RECORD STORE TALES MkII:
Getting More Tale
Music, Movies, and more
WTF SEARCH TERMS XXXVII: WOO! edition
What are “WTF Search Terms”, you ask? Simply, they are phrases that people typed into a search engine to wind up at mikeladano.com. They’re sometimes weird, sometimes wonderful, and always amusing. I hope you enjoy this 37th instalment of WTF Search Terms!
First please welcome “Nature Boy” Ric Flair to the WTF Search Term family! The 16 time world wrestling champion was immortalized in the Legendary Klopeks song “Ric Flair” from their album Straight to Hell. Someone googled the lyrics:
i wanna do a chop i wanna do a woo i wanna be like ric flair cause he’s so fucking cool
I love that somebody heard that lyric and had to google it. Next up:
does anyone like the 2002 version of blizzard of ozz
The answer is yes: Sharon does. But next is a band that Sharon does not like.
benjamin of beef iron maiden
Oh, autocarrot. I think they meant Benjamin Breeg.
This next person mixed up two bands, but it also could be autocarrot. Funny either way:
deep leppard heartbreak
Then a grouping of searches for Snake the Tattoo Man. But people need to decide where he’s from. (It’s London).
snake from brantford tattoo guy
guy named snake in london, on
the man called snake, london, on
I got a chuckle from this next one:
fankie banali sucks
Well, let’s be fair. Frankie Banali is an awesome drummer. I’d never say he sucks. I never have. But his current version of Quiet Riot does kinda suck. Unlike the following album:
europe last look at eden satanic lyrics
Oh, come on. I’m sick of the “satanic” accusations levelled at this band. Some deluded people actually think Joey Tempest is a demon. I’m not fucking kidding. Next question.
does album slave to the grind have any value?
Only what the music is worth to you.
which rock band was dressed to die in 1974
Hah! None. But Kiss were Dressed to Kill in 1975.
Thanks for reading! The WTF Search Terms keep rolling in, so there will always be more….
GETTING MORE TALE #580: Music for Your Mental Health 2 – R.I.P. Chester Bennington
A followup to Record Store Tales Part 239: Music for Your Mental Health
No preaching, no lectures. Just personal feelings, regarding another sad rock and roll suicide.
I wasn’t a Linkin Park fan, though I do own the Stone Temple Pilots EP. That’s all irrelevant. I’m a human being, and as a human being, I grieve the loss of one of our own. I don’t know the personal battles that Chester Bennington fought. Nor do I have to. It’s none of my business.
Taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical body. You need both your mind and your body to survive. Injuries and damage to your mental health can be hard to see, even for the one experiencing it. There are resources out there, and there are people to talk to who can help. It’s not necessarily easy to access all the help available and you may need help and guidance to navigate the system. There are other human beings out there who love you. Who need you. There are even strangers willing to help. People who have been through it and understand the pain you may be feeling.
We don’t live in an easy world, or even a friendly one. It is easy to believe you are alone. You are not. You are never alone. Chester Bennington was not alone, but whatever was killing him inside probably made him feel isolated and helpless.
As we mourn yet another great who went long before his time, please try to focus on your own well being. There are other ways to deal with the hurt. Chester Bennington was younger than I am, but he had enough. Many people out there have had enough and don’t think they can take any more. We are all human. We have a tremendous ability to absorb pain but eventually it must be dealt with. There is no shame in it. You are not weak. You are stronger than anyone who hasn’t dealt with what you deal with. The stigma must end. People who suffer from depression and other mental illnesses are not different or abnormal. They are regular human beings just like you. Maybe even more normal than you know.
Rest in peace Chester.
Every fan has their favourite Queensryche album. Whether it be The Warning, Mindcrime, Promised Land or Empire, there are plenty of great albums in their back catalogue. I used to seek the warm high of Promised Land when looking to chill with my favourite Queensryche. Now I look for refuge in the cold, technological sheen of their 1986 album Rage For Order.
Rage For Order was a challenging album in its time and today it is still complex. In 1986, fans questioned the gothy makeup and hair, not to mention the excessive samples and synths. Today you can look back and almost call Rage For Order the first progressive industrial metal album. It certainly has qualities from all three of those genres. Geoff Tate beat Trent Reznor to the punch by years. Rage seems to have a vague futuristic concept about a world of technology, revolution, and disconnection.
Although Rage For Order is certainly not an immediate listen, certain key tracks are commercial enough to keep you coming back. The first is “Walk in the Shadows”, one of the few songs to be played live fairly consistently over the years. “Walk in the Shadows” could pass as a hard rocking hit. For the first time Queensryche really proved they were more than a simple metal band. The slick production was completely different from their first two records, with the edge taken off the guitars and instead given to the computers and sequencers. They give the whole album a precise, punchy tech sound that is its own form of heavy. No wonder: Dave “Rave” Ogilvie was an engineer.
A dense ballad called “I Dream in Infrared” has sorrow, but flowing through the veins of a computer. Geoff Tate blows minds with his incredible voice and singing ability, layered for maximum effect. In 1991 it was remixed acoustically for a single B-side, and that version is a bonus track on the remastered edition. The original was perfect for what it was, but the acoustic mix is more accessible to outsiders. It ends suddenly and the metallic guitars of “The Whisper” enter, accompanied by clock-like percussion. Rage For Order has many songs with layered, overlapping vocals and you can hear that on the chorus. It is a cold, sterile but powerful track.
The strangest song was actually the lead single, “Gonna Get Close to You”. It was the only cover Queensryche ever put on one of their studio albums, a track by Canadian songstress Lisa DalBello. In the hands of Geoff Tate, it becomes a creepy song of a stalker with a strangely rousing pre-chorus. “You think I’m a fool or maybe some kind of lunatic? You say I’m wasting my time but I know what to do with it. It’s as plain as black and white. I’m gonna get close to you.” Cree-hee-eepy! Which is the point. The bizarre samples and synths only deepen the macabre. DalBello’s original is perhaps even creepier, but Tate’s pompous bravado adds its own slant. “If you knew my infinite charm, there’d be no reason to be so alarmed…”
As an added bonus, a 12″ extended version of “Gonna Get Close to You” is included in the bonus tracks, but like most extended versions from the 1980s, it’s very choppy and awkward.
Along with the technology, there is a theme of loneliness on Rage For Order, and “Gonna Get Close to You” plays into that. “The Killing Words” contains more heartbreak on the album’s second ballad (third if you count “Gonna Get Close to You”). Tate’s voice is drenched in pain. A 1994 acoustic version from the “Bridge” CD single is included as a bonus track.
“Surgical Strike” is a brilliant track, fast and heavy, and working with the technology. The lyrics are brilliant and quite prescient.
It’s lonely in the field,
that we send our fighters to wander.
They leave with minds of steel,
It’s their training solution.
We’ve programmed the way,
It leads us to Order.
There’s no turning back.
A Surgical Strike.
We’ve taught them not to feel.
performance is their task,
A Surgical Strike,
Its time is arriving now for you.
The plan for the day,
will be swift as the lightning they harness.
The atom display,
It’s not mindless illusion,
At master control, assessment will not,
Be by humans.
There’s no turning back…
It feels like this future is not very far off.
One of the most techy tracks is “Neue Regel”. Clockwork percussion, strangely computerized lead vocals, and intelligently used samples paint a scene of a future battlefield, complete with bomb-like drum sounds. The multi-layered chorus is one of Queensryche’s most perfect. Respect to Geoff Tate. When the man was at his peak, nobody could touch him, both vocally and as a songwriter. Of course one must also remember the other side of the equation, which was guitarist Chris DeGarmo. He has more songwriting credits on this album than Geoff Tate, including two solo credits (“The Whisper” and “I Will Remember”).
The future continues to look cold and dark on “Chemical Youth (We Are Rebellion)”. “Our religion is technology” is one line, and if only Tate knew how right he was! There is a still a spark of hope and that is the young. “Chemical Youth” is one of the heaviest tracks on the album, and sonically very interesting too. The next ballad “London” fades in with a synthy bass line. Loneliness returns. “There’s some things in life I could never face. The worst is being alone.”
The technology slant hits its peak on the brilliant “Screaming in Digital”. Describing this song can do it no justice. It is like listening to Queensryche within the gleaming sterile walls of the dystopian sci-fi classic THX-1138. There is far too much going on underneath it all to absorb in just a few listens. You will hear new sounds you never noticed before even 30 years later. Artificial intelligence has never rocked so heavy.
I am the beat of your pulse,
The computer word made flesh,
We are one you and I,
We are versions of the same,
When you can see what I feel,
Don’t turn your back on me,
Or you might find that your dreams,
Are only program cards.
“Screaming in Digital” must be counted on any list of Queensryche’s best music. It is sheer genius, far beyond what their hard rock peers were peddling. It was also years ahead of its time. By crossing digital techniques with heavy metal in such an intelligent way, Queensryche truly were breaking new ground.
“I Will Remember” is the final song, a ballad that seems to tie it all together. It has the feel of a lonely ballad, while lyrically tying up the technology concept. “And we wonder how machines can steal each other’s dreams.” Another Queensryche classic, including a genius DeGarmo acoustic guitar solo. Shades of the future “Silent Lucidity” too (also written by DeGarmo).
There are four bonus tracks including the three discussed above. The last one is a 1991 live version of “Walk in the Shadows”, which appears to be a mix of two different performances judging by the credits. Whatever the case may be, it’s cool to get a live version of this incredible song as a coda to the album.
Queensryche took the conceptual approach to its logical apex next time out with Operation: Mindcrime. They ditched the technology and went back to guitars and even added an orchestra. For that reason, Rage For Order is very unique in the collection. It was a sound they have never repeated. Operation: Mindcrime had a sequel, but Rage For Order never will.
GETTING MORE TALE #579: Entering the Asylum
(Supplement to the Re-Review series)
Back in Record Store Tales Part 3 (!), we took a nostalgic look at my first ever Kiss albums, that all arrived in one glorious batch. The year was 1985, but Kiss also had a new album coming out in a matter of days. Now that I had started on a Kiss collection, I would have to get their newest album too, called Asylum. I didn’t even know how to pronounce “asylum” correctly, nor did I know what the word meant, but I did understand that it was their third album without makeup.
Next door neighbor George, who was my introduction to Kiss, came over one day talking about the new single “Tears Are Falling” and how much I would love it. I didn’t have much money but by the time the snow fell, my dad bought me a copy of Asylum on cassette. We got it at the Zellers store at Stanley Park Mall in Kitchener.
My meager Kiss collection at that point consisted of Alive!, Asylum (cassette) and a bunch of LPs I recorded off George. I didn’t know much about the discography but George was a good teacher. George actually named one of his first bands Asylum. Before long I could name all the albums, in order. I even predicted that the next single would be “Uh! All Night”. I didn’t foresee the third single “Who Wants To Be Lonely” because Kiss hadn’t done a third single in ages!
George was only missing two Kiss albums: The Elder, and Double Platinum. He was dying to get both and finish the collection. His record collection was fascinating to me and a goldmine of music to tape and explore. The album covers, particularly for Kiss and Iron Maiden, had me hooked.
As my interest in Kiss grew, a new kid at school who I later found out was a “liar liar pants on fire” claimed he had “all” the Kiss albums at home. His name was Joe Ciaccia (pronounced “chee-chaw”). I asked him if that meant he had The Elder. He said yes. I told George I knew a kid who owned it, and he just about shit his pants. I made arrangements with Joe to meet up at his place on the next Sunday to do a trade. All I asked for brokering this trade was recording the album.
George was really excited. “I don’t care what he wants for it, I’m not leaving without that record.” I distinctly remember a small group of us trudging through the snow to meet Joe at his apartment. Who came with us? I can’t remember. Joe lived on Breckenridge Drive, just down the street from Brian Vollmer of Helix. One thing that I can remember very clearly was grabbing my Sanyo ghetto blaster loaded with D-cell batteries, my Asylum tape, and rocking while walking to Joe’s.
Listening to a cassette on a ghetto blaster powered by D-cells was a warbly experience that kids today don’t understand. Our small group lollygagging through the slush listening to “King of the Mountain” on that old Sanyo is an image I’ll always remember. I carried it through the wet melting snow. Those Sanyo ghetto blasters were built like tanks! You could drop them and they’d keep on ticking.
We arrived at Joe’s apartment and buzzed. No answer. Buzzed again. No answer. I began to realize my fears. Joe was all talk and no Elder. We hung out down there a while but there was no sign of Joe. George was partly crushed and mostly pissed off. At school, Joe gradually earned a reputation for tall tales. His were beginning to rival the lies of Ian Johnson – they even lived on the same street.
We flipped the Asylum tape over and began the walk home. A wasted trip, and Joe dodged me at school the next day. George kept pestering me to arrange a second hookup with Joe, thinking he still had that copy of The Elder that he wanted so badly. I realized Joe was full of shit and told George the sad truth. The record was not there. Joe was telling stories, trying to seem cool to me for having all the Kiss albums. Then he got caught in the lie, after going so far as to arrange a trade and giving me the address. Very un-cool.
George did get a copy of The Elder a few months later, and he still taped me a copy. It was a strange album, after being immersed in Asylum for many months. Then, I definitely preferred Asylum. Asylum was special to me. It was my first “new” Kiss album since getting into the band! I had boarded the Kiss train and I wasn’t getting off!
The KISS RE-REVIEW SERIES Part 27: Bonus movie review!
RUNAWAY (1984 Tristar)
Directed by Michael Crichton and featuring Gene Simmons
Being in was never enough for Gene Simmons. Dating Cher and Diana Ross gave him a taste of Hollywood stardom. He saw movies as his next mountain to climb. Gene secured an audition with novelist and sometimes director Michael Crichton. Crichton asked Gene to communicate, without saying any words, his desire to kill him. Whatever Gene did worked, and he scored the role without even having to read for it.
Crichton’s next film Runaway was a Tom Selleck sci-fi vehicle and Gene played the villain Dr. Charles Luther. Turning his back on Kiss and leaving Paul Stanley to do all the heavy lifting, Simmons cut his hair and got filming.
Set in the “near future”, Runaway depicts an America in which robots are commonplace. Every household has some, and they have failsafes built in to protect humans. Selleck played Jack Ramsay, a veteran cop now on the “runaway squad”, a quiet department dedicated to capturing errant robots. His latest case is a shocker. A robot has committed the first ‘bot-human homicide in history. What caused it to malfunction and deliberately kill its owners? Ramsay discovers a strange chip inside designed not only to override its safety protocols, but also to order the robot to kill. But who would do such a thing?
Who else? The evil Dr. Charles Luther played by the God of Thunder himself.
Dr. Luther developed new templates that allow robots to identify and assassinate specific humans. They are worth a fortune on the black market, and so Luther killed his partners and went rogue. However his ladyfriend Jackie (Kirstie Alley) doublecrossed him and stole the chips. When Ramsay and his cop partner Karen find Jackie, they narrowly escape Luther who was tracking her. Not only does he have killer robots, but also a huge-ass handgun that has homing bullets that can even turn corners. They try to set up him by having Jackie return the stolen chips, but in one of his best scenes, Gene Simmons stabs her in the back in the middle of a kiss.
Jackie didn’t turn over all the chips. Ramsay still has some. Being the evil genius that he is, Luther hacks the police computers and finds out where Ramsay lives. This leads to a very typical final confrontation, in which Luther kidnaps Ramsay’s son and brings him to an under-construction skyscraper. Of course he would. It’s a standard movie cliche involving elevators and heights. Conveniently, the movie establishes early that Ramsay has a fear of heights. Of course he does!
Luther does have one neat gadget for this long and fairly boring ending. He has robotic spiders that spit acid, programmed to kill anything that comes down from the building. Tom Selleck eventually bests Gene Simmons as you knew he would, but Gene also gets one of the cheesiest movie after-deaths you will ever see. You know those scenes when you think the villain is dead, but he’s not? Gene gets to make a funny face and go “RAAAAHHHHH!” before dropping down dead for real this time.
Michael Crichton was certainly a fine science fiction writer, with titles like Jurassic Park and The Andromeda Strain to his credits. As a movie director, he was less successful. The Great Train Robbery (1979) starring Sean Connery and Donald Sutherland, and based on his own novel, was his best work. Others point to Westworld (1973) as his best work as a director. The main point is, nobody looks to Runaway for movie gold. It’s sluggish, clunky and at times pretty goofy. As a science fiction film, it utilized intelligent concepts and envisioned a future that was very different for the cinema in 1984. Runaway had a story idea. Jack Ramsay was a complicated character, with a cliche but workable back story. It was just poorly executed. One redeeming value is its Jerry Goldsmith score, which was his first all-electronic soundtrack.
While Runaway isn’t considered Michael Crichton’s best film, it might be Gene’s. His next roles were less flattering. He played a transvestite villain in Never Too Young to Die with John Stamos. There was a cameo in the horror cult classic Trick Or Treat. Opposite Rutger Hauer, he played a stereotypical terrorist in Wanted: Dead or Alive. His last film before returning to Kiss full-time was an early George Clooney film called Red Surf. Gene was a friendly weapons dealer.
Meanwhile in Kiss, Paul Stanley had clearly taken over leadership. All the singles were his. Since Gene had short hair, he wore a pretty silly wig on stage with Kiss. None of this helped his image in the eyes of fans. He did earn a good review for Runaway from Roger Ebert, but otherwise the movie was a dud.
To be continued…
GETTING MORE TALE #578: TFCon 2017
Hold onto your scraplets, I have literally a shat-ton of photos from Toronto TFCon 2017!
I’ve never been to TFCon before. Buddy Jason has been trying to get me to go for years. This is the first time the planets aligned and I went with Jay with two goals:
Jay picked me up around 7:00 am and we hit the road. We discussed strategies and vendors and I quickly realized that this was going to be epic.
I’ll let the massive photo gallery here speak for itself. For official and third party figures, I have never seen anything like it before.
The goodie bag you get for paying your $35 entrance fee was kind of crap. It had some flavoured water and a Schick razor. The TFCon bag itself will get more use than the Schick.
One of the coolest figures was the Con exclusive from OcularMax. Diaclone Paris Dakar Rally Terraegis is a mouthful, but it’s the yellow truck in the gallery below. Look at the detailed deco. Those aren’t stickers!
They also had prototypes of forthcoming third party figures. One of these was the giant FansToys Omega Supreme (mentioned earlier here). Another was a really sharp looking pair of jets for a new Masterpiece Aerialbots set.
The items I purchased were:
I just found a new annual pilgrimage. Thanks Jay — can’t wait for next year!
SPINAL TAP – “Bitch School” (1992 MCA CD single)
From the album Break Like the Wind
GETTING MORE TALE #577: Wedding Tunes Tales
Mrs LeBrain and I have been married nine years. It is an incredible feeling, to have found the one made for you. I thank God every day. We still frequently talk about the wedding day itself, the most amazing day of my life. The bachelor night before was legendary, but the wedding was perfect.
Well, except a few minor details.
With the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, there is one thing that really bugs me today, and that is our wedding CD. Specifically, one track on that wedding CD.
I personally selected and approved most of the music for the day. I was very proud to work Frank Zappa into the reception music (“Peaches En Regalia”). I also had to make sure I had a Kiss song, so I chose “And Then She Kissed Me” from Love Gun. We focused on Johnny Cash and the Beatles for the ceremony, killing two birds with one stone on “In My Life” for the signing of the registry. As soon as we started sending out the “thank you” cards to all the guests, I compiled and burned dozens of copies of what you might call The Official Soundtrack Album to Our Wedding. I squeezed in everything I could, but Jennifer insisted we include one specific song for her maid of honour, Lara. [Note: Lara is not evil, but she will be portraying the antagonist in an upcoming store called “Seven”. Stay tuned.] I guess when they used to work together in a video store, they would play “My Own Worst Enemy” by Lit a lot. Some customer gave Lara a CD with that song on it and only that song…on repeat. I guess this inside joke meant that “My Own Worst Enemy” was Lara’s entrance music at the reception. And I guess that justified it being on the soundtrack CD. That is, by far, my biggest wedding regret. It never should have been on the soundtrack CD. It’s the only song I absolutely have to skip every time. It’s shit. Sorry Lara, but your tribute song sucks!
Jen has her own decision that she would go back and change if she could. We had the proverbial “bridesmaid from hell”. Bridesmaidzilla, or ‘Zilla for short, was drama from start to finish. Without getting into too much detail, ‘Zilla was at the bottom of the bridesmaid totem pole but tried to manipulate certain things to be about her. The highlight of these efforts was what we call the “caesar salad saga”.
It’s quite simple, really! Jennifer has a seafood allergy, and any decent caesar salad dressing has anchovy paste in it. We never take any chances, so we requested a regular garden salad for the dinner reception. No big deal, right? It’s a salad, but most importantly, it’s Jennifer’s wedding. You wouldn’t believe how this salad became a bone of contention between them! ‘Zilla looked up recipes for vegan versions online. The salad was repeatedly brought up, but Jen had never really had caesar salad before due to her allergy. Why would she suddenly want one for her wedding? Bottom line, Jen chose the salad she wanted. And for the record, since that time, she has tried vegan caesar salad and likes it. But why would she gamble on something like that for her wedding night? No, pick the salad you want. Bottom line, end of discussion.
Drama continued right up to the morning of the wedding day. As maid of honour, Lara was in charge of the bridesmaids and all communication was to go through her to relieve the pressure from Jen. Lara would take care of any minor details so Jen would not have to be bothered. Well, apparently a bra was needed on the wedding day, and so I received a 7:00 am phone call about it. ‘Zilla didn’t want to call Lara because they were not getting along, at all, so they thought it would a good idea to call the groom on his wedding day, about a goddamn bra. They actually called me to ask where you can get a bra on a holiday weekend. Are you kidding me?
They must have called Lara and gotten it sorted because they got the bra situation taken care of without the groom having to intervene. The wedding went off perfectly and the reception was even better. I did my best to curate some cool music, and as a special treat, my sister Kathryn performed at the reception. It was a jazz quartet — bass, bass clarinet, drums, guitar. The crowning moment of their performance was a jazzy rendition of the “Cantina Theme” from Star Wars. My sister had to order the sheet music which wasn’t cheap. Her band’s performance that night was her wedding gift to us, and that reminds me that I do have one more regret. That is, I wish I had filmed it.
After dinner, after the cake was served, and I was taking a rest between songs (I was a dancing fiend) I sat at ‘Zilla’s table for a bit to chat. Jen’s friend Gordie, who is hilarious by the way, and married to one of the good bridesmaids, was also sitting with a few others at the table. Knowing full well the drama that had gone down, Gordie mischievously commented, “That was a great wedding, Mike. Everything was perfect and I am so happy for you and Jen. The cake was great…the only thing I would change is the salad, if it was caesar it would have been perfect.” Then the husband of ‘Zilla said, “We even gave them the recipe to make it…”
The last bit of ‘Zilla drama happened later in the evening as they were leaving. The DJ played one of the special songs I picked, which was “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond. My mom, sister, aunt and new wife started dancing to it and I shouted “It’s the Ladano girls dance!” My sister, who was right drunk at that stage, yelled out, “LADANO GIRLS, YAAAY!” They joined with me in a circle and we danced away to Neil, singing along, having a blast, laughing. ‘Zilla was, apparently, standing nearby waiting to say goodbye. I felt a tap on my shoulder and she very bitchily said “BYE!” while making a talkie-talkie motion with her hand. Yeah, bye!
Jen and I will soon be celebrating our anniversary again, and we’ll probably play that wedding soundtrack CD and relive the good memories. And I’ve convinced her to skip Lit from now on. Small victories are still victories.
It’s true: By all measurements, Hero, Hero is an exploitive compilation of Judas Priest material. Their first record label, Gull, was prone to do this. However this is no typical “hits” set; this one is of interest to collectors and die hard fans.
Hero, Hero (named for a lyric from the song “Dying to Meet You”) was originally released in 1981 to take advantage of Priest’s rising star. The original two releases on Gull records, Rocka Rolla and Sad Wings Of Destiny, had been exploited previously in a compilation called The Best Of Judas Priest, which was a single record. Hero, Hero was a double record which included all of Rocka Rolla and most of Sad Wings, as well as the crucial Joan Baez cover, “Diamonds and Rust”, in an alternate take (previously heard on Best Of).
So, if you have all that material already, why is this album required at all? Cover art aside, of course. That cover (a pre-existing painting) is brilliant. There is also a Kiss bootleg called Barbarize with the same cover.
The reason is revealed in the liner notes. All of Rocka Rolla had been remixed for this release. Why is unknown, as that record sounded just fine for what it is. The remixes are, in general, not even all that different. The major changes are made during “Cheater”, the “Winter” suite, and “Rocka Rolla” itself, during which major portions of the songs are noticeably shifted around. “Rocka Rolla” has its verses rearranged, and there’s a burst of harmonica in “Cheater” where there never was before.
The remix done to Rocka Rolla doesn’t really add or subtract anything from the album, which makes it that much harder to understand why it was done. Why Gull records spent the money to remix these tracks is unknown, and the names of the engineers involved are a mystery. But there it is: Rocka Rolla remixed in its entirety but not in order, here on the Hero, Hero album. Because they’re less familiar to the ear, they sound fresh, but in many cases you’d struggle to point out differences. A little reverb here, a little echo there.
Highlights including a bluesy “Cheater” and the flanged chug of “Diamonds and Rust”. The six tracks from Sad Wings of Destiny are brilliant. “Dreamer Deceiver” and “Deceiver” are used to open this CD, but that is not the original running order. Normally the album begins with “Prelude” and “Tyrant”, also from Sad Wings. The original Canadian cassette version on Attic maintained the original running order with “Prelude” at the start. Essentially, the Connoisseur Collection CD has side one and side two flipped.
Fair warning to CD buyers: There are some shoddy reissues of this album that don’t have the remixed tracks. Transluxe is one such version. To make your life easier you might just want to look for an original 1981 LP. The pictured CD from Connoisseur Collection (1995) does have the remixes, so you’re good to go if you spot one.