REVIEW: Ghost – “Spillways” featuring Joe Elliott (2023)

GHOST – “Spillways” featuring Joe Elliott (2023 Loma Vista)

One of the best songs of 2022 gets a new life courtesy of Def Leppard frontman Joe Elliott, who comes in on the second verse.  Ghost have evolved into quite the arena rock band, and Joe’s touch cements this even further.  The Leppard frontman chose Ghost’s Impera as his #1 album of 2022, so maybe you should check out what the man was so excited about?

5/5 stars

REVIEW: Triumph – Just A Game (1979)

*New format – the three-sentence review.

TRIUMPH – Just A Game (1979 MCA/2003 Round Hill Records remaster)

Landmark album, solid front to back, and a sign of growth for the Canadian trio.  Arguably their greatest song, “Lay It On the Line” has the biggest presence here, from soft intro to bangin’ chorus.  Highlights include the rocking opener “Movin’ On”, the blues “Young Enough to Cry”, the boogieing “American Girls”, the folksy power ballad “Hold On” and the progressive title track.

4/5 stars

Idea: A 3 Line Review? Triumph – Thunder Seven (1985)

I was doing some online reading the other day, on Wikipedia as we often do.  I was curious about the book Moby Dick so I clicked the article and did a quick dive.  One thing in the article intrigued me immediately.  Someone wanted to determine when the first review of Moby Dick appeared in print, and their length criteria for “review” was “three lines or more”.

That got me thinking.

A lot of you want me to do reviews again, which I have been staunchly resistant to.  I’m tired of the extensive work that my type of review required.  However, would you be interested in a new kind of review that is only three sentences long?  Is that something you’d be interested in?

The key here is making the sentences count.  Let’s give it a try below.  I was recently given this album by good pal Tim Durling.

TRIUMPH – Thunder Seven (1985 MCA)

Far heavier than I expected, given Martin Popoff’s scathing 1/10 star review in Riff Kills ManThunder Seven is fine mix of riffy rock, progressive experimentation, Bluesy licks, thundering songs, and even one choral exploration.  Highlights are “Time Goes By”, “Follow Your Heart”, “Spellbound”, “Killing Time”, and the beautiful acoustic instrumental “Midsummer’s Daydream”.

4/5 stars


Rocking Reissues on Grab A Stack with Mike, Tim, Rob and the Mad Metal Man

Rock Candy, Rhino, Sony Legacy, La-La-Land, Wounded Bird, BGO…all respected reissue labels that collectors seek and value.  We looked at a decent cross section from these labels and more on this episode of Grab A Stack of Rock.

Harrison the Mad Metal Man educated us on Oingo Boingo.  Rob Daniels highlighted a Loreena McKennit super deluxe that sounds out of this world.  Mr. Durling presented a variety of rock reissues including our only vinyl of the evening.  I had some cool Johnny Cash on Sony Legacy, and a bunch of Budgie.  This is just a slice of what we showed.

Apologies for the audio glitches at the start!  We got it figured out and rolled on.

“Ask Harrison” came from a new contributor tonight:  Superhero Tee Bone Man himself!  California Girl asked some questions about Heart and Pat Benatar, sparking a lively discussion.

Speaking of whom, next week at a special time (3 PM EST / Noon Pacific), California Girl aka MarriedAndHeels will be joining us live for the first time, so get your questions ready.

Thanks for watching, and if you missed it, you can check it out below!




Grab A Stack of Reissues with Mike, Tim, Rob and the Mad Metal Man

GRAB A STACK OF ROCK…with Mike and the Mad Metal Man
Episode 13:  Reissue Record Labels with Tim Durling and Rob Daniels

The original crew of the USS Stackterprise is reunited this week!  Ensign Tim Durling, the aficionado of every edition of everything, wanted to discuss record labels that specialize in reissues.  Labels like Rock Candy, Sony Legacy, Noteworthy Productions, and many more.  Lt. Rob Daniels will be on hand to show off some La-La-Land reissue soundtracks.  Commander Kopp and I will also be prepared with some tasty discs of rock. With Durling and Daniels, two radio legends in their own rights, I’ll be able to just kick back, listen and learn.

Additionally:  Ask Harrison is back with a new question, and everybody’s favourite guest MarriedAndHeels has another question for the group.

Join us live!

Friday January 27 at 7:00 P.M. E.S.T. Enjoy on YouTube or on Facebook.



Insta Illuminati!

I continue to get the weirdest shit on Instagram.

This is for Holen.


Show Plans and Announcements

12 episodes in, and Grab A Stack of Rock keeps rolling.  A huge thank-you is due to my stoic co-host, the Mad Metal Man, for his endless dedication.  The panel and contributors involved have given 110% and things are still going to get kicked up a few notches.

This week, Friday January 27 at 7 PM, Tim Durling gets the spotlight as we discuss a topic of his suggestion:  Reissue Record Labels.  Labels like Rock Candy, or Sony Legacy, and many more.  Durling has his stack ready!  Rob Daniels will be on hand to show off some La-La-Land reissue soundtracks.  Harrison and I will also be prepared with some tasty discs of rock. With Durling and Daniels, two radio legends on their own rights, I’ll be able to just kick back, listen and learn.

And then…Friday February 3, at 3 PM Eastern time and 12 noon Pacific, we have the first live appearance of MarriedAndHeels / California Girl on Grab A Stack of Rock!  For  those with short memories, her appearances thus far have all been pre-recorded.  This time we go live!  I’ll be moderating questions, and I’m sure we will have a lot.  Her fans have spoken and they want to see more heels this time.  So why not?  Her shoe collection is just as impressive as my music collection, and she has more fans than the average rock star, so I say why not!  Dare I say why not.

Whether you like heels or not, California Girl is an excellent guest and I assure you we will also discuss music, and unbox a toy or two.  I have a Marvel Legends Killmonger to open, which I have been saving for this occasion, since California Girl has a thing for Michael B. Jordan.  It’s gonna be good.

Hope to see you at one of these shows if not both.  Please enjoy the latest updated version of the Grab A Stack of Rock theme video below!

#1040: The Tag Jar


As your typical mall music store in the 1990s, we had the usual magnetic tag security system.  The idea was fairly simple.  At the store entrance there was a magnetic detector that you had to pass through.  Our merchandise was tagged with these little magnetic strips, about an inch long.  If you passed one of these strips through the detector by the door, a loud siren would be triggered.  It was one of several loss prevention methods we used.

There were two ways to utilise the security tags.  One was to double up with a re-usable security case.  These cases locked the CD into a longer “long box” length package.  This package was tagged on the inside with the magnetic security system.  At the front counter, a special key would unlock the security case.  You’d then put another CD in there and re-use it.  The other method involved tagging the CD or tape itself, in an inconspicuous place on the spine of the cellophane.  In this case, a special magnetic device behind the counter would “de-tag” the disc.  It was not totally reliable so you wanted to use the device three or four times, running it over the tag.  You wanted to make sure you properly de-tagged the item before the customer left the store.

Since no customer liked setting off the security alarm, it was heavily emphasized:  make sure you de-tag!  And we had a jar where you had to pay a dollar if you were caught checking out a customer without de-tagging.  The boss warned us:  everybody screws this up, it’s just a matter of time until you do.  I was like, nahhh man, not me.  I was hired in July and my first dollar went into the tag jar before Christmas.

The money in the tag jar went towards paying for our annual Christmas dinner.  The boss invited one of his personal friends to join us, which in hindsight seems weird.  It was a nice dinner though, and we worked hard earning it.  My first Christmas there was a busy one and we were both buying and selling discs the whole time, all at one little tiny counter.

The security alarms were loud.  You could hear them down the hallway of the mall, all the way down to the Zellers store.  That’s how I got caught one time.  I was hoping the boss didn’t hear me while he was out doing his bank run, but he did, and I had to pony up my dollar.  I couldn’t remember if I de-tagged the guy or not, which meant I probably didn’t.  But sometimes I swear it was just that the device wasn’t de-tagging properly.  Some box sets also had two or three tags on the shrinkwrap.  There were multiple ways to screw it up.

Thieves always find ways around your best security measures, and ultimately the tags were not worth the cost and were phased out in future stores, in a new and innovative way:  ditching new product almost altogether in favour of a 90% used strategy.  But that’s a whole other story.

LeBrain Tries Watermelon-Strawberry flavoured Coke

Youtubin’: PS Audio – Does the CD layer of an SACD sound better?

Paul McGowan is back with another question I’ve always wondered about.  Audiophile customers at the Record Store would claim that the CD layer of Super Audio CDs sounded better than a regular CD.  That didn’t seem likely or even possible.  Paul clears it up here, and I’m not surprised at all.