Record Store Tales

#993: IAM

RECORD STORE TALES #993: IAM

Rest in peace, Shannon Larratt.  Rest in peace, Rachel Larratt.  Both gone now, hopefully to a better place.

In the decades before the WordPress community, there was one place I could go to feel like I belonged.  In 1999, a Toronto native named Shannon Larratt created a community.  He called it “IAM” – “I am” – and it was a place for tattooed and/or pierced individuals to feel welcome.  You might remember Shannon and Rachel from their brief cameo in the Kevin Smith movie Clerks II.  Remember the “freaks”?  That was Shannon and Rachel.

I joined in the year 2000 and began making new friends, close and far.  Sarge was on there.  The Legendary Klopeks were on there.  The Lizardman was on there.  Dan Slessor from Kerrang Magazine, though Kerrang was still in his future.  It was growing, and growing fast.

IAM was different.  Shannon ensured it was not just a safe place, but also a cool place.  You could pay for a membership, or just submit stories and photos for credit.  I did both, but mostly paid, because I wanted to support the community, as did most people.  It’s hard to describe just what made it so special.  It was set as my home page on my browser.  I even had an app in the toolbar that notified me when I had new IAM messages.  I’d open my window and in front of me would be a grid of photos — the most recent IAM profiles that posted updates, in the form of a blog or photos.  It was always exciting to see a friend or girl that I liked post an update!  Or someone who had not been around a while.

There was one character named Raynutz.  He had no visible piercings or tattoos (the one and only qualifier for membership), and his was the very very last profile on the grid (which you could skip through page by page).  This meant it was one of the oldest since his first post was his only post.  All he had was a mullet and a pair of Ray-Bans.  Nobody knew the story behind Raynutz.  I always suspected it was a joke test account made by Shannon, but he would never tell.  Raynutz became pure legend by not interacting with people at all.  Hundreds of messages were sent to his inbox; nobody received a reply.  This eventually led to Shannon selling a “Raynutz Ate My Balls” T-shirt.

Sarge told me he knew the identity of Raynutz, but could never reveal it.

The Raynutz Ate My Balls shirt eventually inspired Sarge to create the popular Purp Ate My Balls shirt, with my face on it.  I went by the name “Purpendicular” after a favourite Deep Purple album.  At one point, I deleted my account after a bad day at work, but I received so many “what happened?” emails that I decided to come back.  I decided on a fresh start with the name “Dewey Finn”, named after Jack Black’s character in School of Rock.  As such, I decided to create a discussion forum called “School of Rock” where each day I would prepare “lessons” for the “class”.  Obscure rock trivia stuff, like listing all the Black Sabbath singers right down to Dave Walker and Rob Halford.  It became so popular that the School of Rock forum was one of the site’s most popular, third only to Shannon’s and my own personal journals!  At least for a couple weeks, I topped the charts!  I learned quickly that keeping up that pace was impossible and eventually I slid down the charts, but usually remained in the top 20.  It was fun and a precursor to becoming LeBrain.

What about that journal?  You guessed it — those journal entries formed the basis of many of the original (and ongoing) Record Store Tales.  Unfortunately I lost many of them when I deleted my Purpendicular profile and started Dewey Finn, and I wish I hadn’t.  I posted reviews, record reviews, and all sorts of personal stuff that I wish I still had.  Incriminating evidence against the people at the Record Store who were making life miserable for me.  Actual records of the days that “the bully” decided not to speak to me for three weeks at a time.  Customer stories galore.  Writings of what I was listening to and when.  I had so much good shit in there!  I posted minimum five times per day, with lists, pictures or stories.  One of my biggest regrets is hitting that delete button.  I remember Shannon wrote some funny code into it.  When you confirmed you wanted to delete your IAM page, the text came back, “Your IAM page is now deleted, throw your computer in the garbage.”

They had big BMEcons in Toronto.  People would come from all around the world.  They’d get tattooed, pierced, suspended, drunk, high, who knows!  I didn’t go, but I do know it was a good time with music and fellowship.

My interaction with Shannon was minimal, and none with Rachel, who continued on with the site after he passed.  Now I have heard that Rachel is gone too.  It seems surreal.  We lost Sarge earlier this year too.  Fortunately most of us are still around.  Mike, Liz, Shoe, and RooRaaah (those are all real names not aliases) are still my friends.  Shoe used to live in England, and now resides in Toronto, but I still have an old mix tape that she sent me from the UK back in 2002 or 2003.  Mix TAPE.

The only elephant remaining in the room might be the question “didja meet any girls there?”  I refer you to Record Store Tales #909:  2000 Dates and the girl I dubbed “Guelph #2”!  There were others — the girl that dumped me while I was in a hotel room in Barrie Ontario was an IAM girl.  The last of them was Thunder Bay Girl, who I swear to this day probably dumped all the hundreds of cassettes that I gave her into the landfill.  I was 30 and she was in her early 20s and I was learning that age did matter.  It was a lot of fun hanging out with these girls with hardware in their nips but I was emotionally in an unhappy place and I eventually realized that dating these young goth girls wasn’t the answer.

Here’s something interesting though.  In those IAM days, I thought that I hadn’t really figured out who I was yet.  But there I was the whole time:  the music-mad journaling guy, documenting the minutia of life.  And the Record Store Tales will continue on.

#992: Long Weekend of The Lizard, Water, and the Scales of Justice

RECORD STORE TALES #992: Long Weekend of Lizards, Water, and Max

We rolled in Thursday night and it was so hot that we cranked open all the windows.  And that was it with any kind of warmth!  The rest of the weekend was cold, windy and required long sleeves!  Regardless of the hot and cold reception we received, I watched Brent Jensen and Alex Huard discuss Appetite for Destruction on Thursday Night Record Club outdoors as planned.

The music on the road up was, as always, good!  We started with Saigon Kick’s The Lizard, in anticipation of Friday night’s big interview.  It was tremendous fun to listen to such a great album, 30 years young, in the car.  Upon conclusion we played a tape of Max the Axe’s first gig with the present lineup, recorded August 4 2017.  Five years of Meat, Dave, Mitch and Max creating music together.  While the years have made them better, the live cassette of the first gig is good enough that we hope it will form the basis of their first live album.  The setlist consisted of eight tracks from the then-unrecorded Status Electric album, a Black Flag cover later finalized for Oktoberfest Cheer, and the Max classic “I Don’t Advocate Drugs” with Meat singing lead for the first time.

All Friday and Saturday, music took over the cold front porch.  It is hard to type with frozen fingers.  I am working on a major Kiss project that I will not reveal yet, but in preparation I played a ton of old Kiss on the porch.  Lick It Up, Creatures of the Night, Hotter Than Hell, Paul’s solo album, and plenty more.  When the Kiss was concluded, I moved on to Judas Priest (Point of Entry).  As always, it was a magical retro soundtrack that acted as a mental time machine.  I would have been playing those same albums back in ’87-’88.  The big difference being – I was stuck in my room!  Now the porch is my room.

One thing for certain. I would have loved it if I had the technology to do stop motion animation in 1987. All I had were my Transformers toys, comic books and imagination. Now I have that plus cameras and computers. I spent several hours working on animation. Let’s face it: It’s just an excuse to play with toys as an adult!  There’s nothing wrong with that and it was damn fun, especially with Judas Priest blasting in the background just like they would have in the 80s.

Saturday night we went for some nice walks and I shared stories of the old days.  No phones, no cable, no digital music back then.  The only way to was to haul all my physical music, and associated players, up to the lake to enjoy.  And enjoy we did.  Nothing has changed there except convenience and sound quality.  Playing the music that I bought at the cottage originally sure brings the memories back.  White Lion’s Big Game and Jon Bon Jovi’s Blaze of Glory were two such albums that I spun again in the old original setting.  I bought ’em both in Kincardine on cassette.  Hanging out with Bob Schipper and picking our favourite new tunes…great memories!  I remember putting the sticker for the JBJ cassette on the bottom of the top bunkbed.  Jen and I talked a lot, and perhaps there’s a number of stories there to tell in the future.

Three days came and went as quickly as a cool summer breeze.  All I have left now are the photos and videos to keep the memories fresh.  You can watch them now too, all edited together to the sound of a new remix of “Scales of Justice” by Max the Axe!  I think it’s the best cottage video I’ve ever made.  What more could you want?

#991: You Shook Me All Long Weekend

Jen and I took a Friday off so we could make a long weekend at the lake. With three days to ourselves, good food and good music were a given!

Music for the road trip up:

  1. Ace Frehley – Bronx Boy
  2. AC/DC – Power Up
  3. Deep Purple – Deep Purple

Upon arrival, I spun the usual Kiss on the porch, until 9:00 PM at which point I tuned in to Thursday Night Record Club with Brent Jensen and Alex Huard, discussing AC/DC’s Back In Black.

We filled the weekend with food (pork chops, steaks, trout, and veggies) and more music (lots of Kiss and Iron Maiden).  We enjoyed a few nice walks in the cool summer air.  Yes, it was a chilly one, but we still managed a game of Monopoly on the back porch, in the open air.  Our money never blew away once!

What did blow me away?  Listening to Iron Maiden’s Live After Death on the back porch.  It was like 1986 all over again, but only if 1986 had digital quality sound on the back porch!  We also played some music for Grampa Winter, who would have cranked Kenny Rogers’ Greatest Hits and “The Gambler”.  Except he did it on vinyl with some big old speakers mounted on the front of his bunkhouse.

Friday night I did an excellent live show with Rob Daniels and Harrison Kopp, showing off some incredible collectables.  This enabled me to do some stop motion with my new phone/camera, which turned out really cool.  The new camera is also finally capable of capturing some of the majesty of Kincardine sunsets.  I was impressed with the results and intend to use it frequently all summer.  Another feature is slow motion, which I used to capture some fire and waves.

It was over all too quickly.

Music for the drive home:

  1. Peter Criss – Out of Control
  2. Peter Criss – Let Me Rock You
  3. Criss – Cat #1 (Half)

I can’t explain why I chose those, but every once in a while, you need to listen to some Peter Criss.  So I did.

Please enjoy the video of the weekend, all the sound of Max the Axe, below.

#990: Cleaning the Door

RECORD STORE TALES #990: Cleaning the Door

In 2005, near the end of my sad reign as Record Store Manager, I was working at the head office branch.  There was a door in the back of the store that lead to an office space with several desks, and a warehouse area for supplies.  It was like the Great Wall.  On one side sat the the elite who laughed as they made the decisions, what stock we were carrying, and other sundry details that came down from on high.  On the other side, I the rabble that worked behind the counter serving the unwashed public.

Or at least that’s how they made it feel to me.  The cold detachment.  It was always unnerving when you could hear them discussing your store behind the wall.

Either way it was clear by 2005 that I was the old guard on my way out.  Management was unprofessional, and some of us couldn’t help noticing that other stores got away with things that mine didn’t, perhaps due to personal relationships.  This is not only my observance but that of others in the know.  So I knew the deck was stacked against me until I eventually made my move to depart.

One thing they were always bitching about was “your store is messy/dirty/disorganized”.  There was the incident with the glass front display case that had fingerprints on it for example.  Other “preferred” stores were the same or worse, but didn’t catch the grief that I did.  So I decided to try an experiment and see if they’d notice.

The only door to the back office was filthy with fingerprints when I took over that store.  You know how the area around a doorknob gets blackened with the dirt and grime of the years since last painting?  I was shocked, because I inherited that store from someone who seemed to be more preferred than I was.  One week I decided to scrub that door, and surrounding wall, clean.

Anytime management were not around that week, such as the night shifts, I would get out the cleaning products and scrub.  It took a few days, but eventually I got all the black off the door and wall.   They were as fresh as the day they were painted.  The grossness was gone.

I waited for someone in management to notice, but notice never came.

A week or two later, I asked someone if they noticed I had cleaned all the grime off the door?

“Mmm,” came the only reaction.

“Fuck this job,” was my own silent response.

#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.

#986: Forbidden Fruit

RECORD STORE TALES #986:  Forbidden Fruit

Even without the nostalgia, it sure seems like the second summer at the Record Store was an endless string of perfect sunny days.  It certainly was that on this occasion when I walked with confidence into the Record Store for my shift.   The hottest artists on the charts at the time were TLC, Boyz II Men, and Bryan Adams with “Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman”.  The source of the mojo in my stroll came from the company I kept that day.  I was accompanied by the girl I liked and her kid.  My ladyfriend and I were not dating, but to use the parlance of the times, she was smokin’ hot.  She was seeing a guy I knew, but she confided in me that had she met me first, she wouldn’t be dating him at all.

File that under “things nobody had ever said to me before”.

We had been hanging out and shopping that afternoon as friends, but the truth was, I was waiting for the other shoe to drop.  I knew it was just a matter of time before she dumped my buddy.  Because I’m not a complete backstabber, I tried to talk her up to his positive attributes.  In fact at one point she asked me to stop defending him because I was making it really hard for her to dump him.  OK!  I’d done all I could.  Had she met me first, she wouldn’t even be dating him.  The words rang in my head!  Would this be the summer that I could answer the question “Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman” in the affirmative?

I was in the midst of my angriest of angry phases: 1994-1996.  But that summer was an island of happiness.  Still, I had gone absolutely mad for the doom, gloom and aggression of Black Sabbath, and was still in the middle stages of “collecting them all”.  I had ordered the rarest ones, Seventh Star and Born Again on CD from Japan (never came).  I had a CD copy of Headless Cross coming in and just got Technical Ecstacy on cassette.  And they had a brand new album coming too, reuniting the Tyr lineup.


The exact date might have been June 20, the day of release for Black Sabbath’s Forbidden.  I remember that our store received no CD copies, although I think we did get some on cassette.  What I do know is that we drove up to Waterloo to get it at HMV, and she was with me.  But I had a 5 o’clock shift back at the Record Store, and she gave me a ride.  Tom was working behind the counter that day.  After my ladyfriend departed, I distinctly remember Tom asking me a question that was also filed under “things nobody had ever said to me before”.

“How do you meet such hot chicks, man?”

I laughed and tried to say something cool.  The truth was I was tearing up inside because A) I’d never met one like her before, and B) she was going out with someone else!

I saw the ways guys looked at her.  I remember walking around uptown Waterloo with her, on our way to the Huether for lunch and a milkshake.  She was wearing a bikini top with an unbuttoned shirt loosely around it.  A creepy dude glanced and made a comment as we walked.  She was definitely the kind of girl that attracted lookers.

But I knew I had a chance.  I continued to be the friend.  I helped her out when she needed a babysitter and I drove her around when I had the car.  As the cool friend who worked in a Record Store, I hooked her up with music for her and the kid.

One weekend at the cottage, the phone rang.  A rare occurrence.  It was for me; a rarer occurrence.  It was my buddy Aaron, who was well aware of the situation with the girl and was in my corner.  Aaron always called me “Geddy”.  He still does!

“Geddy?  She dumped him.”

No way.  Finally!

“What’s your next move?” he asked me.

What to do now?  I was going to wait.

I got home and there was a message on the machine from my buddy.  “Mike, don’t call anybody else.  Call me first.”

On the phone, he told me of the Great Dumping.  It was hard for me to have sympathy knowing the other side of the story already.  If he didn’t mooch so much, if he didn’t hang out doing nothing all day, maybe this wouldn’t have happened.  But I couldn’t tell him that.  He had a plan to win her back.  I told him how sorry I was, but I sure didn’t tell him that I was going to make a move.

Eventually.

I waited a long time.  My birthday arrived; I had a murder mystery party and she came over to celebrate with me.  A guy hit on her at my house!  The birthday passed and I still had not made a move.  It was like some kind of emotional paralysis.  In fact I’d never asked a girl out before and had no idea what the hell to say.  I’m notorious for tripping over my words.  Finally, she confronted me.  On the phone one night she said “I’m not going to ask.  If you don’t, somebody else will.”

I asked her if it was lame to ask somebody out to dinner or a movie.  She said no, so I asked her out to dinner or a movie.

She seemed relieved that I finally asked.  I think she had everything for the first date pre-planned.  She told me instead of just dinner, how about dinner in Toronto after a day on Toronto Island?  I had no idea what that entailed but it all sounded great to me.  I got her flowers, first time I had ever done that too.  I had no idea what I was doing.  I bought them too soon and they wilted so I got more.  But it was a fun day and one of those magical, youthful memories that only get warmer with years.  The funny thing, even though I asked her out, she organised all the details and even drove.  Our relationship was a lot like that.  She showed me things she liked and hoped I would enjoy.  I remember listening to Loreena McKennitt with her.  Harp music; very different from metal, but not so different from Blackmore’s Night which was only a few years away.  But she didn’t care about my Iron Maiden.  And she really disliked my Kim Mitchell.  It wasn’t meant to last.  I got three months.

“Nothing you can do will hurt me, I am indestructible.”  That line from Black Sabbath’s “Kiss of Death” really resonated during the angry years.  It wasn’t true though.  The island of happiness was over and I was pretty was wrecked afterwards.  Took a while to recover.

We had a fun summer, but I needed to be with someone who didn’t want to change me or improve me.  Who demanded that I mature.  Who liked me as I am, warts and all.  Fortunately I have that now, even with the added mileage I’ve clocked since then!  That’s real love.

Sunday Screening: Last Day of April 2022 / Max the Axe – “I’m Glad Now”

Visual accompaniment to Record Store Tales #985: Do You Know How Quickly a Pair of Glasses Melts in a Fire?

 

Music:  “I’m Glad Now” by Max the Axe, from Max the Axe (2004)

#983: Gimme Another R!

RECORD STORE TALES #983: Gimme Another R!

A sequel to Record Store Tales Part 2:  Gimme An R!

There’s a certain amount of pride that one takes in being a Helix fan.  Helix the band are almost as old as I am!  They formed in 1974 and put out their first independent album Breaking Loose in 1979.  And what a debut it was!  With a handful of road-tested songs, the band plied the waters of guitar rock, with a foot in sci-fi prog and another in boogie-woogie.  Just check out their first minor hit “Billy Oxygen” if you don’t believe me.  They’ve been releasing music steadily ever since, with Capitol Records and others, with only a minor five year gap between It’s a Business Doing Pleasure (1993) and half-ALIVE (1998).

In 2022, Helix are back with a new single called “Not My Circus, Not My Clowns”.  They’re getting ready to start gigging again after two years of Covid-induced hibernation.  The current lineup consists of founder Brian Vollmer, classic members Daryl Gray and Greg “Fritz” Hinz, and guitarists Chris Julke and Mark Chichkan.  Julke has already been in the band eight years, and Chichkan had countless gigs with Helix in the mid-90s.  These veterans absolutely know how to give ’em an R.  Then we have Sean Kelly helping out in the studio to boot, adding some nitro to the mix.  In other words:  Helix are still potent.

It’s fair to say we all miss Paul Hackman.  I never met Paul though I’ve met most of the others.  He sure was a talented writer, and many of his songs like “Heavy Metal Love” are beloved classics today.  Fritz Hinz has been through hell and back, making a stunning recovery after a coma-inducing fall from a roof.  In recent years we also lost original guitarist Ron Watson, keyboardist Don Simmons, and road warrior Brian Knight.  Brian Knight was a kid from our neighborhood, who went to do road work with Helix for many years.  We lost him in 2021.  Yet Helix keep on going, and going, and going.  Even former guitarist Brent “the Doctor” Doerner has a new album coming out called The Ashtray Sonatas.

Speaking of the good Doctor, I first befriended the guitarist in 2006 at a Helix gig.  I knew a guy named Shane Schedler, who was in his new solo band, and this led to an interview with Brent at his home.  It was the first of several visits.  A few months later, with a few gigs under his belt, Brent screened some live footage of the band and had some friends over to celebrate.  It was that night that I wrote up the official bios for his band.  I remember telling Brent I wanted to write the band member bios for his website and then running around the room getting quotes from all the members.  It was a lot of fun.  Definitely a personal highlight.

So for the first time since the first time, here are the Brent Doerner’s Decibel bios that I wrote.

Thanks to everyone who’s ever been in Helix for rocking us.


BRENT DOERNER’S DECIBEL

Band Bios and Fascinating Factoids

 

BRENT DOERNER (Lead Vocals, Lead & Rhythm Guitars)

“What’s right is what’s left after you’ve done everything else wrong.”

Not just every guitar slinger out there can claim to be a part of a Canadian rock institution.  Brent Doerner can:  He spent over 15 years in Helix playing guitar, writing, singing, blowing minds and winning fans the world over.  He has the battle scars and the gold records to prove it, but that’s not the end of the story.  A new chapter has just begun with Decibel, a new rock band of good-time tunes and unique lyrics that continues his legacy with pride and vision for the future.

CHICK (Rhythm Guitars)

“If you don’t have rhythm, stay at home.”

Ralph “Chick” Schumilas has been around the block once or thrice.  He has 40 years experience as a musician.   In the beginning, he was a drummer which gives him a rhythmic edge that’s tough to beat.  Formerly, he was the co-owner of  Buzz Marshall studios, and has played and written with such luminaries as Cheryl Lescom, Rob Juneau, and Keith Gallagher among others.  He brings his immense songwriting experience to Decibel’s solid live repertoire.

HILLS WALTER (Bass, Lead & Backing Vocals)

“I’m not working for road rash.”

Hilliard Walter’s résumé is impressive in its diversity and scope.  He’s been paying his dues in the clubs across Ontario for the better part of 30 years.  Rock, however, is only one part of Hills’ musical makeup:  He’s done punk, new wave, funk, soul, and every combination and isotope of those styles that is currently known to modern science.  He’s played with Soul Circus, Sthil, Dezmanhall, Ed Bertoli, and lots more.  He saw Helix make their big break and said, “I can do that too.”  Now, Decibel is the main focus of this talented bass player with the soulful voice.  When he sings, you listen.

SHANE SCHEDLER (Lead guitars, Lead & Backing Vocals)

“They tried to bury the double lead, but we’re going to rectify that.”

Shane’s history as a recording artist goes back to the mid-90’s when he was a member of the guitar-driven trio Martyrs of Melody.  With the Martyrs, he released two independent CDs and began honing his songwriting craft.  He’s been grinding his axe for “seven point something Olympic years” (you do the math).  He now writes, sings and plays for Decibel, a band that makes him beam with pride.  Shane is also proud that he hasn’t cut his hair since grade nine.

BRIAN DOERNER (Drums, Vocals)

“Some drummers think ‘time’ is a magazine, but they don’t have a subscription!”

Brent’s twin brother Brian Doerner is legend on the skins.  His discography reads like a “who’s-who” of rock:  Helix, Saga, Brian Vollmer, Ray Lyell, Refugee, Myles Hunter, and more.  He first picked up the sticks after seeing the Beatles on TV in ’65, and it’s been a love affair with music ever since.  A respected session man and teacher, Brian has inspired the others to new levels in their playing.  Now that the twins are back together, the chemistry onstage is infectious.


 

#982: Sounds (On This Day, 15 Years Ago)

This entry comes from my journal 15 years ago today, April 19 2007.

RECORD STORE TALES #982:  Sounds

When I was a young single guy still working at the Record Store, I liked to customize my home computer experience.  The sound scheme in particular was something I enjoyed fiddling with.  I would download .wav files from TV shows, movies, and Homestarrunner cartoons.  Nobody wants just the default sounds, I figured.  Let’s have some fun with them, I reasoned.  For example  During my Homestarrunner phase, I always had the character announce incoming emails, as below.

Homestar: “Email”

The journal entry below reveals other favourite system sounds I employed.  Jen didn’t care for them, and I must have loved her or something, because the below implies that I changed them for her!


2007/04/19 21:18

Every time I upgrade my computer I switch sound schemes around. I’m sure Jen will appreciate it that my computer won’t be swearing constantly anymore. My old sound scheme featured such classics as:

  • New person logs into MSN Messenger: “Who the fuck is this asshole?” as spoken by Samuel L. Jackson.

Jackson:  “Who the fuck…”

  • New email (Outlook): “(gunshot) Oh I’m sorry, did I break your concentration?” again by Samuel.

Jackson:  “Oh I’m sorry…”

I also changed some old favourites, just for the sake of change. My computer no longer quotes Clerks at startup and shutdown anymore:

  • PC startup:  “I’m not even supposed to be here today!”

Dante:  “I’m not even”…

  • And PC shutdown:  “My love for you is ticking clock Berzerker! Would you like to suck my cock Berzerker!”

Olaf:  “My love for you…”

Of course, those old favourites will be cycled in again one day. But now I’m sure she’ll be happy that for now, MSN Messenger has just has Fred Willard saying, “Hey, wha happen?”

 


I strongly recommend you brighten up your day by customizing your own soundscapes in computerland!