Moose Jaw Lions Junior ‘A’ Show Band California Tour Journal July 15 — August 2, 1978 By Garth Zimmer The following is a transcript of a journal I kept during the Show Band’s California concert tour of 1978. I was twelve-years-old (the youngest band member) and my parents were understandably concerned about the corrupting influence that sixty teenagers might have on their youngest son. However, the fact that my brother would be with me, made their decision to let me go a little easier. Given that this was the longest I’d been away from my parents, they suggested I write down each day’s events as a way of preserving the memories of what I’d experienced. I’m glad they did. I’ve added some commentary that appears in italics. Saturday, July 15: We arrived at Swift Current about 9:00am. We also got through customs O.K. Our first stop to stretch our legs was a place called Harlem. First thing we noticed was Mr. H. going into “Kennedy’s Bar”. Also, we stopped because the tread from the tire blew off. About 20 miles out of Havre, we experienced two more tire blows and had to turn around going 20 mph (which caused a great delay). I lost 30 cents gambling on the bus. And we didn’t reach Butte until 10:40pm. We also ate supper at McDonald’s. It’s 12:10am. Sunday, July 16: I awoke in the YMCA at about 6:00am and had a shower and washed my hair. We went for a walk looking at Butte and we had breakfast at the bus depot at 9:30am. We went swimming 3 times today. We were responsible for getting our own lunch so we went to Harrington’s. Our practice at 4:00pm was delayed because of heavy winds, heavy rains and one-inch diameter hail stones. I was completely soaked because of lack of shelter. A chicken supper was brought to us at the park. We then had another practice at 6:00-6:30pm and then got changed. But it started again at 7:00pm and had to CANCEL our concert. It’s 11:15pm.
2 Monday, July 17: Got up at 6:00am ready to go to Salt Lake City. We ate breakfast at Harrington’s and waited at the bus depot for our bus. We loaded up and left. We stopped in Pocatello (Idaho) and ate at The Burger Palace and they were really big! We took off again and reached Salt Lake City. The place we were to stay was beautiful. Tennis courts, swimming pool, games room and air conditioning! We had hamburgers thanks to the Lions Club in Utah. We played basketball with two black guys and they were really good. We went swimming for the rest of the night. It’s 12:00am. Tuesday, July 18: Got up at 7:30am and went to Harman Café and were ripped off! The band had to pay over two bucks for a bowl of cereal and $3.18 for a spoonful of hash browns and scrambled eggs. Then we went sight-seeing (see post cards). We went to Fred’s for dinner then went shopping until 2:30pm. We got back at 2:45pm and went swimming. Then I got changed, went over to the park and had the worst concert I ever performed. I missed my solo in “S.W.A.T.” and everything went wrong. It’s 10:10pm. [My fascination with exact time throughout these entries remains a complete mystery to me. It might’ve had something to do with receiving my first ‘L.E.D.’ watch that year. Remember those?] Wednesday, July 19: Woke up at 6:00am and got ready to leave (packing the buses). We had a good breakfast at the Village Inn then we were on our way to Las Vegas. We ate dinner at this dumpy looking place where the food was so-so. Then, after a while we stopped in the desert. It was really hot. When we finally arrived in Vegas at about 6:00pm and located the place we were to stay, we found that they hadn’t got the letter to be expecting us. We waited in the bus for about two hours then went to Sambo’s for supper. After that, we took the buses down “The Strip”. Then we were able to come into the Center. It’s 10:50pm. [I can only imagine the fast talking that Mr. Houghton had to do to convince the Recreation Center officials to let us in that night. Email was still fifteen years away.] Thursday, July 20: Briefly, we ate at Sambo’s for breakfast then went back to the Center. We got on the bus and went to City Hall but did not play a concert because of the heat. And we took a vote to see who wanted to go on to L.A. at 1:00pm. L.A. won, but Mr. Houghton had already made plans for the day. So we went shopping (see shirts and post cards, etc.) until 5:30pm. I’ve been kicked out of casinos for playing the slots, but I still made a profit. We ate at a supper buffet at the Fremont Hotel for $3.61 at 4:30pm. We went back to the Centre and went swimming. At 9:00pm we went to Circus Circus. It’s 1:05am. Friday, July 21: Got up at 6am. I was so tired that when they turned the lights on in the court, I slept another half-hour overtime. I ate at Sambo’s for breakfast. We got on the buses to go to L.A. Yes, yes and we did blow another tire, but we got there and found that Chapman College was great. We got all our luggage out and
3 were assigned rooms etc. We were given sheets to make our own beds and everything. Had supper at the school cafeteria then went to practice for our concert in Disneyland. Shawna [Connolly] can’t play worth a $#&%! Arghh!! PS: We ate dinner at 1pm at a very expensive restaurant. I can’t think of the name. It’s 11:12pm. [Unlike the concert band, the Show Band’s percussion section was dominated by one instrument: the Drum Set. This created tension among the three percussionists because if you weren’t playing it, you’d be relegated to the tambourine or you sat out. I wrongly felt, at the time, that the best drummer should be rewarded with the most songs. Regrettably, this attitude went against the collaborative spirit the band program was trying to foster.]
Saturday, July 22: Got up at 7:30am and had to go for breakfast between 8-8:30am (at the school cafeteria). Got back to campus and got my uniform out of my room (it was sure nice sleeping on a bed last night). Then we got on the bus to Disneyland. We played our concert without an encore due to lack of time (and no solo for me). Shawna had so much trouble with “You’re No Good” that after the concert, Mr. H. told me it was mine for Magic Mountain (tomorrow). Got our E-tickets and the first $10 out of my account and was off to Disneyland. It was just beautiful. I cannot word it very well but just see all the stuff I got there and see for yourself. It’s 11:15pm. Sunday, July 23: Got up and had breakfast at the campus café (everyday we have to have it between 8:00-8:30am). Got back to my room and got my uniform and went on the buses. We got to Magic Mountain at 11:30am and found that it wasn’t a very organized place. The biggest rollercoaster in the world takes you two hours waiting in line to get on. So we didn’t go. I went to work crew at 1:00pm and Mr. H. told me to “take ‘er easy”. We played at 3:00pm and the traps were right in the sun. Man it was HOT! After that, we had a choice to go back then or stay until 10pm. I stayed. It’s 12:04pm.
4 [The intense heat had given me a splitting headache, and I generally felt awful. I asked Mrs. Lind for some medication and was given a strong painkiller with codeine.] Monday, July 24: Got up and that 222 must have really knocked me out. I didn’t get up until 8:10am and had to rush to breakfast. I had breakfast (and since it was a free day) we walked down to a music store. I had taken my first Dimetapp and was feeling O.K. After dinner we went down to a giant mall in Orange, but I didn’t get a thing. We came back on Dial-A-Ride and went for supper. There I washed my clothes with Grant and didn’t go out for the rest of the night. I showered and went to bed. It’s 9:40pm. [My cold symptoms were getting worse.] Tuesday, July 25: For my cold I’ve been gargling Listerine, gargling salt water, taking Dimetapp three times a day, taking vitamin C pills and drinking three drinks a meal. But the mighty cold holds its position (and I’m gonna get some Aspergum tomorrow!) I got up at 7:14am and got ready to go to breakfast. I went to breakfast and sat with Hartfield and he told me the drummer he had previously been recording with yesterday was really good. I also heard that 19 people had been drinking and were caught but nothing was done (last night). At 9:00am we went to Universal Studios. It wasn’t really so great; you know, you could see it all in ¼ of a day (5 hours). On the way back, at 4:00pm, we were caught in a traffic jam and had to stop at a restaurant for supper. It was called Big Boys. I got my third pill at 7:30pm and was given some advice about how to cure myself. It’s 9:04pm. [Four concert-free days were scheduled so that our Director, Ken Hartfield, could “lay down tracks” of original music in an L.A.-based recording studio. Note my disapproving tone in response to the underage drinking. Looking back, I was probably a little jealous.] Wednesday, July 26: Late entry. Got up at 7:15 and went for breakfast and came back. Got on the bus to Marineland. We got there and it was beautiful – all those baby seals were so cute. Just when we went to see a really good dolphin show, Mr. H. called us all back (an hour had passed) because he wanted to go to the beach. There was an argument so we made a compromise to stay an extra hour. We did, then went to the beach. Long Beach was fun too – taking in those big waves. But you could really taste the salt. We had pizza for supper (two larges). It’s 11:00pm. Thursday, July 27: Got up at 7:30am and went for breakfast. I bought a shirt right off the bat. We had a choice either to go to Disneyland or the beach. We chose Disneyland. It is so beautiful there. We were also fortunate to be able to take in more things (because we had more time). We also played a mini-golf course for two hours. After supper, we went shopping then watched the “Electric Parade”. I sure wish I’ll be able to spend more time there in my life. Tomorrow is Knott’s Berry Farm. It’s 11:15pm. [At that age, visiting the amusement parks was more exciting to me than playing concerts; I haven’t been to Disneyland or Los Angeles since.]
5 Friday, July 28: I got up at 7:15am and had a wash. I went for breakfast and had a good one. I went back and got my uniform and shoes for the bus. The buses arrived at 9:15am and we were on our way to Knott’s Berry Farm. We got there and played our “short” prepared concert. After putting all the stuff away we got our tickets and went on the rides. We went on various kinds of rides but the best ones were the “Corkscrew” and “Montezuma’s Revenge”. On this one ride you reach 60 mph in the first two seconds. We had a really good chicken dinner for $4.50. It’s 10:33pm. Saturday, July 29: Got up at 7:25 and had a wash. I went for breakfast then came back to campus. I waited around the campus until 10:30am. That’s when me, Grant [Zimmer], Mike [Gorkoff] and Frank [Wong] went downtown for a while. We came back to the café early so we could watch cartoons. That’s right, on T.V.! We had a good lunch, then phoned for Dial-A-Ride to pick us up and take us downtown. We went shopping but coming back we missed our first bus so it wasn’t until 6:10pm that we got supper. Did washing and got packed. Grant was given a couple of [birthday] cards and a present from Roxy [Pavel]. He was also given the “Rose Bowl” [placing his head in a flushing toilet bowl]. There’s a dance going on right now. It’s 8:45pm. [I didn’t go to the dance. Even though the entire band was invited, I remember thinking how out of place I’d feel.] Sunday, July 30: Got up at 7:20am and went down to see when we were to turn in our linens and our keys. I went and ate the final breakfast from Chapman that I was to have. I had a good one. I bought a Sunday paper, made a final check of my room and we were on our way to Las Vegas. We got there at 3:30pm and went for a drink at Sambo’s. Later we had supper there too. At 8:30pm we went to Circus Circus and stayed until 10:00pm. Got to get to bed now ‘cause we gotta get up at 6:00am tomorrow. It’s 11:15pm. [We ate at Sambo’s more than any other restaurant on the tour. Just three years later, all 1200 restaurants nationwide would close as the term ‘sambo’ was increasingly seen as pejorative to African-Americans.]
Monday, July 31: Got up at 6:00am and packed my stuff and took it outside. We went for breakfast and at Sambo’s the service is slow so the buses arrived before we did. Anyway, I got everything of mine on and we were on our way to Salt Lake. We stopped at some city [Cedar City, UT] and ate at Hermies. We were gone again and arrived at Salt Lake at about 6:00pm. We ate at Denny’s and had the best soup (with my grilled ham) I’ve ever had. We got to the Center and played basketball then went swimming until 10:00pm. Then I got my things over to the room we were to sleep and set up. It’s 10:20pm. Tuesday, August 1: Got up at 6:00am and had a wash. I got dressed and packed my things. We had a real good breakfast thanks to the Rose Park Lions Club (Salt Lake City). We got on the bus and travelled from 8:00am- 6:00pm. We got to the YMCA in Butte and found that because we were bad, we had to sleep in a very small room. And we also had to play a concert at 7:00pm. We went to the same spot where we were rained out and played a really nice concert. We had food brought to us thanks to the Butte Lions Club. They really enjoyed us. We came back on the buses and some people went to the show across the street but I stayed at the Y. It’s 10:30pm. Wednesday, August 2: Got up at 6:00am. Had a shower and went to breakfast at Harrington’s. Got back to the YMCA and the buses were ready to go so I got on and we went. We travelled until we hit Havre, Montana to eat at 12 noon. We went to the Arctic Circle and had hamburgers. We then travelled until 4pm. That’s when we hit customs. We had filled out a form to make the job faster and it only took about 15 minutes. A lot of people were so anxious to get home that they didn’t even want to stop at Swift Current. It was like a stop watch until we got home. We finally saw good old Moose Jaw once more! And a great sight it was. It’s been a long hectic tour and most were glad to get home.
Photos: Bill Tonita
Published on Aug 2, 2011