Battle of the bands

Part 258: Uncle Meat

Uncle Meat is former co-worker, now friend. He worked at one of the other record store locations for about a year. Back in Part 78, he told his side of the story, but I thought I should return the love.

MEAT

RECORD STORE TALES Part 258:  Uncle Meat

My first encounter with the man known as Uncle Meat (his parents still call him Eric) happened in 1987.  I didn’t meet Meat in 1987; I met Meat officially in the 1990’s when he was hired at one of our stores.  As we chatted about people we both knew, we pieced it together:  Both of us were friends with a talented local singer/songwriter named Rob Szabo.   Way back in the 80’s, Rob was in a band then called Under 550, and they won the Battle of the Bands at Grand River Collegiate Institute in ’87.  I remember they knocked out a version of Rush’s “YYZ”.  They were sent to the next round, to battle it out regionally at the Center In the Square.

They added a lead vocalist for the big competition, and temporarily changed their name to Over 550.  550 lbs was the total combined body weight of the band.  They were just under 550 lbs, until they added the singer.  Get it?  They were up against a neighbor of ours, George, who was playing bass in a band called Zephyr.  Also in the running were such luminaries as Stomach Acid, and F.U.H.Q.

It was when discussing this gig that Uncle Meat and I realized we were both in the same place at the same time — except he was on the stage and I was in the crowd!  I have a distinct memory of watching a very heavy thrash metal band.  They were just too heavy for most in attendance, but they had chops and a good singer.  That singer was Meat.  One thing I’ll never forget about his set is this:  a whole row of long-hairs ran down in front of the stage during the first song, and banged their heads through it all.  When Meat had played his two songs, they went back to their seats.  I’d never seen anything like it before, at that tender age of 15.


Spring 1991 – Uncle Meat singing “Fairies Wear Boots” with Heavy Cutting

Many years later, I worked a shift at the store with Uncle Meat, and that was our first “official” meeting.  I remember that it was a pre-Christmas shift, and I was helping out another store.  It was the two of us and Meat’s arch-nemesis, a girl who did not get along with him at all.  (The story of why was recounted in Top Five Discs That Got Us In Shit.)  It was a fun shift, busy as hell, and I remember stopping at an HMV store on my way home and picking up a Savatage CD (their then-latest, Wake Of Magellan).

Here I am, almost three decades later, remembering that night in ’87 like it was yesterday.  I could tell you details like what jacket I was wearing (a dark blue leather one).  I could tell you who I went with: Bob, Scott, and Todd Meyer.  I couldn’t tell you who won anymore, but I do know this:  It was fate.  It was fate that Meat and I should meet.  When we work together on a project, it’s peanut butter and jam.  Thanks for friendship Uncle Meat, and thanks for contributing so much to mikeladano.com.


Same night, same gig: Szabo on axe shreds some Judas Priest.
Listen to that fucking singer!

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