Part 275: Catharis (Second Anniversary special) celebrates its second anniversary today!  It started with Record Store Tales Part 1, and here we are at Part 275!  (That’s one tale every 2.65 days for the numbers-oriented out there.)  A huge THANK-YOU to everyone who’ve read my stuff; as David Lee Roth says, “It ain’t no fuckin’ good without an audience.”  I also need to thank those friends that read this stuff years ago and told me to keep writing — they know who they are.   And my family, but especially the lovely Mrs. LeBrain who lets me rock and roll all nite and part of every day.  I love you sweety.

Enjoy this Record Store Tale!

RECORD STORE TALES Part 275:  Catharsis

Sometimes when I hit these milestones, I like to reflect on where I’ve been and where I’m headed.  Two years ago when I began publishing the Record Store Tales I didn’t know if anyone would read it.  I was pleased to find that enough people enjoyed reading these stories that it was worth continuing.

I knew when I started posting these that eventually, inevitably, somebody from the old record store would find them.  I made the decision to write under my real name, not a pseudonym.  I anticipated that while some of my old friends would be entertained by these stories, some would not.  I took efforts to protect the identities of the characters in the story that are not portrayed in a positive light.

I did a “soft” launch of the site.  That is, I began publishing the stories one chapter at a time, but I kept it to myself and a close circle of friends.  The response was very positive and constructive.  While some friends urged me to “keep it short”, one of the most popular earlier stories was one of the longest.  Part 16: Traveling Man was the story of a long misadventure in Oakville Ontario, climaxed by an encounter with an unpleasant lawyer customer.  One friend told me the story was “fucking hilarious” and that he anticipated from the start that the guy in the story was a lawyer.   This feedback encouraged me to keep going for it.  I was fired up.

Then once I had enough content up to give people something substantial to read, I did my “official” launch via Facebook, Twitter and email.  It didn’t take long for the rain to hit my parade.  As I anticipated some people from the store didn’t like my stories, but Spoogecakes was the only one to publicly voice her disgust, way back in Part 35.5.  The funny thing about this was that I hadn’t planned on even mentioning Spoogecakes in my story, but then she went and wrote herself in.  Oh well.

I never could have done a white-washed version of the Record Store Tales.  I tried.  Seven or eight years ago I tried something called “Record Store-ies” (lame title, I know).  Some of the “Record Store-ies” got recycled into the old Klassic Kwotes, but it wasn’t the satisfying, cathartic experience that my soul had been craving.  After the Spoogecakes shit-storm, I approached a mentor of mine about the situation.  I asked him if I had been too negative in the past, if I should have toned it down.  His response to me was something I have taken to heart ever since.

“If you compromise your art in order to please a small minority of people no matter how vocal, you will ultimately end up with a piece of art that you don’t like.”

That was great advice.  My bottom line is always, “Do I like it?”  I’ve tried to maintain a balance.  There are stories about people with whom I conflicted, but there are also stories about things like me shitting my pants in the store.   And I didn’t give myself an alias for these stories!

This isn’t just storytelling to me.  This is catharsis.  While I was experiencing everything I experienced in the record store, good or bad, I held tight to one thought.  That thought was, “When this is all over, at least I will have a bunch of great stories to share.  If I can entertain just a few people with these stories then it’s all been worth it.”   Spoogecakes commented that there are “two sides to every story”.

That’s right.  And this is mine.


  1. Rock on and Congrats. 2 years to keep up a blog is pretty good, and to be as faithful to it all this time and all these posts later. I’m impressed. Here’s to 2 more years!! \m/


        1. Yeah by a few days. But only barely! For some reason you missed my “soft launch” and tuned in a little after. I know I emailed you about it but I don’t hold it against ya :)


        2. I just assumed you were out battling crime, taking care of business, and making sure the kids stay of the road. Typical day in the life of a super hero!


  2. Happy 2nd Mike! Don’t compromise, or change – unless somehow it’s to make yourself even awesome-r. Now get back to your reviewing!


  3. Damn man, that time has gone quickly. I remember the early days, and you’ve come a long way in finding the voice you wanted for this. I’m proud of you, man. You are doing great work here. Onward! \m/ \m/


    1. Thanks man, you were an instrumental second opinion when I needed one. And the master typo corrector! I recall back in the day I called you the Grammer Slammer Bammer!


  4. In the wedding anniversary tradition, this would be your Cotton blogiversary – a happy one to you!

    Great work over the last 2 years. I appreciate that you’re a genuine writer, no pandering or self-aggrandizing, and I’ve learned terms like ‘suckypants’ that I’ve been able to borrow!

    And thank you for being my most frequent commenter thus far – the comments section discussions on both blogs have been enjoyable!


    1. Thanks Geoff, I know nothing about this cotton anniversary stuff, so I’ll take your words for it!

      I find it hard to believe that I introduced you to the word “suckypants”. Now I can’t recall where I first heard it myself, probably Trailer Park Boys!


  5. \m/ LeBrain!
    Congrats on two years! I tell ya, you’ve kept me entertained over the months. And you are one of my earlier followers on my blog who still reads and comments. For that, I thank you.

    Looking forward to reading more RST and Reviews! Keep it up!


    1. If you like GN’R, you will most definitely enjoy tomorrow’s review! As for the RST, I already have the next 3 or 4 plotted out and ready to rock…the next one is particularly funny to me.


    1. Thank you Deke, you’ve been around here a long time, pumping us full of concert stories! Not to mention inspiring things such as my 2-part Sven Gali series among many!


  6. Michael, congratulations on your two year anniversary. It’s hard to believe that it’s been two years that you’ve been doing this. I am so happy that people enjoy reading your blog, as I know how hard you work at it. You put in many hours and it shows. Your love of music also shows. Your knowledge of all types of music also shows. Congrats again and I hope you never run out of stuff to write about.


  7. Happy Anniversary Mike! Love what you do here. Keep it up Sir. And never, EVER edit or tone down anything. Your blog, your memories, your take. Anyone disagrees, that’s what the comments box is for.


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