by Captain Maniac

Pete Brown onstage with Sparkling Apple at Port Coquitlam Rec Centre, 1973

Sparkling Apple, 1972. Art, Colin and Pete Brown.

Sparkling Apple, 1972. Colin, Nancy Kwan, Pete Brown, Art.

Pete Brown onstage with Sparkling Apple at Port Coquitlam Rec Centre, 1973. There is no one on the chrome drums, because my brother Chris is playing drums on another kit out of camera range.

“Super Apple” 1973: Dino Gerussi (yes, Bruno’s brother), Pete Brown, Sue Toresdahl (Art’s cousin), Art, Colin, and Chris Hartridge on percussion. Brian Mahon played on this gig, and his right arm can be seen at the far right of the photo!

“Super Apple” 1971, at the Surrey Arts Centre. Left to right, Pete, Colin, Brian Mahon, Chris Hartridge and Surfer Art.

Pete Brown with Elvis Bizowski (the world’s only Ukrainian Rock Star) 1973.

By 1972, Sparkling Apple had gained regional popularity as a local favourite. In the midst of a hectic schedule, however, bassist Rocky Rockamoto (real name Gord Higo) came down with severe appendicitis, and had to do time in the local hospital. An upcoming gig was The Allison Hotel in Vernon in 1973, but rather than cancel, Pete Brown offered to fill in for the ailing Rocky. After several rehearsals (seen in photo at top of this page), we honoured our engagement in Vernon — and were notified on our arrival that we would be performing behind a stripper for most of the evening’s entertainment! Seen on this page is the band with stripper/exotic dancer Nancy Kwan, who would do her thing onstage while we played as best we could while keeping a straight face! I mean, some Asian chick is removing her garments while we’re playing Ten Years After? Come ON!

Rocky’s convalescence was longer than we expected, so Pete stayed on for further gigs until no longer required, including not one but TWO Battles of the Bands! One of these competitions was held at the Port Moody arena, where we were augmented by Brian Mahon (The Jack) on guitar and my brother Chris Hartridge on drums & percussion. (Yes, we won the contest.) The second “battle” at the Port Coquitlam Rec Centre wasn’t really a battle at all, since we were the only band that showed up! This time were joined by Pete, Dino Gerussi, Art’s cousin Sue Toresdahl (now a director at North Island College) as well as The Jack and Chris.

Pete eventually left the music business to pursue other options (including a stint at a mine in Cassiar), and as a result owned his dream car, a Corvette! We would still see Pete on occasion (see photo far right), but his visits became more and more infrequent.

Following a tense period at home, Pete took his own life in the early 80s.  Rest in peace, Pete, and keep on rockin’ wherever you are.

The Return of Pete. Captain Maniac, Pete Brown and Art the Fart the Heavy Metal Kid backstage at The Answer, Chilliwack BC in 1977.

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The Midnite Trip, 1968. Dennis Hutt, Pete Brown, Chris Hartridge, Brian Mahon at Battle of the Bands.