Complete 80s KISS live stream! From Unmasked to H.I.T.S., unboxings and surprises!

You gotta give Aaron from the KMA credit for several things.  One, for bringing the Community together.  Two, for his thoughtful and generous nature.  And three, apparently, for clairvoyance.

Long before I decided on this week’s KISS theme, Aaron sent me a birthday gift.  You won’t believe it.  Clairvoyance?  Obviously!

This was an action-packed show and to help you navigate, here are the highlights:

I included the pre-show portion of the stream in this video.  To hear two awesome Max the Axe tunes, “My Daddy Was a Murderin’ Man” and “Magnum P.I.“, go to 0:01:20 of the stream.

For the epic Aaron Unboxing, check out 0:12:20 of the stream.

To begin 80s KISStory, go to 0:18:20 and rock!

For a sneak preview of a comedy bit that I recorded for Sausagefest 2020 (spoiler free), skip to 0:25:00.

To check out a host of cool ReAction figures, go to 1:26:00They Live, Ghost’s Papa Emeritus, Aliens, and the Transformers.

Or just enjoy the whole dang thing.

Friday Solo Stream – 80s KISS!

The rest of the gang has the weekend off, giving me the opportunity to go solo, just like Peter Criss did in 1980!  Join me Friday July 24 at 7:00 PM E.S.T. for this week’s live show.

We will be discussing 80s !  From Unmasked to H.I.T.S. and everything in between.  Am I still wrong on Unmasked?  Has my opinion changed further since my 2017 re-review?  80s Kiss is such a rich subject, with multiple lineup changes and a steady stream of polarizing music.  I hope you will enjoy and participate in the topics I have lined up.

As an added BONUS there will also be a birthday unboxing!  Who is this parcel from?  You know him and love him too.  Suffice to say he always sends something interesting….

Join me at 7:00 PM E.S.T. for your thrills in the night.  Facebook: Michael Ladano

 

WTF Comments: Just a Little Patience for the Be All End All Music Guy

On July 20, for what would have been his birthday, an unreleased Chris Cornell track hit the airwaves. It was a version of Guns N’ Roses’ “Patience”. Reaction was mixed. Mrs. LeBrain likes it, while I do not.

When the local radio station played it and asked for feedback, listeners offered a range of opinions. “Voice is annoying,” said Ernie.  Sarah thought the track was “Beautiful”.  “Don’t care for it,” commented Stacy while Ron found his voice “haunting”.  Meanwhile Steve said it wasn’t as good as his cover of “Nothing Compares 2 U”.

My comment was simple. “I didn’t play the whole thing.  Just enough to know why it was unreleased.”  Apparently I must have triggered Chris (who I’ve never seen or spoken to before in my life), even more than the guy who called Cornell’s voice “annoying”.  Check out the exchange below.

 

I’m trying to get better at taking compliments.  Hey, I’m the be all end all now!  Take that, internet.

#846: The United Federation of Planets

GETTING MORE TALE #846: The United Federation of Planets

I used to be an optimist.  In my younger, more impressionable 20s, I felt like humankind had the universe by the balls.  The things we could achieve when united were remarkable but only the tip of what we could do collectively.  Where did I think we’d be by 2020?

Not here, that’s for damn sure!  I didn’t think we’d have the flying car, or free energy.  I thought we’d be on a better road than this.

At that younger age, I immersed myself seriously in science fiction.  Clarke in particular, but Roddenberry was also crucial to my mindset.  The optimistic future of Star Trek was the one I chose to believe in.  Gene Roddenberry was not wrong about what humanity could do when united.  I believed unity was our ultimate destiny, as we left behind our tribal pasts and prejudices.  I thought it was inevitable that eventually we would have something like the United Federation of Planets.  Prosperity through technology and collective wisdom.

It makes me sad and broken to see that we have not made many strides towards Roddenberry’s future, but have taken many steps backwards.  What would Gene think?  While I think he would be delighted to see that technology has leaped faster in some regards than he predicted, he would also be crushed by our continued divisions.

It’s in the news every day.  People are angry.  Some have forgotten the basic manners that their mothers taught them while others are behaving like, frankly, assholes.  Covid has us all stressed, and it has brought some of us together more closely while dividing others even more sharply.  I try to consume as little news as possible but it’s all but unavoidable to see this bullshit.  Even if one only reads music news, it is everywhere.  Ratt and Bobby Blotzer’s son feuding with Sebastian Bach and Dee Snider over the wearing of masks during this pandemic.  This cultural tension has pervaded every aspect of society.  At least you can buy some sweet Kiss-branded masks now.  Yet the amount of hate in the air over this issue is actually quite scary.

Incidentally as a side note, as our economy continues to be devastated by this disease, every brand in the world should start making masks.  Metallica, Maple Leafs, Kiss, Kellogg’s Froot Loops.  People are going to buy them and it’s time to strike while the iron is hot.  Only by adapting to this pandemic are we going to save businesses.  But back to where we were.

I used to believe good would always triumph over evil.  That is what all my favourite stories taught me.  Good is stronger.  Show humanity some adversity and we will unite and overcome.

Roddenberry did predict we’d need a Third World War before we get there.  I hope he was wrong about that too.

Star Trek was popular because people wanted to live in that world.  Star Trek fans exist in every part of the political spectrum.  Millions dreamed of being the helmsman on a starship, and to live in that world.  A world where the Earth knows no war, no poverty and no starvation.  Some of Arthur C. Clarke’s fiction was equally optimistic.  I figured guys as smart as Clarke, who conceived the communication satellite, were smart enough that they were probably right about the future.  Yet here we are, stuck in the mire like it’s still the 1950s.

Of course it’s not too late.  We can still turn around and say “I don’t care if you are this or that, and believe in A, B or C.”  We’re going to have to.  Why can’t everybody see this?  Humanity has no hope of survival if we can’t rise above our tribal differences.

 

#845: VHIII

This piece is a followup to the Friday July 17 live stream “Lead Singer’s Disease”.

GETTING MORE TALE #845: VHIII

We carried two magazines at the Record Store:  Spin, and Rolling Stone.  I cannot remember which printed the following comment in 1996, when Van Halen announced their new lead singer.  After a tumultuous few months with Sammy Hagar quitting and David Lee Roth briefly re-joining, the Van Halens decided on Extreme frontman Gary Cherone to carry the VH torch.

Spin or Stone, in a brief paragraph, commented:  “Roth, Hagar, Cherone…the downward spiral continues.”

Bullshit!

I called bullshit then and I call bullshit now.  That is crap journalism, and so typical of the anti-rock attitudes of the 1990s.

First of all, we hadn’t heard one note of Gary Cherone’s new music with Van Halen, so how could they make that judgement?  Second, it severely short-sells Sammy Hagar, who took Van Halen to their first #1 and scored some seriously massive followup hits with the band.  Critically acclaimed ones too, like “Right Now”.  So:  bullshit!  They were absolutely out of line to print that, and we had many reasons to be optimistic about Gary Cherone.

Some of the thoughts that crossed our minds when the Van Halen news hit:

  • Will Van Halen play “More Than Words” live, like they use to give Sammy a solo song or two?  Eddie would sound amazing on that, wouldn’t he?  He’d put his own spin on it, surely.
  • With Cherone, Van Halen would be able to play a wider variety of Roth tunes again.
  • Gary’s natural charisma, as witnessed at the 1992 Freddie Mercury tribute concert, was bound to bring new life to Van Halen.
  • His lyrics, usually more serious than Hagar’s, would allow Van Halen to adapt to the 1990s.
  • The only drawback I saw was that Gary didn’t play guitar, bringing Van Halen back to just one guitar, live.  The tiniest of issues.

I was not only optimistic, but I was excited.  It’s natural, when two bands you like merge in such a way.  One of my favourite singers working with one of my favourite bands?  Yeah, I was overly excited.  At that time, coming off three amazing Extreme albums in a row, I was a bigger Gary fan than Sammy.  However, when Van Halen III finally came out in 1998 after an agonising wait, I was not immediately impressed.  Nor were a lot of people.  But I gave it more than a fair shake, cranking it as much as I could get away with at the Record Store.  And it grew on me.  It was my favourite album to play in the car during the spring of ’98.

I bought the album in the limited edition tin.  I got it from Al King at Sam the Record Man.  I had a lot invested it in emotionally and monetarily.  T-Rev will remember me praising the record, but also telling him, “Something about it doesn’t sound like Van Halen.”  What I sensed then was the lack of Michael Anthony who only appeared on three tracks.  His lack of vocals was very obvious.

When Eddie first decided upon Gary Cherone as singer, one of the things he commented was that Gary had the “voice of an angel”.  I found that encouraging, but when they made Van Halen III, Gary bellowed almost every single song at the top of his lungs.  His blown-out voice carried none of the nuance it did on the same-titled Extreme album III.  It was a disappointing choice, making Cherone sounding overly similar to Sammy Hagar.

“Why bother changing singers if the new guy is trying to sound like the old guy?” I wondered to myself.

Van Halen did not play “More Than Words” or any other Extreme songs live.  One could argue that Extreme didn’t have the pedigree of Sammy Hagar and didn’t deserve to take up any time in a setlist when you could play another Roth song instead.  Many of them returned to the live setting after an absence:  “I’m the One”, “Unchained”, “Mean Street”, “Romeo Delight”, “Dance the Night Away”, “Feel Your Love Tonight”, and even “Somebody Get Me a Doctor”, albeit now sung by Michael Anthony.  The new Cherone album took up a generous chunk of the set, and the Hagar tracks were reduced to a few key hits:  “Why Can’t This Be Love”, “When It’s Love”, “Humans Being” and “Right Now”.

The new Van Halen underperformed to say the least.  I was shocked when we received 50 copies at the Record Store.  There was no way I was going to be able to sell 50 copies, and I tried.  Lord did I try!  I have been very critical of our regional manager in the past, because she was absolutely merciless in pointing out every one of my failures.  Now that she can’t hurt me anymore, I feel freer to talk about some of it.  She definitely can’t blame me for us getting stuck with a huge pule of Van Halen III.  I never would have ordered 50 copies.  20 was what I had in mind.  But she didn’t ask me.  Hand on the bible, this one was not on me.

YouTuber Todd in the Shadows tackled Van Halen III in one of his “Trainwreckords” episodes, and he goes into great detail about every single thing that went wrong with the album.  This excellent and funny analysis is well worth the 18 minutes of your time.

 

#844: Happy Birthday in the Age of Covid

GETTING MORE TALE #844: Happy Birthday in the Age of Covid

 

All I wanted for my birthday was one more weekend at the lake.  During the time of Covid, that’s never been a certainty.

My parents are not young anymore (although my mom would probably fool you).  I have a 96 year old grandmother that my mom cares for.  We have to be extra, extra, extra careful about everything.  The Ontario government announced Phase 3 of re-opening last week and so my mom and dad decided that we could try spending some time under one roof together for my birthday.  I got my wish.

Packing my electronics and my Marvel figures, Jen and I headed up to the cottage Thursday night.  Lately, especially this year, I’ve been trying to roadtrip exclusively to music that I would have played there when I was a kid.  Usually that’s Kiss but this weekend I decided to shake it up and play some Europe.  The Final Countdown and Out of this World were both acquired at the cottage the first time when they were new.  Playing them on the way there was really trippy.  This resulted in a future Europe-based story that I look forward to sharing.

The first thing we did was jump in the lake for a swim.  I clocked in nine swims this past weekend.  The footage wasn’t as stunning as last week; the lake was murkier.  Instead of worrying about making videos, I just decided to enjoy it and live in the moment.  (There are plusses to both approaches, but the wavy video from last week can’t be topped.)

We ate steak for almost every meal.  I cooked a slab of blue-rare perfection that became steak & eggs the following morning.  I sat outside and watched Marvel movies all weekend.  The Incredible Hulk, Ant-Man, and Captain America: Civil War.  I cranked the tunes outdoors as well:  Europe again, and classic Kiss.  Dynasty, Unmasked, and Gene’s solo album were all air-guitared live on the deck.

I was still worried about my parents and their comfort.  After seeking advice, I decided to set up sanitising stations at the door and on the deck.  They arrived on Saturday afternoon bearing hot, fresh French fries courtesy of a local stand called the Cheesy Monkey.  Later that afternoon they had a small party with cake.  My sister came over and next door neighbour Paul stopped by.  Everybody was six feet apart and we handled things like snacks and drinks very carefully.  My dad bought me a stick of meat and everybody else got me Marvel figures.  Do they know me or what?  I think our trial run for having everybody together at the cottage worked out pretty well.  This really helps relieve the stress.

Something else interesting happened this weekend.  First, flash your minds back to 2002.  Marillion were pioneering a new kind of live release, a subscription based series of archive recordings called the Front Row Club.  I was a subscriber from beginning to end (2002-2008) and never missed a release.  One of the perks that early subscribers received was an exclusive Front Row Club T-shirt.  I had completely forgotten about it, until my mom handed it back to me this weekend.  Somehow, it had become the property of my late Uncle Don.  I don’t remember giving it to him, and I don’t think he liked Marillion, but my mom found it in his shirts.  Now it’s back in my closet again.  We’ll never know how or why!

We left Sunday afternoon after an exciting rain storm, though not as big as we’ve seen before.  Then we went to go and visit Grandma who only turned 96 a week ago!  The good news is that she looks exactly the same as she did when she was 95.  We had a great visit though she really hopes we can get back to something more normal soon.  Can’t say that I blame her, but it was actually a pretty normal birthday for me.

The cottage is a special place in terms of family history and mental well-being.  It’s a place I’ve always enjoyed showing off and I hope you can get a taste of paradise from the pictures.

Thank you everyone for the birthday wishes!  I haven’t finished responding to every one and I may have missed a few.  It sure could have been a heck of a lot worse.

 

Sunday Chuckle: F*** Off Light

My sister has a little recording/rehearsal building she calls Kathronia.  Yesterday she was in there practicing for a recording session.  You could tell she was working because she has a red recording light in there.

“Where’s your sister?” asked my dad.

“She’s in there rehearsing,” I answered. “You can see she has the red light on.”

“Oh yeah,” he said.  “That’s her Fuck Off light.”

Henceforce those things shall be known as Fuck Off lights!

Lead Singer’s Disease: Live Stream with Deke and LeBrain

A great time was had by all, as LeBrain and Superdekes tackled the fallout of the 1990s in Lead Singer’s Disease: a live stream about all the singers and bands that parted ways in that decade.  Motley Crue, Van Halen, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Anthrax and Skid Row are the focus.

Some minor technical issues could not hamper a great discussion.  Enjoy the show!

Live Streamin’ With Deke and LeBrain: Lead Singer’s Disease

Tune in tonight for another Live Streamin’ Weekend!

Superdekes is back this week with a show of his design.  Forgoing the list format, it’s open discussion with your feedback.  This week’s subject is called “Lead Singer’s Disease” and we will be discussing the tumultuous 1990s and the lead singers that found themselves replaced in major rock bands.  From Motley to Maiden, some of these singers were fired, replaced, then those replacements were fired, and on and on!  The 1990s were utter chaos.  One minute your favourite band were releasing a new album, next minute the singer is gone.  Deke and I will be revisiting this era with bands you knew about and a few you forgot.

There will also be, with any luck, improved audio due to a new microphone that tested out well in a test stream.  There might even be visual effects!

Join us tonight.  Facebook:  Michael Ladano

 

Last week’s show:

REVIEW: Deep Purple – “Throw My Bones”/”Man Alive” (2020 10″ single)

DEEP PURPLE – “Throw My Bones”/”Man Alive” (2020 10″ Edel single)

As a general rule, I won’t listen to new Deep Purple until I have a physical product in my hands.  These days that usually happens in the form of a new single.  Deep Purple will be back with a new album Whoosh! produced by Bob Ezrin in August 2020.  Until then, they’ve issued a three track single with one exclusive new song.  How nice of them!

A huge thanks to John of 2 Loud 2 Old Music for gifting this vinyl.  Certain new releases are difficult to find today (for obvious reasons), at least without spending money on huge markups by secondary sellers.  Music friends are the best kind of friends — make one today!

A word about the cover art:  love it!  Though not identical, the new Deep Purple logo is strongly reminiscent of the original Shades Of Deep Purple logo from 1968.  The astronaut is similarly retro.  He even recalls the similarly-garbed “archaeologists” in the music video for “Knocking At Your Back Door”.  And now, for the first time, the needle drops on the vinyl and we find out what the new Deep Purple sounds like.

“Throw My Bones” has one of those quirky Steve Morse guitar riffs but then it’s backed up by those lush Don Airey keyboards.  This is one of the catchier songs that Deep Purple have written in the last few years.  Morse’s solo is as breathtaking as usual, but the sparkling keyboards are what makes this song shine.

The second track is the non-album “Power of the Moon” which prompts the question:  if this didn’t make the album, just how good is the album?  Because this track is excellent.  It’s different.  Its quiet passages are mesmerising.  Once again it’s Morse and Airey who really take it to another level.

Finally we have “Man Alive”, a song adorned with an orchestra.  Under the deft guidance of Bob Ezrin, something powerful and dramatic hits the ears even though Deep Purple don’t really do “heavy” anymore.  “Man Alive” is the song that detractors call the “environmental agenda song”.  Hey, if Deep Purple can say something relevant to today and get you to think, that’s great.  We don’t always have to hear about strange kinds of women from Tokyo.  The lyrics are assembled intelligently and thoughtfully.

A lot of people bitch and moan about Ian Gillan.  For the most part, it’s not the singer delivering the hooks in these new songs.  Just as Steve Morse has had to adapt to his damaged right wrist to keep playing, Deep Purple have adapted to Ian Gillan’s age.  The songs don’t blast like they used to; they breathe.  Ian’s voice is multitracked to give it some thickness.  Incidentally the vocals were recorded in Toronto, a city that Gillan has history with.

Longtime Purple fans who enjoyed Now What?! and InFinite will enjoy these new songs just as much.  The cool thing about Purple is that they have distinct eras.  We might be in the tail-end of a Bob Ezrin era (and the whole saga in general) and with time, the Purple/Ezrin collaborations will be looked back on fondly.  The Ezrin albums don’t sound like the Bradford discs, the Glover productions, or any of the others.  They’re more subtle and show a band growing even in their later years.  Whoosh! could be a nice capstone to a career.  We shall see.

4.5/5 stars