Author: mikeladano

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

VHS Archives #133: Winger perform 2 acoustic tracks on Start Me Up (1993)

Fantastic interview by Erica Ehm once again, with Reb Beach and Kip Winger.  Lengthy session too, 23 minutes in total!  Starting with some country riffs (Reb on 6-string, Kip on 12-string), the boys defied the expectations of the early 90s and proved they could really play — and how!  For the Winger guys, it was already “first thing in the morning”, otherwise known as “mid-afternoon” to us;  Kip had his cup of coffee ready!  (Really good coffee, according to Erica.)

Sad observation:  We’ve seen past interviews with groups like Bon Jovi, where throngs of fans were banging on the big MuchMusic windows.  Winger only got a couple curious onlookers pulling faces.  Too bad.

Songs played:

  • “Can’t Get Enuff” (at the 5:30 mark)
  • “Who’s The One” (17:30 in)

Topics covered:

  • Why were Winger not as big in Canada as they were at home?
  • Playing for musicians
  • Videos / “the image”
  • The art of songwriting / lyrics
  • Why was the new album called Pull?
  • Reb’s instructional guitar video
  • Chris Robinson, Lars Ulrich, Beavis and Butt-head, and other critics
  • Playgirl magazine!
  • Being “rock stars”

Winger ends the session with a blues jam.

Awesome acoustic tunes and a fantastic interview.  Check it out below.

#989: Moving In Stereo

RECORD STORE TALES #989: Moving In Stereo

It was May 2002 and I was a first-time homeowner.  My dad taught me, “Never rent!  Only buy.  Put your money towards something.”  So I trusted his advice and lived at home as long as could I possibly milk it!

Moving in to my new place took a day.  I had a lot of help from family and friends.  We probably had 10 or 12 people total.  I packed up all my CDs and insisted that only I handle them.  It caused me more than a little anxiety.  I figured a few jewel cases would crack, but there were some special ones I took extra precautions with.  Coloured jewel cases are hard to replace.  The most precious CD case to me is the 1996 Deep Purple In Rock anniversary edition.  The case comes etched with signatures and other text.  Breaking one of those means either living with it, or trying to find another copy with case intact.  I desired to do neither.  In Rock survived the move intact.  I would not be lying to you if I told you that this one little item was of more concern to me than anything else I moved that day.  My stereo equipment came in second.

Some people say they have a hard time sleeping, their first night in a new home.  I did not have that problem.  After a full day of moving, I was wiped.  But also eager to get going the next day and set up my new place.  Against the better judgement of everyone who helped me move, the very first thing I did was set up my CD towers.  Having those discs sitting in boxes really bothered me.  I wanted them out, so I could inspect them and ensure they all survived intact, and I wanted them accessible.  A long day of painting was ahead!

I cannot remember the first album I played in my new home.  Strange, because normally I’d commit that sort of thing to memory.  It was probably Kiss.  I like to use Kiss for firsts.  I do remember the first movie I watched.  It was The Phantom Menace.  I wanted my first movie to be a DVD, and I wanted it to be a Star Wars.  The older Star Wars films would not exist on that format until 2004.

I set up the CD towers, put the discs back in their alphabetical homes, and was relieved that only a couple cases broke.  I then painted around them.  Priorities.

The funny thing about these memories is how much space I thought I had back then.  I had so many empty closets.  I didn’t have enough stuff to put on my shelves.  To say things have changed would be an understatement.  Due to lack of storage, there are CDs everywhere in random order.  We need to hire a carpenter and get some proper CD shelving made for this place!

After a solid weekend of working, painting and assembling, I was settled into my new place.  I had my first guests over that Monday.  I loved my new place, but I did not have long to enjoy it.  The following week, I was on my way to Prince Edward Island, determined to find the home of Stompin’ Tom Connors, and eat lobster at least once a day.  Success on both counts.  But I couldn’t wait to get home again.  I had a new Deep Purple box set of official bootlegs waiting for me to finish listening.  12 CDs.  I only had time to hear the first three discs before departure.  And you can bet your last dollar that I picked up where I left off, with disc four.

Jen moved here in 2008.  It’s cramped but we make due.  Her illness set us back in the sense that we haven’t been able to move somewhere bigger.  But it’s home.  It’s our home.  It has 20 years of memories.  I’m proud to say that many of them are musical in nature.

VHS Archives #132: Fight’s Rob Halford & Jay Jay talk books (1993)

Rob Halford once said he devoured books.  What books were Rob and Fight bassist Jay Jay reading in 1993?  MuchMusic had this segment called “Between the Covers” with Erica Ehm, encouraging kids to read by talking to rock stars about books.  It’s only 1:15 long but interesting regardless as there are so few interviews with Jay Jay.

REVIEW: Cybernauts – Live (2001)

Part Twenty-Six of the Def Leppard Review Series

CYBERNAUTS – Live (2001 Arachnophobia Records)

While fans awaited the return of Def Leppard with another new album to follow 1999’s Euphoria, Joe Elliott and Phil Collen released some recordings from their Cybernauts side-project, a fun David Bowie cover band.

But not just any cover band.

Cybernauts were formed as a tribute to the late Mick Ronson, featuring Spiders from Mars members Trevor Bolder, Mick Woodmansey, and Dick Decent.  The liner notes are a little bit contradictory when it comes to specific recordings.  One page in the booklet says the disc was recorded at the Olympia Theatre in Dublin, August 7 1997.  On another page, Joe Elliott states that the album was “pulled together” from a five gig mini-tour.  Dublin was the final date on that tour.  18 tracks, and almost 80 minutes of music comprise this live disc.

Without any preamble, we jump right into the rock and roll of “Watch that Man” from Aladdin Sane.  Cybernauts are naturally a little more heavy handed but Leppard fans will love it.  Things get punky with “Hang Onto Yourself”, full speed ahead, with Phil Collen whipping up some guitar magic to salute Ronson, while the original guys bang it out with bedevilling youthful energy.  Massive hit “Changes” comes next, a little chunkier than the version you’re used to but still brilliant.  Joe’s lead vocal has the Leppard sound, the Spiders’ backing vocals sound like Bowie.  It’s a mash-up of two bands.

Acoustic guitars come out for “The Supermen”, but then Phil kicks in with the distortion.  So far, an album highlight though purists might baulk at the heavier rock approach.  It’s followed by an emphatic “Five Years”, with Joe doing an excellent job of the complex vocals.  Bouncing from album to album, they do “Cracked Actor” next, a nice boogie.  The familiar “Moonage Daydream” is welcome, and the keyboards recreate the lush backdrop authentically.  Another album highlight with exceptional lead work by Phil.

A Mick Ronson solo cut called “Angel No. 9” from his second album Play Don’t Worry is rolled out next, with a wickedly tasty guitar lick.  A brilliant selection, the backing vocals by the Spiders are quite sweet.  “Jean Genie” is so familiar is almost skippable, but they pretty much had to play it — can’t blame them.

It’s pretty much non-stop classics from there on it.  “Life on Mars” featuring Dick Decent on piano has a more delicate touch and they do a fine job of it.  “The Man Who Sold the World” works well with the keyboards providing the backbone and Phil Collen doing his best Ronson.  “Starman” is great fun; Joe is clearly enjoying himself.

“The Width of a Circle” is the long bomber, clocking in at almost 10 minutes.  Progressive, guitar heavy and epic.  After that exercise, “Ziggy Stardust” is rolled out, and always welcome.  That guitar riff, the familiar melodies, they never tire.  Of course, Leppard covered it a couple times but not as convincingly as this.

The Velvet Underground’s “White Light, White Heat”, which also appeared on Ronson’s second album, is a party.  Backing vocals on this are awesome.  Joe teases a “goodnight” at this point, but the tracklist on the back reveals three encores.

“Rock and Roll Suicide”, “Suffragette City” and Mott’s “All the Young Dudes” are a pretty good three-for-three.  Encores that start slowly and laid back like “Rock and Roll Suicide” does are often like a mini-set unto themselves.  “Suffragette City” blasts forth with punky energy and then “All the Young Dudes” is the anthem to end the party.

But that’s not it for the Cybernauts.  In 2001 they did a Japanese tour, recorded some stuff in the studio, and released it.  We’ll talk about that next time!

4/5 stars


  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


27. Cybernauts – The Further Adventures of the Cybernauts

Who do you think you are, Benjamin Franklin? (Sunday Chuckle)

Yesterday around noon, some tornado-force winds ripped through town with a healthy dose of rain.  All told, I read that 38 hydro poles went down along with numerous trees.  It took about seven hours to restore power to where I live.

Some areas still had electricity, so Jen and I went out looking for a place to get lunch.  Lots of intersections with no power to the lights.  We drove past a Tim Horton’s with no electricity.  The three employees were our in parking lot with brooms clearing debris, and had pylons blocking the drive-through.  Yet in our brief time driving past, three cars drove into the Horton’s looking for coffee.  As if Tim Horton’s have their own nuclear power generator in the basement, or like the customers could magically turn on the power for them.  The girls with the brooms just stared incredulously at the numbskulls who thought that this was the one business on the whole street with power!

That was fun! Snow & Tell Cassette Friday

Though John and I both have diminished cassette collections compared to the glory days, we had more than enough to show off for an hour.  John has acquired some lovely copies of some of his favourites from Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, Billy Idol, Needtobreath, Kiss, and many more.  I had some oldies from Quiet Riot, Judas Priest, Bonham, and more, but I think much more interesting were the homebrew tapes I have left.  Some are “bootlegs” that I made and some are copies of albums, but the artwork in some cases were pretty cool.  I spent a lot of time making cassette copies of things like the two Blackjack albums, 24 kt Purple by Deep Purple, and Guns N’ Roses Live at the Ritz.  We also looked at a whack of cassingles by a variety of bands, some newer releases, some cassette box sets, and more.

After the cassettes, we played a quiz game and had John guess the identity of surprise mystery guest “X”.  Well, John guessed after one clue.  But we thank “X” – aka Lana! – for joining and talking about the new Def Leppard Diamond Star Halos, and the news of a Spinal Tap farewell film.

Thanks for an awesome night John & Lana, and all who watched and participated in the comments!  See you next week – CanadianGrooves and Uncle Meat will be back for a Tenacious D – Nigel Tufnel Top Ten list show!

Cassettes! Snow & Tell on tonight’s LeBrain Train!

The LeBrain Train: 2000 Words or More with Mike & John

Episode 109 – Cassettes “Snow & Tell”

It is true when I say that 95% of my cassettes went into a Thunder Bay landfill.  Then I misguidedly dumped more when I did some downsizing in 2019.  Only recently have I realized that there are diehard collectors (cough cough Tim Durling) out there who want albums on every format, including cassette.  They don’t necessarily play them, they just show them off.  There are a bunch of tapes I wish I kept for that reason.  Helix – Wild in the Streets with glow in the dark cassette.  Sammy Hagar self-titled with a weird cover that wrapped around the outside of the tape case.  Dozens that I recorded myself, with my own artwork on them.  All gone, forever.

Tonight, join John Snow from 2Loud2OldMusic as we gather what remains of our tapes for a truly magnetic “Snow & Tell” show!  What we have left is what you will see tonight.  A lot of mix tapes, and I hope you enjoy.  I know it’ll be fun to dig through these old cassettes.  My oldest tapes go back to about 1984.  My newest are from 2022.  John has small selection to show off as well, so join us tonight for some tapes!

Friday May 20, 7:00 PM E.S.T.  on YouTubeFacebook and also Facebook!

#988: I Gotsta Get Paid

I get this alot.

“How much did Def Leppard pay you for your assistance?”

The initial reaction from a lot of people that I get is that I should be compensated monetarily for sending Def Leppard a bunch of live versions of their tracks.  Their intellectual property; songs that they wrote, performed and toured.  All I did was download them for free when they were offered, over 20 years ago.  I imagine a lot of people did.  The only thing I did differently was burn them to a CD so I could keep them forever.

It was suggested that I should have asked for $10,000.  I’ve even been told that Leppard should have let me have some copyright action so I can play the songs on my show without getting a strike.  My show didn’t exist when I sent them the tracks, and I can’t even imagine how that arrangement would work out.  (Short answer – it wouldn’t.)  But I wasn’t going to hold these tracks hostage for some kind of deal.

When I was initially contacted about the Def Leppard live rarities in my collection, I was eager to contribute.  Anything I could do for one of my favourite bands.  I just wanted to help Def Leppard make the best box set they could.  The concept of compensation never entered my mind.  But I was compensated, with a free copy of the CD Collection Vol. 2, and a big huge thank-you in the liner notes.  Additionally they credited my website so they could direct curious traffic straight to me.

Since that time, I’ve maintained contact with my label insider and have enjoyed our chats about what’s coming, what’s impossible and what we wish for.  I value that relationship and enjoy our “off the record” conversations about what’s going on behind the scenes.

I never felt entitled to compensation.  I didn’t write the songs.  I didn’t record them.  I just sent back the files that I downloaded from Def Leppard in the first place.  To see my name in that special thank-you credit was more than enough!  How many people do you know personally who were credited in a box set by a band as big as Def Leppard?  And that’s forever.  Long after I’m gone, my name will still be in there.   That is reward enough for me!

#987: The Summer Awakens

RECORD STORE TALES #987: The Summer Awakens

It’s official:  the earliest swim on record for any summer at the lake is May 13!  If you don’t believe in global warming, then I can tell you that past weekends in early May, we were snuggled up in jackets and long pants.  This year, early May was as warm as early July used to be.  What an incredible weekend.  Clear and sunny until late Saturday.  By then we were indoors waiting for the Toronto Maple Leafs to once again exit the playoffs in the first round.  But I’m jumping head of myself!

Traffic was light but the music was heavy.  Albums for the drive up:

As expected, both were awesome on the road.  There was no clear winner.  Interestingly, Jennifer liked “Roots In My Boots” by Scorpions, which I considered a bit of a throwaway.  Regardless, both albums did well on the highway and rocked us safely to the cottage in two hours.

First music on the porch:

  • Kathryn Ladano – Open

Not a new release, but since the good Doctor was next door, it felt right to serenade her with some of her best music!

From there we settled in with the first hot dogs of the year, and I began to prep for my show that night (Top 11 Star Wars movies) by watching The Phantom Menace.  10 years ago, the only way to do that would be to bring a DVD and watch it on the laptop.  If we wanted to watch a Star Wars movie 30 years ago, we needed to bring the tape and a VCR!  Everything is so easy now, but dependent on a good internet connection.  That connection enabled me to do the first cottage show of the year, and a success it was.  I experimented with some new lighting and it worked way better than last year after sundown.  A successful show — and one of the best we’ve ever done.   Certainly one of my favourites.

It’s always hard to sleep after a caffeinated show like that.  I got four or five hours, and was up and at ’em early Saturday.  It was so quiet.  Most cottagers have not opened yet — their loss!  They were not able to listen when I rocked Kiss on the front porch on Saturday.  Kiss albums this weekend included Dynasty, Kiss, Hotter Than Hell, Peter Criss, and Rock and Roll Over.

I made fish for breakfast (trout) and went to go pick up my new bass from neighbor Donna.  Her brother was Don Simmons of Helix, and this bass used to belong to him.  It is my honour to play it on the porch in his memory.  Although I use the word “play” very loosely.  I have never played bass before and can only “barely” play guitar as it is.  It took some time to get used to the size of the body.  Even the neck felt huge.  But it sounded great and really rumbled the porch.

I made chicken and steaks on the barbecue and burned up a bunch of old wood — without losing my glasses this time.  After being on my feet all day Saturday, I took it easy in the evening, missing the bright orange sunset.  I had been on my feet all day and it felt good to rest up in the evening.

We departed for home early Sunday.  Albums for the road home:

These albums, Priest especially, gave me some serious retro vibes, as if I had stepped into a time machine and was 16 again.  I had this happen numerous times last year, and I wrote about that feeling in multiple previous chapters.  It’s a very intense feeling, as if I was no longer living in the year 2022, but had stepped into 1987 again.  It felt as real as the steering wheel in my hands.  Looks like this summer will be no different.  Lots of flashbacks in store!

An excellent start to what I hope will be an amazing year.

VIDEO: May 13-15 Weekend / Max the Axe “Space Marine”

Amazing weekend at the lake once again, and you can see it all right now, to the tune of “Space Marine” by Max the Axe from Trillion Dollar Threats!  This short metallic blitz of a song is a condensed and concentrated rewrite of “Hard Drive” from their 1995 EP Bodies of Water.  It’s a fantastic tune from Max with another killer riff.

This year represents the earliest “first swim of the year” on May 13, a record.  A sign of a hot summer to come.

In this video you will see my new Fender acoustic bass.  This originally belonged to Don Simmons of Helix and I am fortunate enough to have bought it from his sister Donna.  This will provide many hours of summer entertaining at the cottage as I slowly become acquainted with this lovely instrument.  Tomorrow you’ll get the full story of the weekend in Record Store Tales #987:  The Summer Awakens.