So much here to absorb and analyze. It’s clear that the danger this time is that Rey is headed down a dark path. Will be the beacon of hope for the galaxy be extinguished forever?
Find out December 15 2017.
So much here to absorb and analyze. It’s clear that the danger this time is that Rey is headed down a dark path. Will be the beacon of hope for the galaxy be extinguished forever?
Find out December 15 2017.
GETTING MORE TALE #591: My Rock and Roll Lullaby
When I was a young child, I used to hum myself to sleep. My favourite music was movie themes. Whether it be Superman, Indiana Jones or Star Wars, soundtracks were 99% of what I liked to listen to. And 99% of those soundtracks were John Williams. Come bedtime, mom or dad would tuck me in, and I’d hum a favourite theme until I was asleep.
As I entered the pre-teen years, my parents bought me my first ghetto blaster. It was a Sanyo, built solid like a Brinks truck. The Sanyo brought music back to bed time, only now I didn’t have to hum!
By the time I had the Sanyo, I was getting in to rock and roll really seriously. Kiss tapes were great for falling asleep to. They were just the right length, and I loved each and every album. Sure, you’d have to get up halfway through to flip sides (no auto-reverse on my first Sanyo), but suddenly I had a new bedtime routine. I’d literally rock myself to sleep.
This nightly habit soon became nightly necessity. It was hard to fall asleep without music! If we were away from home, I’d bring a Walkman, but falling asleep with earphones on was uncomfortable to say the least. Cheap 1980s earphones were not designed with comfort (or sound quality) in mind.
The bedtime music habit continued through highschool and into university. Sometimes I worried, “What happens when I get married? Is my wife going to want to fall asleep to Kiss Alive with me?”
No, no she wouldn’t. But I did manage to start falling asleep without music. When I got my own place, I’d stay up a little later and go to bed when I was exhausted. If I tossed and turned, then I would throw on a CD to help me fall asleep like the old days.
Have you ever needed musical accompaniment to fall asleep? What tunes did you like?
No, no no!
GETTING MORE TALE #577: Wedding Tunes Tales
Mrs LeBrain and I have been married nine years. It is an incredible feeling, to have found the one made for you. I thank God every day. We still frequently talk about the wedding day itself, the most amazing day of my life. The bachelor night before was legendary, but the wedding was perfect.
Well, except a few minor details.
With the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, there is one thing that really bugs me today, and that is our wedding CD. Specifically, one track on that wedding CD.
I personally selected and approved most of the music for the day. I was very proud to work Frank Zappa into the reception music (“Peaches En Regalia”). I also had to make sure I had a Kiss song, so I chose “And Then She Kissed Me” from Love Gun. We focused on Johnny Cash and the Beatles for the ceremony, killing two birds with one stone on “In My Life” for the signing of the registry. As soon as we started sending out the “thank you” cards to all the guests, I compiled and burned dozens of copies of what you might call The Official Soundtrack Album to Our Wedding. I squeezed in everything I could, but Jennifer insisted we include one specific song for her maid of honour, Lara. [Note: Lara is not evil, but she will be portraying the antagonist in an upcoming store called “Seven”. Stay tuned.] I guess when they used to work together in a video store, they would play “My Own Worst Enemy” by Lit a lot. Some customer gave Lara a CD with that song on it and only that song…on repeat. I guess this inside joke meant that “My Own Worst Enemy” was Lara’s entrance music at the reception. And I guess that justified it being on the soundtrack CD. That is, by far, my biggest wedding regret. It never should have been on the soundtrack CD. It’s the only song I absolutely have to skip every time. It’s shit. Sorry Lara, but your tribute song sucks!
Jen has her own decision that she would go back and change if she could. We had the proverbial “bridesmaid from hell”. Bridesmaidzilla, or ‘Zilla for short, was drama from start to finish. Without getting into too much detail, ‘Zilla was at the bottom of the bridesmaid totem pole but tried to manipulate certain things to be about her. The highlight of these efforts was what we call the “caesar salad saga”.
It’s quite simple, really! Jennifer has a seafood allergy, and any decent caesar salad dressing has anchovy paste in it. We never take any chances, so we requested a regular garden salad for the dinner reception. No big deal, right? It’s a salad, but most importantly, it’s Jennifer’s wedding. You wouldn’t believe how this salad became a bone of contention between them! ‘Zilla looked up recipes for vegan versions online. The salad was repeatedly brought up, but Jen had never really had caesar salad before due to her allergy. Why would she suddenly want one for her wedding? Bottom line, Jen chose the salad she wanted. And for the record, since that time, she has tried vegan caesar salad and likes it. But why would she gamble on something like that for her wedding night? No, pick the salad you want. Bottom line, end of discussion.
Drama continued right up to the morning of the wedding day. As maid of honour, Lara was in charge of the bridesmaids and all communication was to go through her to relieve the pressure from Jen. Lara would take care of any minor details so Jen would not have to be bothered. Well, apparently a bra was needed on the wedding day, and so I received a 7:00 am phone call about it. ‘Zilla didn’t want to call Lara because they were not getting along, at all, so they thought it would a good idea to call the groom on his wedding day, about a goddamn bra. They actually called me to ask where you can get a bra on a holiday weekend. Are you kidding me?
They must have called Lara and gotten it sorted because they got the bra situation taken care of without the groom having to intervene. The wedding went off perfectly and the reception was even better. I did my best to curate some cool music, and as a special treat, my sister Kathryn performed at the reception. It was a jazz quartet — bass, bass clarinet, drums, guitar. The crowning moment of their performance was a jazzy rendition of the “Cantina Theme” from Star Wars. My sister had to order the sheet music which wasn’t cheap. Her band’s performance that night was her wedding gift to us, and that reminds me that I do have one more regret. That is, I wish I had filmed it.
After dinner, after the cake was served, and I was taking a rest between songs (I was a dancing fiend) I sat at ‘Zilla’s table for a bit to chat. Jen’s friend Gordie, who is hilarious by the way, and married to one of the good bridesmaids, was also sitting with a few others at the table. Knowing full well the drama that had gone down, Gordie mischievously commented, “That was a great wedding, Mike. Everything was perfect and I am so happy for you and Jen. The cake was great…the only thing I would change is the salad, if it was caesar it would have been perfect.” Then the husband of ‘Zilla said, “We even gave them the recipe to make it…”
The last bit of ‘Zilla drama happened later in the evening as they were leaving. The DJ played one of the special songs I picked, which was “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond. My mom, sister, aunt and new wife started dancing to it and I shouted “It’s the Ladano girls dance!” My sister, who was right drunk at that stage, yelled out, “LADANO GIRLS, YAAAY!” They joined with me in a circle and we danced away to Neil, singing along, having a blast, laughing. ‘Zilla was, apparently, standing nearby waiting to say goodbye. I felt a tap on my shoulder and she very bitchily said “BYE!” while making a talkie-talkie motion with her hand. Yeah, bye!
Jen and I will soon be celebrating our anniversary again, and we’ll probably play that wedding soundtrack CD and relive the good memories. And I’ve convinced her to skip Lit from now on. Small victories are still victories.
We have had a solid rain in Kitchener, Ontario. Not only are the banks of the Grand swollen to the limit, but there has also been a steady rainfall of new arrivals at LeBrain HQ! Summer has officially arrived, and what is summer without new rock?
First we have some gratuity for Mr. Geoff “1001” Stephen. Some surprise mail arrived from him this week: two 7″ singles and some Leafs memorabilia. As Mrs. LeBrain said, “Thank you Geoff Stephen for the wonderful surprise this morning. The calendar brought back so many memories of my favourite hockey year. Go Leafs Go!”
For myself, a Kiss “Christine Sixteen”/”Shock Me” single, which alas is too late to fit into my Love Gun re-review! Those two songs make it virtually a double A-side. The other single he sent has a similar standing: Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys Are Back In Town”/”Jailbreak”. Two singles, four amazing cuts of rock history.
On the same day, I received this from a Discogs seller in Japan: a CD that has been on my wishlist a long time. Despite the long wait, I managed to hold off from buying the domestic edition of Ghost’s debut Opus Eponymous all this time. A sealed copy finally came up on Discogs within my buying threshold, so I jumped at it. For my rewards, I got “Here Comes the Sun”, Ghost’s Beatles cover…and a very different one it is.
We will jump briefly to new arrivals in the toy department. Thanks to J. at Resurrection Songs we recently covered the ins and outs of Third Party products. Behold! Badcube has released their take on Masterpiece Transformer Insecticons. These are heavy, heavy toys with lots of diecast and G1 accurate insect modes, with robot modes an homage to the cartoon. Check them out with their leader Megatron (third party Apollyon) and their original 1985 toys below. These, by the way, are deluxe collector’s editions with clear plastic and chromed parts for added value. I’d love to compare them to an official Hasbro Masterpiece Insecticon, but such a thing does not exist. That’s why third party companies have a niche. Labels by Toyhax.
Apollyon by X-Transbots with Evil Bug Corps by Badcube
Badcube Claymore and Transformers G1 Shrapnel
Badcube Hypno and Transformers G1 Bombshell
Badcube Kickbutt and Transformers G1 Kickback
Last new entry in the toy Department: I found some new Star Wars Black Series 6″ releases kicking around at the local Toys R Us on Sunday. I should have grabbed more of the Imperial AT-ACT driver, that one being a Target/TRU exclusive, but sometimes you find those to still be warming the pegs a few weeks later. The Imperial Death Squad commander will look great with my Stormtroopers, but I feel to ask $30 for one little tiny Jawa figure is a bit much. They should have included two Jawas or a droid in there for that price.
The same day as the Toys R Us trip, I also dropped in at the newly re-opened Sunrise Records at Fairview Mall, which is really starting to come along with great customer service and an improving selection. I couldn’t browse long, so I leaped immediately to the metal section and grabbed two CDs that I was missing by The Sword: Low Country (2016) and the new live album Greetings From… (2017). I am slowly getting caught up on that band — loving everything I have heard so far.
A wonderful week to be sure, but it’s time to stop buying music and toys for a short while, and get ready for Sausagefest 2017. I finished recording my parts yesterday, and I have inside information that suggests that this Sausagefest countdown will be pretty awesome.
I will be going LIVE at 12:30 AM (ET) Saturday morning with Robert Daniels on VISIONS IN SOUND. Tune in on your dial to 98.5 or internet to CKWR! You folks in the UK can tune in as you enjoy some morning java!
Rob says: “May is Star Wars month on Visions In Sound and we will be celebrating the 40th Anniversary with a slew of special shows. Joining me this week will be special guests Jason Drury, Michael Ladano & Erik Woods to help with the celebration. Featured music will be from the original Star Wars trilogy (John Williams). Join Us THIS Saturday 12:30-2:30am (ET)”
I will be going LIVE at 12:30 AM (ET) Saturday morning with Robert Daniels on VISIONS IN SOUND. Tune in on your dial to 98.5 or internet to CKWR! You folks in the UK can tune in as you enjoy some morning coffee or tea!
Rob says: “May is Star Wars month on Visions In Sound and we will be celebrating the 40th Anniversary with a slew of special shows. Joining me this week will be special guests Jason Drury, Michael Ladano & Erik Woods to help with the celebration. Featured music will be from the Star Wars prequel trilogy (John Williams). Join Us THIS Saturday 12:30-2:30am (ET)”
Includes: Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith, A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and three bonus discs.
Star Wars on blu-ray…it took a lot less time than it did for Star Wars to arrive on DVD! In special features and deleted scenes alone, it was well worth the wait. You can’t do a box set like this without the bonus of unseen footage. The good news is, The Complete Saga is loaded with unseen special features and deleted scenes. In fact, the Tosche Station scene (deleted from A New Hope) is worth the purchase alone for the true fan. It’s that great.
Will this be the last time we buy the first two Star Wars trilogies? Heck, no! When 3D comes out, everybody will be having the same discussion all over again! And when the sequel trilogy is complete, we’ll be doing it again. Will Greedo still shoot first? Well, in my mind I have long accepted that Han shot first. Only in some weird Lucasverse is there a way that Greedo could shoot and miss at that range. That close, I’m sorry, Han is toasted smuggler stew. Disney says there is no way to re-release the original trilogy without its Special Edition enhancements, as the original film materials are too far gone.
However about 10 years ago or so, Lucas did an official DVD reissue of the ORIGINAL original trilogy, which I went out and bought on day one. It was satisfying, it looked better than my old VHS copy, but it wasn’t cleaned up nice like the special editions were. Which, in my opinion, is fine. It looks good and it’s as close to your childhood memories as you’ll ever get. After all, we didn’t have 1080p TV tubes.
Accepting that a Blu-ray version of the “ORIGINAL” original trilogy will never happen, I am very satisfied with my Blu-ray of the Complete Saga.
The sound is awesome, very deep, and annoying to the neighbors.
The video is perfect; I realize there are probably some colour changes here and there but I’m not about to do an A/B test and find them. I don’t care, it’s sharp and bright and clear and even Phantom Menace looks good!
Content wise, you know what? Hell, I’m actually enjoying Phantom Menace. I’m lost in that moment in 1999 or whatever it was, when we sat there watching it the first time, trying to figure out who the new baddies were and checking out all the cool designs, which all stand up today. Except Jar Jar. Take him out and the movie’s not half bad at all, flawed as it may be.
Bonus featues: I wanted to watch the deleted scenes and there is good news and bad news. The bad news is, I hate how the deleted scenes are organized. You have to click the movie you want, click the planet you want, and then pick deleted scenes from the features. You can’t just go to a menu called “Deleted Scenes”. Anyways, these were mostly great although some action scenes were just animatics. And, I don’t think these deleted scenes overlap at all with the scenes provided on previous DVD editions. For example there was no Greedo scene in the Episode I deleted scenes, but there certainly was on the original DVD release for Episode I. That goes for the special features in general…I don’t think there are many that overlap at all with the ones you already have. That could be good or bad; for most fans that’s good. You’re buying new stuff, not the same stuff you have already.
Highlights: As mentioned the Tosche Station scene, which has all the soul of old Star Wars along with finally tying up the Biggs storyline. Also welcome was the attack on the droid control ship from Episode II — previously only available to subscribers to Lucasfilm’s ill-fated Hyperspace service.
There’s also an hour and a half (!) of spoofs from all over the place, including The Simpsons, Family Guy, Robot Chicken, Saturday Night Live (including that hilarious Kevin-Spacey-as-Christopher-Walken-as-Han-Solo one), Colbert, That 70’s Show, and many more. Most of these, I have never seen.
This is exactly what anybody who had reasonable expectations wanted.
I will be going LIVE at 12:30 AM (ET) Saturday morning with Robert Daniels on VISIONS IN SOUND. Tune in on your dial to 98.5 or internet to CKWR! You folks in the UK can tune in as you enjoy some morning coffee.
Rob says: “Star Wars For A New Generation – May is Star Wars month on Visions In Sound and we will be celebrating the 40th Anniversary with a slew of special shows. Joining me this week will be special guests Jason Drury, Michael Ladano & Erik Woods to help with the celebration. Featured music will be from Star Wars – The Force Awakens (John Williams), Star Wars – Rebels (Kevin Kiner) and Rogue One – A Star Wars Story (Michael Giacchino). Join Us THIS Saturday 12:30-2:30am (ET)”
A Star Wars soundtrack without John Williams? Blasphemy! Right? Right guys and girls? No John = No Star Wars, right?
It’s not like Rogue One is even the first! 20 years before, Joel McNeely composed Shadows of the Empire, the soundtrack to a massive multi-media Star Wars story. It accompanied a novel, a comic, a video game and action figure line. The only thing missing was a movie. Since Disney’s $4 billion acquisition of Star Wars, Shadows of the Empire is now considered “legends”, or non-canon, so if you’re not aware of it, that’s OK. The point is, a non-Williams Star Wars soundtrack is nothing new to long time fans. And Rogue One is the perfect vehicle for such a soundtrack. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the first non-episodic, non-Skywalker-saga Star Wars film ever. There are two very obvious ways that it differentiates from the main line of films. One is that there was no opening crawl (nor should there have been). The second is that Williams didn’t do the music. Michael Giacchino did, a man who has plenty of credits on his resume including a large number of J.J. Abrams productions.
Giacchino wisely didn’t overuse established Star Wars music. You won’t hear the fanfare. The sudden crash opening music of “He’s Here For Us” was actually a pretty cool moment of shock, and it’s right there at the start. The music feels like the storyline. When Director Kennic suddenly pays a surprise visit to his “friend” Galen Erso, you couldn’t ask for more abrupt and appropriate music. The threat has arrived. Better hide.
Though Giacchino borrows music only sparingly from John Williams, he seems to embody that classic style. While unfamiliar, these new pieces sound like part of that universe. There are memorable parts; not so many as the classic films, but they are there. “He’s Here For Us” introduces one such theme, and there are more, such as the main theme contained within “A Long Ride Ahead” (and again in “The Master Switch”). You’ll notice the Rogue One theme music in “A Long Ride Ahead” is very similar to the Star Wars main theme, in particular the first two notes. It’s the same interval, transposed down to a different key. That’s why the Rogue One and Star Wars themes sound similar, but different.
Other tracks like “When Has Become Now” have bits and pieces that recall prior Star Wars music without copying. Another fantastic theme is “Jedha Arrival” which really captures the vibe. You will get to hear the legendary “Imperial March” in “Krennic’s Aspirations”, in which he meets the Dark Lord Darth Vader in his castle on Mustafar.
For action scenes, “Jedha City Ambush” hits a double: It’s different from past Williams work, but really gets the adrenaline running. “Star-Dust” is more contemplative, and very unique. The drama of “Confrontation on Eadu” has that awe-inspiring mix of ingredients that good Star Wars music always has. Then, for sheer terror, the ironically titled “Hope” gives you all you need in pure musical form. The solo violin on “Jyn Erso & Hope Suite” will make you weep.
The crux of the soundtrack is this: It’s nearly impossible to listen to it without consciously or unconsciously comparing it. That’s natural. No matter who composed it, fans would notice it’s not John Williams. Just like fans can tell the Kiss band of today is not the Kiss band of 1978. What else could Disney do? John Williams is 85 years old, and they plan on making these movies for years and years to come. It’s reasonable to think John Williams will be able to complete the third trilogy of Star Wars, as we hope. It’s not realistic to think he’ll be around as long as Disney plan on making Star Wars movies, as sad as that is.
We’ll leave this review with just some fun speculation. It is widely known that, at some point in the late 1970s, George Lucas mentioned there would be 12 films. Not 3, 6 or 9. 12 films. He later backtracked and said, “Yeah, no, I meant 6.” And of course he also used to deny he’d even make the prequel trilogy at all. Then we found out he was already writing Episode I. And recently, we learned he was actually planning to do the sequel trilogy after all, meaning you can’t trust anything Lucas backtracks on. Fans always assumed 12 films meant 4 trilogies. A fourth trilogy (probably focusing on Rey, Finn, Poe or Kylo’s children) does not seem impossible any more. As long as these movies make money, it’s feasible that Disney could continue the actual saga beyond just these anthology films. If we imagine that one day we’ll get Episodes X, XI and XII then who could compose the music? Certainly not John Williams, since this could not happen until the mid-2020s at the soonest. If it ever comes to pass, the fourth trilogy would have to be composed by somebody new, be it Giacchino or someone else. Giacchino established himself as a real contender on Rogue One. Well done.
Thank you Netflix for saving the Trailer Park Boys. It hasn’t been smooth sailing, but ever since the Boys returned to Sunnyvale with the excellent Season 8 (remember Orangie?), the show has continued unhindered by cast defections. Season 11 is the first without Lucy Decoutere (Lucy) and Jonathan Torrens (J-Roc). After already losing such favourites as Trevor (Mike Jackson) and Ray (Barrie Dunn), I can understand why some fans may have said enough’s enough. Every show has its peak. For some that would be the first three seasons of Trailer Park Boys. For others, we have rolled with the changes. Not all fans were unanimous in the acceptance of newer characters such as Col. Dancer, Don/Donna, and Candy. For this season, those characters have been dropped. The core park residents are now Ricky, Julian and Bubbles accompanied by Randy, Lahey, Sarah, Cory, Jacob and Trinity. Little baby Motel is around, as is Barb Lahey.
Continuing a storyline from Season 10, Julian has vanished. Bubbles is doing well now, having gone legit selling his own brand of organic pizza sauce. It’s a hit, and a restaurant owner is willing to pay wholesale. He has the whole park working together growing vegetables, contributing to the well-being of Sunnyvale and its residents. All is well, but Bubbles does miss Julian. Jim Lahey is sober and supervising, having truly changed this time. He and Randy are planning to get married, while Randy is vying to get on the police force. The absence of Lucy and J-Roc is explained satisfactorily.
When Ricky and Bubbles (now mobile with his own little truck) discover that Julian is now a lobster fisherman (or is he?) living in a shipping container, they go to confront him. Ultimately, Julian’s return brings what it always does: crime back into the park. Snoop Dogg calls and wants weed, and lots of it. Julian decides to hijack Bubbles’ pizza sauce business and convert it to a grow op. As usual, Bubbles is driven near to the breaking point as the stress builds.
In Season 10, there was a revelation that Lahey may in fact be Ricky’s real father. This is fully addressed in Season 11, via a lightsaber dual (hockey sticks and brooms subbing in for laser swords) and dialogue taken directly from The Empire Strikes Back. Director Bobby Farrelly (Bobby fucking Farrelly!) must be given credit for the perfect Star Wars homage in Episode 4, “Darth Lahey”, right down to the action beats. Brilliant stuff — a highpoint episode for this show.
There are cameos by celebrities and past characters. Look for Susan Kent from 22 Minutes, and NHLer Nathan MacKinnon, first overall draft pick and rookie of the year. A few old adversaries have returned as well, to cause problems for our three lovable idiots. Speaking of idiots, Ricky and Julian manage to bring the stupidly to new levels, but simultaneously, Ricky has a Yoda-like ability to trick cops. Meanwhile, they have also managed to keep up with modern technology. Cell phones, cameras and GPS now figure into the plots. There are references to the Walking Dead and changing times. This manages to keep the series feeling fresh.
After 11 seasons, it is understood that a show rarely hits the highs it once did. Season 11 is a worthy effort; not in the Top Five, but certainly good enough at this point.
Action figures are like CDs. You can go and buy the “standard edition” at Walmart, or what have you. But if you want all the extra goodies, sometimes you have to hunt a little more and buy a few extra versions.
Toys such as my beloved Star Wars Black Series 6″ series have plenty of exclusives, some that I have and some that I want. The most elusive are the San Diego Comic-Con toys. Some exclusives: Jabba the Hut came with a cardboard throne and accessories. Their Boba Fett came with Han Solo in carbonite. But they are mucho pricey. Elsewhere down the money scale are toys that are exclusive to certain stores and online outlets.
Walgreens is a store that doesn’t exist in Canada and often gets exclusive Star Wars figures. Their most well known is the “prototype” all-white Boba Fett based on an original 1978 Ralph McQuarrie concept sketch. Their current Star Wars treasure is a C-3P0 variation with two gold arms and one silver leg.
The “standard” version of Threepio has the red arm seen in The Force Awakens. This “Resistance Base” Threepio is the common one. Since C-3P0 doesn’t come with any accessories (not even a restraining bolt or com-link), fans hoped he would come with alternate limbs, so you could recreate his look in Episode IV. Hasbro had a different plan. Instead they made the different limbed robots exclusives to Walgreens. I have been looking for one. (There is also a version with a darker red arm, but it doesn’t look as good as these.)
Our neighbors went to Toronto Comic-Con yesterday and found the Walgreens silver leg Threepio for me. It was only $40 — a lot cheaper than ordering one online. Thanks guys!!