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The Last Two Shows: Patching & Scratching As A Tour Long Ago Came To A Close

Winding down a 2-month western tour of Canada, an hour from the designated load-in time for the final gigs, and that’s when things started to go south...

I just replied, “See for yourself!” and walked around the back, undid the padlock and rolled up the door. “What’s all that?” he demanded. “Band equipment,” I replied, “and we’re supposed to be setting up at Confederation College right now.” At this point the other guy asks “What’s the name of the band?” I told him and he says, “Oh! You’re doing the Junior Hockey Federation dance over at the Moose Hall for my brother-in-law tomorrow night!”

Well, that broke the ice… The two of them donned coveralls and in short order had figured out that the engine had quit because the fuel intake had broken off inside the main fuel tank. This allowed the senior guy to use a great line: “See? Our engines never break down.”

Now, even though the fuel line wasn’t technically their problem, they quickly devised a plan for a temporary fix (the real repair would involve draining both 45-gallon saddle tanks and lowering the main one off the truck). Their fix involved drilling a hole in the side of the nearly full tank and threading a temporary hose fitting up to the fuel filter (a fix that actually got us home to Toronto, a two-day drive away).

We got out of the repair shop about an hour after arriving, tore over to the university, ran through a very fast load-in, and the did the gig… which I remember nothing else about except that the promoter was named Debbie and known in the biz as “Debbie K. Debbie,” a riff on “Donald K. Donald” (Donald Tarelton), who was a very big promoter in Montreal at the time.

Adventures In Power

The next day we arrived at the Moose Hall mid-afternoon and were informed that we weren’t allowed to tie in to the facility’s electrical service because some band before us had damaged it. I discussed the situation with the band leader and said I would try and make it work by running off the AC from wall receptacles. As I recall, I got this to work by making some kind of adapter to go in front of our 60-amp distro system. As I worked on that, the band got the PA, lights and backline set up.

My kluge appeared to be working, although I had my doubts as to how long it would last. (By the way, “kluge” is short for a configuration that, while inelegant, inefficient, clumsy, or patched together, succeeds in solving a specific problem.) We got to the point were the PA was on and the band was able to check their gear.

But when I powered up the monitor system’s amplifier, the inrush current was the straw that broke the camel’s back, tripping both circuit breakers for the outlets we were using. I told the band leader, “That’s it, we can’t do the gig without getting this power situation resolved.”

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