After waiting for over 20 years...

...I saw April Wine in 1993 at Chiller's in San Diego on the "Attitude" tour.  Not a big place - maybe 3 or 4 hundred people I'd guess.  I gathered up a bunch of AW goodies and trotted off to the show with my brother, arriving two hours before the opening band hit the stage (a particularly crappy band called Mobius).

When we arrived, Jerry Mercer was standing at the end of the bar enjoying some food, and I immediately went up and introduced myself.   I soon unloaded the bag of AW stuff and laid it out across the bar.  I had to explain to the bartender why I wouldn't let him open my bottle of April Wine.  At some point, my brother Jeff (who was standing a bit behind me) called my name.  When I turned around I was standing face to face with Brian Greenway!  He smiled as if we were old friends, offered his hand, and asked my name.  No rock-god airs about the man, that's for sure.  Easily one of the most friendly, outgoing, fun to be around kinda guys you'll ever meet.  Brian and me stepped up to the bar where he graciously signed everything I brought.  Jim Clench appeared at some point, but my brain was having some difficulty processing what was going on so I'm not sure when he came into the picture.  I recall asking Brian if he thought Myles would arrive before showtime, and he thought he might.  He never did.

I spent the evening leaning on Myles' monitor.  I'm embarrassed to say I haven't the vaguest idea what the setlist was.  It never occurred to me to write it down, although I did intend to get the list off the stage floor (didn't happen).  I do remember the concert was amazing!  During a quiet moment between songs, I yelled out "Play Wings Of Love!"  Myles was standing in front of Jerry with his back to the audience, and when he heard that he turned and said "Ooooo!!"  Later on, I tried the request idea again and yelled out "Fast Train!!!"  Looking somewhat surprised, Myles again looked my way and said "Whoa!!"  He stepped up to the mic, which was about 3 feet away from me, and said to the crowd "Everybody put your hands over your ears like this [covering his ears].  I want to play a little bit of a song just for this guy right here [pointing at me]."  He then proceeded to strum the first few bars of my request!  It sounds a little groupie-ish to say, but that was a magical 10 or 12 seconds.

Some number of tunes later, Myles walked up to the front of the stage while the band was in the middle of an instrumental break (I forget which song).  He held his guitar out where I could reach it, and I did the strumming while Myles handled the fretboard.  (Odds are the volume knob was adjusted appropriately).  I'd give a million bucks for a video of that night's show!

After the show was over, I hung around the front lobby in hopes of catching the band before I left.  Several people were looking over the Wine stuff I had with me, including a fairly large (and slightly tipsy) man who was clearly older than anyone else in the club.  He was particularly interested in my memorabilia and asked how I came to possess some of it.  He seemed more knowledgeable about April Wine than I expected, and I finally asked if he was associated with the band somehow.  He said "Yes - I'm their manager".  Immediately I shouted "TERRY FLOOD??????!!!"  Sure enough, it was!  He wandered off eventually, and I continued to hang around the lobby.  Steve Segal came out from the dressing room and plopped down on the stool behind the front counter.  In all honesty, he wasn't exactly the most congenial chap I'd met that evening.  Not rude, mind you, but he seemed bored and anxious to get out of there.  He did give me a page of his tour itinerary (I guess that's what it is), and he signed my Attitude CD, so he wasn't ALL bad.  He also found a small stack of unused tickets from the concert that were stuck behind the counter, and he peeled one off and handed it to me.  A club employee happened to see that little exchange, and insisted I return it.  She had to account for all of them for some reason, and I eventually relented and returned it to her.

All of a sudden there was a hand on my shoulder, and Terry Flood whispered in my ear "The band wants to meet you."

Imagine that.  If I said I was stunned I would be understating how I felt right then.  Terry led me through the crowd and pointed me towards the backstage door.  I made it up the first step before a bouncer stopped me.  I turned and yelled to Terry, who was in the midst of the crowd, and told him I couldn't get in.  He came up to the steps, took off his All Area Backstage Pass and gave it to me.  In I went!

Myles was the first to greet me, introducing himself and asking my name.  I sat down on a chair next to Myles, and he began looking over the bag of AW stuff I had with me.  Everything was passed around, and anything that didn't get autographed before the show got signed then (twice in a couple of cases).  Brian made a comment about me looking like a mirrored ball in front of the stage.  I was wearing a ball cap that had every AW pin I own stuck on it, and when the spot light hit my head the pins reflected it everywhere.  Myles asked to see my hat, so I removed it and let him look it over.  He seemed surprised to see a few of pins I had on there.  He gave me a hard time about a Goddo pin that accidentally ended up on the hat.

At some point, someone mentioned an April Wine CD boxed set.  I had never heard of such a thing!  Canadian stuff is especially difficult to come by in this part of the world.  Terry said "Hold on a minute..." and left the room.  He returned with the boxed set that they had in the bus and gave it to me!  Brian and I sat down at a table, and we looked through the booklet together and talked about it. Somehow I neglected to get the booklet autographed.

When I finally got up the nerve to ask if I could take a picture or two, Myles said "You got a camera?" Hell yeah I did.  A crummy little disc camera, but what the heck.  I wanted to take shots during the show, but security wouldn't allow it.  By this time Jerry had returned to the bar, and I think Steve was still on that stool, so Myles, Brian and Jim were the only ones from the band who were still there.  One of the roadies (?) who was backstage volunteered to take the pics, so the four of us posed for for a couple of mug shots.  (Myles is holding my bottle of April Wine, and Jim is holding my "Lady Run, Lady Hide" picture sleeve 45.)  I convinced Terry to join in for a picture, and reluctantly he finally did.  Not wanting to seem like a COMPLETE idiot, I limited myself to these two snapshots : (PIC #1) (PIC #2)

After a couple beers and some cold pizza, I decided to take my leave.  I figured it was better to exit voluntarily than to be ASKED to get out.  My poor brother Jeff was waiting outside for over an hour and a half, but he said he didn't mind a bit; He said the grin on my face the whole trip home was worth every second.


Back To Table Of Contents