I think it was feb’80 when Mad Gorilla went to Adelaide for 2 weeks ( I’m sure someone has a better memory than me & will correct me ) Anyhow we were staying at a pub in a place called Paradise & whoever named it had a bloody good sense of humour. Don’t get me wrong the people were great , the pub staff were friendly and we had no major trouble at any of the gigs. But it was hot, February is normally our hottest month but this was nuts. A genuine heatwave. Then to top it off the air conditioning in the pub broke down from running flat out for days on end.
One of the first gigs we did was The Old Lion and it went off. A good crowd and the publican and staff were friendly & helpful. What was strange was when the punters started to come in & we were checking them out everyone of the females looked identical . They all had the Stevie Nicks hairdo almost identical clothes, Oroton handbag and matching high heels. They all looked like they were made in the same factory. But they were a good crowd and friendly which is a bonus. All up it was a good gig, with an easy load in and good dressing rooms plus air con.
One morning I went to make a cuppa and of course there was no milk. My demeanour was not good, tired, hot , no air con & no bloody milk ! I grabbed some change, threw on a shirt and headed off to the milk bar across the road from the pub. It was only about 8 o’clock but as I headed out of the pub the heat hit me & not a breath of breeze. The sun wasn’t high yet so the car park was still in shade as I ran across it. Wait on the nature strip for a gap in the traffic and then ran across the road. Oh shit ! My feet stuck to the tar but I kept going grabbed the milk, paid & raced back to the pub. I raced up the stairs & straight into the shower cursing all the way. The tar had picked up a whole pile of carpet on the way up the stairs and I looked like I had fluffy slippers on. Very uncomfortable slippers ! So the cold water was good but the asphalt set solid on my feet. Luckily I s’pose in those days I didn’t wear shoes much so my feet were pretty calloused.
But by the time I had finished scraping the crap off my feet they were very tender. Then the publican had a spit about the black footprints on the stairs. There was no use denying it was me as you didn’t need tracking skills to follow the prints all the way from the front door, up the stairs and into my room. He did have a chuckle in the end when he was told the story. It wasn’t just a matter of wiping my feet before I got inside after all.
After all that I finally got my morning cuppa’s & a smoke and started to plan the day. Upon checking the lie book we realised we were back at The Old Lion that night with a 2.30pm load in. Beauty ! But it was still going to be very hot. We had a guy working with us and I’m sorry man I can’t remember your surname but his name was Jimmy (Not Jimmy Bourke) and we were sharing a room. We had a chat & both agreed that the staff at the lion were pretty cool and maybe we could talk them into letting us into the room early. Maybe. It’d be nice in there once we got the gear in and closed the room back up. Then we could take our time setting up and grab a sleep on the tiles in the bathroom in the band room. It seemed like a plan. We went down to Zac & Coby’s room & ran the idea by them. They agreed it’d be good but doubted we’d talk them into it. We could only try. “OK if we’re not back in an hour you’ll know we got in.”
We arrived at the gig just before 11.30 and as luck would have it the publican was behind the bar when we walked in. We said g’day & he asked if something was wrong
“You’re bloody early did ya shit the bed?”
We explained that it was really hot and we wanted to get the gear in early. I explained that it wasn’t good for the instruments etc and even though he sympathised said no. I then tried the “Oh come on mate you know we aren’t going to be trouble, the other night was a beaut”
He agreed but still no, then he said “ya’s are good blokes but, tell ya what i’ll buy ya’s a coupla beers”
“Ta mate, but i’ve got some things in the truck I really shouldn’t leave in the heat, I’ll be back in a tick”
So I ducked out to the truck and grabbed my smokes, camera and the ½ pound of gunpowder we used for the flashpots. My trump card!
Back then even a bunch of loonies like us could just go & buy a pound of black powder and nobody batted an eyelid. Those were the days ! It was in a sealed container, taped shut , basically it was safe. I walked back into the bar and Jimmy was chatting with the boss and the locals about working with bands. But the conversation stopped pretty quick when I plonked myself down on the stool next to Jim and put down the camera & the container marked in big red letters EXPLOSIVES. I had a sip of my beer, lit a cigarette and put the lighter on the container.
“Thanks mate, that’s a bloody good beer” I said to the publican.
He had his mouth hanging open and had suddenly lost all colour. “What the fuck is that!!” said one of the locals “Gunpowder” I replied innocently, they all moved away
“How bloody much gunpowder” said someone else
“Oh about half a pound”
All of a sudden everyone was speaking at once. Jimmy played along and reached over the top of the black powder & ashed his ciggie in the ashtray next to it. One of the locals yelled from the other end of the bar “Ya can’t just put it on the bar, ya goose”
“Well I can’t leave it in the truck, hey boss can ya put it behind the bar for us?”
“Are you fucking kidding?” came the reply
“Nah mate look it’s all right” I said picking it up with the smoke in my mouth “ It’s all sealed and taped shut, don’t worry guys” and tossed it back onto the bar.
A couple of guys hit the floor, another couple ran out the door. And then everyone was yelling “These guys are fucking crazy” “Get ‘em out of here” We were both trying not to laugh as I explained to the publican that we wanted to get the powder and our equipment in out of the heat and once it was backstage it really wouldn’t be a problem. We had used the flashpots the last time we were there & the crowd loved it, no problem.
By this stage the 20 or so blokes who were in the bar were yelling at the publican to “Let ‘em into the room for fuck’s sake!” and other variations of that theme with lots of colourful expletives. Democracy is a wonderful thing and seeing that the vote was in our favour the publican agreed that letting us into the room rather than having the black powder sitting in his carpark in 40 plus heat WAS a good idea. He wouldn’t even let us have another beer before we loaded in, which was a bummer. We got the gear in as quick as we could and closed the room up it was glorious.
After about another hour there was someone banging on the door, “I wonder who that is?” I said to Jim & we both laughed, we knew it was the band looking for a cool spot. They were rapt until I think it was Zac asked how I talked the boss into letting us in. These days what ensued would be called counselling, back then I copped a bollocking but in the end we had a laugh. The rest of the set up & the gig went off although the publican was nervous. He came out to watch me do the flashpots in the 2nd set, he was sure we’d blow his pub up.
All was smiles in the end. But we didn’t get our kip on those nice cool tiles because by the time we set up the band was literally “Out on the tiles”