Going solo was fun, but nobody can yammer on about music like Deke and LeBrain!
Tonight’s theme was the brainchild of our collective chit chat. Have you noticed how many great albums are celebrating their 40th anniversary this year, including Back in Black? It’s hard to turn on the radio or follow social media without noticing all the albums turning 40 this year. Deke and I decided to talk about some in depth that were special to us personally. He doesn’t know exactly which ones I picked, and I don’t know which ones he picked. All we know is that it’s gonna be a blast!
I will also be doing an unboxing before Deke joins us. Sometimes it’s worth tuning in early. Chris Sarre is slowly learning this.
Join us tonight at 7:00 PM E.S.T. as we hop in the DeLorean with the flux capacitor set to the year 1980. Facebook: Michael Ladano
It was eleven years ago this weekend that life changed forever.
On August 31 2008, I dressed up in a tux, gathered a hundred of our closest family and friends, and got married. It was the best decision I’ve ever made.
We didn’t get to celebrate ten years. At this time last year, Jen’s mom was terminally ill. We were at her bedside. I know what she would have said to us if she knew what day it was. “You guys go out, have a nice dinner, on me. Enjoy yourselves.” That’s just who she was. But we didn’t feel much like eating or celebrating.
I think “mum” would appreciate that this year, we are going to celebrate #11. We’re going to remember her, and we’re going to be thankful that we have each other. Making #11 our year to celebrate seems appropriate for us; we’re the couple that is 1) always late, and 2) rarely doing anything the “normal” way.
In order to do things right, I’ll be taking a break from mikeladano.com but we will all re-convene back here after Labour Day.
It’s a well deserved break! We have some general ideas but the plan is just to take it easy and go with the flow. I just bought a 2 terabyte external hard drive, so I’ll actually be able to take all my music with me, in the car and on the laptop. I couldn’t do that eleven years ago!
Here are some songs that mean the most to Jen and I. Turn ’em up and we’ll catch up again next week.
It started with Stompin’ Tom. I think I had told her that I had a stack of new movies, a huge bag of chips & a case of Red Bull, and was ready for the weekend or something. She responded, “Sounds like you’re ready for a Sudbury Saturday Night.” So right then and there, boom! She was speaking my language.
The Darkness – “I Believe in a Thing Called Love”
I was into The Darkness in a big way. As told in Record Store Tales Part 80, these guys were absolutely one of my favourites when we met. “I Believe In A Thing Called Love” was a major feature at the wedding reception.
Guns N’ Roses – “Patience”
This was one of Jen’s favourites from the reception. When it played, all the couples slow-danced together. She thought it was a really sweet moment, and a lot of those couples are still couples today!
The Beatles – “Revolution”
When I asked Jen to pick a song she liked, this was the first one she named.
Van Halen – “Why Can’t This Be Love”
Before we met, Jen actively disliked Van Halen (classic rock in general). Today this is one of her favourite songs. Rock radio had a lot to do with that.
Neil Peart – “The Hockey Theme”
Before I met Jen, I’d never heard this theme in my life. Today, I can name pretty much every Maple Leaf and dozens of other players too. I can’t believe she’s done this to me! But don’t you dare call me a “hockey fan”.
The Traveling Wilburys – “Handle With Care”
No story, we just love this song.
Johnny Cash – “In My Life”
I’m sure everybody plays this at their weddings, don’t they? We knew that, so we chose Johnny Cash’s version. Let me tell you, that was a really cool moment, in the church signing the registry to this song. I hope my buddy Tom appreciated that, being such a huge Cash fan. I was psyched for him to hear it at a wedding instead of the usual.
Thank you for reading these past six years. If you’re new and you like what you see, why not go back and check out the whole story from the beginning? It’s an epic tale of slinging the rock in Kitchener Ontario, from the front lines of a Record Store. 12 years in the trenches resulted in an older, wiser man with stories of legendary music, infamous parties, trials, Tribble-lations, retribution and vindication. It is the rise, fall, and resurrection of yours truly. And who am I? Just a guy with some great stories.
These are the Record Store Tales. Thank you for reading!
GETTING MORE TALE #456: An Anniversary to be Celebrated
Christmas is a stressful time of year, and that goes double when you work retail.
Today is the 10 year anniversary of one of the most stressful but important days of my life.
Although it wasn’t much of a plan, at one point I figured I could turn the record store in a career. The Boss Man had sold a few of us on that idea. “Within five years, I want to have 100 stores across the country, and you’re going to be a big part of it.” I heard that, T-Rev heard that…a number of us heard that. We grew store by store, but downloading slowly put the brakes on that. After The Great Change (Napster and the like) I eventually came to the realization that my career plans were not going to work out. However depression and despondency grew within me, and one particular supervisor made my life at work hell for years. I could not pull myself out of that rut. Finding new work wasn’t easy either. Deep inside, I knew that I would have to reach a breaking point before I was truly ready to move on from the job I once loved.
That breaking point happened 10 years ago today, December 19 2005. They pushed me one step too far, and made demands that I later found out they could not make. I finally worked up the courage to say “I quit”. That was the last straw; I had been shoved around that place for way too long. The true story of this happening can be found in Record Store Tales Part 320: End of the Line, if you want to read how it went down that day.
Short version: Second best decision I ever made.
(The best decision I ever made my marrying my wife!)
I love music so much, and having a job working with music every day? Why, that’s the dream job isn’t it? And it was, for several years. I’m glad to have done it. Without the store I would have no Record Store Tales, and my collection today would be but a fraction of its size. Moving on from something you once loved can be a hard thing. “Maybe this will be the year it gets better again,” I said a few times. When a relationship becomes toxic, sometimes the only way for both parties to be happy is to move on.
10 years ago, I made the serious decision to make the break after 12 years of joy and pain. The funny thing I just realized is, while Record Store Tales could not exist if I never worked at the Record Store, they also could not exist if I never quit! They would have continued to gather dust on a hard drive, because I wouldn’t have been able to tell the stories under confidentiality restrictions, and that would have ripped my heart in two had I stayed.
Things worked out for the best! Thanks for reading along. And if you haven’t, it’s not too late. You can read all 320 chapters of the original one-and-only Record Store Tales right below.* Happy anniversary!
GETTING MORE TALES #434: The Man in the Bob Marley Shirt
10 years ago was a very interesting part of my life. I had been out of college for a few years, and took a promotion at a company that I had been working at for some time. I was single and enjoying my life as a woman in her mid-twenties doing a lot of volunteering and making great friends. A lot of my friends from earlier years were getting married and having kids, but that didn’t seem like a part of my future at that time. Until September, 18th.
I had made a friend through the world of social media who lived an hour down the highway in Kitchener Ontario. We were spending a lot of time using Messenger to chat and occasional phone calls on land lines. One day this friend was having a bit of a bad day. He had been on a first date the day before with a woman he found on the internet who he described as creepy. He was having a bad day at the job he no longer enjoyed. In our chats I invited him to make the drive up the highway to Bramalea Ontario. He accepted and we made plans for him to pick me up at my family home.
He told me that he wanted a laid back evening with a walk in a park. I told him that I could handle that, but in actuality, I was scared shitless. I had never gone on a single date with anyone from the World Wide Web. I had heard horror stories of serial killers and this guy wanted to walk in parks on a Sunday night. Not the smartest of ideas, but for some reason I went with it. Something was telling me that things were going to be okay.
When he arrived at the house in his green neon I was outside having a cigarette. I approached the car and opened the door. Inside was a very cute guy in a grey Bob Marley t-shirt and a blue sweater. Very cute. We drove around for a bit turning on a lot of streets that started with the letter A so I could get him a bit lost (Bramalea is divided into ‘sections’ where streets are all named with the same first letter after UK communities – I figured if he was a serial killer, I could out run him and call 911, telling the police there was a green neon, lost somewhere on Aberdeen.
We took a walk into the park and played on some swings before making our way down to a creek to talk about our lives. He told me that he was starving and saw a Wendy’s. He asked if we could grab a burger there. For all burger aficionados, Wendy’s is at the bottom of the totem poll. I told him there was a much better burger not too far away. We got back in the car and drove to Sonny’s, a drive in burger joint around since the 60’s. We ordered two hamburgers with ‘funky onions’ (a fried onion with paprika seasoning) and other toppings too our likings. We shared a large poutine and talked a lot on the hard to get picnic table. (The joint is so busy, you usually can’t sit – a picnic table is a prime piece of drive in real estate). We talked so much, that we didn’t even give our burgers a try. We left them in their wrappers to eat at a later time.
After our first dinner, we decided to go to another park to hang out some more. I directed him to Gage Park in Brampton Ontario. This is more of a romantic park that girls like to hang out in. We walked around the park, talking for a while, and then moved to a knoll of grass to sit and do more talking. After a few minutes, the man in the Bob Marley t-shirt leaned in and gave me our first kiss. It was ground-breaking. All bets were off.
After a bit more time of kissing in the park, Bob Marley boy realized that he needed to get home because of an early work start. He drove me home, kissed me one more time in the car and drove back to his home in Kitchener. I entered the house to my half-asleep mother. She asked me how my date went. I sat on the reclining chair next to her and told her that I met the man I was going to marry.
She stood up, looked at me and said “You’re just like your father”* and went to bed. That was September 18th in a nutshell.
I love you LeBrain.
* In 1976, Jen’s father was in a Florida hotel. He saw Jen’s mother for the first time in the lobby and went to the phone where he called his best friend and said “Graham, I just saw the girl I’m going to marry. Now I just have to figure out her first name.”
Happy Anniversary to my beautiful soul mate Jennifer. Every day gets better and better, and you look younger and younger! I don’t know how you do it. Meanwhile I’ve turned into a grey-bearded old man with a bad back and lactose intolerance, and you still keep me around! Must be love. It’s the only possibly explanation why you live in a house full of Transformers, CDs, and records.
The last six years have been the happiest of my life. Thank you for being the puzzle piece that was missing all that time.
Love you, sweetie. Here’s one of the songs we danced to six years ago, on the best day of my life.
Mikeladano.com celebrates its second anniversary today! It started with Record Store Tales Part 1, and here we are at Part 275! (That’s one tale every 2.65 days for the numbers-oriented out there.) A huge THANK-YOU to everyone who’ve read my stuff; as David Lee Roth says, “It ain’t no fuckin’ good without an audience.” I also need to thank those friends that read this stuff years ago and told me to keep writing — they know who they are. And my family, but especially the lovely Mrs. LeBrain who lets me rock and roll all nite and part of every day. I love you sweety.
Enjoy this Record Store Tale!
RECORD STORE TALES Part 275: Catharsis
Sometimes when I hit these milestones, I like to reflect on where I’ve been and where I’m headed. Two years ago when I began publishing the Record Store Tales I didn’t know if anyone would read it. I was pleased to find that enough people enjoyed reading these stories that it was worth continuing.
I knew when I started posting these that eventually, inevitably, somebody from the old record store would find them. I made the decision to write under my real name, not a pseudonym. I anticipated that while some of my old friends would be entertained by these stories, some would not. I took efforts to protect the identities of the characters in the story that are not portrayed in a positive light.
I did a “soft” launch of the site. That is, I began publishing the stories one chapter at a time, but I kept it to myself and a close circle of friends. The response was very positive and constructive. While some friends urged me to “keep it short”, one of the most popular earlier stories was one of the longest. Part 16: Traveling Man was the story of a long misadventure in Oakville Ontario, climaxed by an encounter with an unpleasant lawyer customer. One friend told me the story was “fucking hilarious” and that he anticipated from the start that the guy in the story was a lawyer. This feedback encouraged me to keep going for it. I was fired up.
Then once I had enough content up to give people something substantial to read, I did my “official” launch via Facebook, Twitter and email. It didn’t take long for the rain to hit my parade. As I anticipated some people from the store didn’t like my stories, but Spoogecakes was the only one to publicly voice her disgust, way back in Part 35.5. The funny thing about this was that I hadn’t planned on even mentioning Spoogecakes in my story, but then she went and wrote herself in. Oh well.
I never could have done a white-washed version of the Record Store Tales. I tried. Seven or eight years ago I tried something called “Record Store-ies” (lame title, I know). Some of the “Record Store-ies” got recycled into the old Klassic Kwotes, but it wasn’t the satisfying, cathartic experience that my soul had been craving. After the Spoogecakes shit-storm, I approached a mentor of mine about the situation. I asked him if I had been too negative in the past, if I should have toned it down. His response to me was something I have taken to heart ever since.
“If you compromise your art in order to please a small minority of people no matter how vocal, you will ultimately end up with a piece of art that you don’t like.”
That was great advice. My bottom line is always, “Do I like it?” I’ve tried to maintain a balance. There are stories about people with whom I conflicted, but there are also stories about things like me shitting my pants in the store. And I didn’t give myself an alias for these stories!
This isn’t just storytelling to me. This is catharsis. While I was experiencing everything I experienced in the record store, good or bad, I held tight to one thought. That thought was, “When this is all over, at least I will have a bunch of great stories to share. If I can entertain just a few people with these stories then it’s all been worth it.” Spoogecakes commented that there are “two sides to every story”.