Normally I wouldn’t post something so self-glorifying, but I won’t edit a word out of any of my guest shots. This one comes from the infamous Sausagefester, ex-record store alumnus, and music connoisseur, Meat. He sent this to me by surprise this afternoon, so I had to post it. Enjoy.
RECORD STORE TALES PART 78: Meat on LeBrain
Today is Lebrain’s 40th birthday. Today seems like a good day to give you all my thoughts on the man…the myth…the legend…Michael Ladano.
I would have first met Mr. Ladano in I believe late 1998 or early 1999. I was working at a record store and really didn’t know anyone at other locations. Since there was a fair amount of phone activity between different stores, it was inevitable that our paths would cross. I kept hearing about the manager of another store that was something of a music aficionado, and the biggest Kiss fan in town. Considering myself of the same ilk, and a long-time Kiss fan myself, I was looking forward to the inevitable. I don’t remember the first conversation we had honestly, it was probably some sort of inquiry about an Anita Baker stock transfer , but anyways, I do remember the first time we talked about Kiss. I remember his genuine enthusiasm hearing that I had seen Kiss on the last tour with makeup (Creatures of the Night) and the first tour without makeup (Lick it Up). He proceeded to tell me that Ace Frehley was not actually in the makeup on the first aforementioned tour (something I already knew) and a bunch of other obscure Kiss facts. Needless to say we immediately hit it off. We worked together only once at his location. He actually has a better memory of that one shift (Meat’s memory is randomly hazy…gee I wonder why) but I do remember that the shift literally seemed to go faster than any shift I had worked previously.
[LeBRAIN’S NOTE: I do remember that night very well. I remember driving Meat home, talking about Metallica’s medley of Mercyful Fate tunes. As it happens, I had that tape in the car, so we rocked it!]
I am lucky to know many guys who are self-proclaimed and ordained-by-others as music experts. The mighty Tom has been mentioned in this blog before. Others include Scottie Geffros…Scott Hunter and more. Michael Ladano trumps them all in both knowledge and actual music collection. No one loves music more than LeBrain. I certainly disagree with a lot of music that Ladano loves, and have been very vocal to him about that, but I guess that’s just part and parcel with being “LeBrain”. But most importantly, Michael Ladano’s greatest trait is simply being himself. If there is someone who is more truly sincere and kind, I have not met them. No one treated complete strangers better during his record store days than Mike Ladano. No one loves his wife or significant other more than Mike Ladano. The truth is everyone likes Ladano. As a matter of fact, there are only a very, very select few that I know that don’t like him. Literally a few select people that all hang together and work together. Not-coincidentally these people are sincerely some of the worst people I have ever encountered in my life. Truly lacking character, substance and kindness of any sort, they should be ashamed of themselves. It says something that only the worst people in the Tri-Cities are the select few that don’t like him.
I really enjoy this blog Mike and try to read every entry. Even old Meatdogs can learn new tricks, and I appreciate reading and learning about musical artists, bands and albums that I thought I already knew everything about. Your love of music is infectious and impressive, but not as impressive as Mike the friend, the person and the husband. Is this blog-entry just alot of over-blown Maudlin? Of course it is. If anyone I know deserves Maudlin, its Sir Michael Ladano. Remember, when the rest of you are sleeping comfortably at night…LeBrain is rolling in his sleep anticipating the upcoming Kiss and Darkness albums. You gotta love the guy.