*Michael Bruce and the Chicken Incident in Toronto….
(House of Rock Interview)
NHOR : Moving on a little bit here to the “Chicken Incident” at the Toronto Rock Revival in 1969. Now, that’s become one of the most infamous incidents in all of rock history. What do you recall about what went down there, and was any of that staged?
MB : Well, I’m putting on my spoiler hat again. (Laughs) What happened is, we used to do, during our last song, when we did “Animal Pajamas” which was kind of a jam, it was the same song that when we were in Colorado playing with Steppenwolf, an outdoor concert, we were jamming away and when the vocals finished, Alice jumps off, starts running around the track, and everybody starts jumping up and down in the bleachers. He’s running, the music’s building, he runs up and grabs the microphone as Neal does the roll right into the vocal, and people just lost it. They started leaving the stadium because, and I can’t explain it because it was just a moment. He was just running around the track, we were just playing the song and it came together. People were leaving, and Steppenwolf hadn’t even gone on. That was one of a couple of incidents which was why John Kay didn’t like us.
Well anyway, during that song, we broke open feather pillows. We did this all through the Midwest, courtesy thank you to the Holiday Inn. Well, times were catching up with us, not only when we’d come back to a club they were still picking feathers out of their butts, and everywhere else in the place, you just couldn’t get them all. The Holiday Inn, in an effort to save money, probably because we were stealing all their pillows, changed to foam rubber. So, we figured out, well, the price of pillows is going up, the fun’s not there anymore. We decided, we played at Detroit’s Grande Ballroom, we opened for The Who, and we had chickens on the stage, because that’s where the feathers came from for the pillow. You see the correlation there? (Laughs) We started taking… and in a couple of places we threw out chickens instead of feathers. We were just really campy that way. Call it stupid, call it whatever. Alice says, “I don’t know where those chickens came from.” Well Alice, turn around behind you, see that cage? In the back of the stage there? There’s your chickens. (Laughs)
Here is a Dennis Dunaway ‘Chicken Story’:
Dennis Dunaway in ‘Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles’ August 2005
“We got this guy in Detroit we called Larry The Chicken Man, to go out and get chickens, and then they would all of a sudden appear on top of Glen’s amp, and then the thing was, we decided, as a band, that we wouldn’t acknowledge that they were there at all. It was like, ‘What chickens? We don’t know about any chickens in here. ‘And then the thing that was funny, that I loved, was that these chickens would sit on top of the amps, and then Glen would do these kinds of chicken-sounding noises, and then the chickens would actually tilt their heads like they were trying to understand what he was saying. These weren’t in cages; they were just walking around on stage. And that’s when we got the ideas to blow the feathers, to make it look like the chickens were… that something exciting was happening to the chickens.”