rock band

#559: Hotel Hobbies

GETTING MORE TALE #559: Hotel Hobbies

For a lot of people, the greatest day in their lives is the day they got married. Perhaps it can only be topped by the birth of a child. I don’t have any kids, so for me, the greatest day of my life really is the day I got married: August 31 2008.

I thought it was going to be tough competition though. August 30 2008 was a pretty fun day, so much so that I honestly didn’t think the wedding day itself could top it.

The 30th began early. The wedding was in Mississauga Ontario, an hour’s drive away. My best man Peter picked me up in his silver Camaro kit car, with a Corvette engine. Peter doesn’t own it anymore (it became a money machine) but my God did we have some good times in that car. That thing ran so low it felt like your ass was scraping bottom.

Before checking into the hotel, we had to take part in a bachelor ritual, that being lunch. Wings at Hooters! It was my first and thus far only time at a Hooters and it was pretty much everything I expected it to be. All the clientele inside were male. The waitress took our order with her leg up on our table. The wings were greasy goodness, not the best I’ve ever had, but certainly worth the stop at Hooters. That’s the real reason people go to Hooters, right?

Peter warmed up his GPS and we headed off to the hotel. We didn’t have anything special planned. We wouldn’t need a dinner – the wings and leftover wings took care of that problem. We didn’t need to go and buy anything for the wedding at the last minute. But we did have some work to do.

Peter had a hockey bag with his PS2 in it, and all the accessories needed to play Rock Band: Two guitars, microphone, and drum kit. I brought some of my favourite wedding related movies: Old School, Wedding Crashers and more. We had a fun night planned for when Jen and her maid of honour Lara arrived. We just needed to set it all up.

We hit a snag right away. Those hotels really like to make sure you have to pay for all your entertainment. They don’t want you to be able to bring your own. Remember back in the good old 90s, Peter and I rented a VCR to record American TV shows in a Frankenmuth hotel room? It wasn’t as easy as that anymore.

These new hotel TVs didn’t have any RCA jacks, or anywhere we could plug in the PS2. We sat there baffled, two guys (one an electrician!) who had spent decades hooking stuff up to TV sets, and we didn’t know how to proceed. Admitting defeat was not like Peter.

We needed an RCA to coaxial adapter. Unfortunately finding such a thing on a holiday Sunday in Mississauga wasn’t going to be easy. We began making phone calls: Best Buy, Circuit City, etc. Nobody knew what “RCA to coaxial” meant so we once again warmed up the GPS and headed down Dixie Road looking for stores.

As predicted, Best Buy and Circuit City had nothing, and the staff there looked at us as if we had stepped out of a time machine asking to use their telegraph machine. Our best bet wasn’t going to be one of those big chain stores specializing in HDMI. We ended up finding the adapter (for around $50) at a small mom & pop style tech store, but we did find it! Back in the Camarovette, back to the hotel.

Problem #2: those hotels really, really don’t want you to hook up your own entertainment. We couldn’t easily disconnect the coaxial cable. It had a protective metal sheath on both ends protecting it from tampering. You couldn’t even unplug it. Not without some tools, sweat and effort. I was ready to give up, but as turns out, Peter just doesn’t go anywhere without his tool kit.

He had that cable ripped out in no time and protective sheath removed. Before too long we had beaten the system and were playing PS2 right there in the hotel. Perseverance!

Jen and Lara arrived, as did Jen’s whole family from Ottawa. They all went out to a nice dinner together, but Peter and I were still recovering from our Hooters wings coma so we stayed in. I think Jen’s cousin Joey would rather have been playing Rock Band with us!

When they came back from dinner, our night really began. And it was an absolutely blast. Four best friends in a hotel room with chicken wings and video games and movies. We are simple people with simple needs. Those needs involve pretending to play drums to Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” while someone else pretends to play guitar. Song after song, we had so much fun that night that my sides hurt from laughing.

By the time we all realized we needed to call it a night or be too tired to get married the next day, it was a completely successful evening. I wasn’t at all nervous. I was so hyped that I was strangely calm. I couldn’t wait to get married. No cold feet here, not when I knew so many awesome people had my back. I went to bed that night thinking, “This has truly been the most fun night of my life. There is no way tomorrow can top it.”

Of course, the wedding day did top it. The only thing better than a party for four was a party for 100 of our closest family and friends.

Planning on a road trip involving a hotel stay? Then be like Peter and come prepared. If you can’t hook up your Playstation to a hotel TV like we did, then you might need some tools!

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#390: The Open Door Piss Strikes Back

NO PISSING

RECORD STORE TALES MkII: Getting More Tale
#390: The Open Door Piss Strikes Back

I will never forget the night we invited a bunch of friends over to play Rock Band.  It is unlikely that any of our guests will have difficulty remembering either.  For the night of the Rock Band party was also the night of the return of the Open Door Piss.

It was a mixed crowd, a bunch of people who hadn’t met before.  It was one of the first parties we hosted as a married couple.  Jen invited a couple of her co-workers from RIM, I invited one of mine and his wife, and of course I had to ask the incredible Uncle Meat to attend.  Meat is quite a singer, you see, and my Rock Band crowd was short on singers.  I was the only other attendee who liked to sing.  My songs were “Painkiller” by Judas Priest, “Paranoid” by Sabbath, and generally any rockers I was comfortable with.

Uncle Meat’s speciality was the lead vocal on Rush songs: “Closer to the Heart, and “The Trees”.  That was fun for my buddy Chris, a fellow fan of Trailer Park Boys.  When Meat took on “The Trees”, I excitedly told Chris, “This is the song Ricky’s always complaining about…how trees talk to each other and how different parts of your brain work!”

We got a couple of beers into him, and Uncle Meat nailed “The Trees” note for note.  He did an excellent job, while one of Jen’s co-workers did a pretty good Neil Peart on the drums.  High-fives all around.

After putting 100% into his vocal performance, Meat excused himself.  “I have to piss,” he said.  “Where’s the washroom?”

Down the hall Meat went, just at one of those moments that happen in every party, when things quiet down.  Tired from rocking track after track, we all sat quietly talking in the living room, just when we heard the sound.

It was the old, familiar trickle of an open door piss.  Familiar to me maybe, but not someone like the wife of my co-worker!

“Is that…is he…” she muttered, and everyone stared in the stunned silence of simultaneous realization.

“He’s peeing with the door open?” someone asked, and I nodded to confirm!

Meat re-emerged to the now-silent living room.

“Hey Meat!  Did you have a good piss?” I asked.
“Huh?” he responded, wondering why I’d ask that question.

“We could hear everything!” I laughed, cracking up.  “You forgot to close the door, we heard every drop.”

“Oh!” said Meat sheepishly.  “Yeah.”

Laughter broke the tension, but I will never let Uncle Meat forget!

REVIEW: Alice Cooper – Alice Does Alice (2010 iTunes EP)

Mike Tam

Happy Anniversary!

One year ago today, I launched LeBrain’s Record Store Tales & Reviews.  It’s been a blast.  Keep on keepin’ on!

Alice

ALICE COOPER – Alice Does Alice (2010 iTunes EP)

It seems the latest thing to do these days is re-record your old classic hits and sell them again.  Alice’s reason for doing so was that they needed new multi-track recordings for use in the Guitar Hero video game.  I think only one was ever used, which is “No More Mr. Nice Guy” (Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock).  The Alice Cooper 6 Pack download for Rock Band is mostly live tracks, not the versions that Alice released on Alice Does Alice.

According to the official Cooper site, these re-recordings were produced by Bob Ezrin.  Ezrin, of course, helmed the originals.  That must be why these new versions sound so authentic.  Yes, part for part, note for note, they’re pretty much the same.  Just with Alice’s voice older and wiser, and today’s sound quality.  But of course you can’t duplicate a classic, no matter how hard you try nor who you work with.  It’s impossible.  It’s catching lightning in a bottle.  So, these versions will always remain inferior to the classic, magical originals.  They’re just too nice, clean and neat.

I will say though, it’s pretty amazing how close these are to the originals.  The drums don’t sound the same, they’re thuddier and more modern, but the guitar tones are remarkably similar.  All the strings and horns are there too, and they do benefit from the sonic clarity of today’s technology.  Kudos to Ezrin and the players for capturing this.   (Because this is an electronic release with no physical version, there’s no credits.)

Tracklist:

  1. “School’s Out”
  2. “No More Mr. Nice Guy”
  3. “Elected”
  4. “I’m Eighteen”
  5. “Welcome To My Nightmare”

According to sickthingsUK, six tracks were actually recorded.  The sixth was “Poison”, which of course was originally produced not by Bob Ezrin, but by Desmond Child.  The track remains unreleased in 2013.

3/5 stars