Author: mikeladano

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

#1028: Sounds of Liberation

RECORD STORE TALES #1028: Sounds of Liberation

I had a pretty good weekend.  I made some videos, and I wrote some fiction.  I went to go see Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in 3D.  I even almost missed writing reviews.  Almost!

I feel liberated.  Liberated from what?  Myself – my own obsessions and hangups when it comes to music and writing.  For example, in the past when I’ve seen a new movie (such as Eternals last year), I raced home and wrote it all up while the film was still fresh in my head.  This time, I came home and had a nap!  Who cares what I have to say about Black Panther anyway?  You’re either going to see it or not see it the same as you would have with or without me.

I will say this.  The 3D was unnecessary and blurry.  A movie that was designed in 3D like Avatar is a completely different beast.  Something like Black Panther is usually converted to 3D afterwards.  It could have been used more effectively.  I did not need to see it in 3D.  Little was added to the experience.  I did need to see it in the V.I.P. theater because damn, those parmesan truffle fries were the star of the show.  I reclined in my chair and nearly fell asleep, I was so full and so comfortable!  The film itself was very emotional.  The whole thing was a love letter to Chadwick Boseman, and that added layer of meaning really hits you.

So there you go, that’s all you get for a review.

Instead of coming home from work and listening to something that I am playing just to review, sometimes twice in a row, now I’m coming home and listening to things that I want to listen to.  Tonight it’s the Black Sabbath Technical Ecstasy remix CD.  And I’m not listening with studious intent, picking apart the details.  I don’t have five browser windows open, looking for credits and release information for research purposes.  I’m just…writing what I’m thinking right here right now!  And it’s awesome!  Or to quote Bill Ward on the song playing right now, “It’s Alright”.

There’s so much more.  I don’t feel competitive, like I’m trying to get as much exposure as possible on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.  I’m free from promoting myself.  I’m free from giving a crap.  I realize that giving a crap in the first place was my own fault, but habits are hard to break.  Freedom is a hell of a drug.

I do love doing the Friday night show.  Writing fiction is a blast.  Since Harrison can only do art for one Tee Bone Man episode per month, and we wouldn’t want to do an episode without his art, I’ve branched out.  I’ve now written two spinoff chapters called the Writer’s Room that is tremendous fun and easy to do.  Harrison calls it the “Extended LeBrainiverse” and it keeps growing.  The latest addition is The Adventures of Edie Van Heelin’.  Any time I feel like writing fiction, I have an outlet without having to put more pressure on Harrison.  Fiction, or at least short stories, are so much easier than writing reviews.  And just as rewarding, if not more so.

Less than a year ago, as a way to thank Tee Bone (the real guy) for all his help with my show (he refused all offers of gifts), I created Tee Bone Man and Superdekes.  And I wanted to share that creation with the community.  Today five different authors write Tee Bone Man which is exactly what I wanted to happen!  It has turned out better than I hoped!  Then shortly after that, I met California Girl, and with her I’ve created Edie Van Heelin’.  It took a few attempts to get Edie ready for her public debut but her stories bring me the same happiness as Tee Bone Man.  Having all these creative outlets is a wonderful thing!

That’s it, that’s the story for today.  As I finish up this incredible Black Sabbath album, I get ready to go and watch last night’s American Dad and chill on the couch.  Not a bad life.

The Writer’s Room: It’s Beginning to Look a Lot like a Tee Bone Man Christmas

December 6, 2022. The Writer’s Room.

I sat down at the table of the Writer’s Room, with a mild case of Grinchiness.  I had been asking these guys for their parts for weeks, and gotten nowhere!  They were all seated around the table, waiting for me to speak.  There was Harrison to my immediate right, and he was twitching with eagerness to start work on his Lego artwork.  Next to him was John, drinking a bottle of Gene Simmons’ “Moneybag” soda, a premium offering from the Kiss demon.  To my left were Aaron, and Michael, the 80sMetalMan.  They seemed to be confused as to the urgency of this meeting.

They just didn’t get it.  Pressure, deadlines!  I tried to act like a frustrated coach of a sporting team.

“OK guys, listen up!” I began, taking a sip of my coffee.  “Christmas is only a few weeks away.  I know everyone at this table is aware of the backlog in Lego art.  Harrison is sitting there with nothing to do while he waits for us to get our acts in gear!”

John Snow raised his hand.  With his southern gentleman demeanour, he asked, “I’m a little confused here, what is the problem exactly?  And why are you acting like such a Scrooge?”

“No questions until the end!” I barked.  Snow put down his Simmons ginger ale, taken aback by my tone.

“Now pay attention because I’m only going to say this once!  Right now, Santa’s cracking the whip on his elves, to make sure he gets all the toys in all the stockings by December 24!  Can you imagine the disappointment if Santa didn’t deliver?  There’d be so many heartbroken children all over the world, that White Lion’s ‘When the Children Cry’ would become a Top Ten charting single again!  But we know Santa won’t let that happen!  He’s going to work those elves until they’ve built all the Nintendos and Playstations or whatever the hell kids are asking for these days!  When I was a kid we’d be lucky to get a Luke Skywalker and two Jawas!”

I paused to take a breath as I noticed the other guys were quite shocked at my aggressiveness today.  Aaron rubbed his eyes as a headache induced by the volume of my voice set in.  Michael just looked patiently.  As the newest member of the Writer’s Room, he didn’t want to rock the boat.  Harrison appeared concerned while Snow seemed engulfed in his next bottle of Simmons soda.

“We cannot let our readers down, guys.  They expect a great Tee Bone Man adventure every month!  They want to see top-notch Lego art from the Australian Wunderkind over here.  They want music references, they want inside jokes, and they want Scotch on the rocks!  And what have I got back from you guys??  Nothing!!”

All four guys’ eyes went wide as they stared at me in shock.  John’s jaw may have dropped slightly, or it could have been the cola he was now drinking.

“But Mike, as you know, I got my part to you first, a long time ago in fact,” said Aaron gently.  “You even told me you got it.”

I owed him an apology.  “Yes, I’m sorry, you are right about that.  I’m excluding you from this lecture Aaron.”  I then turned to the rest of the table.  “Why can’t you guys be more like Aaron?  Sure, his portion was little more than a bunch of ‘Wahoos!’ but at least he did the work.  Don’t you guys understand what we’re trying to do here?”

I walked around the table.  “We are trying to write a Tee Bone Man episode for Christmas, a special one like none we’ve attempted before!  We are determined to do a seasonal story, in time for the holidays!  Not late!  With each one of us contributing our own section of the story, with our own characters!  A unique gift for Tee Bone and Deke, a single story written by all five of us!  Each injecting our own styles, characters, and gifts for our heroic duo!  Don’t you guys understand the concept?  We can’t finish until we get every single section in so Harrison can do the art!  And time is running out!”

Harrison coughed and asked to speak.  “Can I add a few words here?” said the Australian.

“Yes, please do, tell these guys how strapped we are for time!” I invited him.

“Umm, I was actually going to ask you to check your email.  I submitted my part of the story several weeks ago.  Perhaps you should look in your spam folder?”

With a gruff smirk on my face, I reached for my phone in my shirt pocket.  I opened up my email and looked in spam.

“Well, unless you sent it to me with the title ‘Viagara on sale’ then no, it’s not in spam Harrison,” I said with self satisfaction.

“What about your general inbox?  Maybe it’s in your unread items.  You usually have several thousand of those in your inbox,” he said.

I scrolled and scrolled and scrolled.  I then put my phone back in my pocket, took another drink of my coffee, and looked at the group.

“OK so none of this applies to Aaron and Harrison.”  I glared at Snow, now drinking a root beer, and Michael sitting there quietly.

There was an ominous, very unseasonable quiet around the table.

“Well, don’t you have anything to say you two?” I demanded.

John raised his hand again.  “I do.  Is it time for questions now?”

“Yes it’s time for questions now!” I exclaimed in exasperation.

John gently asked, “When you were looking for Harrison’s chapter in your inbox, did you happen to see mine in there too?  Remember, I told you to make any changes you needed to fit it into the story.”

Did he?  “I thought that you were talking about your new space story that you’re working on John?”

“I sent you both, remember?”  John waited for my response.

I didn’t bother checking my phone this time.

“Alright, so it seems I definitely owe three of you an apology.  My mistake.  I’m sorry guys, I stand corrected.  Your chapters are submitted.  But Michael, Harrison will need you to finish yours in order to do the Lego art!”

Michael the 80sMetalMan was about to open his mouth, when Harrison interrupted.  “Actually,” he raised his hand, “Since we’ve already discussed the ending, and all the major events of the story, I can do the Lego art without much issue,” he corrected me.

I looked down at the table.  Was I wrong about everything at this meeting today?  Did I berate this fine group of writers for nothing?

“So what are you saying…that we’re actually in good shape to get the story done ahead of schedule?” I asked.

Michael smiled.  “It sounds to me like we’re in excellent shape and all on the same page.  Except for you that is!”

Everyone laughed.

“Well I certainly wish I could take back 90% of what I said back there!” I said, a little ashamed at myself.

“Only 90%?” asked Aaron.  “What would you have still said?”

“Well, I notice John Snow is on his fourth bottle of Gene Simmons soda and hasn’t offered any of us a bottle.  And he even knows I love Kiss and soda pop.  So I’d probably still berate John at the beginning there.”

Everyone laughed but John, who reached under the table and lifted up a huge box.

“Merry Christmas, Mike,” he said with a huge grim.

“Is this what I think it is?” I asked feeling even more ashamed of myself.  I ripped open the paper.  “Gene Simmons Moneybag soda!!  Enough for everyone to share.  It’s even cold!”

“It sure is, I kept it outside last night!” explained Snow.  “I can’t believe how cold it is in Canada!”

With that, the Christmas spirit had finally arrived.  The five men grabbed fresh bottles of soda and raised a cheer.  Each one of them looked forward to the Tee Bone Man Christmas special, a first-time event:  a special story co-written by all five writers.  Each one lending his own unique style and characters to the story, in celebration of our heroes Tee Bone and Superdekes.

Look for the Tee Bone Man Christmas episode in time for your holiday egg nog, and to all a good night!

 

THE ADVENTURES OF TEE BONE MAN

Chapter One: A Friend in Need (by LeBrain)

Chapter Two: Hell Freezes Over (by Harrison Kopp)

Chapter Three: Hell Ain’t A Bad Place to Be (by LeBrain)

Chapter Four: Tee Bone Man and the Rink of…Doom? (by Aaron KMA)

Chapter Five: The Super Duper Vault (by John Snow)

Chapter Six: Tee Bone Man Goes to Camp (by LeBrain)

Chapter Seven:  The Revenge of Common Knowledge (by LeBrain)

Chapter Eight:  Tee Bone & Deke’s Time Travelling Adventure (by 80sMetalMan)

Chapter Nine:  Castle Communications (by Harrison Kopp)

Chapter Ten:  The Case of the Lost Iron Maiden Socks (by LeBrain)

COMING SOON!  Chapter Eleven:  A Tee Bone Man Christmas (by all five of us)

 

THE EXTENDED LEBRAINIVERSE

The Writer’s Room: chapter one

The Adventures of Edie Van Heelin’:  Edie vs. Tommy Lee in the Bouncy Castle of Doom!

 

REVIEW: Vince Neil – “You’re Invited (But Your Friend Can’t Come)” (1992 single)

VINCE NEIL – “You’re Invited (But Your Friend Can’t Come)” (1992 Hollywood single)

“Woahow!”

In 1992, post-split, Vince Neil was out of the gates fast with a killer new single, while we had to wait two more years for Motley Crue to make their move.  It certainly seemed that Neil was winning the Crue vs. Vince competition, especially when his Exposed album with Steve Stevens was released in 1993.  We had no inkling that the Crue were brewing something equally strong with John Corabi, but for the time being at least, Vince Neil was the winner of the round.

Vince didn’t have his solo band yet, so the players you hear on “You’re Invited (But Your Friend Can’t Come)” might come as a surprise.  It’s 3/4 of Damn Yankees:  Tommy Shaw, Jack Blades, and Michael Cartellone.  The track was written by Neil, Shaw and Blades.  Automatically, we know to expect some quality.  This track was recorded for the movie Encino Man (or California Man) starring Paulie Shore and Brendan Fraser.  The soundtrack version (4:27) and a single edit (3:53) are both included here.

“One, two, here we go!”  The tune is a smoker, sharp and with wicked production.  The cocky lyrics perfectly match the upbeat riff, certainly one of the best Shaw/Blades riffs yet composed.  The single/soundtrack version is in fact superior to the final album cut that came a year later, even though that one included Steve Stevens with a seriously cool solo.  This guitar solo ain’t half bad either, of course!  Tommy Shaw is no slouch and it sounds like he’s having fun just losing his mind on guitar.  There’s even more of that nutso finger tapping on the album version vs. the single edit, especially in the bananas intro.

If you like guitar, then you will definitely love one of the B-sides:  a commercial Steve Vai instrumental called “Get The Hell Out of Here”.  Opening with a flurry of notes, the song goes into a riff with some cool call-and-answer lead guitars.  Definitely one of Steve’s more song-like structures, something like Satch is wont to do.  Catchy, straight ahead, with plenty of thrills.  Incredible harmonics!  A great middle ground for those who love lead guitar but find Steve’s regular solo work a little too bookish.

The last song to go over is by a band called T-Ride, who put out one album in 1992.  Joe Satriani called them “the future of metal”, but we’re all allowed to be wrong from time to time.  Their tune here is called “Luxury Cruiser” which was also on their self-titled album.  It’s hard rock for the 90s, and the singer can really wail when he wants to.  It verges on progressive, due to its careening from one different part and tempo to another.  Very technical, but not an amazing song.

Great single to have for the Vai and Vince tracks.  Vai later released his on a compilation of soundtrack music, but otherwise this is a great purchase to fill some gaps in your collection.

4/5 stars

 

#1027: I Feel Alright

RECORD STORE TALES #1027: I Feel Alright

We all have ups and downs.  If you say you don’t then I don’t believe you.  I’ve never been diagnosed bipolar but I’ve always wondered, the way my spirits can sway to and fro.  I can’t remember how long it has been this way for me, but I think since University – around age 19.  That’s when I really started to feel lonely.  Up until then my best friend Bob and I had been tighter than tight, but now we were at different schools and in different circles of friends.  It felt weird but I knew it was a natural thing that happens.  I certainly had read enough teen fiction on the concept of friends drifting apart.  Alice Cooper even had a song about it called “Alma Mater” on the School’s Out album.  Up until that point my life was fairly uncomplicated by things like girls.

I’ve worked hard to get where I am today, the point at which I can self-reflect with a little more knowledge and wisdom.  In some ways, I’ve pulled it together better than ever in 2022 with a solid support group and strategies.  On the other hand, there have been unforeseen difficulties in 2022.  I used to be driven by the idea of writing every day.  This year writing really became stale for me so I have had to look to other creative avenues instead.  Even though this feeling had been building a long time, it is still a difficult adjustment to my routine.  But I’m adjusting.  I still listen to music every day at work, in the car and at home.  I just don’t want to force myself to write about it anymore.  Maybe I just want to chill on the couch watching YouTube.

Speaking of YouTube, one of the surprises this fall is that live streaming just happened to feel right for me again.  Keeping things loose, simple and unprepared is way more fun than spending hours and hours on taking notes every week.  And I need to thank Harrison, the Mad Metal Man, my trusty co-host.  I prefer having a co-host to being a solo artist and Harrison has been with me every single week so far.  He’s helped me put the social fun back into my Friday nights.  Harrison the Mad Metal Man deserves a hell of a lot of praise, even if you’re not watching our show (Grab a Stack of Rock with Mike and the Mad Metal Man).  Pat him on the back just for being a part of a thing that’s helping me get through this cold, dark winter.

Dark indeed!  I leave for work before the sun is up.  The sun is setting, and just laying on the horizon during my drive home.  I get no daylight at all; I’m stuck in my office.  But hope is not lost.  The solstice is only 17 days away.  That means soon the days will be getting longer again.  In one month, the sun will still set at approximately the same time as tonight, but each night thereafter it will be setting later and later.  That is a warming thought.

I also need to thank my new friend from California who’s chosen the name California Girl (and occasionally “Lady Vader”) for our little show.  A few people have wondered who she is and how we met, and it’s the most unusual story but also inspiring.  I’m happy to say I have a few friends that I consider to be very close to me, that I have never met in my life.  Tee Bone, Deke, Harrison, Snowman, these are people with whom I’ve shared a lot of joys and pain.  They have likewise shared in return and become mutual support.  I’ve never met any of them.  We need to redefine what friendship means in 2022.  You don’t need to be physically close to someone, to be close!  No, you can be separated by 12 time zones.  In the case of California Girl, I think sometimes music fans just find each other.  One day earlier this year, she was searching online for Led Zeppelin lists and stumbled upon our little show, the Zep deep cuts episode with Geoff, Mars and Sarah.  For whatever reason, she claims she thought we were cool, which I have strenuously denied!  She messaged me out of the blue and we started chatting.  We became friends and mutual fans of each other.  She digs my writing, cottage videos, and live shows, and I dig her modelling on Instagram.  And that’s OK!  We all have our creative outlets so don’t judge.  Jen and I are both fans, but it goes far beyond the surface.  I’m grateful that I have added another person to my long distance support network.  She was there for me through my difficult dental surgery and she’s made winter fun for me, by allowing me to share it with her via videos and pictures.  She wants to dip her toes into collaborating with me and so she’s already appeared on the live show once via an “Ask Harrison” question, and a fictional story we came up with.  Yeah, I’m definitely her friend and her fan.  Her positivity and encouragement have had a tangible impact on the things you have seen and read on this very website in the last four months.

You’ll notice the thread running through these paragraphs is, as always, music.  The one constant in my life.  The one thing that never ghosted me, stabbed me in the back or left me out to dry.  Music, possibly the most powerful form of communication on earth.  It combines words with feelings, in a way that naturally resonates with the human soul.

Have you ever seen American Dad?  The episode where Roger is on a blind date with a girl:

Girl:  “So…do you like music?”

Roger:  “Do I like music?  No, no I’m the one person on Earth who doesn’t like music.”

 

From that first moment when Styx made me feel cool, to this very moment rocking out to hard rock as I hammer out words, music has been there my whole life.  My parents nurtured this from a young age by buying me John Williams records.  Then came Styx, and Quiet Riot really sold me on the kind of music that I craved.  Maiden changed my life, and Kiss wormed their way into my heart.  The tunes are part of me.  Playing them is like drawing strength from an infinite well.  When I’m miserable, music is there to take the edge off just a little bit.

Even at the Catholic school retreat where music was forbidden, they could not take “Love Gun” out of my head.  I hummed it to myself as a shield.

Even as the bullies made my days hell, Kiss made my nights happy.

Even as I sat alone in my room in my 20s, I was comforted by Van Halen, Motley Crue, Extreme, Guns N’ Roses, Tesla, Skid Row, Rush, Steve Vai, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, and Deep Purple.

I feel alright.  I’m making it.  Seasonal affective disorder is a bitch, and every year is unique in small ways.  This year was no exception.  It actually feels like a monumental shift in my life, losing the passion for writing while making a new friend.  But there’s the balance.  Lose one thing, gain another.  It’s mostly a matter of navigating the bumps.

I feel alright!  We’re almost through this year.  New adventures lay ahead.  Let’s look forward to them, whatever they may be.

 

Grant’s Rock Warehaus – THE DARKNESS – With Mike Ladano and Tim Durling

What a fun night!  Grant Arthur and I went through our favourite Darkness tracks, album by album and single by single.  Then Tim Durling showed up and the rocking really began.  An absolutely fun night, educational, and a total love affair for Dan, Justin, Frankie, Rufus, Richie, Eddie and Emily.  We also delved into Hot Leg, the Stone Gods, and British Whale.  Get rocked!

 

 

Dancing on a Friday Night? Grant’s Rock Warehaus – THE DARKNESS – Tonight at 7:00 PM EST

Spend an hour with Grant and I LIVE tonight, as we discuss our favourite DARKNESS tracks!

 

Hey you, do you remember me?
I used to sit next to you at school
And we indulged in all the extracurricular activities
We weren’t particularly cool

Oh, Monday, cycling
Tuesday, gymnastics
Dancing on a Friday night
I got Bridge Club on Wednesday
Archery on Thursday
Dancing on a Friday night

Hey you, could you ever fall for me
Oh, the way I fell for you?
And do you dwell upon the thoughts that I occupy
Or do you give yourself things to do?

Oh, Monday, rowing
Tuesday, badminton
Dancing on a Friday night
I got ping pong on Wednesday
Needlework on Thursday
Dancing on a Friday night
With you, you, rowr
Ow!

Monday, Tuesday
Wednesday, Thursday
Dancing on a Friday night
Let the music smother me
Whole weekend recovery
Dancing on a Friday night

Oh, see the lady I adore
Dancing on the dancing floor
Dancing on a Friday night
God, the way she moves, moves me
To write bad poetry
Dancing on a Friday night, ooh

The Adventures of Edie Van Heelin’: Edie vs. Tommy Lee in the Bouncy Castle of Doom!

Welcome to The Adventures of Edie Van Heelin’, an ongoing series I’ve been working on in my spare time.  But who is Edie?

Edie Van Heelin’ is the lead guitarist of Van Heelin’, the all-female tribute to Van Halen.  When she’s not too busy rocking the stages with her stellar curves, and hot covers of classic Van Halen, she leads a secret life as an alien-battling superhero!  With the ability to communicate with animals, and an urgent drive to keep them safe, Edie is a modern-day hero with a classic rock sensibility.  You’ll often find her clad in her trademark heels and fishnets, all while kicking ass, taking names, and saving animals in danger!

Edie’s cast of characters include:

  • Fanboy Mike, an ally and Van Heelin’ superfan.  Mike lives in Canada, where he often encounters strange aliens and UFOs.
  • Tommy Lee, sometimes friend, sometimes foe, and always annoying!  This party-hardy rock star always seems to rub Edie the wrong way.
  • Green aliens and animal allies!  Can Edie keep her animal friends safe while also keeping the aliens (and Tommy) away from Fanboy Mike?

This story is a collaboration with a good friend of mine who inspired the character of Edie.  Like all my fiction, it’s a mixture of reality with a healthy dose of fantasy!  We hope you like it.

“Jump” in and get rocked with Edie Van Heelin’!  This episode was inspired by Tommy Lee’s new music video, “Bouncy Castle”.

 


 

prelude

Fanboy Mike sat on the porch of the cottage at midnight on this July night.  It was still warm; too warm for slumber.  Unable to sleep, he thought he may as well get up.  Sipping his drink, Fanboy was content, if restless.  There was nothing in the air but the sound of crickets.  He breathed deeply, inhaling the sweet country air.  Insomnia sucked but there was no better place in the world to have insomnia.  If only his friend, Edie Van Heelin’, was here to enjoy it with him.  He knew that his high-heeled, animal-loving rock star would love it.  He hadn’t seen her in a while.  He missed their adventures.  Crazy times, they had.  There was the time that aliens blew up her hot tub.  There was another time she ended up stuck on a UFO with Tommy Lee.  Mike chuckled to himself thinking about it.

Taking a deep sip of decaf, Fanboy Mike decided to take a late night stroll.  He put his mug down and grabbed his headlight.  He strode down the porch steps, into the night.  He took a few steps forward and sensed rustling in the trees.

“Just a skunk or racoon,” he reasoned.  “Nothing to be afraid of.”  He heard a branch snap and then turned on his headlight.  Mike jumped back in shock.

Right in front of him was a green alien.  Fanboy wanted to scream, but the alien stunned him with a beam that rendered him silent.  There was a flash of light, and then quiet.  Both Mike and the alien had disappeared.

EDIE VAN HEELIN’ vs. TOMMY LEE in the BOUNCY CASTLE OF DOOM

CHAPTER 1

In California, Edie Van Heelin’ was just finishing up tucking her little ones into bed.  It had been a busy month.  In addition to playing guitar in her critically acclaimed Van Halen tribute band Van Heelin’, she had also become a guardian of animals.  It seemed like every waking moment involved rescuing some animals in distress.  Not that she minded.  The only thing she loved more than the animals was her own family.  It had been a busy month, but Edie was now going to indulge herself with some hot tea, and husband time.  Mr. Van Heelin’ was cuing up the next episode of the Sopranos in their big marathon.

“Ready?” he asked with his finger gingerly poised on the remote.

“Ready!” said Edie eagerly.

It was at that exact moment their evening was interrupted by the noise of techno music.  Bad techno music.  If you could even call it music.  What they heard was little more than amateurish noise, far removed from the excellent music they usually enjoyed.  Loud beats and shrieking sirens with no direction; just pure idiotic noise.  Mr. and Mrs. Van Heelin’ plugged their ears and frowned.

“What the heck is that?” shouted Mr. Van Heelin’.

“I better go look outside!” shouted Edie back.

Mrs. Van Heelin’ put on her brand new pair of silver platform boots, and stepped outside onto the lawn.  Looking up, she saw the source of the noise.

“Not these guys again!” she shouted in exasperation.  A UFO was flying wildly overhead, polluting the skies with the noise of that terrible techno music.

“Time to be a superhero?” asked Mr. Van Heelin’.  He was getting used to her always being on a mission to save somebody.

“Afraid so!” she shouted back.  “It’s those damn aliens again!”

Mr. Van Heelin’ came out to give her a good luck kiss.  “Get home safe!  I’ll keep the Sopranos where we left it.”

With that, Edie clicked the heels of her boots together.  They suddenly fired to life!  Edie’s new rocket boots were a gift from a tech-wizard fan from the snowy climbs of Northern Ontario Canada; she just couldn’t wait to give them a test flight.  She saluted her husband as she lifted off into the night.

CHAPTER 2

“Woooooo!” shouted Edie in glee, as she rocketed through the black skies of California.  These new rocket boots were awesome!  They were fast and she could easily catch up to that mad UFO.  Nobody was about to ruin her night with crap techno music.  Although now that she was starting to think about it, she got a bad feeling about the whole situation.

“Bad techno…why does that remind me of something?  I can’t quite place my finger on it.”

She flew closer and closer to the alien ship.  The saucer gleamed silver in the starlight.  Edie began to slow her speed, as she didn’t want to rush this mission.  Caution was in order.

“I know what to do,” said Edie.  “I’m going to call Fanboy Mike.  He knows everything about music.  Maybe he even knows something about this really bad techno crap.  I’ll let him hear it – I bet he can tell me what’s up.”

Edie reached into her utility belt and found her phone.  She dialed up Fanboy Mike.  She had just spoken to him earlier tonight and she knew he was at his cottage with Mrs. Fanboy.  It was late, but he would understand the urgency.  He’s dealt with these nasty aliens before too.

The phone rang.  No answer.  “He must be asleep,” said Edie as she hit redial.

Mrs. Fanboy answered groggily.  “Hello?”

“Oh, hey Jen.  Is Mike around?  I know it’s late but this is urgent.”

There was a silence from the other end.

“Oh my goodness he’s not here!  He’s gone!  His coffee mug is on the front porch but he’s gone!”

This wasn’t good.  “Don’t worry Jen.  I’m on the case.  I’ll find our Fanboy and get him home safe.  Don’t you worry!”

Edie hung up and wondered if there was a connection between these annoying aliens and her beloved special fan?  Deciding not to waste any further time, Edie hit the afterburners on her rocket boots.  Soon she had overtaken the aliens and landed on their ship’s upper hull.  Her rocket boots had many features, including electro-magnetic soles!  She activated the magnets and was now firmly standing on the ship.

The wind whipped her hair straight back.  Now she had to figure out how to enter.

Edie began crawling over the surface of the ship. She found what appeared to be an upper hatch but it was locked shut.  She tried to open it with her fingers but failed.

“Broke a nail!” she complained.  “Whoever’s flying this thing will have to pay.”

Edie searched her utility belt and found something useful.  “Speaking of nails…” she smiled as she hoisted a titanium nail file from her belt.  She wedged it between the panels of the ship.  “This oughtta do the trick!”  Within seconds, she had triggered the panel to slide open beneath her.  Edie fell and landed, superhero style, in the hallway of the spacecraft.  She reached back into her utility belt and found a Toy Story band aid to cover her broken nail.

“Seen one, seen ‘em all,” said Edie as she examined her UFO surroundings.  “It’s even louder in here!” she complained as she plugged her ears.  “No problem though.”  Edie searched her belt again and found her special earplugs, very high tech.  They filtered out the noise but allowed her to pick up other sounds.  Soon the techno music was rendered down to a simple but stupid “thump thump thump”.

“This is the worst, dumbest music I’ve ever heard,” complained Edie.  “Nowhere near as good as Prodigy, Chemical Brothers or Daft Punk!  You have to be a real cement head to make this kind of music!”  Fortunately the earplugs were doing their job.  Time to come up with a plan.

Edie Van Heelin’ had many weapons in her arsenal.  Unfortunately she left her electric guitar at home, so a battle of music was not going to happen this time.  She did, however, have her army of animals at her command.

“Time to bring this adventure down to Earth!” said Edie.  She knew just the animal to help.  She concentrated deeply and focused on the mighty American eagle.  “Help me eagles!  We need to ground this spaceship right away!”

Within minutes, her call was answered!  A huge flock of American eagles descended upon the UFO.  They flapped their mighty wings, all the while tolerating the horrible techno music.  Inch by inch, the spacecraft began its descent.

Inside, Edie Van Heelin’ prepared for impact.  She braced herself against the walls of the craft.  She could feel that the craft was fighting to stay aloft, but the eagles were winning.  Soon they’d be down.  Then Edie would be fighting these aliens on her own terms.

The landing was surprisingly soft given it was a battle between eagle and alien.  The craft shuddered and shook, and soon became motionless.  If not for that damned techno music, she’d have thought nobody was home.  But that music made it clear, somebody here was having a party.  If so, she needed some help.

“Vim!  Vigor!  To my side!”  Edie summoned her animal allies.  A few moments passed, and she was soon joined by two, big gray squirrels:  Vim and Vigor!  They entered the UFO through the top hatch and joined Edie, chasing each other around her.

“Settle down boys!” said Edie.  “We’re on a mission!”  The two squirrels stood on their haunches, alert and waiting for their next command.

Edie knew the layout of this model of UFO.  She knew where the bridge was.  “Follow me!” she commanded the squirrels.  Vim and Vigor followed her as she ran in her platform boots through the corridor.  Edie remembered last time she had to storm the control room of a UFO.  She was with that idiot Tommy Lee.  “What a goof that guy was,” she said to herself.

The techno music was deafeningly loud inside the UFO.  Strangely though, it was quieter up by the control room.  She expected that to be the source of the music.  Edie and the squirrels stood on either side of the control room door.  “You go right, I go left!” she commanded.  Vim and Vigor nodded in understanding.  With a finger wrapped in a band-aid, Edie signaled them and kicked open the door with her platforms.

Vim, Vigor and Edie Van Heelin’ stormed the control room.  An empty control room?

“What the…?” asked Edie.  “Nobody flying this thing?”  The two squirrels were as perplexed as she was.

“Come on guys!” she commanded.  “Follow the noise!  There’s gotta be someone here on this thing.  But even if there isn’t, we’re turning off this amateur techno nonsense!”  The two squirrels nodded in agreement and scooted on down the hallway, following Edie and the sound of the techno.

CHAPTER 3

Edie and her Squirrel Team 1 navigated the labyrinthine corridors, following the music.  It grew louder and louder.  The team noticed the hallways becoming messier and messier.  Spilled liquids, underwear, and dirt lined the corridors.  Underwear?  Leopard spotted g-strings?

“I have a bad feeling about this,” said Edie.

A loud shout was heard down the hall, dead ahead.  “YEAH DUUUUUUUUDE!”

“Oh, shit,” said Edie, letting out a rare swear word.  “Not him.”

She sighed as the trio reached a closed door.  The door was vibrating with bass.  She nodded to the squirrels, and kicked the door open with a mighty boot.  She didn’t even have to look inside to know who was behind this noise.

“Thomas Lee Bass,” she announced.  “By the authority of the Earth Animal Protection Squad, the three of us are arresting you for excessive noise!”  She paused a moment and added, “Plus crappy techno music!  The Prodigy, that’s more like it.  This crap, you can stuff it up your…oh my.”

What Edie saw in that room cannot be explained in mere words.

“Welcome to the Bouncy Castle, dude!” said a nude Tommy Lee, with food smeared on his body and wearing a helmet with three dildos protruding from it.  The room was a cacophony of noise, sex toys, booze and mess.  There was a huge drum kit in the corner with giant boob-drums.  There were bottles everywhere around, and dirty clothes hanging from every piece of furniture.  Edie’s two squirrels placed their paws over their ears trying to dampen the awful sound.

“We could make better techno music, and we don’t even have hands!” Vim said in Squirrelese to Vigor.  Vigor nodded in disgusted agreement.

Tommy bounced up and down on his bed.  His wiener bounced with him.  “Yeah dude it’s time to party!” screamed an inebriated Lee.  Then he stopped bouncing.  His wiener thudded against his knee as he came to a halt.  “Wait a minute…I know you, dude!”  Tommy jumped off the bed.  “You’re that Edie Van Heelin’ chick!  So damn hot!  Come here baby let me show you what love is like in the Bouncy Castle!”  Tommy removed his penis helmet, ready for love.

Edie tried not to barf.  “Umm, no, no, and just no.  What the hell is the ‘bouncy castle’?  Just…put on some pants and turn this music down.  You may be a great drummer but you suck at techno, Tommy.”

Suddenly Tommy’s demeanor changed.  He was no longer the party-hardy California boy from the Sunset Strip.  His face took on a darker tone.  His eyes gleamed.

“Who are you, the Fun Police?  No way am I turning this down, Negative Nancy!”  Tommy reached for a remote control and turned the music up.

Edie and the squirrels reached for their ears again.  This was too much!  But without hesitation or instruction, Vim and Vigor jumped on top of Tommy!  Vim scratched at his nose while Vigor slapped the remote from his hands.  Vigor brought the controller to Edie.  She searched for the volume control.

“What the…this control only has volume up!  No volume down!  What the heck is wrong with you Tommy?!”

“Come here baby and I’ll show you exactly what’s wrong with me!”  His dick stood at attention.  Vim dropped down from his head and hung onto to Tommy’s wiener like a tree branch.

“OWWW!” screamed Tommy in pain.  “My junk!”  Tommy tried to shake the squirrels off his body but was no use, as Vigor then leaped up to scratch his balls.

“MY BALLS!” screamed Tommy.  “Not my balls!”  Tommy fell to the ground in pain.

“Turn off the music Lee, or I’ll have them playing trapeze from your nutsack!” threatened Edie.

“OK!  OK!  Truce!!”  The drummer/techno musician killed the power with a switch next to his bed.  “I was just partying with the aliens, what’s the big deal?” he asked from his position on the floor.

“The big deal is we could hear you all the way from the foothills of California!  Don’t you have any consideration for other people?” scolded Edie.  The two squirrels shook a paw at him.

“What other people?” asked Tommy in a confused state.  “Are you talking about that dude we picked up in Canada tonight?”

Edie stopped in her tracks.  “What ‘dude’ are you talking about?”

CHAPTER 4

Tommy rubbed his sore nuts.

“What ‘dude’ are you talking about, Tommy?” repeated Edie Van Heelin’.

Tommy massaged his head, where the squirrel had been dangling from him.  “Some Canadian dude, dude!  Me and the aliens were partying and I said, ‘hey dudes, you know what we need, we need a hard core Motley Crue fan to party hard with us!’  So we found him and he’s around here somewhere.”

“Around here somewhere?  Where the heck did you leave him?” asked Edie, becoming more and more upset.  Her two squirrels echoed her concern with squirrel chatter.

Tommy scratched his head.  “I can’t remember dude!” he answered.  “But does it matter?  He’s fine.  How about you and me test out the springs on this bed?”

Edie looked incredibly frustrated.  “Vim…Vigor…you keep an eye on him while I go look for Fanboy Mike.”  The two squirrels nodded in understanding as Edie ran out of the room.

“These ships are huge,” she said as she ran.  “How am I going to find him?”

She searched room after room.  The ship seemed deserted, except for Tommy.  No aliens to be found, not even one.  She was puzzled.

“Where did all the aliens go?  And what did they do with Fanboy Mike?”

Edie continued to wander the halls until she had an idea.  If Fanboy Mike was here and free to move about, then there’s one place he might have gone.  Edie went down to the lower levels, the engine rooms.  Because the engines on these spacecraft were so loud, the engine room was the only one that was soundproofed.  And that would be the perfect place to escape Tommy’s music.

With a kick, Edie knocked in the engine room door.

Fanboy Mike was seated cross legged on the floor, across from an alien, both playing a board game.  The alien stared at her, as if mad that she interrupted their game of Monopoly.  Fanboy got up and ran to give Edie a big hug.  “Edie Van Heelin’?  Boy am I glad to see you!”

“I missed you, Fanboy!” said Edie as they embraced.  “Are you OK?”

Mike continued to hug as he spoke.  “It was awful Edie…the music…his music…it’s so terrible!”  A tear began to well up in his eye.  “Thanks for saving me…that Tommy Lee is such a moron!  He and this alien – the alien’s name is Fillmore, by the way – they grabbed me for a party.  At first I thought it would be cool, I thought we’d be listening to rock music and hanging out with stars.  But instead Tommy started playing that awful techno of his!  So bad that the other aliens all abandoned ship.  Have you heard it?  It’s not good!”

Edie grimaced.  “Oh, I’m afraid I’ve heard it alright!  Now let’s get you to safety.”

The alien spoke.  “Fillmore, at your service.  Fillmore West!”

She nodded towards Fillmore.  “Nice to meet you!” she said to the alien.  “Now let’s hustle, Mike!”

CHAPTER 5

Edie and Fanboy raced back up to the control room, where Vim and Vigor were holding Tommy down on the bed.  Tommy screeched in frustration.

“Come on, furry dudes!  I just wanna jerk off!  That Edie chick gives me a huge boner!”

This time, Edie really did barf.

“Oh come on Tommy,” said Fanboy.  “That’s just gross!”  Edie recovered and added, “Really disgusting, Thomas!”

“Let’s get out of here,” Fanboy said to Edie.  “Leave him here with his…whatever the hell this is.”

“You’re in the Bouncy Castle, dude!” exclaimed Tommy to Fanboy.  Then suddenly he jumped behind his giant boob-drum kit.  “Wanna jam?”

Edie shook her head no, but Fanboy touched her on the shoulder.

“Can we jam with Tommy before we leave?  His techno may suck but I’m still a big Motley Crue fan.”

Edie sighed.  “Fine…but only for you, Fanboy.  Only for you.”  She turned to Tommy at his boob kit.  “Do you know any good music, Tommy?

Tommy’s eyes lit up in glee.  “Yeah dude!  How about some Cream?  Let’s jam ‘White Room’!”

“Finally, something we can agree on,” said Edie.  She grabbed a guitar from the corner of the room, while Fanboy picked up a bass.

“1, 2, 3…” counted in Tommy.

With that, Edie Van Heelin’ began singing.  “In the white room, with black curtains, near the station…”

CHAPTER 6

By the end of the evening, Edie Van Heelin’ had rocked ‘em all.

“Time to go Tommy,” she said as she placed the guitar back on its stand.  “I hope you learned something this time.”

“Yeah dude!” exclaimed Tommy.  “I learned the lyrics to ‘White Room’!  How does it go again?”

Edie and Fanboy each smacked their heads.  The two squirrels placed their paws over their mouths as they laughed at Tommy Lee.

“I better take you home,” said Edie to Fanboy.  “Jen is really worried about you.”  The group of humans and rodents excited the craft through a lower ramp, activated by Fillmore.  “Vim and Vigor, thanks for your help tonight.  Couldn’t have done it without you!”  The two squirrels chattered in glee as they escaped into the night.

“Hey Edie…before we go…” said a bashful Fanboy.

“Yes?” she asked patiently.

“It’s just that, you know…I’m just a big fanboy at heart, you know?  It was fun to jam tonight, and I really appreciate it.  Do you think…could you bring me with you on your next adventure?  I wanna be the Morty to your Rick.”

“Is that a cartoon reference?  Right over my head, Mike,” said a confused Edie.

“It means I wanna be your sidekick, rock star!  The Robin to your Batman!”

Edie got that reference.  Her eyes lit up with glee.

“Of course!  At first I thought you were going to ask something creepy, like Tommy Lee!”  They laughed together at the absurdity of the night they just had.  “You got it,” said Edie.  “Very next adventure.  You can be my sidekick.”

Fanboy’s face glowed with happiness.  “Freakin’ awesome!  I’ve graduated from fanboy to sidekick!”

“I think my team just added a new member!” said Edie.  Welcome aboard, Fanboy!  Now hold tight.  Long way back to Canada!”

With that, Edie Van Heelin’ activated her rocket-heel boots, and jetted into the sky.  Another mission accomplished!

The Adventures of Tee Bone Man Chapter 10: The Case of the Lost Iron Maiden Socks

THE ADVENTURES OF TEE BONE MAN CHAPTER TEN:  THE CASE OF THE LOST IRON MAIDEN SOCKS

 

Tee Bone Man and Superdekes pulled into the garage of Deke’s Palace having just seen Iron Maiden in Toronto.

“Wicked concert eh pal?” said Deke to his best friend.

“Best concert yet man!” answered Tee Bone Man.

“When Dickinson shot those flamethrowers from his hands in ‘Flight of Icarus’, I did not see that coming,” responded Superdekes.

“And how about those Maiden socks that I bought at the concession stand?” asked Tee Bone. “Best part of the trip in my opinion!”

Deke laughed. “Yeah man! Glad you got them.  Remember that bald guy we met at the concession stands, Aaron?”

“Yeah!  The tall guy from Owen Sound with the deep voice,” recalled Tee Bone.

“He said something about not buying merch from that one vendor, but I don’t know why.  He had the best prices at the concert,” said Deke.  “Must be a Southern Ontario thing.”

Tee Bone nodded in agreement.

The pair began unpacking their bags. Tee Bone found his precious Iron Maiden socks, and held them up to get a good look. Eddie’s eyes gleamed in red thread.  Tee Bone smiled a wide smile. “Best socks ever!” he said to Dekes. Deke shrugged. Whatever made him happy! Tee Bone sat down, removed his shoes and socks, and put on his new Maiden pair. “Ahhhh!” he moaned in comfort as he stretched his feet out in front of him. “So comfortable!”

“It is hard to find good socks in Thunder Bay. Hey, I got an idea,” said Superdekes trying to change the subject. “How about some Scotch on the rocks?”

“That sounds like an excellent idea!” Tee Bone exclaimed in response. And so their night had just begun, for no-one could tie one on like Tee Bone and Superdekes. As usual the evening began with a clink of glasses and ended with two blacked out adult men, passed out in the basement of Deke’s Palace.

 

 


 

Morning.

With a gaping wide yawn, Tee Bone Man awoke from his alcohol induced slumber.  He opened his eyes and looked around him.  There was his best friend Deke on the airchair, sleeping with his glasses still on his face.  Next to him on the end table was an empty bottle of Scotch (the good stuff) and several empty glasses.  Tee Bone blinked and rubbed his eyes trying to get them to focus.  Man, he got hammered last night.

Tee Bone checked to make sure all his limbs were still intact.  Fingers and toes were functional.  As he slowly gained awareness, he realized his feet were cold.  He looked at his bare feet and…bare feet?  Where did his precious Maiden socks go?

He ran over to the armchair.  “Deke!  Deke!” he shook his friend awake.  Deke slowly opened his eyes and focused on his friend.  “What?  What?  Jeez man what is it?”

“My socks are gone!” answered Tee Bone in panicked haste.  “They were on my feet and now they’re not!”

“Easy man, easy.  Just put on the other pair you were wearing yesterday, I’m sure they’re still OK, you didn’t party in that pair.”

“No no!” yelled Tee Bone.  “We have to find my preciouses!” he proclaimed.  “They’re around here somewhere!”

“They’ll turn up!” reasoned Deke.  “We didn’t go anywhere last night.  Now chill.  Let’s make some eggs.”

“No eggs!” yelled Tee Bone,  “Not until we find my precious socks!  No other socks will go on my feet until they are found!”

“You OK buddy?” asked Deke.  “I haven’t seen you this, errr, agitated since before you took your vacation at camp.”

“What vacation?  I didn’t take a vacation I went squirrel hunting,” said Tee Bone to a very confused Deke.  “No time to waste.  Now we’re hunting socks.  Let’s go Deke.  Up up up.”

“Fine!” said Deke as his got out of the armchair with a groan, “We’ll find your damn socks.”

“My precious socks!” corrected Tee Bone.

The pair began an organized search, room by room, starting with the main lounge.  Then the washrooms, kitchen, and garage.

Tee Bone made his way to Deke’s flying motorcycle.  He began inspecting the side compartments.

“Woah buddy, careful there!” cautioned Deke.  “You know I keep some pretty powerful gadgets on my bike.  Careful how you dig.”

Tee Bone ignored him and kept digging.

“Buddy, why are you digging through my bike’s storage compartments anyway?  Your socks are not in there.”

“How do I know you didn’t take them?  How do I know you didn’t hide them here?” mumbled an increasingly unhinged Tee Bone Man as he continued his thorough search of Deke’s bike.

Deke breathed calmly before he spoke.  “Buddy…pal…you know I didn’t take your socks.  If I needed Iron Maiden socks that badly, I’m sure I can buy some on eBay.  Now let’s go check the record shelves.  You know how you sometimes like to throw your socks off when you’re dancing at a party.  Maybe you did that.”

“NO!” shouted Tee Bone.  Deke was surprised to see his friend’s eyes were lit up like the eyes of Eddie himself.  Something was clearly infecting the mind of Tee Bone.  Deke maintained his calm and just analyzed the situation.  He had already been alarmed when Tee Bone kept calling the socks his “precious”.  That was frighteningly too similar to a movie they once saw several years back.  Could the socks be possessing the mind of his friend like that movie he couldn’t remember the name of?  It had some little guys and some regular sized guys and a wizard with a big grey hat.

Deke came up with a strategy.  “OK pal.  No problem.  Let me help you search the garage.”

“Fine” harrumphed Tee Bone Man, now hunched over the bike like a grotesque malformed goblin, picking the bones of a dead animal.

Deke cautiously walked over to his weapons shelf.  He carefully picked up a gun-shaped device and aimed at his friend.

“I’m sorry,” he said as he pulled the trigger.


Evening.

Tee Bone Man awoke once more, but with a raging headache that rivalled every Scotch he ever consumed.  He blinked his eyes open, but his vision was totally blurred.  He could vaguely make out two figures standing over him.

“Sorry I had to stun ya pal,” said the voice of Deke before him.  “It had to be done.  You’re all good now.  It doesn’t feel so good, but you’re gonna be OK.  We found your socks.”

“We?” asked Tee Bone Man.

“Hey bro!” said a new voice from a blurred form coming into view.

“Darr??  Is that you?” asked Tee Bone of his brother.

“Yeah, it’s me man!” answered the handsome young Darr.  “You guys invited me over for some Scotch last night remember?  Boy did you get ripped, man.  You and Deke both!  Especially Deke!  I had to get back home, but I took the initiative to clean up a bit for you before I left.”

Deke continued the story.  “Those Iron Maiden socks you bought?  Cursed, man.  That’s why they were on sale at the one concession stand that had no lineup.  All their items are possessed.  That’s the catch.  That Aaron guy tried to warn us, but we didn’t listen.  Whoops.”

Tee Bone shook his head.  “That’s right, my socks.  I…don’t feel the need for them anymore.  But this morning…all I could think about were my Maiden socks.  They were definitely missing.  I remember that much.  That’s what I don’t understand.  Where did they go?”

Darr picked up the story.  “Laundry, man!  Deke was already completely blacked out.  Don’t you remember?  It was you and me with Deke in the armchair, and you were all like, ‘Hey everybody watch me do this Open Door Piss!’  And you dribbled all over the floor and your socks.  So I took them up to the laundry.”

Tee Bone had no memory of any of this!  “But where are the socks right now, and why am I not crazy for them at the moment?”

Deke smiled.  “Darr came over this morning to check up on us, and he told me where they were.  As soon as I found them in the dryer, I burned them in the fires of Mount Deke.”

Mount Deke was the name of their firepit out back of course, so named because of the unusually large chimney.

“Wow…thanks guys.  What would have happened to me if you didn’t destroy the socks??”

“Well, we’re not sure exactly,” answered Darr.  “Deke had a theory that you might have transformed into a little grey creature, always obsessing over the power the socks had over you.  Forever.”  Deke nodded in somber agreement.

“The lesson here is never buy discount socks!” summed up Deke.

The three laughed together in relieved comradery.  Darr had saved the day and his brother, and maybe Tee Bone would have to write a song, an ode to Darr, for him one day….

The end

#1026: Fakin’ It

All yesterday, I faked that I was in a good mood.

I’m pretty good at it. I have 12 years of retail experience under my belt.

Not everything is going according to plan. We have water and mold in our storage locker. All my books…all my action figures…all my treasures.

Good thing I’m good at faking it.

Other things have not been working out as I envisioned either. But hey, a new Metallica is coming. I guess I can file that with the last two that I can’t remember the songs from!

#1025: Givin’ up, givin up, givin’ a f*ck

Some clarification.  Any time I post some old reviews that I wrote back in August, I inevitably get the same comments.

“I thought you weren’t reviewing anymore!”

“I thought you gave up on writing!”

or,

“When are you reviewing the new Kiss box set?”

I’ll give you the same answer that my psychology professor gave us when we asked when he would have all our term papers marked:  “On the 12th of Never.”

To be clear:  I am no longer writing reviews.

Anything I am writing now is personal; nothing to do with trying to review anything.  If whatever I write has something to do with music, great.  If not, I don’t care.  I am done with it.

Why bother?  I get the same amount of views (or more) for copying and pasting a press release about a Loudness video.  Or a Coney Hatch concert.  Why should I work for two hours, three hours, four hours, on a review that gets as many views as something I copied and pasted from a PR company?  I am burned out.  That’s the blunt truth.  Burned right out.

For the very best in original music reviews, I suggest you head on over to John Snow at 2loud2oldmusic.  He works diligently every day to bring you music reviews and lists.

On the other hand, if you want to know what I am up to, what I’m watching on YouTube, or how I’m dealing with mental health, then you can stick around.  I had a pretty good run.  My reviews have been complimented by stars such as Dennis DeYoung (my childhood hero), F. Lee Harvey Blotto, and Dave Bidini.  They’ve been criticized by others such as Kenny Hotz, Regina Banali, and David “D-Funk” Faulk.  I’ve achieved a lot of what I set out to do 10 years ago.

It’s been fun but I am giving up giving a fuck.