Sex, Pins & Rock N' Roll !!!

By FlipperFreak

August 24, 2012

8 years ago

I was 10years old in 1974 when I first walked into the local Pool Hall in Powell River, British Columbia. The place was full of rough n' tumble MacBlo Mill types and tough teens from the Townsite. Through the haze of cigarette smoke and "Bennie & The Jets" blasting from the juke box I spotted the now infamous "Fireball" backglass surrounded by a group of jean jacket hoods. As I stood there watching them play in amazement, I couldn’t help but think about my older brother’s change jar hidden in the back of his closet. I immediately ran home, grabbed a pocket full of “freeplay” and was officially hooked.

Fortunately for me, we were being raised by my Grandmother who worked 6 days a week at trucking company clear across town. I was able to spend after school and weekends feeding my addiction at “Lefty’s” (named after the one armed owner). Of course, this didn’t go over so well when I all but exhausted my brother’s silver stash and tried using “quarter sized” slugs leftover from the punch-out press at the Mill. I was caught “red handed” by Lefty himself after screwing up the coin box on “Jive Time”. He eventually allowed me to play for free after I agreed to make restitution by helping out around the place.

In 1979, I joined my first rock band and instantly had access to a much wider variety of pinball machines set up in bars & nightclubs across the country. Space Invaders, The Black Hole & Gorgar kept me busy during often boring afternoon sound checks and rehearsals.

Throughout the 1980’s and early 90’s I toured extensively and was always on the hunt for that special pin hiding in a new city or town. However, as time went on, it was apparent that a swift decline in the number of arcades & bars was afoot. Fortunately for me..….again, it was about this time I moved from performing, to managing hard rock & metal bands and spent a lot of time travelling throughout Europe. I was thrilled to find that silverball was alive and well with headbangers & geeks alike. Retro “Americana” was celebrated by nostalgic overseas collectors & club owners, and this included pinball.

After retiring from the music biz in 2006, I bought a “Counterforce” by Gottlieb. This was one of my all-time kick’s back in the day because of the 7 drop targets and descending invaders style time limit. Since then I’ve collected many personal fave’s including Nugent, Space Invaders, Rolling Stones, and Space Shuttle.

In January of 2011, I launched Flipper Freaks Pinball Club located in the Fraser Valley, BC and founded Fraser Valley FlipOut (Canada's largest annual pinball tournament) in September of the same year. Nitro Amusements was established in 2012 and has since grown to become Western Canada's #1 pinball destination In 2016 Vancouver FlipOut Pinball Expo was born, incorporating the successful FlipOut tournament, 100+ games on free play, pinball seminars & industry VIP's   

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8 years ago

Welcome to pinside. Sounds like you had a great ride through pinballs best years, late 70's to late 80's, never forget the artwork and the sound of an early Gottlieb once you play one.

8 years ago

Great story! Good luck with the new club.

8 years ago

cool name "Flipper Freaks'. Enjoyed reading your tale man.

8 years ago

GREAT STORY TOMMY ! I grew up in PR as well and played in Westview at the various arcades that moved around town.....including KOOKIES :)

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