#768: Scanning the Notebooks

GETTING MORE TALE #768: Scanning the Notebooks

Mrs. LeBrain and I have been downsizing of late, and getting rid of old stuff we don’t need anymore.  In the process we have discovered lots of cool treasures we have been hanging onto.  In the last few months I’ve shown you a treasure trove of cassette and VHS rediscoveries, and things keep turning up all the time. The lady that helped us downsize, Elanda, didn’t understand why I needed to hang onto old yearbooks and CDs.  This kind of thing is important to me.  I’ve built an entire series of stories on nostalgia!  Preserving this stuff, to me, is preserving musical history.  It’s a part of the extended story of these bands.  It’s my autobiography.

Another great place to find old treasures is the parents’ basement.  I didn’t realize they hung on to some of my old, beat up highschool notebooks.  The covers are falling off, but like an archaeologist, I have to preserve this stuff for posterity.  Look what I found!

I didn’t just scribble band logos on my notebooks.  I painted them on.  My mother had a basement full of paints for her ceramics classes.  I had access to all the brushes, colours and textures you could ask for.  Most of the paints I used were water soluble, so I probably sprayed this binder with a clear coat to protect the paint.  30 years later, my artwork is still about 90% intact.

The Van Halen, Def Leppard, Dio, and Van Halen logos are self explanatory.  Look a little further.  I took the trouble of drawing Ratt’s titular mascot using three colours, including silver for his sunglasses.  The lightning bolts here are there are meant to be a reference to Frehley’s Comet.  (From looking over my homework inside, it seems I also signed my name with a lightning bolt.)  In the bottom front corner of the binder, “Dawn Was Here” was written on there by one of my sister’s annoying friends who took ceramics class at our house.

Digging inside, I discovered that I clearly put more effort into the front covers than my English homework.

Next to the very bored notes about American literature are more logos, more lightning bolts, a few grim reapers, and designs for multi-neck guitars.  More rats!  Cartoon portraits of Gene Simmons (no makeup; it was 1988) and Rob Halford.

Judging by my careless scribbles, it seems I was not a fan of Huck Finn.  The notes in English class are not legible and it looks like I didn’t do much homework.  That’s not to say I wasn’t working hard in class.  Some of the best sketches came from English class.  I obviously spent a lot of time on some of them.  A page called “Scenes of Death” looks alarming at first, until you look a little closer and notice that one guy is getting jumped by a giant Schnauzer.

 

And, of course, a giant page of logos.

Everyone had the giant page of logos.

Bob Schipper had the idea of calling our “band” Paragon.  “Not Paradox,” he stressed, “but Paragon.  It means we’re among the best.”  Our logo is the centerpiece of the page, coloured in yellow highlighter.  The entire page is like a “Where’s Waldo?” of bands and references.

My science and history notebooks are much cleaner.  Fewer band logos, more meticulously taken notes.  Still,  found of portrait of Satan in my History book.  I was trying to copy the style of Derek Riggs.

I’m grateful my mom and dad hung on to these books.  It makes up for my dad throwing out my Chopper Strike board game and damaging my ZZ Top Eliminator model.  There is still a ton more stuff at their place for me to go through, including a mountain of cool T-shirts that I forgot I owned.  My original Judas Priest shirt is there, the one that got me in trouble at Catholic school.  Imagine if ol’ Mrs. Powers at the Catholic school had seen my later Satan drawing!  I’m certain it would have raised concern and probably a meeting with my parents.

I’m glad I switched out from a Catholic grade school to a mainstream high school.  My logo and Satan drawing skills certainly flourished there, even if my appreciation for Huck Finn did not.

 

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REVIEW: Aerosmith – Just Push Play (2001 2 CD Japanese edition)

AEROSMITH – Just Push Play (2001 Sony Japan 2 CD set)

Funny thing about some pretty bad albums: sometimes the bands con you into buying them twice. They do this with bonus tracks you may need and can’t find elsewhere. Aerosmith have been guilty of this on multiple occasions. You know what they say about fools and money.

In 2001, Aerosmith did it with Just Push Play. They placed a bonus track on the European CD (“Face”), and a completely different set of bonus tracks in Japan…but excluding “Face”. As one of the looser songs on a pretty stiff album, “Face” is pretty enjoyable.  So what about Japan’s exclusive song, “Won’t Let You Down”?  Well, for one it’s heavy.  For Aerosmith, it’s really heavy.  You could picture it on a better album like Nine Lives.  Though not perfect it’s a damn fine latter-day Aerosmith track.  It just needs another hook.

“Won’t Let You Down” and its associated Joe Perry guitar wizardry is the most interesting of the bonus tracks, but that doesn’t mean the rest are not.  Though “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” is more than slightly boring today, it was Aerosmith’s biggest hit to date.  This was the first time it appeared on an Aerosmith album, and only in Japan.

The second CD has a diverse stew of bonuses.  The first is a 3:17 radio remix of “Just Push Play”.  It’s mostly a matter of making the guitar, drums and other elements more prominent in the mix.  It’s quite a bit better than the album cut, though just as silly.  You gotta wonder if anybody in the studio told Steven to try it without the rasta accent.  That’s the remix I want to hear, because the chorus is great.

Moving on to live rarities, Aerosmith included a handful of previously released tracks that weren’t necessarily already in your collection.  First up:  California Jam II.  “Same Old Song and Dance”, “Draw the Line” and “Chip Away the Stone” were all available on the various artists album California Jam II.  If you have this, you don’t need to buy that.  The year was 1978 and Aerosmith were still cooking live.  Whether it comes from youthful or chemical energy, these tracks are faster than their studio counterparts.  Rough and dirty live Aerosmith without the backing tapes and fixes:  what’s not to love?  “Draw the Line” has more…definition?…than the original.  Still, smoking so hot that Joe Perry probably melted his strings.  It’s just plain great to any live version of “Chip Away the Stone“.  Top five Aerosmith song?  Welcome to the collection.

That’s not all folks, as we stick to 1978 and the famous Texxas Jam.  “Big Ten-Inch Record” and “Lord of the Thighs” would be familiar if you own Pandora’s Box.  Strange they included two tracks that were readily available, but here they are and there’s nothing wrong with ’em.

A brief word on the album Just Push Play itself.  We’ve already reviewed it in full, so let’s not rehash.  Joe Perry’s least favourite Aerosmith albumy panders for hits in the most embarrassing ways.  Hi-tech recording and outside songwriters watered it down.  The old Tyler/Perry combination was not to be found on a single track.  The other three guys have not a single writing credit between them.  It’s a sad state of affairs.

If you’re a masochist like me, you’ll want to get this one for the bonus tracks.  If not, just stay away.

Just Push Play1/5 stars

Bonus CD – 3/5 stars

#767: Just Older

A sequel to Getting More Tale #332:  Getting Older Everyday

 

 

GETTING MORE TALE #767: Just Older

Unless you’re a teenager buying booze with your fake ID, nobody likes being mistaken for older than they actually are.

When I was in my 30s, people used to think I was in my 20s.  I looked younger and I dressed younger because I worked at a Record Store and I could get away with it.  I bleached my hair, had piercings, and flashy shirts.  I saw people working at hair salons looking like rock stars so I thought the same could work for me in a Record Store.  Eventually I had a collection of over 30 flashy shirts.  I don’t think my bosses were impressed with my new image, but it was a hit with the ladies.

I loved looking younger than my actual age but all good things come to an end.

After quitting the store I wanted to change my line of work and look more professional.  The fancy shirts went into a closet.  The pleather pants were saved for Halloween.  The hair was toned down.  Eventually it started to go grey.  My beard turned white and I got fat.  It can happen to anyone.

I own the “old man” schtick now, but there is still one thing that I hate.  And I do mean hate.

Mrs. LeBrain is a little younger than me (I’m a 1972 model and she’s a 1978), but not by a significant difference.  Where she wins is a natural youthful look.  People always mistake her for someone much younger.  She loves being asked for ID.  That kind of thing makes her day.  What pisses me off is when people mistake me for her father!  And it keeps happening!

I took Jen to the hospital to have some tests done (no worries, all good) and had about an hour to kill.  I had an mp3 player loaded up with Kiss.  Because Heavy Metal OverloRd had been talking about Hotter Than Hell (a personal favourite and among the first Kiss records I ever owned), I decided to take a nice morning walk while listening to that album.  When done I progressed onward to Rock and Roll Over.  It was a lovely morning filled with cool summer breezes, trainspotting, and Paul Stanley at his peak.

I got back in good time and soon a nurse called to tell me Jen was all set to go.  She led me to her bed, and I saw a big bright smile on her face.  It’s the smile that keeps me going every day.  “Hi ‘dad’!” she said grinning.  I was confused.  Did she have a seizure?  Was she really mistaking me for her dad?

No, she was playing around.  The nurse asked if she wanted them to call “her father” to come and get her.  Me being her father!  Jesus Murphy….

I hate, hate, hate being mistaken for her father!  I didn’t even have my big white beard!

I’ll let it slide because those nurses did a great job as always, but c’mon!

I looked exactly like the guy in the photograph below.  I don’t think he looks old enough to be Jen’s dad, do you?

The hat, maybe?  The day I took Jen to the hospital I was wearing a Van Halen T-shirt and camo shorts with shoes and socks.

I have since shed the locks; a mixture of “shit brown” (my dad’s words) and grey highlights.  I now rock the bald head again, but do I look any younger?  I don’t think so.

It’s a game I just can’t win!  Though it doesn’t really matter does it?  Jen prefers me with less hair, and it’s a lot less work.  I was just keeping it long just to have long hair at Sausagefest for once.  I enjoyed that (it also kept my neck from getting burned), but long hair doesn’t feel nice in the summer time.  It’s time to go back to what feels good!

I have a birthday coming up this week, but I’m not old.  Just older!

 

Sunday Chuckle: Two Elvises (Elvii?)

What is the plural of Elvis?  Doesn’t matter.  Here are two for you:

  1. Bald Elvis (local guy)
  2. Fat Elvis (yours truly)

#766: The Blue Tape (1991)

GETTING MORE TALE #766: The Blue Tape (1991)

This blue Scotch tape has seen a lot of use over the years.  It was my first blank tape, 120 minutes.  This cassette was well loved.  Back in ’83, it contained open-air recordings of songs like “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” and “The Mighty Quinn”.  At some point in history (early 1991) I must have recorded over it.  Let’s have a listen.

Play ►

I have a feeling I know what it is now.  Sounds like something I recorded for a girl!  It would have been for my long distance crush Tammy.

This tape was never anything more than a cheap cassette, and it sounds awfully horrendous today.  The contents, however, are still identifiable.  The reason I never sent it to her was that it didn’t pass the sound quality test when I played it back.  That was the shitty thing about cassettes.  You could pour hours into making something, and then abandon the entire project.

I’m writing this in real time as I listen.  If I’m right about my original intentions with this cassette, then I know that I’m going to find a specific song buried somewhere in the track list.  Let’s find out.

Side 1

1. Tesla – “Love Song”

The acoustic intro to the song made a perfect run-in for this lovey-dovey tape.  I’ll spare the identity of the poor girl who this was made for, but she knows!  This Tesla ballad is still utterly perfect.  Off to a good start.

2. Kiss – “Shout It Out Loud”

Whew, I sure am glad it’s not all ballads.  This track took me by surprise.  I’m glad I used a classic Kiss rocker as the second track, instead of pandering for romance with “Reason to Live”.  Good for me!

3. Cheap Trick – “The Flame”

I read a lot of hate for this song today.  In the 80s, it was my favourite Cheap Trick and it’s still in my top five.  It may be a ballad but like the Tesla one, it’s utterly perfect.  This tape is now clearly made for a girl.  I’d never do 2/3 ballads for my opening trio otherwise.

4. Warrant – “Thin Disguise”

Here I go again with the rarities!  She loved Warrant but there is no way she had this song unless she had the cassette single for “Cherry Pie”.  I did — I collected that stuff even back then.  Turns out the B-side “Thin Disguise” is one of the best Warrant tracks, even today.  It’s an acoustic/electric killer.  Jani wrote some incredible songs in his time.  This is one.

5. Warrant – “I Saw Red (Acoustic version)”

Another rarity, this time from the “I Saw Red” cassette single.  I think this simple acoustic track (just Jani and a guitar) is better than the bombastic A-side version.  Even then, I was trying to impress a girl with my music collection — how comical is that?

6. Kiss – “Reason to Live”

Ahh shit, there it is!  That is hilarious.

7. Cinderella – “Nobody’s Fool”

OK, I’m getting a little sick of the power ballads now.  The cool thing is, I know for a fact that I taped this off a cassette that she gave me for Christmas called Rulers of Rock.  I wanted to show that I appreciated the gift by including this song.  Kind of like when your favourite aunt gave you a sweater and you had to wear it when she was over to visit.

Enough with the ballads though.  Let’s get a rocker next.  Let’s hope for a rocker.

8. Kim Mitchell – “Easy to Tame”

Well, it’s not a ballad, but it ain’t a rocker either.  Kim Mitchell was a good way into a girl’s heart in the late 80s and early 90s.  Everybody loved “Patio Lanterns”.  “Easy to Tame” was kind of like it’s cooler, lesser known cousin.

9. Paul Stanley – “Hold Me, Touch Me (Think Of Me When We’re Apart)”

Jesus fuck!  I went full ballad.  This was probably my favourite ballad of all time back then.  Stanley’s guitar solo is flawlessly written and executed.  And I got three Kiss songs right there on side one.

10.  Kiss – “I’ll Be Back”

Four!  Four Kiss songs!  What a wild inclusion, too.  This is a brief, very quick, Beatles tune done a-cappella for Kiss eXposed on VHS.  I dubbed this from the video for a “soundtrack tape” that I made, and then recorded it here tape to tape.  Just a filler between two other songs, but fuck…that’s cool.

11. Killer Dwarfs – “Doesn’t Matter”

At least this ballad has balls.  We played this song a lot the previous summer.  Bob had the cassette for Dirty Weapons, and he loved this song.  A couple years later it was still good enough to include on their next album Method to the Madness.  It’s still great.

12. Triumph – “Let the Light (Shine on Me)”

I’m getting steadily more and more disgusted with myself as the ballads play on.  This one was recorded from the 7″ single, but at this point I don’t care and I just want the side to be over so I can flip the tape.

13. Quiet Riot – “Don’t Wanna Let You Go”

I’ll let myself off with a warning here, because this electric song is still pretty great.  Truthfully, I included it hoping she’d like it, as Quiet Riot wasn’t really her thing.  I was feeling nostalgic for the early 80s, the simplicity and quality of the Metal Health era.  You didn’t need a ballad to have a hit then, and indeed “Don’t Wanna Let You Go” isn’t a single.  Even in this shitty tape, Carlos’ guitar sound incredible.

14. Slaughter – “Fly to the Angels (Acoustic version)”

I put this on because she loved Slaughter but didn’t have a CD player, and this was a CD bonus track.

Side 2

I need a break from all the balladeering, but I have a feeling the mush will be just as relentless.  On the whole of side 1, there was only one track that you could call a rocker!

1. Judas Priest – “Out in the Cold”

Here it is!  Yes, I sure do remember making this tape.  The main motivation was — get this — to trick her into liking Judas Priest.

She hated Priest.  Meanwhile, we were in the Painkiller era and I was riding a Priest high.  I planned to write this song on the cover as:

1. Exciter – “Out in the Cold”

I used an alias (disregarding the thrash band with the same name because I know she wouldn’t recognize it) because I wanted her to hear this awesome Priest song with no preconceived notions.  I wanted her to love it.  I never found out since the cassette sounds so terribly bad and I never sent it, but this proves that I remembered my intentions correctly.

This sheds a new light on all the balladry.  I was trying to really lull her in.  I figured I needed a tape with nothing but the best soft songs in the world to really get her with the mighty Priest.  It’s all coming back to me now.

2. Frehley’s Comet – “It’s Over Now”

I didn’t think she would know this one, but I hoped she’d like it.  I was a big proponent of the second Frehley disc, appropriately called Second Sighting.  I always thought this song should have been a huge, huge hit.  I was hoping she would agree.  Unusually for a Frehley song (but wiser from a commercial ballad point of view), it has both lead vocals and lead guitar by Tod Howarth.

3. Frozen Ghost – “Promises”

This one takes me completely by surprises.  It’s a great song, but I didn’t have it back then.  My sister did — I must have poached it from her collection for this tape.  Bob played this a lot in the car over the last couple summers, so our whole gang would remember it fondly.  She would have been in the car when we were rocking Frozen Ghost.  Lead singer Arnold Lanni later went on to become quite a successful producer.  Guitarist Phil X made it even bigger, now touring the world with Bon Jovi!

4. Lee Aaron – “Only Human”

I don’t think this is one of Lee’s finer moments, but I thought she’d like it, so on it went.

5. Winger – “Miles Away”

Putrid.  Just awful.  Fast forwarding.

6. AC/DC – “Moneytalks”

Holy shit!  Finally a rock song.  AC/DC were huge in ’90-’91.  I couldn’t have gone wrong with AC/DC.  Then why the fuck didn’t I include more?  “Who Made Who”.  “You Shook Me All Night Long”.  Everybody likes those songs.  Holy shitballs.

7. Motley Crue – “Home Sweet Home”

Tammy had Dr. Feelgood before I did, but I don’t know if she would have Theater of Pain back then.  There was no such thing as a Motley greatest hits (can you imagine such a world?) so I thought this would be nice for her to have.

8. Van Halen – “Dreams”

OK, probably not a ballad.  Very keyboard-heavy.  Very easy to enjoy, and Van Hagar were still cool as fuck.

9. Van Halen – “Dancing in the Streets”

Some folks that are not necessarily Van Halen fans really like their version of “Dancing in the Streets”.  It’s probably better than Bowie/Jagger, at least.  I’m pleased with myself for including both Sammy and Dave on this tape, and one after the other no less!

10. REZ – “Shadows”

Woah!  Deep cut.  This was a tape, of a tape, of a tape, of a tape.  You can imagine what it sounds like today.  Bob and I loved this song by the Christian rock band REZ, formerly Resurrection Band.  You can see that I snuck in a few unfamiliar songs like this, hoping she’d get into them.  This one is pretty easy to like.  Total shock to find it here.

11. Kiss – “Hard Luck Woman”

Kiss Count:  five.

12. Brighton Rock – “One More Try”

This also comes as a surprise.  Then I think to myself that my music collection wasn’t very large back then and I would have to pull a few obscure ones out.  If I remember the details clearly, Tammy had MTV and so didn’t necessarily hear as much Canadian content like Brighton Rock.

13. AC/DC – “You Shook Me All Night Long”

Ah, good.  What’s interesting to me about this is that at this point of the tape, the right channel is completely inaudible.  So all I get is Angus (no Malcolm), Brian, and maybe half of Phil Rudd.

To my surprise, that is the last song.  Usually I snuck something short and goofy at the end of a tape.  “You Shook Me All Night Long” does make a good final song….

Wait!

I didn’t erase the tape to the end!  There is something left at the tail.  Older contents; older than 1991.

It’s “On the Road to Rock” by Kick Axe!  It is a mystery how that song got on this tape in the first place, as I didn’t own it back then and don’t even own it now.  I must have recorded it off someone.  Who, I have no idea.  Perhaps my next door neighbour George had it.  It was him or Bob, but I’ll never know for sure.  George is gone now and Bob wouldn’t remember.

Knowing when I made this tape, and all the motivations behind it doesn’t forgive it for being a piece of shit. I did a shitty job here folks! Too many ballads, not enough variety. It’s a real slog to listen to without a fast forward button. At least half of those ballads could be axed, and replaced with something else that I had in my collection at that time.

Usually when you make a tape for someone, you give it away and never hear it again. In this case I had the rare chance to play back a mix tape that I made 28 years ago and never sent. It’s just as bad as I feared though not without some surprises and the odd cool inclusion.

That blue Scotch tape, an ancient C-120, goes back to at least 1983 making it 36 years old at minimum.  120 minute tapes are never any good, and this one was always particularly cheap.  Now that I’ve satisfied my curiosity, I will never play this tape again.

REVIEW: I Mother Earth – No One (1993 promo cassette)

“No one leaves the caravan.” – IME

I MOTHER EARTH – No One (1993 EMI promo cassette)

M.E.A.T Magazine was such an awesome resource for Canadians.  Their exclusive metal content really was second to none.  M.E.A.T was on top of virtually every new Canadian band on the scene.  Thanks to them, we knew all about I Mother Earth well before they were signed to EMI.

Then one day in early ’93, M.E.A.T arrived in the mailbox slightly thicker than usual.  Inside the envelope was a free cassette tape, a promo provided by EMI.  Time to see what this I Mother Earth band sounded like.  Would they live up to the hype that M.E.A.T was creating?

The full length album Dig was not released until later that summer.  Even the music video for “Rain Will Fall” hadn’t come out yet.  This EP, titled No One, was all brand new to me.  It received a lot of play.  Out walking with the Walkman, in the car, at home or at the lake:  I Mother Earth swiftly consumed me.  I felt pretty cool hearing all this music before the masses did.  They were gonna love I Mother Earth.

The cassette (repeated both sides) wisely opened with the chiming guitars of “The Mothers”.  Softer and more psychedelic than I expected.

“Listen…to the Mothers…” sings Edwin.  The track meanders on a little bit, not quite a full song but also more than just an intro.  “A surreal sound of eight-legged groove, a serving of today’s psycadellicasy.”  The clever words were written by drummer Christian Tanna, although I certainly couldn’t make them out on my own.

After a long 10 second gap, the uberfunk of “Basketball” crushes the speakers.  It’s almost too fast, but surely demonstrated that these Torontonians could play.  It’s more than just rock music.  The exotic percussion coupled with the tribal-sounding drums really took it all to another level, whether they were playing funky or psychedelic.  There’s always room for exotic percussion.

I called “No One” the centrepiece of the album, and so it is also the highlight of this tape.  Rather than hyperspeed funk, this one is built around guitar riffs.  There are two riffs in particular on this song that just steamroll.  When joined with the full-on groove of I Mother Earth, the riffs dominate your brain.  Then it gets quiet as Edwin chants “No one leaves the caravan…”, and this serves as a reset before the song comes back full strength for the kill.  Listening today, it seems almost impossible for a band to have a song this advanced on their first album.  It’s seven minutes of riff, percussion and melody yet there’s no fat to trim out.  You’d expect something like this on a third album, not a debut.

Interestingly, none of the songs on this EP were singles.  Dig ended up producing four singles.  Consider the strength of this promo tape, and you can extrapolate that Dig is probably a really strong album.  You would be correct.

5/5 stars

#765: “Three Yolks, Two Whites”… The Sausagefest 2019 Story

GETTING MORE TALE #765:
“Three Yolks, Two Whites” …and One Fucked Up Tent: The Sausagefest 2019 Story

It’s better than Christmas. It’s better than birthdays. It’s more rock and roll than Lemmy snorting coke off Ozzy Osbourne’s cock. It’s Sausagefest.

We look forward to this rock and roll party every year. It is the highlight of our calendars. We meticulously plan out songs, sketches, jokes, and food. Mountains of meat, sizzling to a soundtrack of pure integrity (with a couple musical exceptions). Male companionship? More like brotherhood.

Preparation is key. I started recording bits for my Sausagefest contributions late last year. All my introductions were “finished” weeks ahead of time, which gave the rare opportunity to listen and go back and fix things that were not working.  It was worth it.  The intros were well received and Uncle Meat enjoyed the Rob Gronkowski bits that I poached from Family Guy.

Meat and I left town after lunch on Friday, and as per our new tradition, stopped at Value Village to buy new T-shirts for the party.  The more ridiculous the better, for him.  He found a stupidly bright pink shirt depicting a Dr. Aftab Patla, and for me a shirt that said “OFFICER OF ROCK” on the back.

“Should have said ‘cock’,” commented my pal Jason.

This is the kind of stuff we find funny.

It was a blazing hot Friday and as soon as I had my new tent and canopy set up, I went down to the river for the first swim of the weekend.  Many of the boys had already arrived, and our glorious leader Tom pulled in at the same time we did.

There was an issue early in the evening.  Apparently the old laptop that has been playing the Countdown ever since they did the switch to mp3 has a bad audio out jack.  The backup plan was to play the Countdown off Meat’s phone, but it refused to play the tracks in the right order.  As a team we re-numbered all the id3 tags and renamed all the tracks until his phone miraculously began to do what we needed.  All of this done in a big open field on a Samsung phone.

The legendary 100 song Countdown was inaugurated this year by Styx with “Renegade”.  We were treated to a slew of classics (Black Sabbath, the Kinks, Drive By Truckers, Queensryche, Tenacious D, etc.) and a few duds (Afroman).  There is a certain, shall we say, younger element that has grown as Sausagefest expanded.  These highly respected youngsters were responsible for voting in some pretty incredible music from rock to funk.  Where they confuse me periodically is shit like Afroman.  You will hear me ranting about the rap songs on this year’s video, included at the bottom.

Afroman was one of nine songs that were given to me to introduce.  I refused to do it; instead I ranted for a bit about being stuck with a shit song, and asked my radio buddy Erik Woods to do it.  So picture that deep radio voice announcing, “this song is called ‘She Won’t Let Me Fuck'”.

I will give the young fellas credit for one thing.  When I arrived, I found out they were already campaigning for votes to get “Beth” onto next year’s Countdown.  This is, of course, because in 2015 I had to blast the song at full volume to wake up Uncle Meat, and even that wouldn’t do it.   Personally I would love if “Beth” made the Countdown next year, as a little wink to the Meat Man, who is not a morning person.  You’ll see that in the video as well.

Max the Axe wanted to grab breakfast at the Spatula early Saturday morning.  We roused the Meat Man, who was more than a little displeased to find out we arrived before they actually opened.  I took the brunt of the blame even though it was Max (his own band leader) who wanted to go!  And this is where things go slightly sideways.

The Spatula opened just five minutes later, and Max the Axe threw a wrench into things immediately by ordering eggs with “three yolks, and two whites”.  Our server didn’t seem to be in the best of moods, having already referred to Sebastien Munier as “Mr. Tattoo” when he walked in.  Max’s order was probably not the first one she wanted to take that morning.

“I don’t understand what he wants,” she said to us.  “I’m just giving him two eggs.”  The rest of us nodded in agreement.  Three yolks and two whites?  Who the fuck orders that?

“The chefs know how to make it!” testified Max in his own defence.  “They use the leftover egg white to make Hollandaise sauce.”

I did my research on this, and just to make everything even funnier, Max got that 100% wrong.  According to every recipe I consulted, Hollandaise sauce is made with yolks, not whites!

Max ate his two eggs in peace, but we were actually a bit perturbed at a new, teeny-tiny menu.  The legendary Flesherton Fillup breakfast is gone.  So is the steak and eggs.  It’s all gone, replaced by a simplified menu where you have to build your own replica Flesherton Fillup by ordering the extra meats and add-ons yourself.

“When did you get rid of the Flesherton Fillup?” asked Meat.

“Oh, we haven’t had that in a long time,” said the server.

“We were here last year and you had it then, I’m just surprised,” said Meat.

Condescendingly she answered, “Isn’t a year a long time?”

An underwhelming breakfast couldn’t derail us, though we will consider finding a new breakfast joint next year.  Here’s a fact you didn’t know:  the legendary Max the Axe is a garage sale aficionado.  Who knew that rock stars spent their weekend mornings hitting up garage sales?  We took Max to a couple garage sales on our way back, and apparently he just missed an old quadraphonic receiver ($5.00) by about five minutes.

It was a lazy afternoon spent (mostly) in the river, socializing and playing with my new waterproof camera.  With flawless timing, Zach the Lamb Lord served up his perfectly marinated side of lamb.  He outdid himself this year, with perhaps the juiciest lamb ever cooked by anyone.

The second evening’s continuation of the Countdown rewound a bit for those of us (like me) who fell asleep early the night before.  As the sun slowly began to turn into fire behind the trees, we all listened in.  Some were cooking steaks, some playing Frisbee, with the rest of us sitting attentively around the fire.

I had four more song intros on day two.  Another radio buddy, Jason Drury, helped me out with an intro for the B-52’s “Rock Lobster”.  Jason is from Ramsgate in the UK but everybody seemed to have different ideas of where he was from.  “Who was that Australian guy?” or “Who was that Irish guy?”  Day two of the Countdown had some smoking good tunes, including surprises like “Women in Uniform”, a non-album single by Iron Maiden.  When Tom posts the full tracklist for the entire Countdown, I’ll do the same.

Sausagefest may have ended, but the next morning offered its own unique challenge:  waking up Uncle Meat.  “It’s going to be pretty difficult to spin this to make you look good,” he said pointedly, and he’s right.  I’m not asking anyone to take my side in this.  However, if you don’t think it’s funny as hell, that’s not my problem.

I had to be back in town at a certain time.  “When should I start the process of waking him up, given that I want to be home by noon?” I asked his roomate Zach.

“I’d start now,” he said bluntly.  It was 8:00 am.

I gently woke him by telling him I wanted to start getting ready to go.  He could nap a bit longer but I would eventually need his help taking down the canopy.  I put on Kiss Alive II and toiled on packing up my stuff.  I stopped the album a couple times while I was working, but when “Beth” came on, I did what I had to do.  I blasted it for him.  This was his alarm clock.

I waited a while longer, asked some advice.  I shook his tent a little and told him to get up.  An anonymous man (who has an excellent real first name) suggested I remove a couple of the tentpoles.  That seemed reasonable.  It didn’t do much though.  I gave it a little more time, and then removed the final two tentpoles.  Meat lay there motionless.

“Is there anyone even in there?” someone asked.  Oh, he was in there.  Trust me.

“Maybe now you should take the top of the tent off,” said a second anonymous man.  Unnecessary.

Like an animal trapped in a net, first an arm thrust forth.  It failed to penetrate the tent.  Then an unsuccessful leg kicked up.  Then another arm, and another leg.  Then, as the frenzy built, the tent transformed into a ball of limbs, trying to smash their way through.  If you stuck that crazy rat from Stranger Things 3 in a bag, it would have looked a lot like Meat in his tent.  We watched the activity from a distance, guffawing so loudly that I have never come so close to actually piss myself laughing.  I could feel a bead of pee forming.  The futile struggle to open the tent, from a safe orbit, was simultaneously pants-wettingly funny and tear-forming sad!  Max was the first to have mercy on Uncle Meat, and opened the tent for him.

Because I gave him the tent, he threw one of the tent poles into the forest in retaliation.  That’s OK; I have lots of spares!

He was justifiably mad.  So was Chuck, for me blasting “Beth” at a still fairly early hour.  These people don’t get it.  You cannot go anywhere with Uncle Meat when you want to, unless you take extreme measures.  You are at the mercy of his whims, his hangover, and his appetite for cigarettes.  Oh sure, he’ll keep you laughing the whole way home (at least when his voice isn’t completely fucked) but actually getting him packed and into the vehicle is its own entire movie to itself.  The Sausagefest spinoff movie would have to be called Bedsheet Puptent:  The Waking of Meat.

I got home 30 minutes earlier than I had to be, which was fucking perfect.  So, thank you Meat for not bearing a grudge, but I got home in excellent time.  Thank you for your cooperation!  I cheered him up by messing with Dave Haslam on the way home, in the car behind us.  That put the smile back on Meat’s face.  Even though Haslam was completely innocent in all this, he had to pay the price to get Meat back in a good mood.

It was actually a nice ride home, spent listening to a soundboard bootleg from Iron Maiden’s Matter of Life and Death tour.  “That was their best album since Seventh Son“, he said.  I claimed Somewhere in Time.  It matters not.  It was a great listen, even though a few days earlier Meat was complaining about a live Kiss show sounding “too bootleggy”.

It was an awesome Fest, but aren’t they all?  I’ve never experienced a dud.  Our most excellent host and his companions in the shenanigans put on a great show every year.  Stay tuned for the full Countdown.  Until then, enjoy the video which captures the flavour of the Fest.  See how many songs you recognize from the Countdown!

 

The Video: Sausagefest 2019

A labour of love brought to us every year with blood, sweat, years and possibly other bodily fluids: It’s Sausagefest!

New wrinkles this year include a water proof camera for those aquatic shots. Look for a guest appearance by legendary rock star Max the Axe (he’s kind of a big deal).

The Countdown this year included a number of favourites; see if you can pick ’em out in the video.

Oh, there are stories too. Max the Axe ordering two and half eggs at the Spatula. Uncle Meat trapped trying to escape a collapsed tent; a brutal trick by his “friends”. Also the first time I may genuinely peed myself laughing. These stories will be shared when the mind and body have had time to heal. There was also a UFO sighting at 3:30 am Saturday morning.

Thanks Erik Woods, Jason Drury, and Dave Jutzi for your help with my recordings this year!

This is what we do with our rock and roll vacation.

Sunday Chuckle: Rime of the Ancient Mariner

“This is a song about what not to do when a bird shits on ya!” — Bruce Dickinson

 

Last weekend, a bird shit on me.  It would have got me right on the head, except I happened to have my hands over my head at that exact moment.  I felt something wet on my fingers.  I looked and saw something gross!  I ran inside to wash.

I ran into the cottage warning, “A bird shit on me, clear a path!”

My dad’s response?

“How do you know?”

Gee dad, I dunno, how about the bird shit on the fucking fingers?!

 

SF19-5: Day Two

The second night of the Countdown is about to begin.  Already we have filled our faces full of meat and our ears full of rock.