Part 320: End of the Line #6: The Birth of LeBrain

RECORD STORE TALES Part 320: End of the Line #6: The Birth of LeBrain

I discovered quickly that listening to rock radio in an office was much better than listening to CDs in the Record Store. They really hounded me about my in-store music selections.  With the radio, nobody yells at me about the music. I could just enjoy it as I worked, and the music has not been lame!  Just this week, I rocked out to Judas Priest’s “Painkiller” and Savatage’s “Hall of the Mountain King” at work on the radio.  Last week it was Slayer.  I doubt I ever played any of those songs in the Record Store.  Traffic reports are an added bonus.

Our office has its radio set to 107.5 Dave FM, and it is through them that I met new friends such as Marko Fox, Craig Fee, Simon McGhee, Patrick Dynamite, and more. It is there that I became “LeBrain”.  There was a daily contest…a near legendary contest…called the 4 O’Clock 4-Play.  Every day at 4:00, Craig would play four songs with a common theme.  Guess the theme, win the prize.  I started winning frequently, and had started submitting my own 4-Play quizzes for the show.  They numbered in the hundreds, I am certain.  Some have never been used.  Craig told me he had an email folder filled with my 4-Plays that hadn’t been used yet.


Craig Fee with some beard douchebag.

This led to features on the station such as “Stump LeBrain Week”, where I was in the studio every day for a week as listeners tried to stump me. (The only day I was not in the studio was the Wednesday, where I was live on air with Marko at Chicopee ski club.)  Other listeners sent in their own 4-Plays specifically to stump me, and Craig picked his five favourites.  That was followed by LeBrainuary – an entire month of my own musical 4-Plays.  They also did a final LeBrain Week before they finally shut the contest down.

I still hear about that contest.  Every once in a while I meet someone new who knows me only as “LeBrain” from the radio.  There was one at Sausagefest this year.  I always get asked, “When are they bringing that contest back?  It was awesome.”  I wish I knew!  I’ve bugged Craig about it too.

While it lasted, it was awesome. I became a D-grade local celebrity! But I wanted more. I pestered and bugged Craig Fee daily. I sent him my reviews, early chapters of the Record Store Tales, rock news, rants, anything and everything!

You know what happened next. It was the “lightbulb moment”.  Craig said the magic words: “You need to start your own blog.”  

And so I did, and that’s why you’re reading this today.

I knew immediately I wanted to finally publish the Record Store Tales.  I started writing them over 10 years ago.  I originally envisioned a book version of Record Store Tales.  I started writing it with that in mind, but most of it hasn’t been used, because I felt some chapters were a little too off-topic.   Instead I mined my extensive journals to create new content.  It took about 2 1/2 years to post all of the Record Store Tales, at an average of one every three days.

So here we are, at the end. I knew this day would come eventually. I thought at most I’d come up with 100 installments, tops.  Having said that, the number of stories that I chose not to tell exceeds this body of work greatly.  Believe it or not, I decided to be nice.  There are many things done and many things said that have been left out.  I’ve tried to be candid and maintain my own integrity, and just tell the story of a very cool time in my life.  Not everybody gets to work in a record store.

Positives and negatives aside, the writing experience for me has been mostly healthy, sometimes cathartic, and immensely fun. I hope you have had fun too.

Thank you for your support, inspiration, kind words and contributions: Mrs. LeBrain, Craig, Marko, Aaron, Uncle Meat, Iron Tom Sharpe (Meaford’s greatest athlete), T-Rev, Lemon Kurri, my parents, and everyone else who has ever contributed or told me not to stop.

A huge thanks to the owner at the old Record Store. You gave me a chance and taught me so much.  You have my number.

Sincerest apologies to those I have hurt or offended.

Finally, thanks to YOU – the people who have read this stuff, whether you were a one-timer or a regular. I thrive on feedback and you made this a very rewarding experience.

I hope you’ll stick around, as we launch the Post-Record Store Tales (official title to be announced soon) and continue on with the awesome reviews! Live long…and prosper.

The End.




    1. I have been considering that and I have talked to Craig about that. The only thing holding me back is that (spoiler) Craig has hinted the contest COULD come back, and he wants to keep my 4-Plays on deck in case it does.

      However I think I might do a couple, just not too many.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Congrats my friend! Wow, then end of the line! I had to smile at the D-list celebrity!

    Alright. Craig was right…you needed to do a blog. But, have you ever considered a podcast? You definitely have the voice…and the stories! You can do a 4-play with you guests. Just a thought.


    1. I’m taking part in a podcast that Kingcrimsonprog is working on. I recorded some stuff for that. However I don’t really listen to podcasts to I don’t know what they’re all about!


      1. I don’t really listen to them either. Basically it’s like talk radio but in a condensed fashion – an hour-2 hours long and you discuss a bunch of subjects with a theme. In your case, I could see you talk about new releases, movies you watched, and what music you’ve been listening to. You can also discuss news in the world of rawk. You’d get three other ppl involved.

        I just took part in my husband’s new podcast…will be posting about it shortly.


  2. Congrats on the RST series! It’s been a journey and I’ve enjoyed being along for the ride, ups, downs and all.
    I’d fully support some sort of contest feature, whether it’s a variation on the 4play or some other LeBrain-esque quiz!


    1. I’m post a few 4-plays. There was one that I LOVED…it was incredibly out there. But I unfortunately lost most of them. Had to clear space out of Outlook…I wish I kept them in a folder but I didn’t think they would be worth keeping.

      The first time I ever heard the contest, the theme was “Songs with the F bomb”. I recall Jeremy, Killing in the Name…I can’t remember the other two. But I got the answer on the first song, just couldn’t dial in.

      I was known for nailing the question on the first song several times. Craig would say mockingly, “Thanks for ruining the contest, LeBrain,” and then play the next three songs.


    1. Hell yeah buddy! They just got a new program director, a real wild man named Mike Devine and he’s been throwing in a lot more crazy stuff. They play a lot of prog too…”Lamb Lays Down on Broadway” was on this week, I heard some King Crimson recently, etc.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for filling in my alphabet celebrity list – With you a D- I have met them now from B down to F —just need one honest A level and I got the whole set—keep rockin!


  4. Fitting end to the story. But come on dude. Listening to rock radio is better than putting on CD’s yourself? That’s simply something you have told yourself is true. I dont care if 2 “gems” are thrown in there daily. That is an extreme falsehood.


    1. No no — listening to CDs in the store. Not at home or in the car. Sorry if I didn’t make the distinction clear. Just because when I was at the last store I was at, with head office in the back, I was never listening for enjoyment anymore.


    2. Actually at the end of the store, I rarely picked discs anymore and others would testify to this…I usually left in whatever discs were in the night before because I knew that “person x” or “person y” wouldn’t yell at me about “person z”‘s CDs. That’s what I meant.


  5. Mike,
    That was a great read. Good to understand your motivations and a little (well, quite a lot) of your life. And the origin of the whole ” LeBrain” thing which had passed me by all these years! We’ll have to try your trivia knowledge out one of these days…..


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