new kids on the block

#840: 40 Years in Photos

GETTING MORE TALE #840: 40 Years in Photos

According to Ye Olde Photo Album, we began building the cottage in the summer of 1980.  Until then we stayed in a log cabin down the road with Grandma and Grandpa.  It was a tight squeeze.  Grampa had a bunk house out back where he spent the night.  Grandma had a bedroom where Little Baby Kathryn Ladano slept in a crib.  My mom and dad had a room.  That left me to sleep on a cot in the living room.

Many of my memories of that cabin are Star Wars memories.  The Empire Strikes Back had just come out.  I remember reading the comic book and the collector’s cards by the little front windows.  My mom bought a whole box of Empire Dixie cups for the lake.  Our action figures were always there with us.  I didn’t have a Boba Fett yet, so in the meantime I used a Micronaut with missile-firing backpack.  The cabin had structural support cables running from front to back, and they were great for hanging Star Wars figures in precarious adventurous positions.

There wasn’t much room in that little log cabin so eventually we needed to get a place of our own.  My parents bought a vacant lot nearby and began clearing the land.  We had no phone, no cable TV, nothing other than what we brought with us.  That was usually our Star Wars guys and sometimes a little Fisher-Price tape recorder to play cassettes.  But all my Star Wars soundtracks were on vinyl.  My grandfather had a record player at the cottage but we didn’t play Star Wars records.  Just country!

The land was cleared, a foundation was poured, and flooring laid.  Insulation was installed under the floors and that’s when it rained.  Insulation had to be re-done, a messy job.  The construction attracted attention from local cottagers and a curious little boy named Cyril became my first cottage friend.

Cyril was not only my first cottage friend, and not only my first black friend, but also the first black kid I’d ever met in my life.  Growing up in Catholic schools in Kitchener Ontario was a very white experience.  I’d never even see a black kid before that wasn’t on television.  The picture of Cyril checking out the brand new window delivery was typical.  That was as exciting as things got.  There were always trucks dropping off mountains of lumber.  Like all other little boys in 1980, Cyril was a Star Wars fan.  We got our figures together and played.  I remember freezing Han Solo in a glass of water.  It was the best way to make a “frozen Han” back then!

Funny thing about Cyril.  He had an older step-brother.  Eight years after meeting Cyril, his older brother was my science teacher:  the legendary Mr. Marrow, one of the greatest teachers I ever had, and a guest star in my “Nothing But A Good Time” music video.  He played – surprise surprise – the teacher!  And he nailed it!

I’m not sure what happened to Cyril or Mr. Marrow as their family sold the cottage long ago.  I did see Cyril once as an adult.  He towered over me, and apparently developed a love of Phil Collins!

By 1981 we had a space we could live in.  The interior was not finished, and we used an old folding table in the kitchen.  The back yard was nothing but dirt and stones.  My mom’s ashtray and cigarettes sat on the kitchen table.  It took years to finish the inside, room by room.  The wall slats went up and the ceiling was eventually finished too.  Soon, front and back decks went on.

The next photos come from Easter of 1986, an occasion I’ve written extensively about.  Easter fell in March that year, and we spent it at the lake.  The water was still partly frozen, but a few leads opened up in the ice and we took out the canoe for a trip.  You can see my little sister hunkered down in the middle while my uncle and dad paddled.  Later on in the back yard, I could be found playing air guitar on my favourite weapon – a badminton racquet.  If there was a tape deck on the back porch, it would have been playing “Turbo Lover” by Judas Priest.  The video had just come out and I recorded it to tape so I could listen to it whenever I wanted.  Naturally “Turbo Lover” was followed by “Locked In”.  I wouldn’t get the album itself until September.

One of the most interesting things to me about the older photos is the lack of puppies.  The first Schnauzers arrived in August of ’86.  We had two to choose from – Gentle Ben and Crystal Belle.  I connected with little Ben as the photos show.  I thought he might like to listen to some Triumph on my earphones.  But we chose Crystal (I was outvoted 3-1), and she was our puppy for the next many years.  I’ll be honest and admit that the stories you’ve heard were true.  At the time, I did not want a dog.  I didn’t want a dog because my sister did, and I didn’t want her to have her way.

In a photo from fall of 1987, she can be seen looking for cookie scraps as we lounged on a hammock.  I was wearing an Iron Maiden “Trooper” shirt that I don’t even remember owning at that age.  Later that fall we went on a big hike, following the lake north.  Shortly after, I painted that black vest with flames, and it became part of my Alice Cooper Halloween costume.

During the school years, I stayed home more often.  I didn’t want to miss any WWF wresting, or Much Music Power Hour music videos.  The absence of cable TV and a telephone made it feel like you were really out of contact with the outside world.  Of course, that was the point, but when you’re in your teens that’s not a point you really feel like making.

In the winter, my parents would go for day trips while I would stay home and get into mischief with Bob Schipper.  A photo was snapped of my dad shooting one of his guns on one such trip.  I stayed home to make cardboard guitars with Bob.

Time flew – and so did we!  My dad had a good friend named Jack, who was an airline pilot.  Because of Jack, any time we were going on a flight, he could made arrangements with the pilot to let us come up to the cockpit.  I felt like the kid in the movie Airplane!, meeting Captain Oveur.  Jack was a customer of my dad’s at the bank and that’s how they met.

Jack also had a small plane over his own.  When he came to the cottage for a visit, he didn’t drive.  He flew.  Summer after summer we always looked forward to his visits.  He’d take us all up two at a time if we wanted to.  It was pretty wild being able to see the cottage from the sky.  Too bad we didn’t think to take pictures from the air.

The 80s turned into the 90s.  I’ve written extensively about the summer of 1991, and the photos show change!  The old brown back deck was never meant to be a permanent fixture.  In ’91 we designed and built a bigger and better deck.  It was my job to cut out holes for the trees to grow through and you can see this in the photos.  Or at least you can see me goofing around for the cameras in my beloved Jon Bon Jovi Blaze of Glory T-shirt.  I bought that album there, on cassette the previous year.  The “bloody” scene was caused by a bottle of ketchup, cropped out of the photo (but left in on the original print).  Neon pink was in at the time, by the way.

1991 was a special summer because it was the last summer that Bob came to stay, and the first one that my buddy Peter came for.

Seasons passed and hair grew.  I had pretty good long hair when my Aunt came to visit in 1992.  You can tell it was 1992 by the Wayne’s World shirt.  I just had to have one.  Wayne’s World was everything in 1992.  I started talking like Wayne, using words like “spew” and “not”!  The tape deck that summer was loaded with Queen, Iron Maiden, and my favourite band Kiss who was out for Revenge.  We still have those old plastic deck chairs too!

What is really amazing to me is how quickly the time has gone by, especially those early years.  It felt like ages to finish the cottage.  It seemed like the unpanelled walls and temporary furniture was forever.  Even into the 1990s, our closets were not finished.  You could find the words KISS and NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK inked into the wooden 2x4s framing our closets.  Archaeologists will be able to determine whose room was whose based on hidden graffiti.

I hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane and can imagine what it was like to be a kid at the lake, playing Star Wars, and later rocking the air guitar badminton racquet to “Turbo Lover”.  Maybe next time there I will break out the racquet for another go.

 

 

WTF Search Terms: Chicken Skin edition

WTF SEARCH TERMS XLIV: Chicken Skin edition

Happy Friday!  WTF Search Terms are those weird words that you typed into a search engine to get here.  No overall theme this time, just a collection of shit that is:  A) weird stuff to google, and B) amusing that it led people here.  Please enjoy!


 

  • alien yoi hold i’ll fuck it. bon jovi slippery when

Yes that’s all one search term.  I actually have no commentary on this!

  • julian “chicken skin” trailer park
  • trailer park boys remake rush music video

This one I can explain!  The second inclusion isn’t really a “WTF”, but it does help explain the first one.  Trailer Park Boys’ Live in Dublin special featured them attempting to remake “Closer to the Heart” by Rush.  In order to replicate Neil Peart’s fu manchu moustache, Julian taped a piece of chicken skin to his chin.

  • tell me your favorite video game or i’ll eat your soul

That’s a tad harsh.  I assume the “I’ll eat your soul” part matched to a Tencious D lyric from the song “Tribute”.  Oh, and Super Mario 3.

  • nkotb face the music underrated

HAHAHAHA.  No.  No.  Heh.  No.  But this did link up to my first April Fool’s review.

  • critique essay over xmas special trailer park boys

I find this amusing because they used the word “essay” and that word has never been used on anything to do with Trailer Park Boys before.

  • jeff bezos new girl

I bought a lot of stuff from Amazon, but I wouldn’t know who Bezos is dating.  Not me that’s for sure.

  • all right saratoga springs, you wanted the best, you got the best, the hottest

Very specific!  This Kiss fan might be looking for a bootleg from Saratoga Springs, New York?

  • boobsy_animation_whores_wearing_glasses_acquire_screwed_hardcore_ site:mikeladano.com

An old classic, the Boobsy Animation Whores (wearing glasses acquire screwed hardcore) have been getting hits here since day one.  They’ve made the WTF list so many times that my site is now associated with them.  Go me?

  • lick my penis

Heheh.  I know why this got hits. Thanks Uncle Meat.

And finally I had to save this one for last.  Any Trekkies out there?  Any fans of Lieutenant Ash Tyler?  Don’t Google this.

  • shazad latif nude

I didn’t find him naked, but I did find a guy who looked like him sitting on the toilet.  You’re welcome.  Now you don’t have to look.

Come back for more WTF Search Terms on a web-enabled device near you!

Shazad Latif as Lt. Tyler

Sunday Chuckle: NKOTB

There was no way I was letting Mrs. LeBrain throw out this treasure.  A vintage New Kids on the Block pillow case from 1989!  A keeper forever.

WTF Search Terms: Urinal Trough edition

NO PEEING

WTF Search Terms XXVIII:  Urinal Trough edition

They’re back!…those whacky search terms that prove without a doubt that the internet is one fucked up place.  Here are 10 of the funniest search terms that showed up in my stats over the last three months.  Yes, that means someone punched these into a search engine and somehow ended up here!

For more posts of this variety, scoot on over to Zack at The Audible Stew’s “Are You Lost?” series!

WHY THE FUCK

1. urinal trough wangs out

Here you go, bud. Not quite what you were searching for, but possibly better.


2. jugs of piss from hot men

I don’t deal in piss containers. For that you need to speak to Uncle Meat.

3. reasons why men like to take a dump in public toilets

We don’t. Where the fuck did you get that idea? This is a myth!

4. silent knight porn

Googling yourself again, are ya?

5. thank santas tits

You said it Ricky!

6. girl gets interestet with wanker on train porno

A true puzzler. Anybody know this film? Sounds like Wes Anderson.

7. huge titedwomen wearing glasses fucking at work.

Please hang up, and try your call again. This is a recording.

8. swedish made penis

You must be looking for Joey Tempest.

9. what is it when someone steals your soul

This, precisely this.


10. okay do you can you tell me how much an aerosmith box of fire album is

Okay sure I can tell you how much an Aerosmith Box of Fire is. (About $65 Canadian, an excellent value at just $5 per disc!)

BOX OF FIRE THUMB

REVIEW: Faith No More – Live at the Brixton Academy (1991)

FAITH NO MORE – Live at the Brixton Academy (1991 Slash UK)

My mom and dad bought this European import for me Christmas ’92.  A rarity for sure, it cost over $30 at HMV Fairview Mall.  I was thrilled to get the two rare studio tracks, although the live material already existed on the classic You Fat Bastards VHS tape.  I received that tape the previous Christmas and didn’t know a CD version existed, until I saw it at HMV myself.

For the record, here is the full tracklist from You Fat Bastards: Live at the Brixton Academy which has since been reissued on DVD:

1. “From Out of Nowhere”
2. “Falling to Pieces”
3. “The Real Thing”
4. “Underwater Love”
5. “As the Worm Turns”
6. “Edge of the World”
7. “We Care a Lot”
8. “Epic”
9. “Woodpecker from Mars” (Instrumental)
10. “Zombie Eaters”
11. “War Pigs”

The CD loses “Underwater Love”, “Woodpecker From Mars”, and “As the Worm Turns” from the first Faith No More LP. While this is unfortunate, I am glad that “As the Worm Turns” from this video showed up on a version of the “Epic” CD single. I added to the album as a “bonus track” when I ripped it to mp3. (The band actually played 18 songs that night including rarities like “Why Do You Bother” and “Crab Song”.)

For some reason the CD also shuffles up the track order, opening with “Falling to Pieces” instead of the natural opener “From Out of Nowhere”.  It’s the funkier side of Faith No More’s Real Thing era.  Although it was a single I don’t think it’s all that exceptional and certainly not as a CD opener, but whatever.  (There also seems to be some kind of weird phasing or something going on with Jim Martin’s guitar sound.)  “The Real Thing” is seven minutes of ups and downs and drama and Patton shrieks.  This is the kind of Faith No More track that is initially too fucky to digest in one sitting.  Patton’s live improvisations vocally are a joy to fans who know what the song sounded like in the studio.

“This next song…is a song…that has four letters in the title…and it starts…with an E,” introduces Patton, and we all know what song that would be.  In April 1990, they might not have.  25 years later, the song is still fresh, especially with Patton’s ad-libs.  “Ooo-woo-oo-oo!”

The Black Sabbath cover “War Pigs” is edited in next, a perplexing slot considering it was played in the encores.  This is the same version that later re-emerged on the Black Sabbath tribute album Nativity in Black.  Sabbath fans unfamiliar with Faith No More’s idiosyncratic side did not like Patton’s loose work with vocal and lyrics, although I think “Mlah mlah mlah mlah mlah mlah mlah mlaaaghaah” works just as well as “On their knees the wars pigs crawling.”  To each their own.  You either like Faith No More or you don’t.

Actual show opener “From Out of Nowhere” is slotted next, a breakneck metal-with-keys anthem showcasing the musical chops of this underrated band.  Judging by the fades, I’d say this is where Side Two would be on a cassette version. On VHS I remember an animated Patton bounding about the stage, confident and unpredictable.

“We Care a Lot”, which contains within it a hilarious nod to the New Kids on the Block, was a show highlight. “Zombie Eaters” on the other is a foreboding rollercoaster. From dark quiet guitar chords, to thrashing ones, this song has it all. In some ways it is similar to “The Real Thing”, in that it takes a few listens to get it.

“Hey it’s time to snap kids…it’s time to fuckin’ snap, goddamit” instructs Patton. “Listen!” he says, putting the microphone to his buttocks and farting. “That was real.” Like I said, you either like Faith No More or you do not. “Edge of the World” is a nice little piano slow dance, but it is totally inappropriate for ending the live portion of the album. This is one of the worst sequenced CDs I have ever owned.

Two unreleased studio tracks from The Real Thing sessions are the real treat of this CD. “The Grade” sounds like a pedal steel guitar instrumental. It sounds like Jimmy Page. Jim Martin never got enough credit as a guitar player, and this track is exhibit A. “The Cowboy Song” is not a Thin Lizzy cover, in fact it’s an original. It occupies the same space as some of the more accessible tracks on The Real Thing. Young Patton was in peak voice, singing a powerfully melodic chorus. Roddy Bottum lays down some tasty Purple organ backing the song, which truthfully is a Faith No More favourite of mine.

Since it’s from the same concert I’ll add a word about “As the Worm Turns”, an oldie from the first album with Chuck Mosely. I’ll never forget the sight of Patton coming out in a weird mask and laying waste to it. Mike was able to do the Mosely songs with no problem, and this is one of the tunes that works best. Because it was based on yelling out a vocal melody, Mike takes it to another level.

You can get “As the Worm Turns” on the 1990 UK CD single for “Epic”, on Slash records (LASCD 26).

I’d be happy to give this CD 5/5 stars based on performance alone, but since the sequencing is so illogical and random, it’s only worth:

4/5 stars

FNM_0003

#373: Check Yer Section!

Photo0846

RECORD STORE TALES MkII: Getting More Tale
#373: Check Yer Section!

Don’t you hate shopping through a CD store that has a loose grasp on the alphabet? You could be looking for ABBA, only to find that somehow they had wandered over to the AC/DC section, or further. It’s not really the store’s fault that things go missing all over the place. It’s your own fault for not putting things back where you found them! But we came up with a method to minimize “CD drift”™ and keep the different sections looking great.

Each staff member would be assigned a section of the store that would be their responsibility to check and keep straight and organized. We might have rotated these sections among staff monthly or bi-monthly, whatever worked. The goal was to get somebody to check and reorganize every section of the store, every few days. Hard work but it was the only way to keep things where they should be.

Checking your section entailed the following duties:

1. Ensure that all CDs in your section are in their correct location.
2. Replace any CD cases found to be broken or excessively scuffed.
3. Ensure that no more than one or two copies of a CD are visible. (If we displayed all 47 copies of Collective Soul’s first album, we’d never sell any of them.)  Don’t prominently display any duplicates.
4. Correct price if discrepancies found.
5. If the header card for an artist is peeling, make a new one.
6. Make a header card for any artist that needs one.*
7. Keep section looking generally neat, even and organized. Don’t have one row with only five CDs in it, while the next row is bursting with 25. Balance them out, keep ’em even.**

Managers had to keep on top of the staff’s sections. Nobody seemed to really like checking their section. They got messy very fast, especially Rap/Dance. That section needed fixing on a daily basis, pretty much.  One of the managers used to purposely put CDs in the wrong places to see if her staff had checked.  The Rock section was bad, and so were DVDs. They were always getting thrown around, people didn’t care.  Just throw ’em back anywhere, not their problem, right?

Checking sections became such a habit that after quitting the store in ’06, I still instinctively fixed my section when visiting! Old habits die hard.  But it’s all for a good cause — even though nobody liked doing it, it absolutely needed to be done, and often!  Check yer section – a monotonous but critical part of CD store operations!

Can you spot the "section sin" in this picture?

Can you spot the “section sin” in this picture?

* Determining what artists needed header cards and which can just be filed under “misc” was a whole set of rules in itself, which I won’t bore you with.

** Trust me on this, I’ve gotten enough shit from bosses who didn’t like uneven shelves!

#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.

WTF Search Terms: Rock and Roll edition

ELVIS UH

WTF Search Terms VI:  Rock and Roll edition

Welcome back to WTF!  Click here if you missed the last one.  This edition collects some musical Google searches that somehow led people here to this blog.  Enjoy these head-scratchers and WTFs!

This first guy’s obviously an idiot.

10.  steve morse sucks

9. is paul stanley loosoing his voice?

8.  i wouldl like to hear mob rules (why, how polite!)

7. life+it+up+kiss

6.   black sabbath paranoid deluxe edition where is the 3 disc (right there.)

Photo0610

5.  phrase from what tv show – it’s the final countdown!! (Arrested Development.)

4. puff daddy’s embarring habit

3. new kids on the block poster greatest hits

2. real elvis videos tumblr hornny holes

And this week’s winner:

1. marilyn manson with butt plug

Like the WTF’s?  Then come back soon, or better yet, subscribe!

Part 24: Musical Embarrassment

Some record store peolple had shady musical pasts.  In the effort to appear cool, they would conceal any musical sins of the past.

Now, my musical sins are well on record.  Thanks to my sister, who emailed Craig Fee at 107.5 Dave FM on the Friday of LeBrain week, the entire region knows my musical sins.  But I don’t embarass easily.  She thought I’d be embarassed by:

  • Melanie C – I don’t own it anymore.  It was her “rock” album produced with Rick Rubin.
  • Hilary Duff – I liked one song called “The Getaway” that happened to work really well on a CD I made (cross-faded into “Somebody’s Out There” by Triumph).
  • Avril Lavigne – I still stand by her second album, which is really guitar heavy.  If it had solos and nobody knew who she was, it would have been considered metal.

Craig ended up spinning some New Kids clips in her honour.   She was a lot more embarassed than I was.  I wish I’d told Craig she also liked Rick Astley.  (hint)

Anyways, I don’t embarass musically.  I did have a misguided period in the 90’s when it was hard to find good new rock music, where I’d listen to anything.  I’ve since realized that there was a difference between albums you’d listen to at work, and albums you’d listen to at home.  Not necessarily the same thing.  I got rid of everything that I never listened to at home.

Some people at our store were not quite like me.  There was one guy who was a massive Barenaked Ladies fan back in grade school, but never admitted it.  My sister went to school with him and distinctly remembers that BNL was his favourite band one year.  Now that he’d moved on to the Grateful Dead, he didn’t want anyone to know his dirty secret. 

This is me in grade 9, baby.

Another had a massive crush on W. Axl Rose, and used to love Guns N’ Roses — she shall remain anonymous, since she doesn’t like people knowing this.   I don’t know how she fell out of love with Axl, but I do know that she hates stuff like GN’R now, both lyrically and musically.  I have a hard time understanding how you can swing from one side of the spectrum to the other like that!

And there was another who thought that Limp Bizkit was “#1”!  The following year, she was over Durst and onto the next one.  I can remember pictures of Durst being taped up everywhere from the counter to the bathroom.  Our store was a Shrine to Durst.  I also remember one guy stroked out his name on one of the posters…

Fred Durst Worst!

Meanwhile, I thought it would be more scenic to put up a giant poster of Kittie in the office.  I think I was right. 

I got made fun of pretty hard during my entire tenure for the music I liked.  The same guy who used to like BNL used to call me Cheese Metal Mike.  Cheeser, for short.  Well, at least I still listen to Iron Maiden.  Another made fun of me for buying Tesla.  The last album I got from Tesla was their recent covers set, Real to Reel, which I consider easily in my top five cover albums of all time.  Still love the band.  They kick a fuck of a lot more ass than, say, Mnmnmickelback….

There’s not much that embarasses me, certainly not music.  Girls I used to have crushes on, yeah.  Absolutely.  We won’t go there.  I already mentioned Sporty Spice and that’s enough from me.  If my sister had emailed Craig and had him broadcast the names of all my old celeb crushes, she could have really embarassed me.  Don’t get any ideas, Kathryn.

(OK one more.  I really liked Elizabeth Hurley at the time of Austin Powers.  Something about that accent.  (I ended up marrying a Brit, a girl of Sunderland heritage.)  A year later it was Kate Winslet, and a couple years after that, it was the lead singer of Scratching Post, whatever her name was…Scratching Post had one good song.  I wish I could remember the name of it.  I saw them live a couple times and they were really good live.  Shame their albums sucked so bad. )

To me, the most embarassing thing has to be coming in and selling every CD by a band.  If you have every CD, it means you really liked them.  I’ll never forget the guy with the Motley Crue tattoo who sold every Motley Crue CD when Vince was out of the band.  You’d also see the odd guy here or there who found God and unload a massive amount of music that they find distasteful.  I got a lot of my metal collection that way. 

I’m cool with anybody who finds God, no problem there.  But don’t tell me I’m going to h-e-double-hockeysticks for listening to Ozzy Osbourne.  That happened, in the store.  This one guy told me that Ozzy was the pathway to hell. 

I responded, “Have you heard his song called ‘Killer of Giants’?”

“No, I won’t listen to him at all,” said the guy.

“Well, ‘Killer of Giants’ is an anti-nuclear war song.  All of his old Black Sabbath lyrics are also anti-war or anti-nukes.  I would say that Ozzy and God have a common agenda when it comes to peace among mankind.”

He had no answer for that one.

In short, I’ve never been embarassed about anything I’ve listened to, be it the worst Mike Patton album I’ve ever heard (Adult Themes for Voice) or be it Puff Daddy’s remake of “Kashmir” with Jimmy Page and Tom Morello.  I don’t give a crap.  People have been making fun of my listening to tastes since grade 7, ever since I found Kiss.   (see Part 3: My First Kiss)

I got called out in grade 8 for wearing a Judas Priest shirt to school, in front of everyone.  It was a Catholic school.  How the hell was I to know that “Judas priest!” was a swear word back in the 1950’s or something!  I was embarassed for the moment, but my love for the Priest has only solidified over the years.  Through the departure of Halford to the Ripper years to the glorious comeback, it’s all been good with me.  (I’ll talk more about how heavy metal and Catholic schools didn’t mix back in 1985 in the future.)

Don’t let anybody tell you what music is good and what music is crap.  Including me!  If you like something because your friends like it, that’s not sincere.  If you honestly sincerely like something because it’s resonating with some part of you, then it’s true and good!

REVIEW: New Kids on the Block – Greatest Hits

NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK – Greatest Hits (2008)

With their triumphant return to the stage recently, it is only appropriate that today we revisit the 2008 Greatest Hits package by the ultimate boy band, New Kids on the Block.

This album, simply titled Greatest Hits, is a collection of the best of the best by the original Fab Five.  Aside from the four bonus tracks, which we’ll talk about later, the album is chock full of smash hits waiting to be remembered.  Starting with their trademark song “Step By Step”, it never lets up til the end.  This is a breathtaking collection of songwriting prowess and vocal excellence.  Truly, manager Maurice Starr had a talent for discovering stars.

This album is, in fact, a reissue of a 1999 edition, which only had 14 tracks.  The new version has 18.  It also omits a C + C Music Factory remix, and subs in “My Favourite Girl” instead, sung by Jordan Knight and Danny Wood, which is a better tune.  There are a few other changes as well, but chances are, this album will do fine for you.  If you really badly want to listen to their Christmas song all the time, it’s only on the 1999 edition).  It has been taken off this release.  Instead, you will get the hit single “Games”.  This is presented in the much tougher “Kids Get Hard” remix.

You will already know the massive hits, “The Right Stuff”, “Cover Girl”, “Tonight”, “Hangin’ Tough”, and “Please Don’t Go Girl”.  Most impressive is Jordan Knight’s lead vocal turn on the epic ballad, “I’ll Be Loving You (Forever)”.  Impressive pipes.  Truly one of the great underrated vocalists of the 90’s.  As a bit of a bonus, you’ll also get a song from 1994’s Face The Music LP, which suffered from lacklustre sales.  This track shows the Kids (then known as NKOTB) taking a more modern turn, while sacrificing none of their sweet harmonies.

There are four bonus cuts on this disc.  One is a “Mega Mix” that will work ideally for parties and dances.  There are two songs from solo albums (Jordan’s and Joey’s), and Donnie’s sentimental duet with Seiko, “The Right Combination”.

Best of all, you even get a full size poster!  This is perfect for wall or ceiling.

5/5 stars