I thought this review had been lost. I wrote it in 1995, saved it to floppy disc, later uploaded it to a site called sabbathlive…and when that site disappeared I assumed my review was lost too. I was wrong!
This is my first time reading it in decades, so this is almost as new to me as it is to you! I will leave everything as-is. I can tell that the review is mostly original with a couple sentences added later on when I uploaded it to sabbathlive. I will put that text in a lighter colour.
The biggest difference between the 1995 review and the rewrite I posted in 2012 seems to be my impression of Tony Martin. Here I call him “wonderful” and in the version I rewrote from memory, I called him “so-so”.
BLACK SABBATH/MOTORHEAD – 07/22/1995 – Lulu’s Roadhouse, Kitchener Ontario
I arrived at Lulu’s with my friends at 9pm sharp, to find a nicely filled hall. Not too cramped yet at this early hour. Upon our arrival, we were informed that we had missed opening act Tiamat. None of us cared too much. While my friends were there to see Motorhead, I was there to see Black Sabbath.
Motorhead hit the stage on full octane with “Ace Of Spades”. From there on, it was no remorse (pun fully intended). Lemmy looks old, Phil Campbell looks old, but they played like teenagers, and it was refreshing to see. Lem and Phil’s onstage banter was funny as hell, and drummer Mikkey Dee (easily one of the fasted double-bass drummers in the world) was unreal. The highlights of Motorhead’s set were easily “Killed By Death”, “Iron Fist”, “I’m So Bad Baby I Don’t Care”, and the brand new “Sacrifice”. (Lem: “This song is so fucking fast, don’t try to dance to it or you’ll break both your fucking legs!”) Every single song they played sounded terrific. Exciting riffs, awesome double bass, and cool vocals – if you can call them that. I’m now converted to the gospel of Motorhead: These guys are simply awesome.
The crowd received them very well. I think Lemmy, Phil and Mikkey looked pleased by both the turnout and the response to their set. Lem said he’d come back to play here “any fucking time”, but don’t they all say that? This time it seemed they meant it. [NOTE: Motorhead did indeed come back to Lulu’s the next year.]
We went back to check out the T-shirts and hats. I really liked the new Black Sabbath FORBIDDEN T-shirts, which had the cartoon cover art. Even a hat would have been nice to own, but I was short on cash. I didn’t even have the $25 to cover a Sabbath hat. D’oh!
We decided at this point to try to stand at the front of the stage for Black Sabbath’s set. We had kind of figured that most people in Kitchener were there to see Motorhead, not Sabbath, and the crowd would thin out a little bit. We were totally wrong. It didn’t take long for the crowd to grow, and thicken in front of the stage.
We grabbed an awesome spot right up front, in between where the two Tony’s – Martin and Iommi – would be. However, this would not be the night to be standing close to Black Sabbath. I’m from small-town Ontario, and rough mosh pits were not what we were used to. During Motorhead’s set the crowd stood there politely, cheered madly after each song, and were generally well behaved, which is the way we liked it. We came to see the band, and hear the music, after all.
The first sign of trouble was when a fight broke out right behind us. A small Cobain-ish kid began pushing around a very large (we’re talking pro-wrestler large) man, who didn’t take it all that well. One headbutt later, the small kid was on the ground bleeding, and the large guy was out the door before security even noticed what had happened. They collected what was left of Cobain.
At 11:30 this was all forgotten. Black Sabbath hit the stage with a powerful version of “Children Of The Grave”. Tony Martin gave the song a fierce energy.
The first thing I noticed was that Tony Martin looked a lot older than I expected. I hadn’t seen any decent pictures of Black Sabbath for a couple years. Martin has small but friendly looking eyes, and receding hair. He sported an evil looking goatee, a long black shirt, black jeans and boots. By contrast, for some reason Tony Iommi looked a lot younger than I expected. He smiled a lot, and even moved around a bit on stage. This is Tony Iommi, the man known for staying riveted in one spot on stage!
Cozy Powell looked the same as he always has, same hair and all, although he did look a little chubbier in the face. Neil Murray looked identical to the way he looked in the “Feels Good To Me” video, five years previous. Keyboardist Geoff Nicholls was partly hidden on side stage. Why Black Sabbath don’t put him up front on the main stage is a mystery to me, he’s been in the band for 15 years now! However, the first thing that hit me about the rarely-seem Nicholls was that he was trying to look hip with his dyed blonde hair.
The set list included all the following songs, although I may have the order somewhat jumbled:
“Children Of The Grave”, “Neon Knights”, “The Shining”, “Get A Grip”, “The Wizard”, “Headless Cross”, “Rusty Angels”, “Can’t Get Close Enough”, “When Death Calls”, War Pigs”, “Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath”, “Black Sabbath”, “Heaven And Hell”, “Mob Rules”.
Encore: “Iron Man”, “Paranoid”, “Heaven And Hell” [reprise]
I felt that Tony Martin was a wonderful frontman. He has his own style. During the instrumental sections of songs, he would back up a few steps, spread his arms like he was awaiting the coming of Christ, and shake his hair about. While singing, he makes eyes contact with you. He smiles a lot. He enjoys what he does. I genuinely felt like the smiles that Iommi and Martin gave off were real, and that’s the real reason that Black Sabbath are still around 25 years later. These guys just love playing music. Cozy Powell and Neil Murray were more reserved, but Iommi and Martin, the core of Sabbath, were happy just being up there.
All the Ozzy-era classics were received with tremendous cheers by the crowd. Tony Martin allowed the crowd to sing most of the lyrics to “War Pigs”. The Dio-era songs were met with equal excitement. Most people in our area on the floor sang along to every word. All the later material was drawn from Tony Martin’s albums, though nothing from the excellent TYR or CROSS PURPOSES, which I found disappointing. However, as Martin said during the set, Black Sabbath have over 200 songs in the catalogue,and you can’t play them all.
They played three of the best songs from the new FORBIDDEN album: “Get A Grip”, “Rusty Angels” and “Can’t Get Close Enough”. They were played well, I felt they sounded better than the album versions. For the “Can’t Get Close Enough” sections of dark fingerpicked guitar, Iommi switched from his Gibson to an unusual make of guitar that I’d never seen before and couldn’t identify.
The highlight of the set for myself was “The Shining”. It had always been my favourite Tony Martin-era song, and I was not disappointed. The surprise was that a lot of people in the audience also seemed to know that song. “Headless Cross” was played equally well, and I was amazed with how rich Tony Iommi’s guitar sounds live. However, this song demonstrated how much vocal range Tony Martin has lost in recent years. He could not hit the high notes. (Play the original and see how high he gets!) Instead, he sang an octave lower. Again, most people seemed to know this song.
“When Death Calls” came as a surprise, since it was never released as a video like the other Martin-era songs. On the way to the show I said I wanted to hear some obscure 80’s Sabbath, and I got it!
The crowd just ate it up, everything Sabbath served, they ate up and asked for seconds. When the moshing began, I was a bit surprised, and made way further back so as to not avoid injury. A lot of people came out of that show limping, and I didn’t really feel like being one of them.
If I was the only person there surprised by the moshing, it looked like the stage-diving took even the band by surprise! When the first gentleman made his way onto the stage, Tony Martin appeared shocked and backed up a few steps. After this, a security guy parked himself on stage and pushed off every guy who made it up there. It was kind of strange seeing a security guy crouching on stage in front of Martin.
Sabbath ruled. They simply ruled. For sheer intensity they couldn’t match Motorhead, but they held their own. The set list was about as perfect as you could make it, since it’s impossible to squeeze in too many more. After all, the band couldn’t avoid the classics in order to play more material from the 90’s. It was also nice to finally hear Tony Martin’s live renditions of those classics. He really did an excellent job and I hope one day they’ll commit his voice to a live album.*
This was my first time seeing Black Sabbath live. Seeing them so close to home in such a small venue really was an amazing experience. I hope it’s not the last.**
In 2014, Tom and Uncle Meat made a video for their “Here Comes LeBrain Again” parody which I gladly used as my theme song. In 2020 that video is a little out of date, so I decided to make an updated one. Check both versions out below and let me know.
Thanks to Meat and Tom for recording the song and making the original.
GETTING MORE TALE #783: Take A Look at this Photograph
One day in mid ’95, Tom Morwood brought a camera to work at ye olde Record Store. It was the earliest of days, and I was still working at the original mall store. “What are you taking pictures in this place for?” He snapped one of me flashing the devil horns behind the counter. “Just for the memories man,” he answered. I’m glad he did it.
He dug up that very same old photo recently, and a like a rush of blood, suddenly memories flooded my brain. I barely recognised myself, but the store? I’ll never forget it. Let’s have a look at the anatomy of this picture and dissect it for details!
Detail #1: Handmade signage!
Before we went corporate, most of the signage was hand made. Most was done by T-Rev, though “DJ Donny D” helped. “NOW PLAYING”, “CD CASES”, “RAP/DANCE”. It looks totally ghetto, like a real record store. None of this professionally printed generic signage like today. Now all the stores have to look exactly the same, like a chain. Back then we could be artistic and do what we wanted. The boss didn’t think I was very good at making signs so he let T-Rev do the majority. He was probably right, though it wasn’t for lack of effort, just ability. And it looks like an actual cool record store. Not a video arcade or whatever they’re trying to be today.
There’s one sign that isn’t hand made, and that’s the “no smoking” sticker at the cash register! Can you imagine needing that sticker in a store today? Also: cash register! The first and last one I ever used. Everything was done on computers after this store closed.
Detail #2: The fuck is up with ma hair?
It looks black. It was not black. I dyed my hair dark once in 2000, but this picture is not from 2000 (as we’ll get to). It must just be the lighting. That’s definitely me though. You can just make out my mullet. I loved that Laurier sweatshirt! I’m guessing it’s not summer; it must be a colder month or I wouldn’t be wearing a sweatshirt. I’m assuming here, but I look really goofy and totally uncool.
Detail #3: The front racks.
On the top left of the photo you can clearly make out CD and cassette copies of REM’s Monster. That dates this photo to sometime in 1995. The album came out in ’94 but Tom wasn’t hired until ’95. There’s no way it was still front racked all the way into 1996, so it has to be ’95. I can’t make out the other titles on the front rack. You can see the plastic security cases that we kept the CDs and tapes in. Anti-theft devices were not cheap, by the way, but a future chapter called “A Case For Security” will get into this in more detail.
Detail #4: The magazines.
We used to sell Rolling Stone and Spin. Funny enough, here we have them displayed in a rack for Vibe magazine! We stopped carrying Vibe in 1994 but kept using the rack.
Detail #5: The mirror.
If you glance over to the far right, you can see a vertical line in the wall slats. That’s actually a corner; the back wall was a mirror. As told in Getting More Tale #409, it fooled some people. One day an elderly gentleman asked me if “that section back there is closed to cripples and old men?” Nope, it’s just a mirror, not a secret room! We must have kept it pretty clean if we fooled him!
Detail #6: The CD cases.
Notice there are no clear CD cases there? Just the ones with the black spines? We didn’t carry clear cases. If memory serves, our supplier didn’t carry them until a year or two later. That meant clear cases were a rare treasured commodity to us. I have a few memories of needing clear trays to replace broken ones, but not having any lying around. We had to conserve them.
Detail #7: Overstock.
See all those CDs behind me? Those are overstock – additional copies of stuff that was already on display on the racks. Generally these were titles that were not moving, and I can absolutely guarantee that there are multiple copies Motley Crue ’94 and David Lee Roth’s Your Filthy Little Mouth in this picture.
Detail #8: Happiness.
Don’t let the metal faced scowl fool you. This was my happy place. I don’t care what ex-bosses and regional managers thought. That store was special. One of the bosses used to tell me that my nostalgia for the old store was warped by rose-coloured glasses. I disagree. Look at this picture. It’s one guy working in a cramped little music store. There is nobody looking over my shoulder, no “suits” wheeling and dealing. We were free to make that store as cool as possible. We could listen to music of our choosing with few but sensible limits. Nothing like the spiteful “No Kiss” rule of later years. (Although you can see here I didn’t display anything under the “Now Playing” sign. I didn’t like the way the alligator clip could scuff up a case.) We were responsible for cashing out, doing the bank deposit, and closing up.
Sure, it was a little like working in caveman times to a certain degree. We had no computer, just a gnarly old cash register. If you look behind me, under the overstock shelves you can see boxes full of clear plastic baggies. Each one had a CD inside. If somebody wanted to know if we had a used CD in stock, we’d flip through the baggies which were in alphabetical order. Not an exact science but we got the job done.
As the store got bigger, we became more sophisticated, had more buying power, and better stock as a result. Yet it’s the original store that I’m nostalgic for, not the second or third one with the larger floor space and computerized inventory. Those stores had their own perks and problems, but they didn’t have as much personality. Some may disagree. This isn’t a critique on the owner, either. He had to do what he had to do in order to grow, put bread on his table, and follow his own dreams. We understand. He had a vision and it led him to success. Together as a tight team, we ran a pretty cool music store. We all contributed ideas and our talents, and did the best with what we had. The fact that so many people tell me they have fond memories of that store means it couldn’t have been all that bad.
When I look at this photograph all I see are good memories. Thanks for the foresight, Tom.
Our gracious host Iron Tom Sharpe has furnished us with the full Sausagefest 2019 countdown! Gaze at the majesty below. A few brief notes first:
1. “Kiss Me Deadly” by Lita Ford was blamed on Uncle Meat, who definitely took a verbal bruising for that song appearing so high at #22. Meanwhile I took flak for Greta Van Fleet.
2. I am pleased any time Kiss makes the list. “She” was so awesome to groove (shirtless) to on the Friday night.
3. “Fuck yeah!” to Testament, Sabbath (with Gillan), the Kinks, and Iron Maiden (including a non-album song).
4. I marked the songs that I did intros for with an *
5. Included, for your enjoyment, is the audio for my controversial Afroman intro. (#69 on the countdown.)
1 Tommy the Cat – Primus 2 Dance on a Volcano – Genesis 3 Electric Crown – Testament 4 Respect – Aretha Franklin 5 Bombtrack – Rage Against the Machine 6 Hey Nineteen – Steely Dan 7 Sex Bomb – Tom Jones 8 School – Supertramp 9 Cochise – Audioslave * 10 Dancin Fool – Frank Zappa
11 Dinah Moe Hum – Frank Zappa 12 Rise of the Fenix – Tenacious D 13 Big City Nights – The Scorpions 14 Kickapoo – Tenacious D 15 Easy Lover – Phil Collins & Philip Bailey 16 Friends of Mine – The Guess Who 17 Mean Eyed Cat – Johnny Cash 18 Thumb – Kyuss 19 Ride my Llama – Neil Young 20 Let Go the Line – Max Webster *
21 Circumstances – Rush 22 Kiss Me Deadly – Lita Ford 23 In the Flesh – Pink Floyd 24 11th Hour – Lamb of God 25 Old Man Down the Road – John Fogerty 26 Mean Street – Van Halen 27 Queen Bitch – David Bowie 28 Women in Uniform – Iron Maiden 29 Over the Mountain – Blizzard of Ozz 30 War Pigs – Black Sabbath
31 South Side of the Sky – Yes 32 Escape – Alice Cooper * 33 10,000 Scarabs – Five Alarm Funk 34 Tobacco Road – War (live as fuck) 35 King Harvest – The Band 36 Black Coffee – Humble Pie 37 Heroes & Villians – The Beach Boys 38 Ghost – Clutch 39 Space Cadet – Kyuss 40 Stairway to Heaven – Frank Zappa (live as fuck)
41 The Rain Song – Led Zeppelin 42 Rango II – Vulfpeck 43 You Know My Name – The Beatles 44 Rock Lobster – The B-52’s * 45 Jailbait – Wishbone Ash 46 Blockbuster Night – Run the Jewels 47 Sail On – The Commodores 48 Stone Cold Crazy – Queen 49 Sails of Charon – Scorpions 50 Phoenix – Wishbone Ash
51 Powderfinger – Neil Young 52 Script For a Jester’s Tear – Marillion 53 Not For You – Pearl Jam 54 September – Earth, Wind and Fire 55 The Real Me – The Who 56 Roadie – Tenacious D 57 Bobby Brown Goes Down – Frank Zappa 58 Over My Head – King’s X 59 Rikki Don’t Lose My Number – Steely Dan 60 Clap for the Wolfman – The Guess Who
61 Wild Wild Life – Talking Heads 62 Not to Touch the Earth – The Doors 63 Supa Stoopid – Funkadelic 64 Sea of Green – The Sword * 65 Baker Street – Gerry Rafferty 66 Marquee Moon – Television 67 Delivering the Goods – Judas Priest 68 When I Get to Heaven – John Prine 69 She Wont Let Me Fuck – Afroman * 70 After Image – Rush
71 She – Kiss 72 Careful with that Axe Eugene – Pink Floyd 73 The Whistler – Jethro Tull 74 Stormbringer – Deep Purple * 75 20th Century Boy – T Rex 76 Cinderella Man – Rush 77 Keep Pushin’ – REO Speedwagon 78 Monkberry Moon Delight – Paul McCartney & Wings 79 Lookout Mountain – Drive By Truckers 80 Highway Tune – Greta Van Fleet
81 Rag & Bone – The White Stripes 82 Anti-Social – Anthrax 83 Suite Sister Mary – Queensryche * 84 Red Hot Mama – Funkadelic 85 Her Strut – Bob Seger 86 Sweet Talkin Woman – Electric Light Orchestra 87 Rain Dance – The Guess Who 88 Time Travelling Blues – Orange Goblin 89 Copperhead Road – Steve Earle 90 Walk All Over You – AC/DC
91 For Your Love – The Yardbirds 92 Lido Shuffle – Boz Scaggs * 93 Trashed – Black Sabbath 94 Apeman – The Kinks 95 Illegal Alien – Genesis 96 The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner – Iron Maiden 97 I’m Your Captain – Grand Funk Railroad 98 Peanuts – The Police 99 Satan Prayer – Ghost 100 Renegade – Styx
GETTING MORE TALE #765: “Three Yolks, Two Whites” …and One Fucked Up Tent: The Sausagefest 2019 Story
It’s better than Christmas. It’s better than birthdays. It’s more rock and roll than Lemmy snorting coke off Ozzy Osbourne’s cock. It’s Sausagefest.
We look forward to this rock and roll party every year. It is the highlight of our calendars. We meticulously plan out songs, sketches, jokes, and food. Mountains of meat, sizzling to a soundtrack of pure integrity (with a couple musical exceptions). Male companionship? More like brotherhood.
Preparation is key. I started recording bits for my Sausagefest contributions late last year. All my introductions were “finished” weeks ahead of time, which gave the rare opportunity to listen and go back and fix things that were not working. It was worth it. The intros were well received and Uncle Meat enjoyed the Rob Gronkowski bits that I poached from Family Guy.
Meat and I left town after lunch on Friday, and as per our new tradition, stopped at Value Village to buy new T-shirts for the party. The more ridiculous the better, for him. He found a stupidly bright pink shirt depicting a Dr. Aftab Patla, and for me a shirt that said “OFFICER OF ROCK” on the back.
“Should have said ‘cock’,” commented my pal Jason.
This is the kind of stuff we find funny.
Officer of Rock
It was a blazing hot Friday and as soon as I had my new tent and canopy set up, I went down to the river for the first swim of the weekend. Many of the boys had already arrived, and our glorious leader Tom pulled in at the same time we did.
There was an issue early in the evening. Apparently the old laptop that has been playing the Countdown ever since they did the switch to mp3 has a bad audio out jack. The backup plan was to play the Countdown off Meat’s phone, but it refused to play the tracks in the right order. As a team we re-numbered all the id3 tags and renamed all the tracks until his phone miraculously began to do what we needed. All of this done in a big open field on a Samsung phone.
The legendary 100 song Countdown was inaugurated this year by Styx with “Renegade”. We were treated to a slew of classics (Black Sabbath, the Kinks, Drive By Truckers, Queensryche, Tenacious D, etc.) and a few duds (Afroman). There is a certain, shall we say, younger element that has grown as Sausagefest expanded. These highly respected youngsters were responsible for voting in some pretty incredible music from rock to funk. Where they confuse me periodically is shit like Afroman. You will hear me ranting about the rap songs on this year’s video, included at the bottom.
Afroman was one of nine songs that were given to me to introduce. I refused to do it; instead I ranted for a bit about being stuck with a shit song, and asked my radio buddy Erik Woods to do it. So picture that deep radio voice announcing, “this song is called ‘She Won’t Let Me Fuck'”.
I will give the young fellas credit for one thing. When I arrived, I found out they were already campaigning for votes to get “Beth” onto next year’s Countdown. This is, of course, because in 2015 I had to blast the song at full volume to wake up Uncle Meat, and even that wouldn’t do it. Personally I would love if “Beth” made the Countdown next year, as a little wink to the Meat Man, who is not a morning person. You’ll see that in the video as well.
Max the Axe wanted to grab breakfast at the Spatula early Saturday morning. We roused the Meat Man, who was more than a little displeased to find out we arrived before they actually opened. I took the brunt of the blame even though it was Max (his own band leader) who wanted to go! And this is where things go slightly sideways.
Meat & Max
The Spatula opened just five minutes later, and Max the Axe threw a wrench into things immediately by ordering eggs with “three yolks, and two whites”. Our server didn’t seem to be in the best of moods, having already referred to Sebastien Munier as “Mr. Tattoo” when he walked in. Max’s order was probably not the first one she wanted to take that morning.
“I don’t understand what he wants,” she said to us. “I’m just giving him two eggs.” The rest of us nodded in agreement. Three yolks and two whites? Who the fuck orders that?
“The chefs know how to make it!” testified Max in his own defence. “They use the leftover egg white to make Hollandaise sauce.”
I did my research on this, and just to make everything even funnier, Max got that 100% wrong. According to every recipe I consulted, Hollandaise sauce is made with yolks, not whites!
Max ate his two eggs in peace, but we were actually a bit perturbed at a new, teeny-tiny menu. The legendary Flesherton Fillup breakfast is gone. So is the steak and eggs. It’s all gone, replaced by a simplified menu where you have to build your own replica Flesherton Fillup by ordering the extra meats and add-ons yourself.
“When did you get rid of the Flesherton Fillup?” asked Meat.
“Oh, we haven’t had that in a long time,” said the server.
“We were here last year and you had it then, I’m just surprised,” said Meat.
Condescendingly she answered, “Isn’t a year a long time?”
An underwhelming breakfast couldn’t derail us, though we will consider finding a new breakfast joint next year. Here’s a fact you didn’t know: the legendary Max the Axe is a garage sale aficionado. Who knew that rock stars spent their weekend mornings hitting up garage sales? We took Max to a couple garage sales on our way back, and apparently he just missed an old quadraphonic receiver ($5.00) by about five minutes.
It was a lazy afternoon spent (mostly) in the river, socializing and playing with my new waterproof camera. With flawless timing, Zach the Lamb Lord served up his perfectly marinated side of lamb. He outdid himself this year, with perhaps the juiciest lamb ever cooked by anyone.
The second evening’s continuation of the Countdown rewound a bit for those of us (like me) who fell asleep early the night before. As the sun slowly began to turn into fire behind the trees, we all listened in. Some were cooking steaks, some playing Frisbee, with the rest of us sitting attentively around the fire.
I had four more song intros on day two. Another radio buddy, Jason Drury, helped me out with an intro for the B-52’s “Rock Lobster”. Jason is from Ramsgate in the UK but everybody seemed to have different ideas of where he was from. “Who was that Australian guy?” or “Who was that Irish guy?” Day two of the Countdown had some smoking good tunes, including surprises like “Women in Uniform”, a non-album single by Iron Maiden. When Tom posts the full tracklist for the entire Countdown, I’ll do the same.
“Women in Uniform”
Sausagefest may have ended, but the next morning offered its own unique challenge: waking up Uncle Meat. “It’s going to be pretty difficult to spin this to make you look good,” he said pointedly, and he’s right. I’m not asking anyone to take my side in this. However, if you don’t think it’s funny as hell, that’s not my problem.
I had to be back in town at a certain time. “When should I start the process of waking him up, given that I want to be home by noon?” I asked his roomate Zach.
“I’d start now,” he said bluntly. It was 8:00 am.
I gently woke him by telling him I wanted to start getting ready to go. He could nap a bit longer but I would eventually need his help taking down the canopy. I put on Kiss Alive II and toiled on packing up my stuff. I stopped the album a couple times while I was working, but when “Beth” came on, I did what I had to do. I blasted it for him. This was his alarm clock.
I waited a while longer, asked some advice. I shook his tent a little and told him to get up. An anonymous man (who has an excellent real first name) suggested I remove a couple of the tentpoles. That seemed reasonable. It didn’t do much though. I gave it a little more time, and then removed the final two tentpoles. Meat lay there motionless.
“Is there anyone even in there?” someone asked. Oh, he was in there. Trust me.
“Maybe now you should take the top of the tent off,” said a second anonymous man. Unnecessary.
Like an animal trapped in a net, first an arm thrust forth. It failed to penetrate the tent. Then an unsuccessful leg kicked up. Then another arm, and another leg. Then, as the frenzy built, the tent transformed into a ball of limbs, trying to smash their way through. If you stuck that crazy rat from Stranger Things 3 in a bag, it would have looked a lot like Meat in his tent. We watched the activity from a distance, guffawing so loudly that I have never come so close to actually piss myself laughing. I could feel a bead of pee forming. The futile struggle to open the tent, from a safe orbit, was simultaneously pants-wettingly funny and tear-forming sad! Max was the first to have mercy on Uncle Meat, and opened the tent for him.
Because I gave him the tent, he threw one of the tent poles into the forest in retaliation. That’s OK; I have lots of spares!
He was justifiably mad. So was Chuck, for me blasting “Beth” at a still fairly early hour. These people don’t get it. You cannot go anywhere with Uncle Meat when you want to, unless you take extreme measures. You are at the mercy of his whims, his hangover, and his appetite for cigarettes. Oh sure, he’ll keep you laughing the whole way home (at least when his voice isn’t completely fucked) but actually getting him packed and into the vehicle is its own entire movie to itself. The Sausagefest spinoff movie would have to be called Bedsheet Puptent: The Waking of Meat.
I got home 30 minutes earlier than I had to be, which was fucking perfect. So, thank you Meat for not bearing a grudge, but I got home in excellent time. Thank you for your cooperation! I cheered him up by messing with Dave Haslam on the way home, in the car behind us. That put the smile back on Meat’s face. Even though Haslam was completely innocent in all this, he had to pay the price to get Meat back in a good mood.
It was actually a nice ride home, spent listening to a soundboard bootleg from Iron Maiden’s Matter of Life and Death tour. “That was their best album since Seventh Son“, he said. I claimed Somewhere in Time. It matters not. It was a great listen, even though a few days earlier Meat was complaining about a live Kiss show sounding “too bootleggy”.
It was an awesome Fest, but aren’t they all? I’ve never experienced a dud. Our most excellent host and his companions in the shenanigans put on a great show every year. Stay tuned for the full Countdown. Until then, enjoy the video which captures the flavour of the Fest. See how many songs you recognize from the Countdown!
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!
Before we get going on our final list (which is a good one I assure you), I’d like to say a few words about irony.
Every year before we went to a new on-site voting system, Tom would rant and rave about getting our Sausagefest lists in. “PAY YOUR ROCK AND ROLL TAXES”, went the mantra. He’d make posts and memes about it. Hell, I’ve posted some of his memes!
So the irony is, Tom the Taxman was last with his 2018 list for me this year. That’s all. Tom, the guy always wanting the lists in early…was last with his list.
In his defence he said, “Whoa…there was no timeline or due date…as far as I’m concerned I have until the 31st at 11:59.” He then goes on to throw Uncle Meat under the bus! “Meat stole most of mine, he didn’t even have a list two weeks ago…”
That almost sounds like “the dog ate my homework!” More irony? Tom’s a teacher!
Onto the mighty list!
TOP 16 OF 2018
16. King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard – Nonagon Infinity
Late comer…just got it yesterday…might be higher on the list after a few more spins…Nothing like this…Devo on coke…and other shenanigans.
15. Tenacious D – Post-Apocalypto
Let down? Yes….But if I can hear J.B. belt out , “I’m the Daddy Ding Dong” I’m in!
13. Fu Manchu – Clone of the Universe
A return to form…Wished I liked the Alex Lifeson track more, but it’s a meandering mess…
12. Yes – Fly From Here (Return Flight)
Originally recorded in 2011, this version has Trevor Horn on lead vocals and a couple more bells and whistles. With Horn at the helm it features the lineup that produced 1980’s grossly under-rated Drama album. Any fan of that masterpiece will find much to like here. (But probably not Steve Howe’s vocal debut “Don’t Take No For An Answer” which would work much better as a B-side, or better yet a No-side.)
11. Brant Bjork – Mankind Woman
Is there a cooler dude alive? Probably not. He was a driving force in both Fu Manchu and the mighty Kyuss for fuck sake…This slice of classic heavy rock is direct yet it does have flavours of blues, jazz and even bit of funk that spices it up. Solid rawk!
10. Ghost – Prequelle
Love the sax…hate their homage to Asia, “Dance Macabre”…Overall, Satanic ear honey…which they’ve done better before.
9. Magpie Salute – High Water I
Is it the Black Crowes? Not really…But it comes from the same rock’n’roll, Americana and southern blues spring…And it has Marc fucking Ford on it…looking forward to High Water II this year.
8. Adam’s House Cat – Town Burned Down
One of the odder releases this year…since it was recorded over 20 years ago. The little rock ‘n’ roll acorn that would grow into the mighty oak that is the Drive-By Truckers. Not just a curio however, but great, gritty American rock (with smatterings of early R.E.M.).
7. Necromancers – Blood & Wine
Sophomore slump? Only if you compare it to their phenomenal debut (my #1 last year). A heavy dose of guitar riffage from Satan’s apothecary.
6. John Prine – Tree of Forgiveness
My favourite songwriter. Darkly comic with a heart of pure gold. Writes about the essence of a situation, and sings them in a way that you know it’s the truth. I love this man.
5. The Sword – Used Future
Played the shit outta this…Love how they’re stretching out with their sound and finding ways out of the metal box…but still retaining the noodly rock greatness that keeps them heavy.
4. Voivod – The Wake
I just knew this sucker was going to be good…their last few have been great (Target Earth a gem)…but I didn’t think it was going to be this good. Thrash, punk, prog, jazz…King Crimson at there most pissed off and ragged…You know you’re listening to a Voivod album and that these francophone fucks are still giving a shit! I love the variance of the tempos and textures of the songs that allow the riffs to burrow deep.
3. Clutch – Book Of Bad Decisions
God damn! These guys cannot make a shitty album. Heavy groove merchants with wickedly fun and fucked-up lyrics that always put a smile on my face as I belt them out. This album would make this list for the strutting horn-driven “In Walks Barbarella” alone… Making heavy metal fun and in-the-pocket funky…
2. Orange Goblin – The Wolf Bites Back
These guys should be huge. Their diverse influences are expanding their heavy metal pallet, and it is all so fucking cool. Orange Fucking Goblin baby!
1. Crazy Bull – The Past Is Today
Thanks to Classic Rock’s July free CD I was turned on to this album of southern fried heavy riff rock at it’s groovy gritty best. Skynyrd, Hatchet and more than a few nods to Brits Wishbone Ash. Sumptuous riffs, and leads and solos that put a smile on your face….
Thanks to Tom for his awesome list. I’m placing an Amazon order for Tenacious D and Voivod right now!