Sunday Screening: Sea of Tranquility – Accept – Ranking the Studio Albums w/ Martin Popoff

A huge thanks again to Martin Popoff for gracing our little show with his presence and knowledge on Friday night.  One of the topics discussed was his ranking of all the Accept albums with Pete Pardo on Sea of Tranquillity.   It’s an episode we all enjoyed, even though we haven’t heard all the Accept albums ourselves.

This fine episode is below for your edification.  Please enjoy Sea of Tranquility – Ranking the Studio Albums: Accept (w/Martin Popoff)

Martin Popoff chills with the Three Amigos at the Rock and Roll Highschool

Thank you Martin Popoff for a thunderous rock and roll chat on a locked-in Friday night!  Confronted by three Top Five Popoff lists, Martin threw it down!  From his books to his Youtube shows, we tried to cover a bit of everything.  Thank you Martin for giving us an hour of your Friday night.  If you haven’t read one of his terrific tomes yet, check out what’s available at martinpopoff.com.  Money well spent!

We decided to take a three-pronged approach to the discussion by focusing on three Top Five lists:

  1. Deke – Top Five Martin Popoff Books
  2. Mike – Top Five albums I bought because of a 10/10 review in Riff Kills Man
  3. Eric – Top Five Martin Popoff YouTube appearances

From there the discussion flowed like a gin & tonic.

Hope you enjoyed the show!

 

 

REMINDER: Martin Popoff on tonight’s LeBrain Train!

The LeBrain Train:  2000 Words or More with Mike Ladano

Episode 46 – A Chat With Martin Popoff

Join SuperDekes, Uncle Meat and myself TONIGHT as we talk to the guy who, frankly, got me writing reviews in the first place!  It was Riff Kills Man that inspired me, a book that I’ve been re-reading this week only to find new revelations.  I love when I feel validated by a review in one of Martin’s 90-odd books.

Martin’s extensive bibliography (he is the Isaac Asimov of Heavy Metal) includes definitive tomes on Accept, Rainbow, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath and just about every other band with legendary status.  As my re-reading this week has shown me, Martin has a way of describing music that just resonates.  It’s a talent that I have long envied.

Please spread the word, and welcome Martin Popoff to the LeBrain Train tonight!

7:00 PM E.S.T.
Facebook:  MikeLeBrain  YouTube:  Mike LeBrain

Martin Popoff – Top of the Bill on this week’s LeBrain Train – Friday Jan. 15

I am pleased to announce this week’s guest:  none other than Martin Popoff, Canadian music scribe extraordinaire!  Martin will be joining us to talk about his many books, YouTube shows, and assorted awesomeness.  It is a conversation I have been hoping to have for, oh, 20 years (give or take).

The LeBrain Train:  2000 Words or More with Mike Ladano

Episode 46 – A Chat With Martin Popoff

Join Super “Ironballs” Deke (who hooked it up with Martin), Uncle Meat and myself this Friday as we talk to the guy who, frankly, got me writing reviews in the first place!  It was Riff Kills Man that inspired me, a book that was passed around from friend to friend like a kid passes along a nudie mag.  “Have you ever heard Gillan?  Budgie?  Thin Lizzy?”  These were the words muttered as we handed the book onto the next recipient!

Martin’s extensive bibliography (he is the Isaac Asimov of Heavy Metal) includes definitive tomes on Deep Purple, Judas Priest, Scorpions, Rush, Motorhead, Max Webster and just about every other band with legendary status.  Through all that I kept my treasured copy of Riff Kills Man safely in my desk at work.  I’d write Amazon album reviews on my lunch break, and I had to have Popoff nearby to consult in case of confusion or doubt.

Please spread the word, and welcome Martin Popoff to the LeBrain Train on Friday January 15!

7:00 PM E.S.T.
Facebook:  MikeLeBrain  YouTube:  Mike LeBrain

Art by:  Saige from Weeping Willow Creations

I will be taking the next few days off from writing and posting so I can focus on preparing for this show.

THREE-VIEW: KISS – Best of Solo Albums (Japanese CD)

  Best of Solo Albums (Originally 1979, 2020 Universal Japan CD)

Third review for this Kiss compilation here, but why?  A couple reasons.  For one, it’s the first-ever official CD release of this album!  It took 41 years for them to finally put out a CD, and yet only in Japan.  More remarkably, there is one track here that I’ve never heard before in this particular version.

That song is the incredible Paul Stanley epic “Take Me Away (Together As One)”.  On Paul’s solo disc, it fades away at the end of side one at 5:35 in length.  Here, it goes to 5:48, no fade, right to the end of the track.  It’s an ending I’ve never heard before.  This song isn’t even on the more common European version of Best of Solo Albums, just the Japanese.  And apparently the CD has an unreleased version without the fade.

“Oh boy!” you exclaim.  “I have to buy this import just to get 13 seconds of music I never heard before?”

No.  You don’t have to buy it.  I did, because I wanted a copy of this album on CD.  When I discovered the longer version of the track, I was ecstatic to unexpectedly get something extra for my money.

There’s no need to review this album track by track again.  I’ve done it twice, and I’ve also reviewed all four solos albums twice each.  There’s really no need to run through all the songs again, although this tracklist is quite different.  Unlike the European version, these songs are not arranged in three-track blocks for each member.  Additionally, seven of the European tracks were substituted with others.  That’s more than half the album!

Gene Simmons:  Instead of “Mr. Make Believe” and “See You In Your Dreams”, Japan used “See You Tonite” and “Living In Sin”

Paul Stanley:  “Move On” was replaced by the unreleased version of “Take Me Away (Together As One)”.

Ace Frehley:  “Speedin’ Back to my Baby” was removed in favour of the instrumental “Fractured Mirror”

Peter Criss:  All three of the Cat’s songs – “You Matter To Me”, “Tossin’ and Turnin’”, and “Hooked on Rock and Roll” were replaced!  I guess Japan didn’t care for those as much as they did “Don’t You Let Me Down”, “Rock Me Baby” and “I Can’t Stop the Rain”.

For me, I prefer the running order that Europe used, with each member of the band getting three songs in a chunk.  However, there are plenty of songs that I prefer on the Japanese version, such as “See You Tonite”, “Take Me Away (Together As One), “I Can’t Stop the Rain” and “Don’t You Let Me Down”.

It’s interesting that the solo albums are by and large panned by the masses, but nobody can agree on the “Best Of“.  Maybe those albums weren’t so bad after all, at least when you distil them down to the essential tracks.  The Japanese CD will become my preferred listening experience for two main reasons:  it sounds better than the vinyl, and I like more of the songs.  It would sound even better if I had an MQA decoder, a new-ish hi-resolution CD format from Japan, which will unlock an even better sounding version of the album, if you have a few grand to spend on upgrading your system.  If not, enjoy the disc and stellar packaging, with not one but two different covers to display.

4/5 stars

 

#872: “Tattoo”

GETTING MORE TALE #872: “Tattoo”

On January 10, 2012, Van Halen released their first new single with David Lee Roth on vocals since 1996:  “Tattoo”, from the forthcoming album A Different Kind of Truth.  An exciting day to be sure.

I had not yet started this site, but if I had, on that day nine years ago I would have written this story.

In 2012, radio station 107.5 Dave FM (now Dave Rocks) was still running the contest that put me on the map locally speaking:  The Four O’Clock Four-Play.  Afternoon host Craig Fee would play four songs in a row, and listeners had to guess what the common thread between the four songs was.  I won more often than anyone else and became a local celebrity named “LeBrain”, and that’s why you’re reading this today.  But on January 10, Craig stumped me.

The Four-Play that day was, of course, Van Halen’s “Tattoo”, played four times in a row!  Craig, who has since left the radio business, was a massive Van Halen fan.  He was the kind of guy who would see “Love Walks In” on that day’s play list, and remove it in favour of “Hear About It Later”.  He was unafraid and that combined with a diehard love of Roth-era Van Halen must have been all it took to play “Tattoo” four times in a row on the Four-Play.

Truly it was a glorious time to be listening to the radio.  You never knew what Craig was going to play on any given show.  He had a penchant for “Rainbow in the Dark” by Dio, and of course Roth-era Van Halen deeper cuts.  He played half of Fair Warning on his show once.  I don’t know what the real-world consequences were for these musical shenanigans, but Craig’s bravado was inspiring.  After the Four-Play contest was discontinued in April of that year, the show’s format became more of a listener call-in program, and the glory days came to an end.

But what was the “common thread” for the purposes of the contest that day?  “Tattoo” played four times?  Arbitrarily, it was the Elvis tattoo in the lyrics.  “I got Elvis, on my elbow…”  Of course it could have been anything, but Craig just needed an excuse to play the song over and over and over again and still give away that day’s prize.

This post is dedicated to Craig, who I hope is doing well out there in his post-radio life.  I feel very fortunate to have had his show to listen to at work, playing all this stuff that no other radio station would have dared.  We Van Halen fans were in our glory that day, getting our fill of the new tune and enjoying every moment.  Of course, people who hated the song were in agony for that show.  Oh well!  So sad, too bad.

Hard to believe David Lee Roth was back and an album was really coming — and now we had the proof in our ears!  Almost as hard to believe Craig got away with playing “Tattoo” four times in the space of a 30-minute contest.

A story for the rock n’ roll history books; a memory for the ages.

Sunday Screening: Loudness interview…in English! (2015)

This week I’ve realized that regular readers here are not as familiar as they should be with the legendary Japanese metal band Loudness!  I’ve done my best to educate with my Loudness reviews, but there is nothing better than hearing the story directly from the source.  This brief 2015 interview with the affable Loudness is from the Tuska Open Air Festival in Helsinki, and conducted in English!

The surviving original members Masayoshi Yamashita, Minoru Niihara, and Akira Takasaki are questioned by interviewer Kati Rausch about their history.  Subjects covered:

  • Their first gig (sold out) in 1981 (when Masayoshi was only 19 years old)
  • Switching to English in 1984
  • Their recent album The Sun Will Rise Again
  • Devil horns

A great little 5 minute interview with three guys you can’t help but like.  Check out some Loudness today.

 

LOUDNESS REVIEWS

Tres Hombres talk ZZ Top Deep Cuts on the LeBrain Train

Tons of fun, both on and off topic tonight, on the LeBrain Train.  Aaron from the KMA and Kevin from Buried On Mars were on board with some killer lists of ZZ Top’s best deep cuts.  A lil’ bit of overlap but not too much!  We also read off some guest lists:  San Diego guitarist Mike Slayen, and a local Kitchener singer named Mike Mahler.  Check out their lists as well as ours!

Show time index:

Watch from the start to see the latest CD unboxing from Encore Records.

To check out the new music video by Current River called “Hodder To Hell”, skip to 0:16:45 of the stream.

The ZZ Top talk commences at 0:22:20.

At the end of the show I spun the Loudness video for “Black Widow”.  Find that at 2:32:36.  (No copyright strike, yay!)

I hope you enjoy this week’s show as much as I did!  The 2021 season is off to a great start.

 

Gimme All Your Deep Cuts: It’s ZZ Top lists on the LeBrain Train!

The LeBrain Train:  2000 Words or More with Mike Ladano

Episode 45 – “Season Two” Premier

 

It’s 2021, and that makes it an even 50 years since ZZ Top released their First Album.  There is such a rich catalogue of rock, blues and jams far beyond what you hear on the radio.  Join LeBrain, Aaron from the KMA and Kevin from Buried On Mars, as we explore ZZ Top’s deeper cuts.  Songs you may have missed if you didn’t buy the albums.  We’ll be running down multiple Nigel Tufnel Top Ten lists tonight, so you’d better be taking notes!

For those who like to show up early, I will be doing an unboxing.  There are five CDs in this box from Encore Records, from two different artists.  Trying to complete some collections.  Curious?  Then you’ll wanna be there early, before the official 7:00 PM show start.

I’ll also be playing a new music video on the show — a brand new version of “Hodder To Hell” by Current River!

 

After a few weeks of fun seasonal shows, I’m eager to get back to some rock and roll!  50 years of ZZ Top is the perfect excuse to do an episode dedicated to the best lil’ band from Texas.  Best of all, it’s free!  It doesn’t matter if you Just Got Paid today, or if you’re Lowdown in the Street.  This is a show for everyone so come on board the LeBrain tonight for some ZZ Top.

 

7:00 PM E.S.T.
Facebook:  MikeLeBrain  YouTube:  Mike LeBrain

REVIEW: Loudness – Buddha Rock 1997-1999 Music Clips DVD

Part Four of Four – Buddha Rock 1997-1999

LOUDNESS – Buddha Rock 1997-1999 Music Clips (1999 Rooms DVD, from the box set Buddha Rock 1997-1999)

The complete Buddha Rock 1997-1999 set comes with the three Loudness albums from that brief era, and also a bonus DVD with the accompanying music videos.  On the back some are listed as “full size” and others “short size” — let’s find out what that means and what Loudness videos looked like in the late 90s.

“Ghetto Machine” opens, with Loudness including a shaven-headed Akira Takasaki performing in a darkened room.  The added static interferance reminds us we are in the 90s when bands like Loudness didn’t have much budget and covered it up with tricks like this.  Masaki appears cold with his big fur hat, but it’s fun to see this version of Loudness on video.  “Evil Ecstasy” has cleaner production, but this is one of the “short size” videos — it’s only about 90 seconds of a pretty cool song.  Too bad because this video is much more watchable.  The funkier “San Francisco” is also one of these short versions, as is “Creatures”.  All of these videos appear to be taped at the same time.  The section of “Creatures” used focuses on the guitar solo.  That’s cool at least.  “Katmandu Fly” is the “full size”, but it’s also only a minute-long instrumental so to call it “full size” is kinda cheatin’.

Moving on from the Ghetto Machine album, all the rest of the videos are “full size”.  From Dragon, it’s two of the best tracks:  “Dogshit” and “Crazy Go Go”.  This time Loudness are playing in a huge, uber-clean garage.  As “Dogshit” demonstrates, Akira was now into his “fly sunglasses” phase.  It looks like the band are having fun here, which makes it an enjoyable watch.  Great song too.  “Crazy Go Go” is more straight ahead, with lights and struttin’ stage moves instead of goofing around.

Apparently they only did one video for the final Masaki album, Engine.  “Black Biohazard” is that song; not a tune that impressed on prior listens.  (Also strange how “Black Biohazard” is the only song not in capital letters on the cover.)  This video is made from grainy outdoor concert festival footage.  From this we can ascertain that live, Masaki was a capable frontman with a cool rock star stage persona.

At 25 minutes, this DVD can not be considered more than a bonus for buying the Buddha Rock box set.  It is not the main draw.  The fundamental reason to get Buddha Rock is to acquire the three albums Ghetto Machine, Dragon and Engine in one place with ease.  As a bonus feature, the Music Clips disc does what it does.  “Dogshit” is the best video by a wide margin, and it remains unclear why “short size” videos were included, unless that’s all that was ever made for those particular songs?

The Buddha Rock box set also comes with photos, complete lyrics (in English) and liner notes (in Japanese).  It’s the obvious way to go to cover those years, an era which ended with the Engine album in 1999.  At Masaki’s urging, Akira Takasaki reunited the original Loudness lineup and released Spiritual Canoe with Minoru Niihara at the microphone.  That put an end to the Masaki Yamada era, which started with member turnover before solidifying on these three albums with Naoto Shibata and Hirotsugo Homma on bass and drums respectively.  Great musicians both who helped Loudness explore new and weird directions at the end of the 90s.

Music Clips DVD:  3/5 stars

Buddha Rock 1997-1999 box set:  3.5/5 stars  (the sum of the whole is greater than its parts)