GRCI

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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Part 206: Rock Video Night!

MUCH

RECORD STORE TALES Part 206:  Rock Video Night!

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! (no video until I get a USB VCR!)

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.

NEXT TIME ON RECORD STORE TALES…

Make ’em say uhhh!