#1030: License to Drive

RECORD STORE TALES #1030: License to Drive

I was re-watching Mike and Bob’s Cross Kitchener Adventure the other day.  This old film that we made in highschool chronicled an afternoon of touring Kitchener in Bob’s car.  (Haven’t seen it?  Check it out.)  One thing that came up, repeatedly, was the fact that I didn’t have a driver’s license.  I was 18 years old with no license.  Bob teased me pretty hard about that.

I had no incentive to learn to drive.  Much like today, I didn’t really go anywhere!  Everything I wanted (except Sam the Record Man) was with walking distance.  (And I walked downtown to Sam’s once!)  School was a 10-15 minute walk.  The mall was 10 minutes.  The only incentive I really had was for Bob to stop teasing!

I can remember when I turned 16, my mom paid for driving lessons through the highschool.  I never went.  Why?

The truth is, I was scared of driving.

I remember having a dream one night that I owned K.I.T.T., Knight Rider’s car, a high-tech modified Trans-Am.  But in my dream I didn’t know how to drive either, so the car went into reverse out the driveway and hit somebody.  It was a really realistic dream.  I had another dream where I literally killed someone!

When driving classes started at school, I skipped (or “bagged” as the slang of the day went).  I had a lot of anxiety about it.  I had no idea what classroom it was in, so it was pretty easy to avoid.  My mom was pretty unhappy with me when she found out.  Which was long after the fact.

Getting in shit and getting teased didn’t change anything, but in the fall of 1991, I had to make a choice.  I had just started university up in Waterloo.  My choices were these:  1) Learn to drive, get a license, and drive yourself to school in dad’s old car.  2) Take the bus.

I chose 1).  Busses were a far worse option!  So I sucked it up and got lessons, and learned to drive.  And like anything else at that age, I became a know it all!

I barely passed my driver’s test.  The tester thought I was too hesitant at the lights.  I was really good at parallel parking though!

What I learned first and foremost however, was how awesome it was to have 100% say in the music selection!

I wish I could tell you for certain what album I played on my first solo drive.  I do know that I got my license in November of ’91 and focused on new releases during my first year as a driver.  The new Tesla, Europe, Poison (double live), Queensryche (single live), and Guns N’ Roses tapes were often in the deck.  I put them on my dashboard like a “now playing” sign to show off how cool I was.

I had night classes twice a week.  Sociology on Mondays from 7:00 – 10:00 pm, and Anthropology the same time on Thursdays.  I loved Anthro; didn’t care much for Soc.  The best thing about Sociology was meeting my pal Rob Vuckovich for the first time.  We talked about music a lot and became friends.  He told me of his incredible record collection that he refused to part with.  He would tape a track or two for me, but would not sell a single record.  Later on, when he decided to sell, he would only do so if I bought the entire collection.  Which I could not.  But he was a good guy.  He didn’t live far from me, so I drove him home after school.

I thought I would impress him by playing my newest acquisition from Columbia House:  Purple’s Perfect Strangers, featuring non-LP bonus track “Not Responsible”.  He was only mildly impressed.  He said something about how it was better than Bon Jovi or Poison.  Driving Rob home was something I looked forward to and I always chose the Monday night music specifically for him — to get some kind of reaction, positive or negative.

It’s funny how much I avoided driving until I absolutely had no choice.  My parents complained that I always left the stereo on reaaaaaally loud, but that’s just how I made the drive worthwhile!



Sunday Chuckle: F’in bird!

Do you hate birds?  Dr. Sheldon Cooper isn’t a fan.  I saw this on the back of a delivery truck the other day, and couldn’t help but think that these icons for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram spell out “f’in bird”!



VIDEO: Rain Drive

Too exhausted to write after that white-knuckle drive home. I am disappointed that the camera footage doesn’t convey the sheer terror of 5-6 feet of visibility in near non-stop rain.

So this is what you get, no metal reviews today, just a video of the drive home set to music. After editing (I slowed the video down in some of the small towns so you could get a better look at rural Ontario) it came to be the exact length of a song that I can use called “A Beautiful Day” by Tempted Fate, a Raw M.E.A.T band. Contrary to the lyrics though, it was thankfully not a beautiful day to die and we made it home in one piece although exhaused from the effort.

Enjoy the tune!

#849: Indoor Day

Sunday was what we call an “indoor day” at the lake. This is what I did with my indoor day.

The video took me most of the day, because my poor old laptop (10, this year) couldn’t handle all of the large files at once. So I started over from scratch and figured out a workaround until I was done about 7 hours later. I cooked, I went outside, I played with action figures, and I drank coffee until it finally saved without errors.

This video should scratch itches for a variety of people including:

1) Max the Axe fans – the full song “Randy” is included.
2) Dr. Kathryn Ladano fans – the full song “Masked” is included.
3) Those who enjoy driving videos. This is my first extensive use of my dash cam.
4) Nature buffs. You will hear real lake noises, rainstorms, and waves. You will see more cool underwater footage from the beaches of Lake Huron, and the legendary Greatest Sunset in the World.
5) Marvel / action figure fans. Look for a special “Build A Figure” Hulk.


You will not get:

1) Audio of me singing “Kissing Time” by Kiss; this was lost with the first version of the video.
2) Any of my pork chops.

But you can freely:

1) Live vicariously through me and absorb the good vibes through your monitor and speakers.

While visitors showing up on our little private road was not unexpected on a long weekend, it is disappointing when they show such little respect for the people who live here. A guy parked his ATV on our grass and said “Don’t get your knickers in a bunch” when my mom asked several times for him to move it. This came after arguing that he had the right to park there due to a “snow allowance”. There is no such thing.

Then we had Kenny the fireworks guys shooting off a “truck bed” full of firepower at 9:30 Saturday night. That was…distracting. As much as I love this place it certainly has changed in the last 45 years. Enjoy the video — the good the bad and the ugly!

#540: I Can Drive 55

GETTING MORE TALE #540:  I Can Drive 55

In 25 years of driving, I believe I have only had three speeding tickets.  Apparently, I can drive 55. Most of the time.

I took driver training at Canada Driving School, and there is one thing I’ll never forget from one of the in-class sessions.

“Music can have an influence on your driving,” said the instructor.  “Fast and upbeat music can trick your brain into driving faster without realizing it.  Keep an eye on your speedometer and don’t listen to AC/DC if this is a problem!”

A couple months later I had my license and was driving myself to and from school in my dad’s Plymouth Sundance.  There was no graduated licensing in Ontario back then.  I was driving alone on the expressway.  Of course, I loved having a car stereo to myself.  In short order it was proven that listening to AC/DC was not a problem for me.  Instead of weighing down the accelerator pedal, AC/DC kept me calm in traffic.  Silence made me nervous but music soothed.  If I was speeding it had nothing to do with the song on the tape deck.  If anything, I tended to slow myself down a bit so my trip could take a little longer, and I could finish a song.

In fact, recent studies have shown that, generally speaking, if music is an influence on driving it tends to be a positive influence.  I can’t say I’m surprised.

Sure, I’ve admitted to air drumming and so on in the car.  This is usually at red lights though, so I’m letting myself off.

I like to listen to live albums in the car.  They work very well in that noisy environment.  Instead of silence between songs that lets in all that road noise, you hear only the screaming of a crowd.  In addition, the length of a live album works well for highway driving.  If I’m heading to the Toronto area, a typical double live album will easily get a full play on the road.  At home, I don’t always have time to listen to a double live album in one sitting.


Facing the roads on a daily basis in this town can be like taking your life in your hands.  I’ve whined and moaned about the drivers here and it has been getting worse.  The 401 is undergoing heavy construction and drivers have a loose grasp on what lanes are lanes and what are not.  It’s treacherous, and more and more drivers are thinking only about their commute time rather than driving like a sane person.  Instead of weaving in and out desperately trying to get a little further ahead in the pack, I tend to stay in one lane as much as possible.  Perhaps this is the calming effect of good music.  I don’t need to race home if there is a good song I want to finish.  Maybe the racing guys should put on a good song, too.

I’ll admit it, driving is far from my favourite activity.  My favourite kind of day off involves no driving anywhere.  There are estimates that we spend about five years of our lives locked in our cars on the road.  I prefer to think of that as five years of road testing some amazing albums.  I would also argue that roughly 50% of the music reviews here are mikeladano.com were brainstormed while listening to the albums in the car.

Quite frankly, I don’t understand the speed demons.  Where are you going in such a hurry?  Maybe you should have left a little earlier.  Some music in the car makes the time fly easier.


Did you catch Han Solo’s cameo in the “I Can’t Drive 55” music video? Left – John David Kalodner. Right – Han Solo.