Max Havoc – Heavy Metal Bar Band. Part 6.
1987 – Seven guys playing Heavy Metal 6 nights a week in Top 40 bars throughout Western Canada. Usually in the Winter.
We were about 23 hours into what was supposed to be a 10 hour drive to the next gig. We are in the bus from hell, if hell was filled with ice instead of with flames.
We stopped at a Canadian Tire Store (kind of like Wall-mart) and bought a couple of propane space heaters. Illegal of course, but at this point we were pretty fed up with being frozen. They did not work nearly well enough to get us warm; they were just ever so slightly better than nothing.
We ignored the holes in the radiator. They were fairly high up so we had enough coolant to keep the motor from blowing up and we had to get to the next gig so we could get paid and be able to buy food and whatnot.
9 AM till 7 PM
Seems the carburetor was not fixed; we managed an average of about 15 MPH for the next 10 hours or so, arriving in Fernie BC about 32 hours after we were supposed to leave Edmonton.
We were cold, stiff, tired – seems it is impossible to sleep when you are shivering constantly from the cold, and more than a little mad at Dave the bus owner / guitarist.
Our sound man and I decided that going forward, instead of giving Dave the bus rental money and trusting him to maintain the vehicle, we would take the money, maintain the vehicle ourselves and give him any left over funds. Dave did not like this new plan, but was swiftly voted down as you might imagine. The hood latch took me about 5 seconds to fix, and the bus never broke down again, not that I was around for much longer.
So ends the trip from Edmonton Alberta to to Fernie BC.
A few random Adventures with Max Havoc:
Eventually Dave and Kate married, and as you would expect, got divorced after a few years.
New Drummer managed to accidentally kill himself about 20 years later, 100% his own fault. Around that time I ran into our last singer. He of course needed money so I “loaned” him $ 50.00 and never saw him again. Easily the best $ 50.00 I have ever spent.
The stripper girlfriend and her boa constrictor.
As you might imagine, hotel staff do not like being surprised by massive snakes in the hotel room; hotel managers also get very upset. I did not enjoy my unpaid role as “band leader” that day, or on any other day actually.
Fishing for chicks. Our bass player and lighting guy spent an afternoon dangling fishing lines out of their hotel room window 3 stories down to street level with signs on the end of the line, trying to attract girls. They called this game “Fishin for Chicks”. Seems this can work, at least in Rocky Mountain House Alberta at that time.
The Hood Ornament Game.
Simply sitting in a bus as you slowly crawl up the hill is very boring for heavy metal musicians, so our Bass player invented the Hood Ornament Game. Here are the rules.
First you need a bus, then you fill it with band equipment such that it can only do about 5 MPH up a very steep hill.
Then of course you need a very steep hill. We used the one from Trail BC to Rossland BC.
You crawl out onto the hood of the bus (without stopping first and against the strident objections of the driver / me) and proceed to contort yourself into shapes of various hood ornaments, asking your band mates to guess exactly which hood ornament you are trying to contort yourself into. Hilarious.
Meanwhile, the singer, shocked to discover he is no longer the focus of attention, jumped out in front of the bus and pretended to be Terry Fox, shuffling up the hill ahead of the us as if he only had one good leg.
Since we only had one hood, our lighting guy crawled out the side of the bus and started hanging off a window ledge.
These last two activities are not strictly part of the hood ornament game.
All fun and hilarity until you come around a bend and see the police have pulled someone over, likely for doing the exact same thing. Well, maybe not exactly the same.
Yes, the constable was mad, actually more freaking out than mad, and told us to pull the F$#% over.
The parking brake would not hold the bus from rolling backwards, so some rocks were employed and eventually did the job. We sat there for about an hour until he returned very, very frustrated. Apparently he could not figure out what statute to cite me with, and angrily told us to get the hell out of there. He may have used saltier language.
Last summer I found myself back in Trail, and once again drove up that same hill to Rossland to have dinner with a friend, of course telling him this story.