humour

#1013: “Joey” – The Joey Tempest Conspiracy, 7 Years Later

RECORD STORE TALES #1013: “Joey” – The Joey Tempest Conspiracy, 7 Years Later

I think with the distance of seven years, we can finally put the Joey Tempest Conspiracy Theory to bed.  “What conspiracy,” you ask?  It all started in March of 2015 when a writer friend of mine, Tommy Morais, contributed an excellent review of the Europe album, War of Kings.  He rated it 4/5 stars, and said “I praise Europe for giving us a true great hard rock record in 2015”.  You’d think there was nothing controversial about Tommy’s review, but on June 13 of that year…everything changed.

A reader going by the name “Carrieanne” dropped a massive, monolithic comment one morning, explaining that Joey Tempest was no longer in fact Joey Tempest.  He had been replaced by a doppleganger.  A satanic one at that.  According to Carrieanne, “since the middle of 1989, the real Joey Tempest is not in this band, and Joey was truly the only one who has made this group huge with his talents, awesomeness and uniqueness!! And since 26 years, there’s such a horrible imposter and liar in this ‘group’, that’s not the real Joey Tempest!!”

“The real Joey Tempest had to leave the group because of this horrible liar!! It’s so obvious and so clear to see that it’s just someone different (unless you’re blind and deaf, like bunch of ignorants [sic]).”  On and on it goes, a massive diatribe praising Joey, attacking the fans who enabled the replacement’s acceptance, and of course, religious weirdness.  “You are worshipping the devil!!!” said Carrieanne.    But all is not lost.  The real Joey, one day, will come back.  There’s a really messianic angle to this whole comment.  Carrieanne ties the lyrics to “Danger on the Track” and “The Final Countdown” to a prophecy of this great replacement, like biblical verse.

“Are you on drugs?” asked Jompa Wilmenius, of E-Tainment News.  Reader Derek commented, “I can see you made the mistake of spilling meth into your coffee this morning champ.”

You can’t help but see similarities to conspiracy theories today.  I’m reminded of Romana Didulo, a woman who claims to be the “Queen of Canada”.  Canada already has a monarch and his name is Charles III, but I digress.  Tens of thousands of followers legitimately believe Didulo to be the legitimate Queen of Canada, as she tours the country in a beat up RV and feeds her followers tins of sardines.  And just like with Queen Romana, acolytes of the weird soon emerged to talk about Joey Tempest.  Things got even weirder.

Admittedly, this next part is kind of my fault.  With co-writer 1537, we cooked up a parody review of War of Kings, playing up the whole replacement angle.  For example, we wrote:  “Just look at the songs here!  ‘Children of the Night’.  The real Joey would never have written a song about ‘children of the night’,  ‘California 405’ is the highway that O.J. Simpson was chased down – a definite clue that there was something more going on here than meets the eye!  Why would Europe specifically reference that notorious highway unless they were implying some sort of wrongdoing behind the scenes?”

We guffawed and high-fived and hoped Carrieanne would drop another bizarre comment.  That is not exactly what happened.

While everyone else seemed to get the joke, someone named Doreen, who typed completely in capslock, said:  “I know Joey Tempest, and can I assure you that this is completely and utterly ludicrous.

We laughed some more, as one person clearly did not get the joke.  We thought it was pretty obvious.  With lines such as “Joey would NEVER let his hair go flat like that, wake up people,” I really did think it was an obvious joke post.

We mocked Doreen a bit, but then shortly after, a new player entered the field.  Miranda, claiming to be Joey’s wife, also did not get the joke.  “Must post fast since I’m sure the guys in white coats [are] coming for ya,” she said.  Miranda claimed to have Joey Tempest’s birth certificate, marriage certificate, childrens’ birth certificates, and a DNA report.  (I’m not sure what good a DNA report will do us.)

I followed Miranda to her YouTube channel, where she goes by the name “TheMirandaTempest”.  On this page, she has poorly dubbed her vocals onto classic Europe ballads, to create fake “duets” with her “husband” Joey.  Joey’s wife, incidentally, was also publicly known to be Lisa Worthington, not somebody named Miranda.  So now, we had two different delusions.  We had Carrieanne who said Joey Tempest was replaced by a satanic doppleganger in some bizarre conspiracy.  Now we also had Miranda, who was posing as Joey’s wife online.  And things would get even weirder still.

We know now that there was at least one Facebook page posing as Joey Tempest at that time.  Imposters, of the online variety, were of actual concern.  You can see why as we go on.

As Miranda’s comment was thoroughly mocked by readers, others came to her defence.  Doreen claimed again she knew the real Joey Tempest, but I think the person she knew was probably that fake Joey on Facebook.  Once she realized that several commenters were trying to explain the joke to her, she became angry.  She did not find it funny.  Neither did Joey Tempest, or his wife, she claimed.

Ironically, I had heard from Jompa Wilmenius that the real John Levén of Europe did find it funny.

Soon, Doreen’s partner Billy Low entered the fray.

“Joakim Larsson [Joey’s real name] and his wife are personal friends of mine. They are also personal friends of my partner. We ask him to do cover versions of songs for us, which he does. We also met him recently. A fake? Plastic surgery? Don’t make me laugh! Are you one of those who is going to write a book about this, hoping to make money? If so, forget that idea. Anyone with even a shred of common sense would know that what you are claiming is pure fabrication. If l wasn’t so furious about this, l can assure you that l would laugh my head off!”

They met him recently.  They. Met. Him. Recently.  Whooboy.  His wife Miranda…”You read what Joey’s wife has said on here,” said Billy Low.  The person claiming to be his wife, who is not his wife, because his wife was Lisa Worthington, you mean.

It’s really easy to understand how the Queen of Canada has followers when you see stuff like this.  She’s told her followers not to pay their bills, as Canada is illegitimate.  She is the Queen, and she says don’t pay your bills.  So these Canadians — homeowners! — are having their electricity turned off.  This is happening as we speak.  And they believe in their Queen even harder.

The very active comments section rolled on, with one comparing the situation to Matthew Trippe who claimed to be Nikki Sixx at one point.

I later received a threat on Facebook from Billy Low, because I misgendered him as a woman.  I didn’t know.  I just assumed it was a group of Joey fangirls.  When he said Doreen was his “partner” that didn’t clear it up.  The best part about this is that it drew out someone actually claiming to be Joey Tempest.  Posted Joey:  “The ‘real’ Joey Tempest is alive and well and still the same person,but even Rockstars have their secrets!!!!!!!!

From the comments’ IP addresses, I learned the following.  Billy and Doreen didn’t even live on the same continent as Miranda, so I’m not sure how they are close personal friends.  Carrieann was in Poland, and had the same IP address as another commenter “Someone X”.  It was all so very strange.

Strange, yet in the context of what we see in the world today, pretty tame stuff.  Nobody’s losing their house because they think Joey was replaced by a satanic lookalike, or because they pose as Joey’s wife online.  As least, we hope they don’t.

Billy Low accused me of making the story up to write a book and make money.  While that was certainly untrue, I admittedly did milk the posts for hits as much as I could.  They were very popular!  One or more of the Joey Tempest posts tended to stay in the top 10 for hits, for a long time.  I won’t apologize for that.  Entertaining the masses can be a thankless job.  I probably earned enough in advertizing dollars from the Joey posts to buy a few coffees.  Sue me, Billy!

#902.5: Spoogecakes 2 – Electric Boogaloo

Today’s chapter of Record Store Tales is a direct sequel to Part 35.5:  Spoogecakes!

 

RECORD STORE TALES #902.5: Spoogecakes 2 – Electric Boogaloo

LeBrain HQ has eyes and ears everywhere!   We are like Hydra:  cut off one head and two shall takes its place.

If you recall, when I launched this site in 2012, I had one anonymous hater.  Really nasty, too.  You can read the comments yourself.  This came right out of the blue.  The identity of the hater was confirmed by one of her co-workers at the Record Store:  an employee there at a location I once managed.  I had barely begun publishing my stories.  “Grow up or shut up,” went one of the kinder comments.  This only inspired me to keep writing, with more energy and frequency.  Obviously I had struck a nerve!  I actually owe this hater a huge thanks.  The drama she created catapulted me into another level, and the hits have only increased in the years since.  She provided the launchpad, so I do owe her my gratitude.  Craig Fee dubbed her with the nickname “Spoogecakes”, and I ran with that name for the Record Store Tales that followed.  I turned her hatemail into a chapter of the story.  Lemons into lemonade.

Hey, you wanna troll Record Store Tales?  Then Record Store Tales will troll you right back.  Some of my former co-workers there thought it was incredibly nasty of me exploit her vitriolic comments for views the way I did.  (What they thought of her actions — my so-called friends who were groomsmen at my wedding — they didn’t share that with me.)   I hadn’t planned on writing about her at all.  She was a non-entity and completely unimportant to my story.  She wrote herself in, as far as I was concerned.

Fast forward to the present:  she’s still at the Record Store, and just as endearing as ever.  A few months ago, I was just sitting here boppin’ through my day, when I got an email from a source bearing a tidbit of inside gossip.  My source revealed that Spoogey has been promoted to a manager of some kind, and isn’t the kind you’d want to work for.  I have obscured certain text to protect the identity of the informant, but the bones of their message are below.

“[Spoogecakes] is training someone, and that person has to leave home at 4 AM to get to the store, to suit [Spoogey’s] needs.”

Good luck with training someone after they’ve spent five hours on a bus.  Hope that worked out for ya.  Stuff like that never happened when I was training.  I drove people to and from training if I had to.  (Ask Shane.)

The training in question involves a box of used CDs that we would use to practice buying techniques.  How to check the discs for quality, how to check inventory, and how to price them.   The process of this training was previously detailed in Part 94:  Staffing.  (You can also watch a demonstration of me doing this in a live stream from last year.)  In all my time at the store, I never made anyone get up at 4 AM for this.  The story continues:

“In retaliation, the trainee wanted to leave a surprise for [Spoogey] in the box of used discs.  I got the impression it was a used sex toy.  The plan was for her to find it in the box with the other used items.”

My source said that the gist of the conversation was that “no one likes [Spoogey]. The manager of the store was in disbelief of her antics.”  The source also suggested that the conversation would have been a lot worse and more graphic if there were not customers in the store.

Some things never change!

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”!

 

 

The Author Reads series – Record Store Tales Part 7: A S****y Story

Since starting the Facebook Live streams, I thought maybe doing a reading of some of my own stories would be fun. The reaction was mixed but some of the comments are below.

Comments:

  • “I thought this stream would be about music but it is about poop and toilet paper. Pleasant surprise.” – Buried on Mars
  • “Story time with Bum Face?…This is gonna be a long stream.” – Uncle Meat
  • “The greatest story ever!!” – Chris

The live stream went down as only live streams could, spontaneously and hilariously.  I tried re-recording the reading to get better quality but that was impossible.  The only solution is to use the original live stream reading from the night of April 3 2020.  Since that was done on live video, you get the video of it as well as a bonus.

Please enjoy the slightly edited reading below!

RECORD STORE TALES Part 7:  A Shitty Story

 

Read the original text story below by clicking here!

* Pardon the mirrored video.  Still trying to fix that.
** The Starfleet captain’s uniform is me trying to come with different shirts each week.

Sunday Chuckle: Prime Mimer

Stole this from a friend’s Facebook!

Sunday Chuckle: A Tribute to LeBrain’s Dad

You’ve read the story, now you can hear the song!  Getting More Tale #488:  Almost Cut My Hair described a song that my dad likes to sing, called “Shittily Shittily La La La”.  Have a listen to my dad’s biggest hit.

Sunday Chuckle: Tom’s Frozen Beater

Here’s a Sausagefest telling of what would later become Record Store Tales Part 289:  Tom’s Frozen Beater.  This was recorded for the 2013 ‘Fest.

Sunday Chuckle: Slick Willie

Cleaning out Jen’s mom’s basement has been an adventure. I found some cool LPs and CDs (still sealed!) that we’ll look at another time. For now, something amusing.

In the 1990s Jen was dating a guy who not only wished he was American, but also wished he was a Republican. Long before any orange-skinned presidents sullied the name of the Republican party, Jen and her then-boyfriend even attended the inauguration of George W. Bush.

We found “Bill Clinton’s presidential driver’s license” in the house (see below)! This must have been her boyfriend’s possession. Let us take you back to the nostalgic glow of the 1990s, when it seemed like the worst thing a president could do was deny having sexual relations with “that woman”!

As soon as I saw it, I said “I’m keeping this”!

#695: Don’t Forget to Lock It!

GETTING MORE TALE #695: Don’t Forget to Lock It!

The most important part about closing the Record Store was also the easiest. It wasn’t balancing the cash, or leaving the store in good shape for the morning shift. It wasn’t setting the alarm. It was simply remembering to lock the door on your way out.

When it comes to locking up, I had the best life experiences to remember by. After all, it was my dad who used to make locking up a long, drawn out exercise.

When we used to go to the cottage for the weekend, my dad would make 200% sure that we locked up the house. My mom, sister and I would be waiting in the car, in the driveway, for him to finish checking. He’d exit the house by the front door, check it a few times, and then go out back to check the back doors and windows. Then he’d come back out front and check the front door again. If he was being extra careful, he might run back to check the back door one more time. Then, we could leave.

Leaving the cottage was the same routine. Exit by the front door, lock it, and make sure. Run out back. Check the back doors and windows. Check the front once more before leaving.  Repeat as necessary.

We teased teased my dad about it.   Once, after he got into the car, I jumped out and said “I have to check something!” I then checked the front door and ran out back to check there too before returning to the car. It was pretty funny, I thought.  Not sure he got the joke….

When it came time to be an adult with grown-up responsibilities, locking up the house, or car, or store was never an issue with me.  (It’s an issue with Mrs. LeBrain, but that’s a whole other story or two.  There’s a reason I made a sign that said “LOCK ALL DOORS AND WINDOWS BEFORE YOU LEAVE”.)

I would always be doubly careful. There were times, more than one occasion, when I could not distinctly remember locking the door at the Record Store. Rather than worry all night, I’d jump back in the car and make sure. I never did actually leave the door open, but taking the 30-40 minutes to drive back and confirm was worth while.  Much better safer than sorry.

I was absolutely furious one morning when I came in to work and the door was unlocked. As discussed in #489: I Forgot to Remember to Forget, it only happened once. Thankfully no thieves tried the door. If they had, they would have had free entrance. I can’t remember who left the door open…but I wanna say it was a night shift with Dave Quon and The Boy Who Killed Pink Floyd. Clearly, they didn’t have dads like mine.  If memory serves, each of them thought the other guy had locked up.

Locking car doors was also something drilled into us, before the era of remote door locks. I was stopping at a convenience store with one of the guys from work. As we got out of the car I reminded him, “Don’t forget to lock it.” Some dirtbag hanging out in front of the store yelled mockingly, “Yeah better sure you lock up that Ferrari there.”

Not the point!

As much as it annoyed us as kids, I’m glad our dad drilled “don’t forget to lock it” into our heads. It helped a lot when it came to adult life. Nothing was ever left unlocked at the Record Store by me, and I think indirectly they need to be thankful to my dad. He personally trained their employee (me) on locking the doors.  I think my dad deserves a bonus! Or a free CD, or a T-shirt!

#686: Puke!

GETTING MORE TALE #686: Puke!

 

Almost everybody hates puking.  It’s one of the most unpleasant bodily functions, and everyone does it.  Especially rock stars!  I remember reading an interview with the rock band Kix in Hit Parader magazine.  On the subject of tour stories, one of the guitarists was sick during one show.  He had a puke bucket at side stage, but he missed and the puke ended up hitting an electric fan, which splattered the vomit all over the drummer.  “But he felt better for about half a song!”

On the less funny side, too many rock stars died after choking on their own vomit.  Jimi Hendrix and John Bonham come to mind.  It’s a tragic way to go, when the rock and roll lifestyle eats its own young.  Unfortunately the lessons are not always learned and rock and roll continues to be littered with tragedy.

But let’s keep it light this time.

I have always been a power-puker.  I wake up the neighborhood.  I’ve never puked on stage like the guy from Kix, but I do have a couple rock and roll stories.

At Sausagefest several years ago, I pushed it one step too far.  Not with alcohol, but with food.  That last sausage was a little undercooked and it didn’t feel right in my stomach. I was OK though the Saturday night countdown, and I went to bed after the music ended.  I slept in my car that year, and I started feeling sick after a very brief sleep.

I woke up and I knew I was going to puke.  I got out the car and walked towards the middle of the field.  I didn’t want to puke near anybody’s tent.  I could hear that some of the guys were still up and partying, but I couldn’t see anything.  And then, I released the hounds:

BRAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUGHHHHHHAAAAHHHHH!

BORRRUGHHHHHEEEEERRRRRRRHHHHHEEEH!

PLAGHHHOUUGGGGGHHHHHEAAAAAAR!

“You OK there buddy?” I could hear Tom asking from somewhere in the dark.

“Yeah I just ate too much,” I responded as I recovered.  “Can you get me a bottle of water from my car?”

Tom made sure I was OK, and I slept great after that.  I have no idea how late those guys stayed up, but I know that some years I have woken up in the morning only to find Uncle Meat and Bucky still hadn’t gone to sleep!  There I was going for my morning shit, and these guys were still hanging by the fire.

It happened again a few years later, after Thanksgiving dinner at the cottage.  I blame my mom for this one.  She laid out way too much food, including tables full of chocolate and candy.  As I did at Sausagefest, I ate too much.  I woke up in the middle of the night again, knowing I was going to puke.  I didn’t want to wake anyone in that small cottage so I went outside to the back yard.  Then, once again, I released the evil from my stomach.

BRAAHHHHGGGGGHHHHRRRRRRRRTTT!

BLUUUGGGGGGPPPPPPFFFFFFFFFFFF.

HUUUAAAAAAHHHHHHHGGGGG!

I walked back into the cottage to find that I did in fact wake everyone, despite my best efforts not to.

Here’s the funny thing.  In both cases, the puddle of puke was gone in the morning.  Eaten by wild animals?  Hope they enjoyed the meal!