the basso profundo somewhere in another dimension.


Gary Promo 1975

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We used this shot for our 1983 promo photos. Captain Maniac is in full rockabilly regalia! Photo by Hans Sipma

Our 1983 promo photos were taken by Hans Sipma, and on Googling his name I discovered that he indeed has a website and is still involved in the photographic industry. I emailed him, wondering if he still had photos from our 1983 photo shoot, and he graciously replied, saying “How very cool to hear from you. Yes I have a box of old band shots, and your file was pretty easy to find. We did this shoot on October 31, 1983.” He sent me the contact sheets, advising me that high-res shots could be obtained from him at a nominal charge. For your enjoyment, here are a few outtakes from that session – thirty year old photos, back when we was lads!

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Photo shoot by Hans Sipma. At this point, delirium sets in! Photo by Hans Sipma

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Outtake of above session. Buzz gets rough! Photo by Hans Sipma

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Outtake from above session. Art looks puzzled! Photo by Hans Sipma

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It’s only fair to warn you: Do NOT mess with these gentlemen under any circumstances. Photo by Hans Sipma

Fun with “Pix” app on my iPhone.

Let’s get ‘artsy fartsy” with some photography, and who better to be the guinea pig but Art the Fart himself! On our most recent visit to Alchemy Sound Studios, I took a few pictures with my iPhone, and after some haphazard manipulation in an app known as “Pix”, I created the above monsterpiece. The photo was taken at the same time as the photo on our What’s In A Name blog entry, except that the photo on that page was altered in Photoshop.

In above pic, Art is playing the stuido Les Paul through a D/I (translated, that means he’s playing a vintage guitar and instead of using an amplifier, the signal is “direct input” into the mixing board). The song in question was Kevin’s own “Crazy For Your Love”, which needed a stronger guitar intro, and which Art was only too happy to provide.

Art undergoes the Andy Warhol treatment at Alchemy Sound Studios

Our producer Scott Young mentioned that the title of our CD, namely Steel Wheelchairs Rehab Tour 2012, is somewhat misleading. The album is not a concert recording of our current tour, nor is it 100% live. In fact, it’s a tribute to the old Who LP “Magic Bus: The Who On Tour, on which the somewhat deceptive title implies that the songs were recorded live, whereas all recordings on that album are in fact studio tracks.

An astute observation, and we had thought of pointing this out on a disclaimer found on the back of the CD.

No, this is NOT a document of what Sparkling Apple sounds like onstage in 2012! The title is merely what we decided to call the CD. We could have selected all manner of titles, including Scott’s choice, The Odds Are Good But the Goods Are Odd, as well as a pantload of other potential handles, including:

All You Can Eat
Antiques Horror Show
Auntie Gravity
Because We Know What To Do With It
Bleeding Eardrums
Born To Be Mild
Buzz Saw to the Brain
Can't Stop Rockin'
Digging Up Some Old Friends
Drop the Acid NOW
Drunk Rock
Free Beer
Get it Right or Say Good Night
Get Over It
Hard Core Apple
Gone Plywood
Is All This Noise To Cover Up a Lack of Talent?
Keep On Rockin'
Make It So
Meeting of the Mindless
Mindless Boogie
Missing Persons of Interest
My Way or the Highway
Old School Is Cool School
On With the Show This Is It
Persons of Interest
Play at your Own Risk
Plywood Hits
Power Play
Prognosis: Negative
Resistance is Futile
Ride That Bomb
Rock n Roll All the Way From Mars
Roll Em On Down
Seems To Me I've Heard That Song Before
Slow Motion Walter
Standard Operating Procedure
The Final Frontier
The Good, The Bad and the Average
The Whole Enchilada
Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear
Three To Get Ready
Total Recall
Vintage Mayhem
Whale Oil Beef Hooked
What Might Have Been
What Were We Thinking
When In Doubt, Throw It Out
When Men Were Men and Sheep Were Nervous
Within the Realm of Great Achievements

With so many available choices, we at first chose Steel Wheelchairs Jihad Tour 2012, but not wishing to risk a terrorist retaliation, we dropped the Jihad (and substituted Rehab)! In any event, folks, you can call it what you want, but I call it messin’ with the kid (thanks to Junior Wells for that one). Seriously, though, most people will refer to this CD as Sparkling Apple’s Greatest Hits, in spite of the fact that we didn’t HAVE any hits. In the words of Miles Davis, “call it anythang”!

So do you think, people? Should we change our CD title, or is it too late in the game for that sort of foolishness?

Here’s yet another chapter in our Return to the Fray, featuring more photos taken by our resident photographer, Lisa Freakrock (OK, that’s not her real name: her real name is Helen Wheels (or is it Amanda B. Reckonwith? Maybe it’s Eileen Dover? Not sure!) Anyway, here are some more Friday the 13th Sparkling Apple photos at Amber Jack’s in Surrey (April 13, 2012). Three To Get Ready, now go, cat go…

Sparkling Apple in an artsy-fartsy black and white shot!

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Because we know what to do with it

Power Play

Live in Technicolor and 3D Sludge Sound!

Rock n Roll All the Way From Mars

In Part Two of Antiques Horror Show on Friday the 13th (April 13, 2012), the band ventured on to Amber Jack’s Pub to see The Shindiggers. (Amber Jack’s is located in the Compass Point Inn, which was formerly known as the Days Hotel, and before that the Surrey Inn.) Although by that time of the evening we had reached the final frontier of our beverage consumption, the evening’s band, The Shindiggers announced our presence and asked us to get up and play a few tunes! Whale Oil Beef Hooked, as Captain Hindgrinder used to say, so we strapped on our respective instruments and locked into Standard Operating Procedure: get it right or say good night! Rather than perform our new release (which has already gone plywood in Grande Prairie, by the way), we chose to play songs we could actually remember, namely Let’s Dance (the feelthy version), Play That Funky Music White Boy and ZZ Top’s La Grange. “On with the show this is it,” to quote Bugs Bunny, and lurched into analog old-school music guaranteed to produce bleeding eardrums. Although we were born to be mild, we still can’t stop rockin’…. Drunk rock – you’ve got to be drunk to play it and drunk to appreciate it.

All photos by the extremely talented (and highly patient) Lisa Freakrock.

The lovely and talented Art the Fart The Heavy Metal kid on lead guitar. Resistance is futile!

Missing person of interest, Kevin Swain on bass

Captain Maniac on drums at Amber Jack’s, most likely performing “Slow Motion Walter”

Captain Maniac and Kevin Swain onstage at Amber Jack’s. Play dat funky music!

It’s 1972, and agents, bookers and potential managers are all anxious for us to come up with 8×10’s of the band , widely known as promo pictures. (As Rodney Dangerfield once said, “If I had an 8×10, I wouldn’t need to be in show business!”) After researching rock group album covers, we scouted locations for a suitable photoshoot. “Let’s get us up in a tree; let’s get us up against a brick wall; let’s get us out in a field,” were among the suggestions, striving ever-so-carefully to walk the fine line between the Beatles’ album covers and something so embarrassingly kitschy that even Ed Wood would approve.

Accompanied by our old friend, photographer Jerry Murakami, we set off to an area near Art’s home. Back in the early 70s, he lived in an old house on River Road in Delta, so in our infinite wisdom, we chose the construction site next door as our shooting location. We donned the same clothes we would normally wear onstage, and Jerry was instructed to “shoot pictures that look they belong on an album jacket”! These are a few of the resulting photos (the rest can be found here), and as you can see, the shots were obviously taken on the shore of the Fraser River in Delta.

© Sparkling Apple 1972 — All photos by Jerry Murakami. (Interesting story about Jerry: he later became such a proficient photographer that he opened up his own photo studio/camera shop known as “Photo Shop”! He sold the business long before Adobe thought that this might be a cool name for photo-editing software!)

Back when we was lads! Rocky Rockamoto (Gord Higo), Captain Maniac (Colin Hartridge) and Art the Fart the Heavy Metal Kid (Art Kyllonen).

Sparkling Apple 1972 — Photo by Jerry Murakami

Sparkling Apple 1972 — Photo by Jerry Murakami

The above shot is historic in that the house behind us was where Art lived with his wife & kids, 5 years after the photo was taken! I distinctly remember the log bridge over the ditch, which was the scene of many a motor vehicle accident. One night, after consuming one or two adult beverages, Art & our old buddy Dennis failed to negotiate a turn (possibly the same one in the third photo from the top of the page), and ended up in a ditch which was the depth of the Mariana Trench. As in our story of driving the Coquihalla Highway in a snowstorm, Art and Dennis just sat in the car (now almost submerged in a muddy swamp), laughing their fool heads off!

“Sittin on the dock of the bay…” As we imagined ourselves as some sort of tourism boosters, we needed a shot of us on a wharf with the Mighty (or is that Muddy) Fraser River in the background. We were all Marx Brothers fans, so Gord & I did a Chico and Harpo pose!

Sparkling Apple used this promo shot in 1973 — until the next, more suitable and up-to-date photo could be found!

Here’s the photo we finally chose, featuring Art doing his “bunny ears” routine, and Gord & I trying our best to look like Foghat. We deemed the real background to be too boring, so we substituted a brick wall (interesting in the fact that my very first band in 1966 was called The Brick Walls). Time flies when you’re having fun — fruit flies like a banana!