Last time on Record Store Tales, we talked about Andy and Ashleigh and the discovery of great rock bands such as Rush, Max Webster, and Van Halen. Andy was even more curious now about what great rock was out there.
Rock music is about so much more than just the songs. There’s the concerts, the live experience. There’s the history of the bands, the stories and the context. And there were the music videos. How could one possibly talk about a great band like Van Halen without mentioning groundbreaking, defining music videos that they made? Since a picture is worth 1,000 words, I decided the best way to explain these things was to have a Rock Video Night at my place.
90% of my video collection was from the Pepsi Power Hour. Back in the days before YouTube, a channel like MuchMusic would have an hour or two a week devoted to the heaviest videos in rock, and I tried to record the show every week. I had amassed a large collection of VHS tapes, probably about 120 hours of music videos, interviews and concerts altogether. That’s not including the hundred or so officially released video tapes that I bought over the years. We had a lot to watch so I had to hone down the set list for the evening.
Since I am and always have been OCD about my music collection, I had a meticulously typed list of every track on every video that I made. I carefully planned the evening’s entertainment. There were some videos that I know these kids had to see. They were all one musical generation younger than me. They grew up on videos like “Jeremy” and “Fell on Black Days”, not “Jump” or “Go For Soda”. I had to make them understand my time, when it was OK to have sword fights and dwarves and laser guns in your videos.
Ash and Andy arrived along with my other employees Braddy D and Chris P. The set of videos that I chose to share with them that evening included:
SAVATAGE – “Hall of the Mountain King”. Summary: Dwarf seeks Mountain King’s gold. Must try to steal it without waking him, while band is playing in the same caverns. Not sure why the King doesn’t hear Jon Oliva singing. (below)
VAN HALEN – “Oh Pretty Woman”. Summary: Lady in distress has been kidnapped by two dwarves. A hunchback in a treehouse (David Lee Roth) telephones a samurai (Michael Anthony), Tarzan (Alex Van Halen), a cowboy (Eddie Van Halen), and Napoleon Bonaparte (David Lee Roth) to save her. (below)
ARMORED SAINT – “Can U Deliver”. Summary: Band driving a Buick with armor and an anti-aircraft cannon seek a glowy sword. Band plays concert in front of rocker dudes and scantily clad babes while wearing leather armor. (below)
GRIM REAPER – “Fear No Evil”. Summary: Band drive a DIY armored APC on a quest to free long-haired slaves from an evil half-man half-something with Wolverine claws. (below)
MIKE LADANO, BOB SCHIPPER and DAVE KIDD – “Nothing But A Good Time”. Summary: A highschool video I made, lip synching to “Nothing But A Good Time” by Poison.We had our English teacher do the schtick at the beginning where he plays the prick boss who gives the kid a hard time before the song comes on. We made it in ’89 and it was our school’s selection to send to the annual regional Film Awards! (below)
Rock Video Night was a great success in many regards. The kids had a great time finally seeing David Lee Roth doing the splits in “Jump”. Ash was still not won over by the rock, but that’s OK. What wasn’t OK is that I had really sour stomach issues that night! I tried so hard to be a good host, and I kept excusing myself, but…they tell me the smell was wafting down from the upstairs bathroom.
So, Rock Video Night ended on a rather stinky note.
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there, and always a salute to the ones that are gone too soon!
RECORD STORE TALES Part 205: Dad Rock
When Ashleigh started at our store she became the resident hippie. Everybody loved Ash, she was one of the best. I teased her a bit about hippie things, and called her Crunchy Granola. This was all done (and hopefully taken) in fun, because she is really a great person. If you needed to know anything about Simon & Garfunkel, the Dead, Ani DiFranco or Dave Matthews Band, she was the one to ask. She knew it all.
There was a generational thing between us, and I remember this was obvious when we were setting up a Father’s Day display. We were looking for CDs and movies that “typical dads” would like for Father’s Day gifts. I would say things like “Dads like World War II movies,” while she said, “Dads like Kim Mitchell.”
“What?” I said incredulously. “Dads do not like Kim Mitchell. My dad thinks Kim Mitchell is a girl.”
Ash gave me a patient look. “Dads do like Kim Mitchell. That’s what dads listen to now.”
“Cool people listen to Kim Mitchell,” I responded quietly.
I slowly absorbed all this new information. Dads liked Kim Mitchell? But Kim Mitchell was one of my highschool idols. My dad had no interest in doing his “Rock N Roll Duty”. This must have meant that people of the Kim generation were dads themselves now…and had kids as old as Ash! Jesus!
Kim’s dad is in this video!
A little later on, Ash start socializing with this guy named Andy. At first I was skeptical of Andy because of his large gauge piercings and dreadlocks. He didn’t talk much.
Turns out Andy was just shy. Ash approached me one day.
“Andy thinks you’re cool. He wants you to make a mix tape for him. Would you be willing to do that?”
Taken aback, I said “Seriously? Sure! He thinks I’m cool? What kind of music does he want on here?”
Ash paused. She took a deep breath.
“Dad rock. Stuff like Kim Mitchell and Van Halen and David Lee Roth.”
Once again, I paused to absorb all this new information. Ash was with a guy who liked “dad rock”. This was awesome. I started laughing. I gasped for breath, as my face turned red.
“Oh…my…God! Andy likes Kim Mitchell! You’re going to have to listen to Kim Mitchell with him aren’t you?”
“Possibly,” she mumbled.
“This is awesome. This is awesome. This is awesome. I can’t wait to get started. Seriously, I already have ideas. Right on. This is going to be an awesome mix tape.”
Good as my word, eventually I furnished a custom mix tape, with liner notes and carefully selected music to entertain and hopefully enlighten. I wish I had kept a copy. Unfortunately, I didn’t. So in lieu of the actual track list, here’s the mix tape I would make today given the exact same circumstances. Let me know what you think!
Van Halen – Eruption, Runnin’ With the Devil
Kim Mitchell – Kids In Action
Max Webster – Hangover
Talas – NV43345
David Lee Roth – Shy Boy
Van Halen – Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love
Max Webster/Rush – Battle Scar
Rush – Tom Sawyer
Dream Theater – Pull Me Under
Rush – 2112 (Side One)
Kim Mitchell – Lager and Ale
Van Halen – Hot For Teacher
Rush – Subdivisions
Max Webster – Toronto Tontos
Kim Mitchell – Sudbury Saturday Night
This is not the last of Andy’s exploration of the greatest music of all time either…stay tuned for…
KIM MITCHELL – I Am A Wild Party (Live) (1990 Alert)
Kim Mitchell’s solo career has been pretty spotty, but I think most fans own this live album. Personally, I would rank it as a must-have. If only it wasn’t so damn brief! What is this, an EP? Even by 1990 standards, when cassette was a primary format, 38 minutes for a live album from a musician with a career as rich as Kim’s…?
I Am A Wild Party (Live) kicks off with the title track, which was one of two “new” songs recorded at rehearsal. It’s actually an older song from the sessions of his 1986 album; the chorus ends with the line “I’m shakin’ like a human being.” This is now a Kim klassic, the kind of fun summer party rocker that he is known for. The other new song is “Deep Dive”, a good hard tune with some greasy guitar groove.
Live highlights include the old Max Webster classic “Battle Scar”. As you may remember, that was Max Webster’s team-up with Rush. Here, bassist Peter Fredette (a great singer in his own right) takes Geddy Lee’s vocal. He does it extremely well, too. Elsewhere on this album, Fredette sings the high parts on the ballad “All We Are”, which many fans consider better than the original studio version from Akimbo Alogo.
“That’s the Hold”, “Lager and Ale”, “Rock & Roll Duty” all rock harder than their album versions, let loose from the sterility of a studio, with Fredette wailing away in the background. These are great live versions, with not a lot of crowd noise to distract from the actual musicianship and volume!
I think the album could have been 10 or 11 songs. When the party sounds this good, you don’t want to leave.