psycho

Part 200: Just Another Annoying Day…

RECORD STORE TALES Part 200: Just Another Annoying Day…

It was a Wednesday in May, 1997.  Early afternoon.  This big, big dude with a shaved head walked into my store.  I greeted him, as I did all customers.  By all appearances he was perfectly normal.

“Hi there,” I said a few moments after he walked in.

“Do you have any Metallica box sets?” he replied, skipping the formalities.

I didn’t need to check inventory to know the answer.  The Metallica box set, Live Shit: Binge & Purge was huge.  It housed three VHS video tapes, 3 CDs in one jumbo “fat” case, a nice booklet, a “backstage pass”, and a stencil.

Legend has it that Peter the Rocker stenciled the “Metallica Guy” on the hood of his car.

There were other things that you might have classified as a Metallica “box set” at the time, but it was 1997 and there weren’t many.  The first Fan Can was out (1996), and there was the vinyl-only The Good, The Bad and The Live: 6½ Anniversary EP Box Set that we wouldn’t have carried (no vinyl in 1997).

“No, I don’t have any.  I know for sure that one of our other stores had one a few days ago.  Want me to check if it’s still there?”

“No.  How much will you pay me for one?” he asked.

“Well, that depends on a lot of things.  It’ll depend on if it’s complete, condition…”

Cutting me off, he abruptly said, “Yeah, yeah…it’s brand new.  It’s my buddy’s.  He has lots of Metallica box sets.  What will you pay me for the rest of them?  He has all of them.”

“All of them?” I queried.  “What do you mean by all of them?  Binge & Purge is the one most people are thinking off.”

“Yeah he has that, and all the others too,” he continued, “all sealed.  Metallica have a lot of box sets.  He has doubles of all of them.”

The dude smelled fishy, and it sounded to me like he was setting up a story in order to possibly go across the street to the mall, steal one or more, and sell them to me.  At this point, my guard was up and I wasn’t interested.  So, as diplomatically as possible, I addressed the big guy.

“Well dude, I can’t make any promises.  I can’t give you any kind of quote or promise without knowing what I’m buying.”

Cutting me off again, he repeated, “They’re all brand new.  Still in plastic.  Yeah, my buddy, he collects them.  But, uhh, he owes me money, and uhh…he said I could sell what I needed to get the money.  Can you give me $400?”

If I was drinking something I probably would spat it up.  “Umm, no man, listen, I really can’t help you out with that right now.”

“Are you hiring?” he replied, changing tack.

I paused, trying to keep up with the guy’s racing thoughts.  Even if I was hiring, there was no way I was telling him that!  I replied in the negative.

“No?  Can you hire me just for this afternoon?  I could lift stuff and help around the store,” he persisted.

“No.  I got it covered.  Thanks, I’m good.”

“I just need enough for the bus.  I have to be in Hamilton on Friday.  I’m going to Hamilton to work, but I don’t have a way of getting there yet.  Can you just, you know, give me some money?” I couldn’t believe I was hearing this.

“Sorry man, I really can’t.  Maybe someone else can help you if you go elsewhere,” I said, politely terminating the conversation.

“OK.  I’m going to go get those Metallica box sets.  My buddy lives really close.  I’ll be back in 20 minutes,” he announced, as he left the store.

I knew a guy at the HMV store at the mall, so I gave him a call.  I asked him to keep an eye on a big bald guy who might be eyeing the Metallica box set a little too closely.  He called the other music stores at the mall and gave them a heads-up as well.

Big guy was never seen nor heard from again!

NEXT TIME ON RECORD STORE TALES…

Warren.  Just Warren.

News: MÖTLEY CRÜE Attacked On Stage In Saskatchewan; Video

Bravewords.com News MÖTLEY CRÜE Attacked On Stage In Saskatchewan; Video.

This really pisses me off, especially to see it happen in a place such as Canada.  We try to keep our image as the nice guys of the world, and then this jackass knocks down Mick Mars.

Like Nikki Sixx (or somebody) said, “What the fuck is wrong with you, you fucking idiot?”

Mick Mars has a very painful bone disease (ankylosing spondylitis).  I’m guessing he could have easily broken his back in that fall.  You can see how freaked out everybody is, and that he can’t get up on his own.

Hope you’re feeling OK today Mick, come back to Canada anytime, don’t let one idiot ruin it for you.

Mars  says: “Thank all of you for your concerns about me being knocked down last night I’m alright nothing broken. My body guard Rhyno got 2 busted ribs.”

It happens at the end of “Primal Scream”.

More Motley:

REVIEW:  Shout at the Devil

REVIEW:  Theater of Pain

REVIEW:  Generation Swine

REVIEW:  “Sex” 2012 single

Part 183: Klassic Kwotes X!

RECORD STORE TALES Part 183:  Klassic Kwotes X – The Final Chapter

Finally the Klassic Kwotes well has run dry.  Enjoy Part X, for now this feature will be put on ice.  I have a new feature that I’ll be starting really soon.  Until then, here’s the final 10 quotes from the Record Store days…

FLOYD

1. It boggled my mind that people would expect a cheap used CD of a good album to just sit there.  So it always made me wonder what people were thinking when they’d say, “What do you mean that used copy of Dark Side of the Moon isn’t here anymore?  It was here last week!”

2. “I really want a job.  It doesn’t have to be at your store, I just want a job.  Can you tell me how to get one?”  Real phone call.

3. Dandy sometimes has his own stalker types.  One day Dandy brought a tattoo magazine to work.  His stalker kid saw it on the counter and proclaimed: “Nice!  Who’s sick tatty book?” 

4. Generic but frequent question:  “Do you have any European trance techno jungle DJ mix discs?”  Then, when you’d ask for a title or name to give you something to look up, they’d never know the name of a song or an artist.

5. “I just want one song on this CD.  Can I just buy a blank CD, and you burn it for me?

6. “Do you have any of those complication albums?”  Compilation albums.

9. “I have a CD to sell here.  One slight problem, not a big deal.  The front cover is for one CD, and the back cover is from a different CD.  Oh, and the disc inside isn’t either of those.  Can you take it?”

10.  “Do you guys buy used CD cases?  Like the plastic shells?”  No!  Nobody does!  They just throw them out!

This guy is hilarious.

NEXT TIME ON RECORD STORE TALES…

Alan Cross!

Part 157: The Year in Review / Top 5

RECORD STORE TALES Part 157:   The Year in Review

So here we are, the tail end of 2012.  While I’m sure you’re just starting to get your drink on, we here at LeBrain’s Blog are tirelessly bringing you the rock even into the wee final hours.  This is the time, traditionally, when we look at the past year!

We used to do Top Five of the Year lists at the record store, when we used to have our newsletter.  Unfortunately I don’t have copies of any of those newsletters, not a one, which is a real shame since I poured my heart and soul into them as much as anybody else at the store.  It would have been fun to look back 15 years and see what my top five of 1997 was.  I do know for certain two albums that were on it:  Accident of Birth by Bruce Dickinson, and The Colour and the Shape by Foo Fighters!  The rest have been lost to the dusts of time.

Hey, if any of you guys are still speaking to me and have copies of the newsletter, lemme know eh? ;)

Back to the present for a moment:

What can I say about 2012?  Before I even thought about doing my own blog, events were in motion that pushed me in that direction.   My good buddy Craig Fee invited me down to 107.5 Dave FM for an entire week — Stump LeBrain Week!  I spent a week on the air, with listeners trying to stump me.  There were even a couple LeBrain Weeks and an entire month of LeBrainuary, where every single day’s 4 O’clock 4 Play quizzes were mined from my own brain’s knowledge.  It was a blast, and left me hungry for more.

I’d always been writing Record Store Tales.  The oldest ones were at least a decade old on my hard drive, but I had no idea what to do with them.  I’d also been writing reviews — well over 800 of them on file before I launched — that very few people had seen.  Craig said to me, “LeBrain, you need to get blogging this stuff.  Write something every day.  If you build it, they will come.”

So that’s what I did, and I thank you for reading.

Back to the Record Store Tales:

I published Part 1 on March 9 2012, the beginning of the story, called Run to the Hills.  It was about the very first time I heard Iron Maiden, a date I’ll never forget.  And thus LeBrain’s Blog and Record Store Tales were launched.

Some highlights from the early months that you may have missed if you’re fairly new here:

So, if you have nothing better to do on this New Year’s Eve, there’s a good waste of time for ya.

And now that we’re done with the preamble…let’s get down to business.

LeBRAIN’S TOP FIVE OF 2012

5. TENACIOUS D – Rize of the Fenix

KG and JB cannot be stopped.  This album is the “Deth Starr” of rock, The D aim “To Be The Best”!   Read LeBrain’s review of Rize of the Fenix here, including all bonus tracks.

4. THE DARKNESS – Hot Cakes

I will never stop loving this band.  Welcome back.  Read LeBrain’s review of Hot Cakes here.

3.  RUSH – Clockwork Angels

My favourite Rush album since Counterparts, at least. Read LeBrain’s review of Clockwork Angels here.

2. VAN HALEN – A Different Kind of Truth

I’d never been more worried that a band would fuck up their big comeback.  Thankfully, Van Halen did not.  Read LeBrain’s review of A Different Kind of Truth here.

And finally…

1. KISS – Monster

You know this was gonna happen.  Aside from the fact that I’m the biggest Kiss fan around, it’s a fucking great record.  Read LeBrain’s review of Monster here.

Runner up:  Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson – TAAB2 Thick As A Brick 2.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Part 54: Stalkers

Flashback: July 1994.

When I first started at the store, my first day, my new boss gave me the orientation.  We were both young, early 20’s.   It went very well.  I was excited.  I’ll never forget one thing he said:

I think you’ll find that it’s hard work, but rewarding and fun work.  You get to listen to music while you work, the discount is really good, and you’ll meet so many girls here.  Trust me, this is the best place to meet them.

That proved not to be the case.

Flash forward:  June 2004.

In the 10 years since, I had not once — not even once! — dated a girl through work.  Granted I’m kind of an idiot when it comes to girls.  Never did know how to talk to them without sounding like the biggest idiot in the world.  Also I somehow pick up a stutter when talking to them.

Anyway, year after year, I stuttered my way through a decade of probably talking like an idiot in front of hundreds of female customers.

One sunny afternoon in June, I was working the late shift.  It was a really nice day, a “windows open” kind of day.

I was working with this guy Matt.  Around 6 or so, I had to step out to pick up some boxes from another location.  Rush, “Summertime Blues” was on the radio, the first time I ever heard it.  When I returned to the store about 45 minutes later, I said, “Matt!  Holy shit man, I just heard the new Rush from their covers album.  It’s amazing man!”

Ignoring me, he said,”Did you see those two blonde girls in the store before you left?”

I said, “Yeah, the two hot ones?”

Matt responded, “Well one was hot, the other looked like the Angry Walrus.  That one left you a note.”

He handed me a piece of yellow paper with a kitten on it.  It just said “Paula” and then a phone number.

“Seriously?” I asked him.

“Seriously.  I wouldn’t make something like this up, man.”

Good enough for me.  The one he referred to as “the so-so one” looked good to me!  The glorious prophecy of my boss has come true!

I called the number on the paper and we agreed to go out for coffee.  I asked her about the note she left, I told her that’s never happened to me before.  She told me she was there with her friend, she noticed me there, but I left before she could hand me the note personally.  So she asked Matt if he could give me her note.

We went out four or five times, but it clearly wasn’t happening.  And that’s where it gets weird.

When she sent me the “Let’s just be friends,” email, she added a double whammy for me.  She told me that the story about seeing me in the store and leaving the note was actually a frabrication.

See, she’d see my profile on some site somewhere, and I must have said that I worked in a record store in the tri-city area.  Rather than get an account and send me a message like a normal person would, she tried something different.

“Well,” she began, “in your profile you said you worked in a CD store.  You said you were from the KW-Cambridge area.  There was a picture of you there, so I figured I could just checking stores until I found you.”  Pardon?  “I’m sorry I lied about just walking in and seeing you there.  Anyway, you’re cool and I’m cool but it’s just not happening, so…”

So…that was mildly creepy and I didn’t feel so bad about it not working out after that!

Part 35.5: Spoogecakes!

A former co-worker gets a case of foot-in-mouth disease!

Walrus Face

RECORD STORE TALES Part 35.5:  Spoogecakes!

I’m going to take a break from our regularly scheduled program, and respond to a single reader.  It’s always great to have new readers here at LeBrain’s Record Store Tales, we’ve had people from all over the world, from Russia to Iceland.  Hello!

Still, it came as a surprise to me to get a comment so negative, so full of personal vitriol…yet anonymously!

The comment in question was in regards to Part 35: Due Credit. The submitting email address: bitchingaboutpastemployers@yahoo.com, the pen-name was “Unimpressed”.  Normally I wouldn’t publish a hateful anonymous comment, but this one was bizarre and perfect for another Record Store Tale.

Since this person was anonymous, I will dub them with a name so I have someone to refer to:  Let’s call he or she “Spoogecakes” [Note added:  Her real name is Laura, and she used to have this weird psycho-crush on me back in the day.]

Let’s go!

You are begrudging them for utilizing you where they thought you shined? They wanted you in a position where you were visible to customers first-hand and you sit back and complain?

Dear Spooge:   Yes.  It’s not “utilizising” someone where they shine.  It’s taking advantage of someone in a dead-end job.  Nobody wants to stay “visible to customers” in a retail environment forever.  That’s like saying to a McDonalds employee “you’re really good at making fries, so we’re going to keep you on the fry station.  Forever.”  Know of any better ways to kill worker morale?

Record shop employees can have a tremendous influence on customer base and at a time when the internet and websites were not as expected and commonplace as they are now, your employers wanted to maintain your skills as a visible employee.

Spooge, how do you know what my employers wanted?

Just because you did something first does not entitle you to be a sycophantic jackass.

Sycophantic?  It’s my fucking story, moron.

It’s called development of ideas and if you did not speak up at the time at what you perceived as slights on your efforts then you are just as much to blame as anyone else. If you wanted to be in the office working in your 30s you should have asked for such work or began the process of finding much more fulfilling employment.

Again, who says I didn’t?  What makes you think you would know?  In fact, we all did — and we were all made promises that never came to fruition.  All kinds of stories.  I remember one story about how we’d have 100 stores across the country in 5 years, and how I’d never have to buy another CD from a crackhead ever again.

Second, it’s not called “development of ideas”.  It’s taking someone else’s idea, and shutting them out.  Period.

You are not a peacemaker. Staying silent and then making public posts like this illuminate a petty passive-aggressiveness that is unattractive and will only fuel your bitterness. It is not peaceful. You are coming up on your 40s and either grow up or shut up at this point. This isn’t High Fidelity and you are not remotely amusing.

How do you know how old I am?  And, let me help with your reading skills, Spooge.  I never said I AM a peacemaker.  I said I WAS a peacemaker.  Much like Lester B. Pearson, I ain’t anymore.  Give peace a chance?  Been there, done that!  I’m done holding my tongue.   I didn’t at the time, because going with the flow was “better than nothing” as I clearly stated.  But, why do you care?  What makes you take the time out of your (obviously) busy day to write a three paragraph treatise on staying in dead-end jobs?

Lastly:  I’m “not remotely amusing”?  Come on!  Really? — after all, you read it and felt moved enough to respond.

Sounds to me like Spoogecakes has a sore spot or two.  After all, I can’t imagine why a random, anonymous reader would feel so driven to write such a vitriol-filled comment!  What Spoogey  apparently missed was the part where I said I was proud of what I did all those many years ago.

When one creates something, one should take pride in it.  In this case, am I taking pride belatedly.  I am very proud of everything I built and created, and nobody — certainly not Spoogey here — can tell me not to.  I spent way too many years having people tell me to sit down and not to make any trouble.  And here, you’re telling me to “grow up” or “shut up”.  Just like the old days!

Grow up?  Maybe you clicked the wrong link to your Barry Manilow blog, but this blog is about rock and roll.  You can tell by the little guitars going up and down the sides.  Rock and roll ain’t about growing up — it’s about permanent youth!

You can’t tell me to “shut up”.  In fact, the Record Store Tales are only beginning.

Hugs N’ Kisses,