Thursday, December 30, 2010

Rockin' Horse

Now that Christmas and all its associated activities are finished for another year, I can return to maintain our website -- which means more Rock n Roll Road Stories for one and all.

The current chapter in our ongoing saga is "Cut 'Em Off at the Past", featuring a day in the life of Sparkling Apple in the 70s.

Happy New Year,
Captain Maniac

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Merry New Year!

Thanks to all who made 2010 a very special and memorable year for us (you know who you are). For everybody else, thanks for nothing!

Whoever I stole this graphic from, Happy New Year to you too!

Peace on Earth,
Colin (Captain Maniac) Hartridge

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Feliz Navidad

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral, celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all.‬  

May you also have a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2011, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make Canada great, (not to imply that Canada is necessarily greater than any other country), and without regard to the race, creed, colour, age, physical‬ ability, religious faith, choice of computer platform, or sexual preference of the wishee.  

By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms. This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for her/himself or others, and is void where prohibited by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year, or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.)‬  

from Colin (Captain Maniac) Hartridge

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Saloon fight in Sechelt

Now on our website is yet another installment in our "Life On the Road With Sparkling Apple" series. This time, get in the Wayback Machine and travel with us to that golden year of 1973. In this episode, Art, Colin and Gord encounter a community living on the edge of fear and loathing. Drunken violence and all that great stuff.

Go to the STORIES page.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Rock n Roll Horror Stories

A new feature on the Sparkling Apple website is the addition of our Horror Stories section, in which you, the unsuspecting reader, can find out just what it was like in the Daze of Yore. Most touring bands of the 70s and 80s (or any era, come to think of it) have a pantload of recollections about life on the road -- and of course Sparkling Apple is no exception. We've got plenty of Touring Tales and Addled Anecdotes to share with you, so in our next installment, put yourself in the front seat of the Hayride to Hell!

(No animals were harmed in the making of this blog.) More to come, I promise. ("Oh, didn't we TELL you?")

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Boogie Till the Cows Come Home

Here's an old poster from 1979, promoting one of our latest records -- the name of which escapes me at the moment, because this poster was never used. Alright! A valuable outtake!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

We're Here For a Good Time...

The White Rock Sun published an online article about touring perennials TROOPER (seen above as Winters Green), and in one paragraph, the writer mentioned:

From this point in time it becomes a blur, WINTER’S GREEN became APPLEJACK and barnstormed through Lower Mainland clubs for a number of years. The Zodiac and Mad Dolphin in New West, Cameo Supper Club and Madigans in Whalley, The Dungeon in Coquitlam and our very own Bird Cage aka Purple Monkey up on King George Highway.

Sparkling Apple also played every one of those places, and I do remember Applejack performing at The Bird Cage with Ra, Smitty, Tommy Stewart and bassist Harry Kalensky. Heck, I saw Applejack at the Cameo because it was three blocks from my house! My brother Chris saw their earlier incarnation Winters Green when the band played a dance at Mary Jane Shannon Jr. High School (now called Guildford Park).

Madigan's is mentioned in the White Rock Sun article as well. The connection with my brother is that a bunch of us had a stag for Chris at this bar, and the band performing that night was none other than Heart (who also played the Dungeon around the same time we did). The "new guy" that night was Ann's sister Nancy, who pretended to be playing electric guitar, but wasn't plugged in! (Nancy may disagree with me.) Madigan's is now a strip club known as T-Barz.

Sounds like Sparkling Apple

As mentioned in the previous blog entry, Kevin has remastered the audio and video on several tracks from the Donegal's footage, and the results can be seen & heard on our Videos page on our website. Upgraded versions of the following songs have now been posted at

Too Rolling Stoned
Papa Oom Mow Mow
La Grange
Gloria/Rodeo Song

as well as a "highlights" collage. All are enhanced with an additional audio source (Woody's minidisc).

Kevin also remastered Born on the Bayou as well as Sure Got Cold After the Rain Fell, but these songs aren't as yet on the website. They can, however, be experienced on YouTube.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Play That Funky Music, White Boy

Kevin has been busy lately with the Donegal's Sept 18/2010 footage. Supplied with Rick Mearns' raw DVDs and well as Woody's minidisc of this show, Kevin is in the midst of remastering the audio & video.  Kevin has already posted a couple examples of his audio/video editing progress on YouTube, but as per his request, I won't be posting a link until he's finished.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Good Rockin' Tonite

What, MORE Sparkling Apple posters and photos? To borrow a phrase from a recent USA election, "yes we can"! Posters from the Slim Chance era, as well as some Niteshift photos, have been added to the Sparkling Apple website for your adolescent enjoyment.

Niteshift: that was the cabaret next door to the old Tudor Inn at the USA/Canada truck crossing near White Rock, BC. It has gone through many different names, notably Smugglers, and I really don't know if it even exists any more. We also used to play at a joint in New Westminster called "Rockin' Tonight", run by an individual known as Hughie. (Anyone remember Hughie's last name?) That place changed names often, too (formerly The Answer II), later becoming California Dreamin'.

A real "find" in my treasure trove of memorabilia is the long-lost poster advertising Sparkling Apple and Mick Dalla-Vee's band, Paradox, at Scottsdale in 1986. Not long after that gig, Paradox was advised (for legal reasons) to change their name, and received a cease and desist order to do so. So what did they change their name to? Cease and Desist. Genius!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Beware of the Blog!

After a car accident and a Telus Optik TV installation, the Sparkling Apple Blog is now back in operation. I've added a few new posters and photos to the website, so take a look when you're in that neighbourhood. Yes, I said "neighbourhood," because I'm Canadian! Just like we have Labour Day, and ice cream comes in several flavours. But I digress...

A new poster page has been added to the mayhem, which can only mean one thing: that's right, there's more to come! Where the heck does it all originate, you say? Well, being a Virgo-type packrat, I've accumulated a wealth of old clippings, posters and memorabilia that now languish in my old Sparkling Apple scrapbooks (now, of course, deteriorating due to age). It really is just an accumulation, though, of ancient relics from the Dark Ages. Many photos can't be published here on the Web, because, hey this IS a family show, right? Well, twist my arm and we MIGHT see a collection of photos of backstage antics here on

An actual website for a band that hasn't done a live show in 20 years? Hell, yeah!

Keep on rockin',

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Where are they now?

A couple of months ago we had a successful Sparkling Apple reunion, and are now aware what these former bandmates are up to:

Captain Maniac (Colin Hartridge) -- graphic artist
Art the Fart (Art Kyllonen) -- apartment maintenance
Kevin Swain -- milkman
Stringbean (Gary Walchuk) -- retired
Rod Knowlan -- webmaster

Of course I may have some of the recent job descriptions wrong, so you guys can set me straight! Anyway, I have no knowledge of the whereabouts (or even existence) of the following:

Rocky Rockamoto (Gord Higo)
Buzz Constantly (Ric Whitman)
Slim Chance (Gary Purcell)

If either of you three have access to a computer, let me know what you're doing now! Failing that, if any Facebook friends know where I can locate Gord, Ric and Gary, drop me a line, either on Facebook,  here on the blog, or email me at

Thanks for your support.

Back to Facebook

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Return of Stretch Marx

I haven't forgotten the website, oh no! In fact, tonight I uploaded a truckload of old Sparkling Apple photos to the "Stringbean Years" section, back when we had VERY long hair. Several of the newer photos show us at the Port Coquitlam Rec Centre in 1975, along with a couple of photos of us at Ian's Cabaret in Nanaimo in 1976. What was interesting about Ian's was that it was an old mansion on the Island Highway, and each week's band would be given accommodations in the upstairs bedrooms. Getting to the gig was just a matter of coming downstairs to the nightclub, rather than having to drive miles in the dark (and yes, we've done that one, too).

Also very telling are some photos from a 1976 soundcheck at Alta Lake Lodge in Whistler (LONG before it became a world-class ski resort). The lodge itself was a 150-seat room, but we're shown putting our HUGE new Sunn amps through their paces. No wonder I'm deaf now! Sheesh!
By the way, this is one of the only photos in existence of the One and Only Rocky Bongo in action (at the Answer nightclub in Chilliwack, BC, December 1977).

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Young Fresh Fellows

More old newspaper clippings and ads have been added to the Clipping and Posters section of the Sparkling Apple websiteMost of the old ads are definitely vintage, with misspellings and 70s-specific information typical of that era. "They're fun, they're exciting... (or should that have been EXITING!), and "there'll be a Sparkling time at the Rail Cabaret."  I mean, PLEASE! Jeez, I remember 70s newspaper advertising used to consist of "dance and drink to the solid rock sounds of..." Yikes!

The poster for the 1976 OG Boogie is particularly interesting in that the promoter -- a Charlie Manson-lookalike if ever there was one -- absconded with the gate receipts after the Saturday night show! If memory serves, Sparkling Apple did play on Saturday, as well as Ram and Mother's Creation (the drummer later joined the K-Tels!). No bands played for the Sunday show, though, due in part to the fact that there was now no money for payment, and secondly because of the rainstorm. Actually the one band that did play on Sunday at that festival was Joe Staples and his band, Midnite City. Joe played with us in 2010 at the Donegal's reunion -- it comes full circle, doesn't it?

What was the Buddy Holly song... "Reminiscing"? Yeah!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Leaving Comments on the Blog!

Not sure if you folks knew about this, but to post a comment on the blog, just click on the "xx Comments" link at the bottom right of each blog post. That way I can hear from you!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Interview with Gary Taylor

"New" video from 1979 has now been posted on our website! (When you're at the video page of the Sparkling Apple website, scroll down, because it's the last video at the bottom of the page.) In this blast from the distant and dissonant past, Gary Taylor, owner of Gary Taylor's Rock Room in Vancouver, interviews Sparkling Apple, one of the bands who played at his nightclub. All present are completely sh*tfaced for the benefit of Internet users viewing this video on YouTube thirty-one years in the future! This was taped immediately following the filming of the videos for "It's Criminal" and "Never Gonna Kiss You Bye Bye", which were recorded just steps away from where Gary is interviewing us. Now all I've got to do is find the video of Sparkling Apple performing on "the Vancouver Show" (with Pia Shandel and Mike Winlaw) back in 1976!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Meet the Press

I've just added to the Sparkling Apple website (a glorified online scrapbook, if nothing else) with some newspaper clippings and media coverage from the Neanderthal period. Click on "Clippings 1" to see some compelling examples of 80s journalism. (I decided not to use the category "Press", because some folks might press on their computer screen to see what happens!)

 Love Tom Harrison's article stating "Sparkling Apple's most endearing quality is that it does not take itself seriously..."! Some of the articles appeared in such diverse publications as the Georgia Straight, The Province, The Vancouver Free Press, The Vancouver Courier, and will be updated as long as my scanner holds out.

Poster World

The Sparkling Apple website is continually "Under Construction", being as how it's a work in process. Just yesterday I've started adding vintage band posters, and shortly there will be a "Press" section featuring old newspaper clippings and advertisements. As they say, "stay tuned"!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Oh what fun it is to ride!

Truth be told, I'm not exactly an HTML/Dreamweaver-type web designer where I write my own code! Far from it: our Sparkling Apple website is created and updated via iWeb, part of the Apple "iLife 09" software. But it works for me so far, and does what it's supposed to do.

Speaking of which, the music video for "Never Gonna Kiss You Bye Bye" has now been posted to the website (, although we must advise that the sound quality is not up to 21st Century standards. Probably if I was using Final Cut Pro or some professional audio editing software, I could clean up the sound on this particular video, but in the interest of "historical perspective", the video is presented as-is, warts and all. In any case, this video is somewhat of a historical document!

It should also be mentioned that "It's Criminal" and "Never Gonna Kiss You Bye Bye" (Side A and Side B of our then-current single on RadioActive Records) were both written by Buzz Constantly, who coincidentally is lead vocalist on both videos.

Monday, October 11, 2010

It's Criminal music video unearthed

In the spirit of a world-class archeological expedition, the video for "It's Criminal" has been unearthed after languishing in Colin's basement for 31 years! Yes, this video is now viewable on, as well as on YouTube. The audio on the original tape was sucessfully substituted with a board tape recorded by Ding himself, and although the video certainly shows its age, the audio is none too shabby. Hey, "just like the record"!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

DVD is ready!

Hello everyone! In the last post I mentioned that I was arranging for an old Sparkling Apple U-Matic videocassette tape (from December 19, 1979 at Gary Taylor's Rock Room, no less!) to be burned to DVD. I picked it up from Deena Media on Saturday, and considering the tape has been sitting in my basement for 30 years, it doesn't look too bad at all -- was our hair long or what?? Also, considering the original tape was produced with 70s technology, the results are better than what I expected. Now because the cassette had been stored for so long, there was the inevitable stretching of the tape problem, which shows up on the DVD as horizontal lines at the top of the screen. After a while, though, you do get used to it and assume it's some sort of special FX! Har har!

In any event, the sound quality is poor, due once again to ancient technology. Fortunately, I do have a board tape of the exact same night, so I will attempt to sync the sound on a couple of tracks and then post the videos to YouTube. Of course, the videos will also be viewable on our website as well.

In other news...

I've finally completed creating a DVD of selected songs from our reunion concert. Once I've made a nice looking cover, I will offer this DVD to anyone who would like one -- anyone interested? All you Sparkling Apple followers (the Apple Corps), let me know!

Talk at ya later,
Colin (Captain Maniac)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Sparkling Apple DVD

As I mentioned a few posts ago, Rick Mearns filmed our Sept. 18/2010 show at Donegals. The raw videos ended up on three DVDs, but I am currently in the process of creatimg a one-disc "highlights" DVD. I'm a Mac guy, so I'm using iMovie 09 to create the actual video, and iDVD 09 to burn the movie to disc. Kind of a challenging and steeper-than-expected learning curve, although the final product should look great.

And that brings me to a Sparkling Apple online offer...

If any readers are interested in a "Sparkling Apple 2010: Live at Donegal's" DVD, let me know on this blog, and assuming there is sufficient interest, I may make this DVD commercially available. If there's no interest, I at least have my own memories of the event!

Still waiting on Deena Media to see if they've completed our Gary Taylor's 79 DVD. I will phone them on the weekend.

By the way, thanks to Woody for lending me his minidisc of the previously-mentioned Sept. 18/2010 show at Donegals. I have now made a double-CD from this material, and the above offer also holds:

If any readers are interested in a "Sparkling Apple 2010: Live at Donegal's" CD, let me know on this blog, and assuming there is sufficient interest, I may make this CD available online. If there's no interest, I at least have my own memories of the event!

Talk at ya later,

Friday, October 1, 2010

Videos update

After doing a Google search, I found a business called "Deena Media", who will convert my U-Matic cassettes onto DVD. I have two cassettes, so they will make two DVDs for me. After researching other local companies, Deena's price sounds competitive. I phoned them today, and the producer will be in the office all day tomorrow (Saturday). Sounds like that's the ticket!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Dug up some old videos!

Just did some excavation in my basement, and I've found a couple of old U-Matic cassettes from 1979. They'e both labelled "Gary Taylor's Rock Room Dec. 19/79", but the smaller of the two contains only two songs (It's Criminal and Never Gonna Kiss You Bye Bye) as well as an interview with Gary Taylor himself. The larger tape has a set list inside the case, and it's a full one-hour set. What's a good local company to see about a U-Matic to DVD transfer?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

New items on

Hi folks! We are continually updating the Sparkling Apple website, and just in the last couple of days we have added some more videos (mostly filmed at the Sept 18/2010 reunion).

It has been brought to our attention that typing "" in your browser won't always connect to our site, although that may or may not depend on which browser you are using. I just tried it in Safari, and I'll be dipped -- it connects with an OLD version of the site featuring a Blog link up in the nav bar. We dropped the blog a while ago, so I'm puzzled why this happens. If you type "" into your browser, you will definitely connect to the latest & greatest updated version of the site. This looks like a job for Rod or  GoDaddy.

Talk at ya later,

Thursday, September 23, 2010

No more blog on

It appears that iWeb was not the best choice if I wanted to have an onsite blog where viewers could leave comments. I have therefore deleted the iWeb-created blog on our website and instead added a link to Blogger on several of its pages. This means that if you, the viewer, would like to voice your opinion on, you will be redirected here.

Not much to report now that our "big gig" is over and done with. But what do you think, folks? Should Sparkling Apple continue to play locally, or just go back into hibernation?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Leave your comments!

Hi folks: well, it looks like iWeb won't allow visitors to leave comments, unless the site is on Mobile.Me. Oh sure, there are several workarounds, but Intensedebate wouldn't let ME see viewer comments on my home computer, and JS-Kit appears to be just a trial version (if I want to keep it, I have to pay some $$ -- not that there's anything wrong with that). I installed UltraGuestbook, but it does move folks to another unrelated website, much like Blogger. However, Blogger LOOKs great and is easy to use.

If any of you have any preferences or tips with regard to having viewer comments posted directly on the Sparkling Apple site, please, well... post a comment right here!

Captain Maniac

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Post Mortem

Thanks to everyone for showing up and making this a very successful and fun evening, not only for the band, but for Rosie who crossed an important age-related milestone (jeez, I wish _I_ was 50 again)! We had the time of our lives (so far), and met many old friends who we haven't seen for ages. It was kind of like an old family reunion in that respect. Special thanks go out to Woody (Jim Woodburne) for recording the entire night, Gary Walchuk for joining us onstage after 35 years, and to Rick Mearns for filming the show. "A splendid time was guaranteed for all".

Friday, September 17, 2010

Can I have more than one blog?

There's a blog on our official website, and there you'll find a link to the blog you're reading now. Is this overkill, or are we comfortable with that?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Steel Wheelchairs Tour

Yes, it's this coming weekend. Grab your football helmet and your bottle of Extra-Strength Tylenol!