kincardine

#987: The Summer Awakens

RECORD STORE TALES #987: The Summer Awakens

It’s official:  the earliest swim on record for any summer at the lake is May 13!  If you don’t believe in global warming, then I can tell you that past weekends in early May, we were snuggled up in jackets and long pants.  This year, early May was as warm as early July used to be.  What an incredible weekend.  Clear and sunny until late Saturday.  By then we were indoors waiting for the Toronto Maple Leafs to once again exit the playoffs in the first round.  But I’m jumping head of myself!

Traffic was light but the music was heavy.  Albums for the drive up:

As expected, both were awesome on the road.  There was no clear winner.  Interestingly, Jennifer liked “Roots In My Boots” by Scorpions, which I considered a bit of a throwaway.  Regardless, both albums did well on the highway and rocked us safely to the cottage in two hours.

First music on the porch:

  • Kathryn Ladano – Open

Not a new release, but since the good Doctor was next door, it felt right to serenade her with some of her best music!

From there we settled in with the first hot dogs of the year, and I began to prep for my show that night (Top 11 Star Wars movies) by watching The Phantom Menace.  10 years ago, the only way to do that would be to bring a DVD and watch it on the laptop.  If we wanted to watch a Star Wars movie 30 years ago, we needed to bring the tape and a VCR!  Everything is so easy now, but dependent on a good internet connection.  That connection enabled me to do the first cottage show of the year, and a success it was.  I experimented with some new lighting and it worked way better than last year after sundown.  A successful show — and one of the best we’ve ever done.   Certainly one of my favourites.

It’s always hard to sleep after a caffeinated show like that.  I got four or five hours, and was up and at ’em early Saturday.  It was so quiet.  Most cottagers have not opened yet — their loss!  They were not able to listen when I rocked Kiss on the front porch on Saturday.  Kiss albums this weekend included Dynasty, Kiss, Hotter Than Hell, Peter Criss, and Rock and Roll Over.

I made fish for breakfast (trout) and went to go pick up my new bass from neighbor Donna.  Her brother was Don Simmons of Helix, and this bass used to belong to him.  It is my honour to play it on the porch in his memory.  Although I use the word “play” very loosely.  I have never played bass before and can only “barely” play guitar as it is.  It took some time to get used to the size of the body.  Even the neck felt huge.  But it sounded great and really rumbled the porch.

I made chicken and steaks on the barbecue and burned up a bunch of old wood — without losing my glasses this time.  After being on my feet all day Saturday, I took it easy in the evening, missing the bright orange sunset.  I had been on my feet all day and it felt good to rest up in the evening.

We departed for home early Sunday.  Albums for the road home:

These albums, Priest especially, gave me some serious retro vibes, as if I had stepped into a time machine and was 16 again.  I had this happen numerous times last year, and I wrote about that feeling in multiple previous chapters.  It’s a very intense feeling, as if I was no longer living in the year 2022, but had stepped into 1987 again.  It felt as real as the steering wheel in my hands.  Looks like this summer will be no different.  Lots of flashbacks in store!

An excellent start to what I hope will be an amazing year.

VIDEO: May 13-15 Weekend / Max the Axe “Space Marine”

Amazing weekend at the lake once again, and you can see it all right now, to the tune of “Space Marine” by Max the Axe from Trillion Dollar Threats!  This short metallic blitz of a song is a condensed and concentrated rewrite of “Hard Drive” from their 1995 EP Bodies of Water.  It’s a fantastic tune from Max with another killer riff.

This year represents the earliest “first swim of the year” on May 13, a record.  A sign of a hot summer to come.

In this video you will see my new Fender acoustic bass.  This originally belonged to Don Simmons of Helix and I am fortunate enough to have bought it from his sister Donna.  This will provide many hours of summer entertaining at the cottage as I slowly become acquainted with this lovely instrument.  Tomorrow you’ll get the full story of the weekend in Record Store Tales #987:  The Summer Awakens.

VIDEO: Last Summer Weekend at the Lake 2021 / Max the Axe – “Pygmy Blowdart”

Now that the new Max the Axe EP, Oktoberfest Cheer, has been released, I am happy to present to you their new never-before-heard original “Pygmy Blowdart”.  Lead singer Eric Litwiller stressed to me (more than once) “I did not write the lyrics”.

Video footage was taken the last weekend of August, but held on to until I could use some fresh new Max music.  Check out “Pygmy Blowdart” and let Max and Meat know what you think of this new tune in the comments below!

 

Available at Encore Records.

#927: Red Sun, Red Meat, Ready to Rock

RECORD STORE TALES #927: Red Sun, Red Meat, Ready to Rock

When the city traffic finally abated and we were on our way, only then did we begin to enjoy the music.

We had an historic soundtrack for both the trips to and from the lake.  On Thursday night for the drive up we enjoyed:

2021’s musical selections are strong.  Lee Aaron proved she has the album necessary for a good-time summer, and Polychuck played well in the car.  ZZ Top was obviously spun in tribute to the late great Dusty Hill.  When Afterburner concluded, we played “I Got the Six”, and “Sharp Dressed Man”.

On the Sunday drive home, Jen slept while I got nostalgic for the year 1989 with:

  • Aerosmith – Pump
  • Motley Crue – Dr. Feelgood

My feelings this time out were that Dr. Feelgood is tremendously overrated while Pump is not.  Pump is solid and probably the last time Aerosmith nailed it front to back.

On the front deck this weekend, I spun a lot of music.  Most notably Guns N’ Roses’ new song “Absurd” about six times in a row.  I also listened to a new album by group out of Halifax called War & Sin that you will be hearing about.  The album is called The War Within and it hits all the bases, like good heavy metal with diverse influences.  The singer reminds me of Blaze Bayley, but in a good way.  You can check out the album on iTunes.

I had a couple good fires this weekend, and the soundtrack of Kiss went well in that setting.  A cottage weekend without Kiss just isn’t right for my soul.  This weekend I chose Dressed to Kill and Destroyer.  I brought the laptop over to the fireplace and let Kiss do the rest.

It was a solid three day weekend anchored by music, fire, food and swimming.  On Saturday I believe I went for five swims total.  The last was a sunset swim and we got some pretty cool video footage that you can now enjoy with me.

VIDEO: Max the Axe – “The Other Side” / Kincardine Sunset & Afternoon Swim

Best rock band in Kitchener, best sunsets in the world. Enjoy.

#917: The Dangerous Walk of Death

RECORD STORE TALES #917: The Dangerous Walk of Death

Some of my fond childhood places no longer exist.  What I would give to see some of those places again, as they were in my memories.  Hi-Way Market, the old Record Store at the mall, or my grandpa’s old place in Guelph.  Scant photos exist today.

I did find a couple of pictures from one old place that is no longer as it was.  And that place is called the Dangerous Walk of Death.

One of the fulfilling activities at the cottage was to go for a long walk.  If you said “I’m going for a walk,” it could mean you’d be gone for hours.  There was so much to explore in just our little subdivision.  If we walked to the north, there was a river and sometimes we’d walk along the riverbed and explore it inland.  To the south was another river and the Dangerous Walk of Death.

My dad and sister discovered this place.  There was a road to the south we called the “K” road.  Today it is Kuehner Street.  It had developments on both sides and came to an abrupt end after several cottages.  It ended at a trail, and that is where our fun began.  When we were very young, I used to scared my sister by telling her that “Henry the Hermit” lived in the very woods that our little trail crossed through.  (I also convinced my cousin that sharks could swim up through the pipes into the toilets.)

When you entered the trail, you were immediately swallowed by the trees and things got dark quickly.  It was a narrow space but you never passed anyone else.  You had to walk single file.  It seemed to be our place and our place alone.

If you traced this trail all the way to the end, there was a clearing where an old abandoned cottage once burned down.  Then, the river that my dad dubbed “Dead Man’s River”.  He called it that for good reason.  Snapping turtles were known to make their home there.  We were careful not to step in the waters of Dead Man’s River.

Today there is a quaint little walking bridge that takes you over to the next subdivision.  In our day, it was only possible to cross when the riverbed was dry.  But crossing was not the way to the Dangerous Walk of Death.  To embark on that journey, one had to follow the river inland.

Once again, my dad and sister found the inland path.  It had obviously been purposely cleared by someone many years ago.  It ran parallel to the river, through the deep forest.  Dad used to tell us that many of these trails were original indigenous hunting grounds.  He was probably right.  Artefacts were found by an archaeological team several years ago that proved the original inhabitants used to fish there.  We were acutely aware that we were on very old land when we went on our walks.  The wilderness had probably not changed that much and it was easy to imagine stepping back in time and bumping into a tribe of fishermen and hunters.  They would have had a different name for this place.

Inland we walked, through different kinds of terrain.  There was one area we called “stump land”.  You had to watch your step, and walking there at night was foolish.  Many times did one of us trip in our journey through stump land.

In the middle of stump land was a very small clearing with a large rock in the middle of it.   Sitting Rock.  This was our stopping point.  It was quite scenic.  The sun would dance through the trees making spectacular patterns of light on the ground.  Fortunately I have a picture of this very place as it was in the mid-90s.  An ex-girlfriend and I made a trip to the lake in August 1995 and took this picture.  A much skinnier me is seated upon the rock.  My Jann Arden “Insensitive” hat, a free promo from the Record Store, sits on my melon. And there I am on my mossy seat.  I used to think this would be a cool spot to film a music video — me on acoustic guitar.  Once, I sketched a picture of how cool I’d look playing acoustic guitar on top of Sitting Rock, me and my mullet and a guitar I couldn’t play.  In the real photo, to my right you can see the trail behind.  But this was not the place to turn back.  Greater challenges and better views were ahead.

Following the trail further inland, you would reach a spot that appeared to be the end of the line.  However if you pushed through the overgrown branches, you would find a sparsely wooded area that went steeply uphill.  Watch your step that you don’t go over the Cliffs of Insanity.

This was the end of our odyssey.  Here the trees cleared again and you could look down upon the river below.  I do not have a picture of the view from here, but I do have a picture of us crouching at the edge of the cliff.  The only hint of the chasm beneath are the trees behind us.  You can tell from the distance and height of these trees that there must be a large gorge behind.

Here we usually turned back.  In younger and more adventurous years we kept venturing inland through the woods until we finally hit the main road.  Then we would walk back home.  But that way was far longer and stank of anticlimax.  Our pilgrimage’s natural end was at the cliffs and I’m glad I at least have a partial photographic document of this walk.

If Sitting Rock is still there, then it is inaccessible and on private land.   These photos could be the only ones that exist of our old stomping grounds.  And before us, the ones that lived off this land.

#857: Obsessed With Rock

GETTING MORE TALE #857: Obsessed With Rock

As this summer flies by, I’m reminded of seasons past.  My dad always took the same vacations in the summer:  one week in July and two in August.  That means we’d be up at the cottage for that time, and I wanted to be well stocked with music.  Meaning, I had to bring all my music.  All my cassettes, all my vinyl.  Everything.

It was a process, to say the least.  All my tape cases had to be wedged between seats of the car, and I had “a few” tape cases.  Then I took apart my jury-rigged stereo setup and carefully prepared it for transportation.  I taped down the tone arm on the turntable so it wouldn’t fly about.  I packed up all my wires, head cleaners, and record brushes.  My ghetto blaster and record player were loaded onto a seat in the car, with my dad’s old 8-track deck/receiver at the bottom.  I was using it as a pre-amp for the turntable, and it worked after a fashion.

My treasured Kiss cassettes were not in a case.  They occupied a shelf in my bedroom, with two custom ceramic Kiss bookends.  I placed the bookends and tapes into a plastic grocery bag for transport.  Upon arrival at the lake, I set them all up on another shelf, always in chronological order.  It’s funny to think that I didn’t get an obsessive-compulsive disorder diagnosis until I was in my 40s.  I was pretty clearly already there in my early teens.

Once I got everything hooked up again at the cottage (stealing extension cords from other rooms), I’d begin blasting the rock.  With OCD firmly in control, I first had to finish listening to whatever tape was in my Walkman during the car trip.  Only then would I choose what I would be listening to that night.

It’s all very clearly obsessive behaviour, but I guess people were not as aware of various mental health issues back then in the 80s.

Then and now, I loved listening to music at the lake.  I liked to blast it, which sometimes earned a noise complaint from the parents.  They were pretty good about it though.  They indulged my musical obsession though never quite understanding it.  I only had one true love and it was rock and roll.

Something else I enjoyed very much was buying new music while on summer vacation at the lake.  There were not many stores that carried anything good.  Don’s Hi-Fi, and Stedman’s were all that was available when I was really young.  They sure didn’t have much.  Still, listening to Priest…Live! when it was brand new, and breaking the seal at the lake was special.  It’s hard to articulate exactly what was special about it.  Your normal listening space is a familiar place.  Most things you hear, you first played in your own home.  When you get to experience an album on less familiar territory for the first few times, it develops a different flavour.  It’s not something you can hear, it’s just something you can feel.  I guess that’s why I always see myself playing darts in the back yard at the lake every time I hear Priest…Live!

Perhaps that is a feeling only a music obsessive gets.

When we returned from vacation, it felt like I would be welcoming my new albums into their new home.  This is where you live now, Priest.  This is where I am going to be experiencing you from now on.

Weird, right?

I never claimed to be normal.  Quite the opposite, in fact.  I’ve often boasted of not just “liking” music, but actually “loving” it deeply.  Maybe the only thing I’m actually boasting about is mental illness!

Whatever.  These are all good memories.  Although I speak fondly of it today, as a kid I would have chosen to stay home if I was old enough.  I missed being away from my friends, my rock magazines, my Pepsi Power Hour and all that stuff.  I missed talking about and listening to music with my best friend Bob.  Truth told, by packing up all music with me and hauling it up to the lake, I was trying to retain one aspect of being at home, which is my music collection.  Today the obsession remains, but I can do the same job with a laptop.  Crazy!  I never would have imagined that as a kid.

There are worse things to be hooked on other than rock and roll.  If it makes you feel so good, can it be so bad?

 

 

 

VIDEO: Windy Weekend

You don’t have to feel obligated to watch this video.  These videos are more for me than anyone else.  This time I wanted to keep intact the camera audio from the weekend.  The sights and sounds (and smells, natch) of the countryside are preserved here.  Instead of mixing my still and moving pictures as I usually do, all the stills can be found in the latter part of this video accompanied by the track “Masked” by Dr. Kathryn Ladano.

I saw a lot of birds this weekend (including geese and a family of wild turkeys) and managed to capture a bit on video. Nature lovers will enjoy the wildlife and greenery, the stormy skies and the churning lake. There are some seriously breathtaking pictures of the sky in this video, as well as a blooper and cameos by Sith Lords and Sausagefesters.

Wind and rain aside, it was a lovely weekend full of music, live streaming, barbecuing and the beach.

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!

Sunday Video: Max The Axe Weekend

Instead of a Sunday Chuckle, I give you something better: this video (which has a couple chuckles in it) and three Max the Axe songs: “River Grand”, “Overload” and “Gods on the Radio”.

The video above is just a summation of our awesome weekend. Look for a cameo by Superdekes from our Live Streamin’ Weekend. I hope you were able to stay cool in this heat as I was!  Sometimes people talk about the Top Ten Swims they’ve ever had in their lives.  I may have had two of the top ten this weekend.  You be the judge!

And thank you to John Snow of 2 Loud 2 Old Music for the birthday gift below.  I promise I will review it soon!

Also a special Happy Birthday to my Grandma Dolly who turns 96 today!