lemon kurri klopek

REVIEW: The Legendary Klopeks – Straight to Hell (2002)

STRAT

Happy Canada Day! Here is your Can-Con for this holiday: The Legendary Klopeks. According to bassist Mike Lukacs, “We used to always play Shannon [Larratt]’s Canada Day BME BBQ every year. Always liked that.”

For a review of the Klopeks’ first album Homicidal Suicidal Klopekticidal by Aaron at the KMA, click here!

THE LEGENDARY KLOPEKS – Straight to Hell (2002 Pink Skull)

Once upon a time, in Niagara Falls Ontario, there was a band.  This was a band unlike any other.  They were fronted by future Guinness’ World Record holder Sweet Pepper Klopek.  Sayeth the Huffington Post, “Sweet Pepper Klopek…has set many Guinness World Records [and] managed it again by lifting a 5.4 kilogram, or 12-pound, sledgehammer suspended from two huge fish hooks plunged through his cheeks.”  Mixing punk rock, wrestling and humour, their best album is the 24 track Straight to Hell.

Every song ends with the words “fuck you!” and almost all are under three minutes.  There are also several tracks only a few seconds in length, and yes, even they end with “fuck you”!  Some sample song lyrics:

“Where’s my soup?  Fuck you!” (“Where’s My Soup”, 10 seconds)

“Touch my dink in the ditch.  Fuck you!”  (“Touch My Dink in the Ditch”, 12 seconds)

“Turtlenecks and armpits.  Fuck you!”  (“Turtlenecks and Armpits”, 20 seconds)

For the record, “Where’s My Soup” has long been this writer’s favourite Klopeks tune.  For a while I considered getting a “Where’s My Soup” tattoo.  A tattoo shop in St. Catharines Ontario used to offer free tats to anyone getting Klopek ink.  And I did consider it, but ultimately decided against.  After all, how did I know that in 10 years time, my favourite song wouldn’t be “Terry and the Ass Pirates”?  Or “Bush Party Hand Job”?  Or “She Fell Off the Couch” which has an actual guitar solo?

The fact of the matter is, every song is fast, brittle, vulgar and incredibly fun.  The lyrics are fuck-laden beyond conception.  The Big Lebowski himself has never dropped so many F-bombs in just 33 minutes. Nothing is taken seriously. Most songs start with bass noodling via Lemon Kurri, moving on to Sweet Pepper screaming like a man possessed. Regardless, these are actually really good punk songs! There is nothing polite or safe on this CD — that’s why they called it Straight to Hell!  No apologies.  “When it’s all said and done and I’m dead and gone, life’s a fuckin’ game, and fuck you I won!”

5/5 stars

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GUEST SHOT! #439: 10 E 23rd Street

GUEST SHOT by Mike Lukas

GETTING MORE TALE #439: 10 E 23rd Street

I just finished 93 shows in North America with Steve Earle & The Dukes. I’m their Tour Manager. We have four days off before heading to the west coast for a festival, then on to Europe for another month of touring. Being away from home for so long is tough. So when this little break came up, I told the wife, we were going to take a short trip to NYC. We have tickets to a concert and a Broadway show, a few great dinners, shopping, the works. It was something nice to do together before I leave again.

We are staying at a small boutique hotel in Gramercy. Today [September 29 2015] we were heading across 23rd street on our way to lunch when I saw the number 10 and for some reason that address just kept ringing in my head. 10 East 23rd Street. Over and over, I said to myself 10 East 23rd Street, 10 East 23rd Street, 10 East 23rd Street. Why do I know that address? Then it clicked! 10 East 23rd Street was the loft where KISS was born! It’s the spot where they auditioned Ace and Peter. It’s the place where they took those early pre-make-up photos. I grabbed my wife’s hand and told her we had to stop here.

I filled her in as to the significance this place played in the mind of a KISS fan. I took a quick photo of the façade of the building and noticed the door to #10 was wide open. I beckoned my wife to follow me in. Just a quick peek, the door is open after all.

We went inside and were greeted by a man with a little Boston terrier holding a ball in his mouth. The dog, not the man. He was holding the small service elevator door for us. “Coming up?” he asked. “Nope just popping in for a quick look.” I replied. His expression changed. “You’re KISS fans.” He said with a smile. “Get in the elevator, but we have to be quiet.” In we went and up we went, petting the little pup as we rose. The nice man who went on to explain that every so often people show up at 10 East 23rd Street to see where KISS was born, showed us the door to their former rehearsal spot. “Come over here” he pointed to the stairway. “See those pipes? That’s where that picture was taken.” I of course walked down and snapped a couple pics.

We looked around some more before descending back down to the street. We said thank you again to the man with the dog and made our way down to The Gramercy Tavern for a nice lunch. At lunch I texted a pic over to LeBrain. Knowing full well he would appreciate the experience as only another fellow KISS fan would. His response is what led to this little story!

Mike Lukas

QUIZ WINNER! Lego Album Covers 2

We have a winner in the Lego Album Covers 2 contest!  As promised, the winner gets my eternal respect and a shout-out.  The winner is…

LEMON KURRI KLOPEK!

Who successfully named all five albums –

  1. White LionBig Game
  2. MarillionThe Thieving Magpie (La Gazza Ladra)
  3. Mad SeasonAbove
  4. Nine Inch NailsGhosts I-IV
  5. The BeatlesYesterday and Today (butcher cover)

I had a complaint of “fixing” from somebody, but I won’t mention their name number!

Congrats to Mike aka Lemon Kurri Klopek who now has my eternal respect.

LKK

Part 279: Record Store Gallery Deux

RECORD STORE TALES Part 279:  Record Store Gallery Deux

I found another whack of old photos going back to the record store days.  Allow me to take you on a guided tour!

Gallery #1:  This would have been 2002.  The tragus was the most painful piercing I experienced.  It was the only time that somebody said, “he’s turning white, get him some juice to drink.”  The piercer was my friend Lois who works at Stigmata in Guelph.  She was apprenticing, with me as a test subject.  She even gave me the labret stud that they pierced it with, so the experience was free!  Note that Marillion shirt, and my then-sveldt shape!

Gallery #2:  A variety of sushi and fancy dinners with our Niagara Falls store owner Lemon Kurri Klopek, Guinness’ Book alumnus Sweet Pepper Klopek, the British piercer Sarge, and the mysterious man known only as Mr. Lebowski.

I look like a goth Leprechaun.

Gallery #3:  New arrivals! My birthday 2004! The Paul Stanley interview picture disc was from a friend in York, England named Kim. The Marillion singles were a birthday gift from a guy in France named Charly. And the Marillion Marbles deluxe edition was a gift for me, from me, that happened to arrive at the right time!

 

Last Words:  I love that this photo gallery contains three completely different facial hair styles:  A simple goatee, my Ian Paice mutton chops, and finally a full beard.  Cool!

GUEST REVIEW: The Beatles – Stereo Box Set LP version


THE BEATLES – Stereo Box Set (2009 LP version, Apple/EMI)

By: Lemon Kurri Klopek

I’m a sucker for a good boxed-set. I own several. A couple from The Beach Boys, and The Who, one from David Bowie, The Rolling Stones, heck, even The Monkees. When we’re talking The Beatles though, I have a number of them. The original bread box set of CDs, the Singles Collection, the E.P. Collection, the Anthologies, The Capitol sets, the Mono box and the Stereo box. Then of course the individual solo sets. The Lennon box, Onceuponatime, the Darkhorse Years, the list goes on. I have the special editions from each member’s solo catalogue. All Things Must Pass, Band On The Run, etcetera.  So when I saw the giant LP collection sitting there staring at me in the record store, it was no surprise when I found myself lugging it, double bagged out to the trunk of my car.

I must say it is an impressive set. All original UK releases plus Past Masters, all stereo versions, and all on 180 gram vinyl. These sets of vinyl are on the retail shelves for close to $350. I bought mine from a local establishment that was running a sale that weekend. I walked out having parted with 276 of my dollars. That’s tax included too. Not a bad deal considering there are 14 records (two of which are doubles.) That is less than $20 per record if you’re keeping track.

BEATLES

One small added bonus is, there is a foam cushion in the box that when removed makes room for the Yellow Submarine Songtrack and the #1s double record released years ago. Now I’m sure you could put other releases in there like, I don’t know, Love, or Yesterday and Today but I put in #1s and Yellow Sub. You put in whatever you like, it’s a free country… Anyway…

I figured the thing to do was to start at the beginning. So after unsheathing the box from its’ cellophane wrapping, (one of the best parts of buying a record and sadly something a generation will miss out on entirely) out came the beefy 180 gram stereo version of Please Please Me. I placed it on my Rega turntable and dropped the needle. In an instant it was the 11th of February 1963 and I was standing in EMI Studios on Abbey Road in London. Listening to what for all intents and purposes is a recording of The Beatles live set at the time. George Martin’s stereo mix of “I Saw Her Standing There” which was released a month after the original Mono mix, was filling my living room. The second release With The Beatles followed and then of course, A Hard Day’s Night. Stellar the lot.

5/5 stars

Contents:

Please Please Me (1963)
With The Beatles (1963)
A Hard Day’s Night (1964)
Beatles for Sale (1964)
Help! (1965)
Rubber Soul (1965)
Revolver (1966)
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
Magical Mystery Tour (1967)
The Beatles (1968)
Yellow Submarine (1969)
Abbey Road (1969)
Let It Be (1970)
Past Masters (1962–1970)

Further reading:
THE BEATLES – In Mono (2009)

Part 243: Return to Niagara Falls

Since I abandoned chronological order shortly after Part 10, everything’s been scattershot since.  This story takes place a month before the events in Part 102: Dumped in Barrie.  It features she who dumped me in Barrie, as well as friends from Part 64: Niagara Falls, and the title character from Part 155: Sarge.  Got all that?

RECORD STORE TALES Part 243:  Return to Niagara Falls

A cold Saturday morning, JJJulie and I headed down to St. Catharines, Ontario.  The purpose of our visit was to hang out with our Record Store friends in The Legendary Klopeks, and Sarge, who had flown in from Bournemouth, England!  Sarge was an imposing figure, with steampunk top hat and platform boots.  We’d been communicating online for a while and we were all looking forward to his visit.  He ended up helping the Klopeks book some gigs overseas later.

Lemon Kurri Klopek, you may remember, co-owned one of our stores.  JJJulie and I rendezvoused with him at his store, where I spent some money.  (Astute readers will realize that for me to buy a CD from Lemon Kurri, a franchisee, was against the rules!  We had some pretty stupid rules.)

The lot of us grabbed some fancy dinner together, a motley crew of tattoos, piercings, leather, and rock and roll.  Although we spent a lot of money and were nothing but polite, our appearances were apparently too much for the upscale restaurant folk.  We were given our bills and pointedly not asked if we wanted to order from the dessert menu.

We fit in much better later on at a bar in St. Catharines, where Sarge presided regaling us with stories about Lemmy from Motorhead and others.  I normally don’t like bars, but everybody seemed to know everybody there.  Sarge then presented me a Motorhead tour shirt, a gift I still have (although packed away in a box).  We had a pretty solid time, and the place was mostly empty so my crowd phobia didn’t really kick in.

SAM_0489

The Rockmobile

The following day, Sunday, we took a trip across the border to do some shopping. We all piled into Lemon Kurri Klopek’s Rockmobile.  There was some kind of outlet mall in Niagara Falls, USA that was supposed to be pretty cool.  JJJulie wanted to buy shoes (whoop-de-do!) but I was told there were a couple good toy stores there.

At K.B. Toys I found the Star Wars Game of Life for $9.99, which I still have.  That was a score.  I kept it sealed.  At that price I should have bought a second one and sold it or given it away as a gift.  But that wasn’t the only mistake I made on that trip.  A further stop at a US record store turned up a find that I didn’t know existed.

I’m admittedly not a fan of the Alice Cooper Brutal Planet period. I am however a completist, so I was still interested when I saw a Brutally Live CD/DVD combo pack.  We had the DVD in Canada, but not the CD, and CD is still my primary format.  It was $25, and I decided to pass on it simply because I knew I wasn’t going to play it that often.

Maintaining a balance between “I won’t play it that often” and “I still want it for the collection” is tricky sometimes, and erring on the side of budget, I decided to pass on the Brutally Live set for the moment.  As soon as I got back home and checked online, I regretted that decision.  I couldn’t get it from any Canadian sellers and buying from an American one was going to cost me at least $35.  (Happy ending:  About five years down the road, it was released in Canada at a budget price!  I have it now.)

My Star Wars Game of Life was a good score.  On eBay, there’s one (not sealed like mine) going for $25.99 (buy it now).  There are none on eBay that are unopened at the time of this writing.  I think I’ll hang onto mine and wait for the release of Episode VII to sell!

Part 197: What’s on the Menu?

KS

RECORD STORE TALES Part 197:  What’s on the Menu?

Record store people have a wide variety of paletes.  We had omnivores.  We had vegetarians.  We had some like myself that subsisted on pepperoni sticks and Red Bull.  Some of them did come to work with healthy snack choices, such as fruit or carrot sticks.  But carrot sticks aren’t very rock n’ roll.

Some places in the world are known for their cuisine.  Nebraska, for example, is known for its “Hot Beef Sundae”.

The hit single “Hot Beef Sundae” dedicated to Nebraska’s state food

Likewise, record stores have their own cuisine.

Tom enjoyed a hearty dinner of baked beans and KD.  I’ve also seen him eat chicken bones, but I don’t think that was for nutritional value.  Here are some more record store classic dinners:

  • T-Rev and I had differing tastes.  I liked fish, his slogan was “nothing that swims”.  We could always agree on Taco Bell.  But no tomatoes for T-Rev.
  • I will always remember that Lemon Kurri Klopek taught me how to eat sushi.
  • One of our store managers enjoyed “taco sauce sandwiches”.  Take any meat (he liked roast beef) and add Taco Bell mild, or hot sauce.
  • Wiseman learned as a Subway Sandwich Artist.  He liked a two-meat sandwich:  turkey bacon with lots of onions.

You didn’t want to be working the same shift as Wiseman on turkey bacon onion night.  Believe me.

Next time on record store tales…

Promos…Part II.

Part 155: Sarge

RECORD STORE TALES Part 155:  Sarge

As I mentioned in an earlier chapter, I had once explored the world of piercings.  It was a part of record store culture and I’ve since moved on, but I did make many friends in that world.

One of those friends was Lemon Kurri Klopek, who I also mentioned earlier.  Lemon Kurri was the bass player for the Niagara Falls based punk band, The Legendary Klopeks.  Through the magic of the internet, Lemon Kurri and I befriended a guy named Sarge, “the best piercer in all of southern England”.  Sarge came to visit Canada on a couple of occasions, and in fact helped the Klopeks play their first overseas gigs.

Sometime in the 1990’s, Sarge opened his shop, Metal Fatigue, in Bournermouth.  His reputation grew and he became quite successful.  “I can’t move in my local rock nightclub for people the shop has pierced, the running joke is about the scrap value in titanium every Saturday night!” said Sarge.

On one of Sarge’s visits, I had the chance to witness his work up close and personal.  And not just something standard like an ear or nose piercings, I had the chance to witness a really unusual one.

A local girl had seen Sarge’s clavicle piercing on the internet and was interested.  It’s a very unusual piercing that involves going underneath the collarbone.  Yes, underneath.  There’s a piece of jewelry made of flexible plastic and two metal balls, and that’s how it’s done.  Sarge was one of very few people who did it.  This girl eventually emailed Sarge about getting one done, not realizing he lived across the ocean.  However, Sarge was planning on coming and visiting his Klopek friends that summer.  The Canadian could have her clavicle piercing after all.

It was quite a sight to watch.  “The clavicle piercing (under the collar bone) is probably my ‘trophy’ piercing now, its really dangerous,” says Sarge.  “If I hit anything untoward, someone may die.  I have had loads of criticism from various piercers for even thinking about doing one. Saying that, I have now done 8 and they all love them so much!  I have stopped doing them now, as we are into unknown territory, watching them heal, working around possible problems with them.  So far everything has been hunky dory.”

I still have some pictures from that day.  The gentlemen in the photos are Lemon Kurri and Sweet Pepper Klopek, the bassist and singer from the Legendary Klopeks.  I have no idea why Sweet Pepper is all bruised in the face.  With them was a Scottish chap named T-Bone who took photos.  And of course Sarge and his client!  And Sarge’s boots.

To get us back onto the subject of music, Sarge tells a great story of some rock encounters in his travels across the pond.

“I met Jon Anderson from the band Yes when I was working at a hotel once!  Had a beer with him after work, he was doing some book signing thing, I think I still have his autograph somewhere, he signed a copy of a (Yes cover artist) Rodger Dean art book for me!”

But my favourite story involved his meeting with one of rock’s most notorious frontmen.

The year was 1986.  Sarge was out at the bar.  Although he had no way of knowing, Philip Lynott from Thin Lizzy had died that day, and the bar was playing his music in tribute to the fallen rock hero.  Sarge, however, was not a fan.  When he openly criticized the music of Thin Lizzy with some choice words, a large man with “bad teeth, long black hair and a low gruff voice,” told the young Sarge to fuck off.  This was Sarge’s first and last meeting with the infamous Lemmy Kilmister!