Max Havoc – Heavy Metal Bar Band. Part 3.
1987 – Seven guys playing 6 nights a week in bars throughout Western Canada. We are very very cold.
Sunday 9 PM – 11 PM
We were on our way from Edmonton Alberta to Fernie British Columbia, in January. It is about 30 below zero, 1000 degrees below Zero with the wind chill. We have been up since 9 AM attempting to get there.
We finally had heat in the bus interior after a couple hours on the road. Now as any heating guy will tell you, as a system heats up things will expand as it pressurizes. Knowing this, I asked New Drummer if he had double checked / re-tightened the clamps on the heating hoses that run through the bus interior since he had taken the system apart in order to un-freeze it. Seems my “constant nagging” had gotten to him and he was pretty mad. “Of course I did, do you think I am an idiot!”. Or words to that effect.
Yes, in fact I was certain he was an idiot, precisely why I asked about tightening the clamps.
Once the system heated up to running temperature one of those pesky hose clamps, not being tightened sufficiently, let go, spraying a mix of boiling water, steam and anti-freeze all over the interior of the bus.
Picture New Drummer lying on the drenched floor frantically trying to tighten clamps while engine fluids were gushing out, filling the interior with steam.
No need to mention “I told you so” to make him feel like an idiot I reasoned. The only requirement needed to make him feel like an idiot was making sure he was awake.
No one was hurt, but the bus was filled with steam and anti-freeze. Like a horrible sauna with hydrocarbons. And everything was nicely damp. Until the carpet and every other surface froze solid. Took about 2 minutes.
We were somewhere in the middle of nowhere between Edmonton and Red Deer, 30 below minus the 1000 degrees below zero wind chill factor, on a 4 lane highway driving as quickly as possible. Now we were cold, damp, and nauseous.
Now you might think no big deal, we will be at the next town soon enough and can get all of this dealt with. Nope, not even close.
Seems the bus engine was unhappy with all the heating system shenanigans, and the general no maintenance ever situation. We would get going up to about 45 miles an hour, then the motor would kind of stall, we would coast down to 5 or 10 miles an hour, rev the motor in neutral for a minute or so, it would then start running properly again, back up to 45 MPH, then back down to 5 MPH and the cycle would repeat. Average speed about 12 miles per hour if I recall correctly. This thankfully cut down on the wind chill, not that you could notice the difference.
Eventually, around 11 PM or so, we were maybe 15 miles from Red Deer so no need to panic, we were not going to die. Dave maybe, but not the rest of us.
Then the fan belt broke. Of course it did.
More with the aptly named Max(imum) Havoc coming next week.
This is why I now play smooth jazz… and no singer (more on that later)