#24: Bust the TV by the Pumps

City: Halifax, NS
Radio Station: CJCH
Peak Month: May  1980
Peak Position in Halifax ~ #8
Peak position in Vancouver ~ did not chart
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube: “Bust The TV

The Pumps is a hard rock/AOR band from Winnipeg (MB) that was formed in 1978. Taking their name from a random pick in a Winnipeg phone book, The Pumps centred around friends Chris Burke-Gaffney on vocals and bass, lead guitarist Lou Petrovich, and drummer Terry Norman Taylor. Within a few months, Brent Diamond joined on keyboards. They released an album in 1980 titled Gotta Move.

The Pumps released a single from the album titled “Bust The TV”.

Bust the TV by the Pumps
In the song, a guy turns on a TV and sees “a girl” on a commercial. He finds it so erotic. If he could, he’d make a pass. But he figures he’s not in her class. Besides, she’s on the TV: The band sings “she’s always there,” while the lead singer explains “out of reach, but still in sight.” Though a solid rock tune the guitar had shades of new wave echoes. The guy watching the TV puts down his preoccupation with the girl on the TV commercial with his “neurosis.” Until something changes, he’ll keep tuning in and turning on. Perhaps the song title, which is said in spoken word a few times, is one solution. If he busts the TV, he won’t see her anymore. Seems like torment in the midst of being turned on.

“Bust The TV” peaked at #8 in Halifax (NS), and #10 in Winnipeg (MB) and Regina (SK).

The Pumps released a second single titled “Success”, which climbed into the Top 20 in Winnipeg.

Chris Burke-Gaffney with 519 Magazine decades later about the disconnect between the live audience response and the challenges of record distribution. “I remember we did a tour in The Maritimes and we had a top 10 song and we were opening for Prism and at that time Prism was huge, they were playing Maple Leaf Gardens and places like that but we had no records in the stores even if people heard us on the radio and loved us. We saw people singing along to our songs at the shows but the record company hadn’t shipped any records to the stores. When it came time to do our second album, the record company kind of stalled for two years when we had all this momentum going.”

While there was a buzz about the band, The Pumps opened in concert for Styx, Streetheart, Prism, Triumph, AC/DC and other heavy rock bands. But Polygram abandoned plans for a second album.

In 1982 the Pumps disbanded after Petrovich left. But the remaining members reformed as Orphan, releasing two albums into the mid-80s. Chris Burke-Gaffney carried on in the music industry as a producer and manager.

In the late 1990s, The Pumps reunited for a show with Streetheart and Harlequin. In 2006, an album was released featuring the best of The Pumps and Orphan titled It’s A Miracle… They’re Still Alive! (2006).

The bandmates get together and play a couple of concert dates a year. But they don’t go on the road much.

In 2021, Gotta Move was finally released on CD.

March 6, 2024
Ray McGinnis

Dan Boshart, “The Pumps: Classic Canadian Hard Rock Album Gets Released on CD 40 Years Later,” 519 Magazine, October 1, 2021.
Trailer, “Just A Little Success,” 2016.
The Pumps,” Canadianbands.com, April 11, 2022.

Bust the TV by the Pumps
CJCH 920-AM Halifax (NS) Top Ten | May 9, 1980

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