by Captain Maniac

Art at Centennial High School, Coquitlam  1975. Poster for this dance is at the top of this page (“Christmas Charity Dance”).

Art the Fart the Heavy Metal Kid & Rocky Rockamoto at Delta High School 1974, “doing that Chinese song, Tu-Ning”

Captain Maniac drum solo — so low, you can’t hear it! <rim shot>

Rocky Rockamoto at Delta High School 1974.

because the intention was to get the students to mix with each other in a social setting (what is today known as "networking"). Because noon-hour dances would occur in a gymnasium and students were encouraged to remove their footwear so as not to damage the gym floor, these occasions were called "sock hops"!

Our schedule in the Daze of Yore would be more geared towards these sort of dances, mainly because rock clubs were at the embryonic stage locally -- country & western was still the popular choice at nightclubs like the Wooden Barrel or the Dell Hotel, and naturally, dedicated rockers would avoid these meat markets anyway. In any event, as our motto was "take the music to the people", Sparkling Apple was an active participant in the 70s high school circuit throughout the Lower Mainland and the rest of British Columbia. Oh yes, we wouldn't think twice about driving our trusty van to far-off locations in order to rock n roll all night with "the kids". After boogie-ing at Houston High School, we were invited to the Grad party at the local gravel pit, where mass quantities of adult beverages were known to be consumed. One trip took us to Pemberton High School, where it was stipulated in the contract that the band HAD to perform the tune "How Much Is That Doggie in the Window" for a particular student dance routine. I shit you not!

Speaking of contracts, Aldergrove High School had a clause in the band contract that required the band to play at "97 decibels, the optimum limit designated by the Industrial Safety Committee". Being ever so careful, we started off the night at a rather piddly volume ("full plink" was our official term), and were informed immediately that we were monitored at 110 decibels, and we would have to decrease the volume accordingly! Yow! Talk about a LONG night or what! Kind of like when bar managers told us to "TONE it down", as if they were familiar with the concepts of treble, midrange and bass).

I can remember driving to Salmon Arm for a noon dance at the local school. Despite calculating how much money we would lose by making the journey just for one show, and how long it would take to get there, Mountain Productions (a fast-talking promoter if there ever was one) talked us into making the trek. Speaking of fast-talking promoters (just kidding, Harvey, if you're reading this!), we had experience with the legendary Harvey Borley, the inspiration behind Nazareth’s "Vancouver Shakedown" (see The Scottish rock band Nazareth had shipped their gear to the local venue, but failed to show up for their concert -- so rather than lose a wad of cash because of a no-show, Mr. Borley confiscated all of Nazareth's equipment until they posted a bond for its return. Nazareth countered by releasing an album track called  "Vancouver Shakedown". Not to be outdone, local band Twitch (managed, co-incidentally, by Harvey Borley) put out a single, "Messin' With the Bull Gets the Horns", which of course maligned Nazareth mercilessly. Sparkling Apple's experience with Harvey was limited to a noon-hour concert at New Westminster High School (once known as Vincent Massey), as well as a potential backing gig with Bo Diddley. No, not as an opening act, but as Bo's actual onstage BAND! This thankfully never materialized beyond yours truly buying the Bo Diddley Greatest Hits album as research material. However, our other encounter with Harvey was his insistence that a friend of his (Brian Medway, formerly of Meddy's People) could play guitar in our band. We actually rehearsed a few songs, and Brian turned out to be a very nice gentleman, but our reaction was, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it", and we remained a trio.

There weren't too many sweaty gymnasiums that we DIDN'T play, and schools like Centennial, Banting and Best in Coquitlam, Newton Junior in Surrey , Gladstone and Lord Byng in Vancouver were all band favourites. Vancouver Tech, Queen Elizabeth in Surrey, South Delta High School, the list goes forever on. One time we played at Mary Jane Shannon (now Guildford Park) in Surrey, where one of the teachers happened to be one of the local hellraisers that I used to play with when we were kids. An ex- next-door-neighbour as it turns out. We enthralled the kids with tales about their teacher Mr. Maxon, or should we say 'Billy’! Here’s to you, Bill, wherever you may be.

I recall one of our first road trips with Buzz Constantly in the band was a trip to  Rycroft, Alberta, just 64 km north of Grande Prairie (Middle of Nowhere, Canada). We were booked into a decrepit old dance hall in Rycroft, Alberta for the Spirit River High School Grad (the hall itself could have been part of the set in "The Last Picture Show"). The parking lot was chock a block with pickup trucks, and the audience was comprised of junior versions of "good old boys" and tractor jockeys  -- diehard rockers!

At Johnson Heights Jr. High School in Surrey, however, we did encounter a slight problem: Near the end of the evening’s performance, Art became sick, and in the last set, completely passed out! He was subsequently taken to Surrey Memorial Hospital, where it was determined that he had stomach flu and a virus infection. Meanwhile, Stringbean and I completed the last song of the night (The Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction”, which must have sounded a tad bare with just drums and bass guitar stumbling through the remainder of the tune), and later negotiated with the school principal for a pay cut, owing to the fact that we failed to play the last half hour of the engagement. This finalized, we were later surprised to learn that the principal wanted his money back and was going to take us to court! Some correspondence seen to the left.

We want to hear from you! If Sparkling Apple played at your high school in the 70s (and you survived the ordeal), leave a comment below or drop us a line at Your memories will definitely be published here on the Official Sparkling Apple website.

Sparkling Apple 1974.

Captain Maniac at Delta High School 1974.

Sparkling Apple 1978, near Rycroft, Alberta.

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