Max Havoc – Heavy Metal Bar Band. Part 4.
I wasn’t always playing smooth jazz… in the 80’s things were much different.
1987 – Travelling around in broken down bus with a huge PA system, huge lighting system, and a huge gas expense every week. Minuscule pay checks.
Sunday 11 PM – 12 PM. 15 hours into our 12 hour trip.
The temperature inside the bus was approximately a thousand degrees below zero, the bus reeks of anti-freeze, all interior surfaces are covered in anti-freeze / water / ice and frozen solid. This includes the people, many of whom are wondering if they can get away with murdering Dave. We are still at least 10 hours away from our final destination. We are very tired and very, very cold.
We have no electrical power to run the lights or the motor because the fan belt broke. Thankfully we don’t have to worry about overheating the motor given the outside temperature, and we are close to the next town.
Typical gas combustion engines will run on just the battery for a while, depending of course on how well the battery has been maintained. This battery was not maintained at all; even if it was there is no way the engine would run for very long with all the lights on so we suggested to Dave that he turn off the lights.
There was not a lot of traffic at this time of night, we were not going very fast and with snow and ice everywhere but the highway we could in fact see where to point the bus.
Dave must remain vigilant however and keep a close eye for cars coming up behind us. When he spotted one he would briefly turn on the running lights so as not to get rear-ended.
Good plan, except for a few minor details.
1. Dave was anything but vigilant.
2. School busses of that era had a double pane, sliding window on the drivers side. This one however had a broken seal that Dave had not bothered to fix, after all it had only been broken for months. Due in part to the anti-freeze / steam situation inside the bus and therefore between the panes of glass, and the approximately thousand degrees below zero situation outside the bus, this window was now more frozen ice sheet than window; virtually impossible to see out of.
3. As you know, school busses are bright yellow, presumably for higher visibility, you know, to keep the children safe. Not this one. It came from the Army so it was dark green, and that did not bode well for one unlucky Camero driver that frosty January night. Or was it morning?
We were limping along somewhere between 5 and 45 miles per hour when a car rear ended us, bouncing off the highway into a shallow ditch. No one was injured, but someone was mad – very mad at the idiot in the dark green bus crawling down the highway at midnight with no lights on. Seeing seven guys in the bus, the unlucky driver calmed down quickly, jumping in for a chilly ride to town.
This was not to be however, as the battery gave way shortly thereafter.
Of course it did.
A little background on the bus. It was first purchased from the Army by the Medicine Hat Minor Hockey Association, who’s moniker was stencilled down the side of the bus in large white block letters. It soon became irritating continously having to answer the question “how was the game”; hockey being a big deal in Canada, even though we were clearly not a hockey team, 80’s heavy metal hair do’s and the like.
Being a resourceful fellow, and a bit of you know what disturber our sound man took it upon himself to change the name on the bus, re-stencilling it to read “Ippsville Mental Institute”. Not institution mind you, institute. Clever guy.
Despite a number of people over the next few months swearing they had been to Ippsville, Ippsville does not exist, and presumably neither does the institute.
More Maximum Havoc coming next week.