RSTs Mk II: Getting More Tale

#872: “Tattoo”

GETTING MORE TALE #872: “Tattoo”

On January 10, 2012, Van Halen released their first new single with David Lee Roth on vocals since 1996:  “Tattoo”, from the forthcoming album A Different Kind of Truth.  An exciting day to be sure.

I had not yet started this site, but if I had, on that day nine years ago I would have written this story.

In 2012, radio station 107.5 Dave FM (now Dave Rocks) was still running the contest that put me on the map locally speaking:  The Four O’Clock Four-Play.  Afternoon host Craig Fee would play four songs in a row, and listeners had to guess what the common thread between the four songs was.  I won more often than anyone else and became a local celebrity named “LeBrain”, and that’s why you’re reading this today.  But on January 10, Craig stumped me.

The Four-Play that day was, of course, Van Halen’s “Tattoo”, played four times in a row!  Craig, who has since left the radio business, was a massive Van Halen fan.  He was the kind of guy who would see “Love Walks In” on that day’s play list, and remove it in favour of “Hear About It Later”.  He was unafraid and that combined with a diehard love of Roth-era Van Halen must have been all it took to play “Tattoo” four times in a row on the Four-Play.

Truly it was a glorious time to be listening to the radio.  You never knew what Craig was going to play on any given show.  He had a penchant for “Rainbow in the Dark” by Dio, and of course Roth-era Van Halen deeper cuts.  He played half of Fair Warning on his show once.  I don’t know what the real-world consequences were for these musical shenanigans, but Craig’s bravado was inspiring.  After the Four-Play contest was discontinued in April of that year, the show’s format became more of a listener call-in program, and the glory days came to an end.

But what was the “common thread” for the purposes of the contest that day?  “Tattoo” played four times?  Arbitrarily, it was the Elvis tattoo in the lyrics.  “I got Elvis, on my elbow…”  Of course it could have been anything, but Craig just needed an excuse to play the song over and over and over again and still give away that day’s prize.

This post is dedicated to Craig, who I hope is doing well out there in his post-radio life.  I feel very fortunate to have had his show to listen to at work, playing all this stuff that no other radio station would have dared.  We Van Halen fans were in our glory that day, getting our fill of the new tune and enjoying every moment.  Of course, people who hated the song were in agony for that show.  Oh well!  So sad, too bad.

Hard to believe David Lee Roth was back and an album was really coming — and now we had the proof in our ears!  Almost as hard to believe Craig got away with playing “Tattoo” four times in the space of a 30-minute contest.

A story for the rock n’ roll history books; a memory for the ages.

Best of 2020 Part 8: The Final Pathetic Excuse to Squeeze the Last out of this Series

GETTING MORE TALE #871:  The Final Pathetic Excuse to Squeeze the Last out of the “Best of 2020” Series
or, Best of 2020 Part 8

I end this Christmas holiday the best way I can:  spinning Masters of Metal Vol. 2, the very album that started me on this metal journey 36 years ago.  It’s an interesting contrast.  The old cliché, “It was a day much like this one…” doesn’t apply.  It was nothing like this Christmas.  The Christmas of 1984 and my resultant entire life happened because my best friend Bob Schipper came over on Boxing Day to play Snoopy and the Red Baron on the Atari 2600 while listening to Masters of Metal.  If not for that one special social interaction, would I ever have Felt the Noize?  Would I have Run to the Hills while warning of Another Thing Coming?  The kids of 2020 didn’t have the chance for that life changing experience this year.

So in solidarity with my friends and in the spirit of that holiday in 1984, my fellow creators and writers, I give you an R.

This has not been an easy season, but here we are — (here we “R!”) — we made it.  It’s 2021 and our creativity has fuelled us to survive 2020.  I would like to thank every person who has shared the screen with me in 2020 on Season One of the LeBrain Train web show:  Greg, Pat and Brian from Storm Force.  Steph Honde, Brent Jensen, Frank Loffredo, Jennifer, Deke, John, Aaron, Robert, Sarah, Kevin, Harrison, Eric, Geoff, Troy, Max, Mike Kovachik, Aaron Lebold, Mom, Dr. Kathryn, Tyler, Saige and Michael Morwood.  You have been a part of something positive in a year that needed you!

I don’t dare speak of goals or hopes or plans for 2021.  Survival is enough.  In order to continue surviving, I want to keep doing what I do.  In 2020, despite all the crap that we endured, I still managed to do 44 episodes of the LeBrain Train, plus a bonus 45th episode in memory of my Uncle Don Don via his CD collection.  I even finally reviewed every single Judas Priest album, completing a goal from 2012.

Some last minute interesting stats for 2020:  The Top Search Terms of 2020.  Some are oddly specific!

  1. kiss box set 2001 – 43 hits
  2. deep purple sonic zoom series – 37 hits
  3. clairvoyant cover with donington crowd – 27 hits
  4. deep purple made in japan super deluxe – 26 hits
  5. amazon – 20 hits
  6. cd black sabbath live evil digipack – 19 hits
  7. white lion mane attraction – 18 hits
  8. black sabbath born again review – 15 hits
  9. pearl jam 1992 box – 15 hits
  10. deep purple whoosh box set – 15 hits
  11. dokken up from – 14 hits

Well, that’s it for Masters of Metal Vol. 2, both sides done.  My vinyl today sounds better than the old cassette tape in 1984, but I like creating a setting when I write.  Vinyl back in its sleeve, that’s my cue to peace out!  Back to our regular, everyday schedule tomorrow.  If there is one last thing to share with you that I’ve learned, it’s that writing about music online is an interactive experience.  Since contact in our lives is precious, I’ve really enjoyed the collaborations that happened in 2020.  Adversity inspires creativity and you all rose to the occasion.  There was some good creative chemistry in 2020, a precious thing to find, and I hope for more in the future!


 

BEST OF 2020 SERIES

Part 1:  The Year in Review
Part 2:  Sunday Screening – Top Live Streams
Part 3:  Top TV & Movies
Part 4:  Guest Lists from Frankie & Michael
Part 5:  Nigel Tufnel Top Ten Albums of 2020
Part 6:  Iron Tom Delivers the Lists
Part 7:  The Stats of Doooom

Best of 2020 Part 7: The Stats of Doooom

Big thanks to 2020 for making this our most successful year at mikeladano.com yet.  The final tally is:

284,513 hits from 135,708 unique viewers.  This is a massive uptick from our previous best year, 2018, which received “only” 215,440 views.  Thank you pandemic, because that’s what this totally is.  I had no new ideas for 2020; I had given up on “growth”, only for 2020 to come to the rescue with a goddamn pandemic!

One way you can tell this uptick had nothing to do with me:  All the top hits are old, old posts with deep roots on Google searches.

  1. VAN HALEN – Zero – 2331 hits
  2. AMERICAN DAD – Persona Assistant – 2133 hits
  3. #551:  You’re Wrong on Unmasked – 1318 hits
  4. RAINBOW – Rising – 1076 hits
  5. KISS – Alive II (Re-review) – 891 hits
  6. KISS – Kissworld / Re-review directory – 831 hits
  7. TRAILER PARK BOYS – Season 11 – 761 hits
  8. KISS – Unmasked (Re-review) – 727 hits
  9. #425:  The Soup Nazi – 719 hits
  10. #774:  The Original Mustard Tiger – 718 hits

The death of Eddie Van Halen caused October to be our best month ever, and helped push Van Halen to #1 this year as well as contributing to the record hits overall.  The Van Halen Zero review is now the most popular thing I’ve ever written, having been read 12,294 times.

By comparison, the best-read “new” post this year was:

  1. AC/DC – “Shot in the Dark” – 574 views

I guess the message here is:  recycle, recycle, recycle!


Hits by country in 2020:  Top Five usual suspects – the same countries as last year, just in a barely different order!


I already posted the stats for Youtube views on live streams, and I’ve also already done my look ahead at 2021.

What do these stats show us?  The power of both Eddie Van Halen and a worldwide pandemic.  I’m pleased that people chose to read my stuff at those times, but I’d give just about anything to get Eddie and our normal world back.  Since I can’t, I can only tell you this:  I don’t plan on stopping in 2021!  And that’s about all I can say.  2020 taught us that life doesn’t give a shit about your plans.  I had plans in 2021 and they didn’t involve sitting in this little space live streaming.  This time there is no plan except give ‘er.  The universe tends to unfold as it does.

I wish you nothing but peace, happiness and harmony in 2021.  Let’s give ‘er together.

 

Best of 2020 Part 6: Iron Tom Delivers the Lists

Iron Tom returns with his 2020 list of awesome, a little bit of commentary, and plenty of Youtube videos for you to check out!


  • Elder Omens

 

  • King Buffalo Dead Star

 

  • Drive-By Truckers The New OK

 

  • The Atomic Bitchwax Scorpio

 

  • King Gorm King Gorm

 

  • Five Alarm Funk Big Smoke

Let the ‘Wheels on the Bus’ take you on a tight funky ride…

 

  • Jerry Joseph The Beautiful Madness

 

  • Drive-By Truckers The Unraveling

Great album for the shit-storm that was the last four years. However, I’m not sure I’ll be partying to some of it four years from now….

 

  • Brant Bjork Brant Bjork

The coolest dude on the planet being a one-cool-man-band….

 

  • Steve Earle Ghosts of West Virginia

Emphasizing the humanity over politics plays well….

 

  • Deep Purple Whoosh!

After the quality of the last few albums, I don’t know why I was surprised by how much I liked this one… Keep going boys….

 

  • Testament Titans of Creation

This band has been pretty consistent over the decade and have produced another great thrash album that is as catchy as it is heavy….

 

  • Neil Young Homegrown

1974-recorded and 2020-released and enjoyed…I read that Young thinks that the album is ‘the unheard bridge between Harvest and Comes A Time’ and he’s right….

 

  • Armored Saint Punch the Sky

A pleasant surprise…no gimmicks just solid consistent heavy metal.

 

  • Blue Öyster Cult The Symbol Remains

A little uneven but the highs more than outweigh the lows… The videos may be unintentionally hilarious but the rock fire remains….

 

  • Wishbone Ash Coat of Arms

Fans of well crafted rock with tasty twin guitar will enjoy….

 

  • Annihilator Ballistic, Sadistic

A heavy riffy old-school thrashfest that does not let up….

 

  • Jason Isbell, Reunions

It doesn’t quite match the strength of his last two, but that’s only because Isbell has set the bar so damn high for himself… This is an excellent album in its own right….

 

  • Mr. Bungle The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo

Ian’s and Lombardo’s presence help Mr. Bungle deliver little on the experimentation, but some great straight-up thrash….

 

  • Brimstone Coven The Woes Of A Mortal Earth

Riffy modern occult rock with excellent vocal harmonies….

 

  • Lowrider Refractions

Who knew there were deserts in Sweden? These Kyuss-wannabies make a good case that there are….

 

  • Wytch Hazel III: Pentecost

Wishbone Ash fans will have lots here to enjoy….

 

  • King Weed – Riffs Of The Dead
  • King Weed The Seven Sins Of Doomsday

Instrumental Stoner from France… Groovy cool shit… And there are two more 2020 releases I haven’t checked out yet….

 

  • Diamond Head Lightning to the Nations 2020

A fresh coat of paint on some metal masterpieces and some pretty cool covers….

 

  • Wobbler Dwellers of the Deep

Yes, Crimson and Gentle Giant fans will find much to like here….

 

  • Freeways True Bearings

Vintage 70’s guitar rock for 2020 and they are from Brampton….

 

  • Bonehawk Iron Mountain

 

  • Shuffle Demons Crazy Time

 

 

 

Best of 2020 Part 5: Nigel Tufnel Top Ten Albums and More of 2020

2020 may have sucked, but the music didn’t.  This year I bought and reviewed more new releases than ever before, which I narrowed down to the Nigel Tufnel Top Ten studio albums of 2020 listed below.

I would like to dedicate this list to my good pal Uncle Meat who originated the concept of a “Nigen Tufnel Top Ten” earlier this year.  It has become our thing.

BEST ALBUMS OF 2020

11. Now or Never – III

10. Mr. Bungle – The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo

9. Sven Gali – 3 (EP)

8. Kim Mitchel – The Big Fantasize

7. Corey Taylor – CMFT

6. Stryper – Even the Devil Believes

5. Harem Scarem – Change the World

4. Dennis DeYoung – 26 East Vol 1

3. AC/DC – Power Up

2. Deep Purple – Whoosh!

1. Storm Force – Age of Fear

 

Storm Force’s debut album goes straight to #1 on their very first appearance!  No surprise here.  I’ve been raving about this disc since February and I owe it to Superdekes for putting these guys on my radar in the first place.  This is a well-deserved #1.  Age of Fear is an uplifting album with depth.  It’s a thoughtful, heart-pounding blast of classic hard rock.

Deep Purple’s Whoosh! and AC/DC’s PWRUP prove two things:  old dogs that both learn and don’t learn new tricks can all be champions.  (I call this theory “Schrödinger’s Dog”.) Deep Purple’s growth continues while AC/DC managed to tap into the vein of success that always worked for them.  Both records deserve their spots in the Top 3.

It was a thrill for me to learn that Dennis DeYoung both read and enjoyed my review of his newest album 26 East Vol 1.  It’s a terrific, Styx-like conceptual work that will please the old fans.  As will the new albums by Harem Scarem and Stryper, who didn’t stray far from their successful classic hard rock formulas.  Kim Mitchell and Sven Gali on the other hand dared to be different.  Kim went laid back and acoustic, while Sven Gali went with their heaviest uninhibited inclinations.  As for Mr. Bungle, it has been 21 years since their last album California.  All four Bungle studio albums are completely different from one another — four different genres.  For The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny, they teamed up with Scott Ian and Dave Lombardo to re-record their first thrash metal demo tape.  And it could be their best album since the self-titled debut in 1991.  Not bad for a bunch of songs they wrote in highschool.

Corey “Mother Fuckin'” Taylor makes his debut on any list of mine with his solo album CMFT.  It’s a surprising collection of commercial hard rockin’ tunes.  Also appearing for the first time is Now Or Never (NoN) with their third album called III, featuring singer Steph Honde.  It’s an excellent, dramatic metal album with light and shade.


BONUS LISTS

Most disappointing:  Ozzy Osbourne – Ordinary Man

Song of the year:  LeBrain Train by T-Bone Erickson

Single of the Year:  Mammoth WVH – “Distance”

Ultimately whether or not you liked the new Ozzy, its success or failure falls at the feet of producer/guitarist Andrew Watt.  He is already working on the next Ozzy album, so….

Huge thanks to T-Bone Erickson for the “LeBrain Train” theme song, which amazingly and unexpectedly became the song of the year in 2020!  Weird how that happened.  No bias here I assure you.

Finally, Wolfgang Van Halen finally released his first solo music under the name Mammoth WVH.  The non-album single “Distance” is dedicated to his late father Eddie.  Though musically it’s a modern power ballad, the lyrics and especially the music video evoke serious emotion.  Well done Wolfgang.  Can’t wait to check out his album in 2021.


TOP FIVE LIVE OR COMPILATION ALBUMS IN 2020

5. Metallica – S&M2

4. Thin Lizzy – Rock Legends

3. Sloan – B Sides Win Vol. 1 1992-1997

2. Def Leppard – The Early Years 78-81

1. Iron Maiden – Nights of the Dead – Legacy of the Beast

There were a lot of cool rock releases in 2020, so we need more lists!  Of course the brilliant new live Maiden deserved some loving attention.  Meanwhile, Sloan, Def Leppard and Thin Lizzy have continued to put out quality collections of rarities & unreleased material, well worth the time and money you’ll spend on them.  The Sloan collection is a vinyl exclusive and the first in a series of LPs re-releasing some of their B-sides and non-album and bonus tracks.  Finally, Metallica delivered the goods even without Michael Kamen on S&M2, a very different live set than the first S&M.  That’s the way to do it!


BEST LOCKDOWN SINGLE

5. Queen + Adam Lambert – “You Are the Champions”

4. Scorpions – “Sign of Hope”

3. Marillion – “Made Again 2020”

2. Marillion – “Easter 2020”

1. Alice Cooper – “Don’t Give Up”


 

A LOOK AHEAD AT 2021

It’s naive to assume that major touring and concerts will return in 2021.  This appears highly optimistic at present, with Covid still ravaging the landscape and vaccinations only just beginning.  Instead of looking ahead at things like the resuming Kiss tour, or the Motley Crue reunion, we should continue to put our faith in new music.

Accept have a new album due January 15 intriguingly titled Too Mean to Die.  It is their first without bassist Peter Baltes.  Steven Wilson has a new record out at the end of that month.  In February we get new Foo Fighters, The Pretty Reckless, Willie Nelson and Alice Cooper.  Greta Van Fleet, Weezer, Rob Zombie, Ringo Starr, and Thunder will be back soon too.  Many other bands are writing and recording without an announced due date.  Ghost, Marillion, Scorpions, Megadeth and even Ratt are hard at work to make next year suck a little less.  Support the bands by buying the music.

 

 

 

 

 

Best of 2020 Part 3: TV & Movies

Best movie: 

I’m not a Christopher Nolan junkie, nor a spy thriller fan, so it’s quite a surprise that I loved Tenet as much as I did.  I think I understand 95% of it now, and I’ve only watched it three times, so that’s not bad.  Seriously, I think John David Washington is great, as was the whole cast.  One normal and one inverted thumb up for a movie I file in my science fiction collection.  Great stuff.


Best shows:

5. Jeopardy! – final season with Alex

4. Star Trek: Picard – Season 1

3. American Dad! – Season 17

2. Star Trek: Discovery – Season 3

1. Star Wars: The Mandalorian – Season 2

Jeopardy’s never made my lists here before but watching Alex Trebek keep on going and going only weeks before his death is awe-inspiring.

American Dad had a better than average season this year.  Some of the episodes this year will go down as the series’ best:  “Brave N00B World“, “300“, and “First, Do No Farm”.  The latter features a new Weird Al Yankovic called “Rabbitage” based on — you guessed it — “Sabotage” by the Beastie Boys.  The season also featured pop star The Weeknd in an episode called “A Starboy is Born”.

I’m jumping the gun a little bit on Discovery as the season hasn’t ended yet.  However, setting the season over 900 past the days of Kirk and Spock has opened the show up to new possibilities and…discoveries.  It has been a great season with some standout episodes that felt more like The Next Generation than anything since.  Contemplative episodes with minimal (sometimes zero) violence.  Trek is back, and Discovery is currently the superior show, even over Picard, which was pretty good itself.

And finally we have Mandalorian, which despite an unimpressive initial teaser trailer went on to be the show we always hoped it could be.  And it was Bill fucking Burr’s Mayfeld that really pushed it late in the season, adding some much needed character development.  All this made it so much more delicious when Giancarlo Esposito’s Moff Gideon did all the moustache-twirling villain stuff at the end.  Then we get Boba, more vicious and primal, and the stoic but intense Jedi.  Bonus points for doing what Qui-Gon Jinn failed to do in Episode I:  just crush the fucking droid with the Force already!  Thanks, Luke.


2020 was the Year Without a Marvel.  Boo.

Best of 2020 Part 2: Sunday Screening – Top Live Streams

Strictly going by YouTube views alone (not including the two Facebook channels), here are the Nigel Tufnel Top Ten live streams in 2020 by views.  Pick one to watch and enjoy!

11. December 18 – The Best Bands You Don’t Know – 83 views

10. June 11 – Live Albums – 85 views

9. October 24 – Steph Honde – 89 views

8. (TIE) December 4 – T-Bone – 100 views

7. (TIE) November 27 – One Hit Wonders – 100 views

6. (TIE) November 20 – Brent Jensen – 100 views

5. September 4 – Storm Force – 102 views

4. October 9 – A Tribute to Eddie Van Halen – 106 views

3. October 16 – New Release Friday – 110 views

2. December 11 – Iron Maiden Deep Cuts – 128 views

1. November 6 – Frank Loffredo – 167 views


You want my personal recommendation instead of just going by the numbers?  No problem.  I have some special favourites that I’d love for you to watch.  Any time we had a special guest interview was cool, so watch:  Steph Honde, Storm Force, Frank Loffredo and Brent Jensen.  Beyond that….

My Nigel Tufnel Top Ten personal favourite (non-interview) live streams in chronological order:

 

Thanks for watching in 2020 and making all this possible!

Best of 2020 Part 1: The Year in Review

Best of 2020 Part 1: The Year in Review

2020 was a learning experience!  I think I can speak for everyone there.  Before 2020 I never heard the phrase “flatten the curve”.  I’ve worn a face mask before, but only in a hospital.  Now I have a collection.  My theory is that Neil Peart was the glue holding the universe together.

“And when the music stops, there’s only the sound of the rain…”

Neil’s death was the first shitty thing that happened this year.  Losing the Professor.  It certainly set the tone for a year a loss.  A year that stole Eddie Van Halen, my uncle Don, and countless more.  We grieve the losses of not just people, but also daily ways of life.

I naively hoped this pandemic would bring us all closer together.  Instead it has divided us…some of us.  Not all.

Community.  My friend Aaron from the KeepsMeAlive is the champion of community, and this year we have seen the community come together like never before.  It warms my heart to see the genuine care that you have for everyone.  We all started just talking about music.  Now it’s something so much deeper, as we are huddled in isolation, but never isolated.

2020 also taught me that there are good people out there that you can count on.  They know who they are.  I’ve had to lean on a lot of people.  A few have had to lean on me.  Point being — we’re still standing!

Going out less meant more time to focus on listening and writing.  While the lists are still coming (stay tuned!), I can tell you that I both bought and reviewed more new releases in 2020, than any other year.  I’m happier with my year-end list than ever before, and I’ve expanded it from a top five to a top ten…a Nigel Tufnel Top Ten, in fact!

This has been a musically rich year.  There is usually one band, sometimes a handful, that defines my year.  My band of the Year would have to be Loudness, even though they didn’t release anything new.  So why “band of the year”?  The reasons are entirely personal, as they should be.  In early 2020, before Covid, I got really sick with a bad flu.  (Or was it Covid, who the fuck knows?)  As sometimes happens, music ran through my head when I was sick.  That music was “Let It Go” by Loudness which led to some deep dives into their discography.  In 2020 I bought and reviewed my first 10 Loudness albums, many from Japan, including a five disc box set.  No band defined my 2020 like Loudness did and I’m glad I got into them when I did.

The road forked with Loudness.  Not only did I explore their discography, but “Let It Go” then led to a left turn:  a deep analysis of the year I first heard that song, 1986.  A really key year in my life.  I wrote a big “1986 Saga” and felt like I had exorcised some ghosts.  Some of the most rewarding writing I’ve ever done in my life.

THE 1986 SAGA

I didn’t stop there, and I dove into another year:  1991.   It turns out people like reading personal history and how music ties into it.

Of course the virus and the lockdown also caused a different fork in the road, this one being the live streaming.  That has been its own reward.  So rewarding that they’ve earned their own lists this year, and I’ll present some for the best shows of the year in the coming days.

As bad as 2020 has been (undoubtedly the worst year in our collective lives), on a personal level it hasn’t been so bad.  People being indoors has driven traffic on the site way up, and this has been our most successful year yet in terms of hits.  But this has been earned: the writing and content on the site has improved with it.  I’ve learned more about personal health and mental health this year and was somewhat more prepared when lockdown began.  I hate to say it because it sounds like boasting, but as much as 2020 sucked, for me personally…I’ve had worse years.

Silver linings.

I feel very fortunate that in 2020, we didn’t lose anyone in my family to Covid.  Not to Covid.  But I did lose people.  Many of us did.  And there is a long way to go before this is all over.  So please, for me:  be safe.  Be smart.  We have to beat this thing and protect those we love.

We can do this.  In the memories of everyone we lost in 2020, please keep yourself and your loved ones safe.


 

REST IN PEACE

Donald Winter

Clifford Michael Woodhouse

Dorothea Daniels

Tina Schipper

Abigail Lobsinger

Neil Peart

Eddie Van Halen

Leslie West

Martin Birch

Steve Priest

Pete Way

K.T. Oslin

Jeremy Bulloch

David Prowse

Alex Trebek

John Prine

Charley Pride

Lee Kerslake

Gerry McGhee

Tommy Lister, Jr.

Ken Hensley

Jason Slater

Chuck Yeager

Fred Willard

Pat Patterson

Frankie Banali

Bob Kulick

Chadwick Boseman

Ben Bova

Johnny Nash

Spencer Davis

Sir Sean Connery

Kirk Douglas

Vera Lynn

Christopher Tolkien

Terry Jones

Reed Mullin

Freeman Dyson

James Lipton

McCoy Tyner

Max Von Sydow

Johnny Yune

Keith Olsen

Kenny Rogers

Joe Diffie

Bill Withers

Ellis Marsalis

Mort Drucker

Brian Dennehy

Little Richard

Betty Wright

Jerry Stiller

Astrid Kirchherr

Anthony James

Bonnie Pointer

Ian Holm

Joel Schumacher

Carl Reiner

Ennio Morricone

Grant Imahara

Regis Philbin

Peter Green

Wilford Brimley

Ben Cross

Justin Townes Earle

Helen Reddy

Mac Davis

James Randi

André Gagnon

Charlie Daniels

Chad Stuart


REMINDER!

Don’t forget tonight’s live stream “Christmas Memories”!  No bad, no ugly — just the good.

7:00 PM E.S.T.
Facebook:  MikeLeBrain  YouTube:  Mike LeBrain

 

 

 

 

 

#870: You Can Be My Lemon Wedge, and I’ll Be Your Tequila

GETTING MORE TALE #870:
You Can Be My Lemon Wedge, and I’ll Be Your Tequila
(Part One of a two-part review of Kim Mitchell’s Greatest Hits)

The leaves turned colours, and were starting to decorate the ground.  I had been working at the Record Store for over a year.  I was well over my first relationship that went south, and was now seemingly hard at work wrecking the second.  Everything started lovey-dovey in the summer.  The first two months were bliss.  It started to sour in September and October.  “People are always on their best behaviour at the start,” she used to say in regards to “new love”.  Now that things were going bad, was it my fault?  It had to be.  What was I doing wrong?  It was in this emotional environment that Kim Mitchell released his first solo Greatest Hits CD in 1995.

As things started to go south, I anticipated that I’d need some new Kim music to get me through.  This compilation had two new songs, one rare remix, two re-recordings, and some surprising bonus music.  Decent value for a hits set.  “Ooh, it’s a messy breakup,” sang Kim on the new track called “Rainbow”.

The relationship was hitting the rocks and taking on water, and so the arguments were increasing.  Making things more uncomfortable, she was hanging out with my ex from the first bad breakup.  A lot.  I didn’t have a lot of experience, but that was weird, right?  They talked a lot.  It was obvious to me that she wasn’t happy with the way things were going and I was in no way prepared to deal with this added twist.

In October we went out on our last movie date:  Virtuosity, a terrible Denzel Washington sci-fi thriller featuring Russell Crowe as the killer.   I didn’t pick it.  I haven’t seen it since.

I was the driver that night.  Kim Mitchell’s Greatest Hits was in the tape deck.  I purchased the CD (and still own that copy) but I recorded everything to tape so my music was always mobile.

I will tell you one thing I remember:  she hated the song “Lemon Wedge”.  I wasn’t keen on it either, but it was a very popular tune with old school Max Webster fans.  It’s different.  T-Rev at the Record Store absolutely loved it; it was one of his jams.  “Lemon Wedge” is funky, horn-laden and mental.  Not at all like “Patio Lanterns”.  I was more indifferent to it.  I was puzzled that it was included on Greatest Hits at all, instead of one of the songs from Itch that I thought were better.  But I don’t skip songs; I play albums all the way through.  We’re heading home from this shitty movie and on comes “Lemon Wedge”.

You can be my lemon wedge,
And I’ll be your tequila.
I just wanna have a dance,
And I just wanna feel ya.

“This song is terrible!  Why do you listen to this?”  I didn’t think it was worth explaining that I don’t skip tracks.  That wouldn’t help.

Then, as if on cue, I made a wrong turn in the car.  I have a terrible sense of direction and didn’t know my way around town like she did.  She was really mad at me now, so I pulled over into a parking lot on Fairway Road.  Then I sat there and just took it.  This in turn frustrated her even more.

“You never stand up for yourself!” she complained.  “Whatever shit people say, you just go with it!  You can’t just keep bending over all the time!  You need to grow a backbone and start sticking up for yourself!”

I wanted to, but I was afraid of getting dumped again, so I preferred not to argue.   Getting dumped was no fun and I was not eager to do it again.  But I got her point.

“Well, I like that Kim Mitchell song,” I lied in a half-assed rebuttal.  She was not very impressed with my comeback.

My head was spinning.  This was supposed to be a movie date.  How did it turn into this lecture about me growing a spine?  I can relate to the episode of Big Bang Theory where Penny dumps Leonard.  “Just tell me what to do, and I’ll do it,” he said before she walked out.  But that isn’t what she wanted.

“I’m pretty sure it’s already over,” said Leonard with the wisdom that I was lacking.*

It really was curtains; all over except for Kim’s singing.  There were a few more arguments, but it was toast after Halloween.  I can’t remember what our last argument was about, but she was hanging out with my ex again and wasn’t answering her phone.  The ex was in fact the final “Lemon Wedge” that pushed us apart for good.  And it’s good that it happened for reasons that are obvious to anyone who is not me in 1995.

Instead of trying to win her back like I did with my last doomed relationship, I moved on decidedly.  I deleted my electronic contacts so I wouldn’t be tempted to email her.  I selected a variety of rock albums that I tailored to my listening needs.  She was into a lot of current music – Dance Mix ’95, the new Smashing Pumpkins, Lisa Loeb.  I chose to dive deep into classic British hard rock, the stuff she wasn’t into.  Deep Purple, Whitesnake, Black Sabbath.  Ozzy had a new album out and so did Iron Maiden.  There was plenty of music that didn’t remind me of her.

For a variety of reasons, that relationship took some time to get over.  She married the next guy, which is exactly what also happened with the previous ex!  I was the guy people go out with before the meet the one they were going to marry.  So I did a lot of re-evaluation, both personal and musical.  I really wanted to like that “Lemon Wedge” song just because she hated it so much, but I couldn’t force it to happen.  You either like “Lemon Wedge” or you don’t.  I wish I could say it was my favourite song in the world because of this story.  Unfortunately not every story can be about your favourite song.  Some are just about the music that was playing at the time.

Full CD review tomorrow.

 

* Ironically, Kaley Cuoco otherwise known as “Penny” was in that awful Denzel movie as a child actor.

#868: Insomni-omni-omni-a

GETTING MORE TALE #868:  Insomni-omni-omni-a

It happened again.  Insomnia.  The battle rages on, win some lose some.  I’m so wired on Friday nights.  Fridays, being the last night of the work week, are the only night I allow myself to enjoy a couple cups of coffee.  That’s part of it, but what really gets me wired is this burst of creative energy that comes with the weekend.  That’s been amplified recently with the Friday night live streams.  Those who have participated know what it’s like.  You get this charge; this burst of adrenaline after a good show.  I’m up for four hours after a decent one, let alone a great one.

Eventually I go to bed but my head rattles all night: ideas, worries, creativity.  The next day is Saturday.  That’s my day to have fun, work on enjoyable projects, and spend time with my wife.  I’ve had problems sleeping in on Saturdays since I was a kid!  It’s a real thing.  I get too excited to get up and at ‘er.

It’s especially unenjoyable when I’m tossing and turning in bed with a song I dislike stuck in my head.  Radio often repeats songs I don’t like.  The Cornell version of “Patience”, or The Wild.  Or even J.J. Wilde.  (I know, I know, she’s local, I shouldn’t say bad things.  I love her voice, just not her song.)  The best thing for me to do in that case is get up and listen to something else.  I have to think carefully about what to listen to, because it’s likely going to be the next song that will be stuck in my head for the rest of the night.  Something old and familiar that feels like good times will work.  It has to be familiar though.  If not, my brain will skip like a record when it can’t remember how parts of the song go.

I have a few strategies in my war against insomnia.  One is to burn off some energy by going for a late night walk, although in recent days this is…not the best option.  Not anymore.  Not since Covid.  A shelter was opened down the street.  We’ve seen an uptick in crime and drug use.  A few weeks ago, a car was on fire in the middle of the night.  I’m not kidding.  This is across the street!

Instead of a walk, I’ll go out on the porch, watch some Youtube, listen to some songs, and eventually go back to bed.  I try not to rise before the sun does.  If the sun is coming out, then I give myself permission to get up.  This does not always work out, but it’s a guideline.  I have also tried turning my clock around so I can’t see the face.  That keeps me from counting the minutes until it’s a good time to get up.

Maybe I’m not the best one for giving advice, but it’s important to talk about this stuff.  I’ve said it multiple times — we are all in this together.  Interrupted sleeping patterns is part of living through a pandemic.  Maybe you can give me some advice.  I’ve tried a few different earphones for sleep but nothing has been comfortable enough to wear longer than an hour.  Do you have any sleep earphone recommendations?  Leave in the comments.  Must be wired — no Bluetooth.  Helping each other is the way we’ll beat this pandemic and the war on insomnia!