Iron Maiden

#768: Scanning the Notebooks

GETTING MORE TALE #768: Scanning the Notebooks

Mrs. LeBrain and I have been downsizing of late, and getting rid of old stuff we don’t need anymore.  In the process we have discovered lots of cool treasures we have been hanging onto.  In the last few months I’ve shown you a treasure trove of cassette and VHS rediscoveries, and things keep turning up all the time. The lady that helped us downsize, Elanda, didn’t understand why I needed to hang onto old yearbooks and CDs.  This kind of thing is important to me.  I’ve built an entire series of stories on nostalgia!  Preserving this stuff, to me, is preserving musical history.  It’s a part of the extended story of these bands.  It’s my autobiography.

Another great place to find old treasures is the parents’ basement.  I didn’t realize they hung on to some of my old, beat up highschool notebooks.  The covers are falling off, but like an archaeologist, I have to preserve this stuff for posterity.  Look what I found!

I didn’t just scribble band logos on my notebooks.  I painted them on.  My mother had a basement full of paints for her ceramics classes.  I had access to all the brushes, colours and textures you could ask for.  Most of the paints I used were water soluble, so I probably sprayed this binder with a clear coat to protect the paint.  30 years later, my artwork is still about 90% intact.

The Van Halen, Def Leppard, Dio, and Van Halen logos are self explanatory.  Look a little further.  I took the trouble of drawing Ratt’s titular mascot using three colours, including silver for his sunglasses.  The lightning bolts here are there are meant to be a reference to Frehley’s Comet.  (From looking over my homework inside, it seems I also signed my name with a lightning bolt.)  In the bottom front corner of the binder, “Dawn Was Here” was written on there by one of my sister’s annoying friends who took ceramics class at our house.

Digging inside, I discovered that I clearly put more effort into the front covers than my English homework.

Next to the very bored notes about American literature are more logos, more lightning bolts, a few grim reapers, and designs for multi-neck guitars.  More rats!  Cartoon portraits of Gene Simmons (no makeup; it was 1988) and Rob Halford.

Judging by my careless scribbles, it seems I was not a fan of Huck Finn.  The notes in English class are not legible and it looks like I didn’t do much homework.  That’s not to say I wasn’t working hard in class.  Some of the best sketches came from English class.  I obviously spent a lot of time on some of them.  A page called “Scenes of Death” looks alarming at first, until you look a little closer and notice that one guy is getting jumped by a giant Schnauzer.

 

And, of course, a giant page of logos.

Everyone had the giant page of logos.

Bob Schipper had the idea of calling our “band” Paragon.  “Not Paradox,” he stressed, “but Paragon.  It means we’re among the best.”  Our logo is the centerpiece of the page, coloured in yellow highlighter.  The entire page is like a “Where’s Waldo?” of bands and references.

My science and history notebooks are much cleaner.  Fewer band logos, more meticulously taken notes.  Still,  found of portrait of Satan in my History book.  I was trying to copy the style of Derek Riggs.

I’m grateful my mom and dad hung on to these books.  It makes up for my dad throwing out my Chopper Strike board game and damaging my ZZ Top Eliminator model.  There is still a ton more stuff at their place for me to go through, including a mountain of cool T-shirts that I forgot I owned.  My original Judas Priest shirt is there, the one that got me in trouble at Catholic school.  Imagine if ol’ Mrs. Powers at the Catholic school had seen my later Satan drawing!  I’m certain it would have raised concern and probably a meeting with my parents.

I’m glad I switched out from a Catholic grade school to a mainstream high school.  My logo and Satan drawing skills certainly flourished there, even if my appreciation for Huck Finn did not.

 

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Sunday Chuckle: Rime of the Ancient Mariner

“This is a song about what not to do when a bird shits on ya!” — Bruce Dickinson

 

Last weekend, a bird shit on me.  It would have got me right on the head, except I happened to have my hands over my head at that exact moment.  I felt something wet on my fingers.  I looked and saw something gross!  I ran inside to wash.

I ran into the cottage warning, “A bird shit on me, clear a path!”

My dad’s response?

“How do you know?”

Gee dad, I dunno, how about the bird shit on the fucking fingers?!

 

VHS Archives #75: The craziest Iron Maiden interview you’ll ever see (1988)

Bruce Dickinson is extra naughty and caffeinated here with bandmate Dave Murray and Power Hour host Erica Ehm!

Seventh Son of a Seventh Son was brand new and the music video hadn’t even come out yet.  Bruce and Dave discuss:

  • The concept
  • The video
  • Lucifer
  • Whether Deep Purple are good football players or not
  • Recording
  • Bruce’s forthcoming book The Adventures of Lord Iffy Boatrace
  • Going folk?

This hilarious interview is a must-watch for Maiden fans worldwide.

VHS Archives #73: Killer Dwarfs interview + Bruce Dickinson rips off Darrell Dwarf’s undies! (1989)

“‘Arry wants it…’Arry gets it.” – Killer Dwarfs

You won’t believe this got broadcast on daytime television!

Laurie Brown talked to the Killer Dwarfs in rehearsal for their excellent fourth LP Dirty Weapons. Additionally you will hear a preview for a new song called “Nothing Gets Nothing” live in concert, plus some behind the scenes footage.  The band talk about the music scene in Canada at the time (not good) and touring with Iron Maiden.  “What Harry wants, Harry gets,” they tell us.

But the real reason you’re watching this video is to see Bruce Dickinson rip the pants right off Darrell Dwarf.  It was the last night of the tour and therefore prank night!  Enjoy seeing “all of Darrell” as the audience did that night!

 

VHS Archives #70: Iron Maiden’s Dave Murray and Janick Gers live interview (1992)

I’ll let the video do the talking.  It’s a big one:  Iron Maiden’s Dave Murray and Janick Gers went live with Teresa Roncon to divulge the details of the new album, Fear of the Dark.  Live calls are answered, new artwork is discussed, and Bruce’s new son is named!

#742: Returning the Rock

GETTING MORE TALE #742: Returning the Rock

There’s a recurring theme in fiction that I like a lot. It’s the idea that you have to return an object back to its origin point.  The One Ring had to be returned to the fires of Mordor where it was made.  Or the recovery of Luke’s lightsaber and its journey back to Skywalker.  Roger’s golden turd returning to his anus in order to destroy it.

Countless years ago, Iron Tom Sharpe gave me a tremendous gift.  You’ve seen it here before; the giant Iron Maiden “Holy Smoke” poster signed by all five members.  It was mounted and hung here in LeBrain HQ for over a decade.  Tom just didn’t have room for it anymore.  He gave me a bunch of his posters, but that was the crown jewel.

Now the times have changed and I’m the one who doesn’t have room.  This week, I removed at least 20 full bags of possessions from my place and we’re still going strong with lots to go.  Tom sent me a message.  “What’s with losing your possessions, are you going Buddhist?”  Hah!  No man, it’s just physics.  You can only store so much stuff in a condo.  “Do you still have that old Maiden poster?” he asked.  I thought about it, and then it hit me.  I knew what I had to do.

I had to return the Maiden poster to its originator.  Tom picked it up, and it is back where it should be.  I like to think of it as I was storing it for him the last 15 years.  I like the poetry of that.

Well, I’d better get back at it.  This place isn’t going to clean itself!

#741: Homework

GETTING MORE TALE #741: Homework

Teachers and counsellors used to tell us it was OK to listen to music when you’re studying, but don’t play things you like so much that you find it distracting.  Nothing you love too much, nor anything you hate.

That was always a problem for me as a kid.  I loved music!  Then and now.

There were always a few albums that hadn’t clicked with me.  In 1992 I was studying for exams, and I chose Mr. Bungle’s debut to do it.  I was also working with the belief that listening to more complex music got your brain juices flowing even better.  I had my method for studying, and I really don’t think music had much impact.  I just remember choosing Mr. Bundgle for the reason that it was complex, and I didn’t get it.

When I was younger, in highschool, I remember listening to a lot of different things while studying.  I had a vinyl phase in early 1988.  I was 30 years ahead of the hipsters.  My sister and I had discovered B-sides in the singles rack at the local Zellers store.  Def Leppard’s “Ride Into the Sun” was playing in store, and my ears perked up.  I knew it was Leppard, but I never heard that song before!  Another single I purchased at that time was Triumph’s “Let The Light (Shine On Me)”.  Rik Emmett played it a few weeks earlier live and acoustic on the Power Hour.  The single got quite a few spins while I was doing my homework that winter.

For some reason, Iron Maiden’s Piece of Mind was also on the turntable a lot while studying that year.  I may have purchased the record off Bob, because I am sure I got it from him.  There were a couple songs I played repeatedly.  One was “Still Life” and the other was “Sun and Steel”.  At that age, Bob and I thought we could really sing like Bruce Dickinson if we worked hard enough at it.  Those were two songs I was practising at the time!

Listening to music while studying seemed to work for me, but I will admit to one distraction.

Do you remember when Wayne’s World came out on home video?  The first releases came with a free pair of Wayne’s World drum sticks.  My sister bought the video and got the sticks.  However, I would frequently steal them and claim that I needed them to study.  It wasn’t untrue.  A lot of the time, I would pound out a beat on the bed while I was memorising names, dates and events.  However, other times I was just playing a solo.  Probably most of the time!

One could argue that drumming on the bed eventually led to my degree.

Hey, the teachers and counsellors also told us to take breaks from studying.  Sometimes mine were the length of a song…or several!

 

#739: Aces High

GETTING MORE TALE #739: Aces High

I am fortunate, oh so very fortunate, that I still have my old VHS tapes.  Watching them again, over 30 years down the road, has been the closest I’ve ever come to real time travel.  These tapes were my childhood!  I sat in the basement, remote control in hand, recording as much music as possible from, well, MuchMusic!

The Pepsi Power Hour was in its infancy, with J.D. Roberts in the hosting chair.  One by one, each video rolls out in the order I recorded them.  In many cases that means the order in which I first heard them!

The good fortune that I even have these tapes goes further, back to my parents.  They had pay TV, meaning we had MuchMusic when it first began, not when it became free in the late 80s.  They bought a VCR and pretty much let me monopolise it when the Power Hour was on.  Even though it was the middle of the big “Satan scare”, they let me watch the Power Hour, unlike the Dolphs, the weirdo neighbours across the street.  They didn’t even let their kids watch Dr. Who.  Here I am watching Ronnie James Dio slaying people with his sword in “Holy Diver”.  A few clips earlier, a bathing suit clad teacher was dancing on desks in a Van Halen video.  Then there was Kiss.  Were they really “Knights in Satan’s Service”?  My mom asked me that question, but she didn’t stop me from watching.  That couldn’t have been easy, considering the subject matter of “I Love It Loud”.

So I kept recording videos, and stored the tapes safely, as if knowing that 30 years down the road I’d be wanting them again.  Iron Maiden came up frequently on the earliest tapes, and I can’t help thinking of my dad.

The only Iron Maiden videos my dad liked were “Aces High” and “The Trooper”.  He approved of the lyrics and explained them to me in historical context.  I knew all about the Battle of Britain long before I hit the age that they teach you about it in school.  I knew the Charge of the Light Brigade, what a “Cossack” was, and where it happened.  That’s because of Iron Maiden and my dad!  He used it as educational material.  He really seemed to like those lyrics.

Today, my friend Tom who is a teacher uses rock music in the same way — to teach.

“Aces High” was always a personal favourite.  Not only was it a great song, but also a great video.  The single had some of the best cover art you could find on a Maiden vinyl.  “Aces High” received many spins, on the turntable and the VCR alike.  At that age, my sister was like a little shadow, and copied me with everything.  We watched videos together.  We also went to the same school.  In one class, she and her friends were asked about their favourite songs.  My sister said “Aces High” but they wrote down “Ace Is High”.  Come on, people!  It’s not that kind of song!  She was in the 4th grade.

Now I sit, watching my tapes, reliving old memories fresh and new once again.  What a lucky guy I am.

 

VHS Archives #34: Iron Maiden FC vs Glass Tiger, MuchMusic & Music Express (1988)

“I had to mark the singer from a band called Glass Tiger who was quite useful. Sadly for him the pitch was in poor condition and after I chased him round for 45 minutes, he twisted his ankle and was stretchered off. I never touched him ref — honest!’ Stretchered off with ‘undisclosed injuries to his testicles’ was I believe the newspaper quotation that tells you all you need to know about the match.” — Bruce Dickinson*

This video clip of a football match between Iron Maiden FC and Toronto’s finest singers and media is surely a rarity.  It’s a shame that more wasn’t broadcast.  On a personal level, this match meant to lot to me.  My heroes (Iron Maiden) were facing off against my sister’s (Glass Tiger).  And of course Glass Tiger and Co. were pummelled.  I loved holding that over her head!

Look for Frew and MuchMusic alumni including Master T (Tony Young) and Kim Clark Champniss in this fun clip.

It must have been cool to be at this game.  I wonder what it was like?  Wait it a minute — why don’t I just ask a guy who was there?

“I was at that game. Covered it for the newspaper at U of T [that] I wrote for.  Keith Sharp (then of Music Express magazine, later my boss at ACCESS) was friendly with the band. As a kid he was a goalkeeper for the Manchester City youth squad, so he had some skills, and he’d organize a match with the Maidens, who were all soccer fiends, whenever they were in town.  Alan Frew (Glass Tiger) went down with a knee injury during the match… Others on the Music Express squad that I can recall were Mark Holmes (Platinum Blonde) and Maria Del Mar (National Velvet).  I even got some Maiden sideline quotes for my story… And it was the first time I met Keith.” — Jamie Morrison, friend and former journalist

Check it out below!

 

* Thanks Deke at Arena Rock for providing the Bruce quote!

VHS Archives #32: Vintage Sam the Record Man TV ad (1988)

Possibly the only video on the internet with both Megadeth and Poison?

Specially priced! $8.99 for cassette or LP, $18.99 for CD!

For a great look at the Poison album, check out Deke at Arena Rock!