#918: Drinkin’ Thinkin’

RECORD STORE TALES #918: Drinkin’ Thinkin’

A buddy of mine said the other day, “I saw your clips from the first live show.  I was killin’ myself laughing, that was great”.  The part a lot of people laugh at is when I say “Have I had too much fruit punch this evening?”  I appear drunk but was not.  I told him that, and I had to convince him.  But it’s true.  I don’t really drink.

Note that I said “don’t really”.  I don’t call myself a “non-drinker” or an “abstainer”.  Two summers ago I had a beer with Max the Axe, so I am obviously not a non-drinker.  But that was the first drink in many years, and last drink until present.  I just don’t like the way it makes my stomach feel.  As I got older, my stomach got worse, exacerbated by anxiety and stress.  It’s just not an experience I seek out anymore.

From my mid-20s to my early 30s, I enjoyed a sometimes-drink.  I was a lightweight.  T-Rev was a great buddy to hang out with, and he tried to get me to be more social.  We’d be hanging out with a whole bunch of girls that he worked with at the Waterloo Inn, and I loved hanging out with that group.  They could take it much further than I could, but I did my best.  Beer, shots, depth charges.  Usually, I was just the designated driver.

When I wasn’t driving, I’d have some drinks at work functions.  The Record Store had a birthday party for me at Jack Astor’s.  I loved Jack Astor’s because they had the most amazing seafood linguine, and still to this day, the best lemonade.  None of my co-workers particularly liked it, but it was my birthday so it was nice of them to go there.  As for the drinking, it started with one beer and picked up from there.  Everybody wanted to buy me a shot.  It was a great night and I distinctly remember grabbing a dude’s ass.  No homophobia here, folks.  I’ll save him the embarrassment of being named, but it was a friend who played guitar in one of my favourite local bands.

I am pretty sure I puked the next morning, but I can’t even say for sure which birthday it was.  I think it was my 31st.

Even though my relations with the boss that I refer to as “The Bully” were always rocky, she did attend my birthday party.  Having seen me grab a guitar player’s ass, I thought it might be prudent to just pro-actively apologise in case she was offended by anything she saw.  “Sorry I got a little loud and rowdy when I was drunk,” I said.

“You weren’t drunk,” she flatly responded.

What?  “Yes I was…they started buying me beer right away,” I said, taken aback by her response to me.

“I’ve never seen anyone get drunk off one beer before,” she claimed.

I didn’t know what to say.  She thought I was putting on an act?  I was a little disturbed by her accusation.

At that time I was a skinny guy.  I had very little alcohol tolerance.  Whether she believed me or much, it didn’t take much to make me tipsy.  Add in the natural high you get from your own birthday party, when everybody is nice to you and at least pretends to like you.  Not only was I drunk, but I think that might have been the best drunk I’ve ever been.

What a strange accusation to make.  There was something wrong with this boss.  The professional response would have been, “Apology accepted, hope you had a nice birthday.  Have a good day.”

Circling back, when I appeared drunk on fruit punch in that live clip, I was completely sober.  I was having a lot of fun, and being live on Facebook was kind of like a birthday party.  It’s a natural high.  Your friends are there and you are the centre of attention.  Being “drunk” doesn’t depend on how many beers I’ve finished.  If I’m already surfing the high of life, it just takes a little.  I’m a cheap drunk if I’m in a good mood!


Marathon T-Bone Show – 5150 is Dissected and LeBrain is Pummelled

Hold onto your seats, folks, because T-Bone will blow you away with his 5150 knowledge and insight. In fact, all six panel members tonight brought it!

While it wasn’t fun being the lone dissenting voice when you’re up against heavyweights like Kevin and Meat, this was one of the best discussions on 5150 that you are likely to hear. And you need a dissenting voice, right?  I was happy to play the role of punching bag too!

The Van Halen talk begins at exactly 0:48:00 and runs through to the end.  Before that we unboxed some action figures, talked about the new Coney Hatch live album, and a little bit of current events.  Watch right from the start to catch all that.  We also played three music videos:  “Donna (Do Ya Wanna)” by Deadline, “Open Door Piss” by T-Bone, and “Victim of Changes” (Priest cover) by Clockwork Orange.


May 7:  Paul Laine from Danger Danger and the Defiants with co-host John Snow.

May 14:  List show by Uncle Meat’s suggestion — Best Cover Tunes — with panel TBA.

May 21:  Sean Kelly (Coney Hatch, Crash Kelly, Helix, Lee Aaron, Trapper, Nelly Furtado) joins us with co-host Deke!

May 28:  Dave Lizmi of the Four Fuckin’ Horsemen!  Co-host will be T-Rev.

June 4:  One year anniversary of Harrison’s first appearance.  We re-hash the Top 11 Priest Albums and will have Geoff Stephen to graph it!  Co-host is TBA.

June 18:  Robert Lawson, author of Still Competition: The Listener’s Guide to Cheap Trick.  Hosted by Superdekes.

All aboard!


Trifecta of T-Bone…5150 Time!

The LeBrain Train: 2000 Words or More with Mike Ladano

Episode 62 – 5150 Time &  a Trifecta of T-Bone

Tune in tonight for beer, some T-Bone (his 3rd appearance) and an in-depth discussion of an album that went to number one 35 years ago this week:  Van Halen’s 5150.  The complete panel will be as follows:

To quote Pearl Jam, it’s “Five, five, five against one.”  I’m the lone dissenting voice that will be highly critical of 5150, while the other five guys will probably take turns punching me in the balls.

Friday April 30 7:00 PM E.S.T. on Facebook:  MikeLeBrain and YouTube:  Mike LeBrain.

T-Bone and the Gang are Done With Mirrors on the LeBrain Train

What can you say about a show that does all the following in one night:

  1. An in-depth, track by track analysis and critique of Aerosmith’s Done With Mirrors
  2. A tribute to Christopher Plummer (R.I.P.)
  3. CD unboxing and beer de-canning
  4. A world premier music video
  5. The sound of the real toilet flushing
  6. Awesome rock and roll chit-chat for almost three full hours

Why, it could only have been the LeBrain Train!  And this week, far more than 2000 words were said about Done With Mirrors.  This album generated so much passionate and sometimes dispassionate discussion that it would have been a shame if everybody didn’t get to speak their piece.  This album isn’t as polarizing as you might think.  We all found something enjoyable, we just didn’t always agree on what was enjoyable.

Your panel tonight was:

To skip ahead to the parts you may be interested in, go to the following points in the video:

  • Beer de-canning:  0:26:40
  • Encore Records unboxing:  0:28:10
  • Christopher Plummer tributes at:  0:18:30 and 2:34:50
  • Done With Mirrors discussion:  0:34:05
  • World premier music video of Current River’s Rock’n in a Rubber2:38:45


Thanks for watching and leaving the awesome comments, folks!  Tune in next week when Martin Popoff returns with his King’s X Top Five!


T-Bone Lets The Music Do The Talking on tonight’s LeBrain Train

The LeBrain Train:  2000 Words or More with Mike Ladano

Episode 49 – “The Return of T-Bone”


Layin’ down some facts for you:

  1. T-Bone is one of my favourite people,
  2. “Let the Music Do the Talking” is one of my favourite songs,
  3. but Done With Mirrors is one of my least favourite Aerosmith albums.

It’s been a mere two months since T-Bone last graced our show with his presence, but this time he’s coming locked and loaded with a special album deep discussion:  Aerosmith’s Done With Mirrors.

When I ranked all the Aerosmith albums, I placed it at #11.  I gave it a 3.5/5 when I reviewed it separately, but I blame Deke for that.  He was whispering things in my ear.  “36 minutes of classic Aerorock,” is what he said.   That was six years ago, and I have not listened to Done With Mirrors much since.  So it will be interesting to see what we have to say this time out.  Deke and T-Bone are big fans.

Besides Deke and T-Bone, we’ll also be bringing in Uncle Meat and Buried On Mars.  They are coming into the discussion with fresher ears than I, so it’ll be interesting to hear their takes.

Also:  Special beer “de-canning”!   Music unboxing from Encore Records!  New Current River music video!  All coming to you live…tonight!


7:00 PM E.S.T.
Facebook:  MikeLeBrain  YouTube:  Mike LeBrain



Scheduling Notes:

Martin Popoff will be back next Friday, February 12, for a King’s X Top Five show!

We are also hard at work on plenty of list shows and returning guests.  Rob Daniels and Mike Slayen will be returning when we do the Top Riffs of the 80s.  Harrison the Mad Metal Mad will be back when we tackle Top Maiden Album Covers, and a few other topics that we have cooking up.  And for a special 1st Anniversary show on March 19, Brent Jensen is going to talk about music that makes our skin vibrate one more time!



Scraping the Skies of Thunder Bay with T-Bone & Deke

Thank you T-Bone and Deke for an awesome Friday night on the LeBrain Train! Tonight’s episode was the brainchild of Deke and it was long overdue.  T-Bone, an original member of Thunder Bay’s own Current River, has plenty of great stories which we only scratched the surface of in this almost three-hour chat!

Topics discussed and their locations in the stream:

  • T-Bone Tales – scattered throughout.
  • Shaun of the Dead challenge – 0:33:20.  The zombie apocalypse has come and you are unarmed.  All you have to save yourself from the horde is your record collection.  Choose five records from your collection to throw at the zombies to save yourself.  Harder than it sounds!  This segment includes a highly disputed meltdown over Tenacious D’s debut.
  • Beer de-canning from Sleeping Giant brewery’s 2020 advent calendar – 0:35:00
  • A special Def Leppard box set unwrapping and story from someone involved with the making of it – 1:27:25
  • An hour-long track by track discussion of David Lee Roth’s Skyscraper LP – 1:50:00

Truly, some of the most fun I’ve had on a Friday night.  Good stories, good times, good beverages.  Good friends.  Spend your Friday nights with us, or catch us on Youtube after the fact.  Give the videos a share if you think your friends would like watching too.  It’s all about community and thanks for being a part of it.  Special appreciation to Harrison the Mad Metal Man for hilarious commentary.  I shall dub thee:  Hilarrison.

Chewing the Fat with T-Bone on the LeBrain Train

The LeBrain Train:  2000 Words or More with Mike Ladano

Episode 40

This special 40th episode of the LeBrain Train is brought to you by T-Bone!  That’s right folks — after months of isolation in the wilds of Lake Superior, finally we have the one and only T-Bone from Thunder Bay joining us this week.  Deke and I will be talking rock with a true original.  On the docket this week:

  • An advent beer calendar “de-canning”
  • An in-depth discussion on David Lee Roth’s Skyscraper LP
  • A mental musical exercise based on Shaun of the Dead

…and lots more

T-Bone has contributed to list shows in the past but this is his first real live experience on the LeBrain Train.  T-Bone’s past submissions to the show were all Nigel Tufnel Top Ten lists and you can check out his rock pedigree in the following shows:

We hope you enjoy tonight’s rock as we chew the fat with T-Bone.

7:00 PM E.S.T.
Facebook:  MikeLeBrain  YouTube:  Mike LeBrain




Sunday Chuckle: A Scottish Concussion

My sister, world-travelling bass clarinetist Kathryn Ladano, is in Scotland!

This should surprise no-one, but one of the things she is doing in Scotland is drinking beer.

As luck should have it, on her first day, she had a fall at a pub. I am assuming alcohol was involved, but that’s not important to the story. She spotted a black Scottish Schnauzer, and jumped up to see it.  She bumped her head and injured her shoulder. In her email to the family, she said, “I have a lump, but I didn’t have to go to the hospital.” Glad she’s OK!

My dad read this email first, and he immediately announced to the family that “Kathryn had a great start to her vacation…got a concussion, dislocated a shoulder. In a hospital.”

Talk about misreading! My dad has been known to 1) stretch the truth, and 2) immediately go to worst-case scenario, but I’ve never seen anything like this before!  She specifically said she didn’t have to go to the hospital, and she made sure to put that up front so my dad wouldn’t worry too much.  Well shit!



#442: Oktoberfest

GETTING MORE TALE #442: Oktoberfest

Gemütlichkeit and willkommen!  Love it or hate it, it’s that time of year again:  Oktoberfest!

Based on the original 200 year old Bavarian festival in Germany, Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest attracts thousands every year to bask in our glorious beer, Polka music, sausage and fall weather.

It’s also the time of year that parts of the downtown gets closed to traffic, and congestion increases to an undesired, maddening level.  With all the construction and destruction this year, Oktoberfest 2015 will be the hardest yet to navigate with your vehicle.  I dread my daily commute in and out of town.  Add in the potential for drunk drivers and you have a great old time lined up, right?  Approximately one million people will show up for the celebrations here, the second largest Oktoberfest in the world.

The climax of the movie Strange Brew was filmed and takes place at Kitchener Oktoberfest.  “Take the 401 to Kitchener,” says Doug McKenzie in this clip.

It’s not all bad.  Sausage and schnitzel on a bun is always a treat, but people don’t come all this way for anything except the beer.  Sample one of the many, many brews while you are here…just don’t make an ass of yourself while you do it.   As a local, I’ve never been fond of this time of year.  I don’t drink beer anymore so there is very little to draw me to the downtown core during Oktoberfest.  However, there are plenty of draws for the rest of you.

Polka music and dancing!  If that’s your thing, then put on your lederhosen and dirndls!  Get ready to do the Bird Dance and check out the accordion of Walter Ostanek.  Sometimes there are some good Oktoberfest shows to be seen, such as the year I Mother Earth played (with Ostanek!).  There are beer exhibits and dining experiences.  There’s Onkel Hans, Tante Frieda and the tapping of the keg.  There’s Miss Oktoberfest and the annual parade.

Actually, forget it – I don’t care about any of these things!  I’ve gone to the parade before, but it’s always so cold that you wished you stayed home and watched it on TV.  I have done my fair share of Polka dancing.  In fact, Polka dancing was compulsory in grade school.  Learning such cultural cornerstones as the Bird Dance was deemed important enough to justify teaching kids about a beer festival in grade school.  While my opinion is certainly not held by all residents, I was burned out on Oktoberfest before I was even old enough to drink.

By the way:  There are plenty of safe transportation options for drinkers, including free busses from the festhallen, free soft drinks for designated drivers, and the excellent company Over the Limit Designated Drivers (1-888-594-9144), who will drive you and your car home safely.

Working the Record Store days, I always hated the seasonal requests for Polka or “Oom-pah-pah” music.  Our used Polka CD selection (filed under World Music) rarely had anything in it, and when it did, it would be snapped up long before Oktoberfest.  Once, Walter Ostanek came into the store himself looking for Polka music.  When I responded that we had nothing in stock, he handed me his card and said, “If you need any, let me know.”  I responded, “Hey, I know you!  You’re the guy who won all those Juno awards.”  He paused and looked at me gravely.  “They were Grammies,” he corrected me.  Whoops!

Oktoberfest 2015 runs from October 9-17.  Come to the festhallen and biergartens, get your Polka on, and get pissed.  But please, don’t drink and drive.  Use one of the options listed above to make sure everyone gets home safely.

REVIEW: Kim Mitchell – Fill Your Head With Rock (CD/DVD set)

Happy long weekend, Canada! Here’s a bonafide Canadian content bonus review for ya! Party on.
FILL YOUR HEAD WITH ROCK_0001KIM MITCHELL – Fill Your Head With Rock – Greatest Hits (2005 Sweden Rock CD/DVD set)

If you’re gonna buy this, you’re gonna buy this for the DVD, not the CD.  There’s so little live Mitchell material out there, and it’s somewhat surprising that this great nugget of a live show (1989 Rockland tour) came out as part of a weird Swedish greatest hits set.  Included on the CD is a new song written for the Sweden Rock Festival called “Fill Your Head With Rock”.  It was later included on Mitchell’s studio album Ain’t Life Amazing, rendering this CD obsolete.  Since the CD is little more than an extra to me, I’ll start by reviewing the included live DVD.

What kind of solo artist opens his show with five minutes of drum solos before taking the stage himself?  I can only think of one:  Kim Mitchell.

This live DVD, recorded in 1989 at the Kee to Bala opens exactly that way.  Astoundingly, it’s a triple drum solo!  Three drum kits, from left to right, keyboardist Greg Wells, drummer Lou Milano, and bassist Peter Fredette! The stage is so crowded that Wells is hidden behind Mitchell’s amplifiers!  And the party-ready crowd loved it.  When Mitchell entered the stage at the start of “That’s the Hold”, they were already in the palm of his hand.  Mitchell sports his neon pink baseball hat, a duplicate of which I owned at the same time!  Mitchell’s guitar solo is extended and suitably gonzo.

A really bad edit goes into the single “Rocklandwonderland”, opened with yet another solo, this time on keyboards.  Keep in mind this is a radio-friendly commercial rock artist that appealed to old-school prog rock fans, but also every beer-slurping hoser in the 1980’s.  To their credit the audience seems to be digging every note.  But then again, this is no band of slouches.  “Rocklandwonderland” was a huge hit in Canada.  If the studio version is a little too light on guitar, Mitchell compensates live.

One of the more rocking new songs is next, “The Crossroads”, and no it’s not a blues.  While there’s no argument it’s a party atmosphere (beach balls passed around), it’s also an extravaganza of Mitchell’s always classy guitar.  Fredette is suitably solid yet goofy at the same time, and backing Kim up on vocals with range to spare.  In my opinion, Peter Fredette has always been the secret weapon of this band.

FILL YOUR HEAD WITH ROCK_0005“Crossroads” merges into the ballad “Lost Lovers Found”, not one of Mitchell’s best songs.  His vocal range on the chorus is still remarkable, and the duo of Wells and Fredette harmonize with just a hint of twang.  Once again the highlight is Kim’s soulful, brilliant guitar solo.  Yet all of this pales to the majesty of “Battle Scar”.  The three drum kits return for this Max Webster/Rush classic.  Fredette easily handles Geddy’s powerful vocal part.  “Battle Scar” remains one of Mitchell’s greatest compositions, heavy and relentless.

Another of Kim’s greatest, “All We All”, easily follows “Battle Scar”.  Once again, the solos are brilliant, as is Fredette’s lead vocal.  The Akimbo Alogo classic “That’s A Man” is a smooth showcase of Kim’s bluesier playing, on top of a cool ZZ Top style rock song.  Beers are hoisted into the air.  Fredette switches to guitar to accompany Mitchell on the lead solo, and several mustachioed audience members play air guitar.  One bearded man even attempts the air-drums.

“O Mercy Louise” isn’t exactly a standout, but the poodle-haired girls in the audience seem to like to bob and dance to it.  The whole room seems to sing along to the gleeful country of “Easy to Tame”.  Same story with the summer classic “Patio Lanterns”.  It’s nothing but the hits from here in, “Go For Soda” and “Rock N Roll Duty” inspiring plenty of sing-alongs.

As for the CD, I’m not sure if I follow the logic of its track selection.  While many of the biggest hits are included (“Rock N Roll Duty”, “I Am A Wild Party”, “Get Lucky”, “Go For Soda”), many are not.  Some of Kim’s best later material is included, such as “Kimosabe”, “World’s Such A Wonder” and “Find the Will”.  Even though the album concentrates on later Mitchell material, I’m baffled by the lack of inclusion of singles such as “America” and “Acrimony”.

There are, among the later songs, a lot of good tunes worth a revisit.  “Human Condition” is a grinding blues rocker, and “Wonder Where & Why” smokes from start to finish.  I think “Big Smoke” is one of the better tunes from the Aural Fixations album, an often overlooked record.

Of course we have to talk about the “new” song, “Fill Your Head With Rock”.  It’s very much in the mold of the later Kim Mitchell material included.  It’s hard, with a gritty guitar riff and slippery solos.  It won’t go down in history as a classic, but it’s a workmanlike Kim Mitchell rocker.  A year or two later, Helix wrote their own song called “Fill Your Head With Rock” for the Sweden Rock festival as well!

With asking an absolutely ridiculous $124.75 right now, I would say snag this one if you find it used.


CD:  2.5/5 stars

DVD:  5/5 stars