RECORD STORE TALES MkII:
Getting More Tale
Music, Movies, and more
This one comes from reader Harrison From Down Unda. Harrison, as you know, is a huge Iron Maiden fan. Recently on the subject of shaving my beard off, he suggested I do the half-beard, like Bruce Dickinson did in 1986.
Little did Harrison know that I was way ahead of him, having already done it (and my head) years ago!
“I loved you Vinnie…you were such a good guy, and so nice to me…always…always a great fuckin’ guy. And I think it’s bull SHIT that you’re not here.” — a tearful Sebastian Bach
We have no details, but we do know that Vinnie Paul of Pantera, Damageplan and HellYeah is gone. He has joined his brother Dimebag Darrell (1966-2004) in the Great Band in the Sky.
To say the metal world is in shock is an understatement. HellYeah began recording a new album late last year. Vinnie had shown no signs of slowing down. He has always just carried on.
Rest in peace Vinnie Paul Abbott, who inspired a new generation of metalheads to “Walk”.
GETTING MORE TALE #689: “F*** iTunes”
Inside Out is an iTunes only live release, which is kinda cool in a way to make guys like Ladano scoff at the no physical product tag!
He’s right and I scoffed right away.
In jest, I made this video below. I like to call it “Fuck iTunes”. Everything is meant in good fun. Enjoy the video.
Turn it up to 11! I will be LIVE at 12:30 AM (ET) Saturday morning with Robert Daniels on VISIONS IN SOUND. Tune in on your dial to 98.5 or internet to CKWR! You folks in the UK can tune in as you enjoy some morning java! Join Us THIS Saturday 12:30-2:30am (ET). Check out what Rob has planned this time:
This Week On Visions In Sound – The Mockumentary
This week we look at some mock documentary soundtracks. Featured music is from The Rutles, A Mighty Wind, FUBAR, Series 7 (Girls Against Boys) and This Is Spinal Tap. Join us THIS Saturday 12:30-2:30am (ET) Friday 9:30-11:30 (PT) on FM 98.5 CKWR. www.ckwr.com
The KISS RE-REVIEW SERIES Part 42: Eric Carr solo #2.
ERIC CARR – Unfinished Business (2011 Auto Rock Records)
Even though 2000’s Rockology compilation released a treasure trove of unheard goodies for the fans, there is always more to sell. For the 20th anniversary of Eric’s passing, another batch of tracks were unearthed. Some are mere filler, some are pretty decent. Fans of the beloved drummer will have to sift through the bad to get to the good.
There are a couple Kiss songs here for the diehard fans. “No One’s Messin’ With You” is yet another demo of what would become “Little Caesar” from Hot in the Shade. A third called “Ain’t That Peculiar” was released on the 2001 Kiss Box Set. This is an almost completely different set of lyrics, although it does have the “Hey Little Caesar” chorus. In chronological terms, this version probably falls between the other two, with lyrics still a work in progress and a different verse melody. Then there’s “Shandi”, from Eric’s Kiss audition tape, with brand new acoustic backing music. Unfortunately, Eric’s shaky voice (or a warbly tape) makes this totally unlistenable.
One of Rockology‘s highlights was “Just Can’t Wait” which was crying out for a lead vocal to finish it off. This was completed by Ted Poley of Danger Danger. Though the backing track lacks the fidelity of a proper Kiss recording, the song has taken shape as the shoulda-coulda-been hit that it is. Eric would have been proud and very happy to hear it as a finished song.
The unfinished “Troubles Inside You” is a demo with regular Kiss collaborator and Beatlemania member Mitch Weissman. It was recorded at Gene Simmons’ house, but the old cassette must have deteriorated pretty badly. The music is barely audible, though hints of a good song shine through. Two more Kiss outtakes include the legendary “Dial L For Love” and “Elephant Man”. These were written for Crazy Nights and Revenge, respectively. Neither were finished by Carr. “Dial L For Love” has the bones of a good song with a unique riff. Eric only managed to finish the lyrics for “Elephant Man”, but here it is given music and life by a group of musicians including the late A.J. Pero of Twisted Sister, and ex-Europe guitarist Kee Marcello. Singer Bob Gilmartin did a great job of it, turning “Elephant Man” into a cross between ballad and rocker, and something Kiss totally could have done on Revenge. “Midnight Stranger” is another unfinished riff. Ex-Kiss guitarist Mark St. John was slated to overdub brand new solos for this instrumental, but he too passed before he could finish. This is the original cassette demo. The riff sounds like a brother to “Carr Jam”. They are definitely related.
“Carr Jam 1981” is, unfortunately, not the original unaltered Elder demo. It is a cover by drummer Joey Cassata, and a very authentic one at that. Same with “All Hell’s Breakin’ Loose”. Just a cover, not a demo, by Cassata’s band Z02. Pretty good stuff, at least. New backing music was recorded for “Eyes of Love”, a song previously released on Rockology. The Rockology version with Bruce Kulick on guitar is superior.
Finally, some real serious archival treasures: an Eric Carr drum solo basement tape (same as his live Kiss solo), and a 1967 recording by Eric’s first band The Cellarmen! That’s Eric on lead vocals too. It definitely sounds of its time. Added filler include a few interview bits and clips, including one with former Kiss manager Bill Aucoin about Eric.
If the first Eric Carr CD release was best left to hardcore fans, it’s doubly true of the second one. This is a fans-only release, period. It is highly unlikely anyone else would get much enjoyment from this low-fi set.
Although Carr’s loss was devastating to both fans and the band, there was no question Kiss would carry on with imminent Revenge….
The KISS RE-REVIEW SERIES Part 41: Eric Carr solo #1.
It’s back and picking up right where we left off: the death of Eric Carr. The previous chapter of this series was posted November 8 2017, with the intention to talk about Eric Carr’s demos next, before moving on to his replacement. When Eric died of cancer in 1991, he left behind several tapes of unreleased material that have since been issued on CD. Likewise, the Kiss Re-Review Series was derailed by Mrs. LeBrain’s cancer diagnosis, but will carry on now that she is well. Thank you for your patience!
The late drummer Eric Carr was frustrated towards the end. He was writing good material, but it was always being rejected by Paul and Gene. In the press, Eric would tow the company line and explain that everybody else had such good songs, that there was no room for his. In his heart, he was hurt and felt shunned.
Eric Carr wasn’t just a drummer. He could sing lead, and he could write. Kiss’ single “All Hell’s Breaking Loose” was an Eric idea. He co-wrote “Don’t Leave Me Lonely” with Bryan Adams. Although his writing credits on Kiss albums were sparse, he had plenty of material in the can. 2000’s Rockology is a series of those demos, some in a near-finished state and some left incomplete. Much of this material was intended for a cartoon Eric was working on called The Rockheads. 10 years later, Bruce Kulick finished recording some guitar parts and mixed it for release. He also wrote liner notes explaining the origins and Eric’s intentions for each track.
Eric didn’t have a particularly commercial voice, falling somewhere south of a Gene Simmons growl. There’s no reason why Gene couldn’t have sung “Eyes of Love” from 1989, which has more balls than a lot of Hot in the Shade. This demo has Eric on drums and bass, and Bruce Kulick on guitar with a solo overdubbed in 1999. It doesn’t sound like a finished Kiss song, but it could have been tightened up to become one. Same with the ballad “Everybody’s Waiting”. It sounds custom written for Paul Stanley. But it was 1989, and nothing was going to displace “Forever” from the album, nor should it have.
Many of the demos have no words. “Heavy Metal Baby” features Eric scatting out a loose melody. This heavy and chunky riff would have been perfect for the later Revenge album, had Eric lived. In a strange twist, several of the best songs are instrumentals. The hidden gem on this CD is the unfinished “Just Can’t Wait”. It could have given Journey and Bon Jovi a run for their money. Eric, Bruce and Adam Mitchell wrote it for Crazy Nights, and you can almost hear a killer chorus just waiting to leap out at you. This potential hit could have been the best song on Crazy Nights, had it been finished.
“Mad Dog” has nothing to do with the Anvil song of the same name. The chorus is there but the verses are a work in progress. This hard rocker from 1987 was probably too heavy for what Kiss were doing, though it would have added some much needed groove. “You Make Me Crazy” is in a similar state of completion and boasts a tap-tastic solo by Bruce. Apparently this demo was originally called “Van Halen” and you can hear why. Two versions of a song called “Nightmare” exist, including a really rough one without drums. This incomplete song could have really been something special. It has a dramatic feel and different moods, and was probably too sophisticated for Kiss, though any number of 80s rock bands would have been lucky to have such good material.
The last batch of tracks show off the Rockheads material. Whether Eric’s cartoon idea ever would have happened or not, the advent of bobble-heads and Pops would have made marketing easy. The songs are virtually complete though the drums are programmed. “Too Cool For School” is a little cartoony, which is the point, right? For keyboard ballads, “Tiara” showed promise. It’s not the equal of “Reason to Live” but it demonstrates a side to Eric unheard before. Next, Bruce says that they always wanted Bryan Adams to cover “Do You Feel It”. It would have fit Adams like a nice jean jacket. Not that Adams really needed the help, it would have been awesome on Waking Up the Neighbors. The set closes with “Nasty Boys”, nothing exceptional. It sounds like a song called “Nasty Boys” would sound…or anything by 80s Kiss really.
Before you spend your hard-earned dollars, remember that these songs are definitely unfinished. They are as polished as possible given some of their rough (cassette) origins. Eric’s talent still shines, but you have to be a fan. Especially a fan of 80s Kiss. They will find it to be a crucial companion piece to their collections.
Long live the Fox!
Original mikeladano.com review: 2014/04/24
Happy birthday mom!
GETTING MORE TALE #688: The Mom Con
Was chatting it up with Superdekes over at Arena Rock the other day. He mentioned putting his two daughters through university. What a great dad. My parents were similarly good to me. They paid my way. My mom paid for my textbooks. Some of them could get really expensive. You’d be looking at over $100 each for some. I kept many of them. My Astronomy texts are still beautiful though outdated. I am fairly sure I still have my English translation of Herodotus’ The Histories (c. 440 BC) somewhere.
My first year of university, she came with me to the book store to help me find everything. Good thing she did, as it was an intimidating prospect for a first timer. One of my history courses had four novels assigned. I got all four, but only after class started did I learn that you didn’t need all four, you only had to choose one of the four. Rookie mistake. In the years that followed, we all learned to wait until class actually began before you bought every single book. Some might be optional. It was Russian history, and I chose Ivan Turgenev’s Fathers and Sons (1880). Not what you’d call a page turner but I worked my way through it. It introduced me to the concept of nihilism (which I still don’t really fathom) and that helped me at least understand The Big Lebowski later on. So I chalk that as a “win”.
The parents took good care of me through school, loaning me the car most of the time. On Thursday nights I only had an hour and a half between classes so I would go to my grandma’s house in Waterloo for dinner. Porkchops with mushroom soup.
I worked my way through my history degree, but in my final year I tried to pull one over on my mom.
My buddy Peter introduced me to Beavis and Butt-head a year prior. In Frankemuth, Michigan he rented a VCR just to tape some MTV broadcasts of the show. We didn’t get it in Canada (unless you had satellite). So when I saw the Beavis and Butt-head Ensucklopedia (1994) just sitting there in the actual school bookstore, I had to buy it. The mere sighting of Beavis and Butt-head sitting there in a school text book store was too hilarious for me to ignore.
Mom used to tell me, “Just put your books on your credit card, give me the receipt, and I will reimburse you with a cheque.” It was a sweet deal so why not throw Beavis and Butt-head there in the pile?
Well there was no pulling the wool over mom’s eyes. Of course she looked at the itemised receipt and questioned me.
“I’m not paying for Beavis and Butt-head!” she said, and true to her word, gave me a cheque for the total minus that book.
Ever play Euchre? Though there are many variations, it’s a four player card game with teams of two. It’s a fairly quick game and we usually finish one or two during our lunch break at work.
Now, our plant foreman, who is a real character, loves to stop by and watch us play. Offer tips. Or try to, anyway. He plays so fast that we can barely follow his strategy.
The other day he offered us a piece of Euchre strategy that had us all in stitches. It was a quote worthy of Yogi Berra. It was as follows:
GETTING MORE TALE #687: Chronic Complainers
There will always be people who relish complaining. Maybe they feel that life wronged them somewhere. Perhaps they got up on the wrong side of the bed. Some people are just miserable and like to spread the misery. Others are just cheapskates. Whatever the category, we saw ‘em all at the Record Store.
If you don’t like a store, why do you shop there? Chronic complainers had many grievances, but were still coming on a regular basis. It’s not like we were the only game in town. We weren’t the cheapest either. So why did the chronic complainers like to make our lives misery? Every retail job has “horror stories”, but those are amplified in a buy-and-sell environment.
I think a lot of people used to have the wrong about idea about what a “used CD store” was all about. One of the old managers, Joe, used to say we were nothing but a “glorified garage sale” disguised as a store. A lot of complainers seemed to see it that way too. They wanted to haggle. They wanted a better deal than what was on the sticker.
Me personally, when I walk into a store, I don’t assume every price is negotiable. Some people do. I still know people who love to haggle. At the store, we all hated when customers tried. Only the owner had any real authority to haggle, and he didn’t work at a cash register.
We carried a small selection of new CDs in addition to our used stock. Some folks loved to whine about pricing. Chronic complainers would tell you that “Walmart has the new Metallica for cheaper than you.” Great, super, thanks for the help. You know that an indy shop can’t compete with Walmart’s buying power, right? Their costs were much less than ours, and there was no way to beat them. Why didn’t you just buy Metallica at Walmart when you were there if the prices are so great?
Selection was another subject for complaint. We might have had 10,000 used CDs in stock but complainers loved to point out what we didn’t have. “This is the only Zeppelin you have?” they’d ask as they held up a copy of Encomium – A Tribute to Led Zeppelin. “You never have any good Zeppelin. When are you getting more?” I’d explain that you can never predict when a specific used CD would be traded in, but I could put them on a waiting list. “Nah, I’ll just check back.” Well, then don’t complain when someone else snags the next Zeppelin before you.
We had a pretty good system for a waiting list. It was all computerized so if something particular came in, it would automatically get flagged. We could also have stock sent from other stores to pick up locally. There was one woman that only came in during our first summer open…a chronic complainer that eventually fucked off. She always had a complaint, every visit. You don’t have this, you don’t have that, why is this taking so long? She ordered in a CD from another store, didn’t pick it up on time, and by the time she came in (a month later), it was gone. I remember telling the staff, “Keep this one on hold. She’s really mean. Give her extra time.” Eventually though I had to put the album out and sell it. I know that we called and left a message that she only had a week left to pick it up. She still came in too late, and that’s when she ripped me a new one.
“I had to drive an hour to get here!” she complained.
“Would our Waterloo location be more convenient for you?” I asked, trying to be helpful but also hoping to dump this annoying customer on another store.
“NO!” she exclaimed.
Maybe you should have called in to see if the CD was still here before you made the trip. I would have. I think that was her last visit, and it was one customer I was happy to lose. The owner probably wouldn’t like to hear me say that, but he didn’t have to deal with her.
When I was running our website in the early 2000s, I received a complaint about one of our locations that would not refund some used CDs. I called the manager up to get her side of the story before I responded. She said that the guy was yelling and screaming and wouldn’t let her finish a sentence, as she was trying to explain the return policy. Some customers treated our female employees like dirt, preferring to deal with males. I got the sense that this complainer was one of them. He threatened to go to the Chamber of Commerce, but he didn’t get his refund.
There were also chronic complainers who primarily just sold CDs to us. They wanted a lot more for their CDs than you can offer, and sometimes even act insulted about it. When you wouldn’t give in to them (because you’re not allowed), they’d be grumpy about it, to put it mildly. There was one construction worker that came in regularly who was my first surly nemesis. (And no, he never sold me any Village People albums.) Then there was the prick that worked at CD Plus down the street. He kept coming in over and over again to sell, even though he complained each time. He had tiger-striped hair. What an annoying fuck he was. I sure was glad when CD Plus shut down operations and I never saw him again. (The former CD Plus owner, David Cubitt, still has his mullet but now sells beer for a living.) Whatever that fucking tiger-stripe guy’s name was, I couldn’t stand dealing with his arrogance.
Tiger-stripe loved to argue. He quizzed me about what kind of CDs we would pay the most for. At the time, the Beatles’ original albums were expensive and in demand on CD, so that was one. “We’ll pay top dollar for the Beatles, they’re still very popular.”
“Why the Beatles? Neil Diamond has sold more albums than the Beatles.”
Yeah, not the point man. You could buy a Neil Diamond CD brand new for half the price of a Beatles CD at that time, and he knew that. His store made their coin selling “super saver” titles.
Any time he brought in a bunch of discs, he would only sell a handful of them and keep all the best ones. If he could get more for them elsewhere, why was he coming to us at all?
The constant negativity of the chronic complainers could become a real drag on your day.
If you catch yourself complaining regularly at a favourite establishment, maybe it’s not a favourite after all, and maybe the problem is you.