limp bizkit

Storytime With Ryan Williams, Studio Wiz!

Great show today!  John from 2loud2oldmusic brought on engineer/mixer/musician/songwriter Ryan Williams for storytime.  Though his credits range from pop to metal, we tended to focus our discussion on rock and roll.  If you’re a fan of Stone Temple Pilots, Pearl Jam, Slayer, Staind, U2, Phil Collen of Def Leppard, Limp Bizkit, Velvet Revolver, Dave Navarro, or Kelly Clarkson then you’ll want to check this show out.

From starting out in Atlanta, to travelling the world recording epic performances, Ryan Williams has seemingly seen it all and done it all.  Recording music on a Tascam 4-track home studio, graduating to two synced 24-tracks machines, to the modern tools of today, Ryan has kept learning.  We talked about his beginnings, and working with Brendan O’Brien, all the way to the present day and the imminent release of a Stone Temple Pilots box set for Tiny Music.  Ryan even had a little bit of show and tell with some hand-written original Eddie Vedder lyrics.

Great show all around and thank you for watching.


Engineer and Mixer Ryan Williams on the Saturday LeBrain Train

The LeBrain Train: 2000 Words or More with Mike and John Snow

Saturday July 3 – Episode 74 – Ryan Williams

Have you ever had anything with your name on it nominated for a Grammy award?  Ryan Williams has — for his work on Train’s Drops of Jupiter, Velvet Revolver’s Contraband, and Kelly Clarkson’s Stronger.  And we’ll be talking to him about it on Saturday’s LeBrain Train.

Join John Snow and I for this special Saturday episode with a very in-demand engineer.  How much demand?  Well, besides Stone Temple Pilots, he’s either engineered or mixed for Matt Nathanson, 3 Doors Down, Lifehouse, Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit, Pearl Jam, Outkast, Staind, Michelle Branch, The Panic Channel, Phil Collen’s Delta Deep, Korn, Static-X, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Biffy Clyro, 10 Years, Atreyu, Mastodon, Billy Idol, P!nk, Sugar Ray, Deftones, Adam Lambert, Coheed & Cambria, The Black Dahlia Murder, Bush, Neon Trees, and Beck.  He even has a co-write on a Kelly Clarkson song.  Is that enough demand for ya?

This is going to be a great chance for us to pick the brain of a guy who has literally worked with the biggest names in modern music.  You do not want to miss this one — catch it live so we can ask Ryan your questions!

Saturday July 3, 1:00 PM E.S.T. on Facebook:  MikeLeBrain and YouTube:  Mike LeBrain.

#419: Things Customers Do that Annoy Retail Workers


#419: Things Customers Do that Annoy Retail Workers

A few days ago, I saw this “20 Things Customers Do that Annoy Retail Workers” via George Takei’s daily (hilarious) Facebook posts.  It is so true that it hurts!  The memories it brought back…shudder.  I could relate to almost every single one.  The list was generally about clothing stores, but many of the points were wide-ranging.  Here are my favourite parts from the list that applied to us, with my own notes from the front lines of the Record Store!

1.  Asking “Do you work here?”  That used to drive me nuts.  Our boss used to make us wear these ugly STAFF tags.  It was like wearing a big hanging sign around your neck, it was so humiliating.  And still we’d get these questions!

5. “Tell you that an item that you sell is cheaper in another store.”  I’m not sure why people felt the need to do this at my store.  Their tone didn’t make it seem like they were trying to help.  Especially that one lady who told me, “Walmart has this cheaper than you.  HAH!”

7. “Try to return products which have been damaged by misuse”.  Ugh!  Someone in my store sold a brand new, sealed copy of Hit Zone 2 to a lady whose kids clearly used it as a skating rink.  When she returned it, she was furious!  “Do you always sell CDs that don’t work?” she asked me in a huff.  I said no, I’m really sorry, but we can exchange it for you.  Then I looked at the CD!  I had never seen a brand new CD that had been so quickly destroyed.  I did the exchange, but then I made her open up the new copy at the counter, inspect it, and sign her receipt saying she had seen the CD in perfect condition and it could not be returned.  She was just abusing the system.

8. “Spend half an hour browsing the when the store is trying to close.”  I can add my own note to this one: “And then leave without buying anything.”

10. “When they hand you a $50 or $100 bill, and while you’re checking it they say ‘I just made that myself’”.  I know you think you’re really original, coming up with that line, but half the people that hand me a $100 bill say it.  The other half got really pissed off when I said “We don’t take $100 bills.”  (We had a sign that said so at the counter.  One employee named Chris liked to say, “Don’t make me tap the sign again.”)

12. “Parents that allow their children to run rampant”.  This was one sure-fire way to ruin my day.  There’s nothing like watching a kid destroy your store, while the parent is browsing Limp Bizkit yelling, “Calm down!”  Obviously, the kid doesn’t calm down, and so he moves on to another section to destroy.  One youngster tore down my entire country section – put the whole thing in one gigantic pile on the floor.  The dad just said, “That’s not too bad, you’ll have that back together in no time.”  Thanks for the help.

14. “Complain about the prices. News flash, I don’t set the prices!”  Self-explanatory.  As manager I had the ability to offer you a discount.  However, being annoying and complaining constantly would not get you a discount.  Being polite would.  Turns out we gave very few discounts….

18. “You look like you need something to do.”  Usually said by someone carrying in a box of 400 CDs for sale, which will take me the rest of the morning to look at.  Thanks for the joke asshole, and so help me God you better not have more Limp Kizkit in here.

20. “So that means it’s free, right?”  That was probably funny the very first time somebody said it, when a price tag fell off the item they were buying.  Probably.  But that was also probably in ancient Greece and it hasn’t been funny since!

Part 314: The Musical Crimes of Mrs. LeBrain

Apologies in advance to my lovely wife.  She really is awesome for letting me do this.

RECORD STORE TALES Part 314: The Musical Crimes of Mrs. LeBrain

As we wind down the Record Store Tales, we get to the point that I met Jen in September 2005.  The funny thing about love is the rose-coloured glasses.  I don’t remember Jen having such bad taste in music.  However, the photographic proof is here.  She recently dug up her old Linkin Park CD wallet (!!!) , inside which are many dirty and scratched CDs.  Yes, Jen never took proper care of her discs either before we met, it’s true.  I can’t even identify some of the filth on her Marilyn Manson CD.  Could be coffee.

So here I am, a single Record Store Guy in the fall of ’05, meeting the love of his life…and these are the CDs in her collection.  Thankfully we shared a love of bands such as The Beatles and The Darkness too.  Even more thankfully, Jen doesn’t listen to Limp Bizkit anymore.  (I mean seriously, look at these!  She even owns the Limp Bizkit CD without Wes Borland!)

In her defense, I found no Nickelback. What I did find may upset you.

Part 88: The Only Time I Called the Cops

October.  These two shady, shady guys came in looking for the new “Limp Daddy” (Limp Bizkit).  After buying “Limp Daddy” they told me they had a van full of stereo equipment, good prices, did I want to buy anything?  No thanks!  I’d seen guys like this around before, selling stolen speakers and car decks.

They came back later in the day to buy more stuff, in total they dropped about $200 in a day.  They were just buying whatever crap was on the charts that they had heard.  They were buying discs like they didn’t care.  Good for sales, yes, but I had this vibe that they would be back.

Sure enough a couple weeks later they were back to return the discs they bought.  They had been opened and played.

“I used my boss’ money to buy these, and he doesn’t want them, so I need my money back.”

Now, this wasn’t the most unique reason I’d heard for returning discs, I’ve heard much more original reasons over the years.  (“I got five of these for my birthday so I need to return all of them”, “I found this”, “I’m not allowed to have this”)    But I guess this guy’s boss was pissed about him spending the money on discs.  Maybe he should have thought of that before he spent his boss’ money.

And knowing that this guy sold stolen car stereo equipment for a living, I’d hate to meet his boss.

I explained our return policy and told him that once he’s opened the wrapper and kept it for two weeks there was nothing I could do for him besides buy it back used, at a greatly reduced cost.

“Can’t you just re-seal it and sell it again?” he asked.

“No, because it’s not new anymore.  It’s used.”

“Well then what are all those sealed discs I see behind you there?” he persisted.

“Those are brand new, I can’t just seal up a disc and sell it for $16 man!”

“Oh man, my boss is going to kill me.  You have to do something for me,” he moaned.

“I wish I could, but really after this much time…I mean my boss would kill me too.”

“You have to give me the money back.  I’m not leaving until I get it,” he threatened.  I never did too well with threats at work.  I don’t like people getting my back up against the wall.  It doesn’t work with me.  Threatening me was the one way to make sure I don’t give you what you wanted.  Any chance of him getting even a dime out of me just ended.

“Well, I guess if you want to stay, we’re open ‘til 9.  You’re going to have to move though.  I have other customers that need to pay.”

He really, really didn’t like that.  His buddy stood silent behind him laughing as he continued to make a nuisance of himself.

“Yeah?  You want me to move?  I’m not moving.  I’m standing right here until you give me my money.”

“Well, you’re going to have to move when people want to pay, just telling you right now.  This is a business not a hangout,” I said.

“Yeah?  This is a business eh?  Do you like it when I push these buttons?  Or how about this, do you like when I play with your computer?”  He reached over the counter and started hammering keys on my keyboard, and buttons on our VISA machine.  The VISA machine beeped in protest as he continued to hit buttons, and windows began popping up on my computer screen.

“If you don’t leave right now, I’m going to have to call the cops.”

“Yeah?  You’d like that wouldn’t you?  Go ahead and call them.  Go ahead.”  He grabbed my phone.  “Call them.  Go ahead.”

“I just did,” I said as I hit the panic button.

Well next thing you know, him and his buddy were out the door without another word.  They bailed and they bailed fast.  The cops called to confirm the emergency and I told them that the two trouble makers had left.  They told me to call back if I had trouble with them again.  (I’m sure they would have been interested in the stereo equipment in their van!)

Of course after a confrontation like that, you worry about the person returning.  My buddy Shane Schedler, who is about 7 feet tall and 250 lbs, came in later that night and I told him how my day had gone.  I told him about the two dudes in the van and how I had to call the cops on them.

“Do you want me to stay until you close?  I don’t mind you know,” Shane said.  It was getting close to closing time anyway.

“Yeah!  That would be fine, I appreciate that man.  They wouldn’t mess with a guy your size.”

Shane laughed.  I’m sure he knew that.

A week later I did see the guys again, in the parking lot.  Incredibly, they apologized for their behaviour.  That part was a first!