It was a year ago when burnout set in and I took a hiatus from the LeBrain Train for the first time. We did an excellent show with some very special guests. Please enjoy the writeup, and a re-run of the show. One year sure has flown by!
RECORD STORE TALES #935: LeBrain Train Finale and Stats
A week ago we wrapped up the weekly LeBrain Train series to take a nice break. This has allowed me to devote more time to listening and writing and living!
It’s also been enlightening to look at the last 18 months of shows, and the feedback of viewers and my fellow co-hosts. Harrison the Mad Metal Man went to the trouble of graphing everyone’s picks for favourite episodes — 11 lists total. Have a look at the stats and click to zoom in for details.
It’s rewarding to see that most of the shows were on somebody’s favourite list. Even some of the shows I thought were not very good. Even one of the early shows, pre-Nigel Tufnel Top Ten, made a list thanks to Harrison. The very first Tufnel list show was Rush, which showed up on three lists. This must be heartwarming for Uncle Meat, who was the originator of that Nigel Tufnel Top Ten list idea.
In the beginning I was resistant to doing list shows. “I hate lists!” I complained. (Because they’re hard — I could do five Rush lists in one night, all different.) But Meat persisted, and came up with the Tufnel gimmick. The concept, based on everyone’s favourite scene in This Is Spinal Tap, is that we call it a “top ten” but we really go to 11. The gimmick appealed to me, and when we actually went live that day, the Meat Man and I had some great lists. We also had a Rush list from Michael Morwood making it a nice tight three. The next week we did Kiss and brought more people in. The ability to bring in participants this way really appealed to me and the show began to take off.
That Rush list show could definitely use a re-visit….
Votes for favourite shows are clustered on the latter half. The votes focus mostly on shows from late November 2020 onwards. At that point streams starting getting a lot longer with more guests. What do you think is the ideal time for a live show? I think two hours is prime, but we’re a talkative bunch and most of the later shows clocked in over three hours. Viewers seem to like a variety of guests with a lot of conflicting opinions, but keeping it to two hours is impossible!
Another interesting thing about these statistics is the way the interview shows break down. Most of us decided to choose only one show per celebrity — so even though Andy Curran appeared three times, we only picked one each. So it might appear bizarre that some great, great interviews got no votes: Brent Jensen’s first visit, and Andy’s first and third did not make any lists. Only because each of those guys did one show that was far and above some of the best stuff we’ve ever done!
Overall there were six shows tied for first place:
- One Hit Wonders. Probably due to Max the Axe’s hilarious appearance that night.
- Top Maiden Artwork. A very visual show with some serious fans.
- Andy Curran/Mike Fraser double header. A magical moment when the two guys got to talk to each other while Deke and I just sat back and smiled.
- Paul Laine. Truly a special interview and special moment for John Snow and I.
- Top Spielberg Films. A recent show. The velvety voice of Erik Woods had a lot to do with this! But it was also truly a great set of lists.
- Top Animated Films. Another recent show (with Woods!) and one I went into with barely any knowledge of animated films at all.
It’s very pleasing to see those last two shows on so many lists. It proves we were doing quality work right to the end. I have no doubt the final episode would have made lists too if we could do it again!
Mostly, Harrison’s graph tells me yet again that it wasn’t for nothing. It meant something to people, and it was consistent if not growing. We didn’t do a handful of great shows. We did a series of consistently great episodes. Peaks and valleys, yes, but lots of peaks.