The other night, Tee Bone was making the artwork for next week’s LeBrain Train episode, Top 5 Ballads. I asked if he could add in a picture of me playing acoustic guitar. It started there, turned into “me recording my acoustic ballad album on the beach”, and it simply grew and grew!
RECORD STORE TALES #964.0: The Year in Review – Part One
Today, some reflection. Tomorrow, the lists!
While certainly not the worst year of my life so far (2018 takes the crown there), the latter half of 2021 was pretty poopy here at LeBrain HQ. There was plenty of new music, which we will discuss in greater detail tomorrow when we run down the Top 11 Albums of the Year. Great music in fact; some deeply impactful albums and important reissues. I also didn’t think that 2021 would be the year for new Guns N’ Roses music, or for me to get a 42 CD Judas Priest box set. But here they are!
2021 started off strong. We have Superdekes to thank for a series of great interviews on the LeBrain Train. More on those for tomorrow’s list. Not to be outdone, John T. Snow hooked us up with one of the best interviews I’ve ever been involved with, which was Paul Laine. But for me, by summertime burnout had set in. I’d been doing the LeBrain Train without missing a single week since lockdown began in March 2020. Sometimes doing two interviews in a single weekend. Sometimes I got stood up by a rock star, sometimes I got stood up by the same rock star twice. By the end of the summer, I needed a break. Badly. It was harder and harder coming up with guests, as we slowly emerged from our Covid cocoons and resumed life. I had to pull the brakes.
Then I had a flood in the house. I had to cancel an interview with with Jack Frost and take a more extensive break from everything. Trying not to snap, I bought a Metallica box set to cheer myself up. Great way to boost myself while crippling my bank account at the same time, but I won’t complain.
Personal highlights of the year:
A fantastic summer at the lake
Meeting and interviewing some true rock greats
Collaborating with creative friends like Meat, Harrison, Deke, Tee-Bone, Rob, Kevin and John Snow
Other interesting happenings included making an enemy out of John “J.D.” Roberts, an aborted attempt at doing re-runs on the LeBrain Train, and Harrison’s baffling stance on Queensryche.
This isn’t much of a “year in review” post. Nothing commemorating the many musicians and celebrities we lost this year. Nothing talking about all the great tunes we discovered. This is not the way the year was supposed to end! It remains to be seen how this plays out next year, but at least we still have our Friday nights together. The LeBrain Train will roll into January, because it looks like we need the LeBrain Train once again! When I “pulled the plug” back in August, I did it with the George W. Bush “Mission Accomplished” meme. Because I knew Covid wasn’t really over. I knew the mission wasn’t really accomplished. What I didn’t know was just how badly things would get by the end of the year! I really didn’t think we’d be isolating again this New Year, but that’s exactly what many of us are doing. For the second time.
Big day tomorrow: The end of year lists, and the LeBrain Train New Year’s Eve special. Because Covid needs its ass kicked once and for all, and since we’re all doing the best we can under difficult circumstances, we deserve a night to party. See you tomorrow.
We are nothing if not perfectionists! Tee Bone was determined to get every single guest* we’ve ever had on the LeBrain Train into this intro vid, and I present to you the new updated version that we’ll be using on the next episode. This time Tee Bone started using actual show clips in place of screen grabs in some shots, and I’ll tell you, seeing all that smiling and laughing brings warmth to my heart.
Thanks to everyone who watched or shared Friday’s show, I really appreciate it! I think the new, shorter format is going to work. I also think the new intro video is pretty cool. We haven’t got a version that includes every single person who has ever been on the show, but it is a sampling of some very cool people who mean a lot to me. I hope you find yourself in this video! Music by Tee Bone Erickson.