RECORD STORE TALES #1060: Max the Axe’s Garage Sale
A huge thank-you to my host Max the Axe today at a fantastic garage sale! BEHOLD!
“9:00 AM!” he said. “Serving shots and weed to my Facebook friends starting at 9 AM!”
There was no way I was missing this garage sale.
I only had four hours sleep, and a large Tim Horton’s coffee, to prepare me. I didn’t think I could make it. After the events of last night, which left me rocked (in a bad way), I didn’t think I was up for it. But at 9:00 AM I said “to hell with it, let’s go,” and Jen and I were in the car off to the Trillion Dollar Treats that Max had on offer.
First up: cassettes! I picked up six:
Poison – Flesh & Blood
Metallica – Metallica
Van Halen – Diver Down
Extreme – II: Pornograffitti
Ozzy Osbourne – No Rest for the Wicked
Van Halen – Women and Children First
You can blame Tim Durling for my sudden interest in buying Cassettes That I Already Own On Remastered CDs. He did point out the Diver Down cassette was an unusual cover variant, with the image slanted taking up the whole cover.
Speaking of Tim Durling…
Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin IV
I’ve caught the 8-track bug, baby! Tim remarked that my copy was in better condition than his. Max had more 8-tracks but none from bands that I collected.
So that’s cassette and 8-track. What about CD and vinyl? Maxie has plenty of both, but my tab was starting to rack up. I gave him $20 for this rare AC/DC longbox, still sealed.
It’s the live “Highway to Hell” single, with long box intact and not in terrible shape. I used to have CD longboxes, but I foolishly tossed them when I moved, assuming their were worth next to nothing. Just paper. But now…
Next up: Max has been trying to sell me a tape deck for years. This one was $20, a Kenwood. My old Sony has seen the better of days, and Max says this one runs perfectly. I guess we’ll find out soon enough, to try out these new tapes I just bought, huh?
Finally, we have the magazine scores. Some MAD, some Cracked, some Star Wars, and some music! Even a M.E.A.T Magazine! A little bit of everything, and…woah, that’s Lee Aaron!!
Max has so much stuff, and you still have time to get down there. Kites, speakers, tape decks, collectables, magazines, all killer deals! Blank media galore.
Am I ever glad I went to Trillion Dollar Treats to see Max the Axe on my Saturday morning. My Friday was brutal – absolutely brutal. I am sure you will eventually be reading about it in one way or another. My real life has a habit of becoming public knowledge, because when I’m hurting inside, I need to get it out. My only weakness. Thank you to everyone who sent helpful messages and offered to talk. I need to single out Boppin, Jex, Tim, James and especially Jen for talking to me last night and this morning. I love you all.
2021: the year of the hamster wheel. It sure felt like we were spinning our tires all year! Sometimes inching a little forward in the mud, only to slide right back. What a year. But we did get some great music out of it.
Here at LeBrain HQ, if you go strictly by the numbers, there were two bands that dominated the year, both oldies acts from the 1980s: Coney Hatch and Iron Maiden! They (or members thereof) appear numerous times in the lists you’re about to read. Not so “oldies” after all eh? Five appearances for Iron Maiden, and a whopping seven for Coney and its members!
Even I was surprised by the lists this year! All my favourite things, and the stats of 2021, are curated below.
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:
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.
With a long career travelling landscapes of rock, jazz and metal, Lee Aaron has returned on CD with 12 new tracks that represent some of her best work to date. It’s called Radio On! and it’s an apt title. These are radio-ready tunes built for summer purposes. For best results, roll down those windows and hit the highway with Lee Aaron on your deck, loud.
Lee’s band with whom she wrote and recorded Radio On! include Sean Kelly on guitar, Dave Reimer on bass, and John Cody on drums. With a guy like Kelly contributing licks, you know you can count on some smokin’ guitar hooks and that’s exactly what you get on opener “Vampin'”. Hard hitting, but constructed with melody in mind. Lee is one of those artists for whom time has not passed. As she’s explored genres other than rock, she’s only gotten better and that shows on “Vampin'”. It belies the jazz records in her discography, but make no mistake, this is rock! Kelly’s solo break ensures it.
A collection of vintage-sounding riffs on the mid-tempo “Soul Breaker” lend it a melodic base. Lee uses that to springboard into hook after hook. Future classic potential. A memorable solo is like a maraschino cherry on top. Things turn slightly pop-punk on “C’Mon”, a brilliant single that will be lighting up stereos all summer long. Check out John Cody’s cool drum pattern and the jabbing stun-gun melodies that Lee delivers.
A diverse album this is, with “Mama Don’t Remember” sounding like a rocked-up roadhouse blues. You can picture a band playing this number in a seedy bar with dusty beams of light leaking through the walls. Then it’s the title track and the memorable hook “I wanna die with the radio on”. Me too, Lee!
“Soho Crawl”, backed by bouncy piano, rocks pretty hard in a different direction. Another road is explored on the dark “Devil’s Road”, with bass leading the way. Burning slow, laden with some of Lee’s finest words, “Devil’s Road” has the potential to be the kind of song that makes an album immortal, like a “Black Velvet”.
Picking up the pace, “Russian Doll” has the “Radar Love” rocking boogie, while Lee belts line after line of sticky sweet vocal candy. Kelly dives right into parts unknown for the wicked solo. Live, this is the song that will get people up and dancing. But this album doesn’t linger in the same places too long, and so the mid-tempo “Great Big Love” takes a different road. Opposites attract in the lyrics, and the music leaves lots of room for Lee to do her thang. Her lyrics just keep getting better. “It all comes down to chemistry, the science is in babe and science don’t lie.” There’s a swing and a country feel to it.
“Wasted” goes to dark territory. Serious subject matter, but wrapped gently in some of the most beautiful music Lee Aaron’s ever sung. All before it explodes punkily in the middle for a rousing chorus. Shifting into a funk groove, “Had Me at Hello” has some wicked rhythm. Lee’s playful words are an instrument to their own as the band jams on.
Finally closing on a piano ballad, Radio On! feels like a journey. The last leg is “Twenty One” which is likely to take you back in time. “Always in my mind, I’m 21.” It’s a vocal tour-de-force, ending an album full of ’em.
It’s worth celebrating any time a beloved artist from our past puts out a truly great album these days. For it to be one of the best albums of their career, that’s something very special. Respect to Mike Fraser for another perfect mix. Summer 2021 just gained another mainstay for its soundtrack.
No preamble needed here! Just sit back, grab a drink and enjoy the entire 1:45 chat with Sean Kelly below. We tackled just about every project he’s ever been in, from Lee Aaron to Helix to Trapper to Coney to Crash Kelly, 69 Duster, Nelly Furtado, and more. What’s this about Motley Crue figures? And hear about the new upcoming Coney Hatch Live in Germany LP, Lee Aaron’s new tunes, and a hell of a lot more.
Sean’s enthusiasm for music and especially rock and roll is contagious.
The interview with Sean begins at the 0:17:30mark. Tune in and enjoy!
A big thanks to Sean for taking his time to talk to us, and also to Deke for hooking this one up. You guys rock.
The LeBrain Train: 2000 Words or More with Mike and Deke
Episode 65 – Sean Kelly!
Sean Kelly is a busy guy! He was in fact one of the very first guests to agree to come on the show, back before we had even done anything notable. We finally got him on the schedule just in time to celebrate two new albums. One is Lee Aaron’s upcoming Radio On, with its insanely catchy debut single “Cmon”! The other is Coney Hatch’s brand new Live at the El Mocambo. As if that wasn’t enough, he recently worked on a new Helix song called “Not My Clowns, Not My Circus”. Did I mention he’s a busy guy?
Additionally, Kelly is known for his work with Crash Kelly, Trapper, and 69 Duster You might also be familiar with his collaborations with Gilby Clarke, Nelly Furtado, Emm Gryner, and Carole Pope. As if that wasn’t enough to do, he also plays classical. On the side, he put together an EP to go with a book he wrote called Metal On Ice! Will we have time to ask him about all this activity? We’ll try!
Superdekes is the guy who asked Sean to come aboard, so let’s give him a round of applause while we’re at it! This is another show you’ll want to make sure you catch live.
This blue Scotch tape has seen a lot of use over the years. It was my first blank tape, 120 minutes. This cassette was well loved. Back in ’83, it contained open-air recordings of songs like “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” and “The Mighty Quinn”. At some point in history (early 1991) I must have recorded over it. Let’s have a listen.
I have a feeling I know what it is now. Sounds like something I recorded for a girl! It would have been for my long distance crush Tammy.
This tape was never anything more than a cheap cassette, and it sounds awfully horrendous today. The contents, however, are still identifiable. The reason I never sent it to her was that it didn’t pass the sound quality test when I played it back. That was the shitty thing about cassettes. You could pour hours into making something, and then abandon the entire project.
I’m writing this in real time as I listen. If I’m right about my original intentions with this cassette, then I know that I’m going to find a specific song buried somewhere in the track list. Let’s find out.
1. Tesla – “Love Song”
The acoustic intro to the song made a perfect run-in for this lovey-dovey tape. I’ll spare the identity of the poor girl who this was made for, but she knows! This Tesla ballad is still utterly perfect. Off to a good start.
2. Kiss – “Shout It Out Loud”
Whew, I sure am glad it’s not all ballads. This track took me by surprise. I’m glad I used a classic Kiss rocker as the second track, instead of pandering for romance with “Reason to Live”. Good for me!
3. Cheap Trick – “The Flame”
I read a lot of hate for this song today. In the 80s, it was my favourite Cheap Trick and it’s still in my top five. It may be a ballad but like the Tesla one, it’s utterly perfect. This tape is now clearly made for a girl. I’d never do 2/3 ballads for my opening trio otherwise.
4. Warrant – “Thin Disguise”
Here I go again with the rarities! She loved Warrant but there is no way she had this song unless she had the cassette single for “Cherry Pie”. I did — I collected that stuff even back then. Turns out the B-side “Thin Disguise” is one of the best Warrant tracks, even today. It’s an acoustic/electric killer. Jani wrote some incredible songs in his time. This is one.
5. Warrant – “I Saw Red (Acoustic version)”
Another rarity, this time from the “I Saw Red” cassette single. I think this simple acoustic track (just Jani and a guitar) is better than the bombastic A-side version. Even then, I was trying to impress a girl with my music collection — how comical is that?
6. Kiss – “Reason to Live”
Ahh shit, there it is! That is hilarious.
7. Cinderella – “Nobody’s Fool”
OK, I’m getting a little sick of the power ballads now. The cool thing is, I know for a fact that I taped this off a cassette that she gave me for Christmas called Rulers of Rock. I wanted to show that I appreciated the gift by including this song. Kind of like when your favourite aunt gave you a sweater and you had to wear it when she was over to visit.
Enough with the ballads though. Let’s get a rocker next. Let’s hope for a rocker.
8. Kim Mitchell – “Easy to Tame”
Well, it’s not a ballad, but it ain’t a rocker either. Kim Mitchell was a good way into a girl’s heart in the late 80s and early 90s. Everybody loved “Patio Lanterns”. “Easy to Tame” was kind of like it’s cooler, lesser known cousin.
9. Paul Stanley – “Hold Me, Touch Me (Think Of Me When We’re Apart)”
Jesus fuck! I went full ballad. This was probably my favourite ballad of all time back then. Stanley’s guitar solo is flawlessly written and executed. And I got three Kiss songs right there on side one.
10. Kiss – “I’ll Be Back”
Four! Four Kiss songs! What a wild inclusion, too. This is a brief, very quick, Beatles tune done a-cappella for Kiss eXposed on VHS. I dubbed this from the video for a “soundtrack tape” that I made, and then recorded it here tape to tape. Just a filler between two other songs, but fuck…that’s cool.
11. Killer Dwarfs – “Doesn’t Matter”
At least this ballad has balls. We played this song a lot the previous summer. Bob had the cassette for Dirty Weapons, and he loved this song. A couple years later it was still good enough to include on their next album Method to the Madness. It’s still great.
12. Triumph – “Let the Light (Shine on Me)”
I’m getting steadily more and more disgusted with myself as the ballads play on. This one was recorded from the 7″ single, but at this point I don’t care and I just want the side to be over so I can flip the tape.
13. Quiet Riot – “Don’t Wanna Let You Go”
I’ll let myself off with a warning here, because this electric song is still pretty great. Truthfully, I included it hoping she’d like it, as Quiet Riot wasn’t really her thing. I was feeling nostalgic for the early 80s, the simplicity and quality of the Metal Health era. You didn’t need a ballad to have a hit then, and indeed “Don’t Wanna Let You Go” isn’t a single. Even in this shitty tape, Carlos’ guitar sound incredible.
14. Slaughter – “Fly to the Angels (Acoustic version)”
I put this on because she loved Slaughter but didn’t have a CD player, and this was a CD bonus track.
I need a break from all the balladeering, but I have a feeling the mush will be just as relentless. On the whole of side 1, there was only one track that you could call a rocker!
1. Judas Priest – “Out in the Cold”
Here it is! Yes, I sure do remember making this tape. The main motivation was — get this — to trick her into liking Judas Priest.
She hated Priest. Meanwhile, we were in the Painkiller era and I was riding a Priest high. I planned to write this song on the cover as:
1. Exciter – “Out in the Cold”
I used an alias (disregarding the thrash band with the same name because I know she wouldn’t recognize it) because I wanted her to hear this awesome Priest song with no preconceived notions. I wanted her to love it. I never found out since the cassette sounds so terribly bad and I never sent it, but this proves that I remembered my intentions correctly.
This sheds a new light on all the balladry. I was trying to really lull her in. I figured I needed a tape with nothing but the best soft songs in the world to really get her with the mighty Priest. It’s all coming back to me now.
2. Frehley’s Comet – “It’s Over Now”
I didn’t think she would know this one, but I hoped she’d like it. I was a big proponent of the second Frehley disc, appropriately called Second Sighting. I always thought this song should have been a huge, huge hit. I was hoping she would agree. Unusually for a Frehley song (but wiser from a commercial ballad point of view), it has both lead vocals and lead guitar by Tod Howarth.
3. Frozen Ghost – “Promises”
This one takes me completely by surprises. It’s a great song, but I didn’t have it back then. My sister did — I must have poached it from her collection for this tape. Bob played this a lot in the car over the last couple summers, so our whole gang would remember it fondly. She would have been in the car when we were rocking Frozen Ghost. Lead singer Arnold Lanni later went on to become quite a successful producer. Guitarist Phil X made it even bigger, now touring the world with Bon Jovi!
4. Lee Aaron – “Only Human”
I don’t think this is one of Lee’s finer moments, but I thought she’d like it, so on it went.
5. Winger – “Miles Away”
Putrid. Just awful. Fast forwarding.
6. AC/DC – “Moneytalks”
Holy shit! Finally a rock song. AC/DC were huge in ’90-’91. I couldn’t have gone wrong with AC/DC. Then why the fuck didn’t I include more? “Who Made Who”. “You Shook Me All Night Long”. Everybody likes those songs. Holy shitballs.
7. Motley Crue – “Home Sweet Home”
Tammy had Dr. Feelgood before I did, but I don’t know if she would have Theater of Pain back then. There was no such thing as a Motley greatest hits (can you imagine such a world?) so I thought this would be nice for her to have.
8. Van Halen – “Dreams”
OK, probably not a ballad. Very keyboard-heavy. Very easy to enjoy, and Van Hagar were still cool as fuck.
9. Van Halen – “Dancing in the Streets”
Some folks that are not necessarily Van Halen fans really like their version of “Dancing in the Streets”. It’s probably better than Bowie/Jagger, at least. I’m pleased with myself for including both Sammy and Dave on this tape, and one after the other no less!
10. REZ – “Shadows”
Woah! Deep cut. This was a tape, of a tape, of a tape, of a tape. You can imagine what it sounds like today. Bob and I loved this song by the Christian rock band REZ, formerly Resurrection Band. You can see that I snuck in a few unfamiliar songs like this, hoping she’d get into them. This one is pretty easy to like. Total shock to find it here.
11. Kiss – “Hard Luck Woman”
Kiss Count: five.
12. Brighton Rock – “One More Try”
This also comes as a surprise. Then I think to myself that my music collection wasn’t very large back then and I would have to pull a few obscure ones out. If I remember the details clearly, Tammy had MTV and so didn’t necessarily hear as much Canadian content like Brighton Rock.
13. AC/DC – “You Shook Me All Night Long”
Ah, good. What’s interesting to me about this is that at this point of the tape, the right channel is completely inaudible. So all I get is Angus (no Malcolm), Brian, and maybe half of Phil Rudd.
To my surprise, that is the last song. Usually I snuck something short and goofy at the end of a tape. “You Shook Me All Night Long” does make a good final song….
I didn’t erase the tape to the end! There is something left at the tail. Older contents; older than 1991.
It’s “On the Road to Rock” by Kick Axe! It is a mystery how that song got on this tape in the first place, as I didn’t own it back then and don’t even own it now. I must have recorded it off someone. Who, I have no idea. Perhaps my next door neighbour George had it. It was him or Bob, but I’ll never know for sure. George is gone now and Bob wouldn’t remember.
Knowing when I made this tape, and all the motivations behind it doesn’t forgive it for being a piece of shit. I did a shitty job here folks! Too many ballads, not enough variety. It’s a real slog to listen to without a fast forward button. At least half of those ballads could be axed, and replaced with something else that I had in my collection at that time.
Usually when you make a tape for someone, you give it away and never hear it again. In this case I had the rare chance to play back a mix tape that I made 28 years ago and never sent. It’s just as bad as I feared though not without some surprises and the odd cool inclusion.
That blue Scotch tape, an ancient C-120, goes back to at least 1983 making it 36 years old at minimum. 120 minute tapes are never any good, and this one was always particularly cheap. Now that I’ve satisfied my curiosity, I will never play this tape again.
Lee Aaron was out of the gates in ’92 with her first greatest hits CD called Powerline. The single was “Peace on Earth” originally from 1991’s Some Girls Do album. Check out what Lee had to say to Steve Anthony on MuchMusic’s Hostess Sneak Previews.