muchmusic

VHS Archives #7: Ugly Kid Joe interview (1992)

By request of Jay.

Ziggy Lorenc usually hosted soft rock on MuchMusic, but this time she got to talk to Dave Fortman and Whitfield Crane of Ugly Kid Joe! The guys discuss the video for their hit “Neighbor” and the memorable back cover of the America’s Least Wanted CD.

 

Who would you like to see next in the VHS Archives?  Vote in the comments from the artists below!

  1. Faith No More (Billy & Roddy) 1992
  2. Bruce Dickinson 1986
  3. Kiss (full band) 1992
  4. Queensryche (Wilton & DeGarmo) 1990
  5. Steve Vai 1990

VHS Archives #6: Blackie Lawless of W.A.S.P. interview (1986)

This video comes from popular Facebook vote!  Stone from Metal Odyssey, Max the Axe, and your Heavy Metal Overlord all voted for Blackie Lawless as our next VHS Archive.

In this interview (estimated to be from 1986 based on the date of the tape), Blackie is confronted by MuchMusic’s Erica Ehm about W.A.S.P.’s stage show.  Lawless is strangely awkward and makes very little eye contact with anyone. It’s the 1980s and so Satanism must be denied.  Check it out!

 

Who would you like to see next in the VHS Archives?  Vote in the comments from the artists below!

  1. Faith No More (Billy & Roddy) 1992
  2. Bruce Dickinson 1986
  3. Kiss (full band) 1992
  4. Queensryche (Wilton & DeGarmo) 1990
  5. Steve Vai 1990

VHS Archives #5: Rob Halford interview (1986)

This brief but great clip has MuchMusic’s Terry David Mulligan getting Rob Halford to open up about drugs and Judas Priest’s image.  TDM hosted a show called MuchWest, but this was aired on the Power Hour.  Summer 1986, (presumably from Expo ’86) and Rob’s got a moustache and slick, long hair!  Definitely a look that didn’t stick.

VHS Archives #4: Pepsi Power Hour – classic 1987 intro

This sure does bring back memories.

Below is a MuchMusic bumper and the Pepsi Power Hour intro from 1987.  This intro heralded my favourite hour of television every week.  The best hours of my life.

Look for two cameos by Master T (Tony Young) before he was the host of Rap City.

 

VHS Archives #3: Vinnie Vincent Invasion interview (part two)

The second part of the Vinnie Vincent Invasion interview by Erica Ehm, from MuchMusic’s Pepsi Power Hour, September 1987. Dana, Vinnie and Bobby speak. Mark makes faces.

“Why is there so much heavy metal in L.A.?” is the question.

Part one can be found here.

VHS Archives #2: Hear N’ Aid Special – Pepsi Power Hour (1986)

The one VHS tape I’m working on currently spans a period of recordings from about July 1986 to September 1987. This Hear N’ Aid special features a MuchMusic interview conducted by J.D. (John) Roberts. There’s lots of exclusive information in this valuable video, including a tidbit on bands who refused to be in the same project as Spinal Tap!

VHS Archives #1: Vinnie Vincent Invasion interview (1987)

I have begun converting my video library to digital! The big challenge is finding all the old tapes. I have no idea where I put the most important ones.

In the meantime, enjoy this brief Vinnie Vincent Invasion interview with Erica Ehm, from MuchMusic’s Pepsi Power Hour, September 1987. Bigger and better stuff will follow if/when I find the tapes.

#593: Talk Dirty to Me

GETTING MORE TALE #593: Talk Dirty to Me

The closest “record store” when I was a young kid wasn’t a “record store” at all.  It was a now-defunct department store called Zellers.  Located at Stanley Park Mall, they were a mere 10 minute walk from home.  If we were looking for new tapes to listen to, Zellers would be the natural first stop.  It was a bit of a needle in a haystack situation because I didn’t know the names of a lot of bands or albums.  For example, there was a cool band from Japan on MuchMusic.  They had a killer heavy metal track called “Crazy Nights”, but I couldn’t remember the name of the band.  I scoured the racks at Zellers until I found what I assumed was the right group:  “Wang Chung”.  Never mind that “Wang Chung” doesn’t actually sound like a Japanese name, but what did I know at that age?  I definitely didn’t know that the name of the band was Loudness, and the album I was looking for was called Thunder In the East!  It’s a good thing I figured that out before putting Wang Chung on my Christmas list.

Bob and I spent a lot of time browsing records at Zellers just out of convenience of location.  It was there that I first saw the band known as Poison.  “They look like girls don’t they?” said Bob.  “Yeah,” I responded, secretly deciding that Rikki Rockett was the hottest.  But they were men!  That first Poison album cover turned me off the band for a time.  I considered them a sub-Motley Crue.

What finally turned me on to Poison was actually a highschool Battle of the Bands.  It seemed every highschool band learned “Talk Dirty to Me” in 1987.  The track had a vaguely old-timey rock and roll feel and that appealed to me.  It was like old Kiss.

I gradually got into Poison, by taping their videos off MuchMusic.  It is quite possible that their videos were the most action packed of the era.  They were highly choreographed, but so much fun.  There is no shame in admitting that when Bob and I got our first guitars, we were more interested in doing stage moves than playing.  Poison (and also Cinderella) were the prototypes for many of our moves.  A few guitars hit a few ceilings because of Poison.  I had to have a faux-snakeskin guitar strap, with strap locks, of course, for those over-the-shoulder-throws.

The Poison video I liked the best was a ballad called “I Won’t Forget You”.  It was tour footage from the stage and off, and it was less choreographed.  It had a guest shot by none other than Paul Stanley!  If Paul appeared on stage with Poison, then they had to be good.  Right?

It was obvious from their videos that Poison were a flashy band, bent on entertainment or death.  My musical perception wasn’t strong enough to detect that the band weren’t the greatest musicians, but they did have good songs to my ears.  Every video they made was fun and catchy as hell.  Poison were pretty easy to get into, and they were everywhere.

I didn’t buy the first album Look What the Cat Dragged In for a while, but I got the second one, Open Up and Say Ahh! for a school project.  As recalled in Getting More Tale #455: How to Make a Music Video, Bob and I decided to make our own video for “Nothin’ But A Good Time” for the school video awards.  My dad paid for the tape and it was used for the backing music.

The music video turned out great, and one day I hope to transfer it to a format you can upload to Youtube.

I’m not sure how many kids back then could have claimed they used Poison for a school project, but we did and we kicked that project’s ass!  Add Poison to the list of bands I used for school presentations and essays, including Iron Maiden, Queensryche and Judas Priest.  Poison’s music might have been vacuous, but they served their purpose.  Even today, I still get those feelings that say “I Want Action”!  Poison are intertwined with my childhood, permanently, and that’s not a terrible thing.

REVIEW: Max Webster – High Class in Borrowed Shoes (1977)

Scan_20150730MAX WEBSTER – High Class in Borrowed Shoes (1977 Anthem)

It’s only the second Max Webster album, but the band were so tight and perfect that they got three radio classics off it.  “Diamonds Diamonds”, “Gravity” and the title track are all three radio staples, and “On the Road” a live classic that Kim Mitchell occasionally plays unplugged.  Every fan has a favourite Max album, and I think I probably know a couple who would put High Class in Borrowed Shoes as numero uno.

The album opens with the impressive “High Class in Borrowed Shoes”, a blaster that sounds to me like a Canadian Van Halen!  Max had tamed some of their wackier tendencies (“Toronto Tontos”, anyone?) and focussed their chops.  Not that the new Max (now featuring legendary drummer Gary McCracken) was normal by any definition.  Just listen to the lullaby-like “Diamonds Diamonds”.  Great song, but very different for a rock band.  Its dreamlike mood is heightened by the surreal lyrics by Pye Dubois.  Not to mention there are only six lines to the words!

“Gravity” would make my top five Max tracks in a heartbeat.  “What do I know?  I sat under a cloud.  I looked up, afraid to look down.”  Kim sounds like a little boy speaking the words, to great effect.  The chorus is a big one, backed by a Kim’s riffing.  I have no idea what this song is about, but to me the line “Forget that fear of gravity, get a little savagery in your life,” says everything.  Don’t be afraid to take chances.  As Pye’s friend Neil Peart once said, just roll the bones.  That’s what it means to me, anyway.

Proving he has always been capable of tender ballads, “Words to Words” is one of Kim Mitchell’s first.  The keyboards of Terry Watkinson keep it just a little left of center, but Kim’s acoustic work is impeccable and excellent.   Pye Dubois’ lyrics are magical and stirring.  It’s hard to overstate just how quality this song is.  However ballads are usually best followed by scorchers, and that’s “America’s Veins”.  Killer solos, smoking drums, and a chorus built for the concert stage: it’s here in one complete package.

“Oh War!” is an incredible monument of rock.  AC/DC did a song with a similar vibe called “Little Lover”, but “Oh War!” is a completely different animal.  The gonzo solos are more in the “Z” section of the rock aisle, as in “Zappa”.   And check out the words!  “‘Cause I say fuck you instead of thank you, your choice under your breath.”  Yes, that’s what Uncle Kim, Canada’s favourite king of the summertime, just said!  OK, so it wasn’t going to get on the radio with those words…but damn, it should have been.  This song could have been almost as big as “Battle Scar” had it been.

I have a tape here of Kim Mitchell doing “On the Road” live in the MuchMusic studios, acoustically, on their Intimate and Interactive show.  This is what you might call “campfire rock”, but that sells it far too short.  “On the Road” is more than a song that would sound good played live around a fire, it has genuine soul that you can feel.  It’s an incredible song, and once again, I wonder why Max Webster wasn’t friggin’ huge.  “Rain Child” is next in line, which I would describe as a slow burner.  Terry Watkinson’s keys take center stage, never intruding.  “Rain Child” is a classic album track, and perfect for winding down the album.

IMG_20150730_182836

Max Webster went mad on the last track, “In Context of the Moon”.  This is the second of four “Moon” songs on the first four records:  “Coming Off the Moon”, “Beyond the Moon”, and “Moon Voices” are the others.  “In Context” can’t be described easily, because it spans many styles and tempos in just five measly minutes!  How?!  You have to play this one a few times just to get everything that is happening.  It’s certainly one of the most challenging pieces of music Max have recorded.  The four musicians must have rehearsed the shit out of this one.  Anyway, at all times, it smokes.  Whether it’s the bright intro guitars, or the metal riffs that follow them, or the sheer madness (including bass solo) that ensues, “In Context of the Moon” is always riveting.  It’s just non-stop even though by the time you get to the end of it, you’ll wonder how you got there!

Final note:  My good buddy T-Rev, who has guest written here a couple times before, met Gary McCracken after he moved to Sarnia.  He was working at Fastenal when in came a guy to pick up an “order for Gary McCracken.”  T-Rev pondered a bit before enquiring, “I hope you don’t mind me asking, but were in a band called Max Webster?”  Yes, he had.  It was that Gary McCracken, and he was cool.  I love little stories like that.  Gary McCracken was Trevor’s biggest influence as a young drummer!

Popoff's awesome book

Popoff’s awesome book

There is nothing more to be said in just a single review.   For the whole enchilada, get the book from martinpopoff.com!  And be sure to get High Class in Borrowed Shoes for your collection.

5/5 stars

#341: Led Zeppelin vs. New Kids on the Block

ZOSO

RECORD STORE TALES Mk II: Getting More Tale
#341: Led Zeppelin vs. New Kids on the Block

Fall, 1990.

Led Zeppelin had just released their first monster box set to great excitement and fanfare. Long time Zeppelin fans eagerly investigated the new remastered tracks (a novelty at the time), and the four unreleased treasures. It seems amusing from today’s perspective that only four unreleased tracks (well, only three – “Hey Hey What Can I Do” was a B-side) sent fandom into a frenzy. Today we have entire bonus CDs for each album. Back then, all we got was four songs.  How times have changed!  In Zeppelin’s case, more is always better, but in 1990 just four unheard songs seemed to shake the Earth.

I mean, it was Zeppelin!

Promotion went into overdrive with two brand new Zeppelin music videos. The first one was for the slippery, slide-guitar infested “Travelling Riverside Blues” recorded in 1969. What an incredible song. Hearing it, I knew right away that I needed to get some Zeppelin my collection, and that box set would be the perfect place to start. Especially since I really wanted “Travelling Riverside Blues”. Such an amazing electric blues performance.

On Canada’s MuchMusic, New Kids on the Block still dominated the video charts. In addition to their weekly countdown, Much introduced a new show called Combat Des Clips. On Combat Des Clips, one music video would be put up against another, and battle for viewers’ votes. The champion would return the following week to take on a new challenger. New Kids’ clip for “Tonight” (which, I’m embarrassed to say, my mom thought was a cover of a Beatles song) had dominated against all comers, for nine weeks straight. Now, it was Zeppelin’s turn to take them down.


One Direction

I hadn’t really paid much attention to the show before, but now it was a must. The opportunity for Zeppelin to take on New Kids was an epic battle that hit home. My own sister had fallen for the evil New Kids, while I was finding myself enamored with older authentic rock like Zeppelin. This was more than a battle between two bands. For me, this was personal!

Much played the clips from both challenger and champion, and I phoned in my vote. One vote for Zeppelin. As the hour dragged on (you had to sit through plenty more videos as the show went on) the votes for both artists climbed. It was close, but close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. For the first time ever, someone had knocked New Kids off the pedestal, and it was Led Zeppelin. Yes, that’s correct: the first band ever to dethrone New Kids off Combat Des Clips was Led Zeppelin. It was a joyous victory, as I taunted my sister over it. She didn’t even want to know. They played “Riverside” one more time at the end of the show; this time as champion.

MuchMusic took a few calls and faxes (no email back then!) from disgruntled New Kids fans. “I can’t believe the awesome New Kids were beaten by a bunch of old men!” read one.

Zeppelin did not have long to rest on their laurels. A week later, a new challenger rose to take on the sitting champions. This new challenger wasn’t even a real person. It was a yellow-skinned cartoon character named Bart Simpson, who had just scored his first hit with the video for “Do the Bartman”. I am sad to report that Bart Simpson succeeded in knocking Zeppelin off the pedestal. It wasn’t even really close.

Even though their reign only lasted a week, Led Zeppelin should be proud to know that their “Travelling Riverside Blues” – not even a proper album track, but only a forgotten BBC recording – knocked down the evil New Kids.

Their work was done.