107.5 dave fm

#949: My Music at Work (2006-2007)

RECORD STORE TALES #949: My Music at Work (2006-2007)


None of my jobs since quitting the Record Store have been musical in nature.  Dealing in steel pipe and accounts payable were boring by comparison, but everywhere I go, I bring music with me.

For a brief while I was working at Novocol Pharmaceuticals.  They make the stuff that freezes your teeth so the dentist can do his work.  It was pretty wild; I had a lab coat and a cubicle.  One day I heard music drifting in.  I got out of my chair and wandered around.  I realized that the music was coming from the phone.

Many offices have phones that can play a radio station piped in.  A little mono speaker, but better than nothing.  It was the first music I had in the workplace since quitting the store.  CHYM FM became my nemesis as time went on, but for the moment, I was glad to have music again.  James Blunt, Rod Stewart, and a lot of “Bad Day” by Daniel Powter.  Remember Daniel Powter?

I was at Novocol for a few weeks, and then I had an opportunity at United Rentals where I spent over a year of some of the best work days I ever had.  United was a very special place and I’m glad I got to experience it.  I made many friends there, and once again, they had the phone radios set to CHYM.

At United, we had a big back room with 8-10 computers for us to enter invoices.  When we started the room was full.  And I made myself known as the music guy when Rod Stewart came on the radio, as I spoke up to sing his praises.  It was the first good song all day.  Probably “Downtown Train”.  That station only played one or two songs per artist, unless that artist was Beyonce.

“Right on, Rod Stewart!” I announced to the room. “Great song!”

The immediate response from one of the younger girls in the room was “Who’s Rod Stewart?”

I feigned shock.  “Who’s Rod Stewart!?  The guy with the spikey hair!  You know ‘Reason to Believe’, ‘Have I Told You Lately’, ‘Rhythm of my Heart’, ‘Tonight’s the Night’…no?”

No.  They did not.

I put up with CHYM for a long time, but one day somebody changed the radio station to Dave FM, the local rock station.  All of a sudden, Bon Jovi and Quiet Riot at work were a mainstay.  Even Judas Priest.  “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin'”.  Hearing that at work, a band that I was not allowed to play back in the Record Store days, it was awesome.  Just awesome.  Here I was in an Accounts Payable office, listening to music I liked better than what I was allowed to play at the store.

The boss poked his nose in the door.  “Hey, is that Quiet Riot?  I used to love Quiet Riot!”  I was the only one in the room who knew what he was talking about.  He was a good boss; he helped me get my current job.

“Lick It Up” would thump from that little mono speaker.  It was still better than whatever I was allowed to listen to when I worked in an actual music store.  The only times I played Kiss there were the occasions no bosses were around, and I was confident I wouldn’t get caught.  If I was working at an out-of-town store like Oakville, I would play forbidden bands like Kiss and Iron Maiden.  I knew nobody would be popping in for a surprise visit.

Not everybody was happy with the music at United.  One lady, a couple years older than me, liked CHYM.

United closed their Kitchener office in 2007 and moved operations to the US.  Employees were being shed slowly, and in the latter days there were only three of us left in the back room.  There was an older lady, a younger one, and me.  Two of us loved the music that Dave FM played, one of us claimed it caused headaches.  No matter how low the volume was.

“How can you listen to this?  It’s just noise,” she would complain.

She wasn’t even that much older than me.  Four years tops.  But after having Rhianna and Kelly Clarkson forced upon us for a year, my sympathy was not high.  I offered to bring in some CDs from home that I thought everyone would like.  I chose The Cars.  Turns out I was the only Cars fan.  We stuck to the radio and Dave FM.

Because the office was closing, we were all looking for new jobs.  We were trying to be supportive of each other, but I noticed that the one older lady that didn’t like rock music was starting to become a little difficult to bear.  She’d always been like a motherly figure, helping others.  This seemed to change as we got closer and closer to the end.  She was getting this attitude of superiority and it wasn’t helping my self esteem.  I had 10 years of retail management, which she told me wasn’t enough for the kind of jobs I was looking for.  I’d have to set my sights lower and work my way up, according to her.  A little encouragement would have been better medicine, but talking to her made me feel like I was going to be stuck forever.  In a few weeks she’d be gone, thankfully, to a new job as a receptionist.  Good riddance.  The vacuum enabled me to step up into a leadership role at the end of United.  And then the call came through – I was needed.  Urgently.  And now I’m here!

To my chagrin, my new work had CHYM FM on the speaker phones too.  But as in the past, CHYM didn’t last and before too long, Dave was back.  History repeats!


#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.

#352.5: CODA – “It’s All Helix’ Fault!”


#352.5: CODA – “It’s All Helix’ Fault!”

RECAP:  In Getting More Tale #352, we learned about my history of dental problems coinciding with Helix concerts.

Today, that legacy has continued.

This morning, I won tickets to see Helix next time they hit town.  (For concert details, click here.)  Simon McGhee was giving away tickets this morning on 107.5 Dave FM.  All you had to do was call in, and give Simon the nicknames for Brent Doerner (“The Doctor”) and Greg Hinz (“Fritz”).  Before Simon could read off the phone number, I was already listening to it ringing.  The show is at the Wax in Kitchener on February 14.  That being Valentine’s Day, I am of course going with Uncle Meat.

This evening, I had a dentist appointment.  And wouldn’t you know it?  Cavities!  Two of them!  My history of dental issues and Helix concerts continues.

Damn you Helix!  See you on the 14th, I’ll still give you an “R”.

#338: Answer to 4-Play Quiz No. 2

VH 194_0006

We have a winner! Check out the big brain on Brian Zinger (AGAIN!) who nailed this one!

Here are the four tracks:

  1. Van Halen – “Oh Pretty Woman”
  2. Van Halen – “Little Guitars”
  3. Van Halen – “Secrets”
  4. Van Halen –  “Jump”

And here’s my original email to Craig explaining the answer:

“Only the real fans will get this one. I thought it was real cool yesterday when you did the “five play” with “Little Guitars (intro)”. So, here’s 4 VH songs…and when you play them, fans will realize that on the albums, all songs have INSTRUMENTAL INTROS!”  1. “Intruder” 2. “Little Guitars (intro)” 3. “Cathedral” and 4. “1984”

VH DD_0005

#338: Unreleased 4-Play Quiz No. 2

VH PW_0001

RECORD STORE TALES Mk II:  Getting More Tale

#338:  Unreleased 4-Play Quiz No. 2 

At the conclusion of Record Store Tales, I told the story of how I earned the nickname LeBrain.  It started with a contest on the Craig Fee Show (on 107.5 Dave FM) called the 4 O’Clock 4-Play which I dominated.  I also sent Craig numerous 4-Plays of my own creation.

The challenge is to figure out the common thread that ties all four songs together. The theme could be anything: lyrical, musical, background trivia, artist related…and I liked to come up with unique themes.

Play the tracks in order as a listener would, and make a guess in the comments section!  Be specific.

  1. Van Halen – “Oh Pretty Woman”
  2. Van Halen – “Little Guitars”
  3. Van Halen – “Secrets”
  4. Van Halen –  “Jump”

Good luck!

#325: Answer to 4-Play Quiz No. 1

Congrats to Brian Zinger for the win!

Play the tracks in order and solve the 4-Play: what is the common thread to these four song?

1. Iron Maiden – “Flight of Icarus”

2. Nirvana – “Lithium”

3. Freddie Mercury – “Mr. Bad Guy”

4. David Lee Roth – “Just Like Paradise”



1. IRON Maiden (Fe)


3. Freddie MERCURY (Hg)

4. David Lee Roth aka DIAMOND Dave = CARBON (C)

FACT:  C also stands for curveball.

#325: Unreleased 4-Play Quiz No. 1 (RSTs Mk II: Getting More Tale)


RECORD STORE TALES Mk II:  Getting More Tale

#325:  Unreleased 4-Play Quiz No. 1 

At the conclusion of Record Store Tales, I told the story of how I earned the nickname LeBrain.  It’s a fairly common question.  It all came down to a contest on the Craig Fee Show (on 107.5 Dave FM) called the 4 O’Clock 4-Play…which I dominated.  I was the undisputed champion.  I had more wins under my belt than anyone, including two wins on the very first song.  I also sent Craig numerous 4-Plays of my own creation, some of which still haven’t been used yet. I thought it would be fun to post one or two that I especially liked.  Here’s my favourite.

The challenge is to figure out the common thread that ties all four songs together. I had to choose songs that Dave FM would be willing to play. This one isn’t overly difficult (although I may have thrown a curveball in there), but I did enjoy constructing it.   So put yourselves in the shoes of a listener, and trying to figure out the theme one song at a time.  Also keep in mind that Craig would not tell you what song he is about to play.  A casual listener could easily mistake the Freddie Mercury track for Queen, or the David Lee Roth song for Van Halen.  This could potentially affect your guess.  But the theme could be anything: lyrical, musical, background trivia, artist…and I liked to come up with unique themes.

Play the tracks in order as a listener would, and make a guess in the comments section!

1. Iron Maiden – “Flight of Icarus”

2. Nirvana – “Lithium”

3. Freddie Mercury – “Mr. Bad Guy”

4. David Lee Roth – “Just Like Paradise”

I’ll post the answer right here later today, so check back. Good luck! Take a swing at the piñata and post a guess!

Part 320: End of the Line #6: The Birth of LeBrain

RECORD STORE TALES Part 320: End of the Line #6: The Birth of LeBrain

I discovered quickly that listening to rock radio in an office was much better than listening to CDs in the Record Store. They really hounded me about my in-store music selections.  With the radio, nobody yells at me about the music. I could just enjoy it as I worked, and the music has not been lame!  Just this week, I rocked out to Judas Priest’s “Painkiller” and Savatage’s “Hall of the Mountain King” at work on the radio.  Last week it was Slayer.  I doubt I ever played any of those songs in the Record Store.  Traffic reports are an added bonus.

Our office has its radio set to 107.5 Dave FM, and it is through them that I met new friends such as Marko Fox, Craig Fee, Simon McGhee, Patrick Dynamite, and more. It is there that I became “LeBrain”.  There was a daily contest…a near legendary contest…called the 4 O’Clock 4-Play.  Every day at 4:00, Craig would play four songs with a common theme.  Guess the theme, win the prize.  I started winning frequently, and had started submitting my own 4-Play quizzes for the show.  They numbered in the hundreds, I am certain.  Some have never been used.  Craig told me he had an email folder filled with my 4-Plays that hadn’t been used yet.


Craig Fee with some beard douchebag.

This led to features on the station such as “Stump LeBrain Week”, where I was in the studio every day for a week as listeners tried to stump me. (The only day I was not in the studio was the Wednesday, where I was live on air with Marko at Chicopee ski club.)  Other listeners sent in their own 4-Plays specifically to stump me, and Craig picked his five favourites.  That was followed by LeBrainuary – an entire month of my own musical 4-Plays.  They also did a final LeBrain Week before they finally shut the contest down.

I still hear about that contest.  Every once in a while I meet someone new who knows me only as “LeBrain” from the radio.  There was one at Sausagefest this year.  I always get asked, “When are they bringing that contest back?  It was awesome.”  I wish I knew!  I’ve bugged Craig about it too.

While it lasted, it was awesome. I became a D-grade local celebrity! But I wanted more. I pestered and bugged Craig Fee daily. I sent him my reviews, early chapters of the Record Store Tales, rock news, rants, anything and everything!

You know what happened next. It was the “lightbulb moment”.  Craig said the magic words: “You need to start your own blog.”  

And so I did, and that’s why you’re reading this today.

I knew immediately I wanted to finally publish the Record Store Tales.  I started writing them over 10 years ago.  I originally envisioned a book version of Record Store Tales.  I started writing it with that in mind, but most of it hasn’t been used, because I felt some chapters were a little too off-topic.   Instead I mined my extensive journals to create new content.  It took about 2 1/2 years to post all of the Record Store Tales, at an average of one every three days.

So here we are, at the end. I knew this day would come eventually. I thought at most I’d come up with 100 installments, tops.  Having said that, the number of stories that I chose not to tell exceeds this body of work greatly.  Believe it or not, I decided to be nice.  There are many things done and many things said that have been left out.  I’ve tried to be candid and maintain my own integrity, and just tell the story of a very cool time in my life.  Not everybody gets to work in a record store.

Positives and negatives aside, the writing experience for me has been mostly healthy, sometimes cathartic, and immensely fun. I hope you have had fun too.

Thank you for your support, inspiration, kind words and contributions: Mrs. LeBrain, Craig, Marko, Aaron, Uncle Meat, Iron Tom Sharpe (Meaford’s greatest athlete), T-Rev, Lemon Kurri, my parents, and everyone else who has ever contributed or told me not to stop.

A huge thanks to the owner at the old Record Store. You gave me a chance and taught me so much.  You have my number.

Sincerest apologies to those I have hurt or offended.

Finally, thanks to YOU – the people who have read this stuff, whether you were a one-timer or a regular. I thrive on feedback and you made this a very rewarding experience.

I hope you’ll stick around, as we launch the Post-Record Store Tales (official title to be announced soon) and continue on with the awesome reviews! Live long…and prosper.

The End.


Part 320: End of the Line #5: A New Life

Part 320: End of the Line #5: A New Life

I enjoy meeting new people and learning new skills.  I spent a while at Aecon and I really liked it there.  Something I learned in my new workplace:  people love a music geek. I was at Aecon for three or four months, and then another place, and another, before finally finding myself working in a full-time-permanent position again. That process only took about two years, which is not bad at all.  One thing all those jobs had in common was that there were music fans everywhere.  As soon as people found out I used to work in the Record Store, the questions began! Did you have this? Have you ever seen that? What was it like working there? Can you make me a Bon Jovi hits CD?  (The answer was yes: I made her a double.  It included Cross Road as Disc 1, and my own custom made Disc 2 with all the rest of my favourites.  See below for my track list.)

I will always have a soft spot in my heart for my job at United Rentals.  We really had a lot of fun there.   They were very good to the staff, and even though I was non-permanent there, I was treated as an equal.  I really appreciated and respect that.  On the music side, we had the radio tuned to Dave FM (having switched from the uber-lame-o Chym FM).  I worked in a computer room in the back.  My boss at that job came in during “Cum On Feel the Noize”.  Excitedly he gasped, “Are they playing Quiet Riot?  That’s awesome!”  We then bonded over cheesy hair metal. I made him a custom May 24 Quiet Riot party CD.  I also made a Christmas rock disc for everybody in the office, two years in a row. That was a hit with a lot of people.

It was a sad day when United Rentals closed their Canadian office.  That unfortunately split up a wonderful group of people.  It did however open the door to where I am now.  Today, I work a satisfying job in the steel industry. It’s special for the same reason that all my jobs have been special: the people.

I like to say that I used to sell Heavy Metal, and now I sell heavy metal!

To be concluded…

WTF Search Terms: The Never-ending Search Terms

Welcome to the semi-regular feature where I reveal stunningly weird search terms that led people to mikeladano.com  For the last installment, Questions & Comments edition, click here. Alright, let’s dive in!

WTF SEARCH TERMS XXI:  The Never-ending Search Terms

10. guess who am i (Give me a clue?  Are you Leonard Nimoy?)

9. port elgin sucks (Harsh, dude.  Harsh.)

8. timmy loved judas priest (That’s great!)

7. kunci gitar white lion till death do your fart (Fart to the death!)

6. 107.5 dave fm craig fee them song (It is by Glenn Murphy and can be downloaded from iTunes.)

5. showing true using penis pump (Told ya I’d be getting hits for this.)

4. are johnny lee johns and sid haig the same person (Johnny Lee Johns is a fictional character played by Sid Haig.)

3. bum bum bay (Bop bop boo.)

2. 48،257 فيدو سكس (How the fuck did this lead to me??)

1. fuaked (You said it, man.)