pepsi power hour

VHS Archives #104: MuchMusic ads for the Pepsi Power Hour, Springsteen, Michael Jackson, U2 and GN’R

Here’s a grab bag of ads from MuchMusic from 1988 and 1992. They are:

  • A bumper for the Pepsi Power Hour (Molten Mondays!) featuring Metal Tim (the blonde guy).
  • Bruce Springsteen’s “only televised concert ever”!
  • Guns N’ Roses Live at the Ritz on the Miller Big Ticket, a legendary concert.
  • Michael Jackson’s Dangerous tour
  • U2’s Zoo TV tour.

A fun little collection of ads that bring back the memories.

#926: The Things We Took For Granted

RECORD STORE TALES #926 The Things We Took For Granted

The regular car trip to the lake was either tremendous fun or terrible torture.  It all depended on what kind of mood I was in, I guess.  I’d pester my sister and my dad would threaten to pull over.  Or, I’d be occupied reading a novel or comic.

If we were lucky, the trip would start at McDonalds.  I would always get two cheeseburgers.  Those slippery little burgers were always so good.  I could eat about 10 in a row right about now.

Keeping two kids entertained on a two hour drive isn’t easy but my parents did a good job.  First there was the radio. When Mom wasn’t listening to the ball game, my dad would put on something more entertaining.  In the 70s, it was the Star Wars radio drama.  Later on it was CBC and the pre-TV Royal Canadian Air Farce, or the science show Quirks & Quarks hosted first by David Suzuki, and later by Jay Ingram.

My dad took advantage of my early fascination with maps to keep me occupied.  He would pull out the road map, show our route, and have me track our progress.  He helped me memorize the way to the lake:  Dorking, Listowel, Molesworth, left turn at Bluevale, then Wingham, Whitechurch, Lucknow, a right at Amberley and finally Kincardine.  Thirst would kick in mid-way (probably from all that McDonalds) so a regular stop was made at this lonely pop machine in the middle of Lucknow.  Lucknow used to be the deadest of towns, not that it is very happening now, but it used to be you’d never see a soul there.  But they had this one pop machine in the middle of town.  Just as it was starting to get dark, Dad would pull over in Lucknow and get me a pop to tide me over.  Eventually that road map became too tattered and torn, but that’s how I learned to get to the lake from home.

Upon the advent of the Walkman, my sister and I were better able to entertain ourselves.  Two and a half tapes were what it took to get you from home to the lake.  We had to remember fresh batteries.  Remember those awful Walkman earphones?  It seemed all you could get were those terrible foam-padded rinky-dink things that came free with every player.  The wires were always shorting out to mono and you couldn’t keep those things secure on your head.  Not to mention the quality of the tapes and players could afford.  But it kept us entertained.  We didn’t know any better.

Those crap kind of earphones!

Every time we went to the lake as kids, I felt a certain pang for home.  When we were there for any significant time, there were things I hated about being away.  I missed my friends, my Atari games, my GI Joes, my comics.  I missed well-kept green city grass to lie down on, not the stony sandy lawns at the lake.  I missed cable TV and the good stores with all the cool stuff you couldn’t get in the country.  We didn’t appreciate what we did have in the country.  So it was no surprise, when I got old enough, that I stayed home more and more often.  There was a trial run in grade 10 when they left me home one Sunday, while they went up for a day and back in the evening.  I think I spent it working on my cardboard air guitar.

In August of 1991 my parents let me stay home for two weeks alone while they went to the lake.   And it was actually pretty awesome.

I had all kinds of plans.  Movie nights every night, with snacks.  I went to my friend Peter’s house, who had a massive VHS collection from working at Steve’s TV, and I borrowed at least a dozen films.  I remember two impactful flicks: Tremors and The AbyssTremors was an enjoyable popcorn movie, but I was blown away by The Abyss.  I couldn’t wait to tell my sister about this cool science fiction movie I discovered.  It had a reputation as a flop.  It defied expectations  A surprisingly excellent movie.

I had enough food to eat like a king for a week, plus pop and chips.  I checked out late night television.  I discovered the Metal Mike show.  I listened to music in the living room, not just my bedroom.  My dad usually monopolised entertainment in the house.  The TV remote was his.  The VCR was under his jurisdiction.  To have all this time to myself, and have movie nights and watch TV shows I’d never seen before, was exciting.  Plus I’d get to tape stuff from Pepsi Power Hour that week while it was still on the air.

I did have one ulterior motive.  There was a girl I like named Tracey.  I was introduced to Tracey by a school friend.  I had a limited amount of summer left to try and hang out with her.  She was playing hard to get.  I was determined to get some time with her while I was home.  Finally she committed to a date.  We met up at Stanley Park Mall and walked from there to my place to watch music videos.  And that was about it.  I remember she liked the looks of Mike Howe from Metal Church.  That was the most memorable thing about that day with Tracey.  Watching the Pepsi Power Hour, and her liking Mike Howe.  I distinctly remember they were covering the Operation Rock & Roll tour with Alice Cooper, Judas Priest, Motorhead, Metal Church and Dangerous Toys.  That would have made it the week of August 19, 1991.  Toronto was the final date on the tour, and infamously the last Judas Priest show before Rob Halford quit to go solo.  MuchMusic had an interview by Michael Williams with Rob, pre-accident.  Yes, pre-accident:  Rob hit his head on a lighting truss, riding his motorcycle out on stage during the opening number “Hell Bent For Leather”.

Mike Howe

The chance to hang out with Tracey was the main reason I stayed home that August, but regardless of the obsession with Mike Howe, not Ladano, I had an amazing time.  School was starting soon, and I’d be entering a new world at Wilfrid Laurier University, where I knew nobody and had no idea what to expect.  The remaining days of summer were a cherished time.  Every last moment was savoured.

I spent the balance of my time alone walking to the mall, checking out music, and just enjoying having the house.  I relished being able to play my music as loudly as I wanted, and stay up late every night, checking out whatever happened on TV after that hour.  The barbecue made many, many hot dogs.  I’m sure they made me do stuff like mow the lawn while they were gone.  I did all the dishes by hand because I didn’t know how to use the dishwasher!  I might even have done laundry.  I wasn’t bored!  But I missed them and was glad when they got home.

After all I had to tell them all about The Abyss!

VHS Archives #103: Paul Stanley of KISS with Slaughter & Dan Gallagher (in full Gene makeup)

“In case you tuned in, we’re here with Gene Simmons right now.”

Ladies and gentlemen, this is Deke’s favourite video. The legendary Dan Gallagher put on some Kiss makeup to talk to Paul Stanley. It was such a party that Slaughter dropped in too! It was the infamous gig opening for Whitesnake, and you can get a sense of Paul’s anger that Kiss were not allowed to do their full stage show. David Coverdale’s ego is alluded to.

Best quotes:

“If I was gonna paint the Sistine Chapel, I’d do it with a roller. I’m not a fine artist folks!”

“Everything we did was always in addition to what the music was doing. We never did it in place of the music.”

“Whenever people put out sequels to movies, they’re usually not as good as the original.  Alive II was pretty much as good as Alive I.  When gotta make sure Alive III isn’t…Jaws 3D or something.”

“Michael [Bolton] used to have the mic in his hand and strut around…he’s a rocker!”

When Mark Slaughter and Dana Strum show up, it becomes a bit of a party.

 

NOTE:  There are a couple audio glitches here that I didn’t notice until too late.

VHS Archives #102: Rob Halford Interview ’91 (The day of his last gig with Priest before quitting!)

19 August, 1991.  Operation Rock and Roll, featuring Alice Cooper, Judas Priest, Motorhead, Metal Church and Dangerous Toys rolled into Toronto.  The last show of the tour.  Unfortunately the day lives on in infamy.  It was the day Rob Halford hit his head (right on the bridge of the nose) on the drum riser, knocking him out cold!  Priest performed “Hell Bent for Leather” as an instrumental while Rob lay unseen in a cloud of artificial fog!  On top of that, and unbeknownst at the time, it was Priest’s very last gig with the Metal God for a decade.

This pre-accident Pepsi Power Hour interview by Michael Williams is interesting because Rob discusses their forthcoming compilation Metal Works a full two years before it was out.  At that point the plan was to try and write a couple new songs for the compilation, and then go back into the studio to record a brand new Priest album some time in 1992.  Needless to say, that did not work out!  As the last show of the Painkiller tour, this day was actually the last time Rob even saw his bandmates until they reconciled!

#885: Mono (II)

A sequel to Record Store Tales Part 215:  Mono

RECORD STORE TALES #885: Mono (II)

I don’t know how I got mono, but it happened it the 8th grade.  Everybody was getting ready to graduate and move on to highschool, which was something I could not wait for.  I also can’t remember how long I was sick for.  I was home from school for a long time.  Weeks?  Felt like months.  I almost missed graduation.  I made it back to school for the last few days of the year.  I remember everybody was nice to me when I came back.  That was a first.  I only managed half a day upon my return, but felt well enough to do a full day the next time.  Then it was all over.

I didn’t mind having to stay home from school.  It kept me away from the bullies.  There wasn’t much to do except watch music videos on the Pepsi Power Hour.  That’s how my “music collection” grew, song by song.  One of the defining songs from that period in my life is “Rough Boy” by ZZ Top.  MuchMusic played that video a lot, and I captured a really good recording of it that I played incessantly.  I didn’t own any albums by the artists I was recording.  Anvil, Dio, Hear N’ Aid, Loudness — but I added the songs to my life.  “Metal On Metal” was what I craved.

The limitation here was that I could, in theory, only listen to these songs on the TV in the basement.  Like most people, we had an ordinary mono VCR and a TV with only one speaker.  It was a strange JVC machine, with a dockable remote.  I can’t find any pictures online of the exact model.  It looked cool but it had a potentially fatal flaw.  It was that dockable remote.  It was the only set of controls.  If you lost the remote, you were in trouble!

Like all kids, I wasn’t allowed to spend all day in front of the TV, even when I was sick.  But I wanted my tunes.  Songs like “Let It Go” by Loudness.  “Shake It Up” by Lee Aaron.  “Lay It On the Line” by Triumph.  I was just a kid; I didn’t have money to buy all the records.  I had enough to start collecting the core bands I loved, like Maiden and Kiss.  Not outliers like Loudness or Dio.

My buddy Bob taught me how to improvise.  I had a box of primitive wires and connectors.  At a very early stage, I realized I could connect the single “audio out” port on the VCR to one of the two “stereo in” jacks on my Panasonic dual tape deck.  This meant that the mono signal from the VCR was really going to be in mono on my tape deck.  One speaker only.  Left or right, it was my choice.  Neither was ideal.  But I could put my music from the Pepsi Power Hour onto a cassette, which could then be enjoyed in my bedroom.

I saved my allowance and my parents took me to Steve’s TV so I could buy a Y-connector.  It was a cheap, grey cable with one RCA connector on one end, and two on the other.  It split a mono signal into a fake stereo, which is exactly what I needed.

I recorded all my MuchMusic videos (the ones I didn’t own on album) to cassette in this way.  When I got around to buying an album, I wouldn’t need the recorded songs anymore.  I didn’t like to waste valuable cassette space, so I would record over any redundant songs.  I still have all these tapes, but the tracks today are a mish-mash of different years of recording and re-recording.  When we got a stereo VCR in early 1991, I was able to put the Y-connector back in the box for good.  No more need for fake stereo.  Now I had the real thing for every music video I recorded going forward.

Having so many great songs recorded in mono (often with truncated beginnings and endings) gave me a real appreciation for buying the albums later on.  Listening to my tapes made me want the really good songs that much more.  When I finally got them, in full stereo cassette glory, and I heard the songs come to life, it was like going from black and white to full colour.  Or 2D to 3D.  Albums versions were often longer than the edited video versions as well.  Buying the album was always rewarding.  But there were so many songs, and only so many dollars.  I had to pick and choose what to buy.  Sometimes I wouldn’t get around to them for years.  Or decades.

You just read a story about a kid with mono, listening to music in mono.  You can say you’ve done that now.

 

VHS Archives #101: The Wisdom of Michael Schenker (1987)

‘Twas the Pepsi Power Hour in 1987, and Erica Ehm asked Michael Schenker a question about fast guitar players.  In just a minute and 15 seconds, he responded with a remarkable amount of wisdom.  From MuchMusic.

 

VHS Archives #100: The Final Episode of the Pepsi Power Hour

The final episode of the Pepsi Power Hour aired at the end of the summer of 1991.  The man with the sad honour of signing off was veteran Michael Williams.  Off and on, Williams hosted the Power Hour since 1986 if not earlier.  It was filmed at a welding shop in Calgary, Alberta.  Because metal?  (Bad, bad idea!  Audio engineers, your thoughts on this setting?)

Williams played Metallica’s “One”, and “Hunger Strike” by Temple of the Dog.  The shape of things to come.

The episode also features an interview with a new band called The Scream, featuring an up-and-comer named John Corabi.  A couple years later, and Corabi would be the new singer in Motley Crue.

The very last band ever played on the Pepsi Power Hour was Van Halen.  It was a big interview by Kim Clarke Champniss regarding the new album For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge.  The very last song ever played was “Runaround”.

The Power Hour was supplanted by the inferior Power 30.  It was a significant change.  I rarely missed a Power Hour.  The Power 30 was rarely worth catching.  However, look for the ad for a promising new Saturday show called Start Me Up – three hours of rock!

YouTube has forced me to butcher this video to get it up, so there are no music videos.  The Van Halen interview is mutilated. There are some ads and all the talking.  It’s history!

 

Speaking of history:  100 VHS Archives!  And counting!  I started posting these in 2019 and I still have plenty of files left to upload, and a few more tapes to play.  I’ve been taking it easy lately because the software is user-unfriendly and my VCR is making odd noises.  But we’re not done.  Not by a long shot.

Click here to check out all the VHS Archives!

 

VHS Archives #99: Duff & Matt from Guns N’ Roses backstage in Toronto – with an Axl Rose cameo (1991)

Use Your Illusion wasn’t even out yet, but Guns N’ Roses were two solid weeks into a tour chock full of new and old music.  MuchMusic’s Dan Gallagher talked with Duff McKagan and new member Matt Sorum before their show on June 7 in Toronto.  Was there an album really coming?

MuchMusic was into adding strange visual effects to their videos in the early 90s.  That choppy visual is not mine.  That is from the source broadcast.

Axl Rose had hurt his ankle and was giving the injury a stretch, riding around backstage on a bike.  Stay tuned to the end!  I hope that was gum.

Topics discussed:

  • “Popping the question” with Matt Sorum.
  • The broad appeal of Guns N’ Roses.
  • Unexpectedly playing “November Rain” for the first time in a year in front of 20,000 people.
  • Rock In Rio.
  • Punk covers recorded for a future album.
  • Tattoos.

 

Awesome Music That Makes Your Skin Vibrate: Two Hours of Brent Jensen on the LeBrain Train

A million thank-you’s to Brent Jensen, the author of No Sleep’Til SudburyLeftover People: A Journey Through Post-Rock & Roll America and All My Favourite People Are Broken.  Chatting music is what we love to do here, and it was a privilege to speak with someone so saturated with musical knowledge, stories and connections.  When you watch this show, I hope you feel the kinship that we music diehards share.

Obscure format junkies:  Check out 0:24:10 of the video for info on a format Sony were working on called “The Cube”.  It would have been a six-sided format around the time of the compact disc.

You can buy Brent’s books at Amazon, and you can check out his podcasts at nosleeptilsudbury.libsyn.com.  (I’ll be checking out the Sandy Horne from the Spoons episode ASAP!)   If you’d like some merch, contact him directly and he’ll hook you up.  Details at the end of our video.

A million more thanks to Superdekes for setting this episode up.  My brother from Thunder Bay should be known as “Superfan” after his meticulous homework and attention to detail!

There will be no sleep tonight as I hit the web looking for all these tunes!  From Saxon, to Kick Axe, to Maiden (with and without Blaze), to Priest (with and without Ripper), please enjoy the music that makes our skin vibrate.

 

 

For those who missed it, here is the 11 minutes that Youtube missed, but Facebook had. Unboxings: Jeff Scott Soto, John Norum, The Black Crowes, Frank Zappa, Def Leppard.

#833: Flag Boy (Part Two of the 1986 Saga)

STOPARRETPotentially triggering material ahead.

 

 

GETTING MORE TALE #833: Flag Boy

Part Two of the 1986 Saga

One of the many recurring themes here has been the awful experiences of being a metalhead in Catholic school.  A story that has somehow escaped being told until now is the one where those bastard kids gave me the name “Fag Boy” for a whole school year.

Grade 8, the 1985-86 year, had to be the worst.  It was kicked off by a huge fight with the school bully Steve Hartman, a total piece of shit, but at least I won.  Not that it helped.  I was teased relentlessly all year for my love of Kiss and Judas Priest.  Then I had mono.  Incidentally, Catholic school bullies are the worst and the teachers didn’t give a fuck.  When one kid, Ian Johnson, got into a fight with another bully, the teachers made them walk around the schoolyard together hand in hand.  What was that supposed to do?

The only thing that made life easier that year was beating Hartman in September of ’85.  That kept him off my back for the school year, although there were other bullies waiting in the wings.  Jeff Brooks, who stuffed snow down my jacket every Thursday after shop class.  Kevin Kirby, who copied my homework.  Towards the end even Hartman was campaigning for a “rematch”.

My sister used to call that school the “Hell Hole”.  She would sing Spinal Tap’s “Hell Hole” when we drove by.  This is a little kid in grade 4 calling her school that name.

At the start of the eighth grade, to learn social responsibility, we all had to volunteer for something.  There were a limited selection of slots for each role we were offered.  I cannot remember all of the duties that were set out on our menu of options.  Volunteering at the church was definitely among them, but I volunteered for the one I thought would be the most interesting:  security!  On a regular basis, we were to walk around the school when it was closed to make sure all was well.  Keep an eye out for anything wrong, like vandalism.  It was perfect because I was always biking around that direction anyway.  It was really the most appealing of all the options to me.

I’m sure you have already guessed they didn’t give me the security assignment.  No, I was given something that was supposed to be better, but was actually far worse.  It was such a dubious honour.  I was Flag Boy.

I wasn’t athletic, I was a skinny kid who openly listened to Judas Priest.  No way were they putting me on security.  They gave the two open positions to a couple of the athletic kids.  I don’t think either of them did any security that year.

As Flag Boy, I was responsible for putting out and bringing in the Maple Leaf at the start and end of every day for the year. It was worst at the start of the day.  When announcements were about to commence, I had to get out of my seat and leave the class, which always seemed to amuse them.  Then I had to walk down the hallway past the other grade 8 classroom, who always mocked and laughed and pointed at me as I went.  They called me “Fag Boy” from day one.  What made it even worse were my boots.  My dad gave them to me.  I thought they were so cool.  They didn’t have laces, they had dual zippers.  The boots only made me more a “Fag Boy”.

When the first pair of boots wore out, my dad gave me his second identical backup pair.  Ironically those boots would be considered so retro and stylish today.

The abuse that year was pretty bad and I faked sick a lot.  I faked sick mostly on Thursdays, which was shop class.  They bussed us to another school, St. Joseph, which had a woodworking shop.  The supervision was minimal and the bus rides were all but intolerable.  At one point or another I just decided I couldn’t take it anymore and faked sick as many Thursdays as I could.  By the time I got sick with mono for real, I had several incomplete projects in woodworking.  I was home for the rest of the term, and I never had to worry about those Thursday bus trips again.

Having mono sucked a lot, but Thursdays on the bus were far worse.  I considered it more than a fair trade.

While sick at home for real, I absorbed as many Pepsi Power Hours as I could.  I heard Hear N’ Aid for the first time.  I became addicted to “Rough Boy” by ZZ Top because of that damn music video.  (I guess I learned from an early age that I’m really a leg man.)  My heavy metal credentials grew by leaps and bounds and I listened to more and more songs:  “Metal on Metal”, “Never Surrender”, “Turbo Lover”, “Rock and Roll Children”.  To this day, I associate those songs with my sick time in 1986.  Especially Dio’s “Rock and Roll Children”.  The surreal music video suited the way I felt physically.  It didn’t look like the real world and I didn’t feel like myself.

My association of heavy metal music with relief from the outside world was cemented that year.  I had always come home to the comfort of a few Kiss tapes.  In 1986, sick with mono, I was safe from the school and surrounded not by bullies but by Ronnie James Dio, Ozzy Osbourne, Rob Halford, and Bruce Dickinson.  They didn’t call me “Fag Boy”, in fact their lyrics encouraged me to dig for strength.  Recovering from my illness, I had built this wall of metal around me.  It would be my armour for life.

I don’t know if those kids remember calling me “Fag Boy”, or if they would admit it.  I know I wouldn’t recognize Hartman if I saw him today.  They used to talk about forgiveness a lot in Catholic school.  You can forgive, but you never forget.