RECORD STORE TALES
- RECORD STORE TALES MkII:
GETTING MORE TALE
Music, Movies, and more
Welcome to the 400th freakin’ instalment of Record Store Tales/Getting More Tale!
RECORD STORE TALES MkII: Getting More Tale
#400: The Open Door Shit Theory
The following is my own theory, based on memory and knowledge of the people and circumstances involved. I call it the “Open Door Shit” theory because the Record Store alumnus in question, Joe “Big Nose”, is already well renowned for his Open Door Piss. Sometimes circumstances may dictate that the easiest course of action is to take a dump with the door wide open. This is the theory of those circumstances.*
My theory depends on a few facts and several assumptions.
FACT #1: Joe “Big Nose” worked alone at his Record Store for an average of four hours per day.
FACT #2: Joe is a human being who has to shit periodically.
FACT #3: Although he is a diamond geezer and a stand-up guy, Big Nose does not have the same hangups and sensibilities of anyone I’ve met.
ASSUMPTION #1: Anything he says is potentially merely a joke.
ASSUMPTION #2: Then again, anything he says is also potentially the truth masquerading as a joke. That’s his modus operandi.
ASSUMPTION #3: When it comes to gross-out stories about bodily functions, he was more than likely telling the truth. His friends testify that they have heard similar stories from him in the past. I was told by Uncle Meat that this story is “probably true”.
Although I haven’t been there for a while, I do remember his store well. I got to work a couple shifts, though never with Big Nose himself. It was a small store, with a small bathroom, located behind the counter off to the side. The story that Big Nose told me was this: On at least one occasion, he had to take a giant shit while working alone. He waited for the store to empty completely, and then rather than lock the door and put up a “Back in 5” sign, he kept it open.
Because store layout is crucial to this theory, I had contributor Thussy draw a rough store layout using AutoCAD. You can see, from his extremely accurate rendition, how Joe’s toilet had a direct line of sight to the store entrance.
Big Nose told me that in order to take a shit while working alone, he decided to do it with the door open, so he could easily spy if a customer was about to enter.
He also told me that when a customer did enter, they were greeted by the toxic stench slowly wafting over from the washroom. According to Big Nose, the customer visibly wrinkled their nose at the smell.
Is this story true? I believe it to be. But only Big Nose knows!
* Former co-worker Dave “Homer” has confirmed that Big Nose did in fact take an open-door dump in-store, with him as a witness. He adds that the store’s counter would have blocked the line of sight unless Joe stood up.
RECORD STORE TALES MkII: Getting More Tale
#399: Record Shopping in the Sticks
Summers in Kincardine, Ontario in the late 1980s and early 90s were beautiful, but to a teenage me they felt isolated. No phone at the cottage, no cable TV, and nothing that cityfolk would call a record store. We did have a few options. There were places that you could buy music, including one crummy music store that popped up for a brief while. Summertime is made for music, and one of my favourite childhood experiences was listening to brand new tunes in the summer.
We’d be at the cottage for two weeks straight every August, and I would usually pack my entire my tape collection to come with me (oh how my dad loved that). Having all my favourite songs with me meant I’d always have music for whatever mood I was in. Still, nothing could beat the rush of new music! New didn’t have to mean “new” per se; I was collecting the back catalogues of many metal masters too. There was always something to buy that would be brand new to me.
In the very early days, you could buy tapes at the local Stedmans store downtown. Stedmans sold everything from clothes to musical instruments to toys. Like many of these places, they are now closed. It was one store to buy new cassettes, and that is where I picked up Priest…Live! back in July of 1987. The other place to buy tapes at that time was an electronics store called Don’s Hi Fi. White Lion’s Big Game and W.A.S.P.’s Headless Children came from Don’s Hi Fi during the summer of 1989. I couldn’t wait until I got home and played them. We’d rip open the plastic and check out the pictures in the car, waiting to get back and hit play. The following summer, I bought Jon Bon Jovi’s Blaze of Glory at the same store. We would also be able to find tapes in the cheapie bin at places like drug stores, and I picked up The Earthquake Album from such a bin.
Around 1988, an actual music store opened up in Kincardine. It was there that I purchased Painkiller by Judas Priest, and Exposed by Vince Neil. It was a small store and they didn’t have many catalogue items, but you could pick up new releases there and some key older releases such as greatest hits.
Beyond these few stores, you had to get out of town. Kincardine is a small place, but Port Elgin to the north offered a few more options. There was a Radio Shack there with a different selection of tapes. They also had 7” singles, of which we bought a couple on clearance.
In the summer of ’92 we made several day trips to Port Elgin. My sister and I were headed to a “cards & comics” store that we discovered. One afternoon my sister phoned them up to ask if they had any promotional Star Wars cards? They did – road trip! The first of many happy and successful trips to Port Elgin looking for goodies. (Yes, promo cards are collectible just like some promo CDs.)
On the same trip, we found this grungy record store on the corner of the main drag. Really scummy, really dirty. They bought and sold used tapes and records. My sister brought in a whole bunch of her cassettes for store credit, and walked out with Rod Stewart’s Out of Order and one or two others. My first purchase there was Black Sabbath’s Live at Last. I bought my original copy of Helix’s Wild in the Streets on cassette at that store. The tape glowed in the dark. I’ve never seen another glow-in-the-dark tape before or since! I also picked up Kiss’ Creatures of the Night (original cover) on vinyl, as well as Twister Sister’s Come Out and Play. You might remember that Come Out and Play had that awesome cover with the opening manhole? That was the reason I bought it.
Those stores in Port Elgin are both gone. Don’s Hi Fi still exists in Kincardine, but they don’t sell music anymore. I did buy a pair of earbuds there about five years ago, but things have changed so much. There’s no such thing as “isolation” anymore, not like it felt back then. Today I can sit on the front porch of the cottage, streaming live radio from home straight to the laptop. I used to pack my entire tape collection for the cottage, but now anything I want to listen to, I can search for on Youtube. It is simply amazing how much has changed in the last two decades, and I am sure that in another 20 years it will be just as startlingly different.
As long as I can still listen to my music there, I’ll be happy!
KIM MITCHELL – Rockland (1989 Alert)
This album was huuuuge in 1989. In Canada, summer time is Mitchell time. Cottages, brewskies, BBQ and Mitchell. That’s what it was all about! Shakin’ Like a Human Being was also a huge success for Kim, but he expressed a desire to use less keyboards and programming. Kim recorded in the US this time, and for budget reasons, did not bring along lyricist Pye Dubois with him. Pye had been in the studio with Kim for every album prior, and this caused a rift between the two that took years to heal. This was the last time they collaborated until 1994’s Itch.
The pseudo-title track, “Rocklandwonderland” refers to the “concert bowl” at Canada’s Wonderland. “Listen to the music, listen to the voices, listen to my guitar,” sings Kim, although the song is a little light on guitar. “Rocklandwonderland” was a big hit for Kim, and although it’s not a heavy rock, his guitar playing on it is stellar. Perhaps he shouldn’t have followed a slow rock tune with a ballad, although “Lost Lovers Found” is a hell of a ballad, with just a hint of twang. Some felt that Rockland was too soft compared to Kim’s progressive rock past, but a Kim ballad has more integrity than most. Kim’s backup singer extraordinaire, Peter Fredette, is present here and he also serves to class up any song by several notches.
Other ballads on the record include “Tangle of Love”, which is quirky and experimental but not great. “O Mercy Louise”, which has a rocking chorus, is a fine song with cool lyrics. The “big one” however was the single “Expedition Sailor”. This introspective acoustic song is sparse and effective. Kim’s buddy Rik Emmett from Triumph drops by to play an excellent solo on classical guitar. “Expedition Sailor” is top drawer stuff. (The music video received a remix, which you can get on Kim’s Greatest Hits album.)
The “big” song on the album, still getting airplay today, is the anthem “Rock N’ Roll Duty”. The tougher direction of the song is exemplified by a “live” style music video in a seedy bar. As a fan I really wanted Kim to come out with a tough rocking tune, with a killer chorus, and he did.
“I’m just doing my rock n’ roll duty,
Creating a buzz buzz buzz,
Some say I’m in it for the money,
Man, I’m in it for love love love!”
The phrase “I’m just doing my rock n’ roll duty,” is now commonly heard among music fans in Canada. The song just hits the spot, and the riff is now synonymous for summer in my mind.
Other highlights on Rockland include the joyful “The Crossroads” which opens side two. The guitar-heavy “This Dream” is another favourite. I could always identify with the lyrics. It’s just a stellar song, an also-ran that could have been a fourth single. The record is rounded out by “Moodstreet” and “The Great Escape”, two decent but unremarkable tunes.
MVP: Drummer Lou Molino, a near legend in these parts. Curiously, when you Google images of Lou Molino, you will also get hits for Lou Ferigno.
Overall I was pleased with the direction of Rockland, going a bit more raw and rocking. Unfortunately with the exception of a few tracks like “Rock N’ Roll Duty”, it feels very tame. Except for quirky moments within guitar solos, it doesn’t possess enough of Kim’s humour and idiosyncrasies. It feels as if it’s on a leash, but it’s also not straining to get off it. It feels like Rockland hits the mark in many respects, but plays it too safe.
RECORD STORE TALES MkII: Getting More Tale
#398: New Rock, Old Rock
A selection of songs I’ve been rocking out to on the radio lately, for your consideration and perusal.
ROYAL BLOOD – “Figure It Out”
It seems that bass/drums duos are all the rage. I like this awesome, aggressive groove from the English duo of Royal Blood. Just slammin’! Proof that you don’t need more than two people to make good heavy rock!
DEATH FROM ABOVE 1979 – “Trainwreck 1979”
Having ignored these two Canadian guys for years, I have recently become infatuated with “Trainwreck 1979”. I could do without the piano touches and the “woo ooo ooo’s” but it’s hard to deny that this is a slamming song living up to its name. Well done, Death From Above 1979.
THE TREWS – “New King”
This aggressive riff-based song combines three elements I love about the Trews – guitar hooks, memorable melodies, and a great singer. Bonus points for cool lyrics like, “A bitter hipster hick, Can’t stop talking shit, The F’N idiot, Don’t know when to quit.”
DANKO JONES – “Do You Wanna Rock”
No surprises here! Danko Jones = Danko Jones = Danko Jones, but it’s always nice to hear a new track. This one’s pretty simple — it’s about rocking! More cowbell!
I MOTHER EARTH – “The Devil’s Engine”
Different from anything I’ve heard this band do before, “The Devil’s Engine” combines traditional IME percussion with metallic riffs and licks. With the prior single “We Got the Love” out in 2012, it would be nice to get a new album by I Mother Earth.
THE PRETTY RECKLESS – “Follow Me Down”
I haven’t been a fan of the Pretty Reckless. Until now I’ve found their music to be tiredly generic. This track, however, kicks it! Taylor Momsen’s turned herself into a metal howler, in her natural environment. Her songs can get repetitive but I’m not bored with this one yet.
I’ve also recently rediscovered some of these tracks that I knew very well, but have been dusted off on the radio recently.
AC/DC – “Rock the Blues Away”
I’m glad that after “Play Ball” and “Rock Or Bust”, this excellent AC/DC track has been chosen as the newest single from AC/DC’s latest. It’s absolutely a favourite of mine! Great choice for a single.
NEIL YOUNG – “Downtown”
I’m pleasantly reminded of this collaboration between Uncle Neil and Pearl Jam, showcasing their kickass new drummer Jack Irons. A great, simple little rock tune.
TRIUMPH – “Lay It on the Line”
This is undeniably a Canadian classic of double-necked guitar majesty. I noticed that the version getting airplay today is the beefier remixed version, from Greatest Hits Remixed. (I was the only listener that noticed, I know because I wrote in to ask about it!)