Cal Cavendish, the 'Mad Manure Bomber,' tells his story

Cal Cavendish wasn't getting anywhere in his music career and decided to take out his frustration on an unsuspecting Calgary, with the help of some records and an awful lot of manure.

Frustrated by his music career, former Calgary musician had a seriously impressive tantrum

Cal Cavendish even flew lower than the observation deck of the Calgary Tower on his mad manure run back in 1975. (Submitted by Mark Salkeld)

The Mad Manure Bomber struck without warning one spring day in 1975.

One minute, everything was normal on Ninth Avenue. The next minute Cal Cavendish was screaming over the street in his airplane, pouring 100 records and 100 pounds of cow manure out the side door.

Musician Mike Tod joined the Calgary Eyeopener last week to talk about Canadian folk music and spoke about the incident, prompting questions for listeners.

So the Eyeopener tracked down Cavendish to get his first-hand account of the events.

  • Hear the entire interview in the audio above

"I was a pretty good pilot," said Cavendish from his rural Montana home.

"So what I did, I held the door open with my right foot and I leaned the bag over with my arm and just dribbled it down the side of the airplane as I went flying down Ninth."

Career frustration taken out on Calgary

Cavendish was upset, looking at his cousins who were lawyers and doctors and then looking at his own moribund music career. He was living in Calgary at the time, and thought he would share his anger.

Most of the poop ended up in the business district downtown, while the records spread mostly throughout Inglewood, where "the RCMP and the city police had all kinds of helpful people pick up the broken records and they showed me them in court."

Cavendish carried on flying east, and as darkness fell and his gas gauge dropped. He managed to land on a dark highway before taxiing in a hurry through an open gate in the Old Dutch potato chip plant near Brooks.

'Fuzzy' plans

"I was going to go into town," he said. "It was pretty fuzzy what I was going to do, and sure enough there was a Mountie waiting for me there."

Cavendish informed the officer, who was looking for the crazed pilot who had buzzed Calgary, that he was responsible for the stunt but the Mountie didn't buy it at first.

After a second attempt, Cavendish was taken into custody.

"They fined me $4,000. And my licence was already gone, so they made damn sure that it stayed gone for years and years and years," said Cavendish.


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