kitchener

Richie Sambora, Bret Michaels, Robin McAuley and more! The stars rock Kitchener (11/17/2017)

Boppin heard a rumour that Bon Jovi was coming to town. Then an anonymous source informed us that a super-secret private concert was taking place Friday night right here in Kitchener Ontario.  The list of talent:

Bon Jovi’s Richie Sambora, Foreigner’s Lou Gramm and Stephanie Calvert of Starship.
Backed by an all-star cast of legendary rockers and potential surprise guest performers:
Howard Leese
-Guitar- Heart, Bad Company, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Hugh Mc Donald
– Bass- Bon Jovi
Doug Aldrich
– Guitar- Whitesnake, Dead Daisies, Dio
Jay Schellen
– Drums- Asia, Yes
Michael Ross
– Keys- Lita Ford Band, Missing Persons
Robin McAuley
– Vocals- MSG/Survivor
Andrew Freeman
– Vocals- Offspring, Last in Line
Paul Shortino
– Vocals- Rough Cutt, Quiet Riot
Mark Boals
– Vocals- Yngwie Malsteen, Dokken

And then our sources tell us that Bret Michaels showed up!

Richie played guitar, but also sang lead vocals without one.  According to our source:

“He did both. He was out for the middle bit of the show. He did two Bon Jovi songs, “Dead or Alive” and “Livin’ on a Prayer” and then a super extended (self serving if I’m honest) rendition of “Respect Yourself”. General consensus was that he was the low point of the night!! Even his back up singers, Robin McAuley, Mark Boals, Paul Shortino and Stephanie Calvert looked confused by the end. The night was amazing. So much energy and so much sound.”

Our source also enjoyed Robin McAuley.  “He was awesome. ”

Enjoy these photos!  Thanks to Krista Ward, our anonymous source!

 

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REVIEW: Death By Technology – A Temporary Solution To a Permanent Problem

DEATH BY TECHNOLOGY – A Temporary Solution To a Permanent Problem (independent)

Most reviewers would acknowledge that one of our least favourite tasks is reviewing a friend’s music.  You don’t feel as foot loose and fancy free with your words.  When a friend asks for you to review their latest album, that’s hard.  Harder still is when a friend would prefer that you don’t review their music!

Such is the case with Death By Technology.  I think my friend Aaron Lebold would prefer that his one and only musical release was not revived by me, but this is a problem.  My goal, in part, is to review every single album in this collection, and here it is.  It has to be done for the sake of this project.

Aaron tells a bit of the background in his story chapter titled “Move confidently in the direction of your dreams”.  He says, “I was at a pawn shop one day and came across a four track recorder, which was used for making demo tapes. I bought it and quickly began putting some of my songs on it.”  He learned a bit of guitar and was getting good at electronic beats.  In a later chapter he discusses recording and pressing up the final CD.

Before I knew it, Aaron came in to my store one day with copies of his CD, A Temporary Solution To a Permanent Problem, under the pseudonym Death by Technology.  I put it out for sale with a sticker on it saying “Local Industrial Music Prodigy”, hoping someone would bite.  A lot of people listened to it, but selling a copy was hard.

So here’s the truth.  It’s a noble effort.  The beats and riffs are decent enough.  There are weird and creepy movie and TV samples.  You can hear what he’s trying to do.  I think what would have helped, is if he gave his old buddy Mike a call to sing the lead vocals.  Aaron and I never quite saw eye to eye on lead vocals.  I go for high pitched screams, he liked a more contemporary rap/rock hybrid.  The biggest flaw with this CD is that I’m not on it.

But it can’t be that bad.  After all, I remember every tune.   This CD is 16 minutes long, and therefore it was perfect for closing time at the Record Store.  An old employee named Chris used to put it on at quarter to nine when closing.  It was like a tradition!

5/5 stars (if I was on it)

Sunday Chuckle: Clear Eyes II

A followup to Sunday Chuckle:  Clear Eyes

Took my early morning walk recently.  One of the roads we like also happens to be a hideout for teenage stoners.  I found a “Clear Eyes” dropper for those red stoner eyes last time.  This time, I think the stoners were rolling blunts!

 

Yah, mon.

Sunday Chuckle?

I love a nice cool walk on a beautiful summer morning.  I always bring my camera, because sometimes you see some weird shit.

Sometimes you see nice nature stuff, like this snail.

Sometimes you see things that make you scratch your head.  I’m not sure if this is a Sunday Chuckle or a WTF?  What is a “Redneck Mafia”?  Isn’t that something of an oxymoron?  And a “NO-Club”?  What is that?

A few weeks later he was back, looking like he was trying to make two parking spots for the price of one.  Who is this guy?

Guess below in the comments.  Or don’t.  Whatever!

Sunday Chuckle: Clear Eyes

Mrs. LeBrain and I enjoy a nice walk in the summer time.  One of the roads we like also happens to be a hideout for teenage stoners.  We once encountered a couple of them emerging from the trees.  On this occasion we did not spot any stoners, only what they left behind…!

 

#579: Entering the Asylum

GETTING MORE TALE #579: Entering the Asylum
(Supplement to the  Re-Review series)

Back in Record Store Tales Part 3 (!), we took a nostalgic look at my first ever Kiss albums, that all arrived in one glorious batch.  The year was 1985, but Kiss also had a new album coming out in a matter of days.  Now that I had started on a Kiss collection, I would have to get their newest album too, called Asylum.  I didn’t even know how to pronounce “asylum” correctly, nor did I know what the word meant, but I did understand that it was their third album without makeup.

Next door neighbor George, who was my introduction to Kiss, came over one day talking about the new single “Tears Are Falling” and how much I would love it.  I didn’t have much money but by the time the snow fell, my dad bought me a copy of Asylum on cassette.  We got it at the Zellers store at Stanley Park Mall in Kitchener.

My meager Kiss collection at that point consisted of Alive!, Asylum (cassette) and a bunch of LPs I recorded off George.  I didn’t know much about the discography but George was a good teacher.  George actually named one of his first bands Asylum.  Before long I could name all the albums, in order.  I even predicted that the next single would be “Uh! All Night”.  I didn’t foresee the third single “Who Wants To Be Lonely” because Kiss hadn’t done a third single in ages!

George was only missing two Kiss albums:  The Elder, and Double Platinum.  He was dying to get both and finish the collection.  His record collection was fascinating to me and a goldmine of music to tape and explore.  The album covers, particularly for Kiss and Iron Maiden, had me hooked.

As my interest in Kiss grew, a new kid at school who I later found out was a “liar liar pants on fire” claimed he had “all” the Kiss albums at home.  His name was Joe Ciaccia (pronounced “chee-chaw”).  I asked him if that meant he had The Elder.  He said yes.  I told George I knew a kid who owned it, and he just about shit his pants.  I made arrangements with Joe to meet up at his place on the next Sunday to do a trade.  All I asked for brokering this trade was recording the album.

George was really excited.  “I don’t care what he wants for it, I’m not leaving without that record.”  I distinctly remember a small group of us trudging through the snow to meet Joe at his apartment.  Who came with us?  I can’t remember.  Joe lived on Breckenridge Drive, just down the street from Brian Vollmer of Helix.  One thing that I can remember very clearly was grabbing my Sanyo ghetto blaster loaded with D-cell batteries, my Asylum tape, and rocking while walking to Joe’s.

Listening to a cassette on a ghetto blaster powered by D-cells was a warbly experience that kids today don’t understand.  Our small group lollygagging through the slush listening to “King of the Mountain” on that old Sanyo is an image I’ll always remember.  I carried it through the wet melting snow.  Those Sanyo ghetto blasters were built like tanks!  You could drop them and they’d keep on ticking.

We arrived at Joe’s apartment and buzzed.  No answer.  Buzzed again.  No answer.  I began to realize my fears.  Joe was all talk and no Elder.  We hung out down there a while but there was no sign of Joe.  George was partly crushed and mostly pissed off.  At school, Joe gradually earned a reputation for tall tales.  His were beginning to rival the lies of Ian Johnson – they even lived on the same street.

We flipped the Asylum tape over and began the walk home.  A wasted trip, and Joe dodged me at school the next day.  George kept pestering me to arrange a second hookup with Joe, thinking he still had that copy of The Elder that he wanted so badly.  I realized Joe was full of shit and told George the sad truth.  The record was not there.  Joe was telling stories, trying to seem cool to me for having all the Kiss albums.  Then he got caught in the lie, after going so far as to arrange a trade and giving me the address.  Very un-cool.

George did get a copy of The Elder a few months later, and he still taped me a copy.  It was a strange album, after being immersed in Asylum for many months.  Then, I definitely preferred AsylumAsylum was special to me.  It was my first “new” Kiss album since getting into the band!  I had boarded the Kiss train and I wasn’t getting off!

#573: Pawning Sh*t

GETTING MORE TALE #573: Pawning Shit

You’ve met new contributor Aaron, and as he begins his story, you’ll get to know him a little better.  But how did he enter Record Store Tales?

It’s a funny story, but I very briefly dated his older sister.  We all “met” online – a local electronic “BBS” or “Bulletin Board System”.  My handle was “Geddy” and his was “Capone”.  He still sometimes calls me “Geddy”!  He must have thought I was cool or something.  I wasn’t even working at the Record Store yet when we first met, but Aaron/Capone was big time into music.  He loved Guns N’ Roses.  It was 1994, and Guns N’ Roses were still big news.

When I started at the Record Store, it was like the floodgates opened!  Suddenly, via me, Aaron had access to all kinds of rare rock.  His favourite band was Nirvana, and a few months later I was getting in rare CDs like Outcesticide and Hormoaning.  We continued to bond over music, and started hanging out on weekends.  He was known to complain a bit about my “80s rock” in the car…my response was always “the driver chooses the music”!

Most weekends revolved around music in some way.  We’d hit all the major local stores:  Dr. Disc, Encore, HMV, Sunrise, and of course my store.  I remember one Sunday shift: Aaron had nothing to do that day so he just hung out at the mall during my shift.  It ended up being a great idea.  He helped out some of my customers when I was too busy!

I couldn’t even begin to guess how many discs we bought on those shopping excursions, but I remember a few.  I got Japanese imports of Kiss Killers and Judas Priest Unleashed in the East, at the Sunrise records at Conestoga Mall.  I can recall one afternoon of introducing Aaron to Iron Maiden.  Their home video Raising Hell had just come out, which was to be Bruce’s “final” show with the band.  They had a “horror magician” on stage named Simon Drake and we enjoyed that video quite a bit.  “Do all their songs sound like this?” asked Aaron, who was more used to the detuned rock of the 1990s.

I have one memory that happened a bit later on, after Aaron had his daughter.  A lady came into my store with a giant box of CDs and almost all were shit.  I had to pass on most of them for a variety of reasons.  It was mostly dance music.  They were in shit condition, they were shit titles, and we had too many of them already.  The lady didn’t care; she just didn’t want them.  “Just keep them,” she said.  She took a few bucks for the discs we could take, and left behind at least a hundred worthless discs.

Worthless to the Record Store, anyway.

We didn’t really have a specific policy at the time regarding what to do with the abandoned discs in this situation.  The store could not sell them.  I’m not sure if the Boss Man would have been pleased that I took them, which is one reason why I’ve chosen to wait 20 years to write Record Store Tales and Getting More Tale.  Aaron and I took the discs to a Cash Converters store, which was a pawn shop on the other side of town.  They were the competition.*  It was funny watching the guy go through all the CDs I had passed on, checking the discs inside and not caring about all the scratches.

One thing Aaron owned that I did not was a Super Nintendo.  I skipped the Super.  My sister had the original NES and I had the Nintendo 64.  Aaron and I had played WWF Wrestling on his Super Nintendo, and I quickly became addicted to the game.  So together we dumped the box of junk CDs at the pawn shop, where I bought a Super Nintendo and a couple games.  Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire was one, a great game that still rocks today.  Unfortunately that Super Nintendo busted after two months.  Rats!

At least we had fun.  Whether it was watching shitty horror movies (Killer Klowns from Outer Space, The Stuff, Frogs), searching for rock and metal in record store racks, or pawning shit to buy more shit, we definitely had our fair share of fun.  And that’s the long and the short of how Aaron fits into Record Store Tales.

* The Cash Converters outlet close to our store was managed by a guy that we named “Jheri Curl Man”.

 

Sunday Chuckle: Hail Satin!

Photo by:  Scott

Location:  Market Square, Kitchener

#564: The Smell of Home

GETTING MORE TALE #564: The Smell of Home

What does your home town smell like?

I may complain a lot, but I do actually love this town.  I was born in Kitchener.  I don’t want to live anywhere else.  It’s certainly not the greatest town in the world, but it’s mine. Kitchener isn’t known worldwide for its burning hot music scene (polka music at Oktoberfest time excluded).  That said we have produced a few local legends:

  • Helix (formed 1974) was based out of Kitchener for many years.
  • Errol Blackwood and Messenjah are our claim to fame in the reggae community.
  • Singer/songwriters Paul MacLeod, Danny Michel, Rob Szabo and Steve Strongman all hailed from here.  You also may have heard of one of the greatest bass clarinetists in the world, Kathryn Ladano.
  • Bluesman Mel Brown wasn’t born here, but he made it home.

Not a lot to boast about, but better than a kick in the pants.

Kitchener also is not known for its arts (that would be Waterloo) or its education (also Waterloo) or sciences (Waterloo again). What it does seem to have in plenty is a number of distinct smells.

Driving up Victoria street, you can smell the Weston’s bread bakery cooking up lots of delicious scents.  My dad has a song he used to like to sing when driving by:

“Weston’s bread,
Is full of lead,
If you eat too much,
You’ll surely be dead.”

That was a nice smell, but I remember a far worse smell in the Record Store days.

I spent the majority of my years in the Fairway Road area of town.  I remember taking the garbage out on many, many nights and smelling the same unexplainable smell.  It only happened during the summer. I don’t even know how to describe it properly.  I used to call it “grape flavoured urine” smell.  It was a weird mix of grape and pee, and in the evenings taking out the garbage, it was everywhere!  What the hell was it?  Nobody knew.  I haven’t smelled grape flavoured urine in a long time…but I remember it clearly any time I take out the garbage on a warm summer night.

There was an even worse smell when I was transferred to “the wrong side of the tracks”.  The garbage bin there was behind a diner.  Back there it always smelled of dirty cooking grease.

I hope your town smells better than “grape flavoured urine”, although you don’t have Messenjah or Helix….

Oh and that red poo-shaped sculpture?  Nobody has a clue what it is!

#540: I Can Drive 55

GETTING MORE TALE #540:  I Can Drive 55

In 25 years of driving, I believe I have only had three speeding tickets.  Apparently, I can drive 55. Most of the time.

I took driver training at Canada Driving School, and there is one thing I’ll never forget from one of the in-class sessions.

“Music can have an influence on your driving,” said the instructor.  “Fast and upbeat music can trick your brain into driving faster without realizing it.  Keep an eye on your speedometer and don’t listen to AC/DC if this is a problem!”

A couple months later I had my license and was driving myself to and from school in my dad’s Plymouth Sundance.  There was no graduated licensing in Ontario back then.  I was driving alone on the expressway.  Of course, I loved having a car stereo to myself.  In short order it was proven that listening to AC/DC was not a problem for me.  Instead of weighing down the accelerator pedal, AC/DC kept me calm in traffic.  Silence made me nervous but music soothed.  If I was speeding it had nothing to do with the song on the tape deck.  If anything, I tended to slow myself down a bit so my trip could take a little longer, and I could finish a song.

In fact, recent studies have shown that, generally speaking, if music is an influence on driving it tends to be a positive influence.  I can’t say I’m surprised.

Sure, I’ve admitted to air drumming and so on in the car.  This is usually at red lights though, so I’m letting myself off.

I like to listen to live albums in the car.  They work very well in that noisy environment.  Instead of silence between songs that lets in all that road noise, you hear only the screaming of a crowd.  In addition, the length of a live album works well for highway driving.  If I’m heading to the Toronto area, a typical double live album will easily get a full play on the road.  At home, I don’t always have time to listen to a double live album in one sitting.

IMG_20140914_094438

Facing the roads on a daily basis in this town can be like taking your life in your hands.  I’ve whined and moaned about the drivers here and it has been getting worse.  The 401 is undergoing heavy construction and drivers have a loose grasp on what lanes are lanes and what are not.  It’s treacherous, and more and more drivers are thinking only about their commute time rather than driving like a sane person.  Instead of weaving in and out desperately trying to get a little further ahead in the pack, I tend to stay in one lane as much as possible.  Perhaps this is the calming effect of good music.  I don’t need to race home if there is a good song I want to finish.  Maybe the racing guys should put on a good song, too.

I’ll admit it, driving is far from my favourite activity.  My favourite kind of day off involves no driving anywhere.  There are estimates that we spend about five years of our lives locked in our cars on the road.  I prefer to think of that as five years of road testing some amazing albums.  I would also argue that roughly 50% of the music reviews here are mikeladano.com were brainstormed while listening to the albums in the car.

Quite frankly, I don’t understand the speed demons.  Where are you going in such a hurry?  Maybe you should have left a little earlier.  Some music in the car makes the time fly easier.

han-solo-cameo-in-the-i-cant-drive-55-music-video

Did you catch Han Solo’s cameo in the “I Can’t Drive 55” music video? Left – John David Kalodner. Right – Han Solo.