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.
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.