Back in the 70s part of takin' care of business for Bachman-Turner Overdrive meant performing underneath a large steel replica of the band's gear-shaped logo, with flashing lights -- a visual gimmick as heavy as the opening chords of "Not Fragile" or "Four Wheel Drive."

The quartet used the prop throughout its arena-filling heyday, when it had three albums in the Top 50 of the Billboard 200 chart (BTO II, Not Fragile, Four Wheel Drive) and "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet" lodged at No. 1. "that thing weighed tons," Randy Bachman tells UCR. It was tonnage. It was built on one-inch plywood all bolted together, and it had real sockets and wire and real lightbulbs and real neon. It was out of Army Navy Surplus; you get a big round chunk of wood or a big overdrive gar from a saw mill in British Columbia, where they're cutting logs to make lumber. You go with what you got, right?"

By 1976, however, the going was getting tougher with hauling around the gear around the world. So the final gig of the tour wound up being the last hurrah for BTO's signature stage accoutrement.

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"Someone had invented better lights that were lighter and stuff," Bachman recalls. "So when we finished our last gig (of the tour) we're driving through Texas, like Bugs Bunny/Roadrunner kind of territory, and there were these cactuses out there. We backed up to one, took the BTO thing and threw it over a cactus and left it there in the middle of the desert and drove off.

"So that gear is somewhere. We replicate it now onstage, but everything is so much lighter and faster and easier." Bachman nevertheless says that recovering the original gear "would be incredible. I would pay to get that back right now."

Why Bachman Turner Overdrive is Back on the Road

Bachman is touring again under the BTO name, playing the band's hits as well as some favorites from his days in the Guess Who and "She's So High," a hit from his son Tal Bachman, who's part of the band. The shows also build a medley around BTO's "Hey You" that includes a number of other rock hits from AC/DC, Free, the Steve Miller Band, the Rolling Stones, Frankie Valli and more.

"I'd been playing a good 12 years as the Randy Bachman Band, but because of my brothers' (deaths in 2023) and different things going on I got the rights to BTO back," Bachman explains. "So why call it the Randy Bachman Band when I'm doing the same songs. The (BTO) name has a ka-ching to it that people recognize. It's really rewarding to go out and play 15 or 20 hit songs that everybody just sits there and hungers for and consumes it and breathes it and gets up and screams and dances."

Watch BTO Perform Live

Bachman and company have the blessing of former bandmates C.F. "Fred" Turner and Blair Thornton, who he says "might" make guest appearances during occasional BTO shows. "They both have had health issues, and Fred lost his wife in the last six months so he's recovering from that," says Bachman, who himself underwent successful cancer treatments recently. "Hopefully they'll make it out, but when we're on stage we're showing old films of BTO and Blair Thornton's there, Fred Turner's there, my brother Robbie's there, on drums. We're celebrating, just like if you go see Queen, Freddie's (Mercury) gonna come out (on screen) and everybody sings 'BoRap' ('Bohemian Rhapsody') with him. Lynyrd Skynyrd does the same thing."

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Gallery Credit: UCR Staff

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