CHAPTER TWO: TCB/LOCAL HEROES II 1989
In the aftermath of the break-up of the Local Heroes, Alan and Neal were joined by Glen Swanson (then traveling back and forth from Winnipeg) on drums & rhythm guitar (they occasionally used Neal's new Roland D-20 synthesizer's onboard sequencer for drum patterns, which Neal programmed but somehow managed to switch manually during performance). The new band was then christened TCB, borrowed from Elvis Presley's motto "Takin' Care of Business"; oddly enough, Alan received a phone call pertaining to possible legal copyright infringement from a chemical company that used the same acronym.
The repertoire was updated to include more of Alan's original compositions, as well as several more classic and contemporary rock songs.
Still, many venues continued to advertise the group under the Local Heroes name. Mark Perrett (then and still one of Alan's favourite percussionists), who occasionally had substituted for Curtis, joined the group, as did bass guitarist Chris Strelzcik, from the family band the Western Strings.
The experiences included performing in new clubs as well as familiar ones, with highlights including packing a venue expected to be empty, although an audience member known to the band was killed on the highway following the show, detracting greatly from it's momentum. Glen had actually been the first on the scene, and attempted CPR without success.
Lowlights included being booked in a bar they'd packed several times previous with teenagers only to be filled this time with seated farmers at the end of harvest season who expected a country band ("John Deere hats as far as the eye could see"), with the only country song in the band's repertoire being "the Rodeo Song". While the band performed better than ever, the new manager made excuses, ducked out early and left instructions for the bartender to screw the group on payment, the bartender offering as consolation as much draft beer as possible (the tap counter being broken). The band nearly broke even.
Almost as bad, if not worse, was their last show, wherein the group mistakenly began the night with their newest (and weakest) untried cover song. Two sets later, Alan broke a guitar string and could not get to his spare guitar (blocked by Glen's amplifier); not playing anymore, Alan could hear that Glen's guitar was inaudible, and stomped on Glen's footswitch control to change the channel on the amp. Meanwhile, Neal had turned up Alan's microphone to an overpowering level, and as his guitar was out of commission, Alan took over lead vocals and a whisper must've sounded like a scream. It was at that point that Mark's entire drum kit fell in every direction.
Following the hectic, non-stop autumn tour, Mark left to attend college for chiropractic studies, and Neal moved west to Edmonton for the first of several times.
While Alan, Glen & Chris made plans to carry on with a new drummer, Strelzcik disappeared for an extended period of time, and the group disbanded. The Local Heroes would not perform under that name again until 1998.
|END CHAPTER TWO|