Mail call! I received a CD this week from (who else) AARON! Now playing: The Mighty Mighty Bosstones’ Let’s Face It! Check out Aaron’s cool stationery and hilarious note.
Mail call! I received a CD this week from (who else) AARON! Now playing: The Mighty Mighty Bosstones’ Let’s Face It! Check out Aaron’s cool stationery and hilarious note.
GETTING MORE TALE #727: An Aaron Xmas
How many Aarons do you know? I know several, but only one that bombards me on a regular basis with mystery parcels!
We’ve written about Aaron many, many times in these pages. There is a whole series of videos called Mike and Aaron go to Toronto, where we spend our money on all things musical. Then there are the numerous albums and even holy grail items he’s found for me over the years. Aaron is a non-stop fountain of music!
The truth is, he sends me far more stuff than I send in return. Hopefully he’s not keeping track too hard. But now it is Christmas! I sent him a couple CDs last week (Max the Axe and Styx), and he has returned the favour with interest (as he usually does). Let’s see what’s inside, shall we?
Christmas came early indeed! Aaron and I have discussed Gowan before. Many today know Gowan as the lead singer of Styx, but before that he had a couple decades worth of a solo career under his belt. I told Aaron, “I want to start a Gowan collection, all of it.” Amazingly I didn’t find any last time we were in Toronto, but Aaron doesn’t quit.
Check this out: the two Gowan albums I wanted most! Strange Animal, and Lost Brotherhood. Woah! What names in the credits! Tony Levin on stick and bass, on both albums. Alex Lifeson (Rush) and Kenny Greer (Red Rider) on guitar for Lost Brotherhood. Talk about the best of the best of the best. And between the two albums, I get all the Gowan songs that I like (so far)! Those would be “Strange Animal”, “A Criminal Mind”, and “All the Lovers in the World”.
But that’s not all!
Clearly, Aaron remembered that I once had a crush on “Sporty Spice”, Melanie C. I even owned her first solo album Northern Star. I still think Mel C is the best Spice Girl; she even worked with Bryan Adams. She’s arguably the most talented and the one with the most integrity. My crush is long gone, but she’s still beautiful today; even more than 1996. Yeah, I still like Sporty! Knowing this, Aaron bought me the “Unofficial” Sporty Spice In My Pocket book. From this, I learned that Mel C once worked in a fish and chip shop. What a couple we could have been. I love fish!
You know, I wasn’t actually looking forward to Christmas, until now. It’s been a horribly downer year for us. Thank you again Aaron for the thoughtful gifts. I’m feeling the spirit now! Maybe I’ll go put some Christmas lights on. I’m a “Strange Animal”, that’s what I know, but Aaron seems to know what makes me tick.
Thanks buddy! Did you know that Sporty Spice was kicked out of a gym in Japan because they saw her tattoos and thought she was Yakuza? Ominus Spiritus!
MUSIC CREDITS: “Shit” parts 1 – 5 written and performed by AARON
ATTENTION ALL PLANETS OF THE SOLAR FEDERATION! ATTENTION ALL PLANETS OF THE SOLAR FEDERATION! ATTENTION ALL PLANETS OF THE SOLAR FEDERATION! We have assumed control. We have assumed control. We have assumed control….
Welcome to an April Fools Day switcheroo!! Mike and I have told each other what to listen to for today’s post. Fun times!! Initially, we were even gonna try to write in each others’ styles, and really try to fool you guys. But, as you’ll see from the album choices, it might have been a nigh on impossible task!
For Mike, I chose Robert Pollard & Doug Gillard’s ‘Speak Kindly Of Your Volunteer Fire Department,’ largely because Mike awesomely found it and bought it for me in Ottawa, but I already had it, so I said he should rock it himself! But it’s awesome that he’ll get to hear a bit of the MAJESTY of Bob Pollard! I can’t wait to read what he says about it…
And for me, Mike has chosen Deep Purple’s In Rock (for which I thank him profusely). And here is where I really worried about trying to write like Mike for a post. That man KNOWS his Deep Purple, and there’s no way I could bring perspective to an album he’s heard for years and probably has coded directly into his DNA by now. It just wouldn’t work. You’d all know it wasn’t Mike!
Anyway, we hope you enjoy this April Fools site switcheroo! Let’s get in there and GIVE ‘ER!!
Guided By Voices have always eluded me. Aaron says they’re brilliant but not for everybody. This Robert Pollard “duo” album with Doug Gillard looks really interesting. Let’s see if I’m everybody or not!
“Frequent Weaver Who Burns” is instantly likeable. The lo-fi but genuine recording sounds right out of 1969, and the song recalls some of the best hippie rock bands from that era. I hear a hint of 54-40’s “I Go Blind” in the guitar, but this is far more ambitious, as it descends into dance music madness. “Soul Train College Policeman” (how the hell do they come up with these titles?) is different and indescribable, but “Pop Zeus” is brilliant. Simple guitar melodies weave together with layers of rhythm guitars creating a power-pop rock track without embellishment.
Most of these songs are short bursts of ideas; in and out and no nonsense. The longest track at 4:20 is “Slick as Snails”, a slow and enticing exercise in mixing sweet notes with sour notes and making a delectable concoction regardless. Regal guitar chords keep the ship from running aground. Power pop returns on “Do Something Real”, a simple guitar riff melded with an unorthodox melody. In fact the album in general is built from these ingredients. The guitars retain catchy rhythms, often classic sounding in nature. Meanwhile the vocals are not constrained to sing anything simple or straightforward. The lo-fi tape hiss and nature of the recordings do not detract; they enhance. “Life is Beautiful” sounds as if recorded in the can. Mix in a smidgen of psychedelia. There is also a contrasting bombast on the album, a power just bursting at the seams. Drama is often the companion of the arrangements, “Port Authority” being a fine example of this. The short tunes meld influences varied far and wide. Aaron hears the Who, and it’s there, and I think I even picked up on some Ace Frehley in the ring of the guitars.
Speak Kindly of Your Volunteer Fire Department comes highly recommended for the musically fearless.
GETTING MORE TALE (Retro) #469: Stump LeBrain Week, by Aaron!
“Getting More Retro” is a sub-series of my music stories Getting More Tale. I posted this back in March in 2012, when nobody was reading except Aaron and my old boss from the Record Store. Before that, Aaron posted it on the KeepsMeAlive (Feb. 19). And now, for the third time, here’s Stump LeBrain Week!
I had become such a dominating force on the 4 O’Clock 4-Play, my favourite music contest on 107.5 Dave Rocks, that listeners were now writing in 4-Play quizzes specifically to stump me! For a while there it seemed everybody wanted to be the one to put an end to LeBrain’s reign!
Craig had me in the studio for the contest, live on the Craig Fee show, during what he dubbed “Stump LeBrain Week”. Each day that week, I came in at 4 o’clock in order to play the contest on the air. Craig selected five 4-Plays, one for each day. If I answered correctly, I won the prize (I Mother Earth tickets). If I was stumped, the person who wrote the 4-Play question would win the prize.
At the end of the week, I sent Aaron audio CDs of all my appearances minus commercials. He was kind enough to document it in the written word for history. Since very few saw this when I re-posted it at the launch of this site, I’m re-posting it once again for you! Re-use and recycle, baby!
Big thanks to Aaron for listening to all five shows and writing it down, and of course thanks to Craig for giving me the opportunity! Here we go. Ready?
Four-Play #1 (submitted by Chris Cottingham)
01 Motley Crue – Shout At The Devil
01 Mike’s Guess: ‘tracks that were not singles’ (no)
02 Rolling Stones – Brown Sugar
02 Mike’s Guess: ‘bands that have toured with guns ‘n roses’ (no)
03 Bruce Springsteen – Cover Me
03 Mike’s Guess: ‘special lp packaging’ (no)
04 Loverboy – Working For The Weekend *
04 Mike’s Guess: ‘album covers featuring pants’ (yes!)
* at this point, before Mike’s last guess, it was exposed that the Motley Crue song was supposed to have been Live Wire, which changed everything, and he got it from there.
Comment: He still got it, even with a wrong song played. Improbable? Never! The man is a machine.
Score: Mike is 1/1.
Four-Play #2 (submitted by The Crook in Elmira)
01 Motorhead – Ace Of Spades (live)
01 Mike’s Guess: ‘artists who’ve done duets with Ozzy Osbourne’ (yes!)
02 Alice Cooper – School’s Out
03 Dio – Holy Diver
04 Lita Ford – Kiss Me Deadly
Comment: He nailed this one before the first song was even over. Jeez.
Score: Mike is 2/2.
Four-Play #3 (submitted by Kathryn Ladano, Mike’s sister)
01 Rush – Subdivisions
01 Mike’s Guess: ‘album covers with dogs on them’ (no)
02 Neil Young – Rockin’ In The Free World
02 Mike’s Guess: ‘all Canadian artists’ (no)
03 Guess Who – Runnin’ Back To Saskatoon
03 Mike’s Guess: ‘songs about Canadian cities’ (no)
04 Loverboy – Turn Me Loose
04 Mike’s Guess: ‘all artists who sang on Tears Are Not Enough’ (yes!)
Broadcasted live from Chicopee ski resort. This was not the Four Play that Kathryn had wanted played, so her confidence at being able to stump her brother was pretty low, at the outset. It shocked me that Mike had never heard the Guess Who song before. I thought everybody knew that song.
Score: Mike is 3/3.
Four-Play #4 (submitted by Greg Laughtenschlager)
01 Megadeth – Hangar 18
01 Mike’s Guess: ‘science fiction, aliens, conspiracy theme’ (no)
02 Quiet Riot – Mama We’re All Crazy Now
02 Mike’s Guess: ‘books (1984, Roswell)’ (no)
02 Mike’s Extra Guess: ‘stripey pants’ (no)
03 Iron Maiden – The Trooper
03 Mike’s Guess: ‘bands that opened for Sabbath’ (no)
04 Dio – Rainbow In The Dark
04 Mike’s Guess: ‘all four albums covers were paintings with mascots’ (yes!)
Comment: Definitely a HEAVY set, which I thoroughly enjoyed. And Mike nails it. So cool.
Score: Mike is 4/4.
Four-Play #5 (submitted by Nick Byerjean sp?)
01 KISS – Beth
01 Mike’s Guess: ‘songs that originated as b-sides’ (no)
01 Mike’s Extra Guess: ‘no members of the band played on the track’ (no)
01 Mike’s Extra Guess: ‘crappy songs from great albums’ (no)
02 Guns ‘N Roses – Used To Love Her
02 Mike’s Guess: ‘single monikered album titles’ (no)
02 Mike’s Extra Guess: ‘songs with unusual percussion’ (no)
02 Mike’s Extra Guess: ‘songs people think is about one thing, but it’s about something else” (no)
02 Mike’s Extra Guess: ‘acoustic ballads’ (no)
03 Aerosmith – Angel
03 Mike’s Guess: ‘bands led by duos’ (no)
03 Mike’s Extra Guess: ‘bands who shortened their name from something longer (no)
03 Mike’s Extra Guess ‘all are bands from America’ (no)
04 Slash with Andrew Stockdale – By The Sword
04 Mike’s Guess: ‘songs released in even numbered years’ (no)
04 Mike’s Extra Guess: ‘all albums released in leap years’ (no)
04 Mike’s Extra Guess: ‘songs released in Canadian-hosted Olympic years’ (yes!)
Comment: OK, that was RIDICULOUS. Hearing him work through that last one was incredible. Even with all the extra guesses, that answer was from so far out of left field. Wow.
GETTING MORE TALE #452: Mike and Aaron Go to Toronto Again…Again!
WE HAVE RETURNED, SIRE, WITH PLUNDERED TREASURE FROM THE TOWN.
Toronto was, in a word, perfect.
We have done this every year for four years now, Aaron and I, always in the fall. We go to the heart of Toronto and plunder its best music. Then, we return to our homes, and listen in glee while making evil laughing sounds and clutching our treasure in our greedy hands. This was the latest in the year that we had gone (November 28), but miraculously the skies parted that morning and we were not rained upon nor snowed. It was once again, just perfect.
Aaron’s complete post on this trip can be found by clicking here!
We were accompanied like last year by Aaron’s dad Wayne, who just wanted to walk around and see if there were any curiosities that struck his eye. After parting ways, Aaron and I made our way to Stop #1: BMV.
I found three treasures there, all of which I am very happy and excited aboot:
1. STYX – Equinox, $5.99 CD used. I’m still trying to grow a Styx collection so this great album was a find. Review is already written; to be published.
2. QUEEN – Queen – 2 CD remaster, $9.99 used. SCORE! Just reviewed the 1991 issue of this album recently. Can’t wait to dig into the bonus EP!
3. OASIS – Definitely Maybe – 3 CD remaster, $14.99 used. SCORE! Erk, wait! The discs were not inside! BMV will be sending me the discs shortly, but dang! Nice find. This is to be kept alongside my 2 CD edition featuring the live album, Oasis Live.
4. MARTIN POPOFF – The Big Book of Haἳr Metal, $14.99, originally $33. Lotsa text, loadsa pics, let’s go!
Music heard in store: Judas Priest – “Metal Meltdown”, “Ram It Down”, “Victim of Changes”. Pretty amazing shit to hear in a book store.
Total spent: $45.96.
471 Bloor St W
Stop #2: Pauper’s Pub (39 Bloor Street West). This is a lunch time tradition. Aaron had the veggie burger (with avocado and salsa) and fries, I had the Canadian (cheese and bacon) burger with a garden salad. I would put this lunch in my top five burgers of all time, easily. It was that good.
We hoofed it back to the point at which we started, the parking lot right next to Stop #3: Kops. The Cult serenaded us with “Fire Woman”. Lots of goodness found here:
1. HENRY ROLLINS – The Boxed Life 2 CD (sealed!), 2 for $5.
2. ROLLINS BAND – Come In And Burn (sealed!), 2 for $5.
3. TRIUMPH – Edge of Excess, 2 for $5.
4. STEVE EARLE – A Special Collection, 1989 promo greatest hits CD with 17 tracks! 2 for $5.
5. RAINBOW – “Can’t Let You Go”, 12″ single, $7.99. Features two live tracks unavailable on album including Joe Lynn Turner singing “All Night Long”. Can’t wait to spin this.
Total spent: $17.99.
229 Queen St W
Final Stop: Sonic Boom.
We always do well here and this was no exception. I told Aaron that I was hoping to buy some deluxe editions, and considering I’d already scored Queen and Oasis, I thought I had been doing well. I had forgotten that Faith No More had some deluxes out. I remembered this when I saw the vinyl reissues at Kops, so I was sure to look for the CDs at Sonic Boom.
1. BEN FOLDS – Ben Folds Live, $2.99 used.
2. BRANT BJORK and the LOW DESERT PUNK BAND – Black Power Flower, 2 bonus tracks, $14.99.
3. FAITH NO MORE – The Real Thing deluxe, $22.99.
4. FAITH NO MORE – Angel Dust deluxe, $22.99.
I have a really extensive collection of Faith No More singles and EPs. I had most of the bonus material already on physical copies, but with a few notable exceptions. Now I got ’em: “As the Worm Turns” with Patton singing, and some of the live tracks such as Sheffield 1990 and Munich 1992.
Total spent: $63.96.
215 Spadina Ave
Final Stop 1⁄2. Moonbean. Aaron had to grab some seriously impressive coffee. It’s the tradition! Moonbean can be found at 30 Andrew St. (1-866-595-0327), or online at moonbeancoffee.com.
But wait! That’s not all!
Aaron’s Box of Generosity:
As is his modus operandi, Aaron surprised me with some serious treasures.
1. EXTREME – “Tragic Comic” digipack CD single, featuring “When I’m President” live, which I didn’t have before!
2. KILLER DWARFS – Method to the Madness CD, out of print! I have all their studio albums now.
3. NIACIN – Live in Tokyo DVD, featuring Billy Sheehan on bass. This outta be a mindblow!
3. WILLIAM SHATNER – Shatner Rules, book. I’ve read a few of Bill’s books before and they’re fun.
4. WAYNE JOHNSON – The Colony of Unrequited Dreams. Know nothing about it, but I love Canadian settings in fiction.
5. MICHAEL ONDAATJE – Coming Through Slaughter. “My favourite book” – Steve Earle. ‘Nuff said.
6. HENRY ROLLINS – Fanatic! Vol 1, 2 and 3. An early Christmas has come. Rollins meticulously tracks every song he played on his radio show, with notes. Lots of metal and punk and more.
7. Rock the Cradle Lullabies – Dreamin’ with DEF LEPPARD. Might actually be good since Phil and Viv play on the CD! (Collectible regardless.)
8. Hot Wheels diecast starship USS Enterprise NCC-1701 (reboot version, in package). I love it!
9. A KISS backpack! To put all my goodies in!
Aaron can be found at keepsmealive.wordpress.com.
Aaron made three trips to Toronto in 2015, I now have made two (for record shopping). You might think we tapped that city out. Hell no! See you next year, Toronto!
Total spent: $127.91 (before tax).
Total items (not including Aaron’s generosity): 14.
Average cost per record: $10.94. Consider all those deluxe editions I bought, that is not bad at all!
Coming Soon: the annual video documentary of the trip!
Sarca from Caught Me Gaming does much more than just video games (not that those don’t rock)! She talks coffee, she talks books, movies, and occasionally music too. I was thrilled to get this birthday gift. Check the video below.
Aaron got the same gift from Sarca for his birthday! Check his out over at KeepsMeAlive.
Thank you Sarca for this awesome rock and roll mug!
Click here for Sarca’s original post featuring this mug.