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Gord, Colin and Art in Gibsons, 1972, with our van seen at the far left.

Newspaper ad for this dance: SA-TURD-DAY?

In the early 70s, Sparkling Apple often played at the Peninsula Hotel in Gibsons, BC, where the patrons were primarily native Indians (now referred to as First Nations to reflect the fact that REAL Indians from India are among our population). One of the audience members at The Pen was a huge aboriginal chap named Big Daddy, who would get so excited and enthused about the band’s performance that he would hammer his fist on the stage, exclaiming “Play a WILD one!!”. Our interpretation of 50s rock n roll proved to be extremely popular there, so as a result, the Sechelt Renegades Soccer Club booked us for an October, 1973 dance at the Reserve Hall in Sechelt, BC.

Sparkling Apple in Peninsula Hotel, Gibsons, BC 1973

Yes, that’s a Hagstrom bass and a Hagstrom guitar.

by Colin “Captain Maniac” Hartridge

This particular function was notable in the annals of human

misbehaviour and booze-infused violence.

The dance was held in the ancient but funky old Sechelt Reserve Hall, and went well for the most part until about halfway through the proceedings. Prior to the dance, a man had beat up his wife outside, and when he entered the hall, his wife’s supporters & friends went into action by hurling ashtrays at him. Well, of course, HIS friends came to his defence by hurling ashtrays at the first group, and before long, a huge bar fight broke out. The ashtrays were forgotten, and fists & beer bottles began flying! In a matter of moments, the entire hall was involved in a brawl, with the band looking on in amused incredulity. By way of collateral damage, bottles and debris came flying in our direction, so we sensibly chose to drop our instruments and cower behind the amplifiers while a hockey-style donnybrook ensued. (A 200-Indian over the top rope battle royal, to paraphrase Ron Morrier. ) Soon the doors of the hall were kicked open, and most of the fight sprawled out onto the parking lot.

After it became apparent that the music had stopped, Chief Alvin mounted the stage and yelled at the audience to stop fighting, or else the band would shut down for the night. This seemed to have the desired effect, because the fight calmed down to a point where we could continue our show. However, after one song, the fight resumed, only much more violent in nature than before! We remarked that this was like a saloon fight in an old Hollywood western, and had there been a chandelier hanging from the rafters, SOMEONE would have swung from it to fly onto a table! We also noticed that a couple of stoned individuals sitting “ringside” who were not involved in the fracas, watched bottles fly past their heads -- and quipped in Cheech & Chong fashion, “Wow...”

True to Chief Alvin’s word, we wisely shut down, and attempted to unload our amplifiers and gear from the hall as quickly as possible. This proved difficult while a relentless bar fight continued unabated. So we just hauled everything off the stage and threw it all into the band truck, rather than pack it carefully as per the usual custom. Cymbals were still on stands, cabinets still had cables hanging from them, as an emergency packup was deemed necessary! Yow! After Alvin hurriedly paid us, we beat a hasty retreat to our motel. In the morning, we discovered blood all over the front of our 1969 Ford Econoline van, no doubt a remnant of the previous evening’s festivities.