Author: mikeladano

Metal, hard rock, rock and roll! LeBrain's Record Store Tales & Reviews! Poking the bear since 2010.

#1004: Bully Graffiti

“Oh, she wasn’t that bad.” – Them

“Oh yes she was!” – Me

 

RECORD STORE TALES #1004: Bully Graffiti

The office Bully and I had to work together frequently. I’ve worked for a lot of managers over the years, but she was the worst, even worse than the guy who stressed me into a nervous breakdown. He didn’t mean to do it; he was just a shitty manager. Office Bully on the other hand was malicious, as I have described in the past.  She was not capable of separating her personal life from her job, and because I was friends with her ex-fiance, I got the shitty end of the stick every time.  I felt like there was a constant tug of war over me.  I had a target on my back, as others noticed.  “She doesn’t treat anyone else like she treats you,” said one colleague.

I will never forget one morning working together in the store in the late 1990s. She decided to test me. Test my knowledge. Of her. Of her taste in music.

Usually the staff picked the tunes for the day. I asked her what she wanted to listen to while I went to collect music for the day’s store play.

“Pick something I like,” she said.  Jesus Christ.  Pick something she would like?  What the hell did she like?  I knew she was testing me.  Testing me on how much I knew about what she liked to listen to.  How much I’d been paying attention.  She liked to play these games.  We weren’t supposed to be friends; I just wanted to do whatever I had to do to be treated like a human being in the workplace.

I knew she liked Bjork, the Band, soul music, and…I drew a blank.  Frankly it was none of my business what the hell she liked.  Not part of my job.

I decided to hedge my bet.  We had a five CD changer, and instead of picking two CDs for me and three for her, I picked five for her and hoped I got some right.  Based on the fact that she liked old soul music, I thought I’d try more oldies.  American Graffiti soundtrack?  Maybe there was something on there that she liked?  It looked pretty good.  I put the five discs that I picked into the changer and hit “play”, crossing my fingers and toes that I got it right.

A few songs went by without comment.  So far so good.  Then came an American Graffiti track into the shuffle.  That’s when she spoke up.

“You picked this, for ME?” she interrogated.

“No, I picked it for me,” I lied.  Dodged a bullet.  Barely.  I lived to work another day.

The Bully’s friends will say something predictable, like “That doesn’t sound like she was testing you, that sounds like she just wanted you to pick the music for the day.”  I would respond, “You weren’t there.”  I heard the tone of voice.  I knew the game being played.  It would have been obvious had anyone else been there.  “You picked this, for ME?”  That was the tell.

But I got away with it and to this day I really could not give a shit what kind of music she liked.  She certainly didn’t respect my tastes — once she told me only one person at my store (the one she was friends with) had good taste in music.

Why would you ask someone with poor taste in music to pick your CDs for you?  She was playing games as usual, as always.

 

#1003: It’s Not You

RECORD STORE TALES #1003: It’s Not You

2018 was, shall we put it mildly, an interesting year. It was the summer that wasn’t. The year I spent the best months of the year driving to and from Toronto, at first waiting for a miracle, and then waiting for the inevitable. When my beloved mother in law finally passed away in September of that year, at least she left the pain behind.

Her decline at the end of the summer was rapid. Before she got too sick, she insisted that I still go record shopping with Aaron as we used to do annually. “You go and have a good time.” She had no way to know how important that was. That one record shopping excursion changed everything for Jen and I that summer. A discovery I made on that trip impacted the whole rest of the summer. That discovery was Blotto.

I’ve talked numerous times about how the skillfully comedic sounds of Blotto made the summer driving tolerable. I’ve trumpeted the merits of Blotto ad nauseum, but it cannot be overstated how important that music was to us at that time. And I had no real idea what I was buying. I just knew Blotto had one song in the 80s – “Metal Head” – that I saw on MuchMusic as a kid. But I didn’t think they were a metal band. They had a bald guy and a guy who looked like Revenge of the Nerds.  They sported funny names like “Bowtie” and “Cheese”. For the sake of personal musical history, I wanted “Metal Head” in my collection. So there in the basement of BMV, with Aaron at my side, for a mere $8.99, I acquired their important album Combo Akimbo. It was the best decision I made all summer.

What I got was a nine-track comedy-rock album that kept us in positive spirits as we drove up and down Highway 401 all summer. And what is amazing is that I can play the album today and still feel the same things.

The bad memories are still there. They bubble to the surface. I can see myself behind the wheel, stopping and starting again all the way to Toronto. I hear Jen singing along next to me. But the pain is manageable, and the positive feelings outweigh the bad.

Of the nine songs, there was always one that made us laugh the most. That song was “It’s Not You”. Not only is it a catchy song with a cool guitar lick, but the lyrics are hilarious. I’m glad that Blotto was not tainted by the summer of 2018 and I can still enjoy their music with a huge grin on my face.  That’s the gift.  All too often, because acquires the feelings of the times you hear it, and if those times weren’t good, it’s hard to get around.  Fortunately that didn’t happen with Blotto.  I feel only good feelings, especially when I play “It’s Not You”.  I can’t help but smile, every time.

This is something that’s not easy to do,
It will hit you like a bolt from the blue,
After last night, I have to tell you we are through.

When we’re alone, everything is OK,
But it’s never gonna stay that way,
When I take you home, your family has so much to say.

I try and I try, to be cool when they start,
But girl, they’re the ones who are tearing us apart.

It’s not you!
Don’t blame yourself
It’s not you!
No-one can help.
It’s not you!
I can’t be your man.
It’s not you!
It’s your family that I can’t stand.
And it’s driving me crazy!

Your mother wants to know if I am on drugs,
Your brother shows me his collection of bugs,
Your aunts don’t like me and your uncles are a bunch of thugs.

Your father coughs and blows smoke in my face,
He still believes in the superior race,
He says if he were president, the world would be a better place.

I try and I try, to ignore them for our sake,
But girl, I’m afraid it’s too much for me to take.

It’s not you!
Don’t blame yourself
It’s not you!
No-one can help.
It’s not you!
I can’t be your man.
It’s not you!
It’s your family that I can’t stand.

There is no future baby can’t you see,
Picture in your mind how it would be,
All of us living in relative misery.

I try and I try, to be cool when they start,
But girl, they’re the ones who are tearing us apart.

It’s not you!
Don’t blame yourself
It’s not you!
No-one can help.
It’s not you!
I can’t be your man.
It’s not you!
It’s your family that I can’t stand.

It isn’t you,
It’s only your family,
Don’t take it personally,
It’s just all those little things,
Like when I come over to your house and your father tells me “Don’t park in the driveway, ‘cause your car gets oil on the new white pebbles,” and then when I go inside the house, the cat jumps on my lap, and gets hair all over my shirt and pants, and your grandmother sits the newspaper and gets it so wrinkled and bunched up that I can’t even read it, and your sister brings out her scrapbooks and wants me to look at all of her prom pictures, I mean, who cares! And your brother wants me to help him with his science project, dissecting frogs, ick, what a mess, and I go into the bathroom to wash my hands, and all they have is soft soap, and my hands smell like coconuts, and I can’t dry them on those little guest towels, so I gotta wipe them on my shirt, which is already covered with cat hair, and then when I come outside, your father corners me, and wants to tell me all the jokes he read in Playboy magazine….

 

REVIEW: Def Leppard – B.Sides (CD Collection Volume 3)

Part Thirty-Seven of the Def Leppard Review Series

DEF LEPPARD – B.Sides (CD Collection Volume 3 Disc 4) (2021)

It’s somewhat irksome that this disc wasn’t titled Rarities 5 to maintain continuity with the previous two box sets.  Alas, this disc is titled B.Sides (probably so the artwork jives with the X album) even though it contains more rarities than just single B-sides.  Quibble aside, let’s dive in with an important caveat:  Many of the tracks on this disc are from the X era, which did not rate well in this series thus far.

Two inconsequential radio edits begin the CD:  “Now” and “Long Long Way to Go”.  In the case of “Now” that could be an improvement, though less than 10 seconds were chopped from the song.  Credit due:  when the song starts cooking after the first chorus, that guitar riff is pretty awesome.  “Long Long Way To Go” suffers more in the radio edit context, losing 38 seconds, ending abruptly with a quick fade.  A better version is still to come on this disc.

From there we move on to the Japanese and UK X bonus track “Kiss the Day”.  This song is generally acclaimed by fans as a tune that would have improved the album in general.  It has a riff to it, but then slows right down into ballad territory.  It recovers on the psychedelic chorus but it’s a bit uneven.  There’s a smoking solo worth noting in the burning ending section.

B-sides galore next!  Some of these tracks were hard to collect at the time, at least in North America.  “10 X Bigger than Love” from one of the “Long Long Way to Go” singles would have been awesome had it been on an album, but it’s too rock and roll for X.  Leaving it off an album was a mistake.  “10 X Bigger than Love” was considered a keeper by Joe but the other guys in the band didn’t like it as much.  “Love Don’t Lie” is Joe’s demo version of the album track, previously released as one of the B-sides to the “Now” single.    It doesn’t have the chorus production of the album version, but might actually be more interesting for that reason.  Apparently they were going for a Seal vibe similar to “Crazy”. Close but no cigar.

The included demo of the ballad “Let Me Be the One” (another “Now” B-side) is so much more raw and genuine than anything on the X album.  It should have just been released as-is!  They didn’t have to muck it up for modern audiences.  This one has so much more heart and genuinity.  Joe’s Cybernaut friend (and Bowie’s bandmate) Dick Decent handled the difficult piano part.  The rocker “Gimme a Job” (from the “Long Long Way To Go” single) is a pretty simple but gets the job done for a B-side.  Why so simple?  The other guys didn’t care for it, so Joe played everything — including the guitar solo!  It might be a bit similar to a previous B-side called “When Saturday Comes”.

The last B-side in this chunk of songs is an acoustic version of “Now”, also included on the “Long Long Way to Go” single.  Though it lacks that chunky riff section that we all love so much, it also lacks the digital bleeps and bloops from the original.  Unfortunately, this acoustic version proves the song just isn’t all that great at its core.

The stripped down acoustic version of “Long Long Way to Go” does the opposite.  This is a real rarity from the Japanese printing of the X album.  A truly great song (though they didn’t write it), and this is really the definitive version.  Easily superior.  They didn’t have to go all-in with the production, and here’s more proof.  This is the same recording, just with all the junk removed.  Great to finally be able to get this version easily now.  It should have been on the album and the other version released as a remix.

In another slightly irksome move, the CD jumps ahead in time here, only to jump back on the next song.  Moving forward in time to the album Songs from the Sparkle Lounge, it is the much demanded “Joe Only” version of “Nine Lives”.  This valuable Japanese bonus track should have been more widely available from the start, so in-demend was it over the “Joe and Tim McGraw” version on the album.  This is the song as it always should have been!  Hard rocking, chunky, upbeat, and fun.  Not a single bad thing about it.

Then back in time for the final X track:  “Perfect Girl”.  Much like the previously released download-only 11 song live set, you could grab this song for free from the official Def Leppard site.  A big thank-you to Def Leppard for being so proactive and fan-friendly in the early internet days.  “Perfect Girl” is a superior demo version of the song “Gravity” and has never been released physically until now.  When we say it’s the “superior” version”, let’s just add that it’s less boy-band-y.  It’s still not all that great, just…not as bad.

Finally, the last of the tracks is the other Japanese bonus track from Sparkle Lounge.  This is a piano version of the album epic “Love”.  Those who thought the album could have used a ballad will enjoy it.  “Love” is notable as one of Joe’s best vocal performances and now you can hear it adorned only with backing piano.  The album version will remain the go-to since it’s so big and bombastic, but this a nice Queen-like alternate version that the diehard fans will enjoy.

Though a bit X-heavy, this excursion into Leppard B-sides was a better listen than that album.  Collecting them all was a pain in the behind, so having them all in one place (plus the one that was download-only!) is a brilliant solution.  Wish it was “rarities” and was in stricter chronological order, but the disc checks off a ton of boxes for collectors.

3.5/5 stars

 

Previous:  

  1. The Early Years Disc One – On Through the Night 
  2. The Early Years Disc Two – High N’ Dry
  3. The Early Years Disc Three – When The Walls Came Tumbling Down: Live at the New Theater Oxford – 1980
  4. The Early Years Disc Four – Too Many Jitterbugs – EP, singles & unreleased
  5. The Early Years Disc 5 – Raw – Early BBC Recordings 
  6. The Early Years 79-81 (Summary)
  7. Pyromania
  8. Pyromania Live – L.A. Forum, 11 September 1983
  9. Hysteria
  10. Soundtrack From the Video Historia – Record Store Tales
  11. In The Round In Your Face DVD
  12. “Let’s Get Rocked” – The Wait for Adrenalize – Record Store Tales
  13. Adrenalize
  14. Live at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert
  15. Retro-Active
  16. Visualize
  17. Vault: Def Leppard’s Greatest Hits / Limited Edition Live CD
  18. Video Archive
  19. “Slang” CD single
  20. Slang
  21. I Got A Bad Feeling About This: Euphoria – Record Store Tales
  22. Euphoria
  23. Rarities 2
  24. Rarities 3
  25. Rarities 4
  26. Cybernauts – Live
  27. Cybernauts – The Further Adventures of the Cybernauts (bonus disc)
  28. X
  29. Best Of (UK)
  30. Rock Of Ages: The Definitive Collection
  31. Yeah!
  32. Yeah! Bonus CD With Backstage Interviews
  33. Yeah…Nah! – Record Store Tales
  34. Songs From the Sparkle Lounge
  35. “C’Mon C’Mon” (picture disc)
  36. Taylor Swift & Def Leppard – CMT Crossroads (DVD)

Next:

38. Yeah! II
39. Yeah! Live
40. Mirror Ball – Live & More (Japanese import)
41. iTunes re-recordings
42. Viva! Hysteria (DVD & CD 1)
43. Viva! Hysteria (CD 2 & Bonus features)
44. Slang (2014 Deluxe bonus tracks)
45. “Helen Wheels” (from The Art of McCartney)
46. Def Leppard (Deluxe and Japanese versions)

 

Sunday Screening: Retro Gaming – Plug & Play Ms Pac-Man

40 years ago, for my birthday in 1982, my parents got me Ms. Pac-Man for the Atari 2600.  Those of us who had a 2600 were well aware of the compromises made in consideration to graphics.  Even so, Ms. Pac-Man was one of the best Atari adaptations.

Last weekend, on what turned out to be my birthday celebration for 2022, I turned back the clock and played Ms. Pac-Man again.  The arcade version, thanks to these excellent plug & play games.  I didn’t have the greatest game – I’m out of practice – but you can see my old high score on the screen.  I made it to level three this time at least!

WARNING:  Gratuitous swearing.

REVIEW: The Beaches – The Professional (2019 EP)

THE BEACHES – The Professional (2019 Universal EP)

Fact:  Toronto’s The Beaches put out consistently good music.  On their 2019 EP The Professional, they teamed up with big namer Jacknife Lee for production.  The band has grown a huge fanbase opening up for artists like Avril Lavigne, but the truth is they are better than most of the bands they open for.  The Beaches have developed a signature sound early on.  It doesn’t hurt that singer/bassist Jordan Miller has a unique, powerful voice.

Opener “Desdemona” boasts some sharp opening chords because the bass and drum groove takes us to the dancefloor.  Jordan Miller goes falsetto for that vintage vibe.  The guitars cut but don’t dominate.  There’s a fun 80s vibe but with the modern clarity and production that fans demand today.  It thumps!

More 80s vibes on “Fascination” which has an fast tempo Blondie direction.  Short, sweet and upbeat.  Synth drums open “Snake Tongue”, an understated angry pop masterpiece.  Check out these lyrics:

I can’t say I lack for much attention,
‘Cause these creeps come in from all directions,
Getting in my face,
Every single day.

And these:

Stop sending me all your dick picks,
They are boring me to pieces.

Although the Beaches certainly don’t need my sympathy, that kind of behaviour pisses me off.  Have some respect, dudes.  Though the music is nothing but pure uptempo fun, the lyrics bleed reality and it’s awesome.  You can hear why the Beaches are really resonating with kids today.

“Want What You Got” continues the 80s dance direction.  The bottom end just booms.  The chorus slays.  Everything about this song rules.  No weak links. There’s even a heavy breakdown midway through.  This is a guilt-free ode to jealousy, and why not.  When the chorus is this killer, who cares about deadly sins.

The final track “Lame” was a radio hit upon release.  A bit of an anthem, with bite! 70s glam rock vibes all over.  Loaded with attitude and soaring high on confidence, this track attacks!

The Beaches are only going to get bigger.  They’ve been releasing music consistently, including the Future Lovers EP and live tracks on Youtube.  Their next album will be huge, just wait.

5/5 stars

 

Catch the Beaches in Toronto TONIGHT!

 

#1003: Animalize Live Uncensored

RECORDS STORE TALES #1003:  Animalize Live Uncensored

36 summers ago, I taped Kiss Animalize Live Uncensored off next door neighbor George.  I recorded the video (which he recorded from a rental) onto a VHS, and the audio onto a 90 minute blank cassette.  For that summer, Animalize Live was my Kiss live experience.  I only had Alive on vinyl, which wasn’t portable.  I didn’t have Alive II yet.  My cassette copy of Animalize Live was constantly in my ears all summer.

I knew every word of every Paul rap.

“Detroit let me tell ya something just between you and me.  That baby had the longest fuckin’ tongue I ever seen in my life!”

“Paul, what are you doing with a pistol down your pants?”

“Eric may look like a baby, but he’s built like a man.”

Paul did a striptease, and the guys hung the panties that they were thrown by girls in the crowd from their microphone stands.  The concert dripped of raw sex and I was like a kid in shock.  I had never seen anything like this before.  I didn’t even know if I wanted to!  But there it was in full glory, Paul Stanley telling stories about his “Love Gun” and me sitting there watching it multiple times a week.  The summer I had mono.  I couldn’t do much else.  I watched a lot of videos and a lot of them were Kiss.

Listening today, I remember every note of every solo.  Paul went first with a guitar solo.  Bruce Kulick, the new kid, was standing in for Mark St. John and didn’t even get an introduction or solo.  Eric’s drum solo was second, and Gene’s bass solo last.  I liked the bass solo.  It actually seemed more musical than the other two.  Its simplicity is one thing…but I was humming the bass solo hours later.

I still know every vocal divergence each song takes in this live incarnation.  Like old muscle memory.  And you know what?  There’s something to be said about 80s Kiss.  They were playing things faster and Eric Carr added his own unique elements to Kiss, as did Bruce.  On some songs the speed works.  I was just thinking that if they came out playing “Creatures of the Night” this fast today in 2022, people would lose their minds.

On my Walkman, I went for cottage adventures with this concert in my ears.  It was the worst recording possible; a cassette copy of a VHS copy of a VHS copy, in mono.  Bootleggy as hell.  But there I sat in the grass, as Paul Stanley told us of the women who wanted to “mother” Eric Carr.  And I had no idea what, specifically, “mothering” Eric Carr meant.  I knew it meant sexy times of some kind, but…nope, right over my head.

Animalize Live Uncensored was my Alive III from a time when we didn’t think we’d get an Alive III.  Or at least, I didn’t.  It was several albums and several years before we did get one, and Eric was gone by then.  I liked it.  I still do.

REVIEW: King’s X – “A Box” (1996 CD single)

quiz

Complete studio albums (and more!), part 8.5


KING’S X – “A Box” (1996 Warner Germany CD single)

In 2022, the “King’s” are returning, so today let us look back on some of their fine 90s output.  1996 was the year of Ear Candy, the progressive giants’ most commercially accessible album to date.  It was produced by Canadian Arnold Lanni (ex-Frozen Ghost, Sheriff) and the songs were straightforward and hook-based compared to what came before and after.

Last year, we curated some King’s X lists with Martin Popoff right here, and he rated the single “A Box” in his top five.  The version included on this single is an edit, over a minute shorter than the album cut, with the cut material being mostly outro.  Dug Pinnick is always passionate but you can really feel him on “A Box”.  “There is no room inside a box,” goes the chorus, and one has to wonder if this box is one to break out of, to retreat to, or both.  The song gives voice to loneliness and anger, but also sings of “a place to run and hide, just a place to free your mind.”  It is a ballad with strong lyrics, unforgettable melody, Ty Tabor’s signature guitar glow, and an absolutely wicked Jerry Gaskill drum sound, thanks to the magical knob-twiddling touch of Arnold Lanni.

One album cut is included, which is “Looking For Love” from Ear Candy, another one of its strongest tunes.  This one smokes of anger and frustration.  It also contains the key lyric, “I guess I lost my faith,” which is true.  Dug was once Christian but left the church around Dogman.  Yet it’s also melodically one of the strongest songs, which helps back up that killer Ty Tabor riff.

The non-album B-side is a rarity called “Freedom”.  Unlike the album which was recorded with Lanni in California, “Freedom” came from a self-produced session in Houston.  Sonically it does not fit with the boldly in-your-face Ear Candy, but it does offer another Ty Tabor lead vocal.  It’s a bit more sparse and hard-hitting, but still boasts the patented King’s X harmony vocals on the chorus.  There’s a cool melody buried in the outro too.  Overall, it is not as strong as Ear Candy as a whole, but as a bonus track, it’s more than adequate.  Ty’s singing will be the highlight for many fans as he really goes for it.

Great single, and thank you Martin Popoff for inspiring the purchase.

4.5/5 stars

KING’S X review series:

Part 1 – Out of the Silent Planet (1988)
Part 2 – Gretchen Goes to Nebraska (1989)
Part 3 – Kings of the Absurd (split bootleg with Faith No More)
Part 4 – Faith Hope Love by King’s X (1990)
Part 5 – “Junior’s Gone Wild” (from 1991’s Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey soundtrack)
Part 6 – King’s X (1992)
Part 7 – Dogman (1994) + bonus “Pillow” promo single review
Part 8 – Ear Candy (1996)
Part 8.5 – “A Box” (1996 CD single)
Part 9 – Best of King’s X (1997)
Part 10 – Tape Head (1998)
Part 11 – POUNDHOUND – Massive Grooves from the Church of Psychofunkadelic Grungelism Rock Music (1998 Doug Pinnick/Jerry Gaskill)
Part 12 – Please Come Home…Mr. Bulbous (2000)
Part 13 – PLATYPUS – Ice Cycles (2000 Ty Tabor)
Part 14 – Manic Moonlight (2001)
Part 15 – Black Like Sunday (2003)
Part 16 – Ogre Tones (2005)
Part 17 – XV (2008)

#1002: The Best of the Best of the Best

RECORD STORE TALES #1002: The Best of the Best of the Best

It has been unknown numbers of years since the last time I had a four-day summer vacation.  Long overdue! Full of great music, great visuals, and so hard to come back from. My heart aches, but I have been diligent and made a video of the memories, as I always do. The theme of this week’s video:  wildlife!  Lots and lots of animals. 18 minutes of video paradise: the best of the best weekend I ever had.

As usual, we departed the hot city on Thursday night, to the sounds of great rock and roll.  Heavy metal, in this case.  This time I chose Iron Maiden’s Seventh Son of a Seventh Son for the trip.  The entire album plus the B-sides bonus disc.  Musically genius, lyrically dicey.  I used to think the words were so deep.  “Seven deadly sins, seven ways to win, seven holy paths to hell and your trip begins…”  I used to imagine Bruce’s lyrics were so deep.  Now I think he was just making up cool sounding phrases.  We all know what the seven deadly sins are, but there are no “seven ways to win”, nor “seven holy paths to hell.”  I used to give him credit for knowing the exact meaning of everything he sang.  What are the seven ways to win?  Don’t ask Bruce, I don’t think he knows!  But it all sounded cool, and I must have spent childhood memorizing this whole album, because I sang the whole way to the lake.  I conclude the concept is fun, but without depth.  If there is any depth to the album, it comes on the last song, Steve’s “Only the Good Die Young”.

So I think I’ll leave you,
With your bishops and your guilt,
So until the next time,
Have a good sin.

That resonates, but the overall album is just a tale.  Just a comic book.  On the other hand, I could be like Liam Gallagher with Oasis lyrics.  “Just because I don’t know what they mean, doesn’t mean there’s no fookin’ meaning in them fookin’ words!”

80s Maiden continued on the porch all Thursday night. All 80s, all Bruce. Nothing but. Then we watched Thursday Night Record Club with Brent Jensen and Alex Huard, talking about Judas Priest’s British Steel.  Switched over to Priest on the front deck the following morning.  And then to Journey, for an upcoming episode of Tim’s Vinyl Confessions, on the excellent new Journey album Freedom.  I used my show notes to complete my upcoming review.  It will be ready shortly after the show debuts.  And you’re going to love the show we taped.  Trust me!

As the days meandered on, we encountered all sorts of wildlife. There was a cheeky chipmunk that was climbing all over us each day, looking for treats. There was a raccoon hanging around the back door, smelling the blueberry pancakes I just made. Birds, birds, and more birds. And Schnauzers! We saw the return of our UFO!  We kept our eyes on the skies, and there may have even been a flying squid!  (What?)

Indoors and outdoors, there was plenty to do.  No wonder four days flew past.  We did retro gaming, watched Ant Man, had a belated birthday party, and cooled off in Lake Huron. We observed the sun set, and then the moon a few hours later.  We have photos and video of it all.

By the time Monday rolled around, nobody wanted to go home.  I spent my final four hours on the front deck editing away.  It took that long to edit down 95 minutes of footage into the awesome 18 seen below.

Please enjoy the lengthy but entertaining video, and the awesome memories that go with it. I wish we could stay forever. At least with the videos, the memories remain and will not fade.  The accompanying music comes from Tee Bone Erickson, Dr. Kathryn Ladano, Max the Axe and the Seagram Synth Ensemble.  And it’s all good.  I worked damn hard on this, because making videos like this does a lot of good for me when my seasonal affective disorder eventually kicks in.  I worked hard on it for me, but also for you, because beauty is universal.

The best sun (and moon) sets in the world.  Magical music.  Awesome animals.  The best, of the best, of the best weekend ever!

WTF Search Terms: Back to the Classics edition

WTF SEARCH TERMS: Back to the Classics

It has been well over a year since our last instalment of WTF Search Terms, collections of left-field searches that actually somehow led people to this site.  We are well overdue for a new one, and for this edition, we are going back to the classic formula that made the series popular in the first place.  Dirty, dirty things!  Some people out there have dirty minds indeed, so have a look and see what they are looking for on the internet!  They didn’t find ’em here, I assure you!


  • xxx.ladano

I hate to disappoint all my fans, but my career in porn failed to launch.  You will not find any xxx videos of me on the internet.  Sorry if this is a letdown to you.

  • fuck me good niw

I’m gonna pass on this offer, but thanks for thinking of me.

Somebody searched for that, and they clicked on my site.  No idea how that happens.

  • pornon cumfm com.

No, no, no, just all kinds of no.  (Cum FM, is that a radio station?)

  • japanxxx

This is not the kind of Japanese import that I’m looking for.

  • ted 2 feet gif

Based on past search terms, we do get some foot fetishists here from time to time.  My Ted 2 review does have a feature image of Amanda Seyfried with no shoes on.  I guess this guy got lucky!  (The word “feet” does not appear in the review, but occurs once in the comments section, so this guy really did get lucky this time.)

  • boy peeing video

No, no, N fucking O!

  • girls peeing in trough

Jesus H. Murphy.  We do get searches for this from time to time.  I don’t wanna see it.  Is this the ultimate ODP?

  • but the big one that comes in

No necessarily pornographic, but you sure could read it that way.  I think this possibly connected to my AC/DC box set review.

  • mary wiseman porn

Of all the actors on Star Trek: Discovery, I only get searches for Mary Wiseman.  Sometimes it’s her ass, sometimes it’s somebody searching for her IMDB.  I have no idea why they’d click on me while searching for Mary Wiseman’s IMDB, but it happens.  According to her IMDB, Mary Wiseman has never done porn.  Next!

  • ponobgy

OK I got nothing.  Thanks for joining me for this year’s instalment of WTF Search Terms!

 

RE-REVIEW: Taylor Swift & Def Leppard – CMT Crossroads (2009 DVD)

Part Thirty-Six of the Def Leppard Review Series

Original ReviewCMT Crossroads (2009)

Dedication (noun):  The character trait of being so devoted to a project that you will watch the Taylor Swift & Def Leppard DVD one more time, even though you reviewed it once before and swore you’d never watch it again.

TAYLOR SWIFT & DEF LEPPARD – CMT Crossroads (2009 Walmart exclusive DVD)

You can blame Rick Allen’s brother for this DVD.  How did pop country songstress Taylor Swift and Def Leppard hook up?  Taylor was on tour with Tim McGraw and Faith Hill whose tour manager was Rick Allen’s brother. You might recognize McGraw from the song “Nine Lives” on Leppard’s last album Songs From the Sparkle Lounge.  Swift expressed interest in doing an episode of CMT Crossroads with Leppard and eventually they made it happen.  Lucky us.

The DVD starts immediately, no big long intro, with “Photograph”.  In a democratic way of doing things, it’s a Def Leppard song to open, but Taylor Swift getting the first lines.  Her smooth voice doesn’t sound right with Screamin’ Joe’s vocal lines, and takes some getting used to with these songs.  You can’t really hear her fiddle player or acoustic guitarists on “Photograph” but they sure are having fun.

The concert is intercut with interviews that help bring the context to this odd collaboration.  Taylor was born two years after Hysteria, but was exposed to Leppard’s music from birth.  She had been wanting to do a show with Leppard for some time so she made it happen.  It’s also fun watching her learn British slang.

Taylor’s “Picture To Burn” is…well, it’s a song about some guy who drives a pickup truck, it seems.  No matter how much they try to convince us that Leppard and Swift are not all that different, they sure are.  “Love Story” is more like a Leppard ballad and isn’t so hard to swallow.  Finally we get to “Hysteria” which works remarkably well as a duet.  Taylor’s vocals add rather than subtract.  You can actually hear certain parts of her massive backing back on this as well, plinking here and fiddling there.

A blues jam about Taylor’s boy trouble is amusing.  “Teardrops On My Guitar” is a nice song, a little more understated and quiet.  Stage choreography seems important with so many band members on stage, and they all seem to have their places and times.  Leppard’s ballad “When Love and Hate Collide” is one song that is the most transformed by the collaboration.  It sounds at home in both worlds.  Taylor reveals she’s long had an obsession with this hit.  It’s very fun to see Joe give her the last line of the song too.

Taylor’s “Should’ve Said No” is upbeat and twangy.  A little bit rock and roll, something a little more familiar.  There’s a great march-like arrangement towards the ending, and then the drums start thumping and you know what that means.  “Pour Some Sugar On Me” has never sounded like this before.  Fiddles and double drums…it actually sounds pretty good.  And that’s the closing song of what is a fun but definitely jarring set of hits.

The three bonus tracks are “Our Song” (written in 9th grade for Taylor’s highschool talent show), “Love” (new Leppard song), and “Two Steps Behind”.  These Taylor songs really take some effort to digest when you’re a Leppard fan, until Joe starts singing at least.  Giving her credit, Taylor sure knows how to command an audience, but it’s irritating to see Vivian ripping up the fretboard, but being unable to hear him in the mix.  More interesting is “Love”, the only choice from Songs From the Sparkle Lounge.  It really benefits from all the extra backing singers and musicians, becoming something really big and huge.  The final bonus track “Two Steps Behind” has eight guitar players and a nice intro from Joe explaining how the song was written electrically in 1989 to become a hit acoustically later in 1993.

To Def Leppard fans at least, some of the best content might be contained in the bonus interviews.  It’s clear Leppard had a new but genuine appreciation for Taylor Swift and how her songs are constructed.  They discuss all the things they have in common with Taylor, such as age.  Rick Allen turned 16 opening for AC/DC and Taylor of course released her first hit album at 16.  Allen reveals his parents were supportive of him leaving highschool in order to tour with Def Leppard, but made him get a tutor.  They understood that it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.  Both artists discuss what it’s like to be pigeonholed into a genre be it “country” or “heavy metal”.  But the coolest thing is the foreshadowing of Leppard’s new album Diamond Star Halos.  “You know who else is a huge Def Leppard fan?  Alison Krauss,” reveals Taylor.  And in 2022 she too collaborated with Def Leppard.

In addition to the interviews, there’s a press conference with Joe, Phil and Taylor where they discuss their history with each others’ music.  They are obviously having fun with their collaboration, even if you are not.  One of the things Joe says is that they would love to work with Taylor in the studio any time anywhere.  Rather than ask why this hasn’t happened any time in the last 13 years, let’s just be glad it hasn’t.  This is a difficult DVD for the Leppard fan to finish in one sitting so let’s just be glad that’s all there is.

2.5/5 stars

Previous:  

  1. The Early Years Disc One – On Through the Night 
  2. The Early Years Disc Two – High N’ Dry
  3. The Early Years Disc Three – When The Walls Came Tumbling Down: Live at the New Theater Oxford – 1980
  4. The Early Years Disc Four – Too Many Jitterbugs – EP, singles & unreleased
  5. The Early Years Disc 5 – Raw – Early BBC Recordings 
  6. The Early Years 79-81 (Summary)
  7. Pyromania
  8. Pyromania Live – L.A. Forum, 11 September 1983
  9. Hysteria
  10. Soundtrack From the Video Historia – Record Store Tales
  11. In The Round In Your Face DVD
  12. “Let’s Get Rocked” – The Wait for Adrenalize – Record Store Tales
  13. Adrenalize
  14. Live at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert
  15. Retro-Active
  16. Visualize
  17. Vault: Def Leppard’s Greatest Hits / Limited Edition Live CD
  18. Video Archive
  19. “Slang” CD single
  20. Slang
  21. I Got A Bad Feeling About This: Euphoria – Record Store Tales
  22. Euphoria
  23. Rarities 2
  24. Rarities 3
  25. Rarities 4
  26. Cybernauts – Live
  27. Cybernauts – The Further Adventures of the Cybernauts (bonus disc)
  28. X
  29. Best Of (UK)
  30. Rock Of Ages: The Definitive Collection
  31. Yeah!
  32. Yeah! Bonus CD With Backstage Interviews
  33. Yeah…Nah! – Record Store Tales
  34. Songs From the Sparkle Lounge
  35. “C’Mon C’Mon” (picture disc)

Next:

37. B-Sides
38. Yeah! II
39. Yeah! Live
40. Mirror Ball – Live & More (Japanese import)
41. iTunes re-recordings