Stompin’ Tom Connors

#841.5: 11 More Tunes! (Happy Canada Day)

Because 11 wasn’t enough!


13. The Glorious Sons – “White Noise”

14. Anvil – “Metal On Metal”

15. Kick Axe – “On the Road to Rock”

16. Lee Aaron – “Shake It Up”

17. Gord Downie – “The Stranger”

18. Triumph – “Follow Your Heart”

19. Dayna Manning – “My Addiction”

20. Wild ‘T’ and the Spirit – “Loveland”

21. Saga – “On the Loose”

22. Sloan – “Losing California”

23. Stompin’ Tom Connors – “Canada Day Up Canada Way”

#775: Eleven


It was eleven years ago this weekend that life changed forever.

On August 31 2008, I dressed up in a tux, gathered a hundred of our closest family and friends, and got married.  It was the best decision I’ve ever made.

We didn’t get to celebrate ten years.  At this time last year, Jen’s mom was terminally ill.  We were at her bedside.  I know what she would have said to us if she knew what day it was.  “You guys go out, have a nice dinner, on me.  Enjoy yourselves.”  That’s just who she was.  But we didn’t feel much like eating or celebrating.

I think “mum” would appreciate that this year, we are going to celebrate #11.  We’re going to remember her, and we’re going to be thankful that we have each other.  Making #11 our year to celebrate seems appropriate for us; we’re the couple that is 1) always late, and 2) rarely doing anything the “normal” way.

In order to do things right, I’ll be taking a break from but we will all re-convene back here after Labour Day.

It’s a well deserved break!  We have some general ideas but the plan is just to take it easy and go with the flow.  I just bought a 2 terabyte external hard drive, so I’ll actually be able to take all my music with me, in the car and on the laptop.  I couldn’t do that eleven years ago!

Here are some songs that mean the most to Jen and I.  Turn ’em up and we’ll catch up again next week.

Stompin’ Tom Connors – “Sudbury Saturday Night”

As told in Record Store Tale Part 20: I Believe in a Thing Called Love:

It started with Stompin’ Tom. I think I had told her that I had a stack of new movies, a huge bag of chips & a case of Red Bull, and was ready for the weekend or something. She responded, “Sounds like you’re ready for a Sudbury Saturday Night.” So right then and there, boom! She was speaking my language.

The Darkness – “I Believe in a Thing Called Love”

I was into The Darkness in a big way.  As told in Record Store Tales Part 80, these guys were absolutely one of my favourites when we met.  “I Believe In A Thing Called Love” was a major feature at the wedding reception.

Guns N’ Roses – “Patience”

This was one of Jen’s favourites from the reception. When it played, all the couples slow-danced together. She thought it was a really sweet moment, and a lot of those couples are still couples today!

The Beatles – “Revolution”

When I asked Jen to pick a song she liked, this was the first one she named.

Van Halen – “Why Can’t This Be Love”

Before we met, Jen actively disliked Van Halen (classic rock in general). Today this is one of her favourite songs. Rock radio had a lot to do with that.

Neil Peart – “The Hockey Theme”

Before I met Jen, I’d never heard this theme in my life.  Today, I can name pretty much every Maple Leaf and dozens of other players too.  I can’t believe she’s done this to me!  But don’t you dare call me a “hockey fan”.

The Traveling Wilburys – “Handle With Care”

No story, we just love this song.

Johnny Cash – “In My Life”

I’m sure everybody plays this at their weddings, don’t they? We knew that, so we chose Johnny Cash’s version. Let me tell you, that was a really cool moment, in the church signing the registry to this song. I hope my buddy Tom appreciated that, being such a huge Cash fan. I was psyched for him to hear it at a wedding instead of the usual.

I hope you enjoy some of our songs too.


Hiatus Update

“Well, the cops have been lookin’ for the son-of-a-gun,
That’s been rippin’ the tar off the four-O-one.”

I’ve learned a lot in the last week and a half.  I think I have mastered this “driving the 401 to Toronto” thing.  It really boils down to three easy steps:

  1. Watch the signs and you won’t get lost.
  2. Stoppy-starty traffic is perfectly normal.
  3. Motorcycles can and will drive between lanes of stopped traffic.

See?  Easy.

Timing is also fun.  What takes 80 minutes on a good day takes 120+ minutes on another day.  It’s like a guessing game you can enjoy with your friends.

OH!  And last Saturday in Toronto, I dropped my brand new glasses into a pissy hotel toilet.  Thankfully, it was my own piss.

When we have something to update you on, we’ll update you!  Until then, keep watching the roads….



A sampling of Road Tunes:

  • Deep Purple – Burn
  • Deep Purple – Stormbringer
  • Deep Purple – Come Taste the Band
  • Blotto – Combo Akimbo
  • Thin Lizzy – Renegade
  • Thin Lizzy – Dedication
  • Stompin’ Tom Connors – Bud the Spud


Well it’s Bud the Spud from the bright red mud
Rollin’ down the highway smilin’
The spuds are big on the back of Bud’s rig
They’re from Prince Edward Island
They’re from Prince Edward Island

Now from Charlottetown or from Summerside
They load them down for the big long ride;
He jumps in the cab and he’s off with the Pride Sebagoes
He’s gotta catch a boat to make Tormentine
Then he hits up that old New Brunswick line
Through Montreal he comes just a flyin’
With another big load of potatoes

The Ontario Provincial Police don’t think much of Bud

Well, the cops have been lookin’ for the son-of-a-gun
That’s been rippin’ the tar off the four-O-one;
They know the name on the truck shines up in the sun – “Green Gables”
But he hits Toronto and at seven o’clock
He backs her up again at the terminal dock
And the boys gather ’round just to hear him talk
About another big load of potatoes

REVIEW: Stompin’ Tom Connors – “Live” at the Horseshoe (1971)

STOMPIN’ TOM CONNORS – “Live” at the Horseshoe (1971 EMI)

Since this is the first Stompin’ Tom review ever here at, we need to step back and take a quick look at the bio of a Canadian hero that may be completely unknown to most overseas readers.

Charles Tom Connors was born in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1936.  A restless young Connors frequently hitch hiked and got into trouble down the east coast, and at one point wound up in Skinner’s Pond, Prince Edward Island.  This is a place that has come to be associated with Stompin’ Tom over the years.  I visited there myself in 2002, and saw his childhood home.  I took a photo of the street sign of what is now officially called Dr. Stompin’ Tom Road.


Tom’s break happened while drifting through Timmins Ontario.  Short on change for a beer at the local watering hole, the bartender told him he’d let him have the beer for whatever coins he had in his pocket, as long as he’d get up and sing a song or two.  Tom got out his guitar and that turned into a 14 month stand.  Before too long he had recorded eight singles.

Stompin’ Tom sang idiosyncratic Canadian songs.  He was not interested in commercialism in music whatsoever.  He stubbornly wrote and played often comical songs about the things he’d seen and done hitch hiking around the country.  He became known as “Stompin’ Tom” by providing his own backbeat.  Like a folk country Angus Young, he would pound his booted left foot on the floor, keeping time.  He eventually had to provide his own “stomping board” because bar owners were complaining about damage to their stage.  He would stomp right through the board periodically and have to replace it.

In 1971, a concert film called Across This Land With Stompin’ Tom Connors spawned the album release “Live” at the Horseshoe and became a part of Canadian history. The Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto was a legendary establishment. Now with four studio albums and one Christmas record under his belt, the legendary Horseshoe set was recorded for posterity and became a television staple for years. This live album is culled from that show, though heavily edited for single-length LP time. The original set was 90 minutes and 30 songs.  My dad showed me the special as a kid.  I loved it.

When EMI issued the album on CD, they retained the original LP 12 song running time.  Even the nicely packaged 1998 Man of the Land series edition is only 12 tracks.  The album is a mix of originals and better-known covers.

Newcomers may find Stompin’ Tom’s nasal twang unpalatable, but when that left foot starts stompin’, it’s hard to resist.  “Happy Rovin’ Cowboy” introduces Tom’s band to the crowd.  He bills himself as from “the potato fields of Prince Edward Island”.   Then it’s his hit about the “best man in Ottawa”, Mufferaw Joe.  “Big Joe Mufferaw” is a Canadian folk classic and this version from the Horseshoe is definitive.  According to the lyrics, Big Joe put out a raging forest fire near Smiths Falls with just five spitballs!  Just stomp along!

“Come Where I’m At” is a “Newphie” phrase, and the song beckons you to come home to Newfoundland, “So don’t stay where you’re to, come where we’re at!”  It’s not Yoda-speak, it’s just Canadian!  Tom then covers “The Green, Green Grass of Home”.  “Now it’s almost time I sung an American song,” begins Tom.  “This here is a song that made so many singers famous, that I just thought if I turned my golden Prince Edward Island voice to it, I’d prob’ly become famous too!”  Probably not — Tom does it with exaggerated twang and irreverent comedic flare.  Then, he covers his friend “Gordie” Lightfoot, with “Spin, Spin”, another Horseshoe regular.  This time his plays the song “straight” with due respect but still with the stomp.  It’s a wonderful upbeat song so feel free to stomp along.  “Muleskinner Blues” has one of Tom’s most legendary vocal hooks, and it goes something like “aw wha wha wha wha wha whoo”, though it varies!  This is the kind of song that people loved Tom for.

The second LP side began with an ode to all the big drinkers at the Horseshoe, with “Horseshoe Hotel Song”.  You can hear them hootin’ and hollerin’ and drinking along.  He pokes fun at himself in the tune, claiming he can’t really sing, he’s just another getting slushed at the Horseshoe Hotel.  They eat it up, loving every witty line.  Another cover, “I’ve Been Everywhere”, is one that Tom could almost claim as his own, considering its hitch hiking subject matter!

The rest of the album is all original.  “Sudbury Saturday Night” is a favourite that was later covered by Kim Mitchell.  Sudbury is famous for its nickel mines, and Inco was the big one.  So the lyrics go:

“Well the girls are out to Bingo,
And the boys are gettin stinko,
We’ll think no more of Inco,
On a Sudbury Saturday Night.”

Once again, this version is definitive.  The song is best heard with an audience hollering along.  “Big Bus to Nashville” is a pleasant song that name-drops the Horseshoe, and features that boot stomping again.  “Luke’s Guitar” is a story about a man who had to choose between his wife and his guitar.  Again it has one of those classic Tom vocal hooks, and it goes something along the lines of “Clang-clang a-deedle dang a-deedle”.  It’s hard to resist so don’t try and just go with it.  Ending the album is “Bud the Spud” from the bright red mud, of Prince Edward Island.  According to Tom this came by request about “150,000 times” that night.  Because of the filming and recording of the live album, Tom was to stick to a strict set list and couldn’t do requests.  However he went ahead and played “Bud the Spud” anyway, and it made the final album!  Like several of the other tracks, this recording is definitive.

In the movie Wayne’s World, the character of Wayne Campbell, played by Canadian Mike Myers, claimed that people in the subburbs got copies of Frampton Comes Alive in the mailbox with boxes of Tide.  Sadly that is not so, but in Canada, everybody should be issued a copy of this live album with their birth certificate.  This album in my ears defines the country that I live in.  Others may disagree and they are welcome to do that, but I believe that “Live” at the Horseshoe is a history lesson about the country that we live in as much as it is an amazing live album.

5/5 stars

REVIEW: Kim Mitchell – Kimosabe (1999) / “Sudbury Saturday Night” (1998)

Here’s a Kim Mitchell two-fer for ya!  Once again it’s Epic Review Time!

KIMOSABE_0006KIM MITCHELL – “Sudbury Saturday Night” (from Summer Dock Party, 1998 EMI)

‘Twas Thomas who alerted me to the existence of Kim Mitchell’s cover of “Sudbury Satuday Night”.  He had heard about it from one of his customers, when Tom owned his own record store.  Somebody came in and said to him, “I heard a new Kim Mitchell song on the radio.  I don’t know what it’s called or where it’s from, all I remember are the opening words.  ‘The girls are out to Bingo, and the boys are gettin’ stinko,'” he recited.

Tom immediately recognized that as the opening line to Stompin’ Tom Connors‘ classic song, “Sudbury Saturday Night”.  He called me at my store to ask what Kim album it was on.  I didn’t have a clue.  I didn’t know he had recorded anything since 1994’s Itch.

He had.  This cover appeared on the Canadian compilation CD Summer Dock Party.  And what of it?  How does one cover Stompin’ Tom?  Well, for Kim Mitchell, it’s a harder rockin’ version of KIMOSABE_0007the song, complete with accordion and an electric guitar solo.  I’ve grown to like it more over the years.  It’s hard to overlook the sheer joy in Kim’s vocal.  No matter how you feel about the sanctity of covering Stompin’ Tom, I think Kim’s version has plenty of merit.

Great cover…not-so-great CD cover though! What would Irish Jim O’Connel and Scotty Jack Macdonald say about that front cover? That sure doesn’t depict gettin’ stinko, or represent “Cause everything is wonderful, tonight we had a good fight,” to me!

3.5/5 stars

*I was surprised to find a completely different studio recording of this same song on Youtube.  Further investigation is required.


KIM MITCHELL – Kimosabe (1999 Chinook)

I think Kimosabe is about separation.  I read that Kim was going through a divorce around this time, and perhaps the lyrics reflect that.  Additionally, there was another separation, as once again Kim parted with his long time writing partner Pye Dubois.  The two had a falling out after 1989’s Rockland, due to Kim’s decision to record in Los Angeles, without Pye present, as he had been for all of Kim’s previous albums.  The two reconciled for 1994’s Itch, but appear to have separated once again, because Kimosabe was written with Andy Curran (Coney Hatch) handling the lyrics rather than Pye.  I don’t know what happened.

Nothing against Andy Curran, but without Pye Dubois, lyrics lose some of their poetry.  That’s Pye, that’s what he brings to the table.  Having said that, I think by now, most Kim Mitchell fans are looking for a catchy song to sing along to.  Curran does fine.  Kim himself wrote two of the lyrics himself (“Cold Reality” and “Over Me”, two of the best songs).

The opening duo, “Monkey Shine” and “Stickin’ My Heart” are both rockers.  “Monkey Shine” is très bien; they’re not trying to re-invent the wheel on any of these songs. They’re just doing what they do well, and that’s providing some good Canadian party rock. These are “stock” kind of songs. Reliable, not particularly possessing personality, but getting the job done. TCB, baby.

“Cellophane” is a funky blues. At this point I’ll point out the groove of drummer Randy Cooke, one of my Canadian favourites. You may have heard him with Rik Emmett or the Four Horsemen among others.  Kim’s very slick and lyrical guitar playing is in the spotlight of this outstanding track.


Things start to cloudy with “Two Steps Home”.  Not that it’s a bad song, quite the contrary.  But this is where the party stops.  There’s a lot of feeling in this quiet ballad.  As far as sheer songwriting goes, Kim should be proud of this one.  Still, I feel the playing really shines brightly, guitar and drums both.

After a tune like that, I need a rocker, and Kim delivers with the title track, “Kimosabe”, a pun on the phrase “ke-mo sah-bee”, popularized in the 1930’s by The Lone Ranger.  Strangely enough the lyrics also contain the German phrase “auf Wiedersehen”, proving Andy Curran doesn’t mind putting three languages together in one song.

My favourite song is “Blow Me A Kiss”.  This outstanding track begins as a melancholy piano ballad, but transforms by the chorus into a bright, light rocker.  I would rank this track among Kim Mitchell’s best solo songs, without a doubt.  Randy Cooke really kicks this one in the ass.

“Cold Reality” also has a melancholy character to it.  This one starts a ballad and stays a ballad, and speaks of getting over the end of a relationship. “Halleluiah baby, I am healing. This pain and rage I felt for years is finally leaving.” This is one that Kim wrote the lyrics for himself, and as I said earlier, it’s not poetry, but when he sings it, I can feel something, you know?


Back to something a little more upbeat, “Over Me” has a modern funky vibe to it, of the light-rock variety. Divorce seems to be the theme again, so we’re not hanging out in party rock land, but it’s musically upbeat and catchy. By the chorus, Kim’s singing, “One thing’s for sure, I’m going to get over you, just like you got over me,” and who can’t relate to that?

My least favourite song is the slinky blues, “Get Back What’s Gone”, featuring the great Canadian singer Lisa DalBello. In think this is a case of, “It’s not you, it’s me.” There’s nothing wrong with this well-executed blues, it’s just not clicking with me. It may with you, especially if you want to hear DalBello just sing some blues.

Album close “Skinny Buddah” is one of those lyrics where I just shrug and say, “OK, guys, whatever!” I have no idea what it’s about, but it’s a good solid rock song on which to close an album that I would consider to be a bit of a comeback.

Except it wasn’t. Kimosabe didn’t sell, and it would be eight whole years before Kim would release another album (2007’s Ain’t Life Amazing). That’s too bad. Given the chance, I think that this album could have introduced a new, “more mature” Kim, still fun, but now with a more serious side.  The album could have delivered a couple of hits. Too bad that isn’t the way it turned out. Bummer.

4/5 stars


Part 233: Dr Stompin’ Tom Road

RECORD STORE TALES Part 233:  Dr Stompin’ Tom Road

One of the biggest thrills during the record store days was the last vacation I ever took from that place!  I’ve always wanted to go to Eastern Canada, and see the ocean.  I have always been drawn to the sea.  I think this is because of my Italian side, it must be in my blood and DNA.  We came to Canada in 1904 from Porto Empedocle, Sicily.  It is a fishing village on the coast, and my great-grandfather Luigi owned a shop there around the turn of the century.  My great-great grandfather Salvatore was from Amalfi, near Naples.  If you ever see pictures of Amalfi, you might understand why I have always loved the sight of water.

In May 2002, I finally visited the beautiful province of Prince Edward Island.  I got to see the ocean, the harbors and the lobster boats.  We checked out a lot of cool sideroad shops, walked a lot of trails, and played with the vibrant red sand.  We met some of the friendliest people we’d ever encountered.  But there was no way I was leaving Prince Edward Island without doing three important things:

1. Eating lobster in some form every single day.

2. Visiting the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Odditorium, one of only two in Canada.

3. Setting foot in Skinners Pond, home of Dr Stompin’ Tom Road.

Obviously, I had to pay my respects to the boyhood home of one of the greatest Canadians (# 13) and folk musicians of all time, Stompin’ Tom Connors.  In the end, I accomplished all three of my goals.  Of the five days I spent on the island, I had lobster on every one of them, even having the bizarre McLobster on one of those days.  As an added bonus, I found an interesting piece of guitar-shaped folk art, made by a fellow named Keirras Jeffery, that I had to buy.  It looks awesome on the wall.

Photos of Stompin’ Tom’s eponymous road are difficult to find online, so I proudly present to you a selection of my holiday snaps, May 2002.

Here’s another great site with info on Stompin’ Tom’s home in PEI:  PEI Heritage Buildings – Skinners Pond and Stompin’ Tom Connors

It’s Canada Day Up Canada Way: Lil’ Shit Part II

In the continuing saga of all the pets in the greater LeBrain clan, you may recall that Lil’ Shit was the most recent addition to the family.  Bass clarinetist extraordinaire Kathryn Ladano recently acquired Daisi aka Lil’ Shit, below.  I finally got to meet Daisi this past Canada Day weekend!

It was a great weekend full of bonfires and awesome Canadian scenery too.

Stompin’ Tom Connors – “It’s Canada Day, Up Canada Way”

R.I.P. Stompin’ Tom Connors

Stompin' Tom


Part 27: Store Play

Another suggestion from Tommy Morais, my Amazon rock buddy from the east!  He wants to read about glam rock bands, and Canadian bands!  I played a lot of each at the store, especially in the earliest days.  I’m gonna throw some prog and metal in here too.  Here’s some of my fondest memories.


1996.  We had just opened our flagship store, and I was selected as manager.  This meant I’d be working alone for most of the day, and I could play what I wanted.  In the earliest days there were fewer rules.  The boss might make fun of me for playing Poison, but in the old days, he never told me to take it off as long as it was only once in a while.

I remember playing glam metal stuff like:

PoisonNative Tongue.  I enjoyed trying to turn kids onto music they’d like, but would never touch if they knew who it was.  It sometimes worked!  I think I sold one copy of Native Tongue that way, anyway.

Motley Crue – self titled.  This is in my top three Motley records of all time.  The one without Vince Neil.  A guy from the HMV store in Waterloo gave me props for playing it.  I once sold it to a guy who hated the latest Crue, Generation Swine.  I turned him onto self titled instead.  Instant fan.

David Lee RothYour Filthy Little Mouth.  I played this a shit-ton in the spring of 1995 too.  I don’t know why I like it so much, it’s so cheesey.  Dave does country!  Dave does reggae!  Dave does jazzy loungy stuff!  Dave does VH!  But Dave does write hilarious lyrics, and I did like that.

Van Halen – Any time, any where, any how.   But any time we had a copy of 1984?  Hell yeah!  And you couldn’t keep Best Of Volume I in stock for very long.  Certainly not if you played it.  The first year or two it was out, I probably sold it every time I played it!

Def LeppardSlang.  Again, much like the Poison and Crue, I was trying to turn new kids onto these classic bands that had explored new directions.  Unfortunately, Slang sold like shit.  I think it was too different for the old fans, and too old for the new fans.

And now let’s talk about Prog rock.  Ashleigh used to call prog music “smart-guy rock”.   That’s one reason why I wanted to play it every shift we shared.  I was trying to show her I was a smart guy, see?

MarillionMisplaced Childhood.  I played Marillion so frequently, that my co-workers Matty K and Ashleigh knew the words to some songs.  Unfortunately, they didn’t consider that a good thing.

Fish Kettle of Fish.  See above!

Dream TheaterImages and Words.  This came in so rarely, that when it did you had to play it.  It always sold if you played it.  We had so many musicians and wanna be’s (like me) coming into the store, they inevitably would ask what the fuck is this?  This one kid, a drummer named Curtis, loved Dream Theater.  I sold him his first Dream Theater.  Do you know how cool that is, selling somebody their first Dream Theater?  Curtis is a fantastic musician.  He’s jammed with my sister, actually.

RushMoving Pictures.  Like nails on a chalkboard to the girls in the Operations staff.  Could not play this if they were in the city, let alone the store.  But my fuck, what an album.  I remember Tom put a sticker on it that said, “Best album of the 80’s!”.  I thought to myself, “Then I need to hear the whole thing!”  I had never heard “Vital Signs” before.  I am sure Matty K remembers to this day, “Everybody got to evelate from the norm”.

And speaking of Rush!  I did a lot of Canadian themes.  We had a 5 disc changer.  A lot of the time, I would specifically pick 5 Canadian artists to take up a shift.  You’d often hear:

Sloan4 Nights at the Palais Royale.  In my opinion one of the top five live albums of all time.  It is also my favourite Sloan album.

Stompin’ Tom Connors – Anything we had in the store would work, as he didn’t come in frequently.  Unfortunately, Stompin’ Tom didn’t fare too well for store play in Kitchener.  Nobody seems to like him in this town.

Rush – duh?

Triumph – ditto.

Kim Mitchell / Max Webster – Another artist our Operations people hated.  I did one entire 5 disc shuffle of nothing but Kim and Max.  Kim was playing in town that day so I was hoping to drum up some sales.  I failed to do so, but I did try.  I was told to remove the Kim and Max from the player.

Helix / Brian Vollmer – I’d play Helix when it was in, which was infrequent.  I remember playing the Brian Vollmer solo album for Kevin, one of the guys that ended up in my wedding party.  I played the song “Good Times Don’t Get Better Than This” in the store.  I thought he would enjoy it.  Unfortunately, he did not.  I believe the words he used were, “This is not good.”  Kevin, I kindly submit that I strongly disagree to this day.

Even more rarely though came the opportunity to play the early stuff, the stuff with Brent Doerner singing lead.  Once — just once — Breaking Loose and White Lace & Black Leather came in.  I’m kicking myself for not buying them.  But when they were in store, I played “Billy Oxygen” on repeat for about 20 minutes.

Oscar Peterson – I only had the opportunity to do that once though.

Voivod – self titled.  The first one with Newsted.  Metallica had come out with St. Anger and a lot of fans didn’t like it.  I tried to sell this, which was more traditionally prog metal like old Metallica.

Incidentally, at the same time,  I was training a new franchisee around that time.  He was amused by how excited I was that the album Angel Rat, by Voivod, had come in, with 3D glasses intact.  I explained that usually these would be missing, but the CD was mint!  And “Clouds In My House” sounded great in-store!

Voivod crosses the boundary from prog into metal (or is it vice versa?), but I certainly did play a lot of metal in the store.

Bruce DickinsonBalls To Picasso.  I played this virtually every shift during the fall of 1994.  At the time, I thought “Tears of the Dragon” and “Change of Heart” were among the deepest songs I’d ever heard.  Yeah, well.

Iron MaidenBrave New World.  I love this album.  Matty K knows every word of “Blood Brothers”.

G//Z/RPlastic Planet.  Easily the heavist thing I have ever played in store.  Even I was uncomfortable!

sHeavyThe Electric Sleep.  Incidentally, the greatest Black Sabbath album that was not made by Black Sabbath.  Every time, people would ask, “Is this the new Ozzy?”  Every time.  You could put money on it.

Judas PriestTurbo.  It was the only one I could get away with!

Man, those were good times!   I am sure I could write another dozen of these.  I mean, we played a lot of music.  From Esquivel to Brushy One-String to Pansy Division to Jaymz Bee & the Royal Jelly Orchestra, we tried and sampled everything.

Part 20: I Believe In A Thing Called Love

I’m going to jump ahead.  My wife does not feature into the story until very close to the end, although she is a critical component to it.  I think it’s only fair that I introduce her early.   Jen has, shall we say…good but “flawed” taste in both music, and hockey teams.  (Take a guess which one.) 

RECORD STORE TALES PART 20:  I Believe In A Thing Called Love

When I met Jen in 2005, I knew I had met someone special.  I knew this was something I didn’t want to screw up.   I didn’t know one day we’d be married, but we might never have met if not for music.

It started with Stompin’ Tom.  I think I had told her that I had a stack of new movies, a huge bag of chips & a case of Red Bull, and was ready for the weekend or something.  She responded, “Sounds like you’re ready for a Sudbury Saturday Night.”  So right then and there, boom!  She was speaking my language.

Yes, Jen loves Stompin’ Tom.  I said she had flawed taste in music?  She still thinks Kurt Cobain is the greatest songwriter since John and Paul.  See what I mean?   Her favourite radio station is the grunge one on satellite radio.  I can only take so much grunge in my daily diet.

We bonded over a mutual love of the Beatles, Foo Fighters, Johnny Cash and the old school of country.  She was brought up on a steady diet of Beach Boys and oldies, where I had heard a lot of movie soundtracks and country music growing up.

There are some things I’ll never turn Jen onto.  I know that Kiss and Rush are a completely lost cause with her.  However, lemme tell you a lil’ secret that Jen doesn’t want people to know about.

One night we were coming home from a party at Lara’s house.  I was driving, and Jen had a couple drinks.  (She used to drink wine back then.)  We were coming back to my place after midnight on the 401.  I had Iron Maiden’s latest, A Matter of Life and Death, on the car stereo.  Jen was leaning back enjoying the drive, and then she sat up.

“Who are these guys?” she asked.

“This is Iron Maiden,” I responded.  The song playing was “For The Greater Good of God”, one of their more epic pieces.

I could tell she was really getting into it.  I kept glancing over at her.

“These guys…are…amazing!” she blurted out.  “This music is…wow!”

She claims to this day it was just the booze, but every once in a while, I play that song, and I catch her singing along.

Our wedding was pretty amazing.  For the ceremony itself, we had a Beatles theme.  The girls came in to an acoustic version of “Something” by George, solo.  We signed the register to “In My Life” by Johnny Cash.  We exited to “Here Comes the Sun”.  It was gorgeous outside.

My sister Kathryn played the cocktail hour at the reception with a jazz trio.  Her set ended with their rendition of John Williams’ “Cantina Band” from the first Star Wars!  Bass clarinet as the lead instrument, with guitar and drums backing…it was the perfect wedding version.

Into the dinner, I snuck in some Zappa (“Peaches En Regelia”) and some Kiss (“And Then She Kissed Me”)  We danced to more Beatles, tons of AC/DC, The Darkness, GN’R, and other good stuff.  I had the best music of any wedding I’ve ever been to.

And all because I have the best wife!